Swiss Gateaway June 2015

Tripoto
10th Jun 2015

10 June Wed – Shift to Wengen from Zurich, buy 7 days Grocery and visit Harder Kulm (Interlaken)

11 June Thursday – Mt. Titlis

12 June Friday – Mt. Rigi and Lucern city

13 June Sat – Lake Thun ST. Beatus Caves, Suspension bridge and Castles in Lake Thun

14 June Sun - Jungfrau

15 June Mon - Giessbach Falls and Trümmelbach Falls

16 June Tue – Aare Gorge and return trip to the Reichenbach Falls funicular

17 June Wed - Hiking from Riffelalp to Sunnegga near Zermatt

18 June Thursday - Klein Matterhorn

19 June Friday – Glacier 3000

20 June Sat – Glacier Express Train from Zermat to St Moritz and Swiss rail from St Moritz to Zurich

21 June Sun – Badan Badan

22 June Mon – Baden Baden to Basel to Ryan Falls and night in Zurich

23 June Tue – Zurich city and fly back at 6 pm eve to India.

Swiss Rail pass for 15 days

Peaks entry and gondola tickets

Transfers from Zurich to Baden Baden and Baden Baden to Basel

Flight from India – Zurich – India.

Hotel bookings done were as follows:

Hotel Name: Aparthotel Résidence Bernerhof

Location: Wengen (20 mins from Interlaken via train).

Booking Date: 10 June to 17 June 2015 ( 7 Nights 8 Days)

Cost CHF 595 i.e. approx. INR 40,503 for 7 Nights stay in Wengen near Interlaken

Reviews on Trip advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g188085-d291728-Reviews-or10-Residence_Bernerhof_Hotels-Wengen_Jungfrau_Region_Bernese_Oberland_Canton_of_Bern.html#REVIEWS

Hotel Name: Casa Vanessa

Location: Zermatt (1 km from village)

Booking Date: 17th June to 20th June (3 Nights 4 Days)

Cost CHF 374.85 for 3 Nights i.e. approx. Rs. 25,517 for 3 Nights

The displayed amount (in INR) is indicative and based on the exchange rate at the time of booking.

CHF 2.50 city tax per person per night is excluded.

You will have to pay CHF 17 one way from train station to apartment and from apartment to train station during checkin and checkouts respectively.

Suggest to stay at Tasch (a small but beautiful village which is 10 mins from Zermatt) rather than staying in Zermatt.

Reviews on Trip advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g188098-d1894823-Reviews-Apparthotel_Casa_Vanessa-Zermatt_Canton_of_Valais_Swiss_Alps.html

Hotel Name: Holiday Inn Express Baden-Baden

Location: Baden Baden

Booking Date: 21th June to 22th June (1 Night 2 Days)

Cost € 80 i.e. Rs. 5,693 for one night in Baden Baden

You will pay in the local currency 

The displayed amount (in INR) is indicative and based on the exchange rate at the time of booking.

€ 3.50 city tax per person per night is excluded.

Reviews on Trip advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g187278-d200160-Reviews-Hotel_am_Festspielhaus_Bayerischer_Hof-Baden_Baden_Baden_Wurttemberg.html

Hotel Name: ibis Budget Zurich City West

Location: Zurich

Booking Date: 20 June to 21st June and 22nd June to 23rd June.

CHF 94.50 per night + VAT included.

CHF 2.50 city tax per person per night is excluded

Please note that this hotel is a budget hotel. If you are looking for more comfort and space book yourself in Novotel which is again a part of Accor group and is right behind this hotel. We found it to fulfil our requirements. Very easy access via tram to any part of Zurich and good for enjoying late nights in Zurich. Hardly used the hotel for 5-6 hours of good sleep.


 Detailed Itinerary 

10th June

Zurchi to Wengen

From Zurich airport to Wengen by rail takes 3 hours, changing trains three times if taking one of the direct trains to Bern from Zurich airport or four times if necessary to change at Zurich main station.  - http://www.ultimate-ski.com/ski-resorts/switzerland/bernese-oberland/wengen/getting-there.aspx#sthash.HIAAnSYJ.dpuf

Zürich Flughafen to Bern - 1hrs 16min - Every 30 minutes

Bern to Interlaken Ost - 53min - Every 30 minutes

Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen 20min Every 30 minutes

Lauterbrunnen to Wengen(CH) 14min Every 30 minutes

Get mobile sim-card and see the arrangements for railway and other travel brochures (travel desk) from the Zurich airport on arrival.

After checking in the hotel in Wengen take shower, rest for some time and then head towards the station to Interlaken Ost.

Once you reach Interlaken Ost head towards Harder Kulm and get the tickets for Funicular ride up and down – CHF 15 per person with swiss rail pass.

Harder Kulm

2 hours (7 mins each way from Interlaken via Funicular).

Use the Harder Railway to get from Interlaken Ost to the Harder Kulm. You do not need to transfer: the Harder Railway funicular takes you directly to the Harder Kulm. Tickets are available directly at the Harder Railway valley and mountain station.

The Funicular line from Interlaken Ost to Harder Kulm operates daily from the last weekend in April to the end of October with a regular service of trains from 09:10 (08:10 Sundays Only) until 18:25 (19:55 between 1 July and 12 August) from Interlaken and from 09:10 (08:10 Sundays Only) until 18:40

Every half an hour there is a funicular up. So next would be at 3.40 pm.

Harder Kulm Funicular shuts by 7.30-8 pm. Take grocery from Interlaken (1 hour) and head towards Wengen back to the hotel.

Do Grocery shopping in Interlaken. Main Coop store shuts by 6 pm. Other small Coop at Interlaken near the railway station is open till late.

Coop or Migros (Coop opposite Interlaken Ost station, or both Coop and Migros near Interlaken West). ALDI, Lindenallee 106.

FYI – train from Interlaken to Wengen is at every 1 hour duration. 

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11th June

Wengen to Mt. Titlis

Leave Wengen hotel by 7.45 am sharp.

Remember if you miss Interlaken train of 8 am u will have to catch a train after 1 hour to Engelberg. So get up early.

When you leave the station in Engelberg turn right and follow the yellow signs to the lower station of the cable car to Titlis. It is about a 15 min walk.

The Titlis can be reached by cable car from Engelberg about 45 minutes from Lucerne. Engelberg can be reached by car or by train. It's a 10 minute walk from the rail station to the Titlis valley station. First you take the gondolas to Trübsee. There you switch to the cable car to Stand. The last section from Stand to the Titlis (this location is called Kleintitlis) will be done by a revolving cable car.

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12th June

Mt. Rigi and Lake Lucerne and City tour Lucerne

Wengen to Lucerne

Leave hotel by 7.30 am sharp.

After 1 hour on Mt. Rigi descent to Vitznau, a small village and base station for Europe’s oldest rack railway. From Vitznau, take a 55-minute steamer ride to Lucerne. You will have time at leisure in the old town of Lucerne.

Lucerne city

·         Chapel Bridge,

·         Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) in the Bahnhofstrasse, 100 m from the Chapel Bridge

·         Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche), behind the Jesuit Church;

·         Lion Monument in the Denkmalstrasse,

·         Musegg Wall: the 13th century city walls in the north of the town center. Some of the towers are accessible.

 Depart Lucerne by 7.45 for 8 pm train back to Wengen

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13 June 2015

Lake Thun + St Beatus Cave + Suspension bridge over Lake Thun + Oberhofen Castle.

If you have seen lime stone caves earlier in life and the best ones like Cango caves in South Africa and Luray caves in Virginia then please avoid going to St. Beatus caves. The price is too high around CHF 32 per person (no discount to swiss pass holders) and its not worth it.

Instead don’t take a halt at St. Beatus and go directly to Thun city. It is very beautiful city to enjoy shopping, evening time and have dinner at restaurants near the lake. There are various castles and things to see in Thun city. Recommend to avoid St. Beatus (2-3 hrs got wasted).

Head towards Interlaken West station via 3 mins train from Interlaken Ost or walk. From Interlaken West take a boat to Beatushöhlen-Sundlauenen to visit St. Beatus Caves.

Lake Thun is situated west of Interlaken, and is a bit larger than Lake Brienz east of Interlaken. There are different boat trips to be made. The main one is from Interlaken to Thun and takes about 2 hours.

There is a boat dock called 'Beatushöhlen-Sundlauenen'. From there, you can walk to the caves in about 20 minutes.

From the boat station Beatushöhlen / Sundlauenen of pilgrimage: 20 - 25 minutes

 St. Beatus Cave (1.15 hrs) and Caving museum (30 mins) – approx. 2 hours.

 Take a boat to Thun city.

 Visit City of Thun and look at the following things:

(Visit the Tourist center for details on Thun city and plan your remaining day accordingly).

A walk through this very interesting alleyway with a circuit over the bridge (river Aare) then along Bälliz, again a bridge over the Aare and then Gerberngasse or Untere Hauptgasse, Rathausplatz into Obere Hauptgasse again.

There is a lot to see: old architecture, a potpourri of boutiques, cafes, saloons, service providers and more.

Suspension bridge over Lake Thun

Oberhofen Castle on Lake Thun is famous for its distinctive mediaeval keep and its picturesque lakeside turret.

Tuesday - Sunday

11:00 - 17:00

Obere Hauptgasse is a part of the Old Town of Thune and a must-see !

Schadau Park

 You can take a quick train or bus back to Interlaken rather than a boat ride to reach Wengen soon.

Come back to Interlaken West and take a train to Interlaken Ost to Wengen.

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14 June 2015

Visit Jungfrau

Sphinx observatory - can enjoy a 360° view here, both from the terrace and from the comfort of a building with panoramic windows

Ice Palace

You can go out in the snow and enjoy the view of the Grosser Aletsch glacier and the surrounding mountains

Visit Aletsch Glacier

Schynige Platte with an Alpine garden           

 From Jungfrau back to Wengen.

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15 June 2015

Visit Giessbach Falls, Trümmelbach Falls and Staubbach Falls 

On a scenic boat ride from Interlaken to Brienz, lies this hidden falls which are not fully seen from outside. One needs to get down at Giessbach. Take a funicular (5 mins) (4.5 Swiss Franks one way) while going up to the Grand Hotel outside which are the Giessbach falls and Hike (20 mins) while coming down.

There are different viewing levels. One can go all the way to top if has plenty of stamina. Trail is medium difficult (mainly because of high slope)

Keep a note of next boat arrival time as Not all the Interlaken-Brienz boat stops here. Next boat could be as 2 hours apart! You need not have food in the hotel but can get sandwich or burger at a small joint above the falls.

Visit Ballenberg Open-Air Museum  

Depart for Trümmelbach Glacier Waterfalls from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen

There is a bus right from the train station to here and it takes around 2 CHF (free for swiss pass holders) and the entry fee (cash only) is 11 CHF per person (swiss pass not valid for Trummelbach falls entry). Don’t forget to ask for the last bus timing back to Lauterbrunnen from Waterfalls

The Trümmelbach Glacier Waterfalls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Lauterbrunnen to Wengen - Every half an hour there is train connectivity.

If not tired then visit Staubbach Falls which is just 5-10 mins from Trummelbach falls in Lauterbrunnen. It’s a 15 mins hike up to the falls (very moderate hiking).

Stroll around beautiful town Lauterbrunnen and have dinner. Try Reclette.

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16 June

Aare Gorge and return trip to the Reichenbach Falls funicular

Timing 8.30 am –5.30 pm

Ask in advance about the Reichenbach rail cart and entire day itinerary at Aare Gorge from east to west. Don’t forget to start the journey from East side to West side of Aare Gorge. Ask.

Get the Combo Ticket - Entrance Aare Gorge and return trip to the Reichenbach Falls funicular. – CHF 15 per person.

The best way to see it is to take the little Meiringen-Innertkirchen train to Aareschlucht Ost station (just a door in the side of a tunnel that opens out into the gorge) and enter the walkway at its East end. That way the walk just keeps getting better, from dozens of feet wide to just a couple of feet wide. Catch the train back from Aareschlucht West, 5 mins walk from the gorge's west entrance, with its restaurant and facilities

You walk along the road for about a mile from Aare Gorge & board the Reichenbach pulled rail cart.

CHF 15 each

http://www.aareschlucht.ch/en/Info/Prices#.VW1Ss6O3Tio

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17 June – Transfer from Wengen to Zermatt (3.10 hrs)

Check in Zermatt hotel.

The Apartment in Zermatt was far off from the train station. So we had to pay 17 to 20 CHF for hotel transfer (one way) via local taxi while checking in and checking out. This is the only disadvantage of staying in Zermatt. Plus it has turned too commercial. Hence recommend to stay in Tasch (a less commercialized village 10 mins via train from Zermatt).

Go for bicycling or hiking. Visit tourist center.

Optional:

We did 3-4 hours hiking..it was worth it.

Hiking from Riffelalp to Sunnegga near Zermatt

Facts Riffelalp – Sunnegga http://www.myswissalps.com/hiking/riffelalp-sunnegga/route

Hiking time: 2h30 Difficulty: moderate Elevation: 2187 - 2349 m Distance: 7.9 km Terrain: meadow, rocky, forest

This beautiful trail around the valley of the Findelbach leads you through both forests and high mountainous terrain. You'll pass by several small lakes. There is a great view of the Matterhorn from the end point of Sunnegga.

Riffelalp can be reached by cog trains that leave Zermatt for the Gornergrat. The cog train departs across the main railway station. Take the underground funicular from Sunnegga back to Zermatt. It takes 10 minutes to walk from the funicular station to the main railway station in Zermatt. (remember for this train ride you have to pay 50% of the price if you hold swiss pass. It’s not free. Will cost per person one way 10 CHF after discount).

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18 June – Zermatt to Klein Matterhorn

Visit Klein Matterhorn and back to Zermatt.

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19 June

Zermatt to Montreux – Glacier 3000.

•           Alpine Coaster – open from 9:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. subject to weather conditions.

•           The "Peak Walk by Tissot" is free of charge for Glacier 3000 visitors and is open year round.

•           Snow Bus

•           Ice Express chairlift

Descend back to Gstaad for late lunch.

Every one hour. But don’t miss the 2.41 pm bus as you might be otherwise late to reach Zermatt after an hour in Gstaad.

Have quick evening bite in Gstaad and leave for Zermatt (remember the train at 5 pm will take you to Zermatt by 8.13 pm). The next train after that is only at 6.23 pm followed by 8.23 pm plus 3 hours journey to Zermatt. So please don’t miss 5 pm train as next day is early for Glacier express train.

Optional

If time is there after doing Glacier 3000 ride then plan for Gstaad – Montreux – Zermatt with a hault at Montreux.

Earlier train from Gstaad to Montreux is at 12.53 pm to 2.13 pm.

Montreux

Visit the Château de Chillon, an ancient castle along the lake.

Pack the bags as we will have to leave Zermatt hotel very early next morning.

Keep Glacier Express train passes handy. 

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20 June

Transfer from Zermatt to St. Moritz to Zurich (with luggages)

Glacier express train at 8.50 am to 4.55 pm(5 pm) from Zermatt to St. Moritz.

If you want to enjoy Zurich more then drop off at Chur Station which comes half an hour before St. Moritz. OR else you can also opt to stay at St. Moritz which is another beautiful town. We transferred to Zermatt that every evening after enjoying St Moritz for an hour.

Next train every one hour duration. 5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 8 pm.

Check in Zurich hotel. Immediately ask for cloack room service as we won’t be carrying the luggages to Baden Baden. 

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21 June

Start early. Take the train tickets and hotel booking papers and Euro card. Leave Zurich hotel by 7 am sharp.

Transfer from Zurich to Badan Badan – 8 am train 19 Euro one way per person. Can buy the ticket on railway station.

Reach Baden Baden by 10.30 am. Check in hotel.

Walk in Lichtentaler Allee Garden is a must

The Merkur Funicular Railway operates to and from the summit between the hours of 10am and 10pm. The railway’s base station can be easily reached from the town center by taking either the 204 or 205 bus. If you intend to use the bus service, we would recommend you buying a combination ticket, which you can purchase from the bus driver.

Roman Bath Ruins (not that great but can be visited if we have time)

Burg Hohenbaden  

Gönneranlage rose garden location on Beutig Hill and open daily from June to September Admission

Badan Badan is famous for Casinos and Spas.

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22 June

9.17 am train from Baden Baden to Basel (not Zurich).

Arrive Basel SBB at 10.47 am.

Depart for Ryan falls i.e. Stein am Rhein village

Next train is at 11.20 am till 1.25 pm.

The easiest way to reach the Rhine Falls is taking a train to the station called 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall'. The station is located right next to the falls. It takes 45-60 minutes from Zurich to get there.

(Train from Zurich to Stein-Am-Rein through Schauffhausen).

Take a ferry down the river from Stein-Am-Rhein to Schaufhausen. Take a bus which directly takes to the Ryan falls. Take a boat ride and visit the castle to have great view of the falls.

 Do the round trip on foot and by boat, and view the overwhelming force of the waterfall up close.

The 150 m wide and 23 m high waterfall is located near the village of Neuhausen in Northern Switzerland. The nearby city of Schaffhausen is commonly associated with the falls too.

Round trip on foot and by boat

Our suggested route starts and ends at the rail station 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall'. The route does not take more than 45 minutes, but that doesn't include any stops to enjoy the view, take pictures, do activities along the way, or additional boat trips apart from the one crossing the Rhine included in the route. To fully enjoy the fall and activities, you need 3 to 4 hours.

The route:

  1. You'll first walk from the rail station to the 1000 year old Schloss Laufen (Laufen Castle). There's a restaurant, playground and a 'Historama' here. The Historama is an exhibition about the castle and the Rhine Falls. One of the things one can learn here, is that there have been plans to 'remove' the falls (blasting away the rocks), because it was considered an obstacle to shipping traffic. We're glad those plans were never realized! Today, it is still not possible for ships to pass the Rhine Falls.
  2. Next, you go down to the observation platform, either on foot via the Belvedere Trail, or by the glass Panoramic Lift.
  3. Take the boat across the Rhine to Schlössli Wörth. This castle is hundreds of years old and located on a tiny island. There is a very good restaurant inside the castle.
  4. Cross the pedestrian bridge to the bank and turn right. Walk along the river promenade. There are again good views of the falls. Further on, the river bank is forested for about 200 m so the views are now blocked for a short while. Take the pedestrian path on the railway bridge that leads back to Schloss Laufen and the rail station.

No train before 5.30. So get free by 5 pm and reach 5.15 pm to railway station

FYI – next train at 6 pm (every half an hour duration).

Visit a town named Schaffhausen near Ryan falls.

Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square) is the name of the upper end of the pedestrian zone. This is Stein am Rhein's most beautiful part with lots of colourful painted facades, rather touristy restaurants, the flower-adorned town hall and much more to discover.

Some known houses in this area are:

·         zum Grossen Kafig

·         zum Ochsen house

·         zum Ritter (Knight) house

·         Weißer Adler

Beer "Falken" is a specialty of the town

Leave Schaffhausen by 9.30 pm and reach Zurich latest by 10.30 pm to enjoy night life.

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23 June

Best of Zurich City Tour (2 hours):

Visit the ever-efficient business and cultural hub of Switzerland on this coach tour showcasing Zurich at its best. Sit back and see top attractions including the medieval Old Town of Limmatguai, the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street and the National Museum.

Make a brief stop by Lake Zurich before boarding the Dolderbahn (cog-wheel railway) to the Zurichberg district. Admire the Chagall windows on Fraumunster Church and take a brief guided stroll with your guide, before your Best of Zurich City Tour concludes in the Old Town. If you decide to add-on the third tour, simply stay onboard the coach, and travel onto the Sihlquai Bus Terminal.

Check out hotel latest by 1 pm and reach airport by 2 pm to catch a flight at 6 pm. Fly back to India.

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Local food

  1. Geschnetzeltes: sliced pieces of meat (pork, veal, chicken) served with a sauce and often rösti;
  2. Cheese fondue: various kinds of Swiss cheese melted in a pot. Please tell them not to add white wine or white rum in cheese or else you might not enjoy the pungent smell and taste.
  3. Raclette: various kinds of food (bread, mushrooms, meat, potatoes) covered in molten or scalloped cheese.

Water

Tap water in Switzerland is of good quality. It's often perfectly safe to drink and it tastes well. There is no need to buy bottled water.

Beer

Some well known BEER are Calanda (from the canton of Graubünden), Eichhof (from Lucerne), Feldschlösschen (from Rheinfelden near Basel), Rugenbräu (from Interlaken).

Restaurants

When going out for dinner, you might notice that there are also lots of Italian dishes like pastas and pizzas. It is customary to have a green or mixed salad as the first course. Little or no vegetables are served with the main course. Most restaurants start serving dinner from 5-6 PM.

Service and VAT are included in the prices. There is no need to tip. In case of good service it is common to round up the amount just a bit, but that is not required at all.

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Paid to Swisstours in Ahmedabad for following:
11-Jun-15
Mt Titlis (after 50% discount due to swiss pass) CHF 56
14-Jun-15
Jungfrau (after 50% discount due to swiss pass) CHF 130
18-Jun-15
Klein Matterhorn  (after 50% discount due to swiss pass) CHF 58
19-Jun-15
Glacier 3000 (after 50% discount due to swiss pass) CHF 40
20-Jun-15
Glacier express train Zermatt to St. Moritz (after discount due to swiss pass) Euro 36
From 10th June 2015
Swiss pass 15 days Euro 361
Total amount payable to Swiss tours in CHF was CHF 1398 for two people as on 26 May 2015.

Swiss tours are the direct distributors in Ahmedabad for swiss pass and other mountain excursion bookings. Hence book it through them directly rather than other travel agents who add commission of 5000 Rs or so per person which can be avoided.

Please note that there is a flexibility to use the passes to the mountain excursions on any days till your swiss pass is valid. Only glacier express train has to be used on that particular date. So you have flexibility to visit any mountain any day except for the ride in Glacier Express train.

You have to stamp the swiss pass on Zurich airport on the date of arrival and it gets valid from that date till the number of days that you have taken. Passes are available for shorter durations like 9 days 11 days etc. We took 15 days pass as our stay was longer.

For other mountain excursions they will issue the vouchers which are valid any day till your swiss pass is valid. Remember the rates are after 50% discount as you hold the swiss pass.

The apartment is very neat and clean and well equipped. The location is beautiful in a small car free town Wengen which is 3 stops away from Jungfrau and 4 stops away from Interlaken. Beautiful view of mountains from the balcony. Recommend to stay on 3rd or 4rth floor for better view.
Not recommended to stay in this hotel as it was very very far from the station. There is no means of transport to transfer your heavy luggage to and fro from station to hotel except for expensive taxis which charge CHF 20 one way for a 5 mins drive from station to hotel. Also Zermatt has turned too commercial with too many hotels under construction which kills the view of other hotels. Suggest to stay at Tasch (a small but beautiful village which is 10 mins from Zermatt) rather than staying in Zermatt.
As per the high standards of Holiday Inn Express, we were quite happy with the rooms and service provided. Food was also very nice with lot of options during breakfast. Very close to bus stop.
We found this budget hotel to fulfil our basic requirements. Very easy access via tram to any part of Zurich and good for enjoying late nights in Zurich.
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