MY WIFE AND I ARE TRAVELLING TO PARIS AND THE SOUTH OF FRANCE IN OCTOBER 2016. FROM MONACO, IS THERE A TRAIN WE CAN TAKE TO ZURICH TO TAKE IN THE ALPINE SCENERY? IS ZURICH A CITY TO SPEND A FEW DAYS IN, WE HAVE HAD CONFLICTING REPORTS? WE FLY HOME FROM THERE.
J. MORRIS, HARTLEY
You can take a train from Monaco to Zurich but it's around 10 hours, with a minimum of two changes. Trains don't run to the north from that part of the Mediterranean coast, the first leg of your journey would involve either heading west to Avignon or east to Ventimiglia and Milan. This Italian route offers better scenery, but there are other Swiss train rides that leave it in the shadows. Swiss International Air Lines operates non-stop flights between Nice and Zurich and with a flight time of just 1 hour 15 minutes and most likely a view of the Alps, this would be my choice if Zurich is your destination.
Zurich is a mid-size city and the centre of the Swiss banking system. The city has a small but atmospheric old quarter and the setting, on a lake, surrounded by tall hills, is pretty enough, but unremarkable by Swiss standards. I've spent only a couple of days in Zurich on two visits and for that I am thankful. Switzerland has much more to offer.
What you could do is take a train from Monaco to Milan and north to Lugano, in the southern Ticino region of Switzerland. This would take a little over six hours. Spend a night or better still, two nights in Lugano, then take the William Tell Express to Lucerne. From Lucerne you're just a short train ride from Zurich, but it's well worth lingering for another day at least in lovely Lucerne.
Switzerland has some of the world's finest scenic train rides. If you want to pursue this theme, two others worth considering are the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express https://www.rhb.ch [rhb.ch].