Advice for trains around Lake Geneva and to Milan

Advice for trains around Lake Geneva and to Milan

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
sandydjdm
sandydjdm
3 posts
new member
Jun 29, 2014 - 10:24 PM

Hello,

My son and I are traveling on a Eurail Global Pass. We would like to see a few things in Geneva (coming from Huermoz) and then take the train to Milan, where we have a hotel booked near the Central Station. We have reservations for the entire Golden Pass route coming into the Geneva area and then will spend a couple days in the Alps before heading to Geneva.

I'm wondering if there is anything we can soak up on our last day in beautiful Switzerland - is there a boat ride or fascinating town or castle or ancient ruins or short hike that we could see in our travels around Lake Geneva?

Also, what routes would you recommend to Geneva and then Milan would be, considering the scenery as well. The EC41 is the latest, most direct route. Would it be possible or crazy to try to take the Mont Blanc express, or try to see the Matterhorn? I know we won't have much time, but we want to see as much of Switzerland as we can.

Finally, if we do decide to take the EC41, how far in advance would we need reservations? Would I be able to pick them up at the station in Basel or Luzern on 7/9 for travel on 7/11? I could order them online but am afraid that they would not arrive in time, plus we may decide to go a different route.

Thanks so much for your insight and help! Best regards, Sandy

Arno
Arno
7292 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 30, 2014 - 4:49 PM

Hello Sandy, welcome to MySwissAlps,

If you base yourself in the eastern end of Lake Geneva, you will save some traveling time. Montreux would be a good base.

Since it all depends on just one day, it's best to have a few plans and pick the one that fits the weather of the day. For example:

  • If the skies are clear in Zermatt, you can go there (travel to Visp, change for Zermatt, back to Visp and continue to Milan via Brig). A trip up the Gornergrat is one of the options. Note that the train line to Zermatt is not free with a Eurail Pass, see here;
  • If not, but if it's sunny around Montreux, a trip up to Rochers-de-Naye would be great;
  • Without sun, you can still do things in the valley, like a boat trip or a visit to Châteaux de Chillon.

Train reservations can be done last minute at any rail station, but the closer the date, the bigger the chance the train will be fully booked out or your preferred seats are booked out. I don't know when you depart but delivery only takes a few days. See here for more details.

As for the EuroCity train: I would only book the leg from Brig to Milan, so that your plans earlier on the day remain flexible. You can still board in Montreux if that's how things work out that day. Swiss trains don't need to be booked, so you can just hop on and off trains during the day, as long as you're in time in Brig (departure 8h44 PM I believe).

sandydjdm
sandydjdm
3 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2014 - 1:21 AM in reply to Arno

Arno, Thank you so much for your wonderful and creative suggestions!

In trying the Eurail link and then the SB link to book the 8:44 pm train from Brig to Milan (I love the flexibility of that!), I got an error and then the following message on SBB:

1Bern Domodossola (I) EC 51 Travel advice EC 51: Extratrain Bern - Domodossola
Travel advice: Passengers travelling from Bern to Thun, Spiez, Visp, Brig +
Domodossola are recommended to take the InterRegio (IR) 10051 07:31
which runs with an extended seat offer. 15.03.14
07:45

I don't really understand what this means. Could you explain? Thank you! Sandy

Arno
Arno
7292 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2014 - 6:07 AM

I'm glad that was useful for you. The message seems to indicate that there's an extra train on busy days. Passengers who only travel to Brig or Domodossola are adviced to take that train. You're traveling to Milan so you should just stick to the train you had in mind. Be sure to book the direct train to Milan, and board that specific train in Brig, and not another one departing slightly earlier or later. Your reservations will only be good for one specific train. You can book on the SBB site or through the links on the reservation page I gave you.

The message confirms that it's good to book well in advance because it's a popular train. For future rail traveling you may want to book seats along with your rail pass, that's usually the easiest and cheapest way to go.

I hope you'll have a wonderful day and that the weather cooperates!

taffy
taffy
6 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2014 - 1:27 AM in reply to sandydjdm

Have been to Matterhorn many times, and am returning there in three weeks. It's a long haul from Lake Geneva for a short visit - less so for working in Mt. Blanc from Geneva, but make a reservation if you can for the better lifts there - otherwise you'll spend the whole time waiting in line for a ticket.

If time is limited, I'd recommend exploring the Lake - and Chateau de Chillon is recommended.

sandydjdm
sandydjdm
3 posts
new member
Jul 3, 2014 - 7:12 AM in reply to taffy
Thank you both so much for the help and encouragement!

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