Bernese Oberland to Milan - two options

Bernese Oberland to Milan - two options

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Catcam
Catcam
3 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2015 - 4:03 AM

I am spending 4 days in Wengen with my husband and 2 kids aged 10 and 13, from 17-21st September. We need to catch a flight from Milan Linate airport at midday 24th September. We plan to stop at one of the Italian Lakes for a night or two and hopefully go straight from there to the airport in time for our flight.

My investigations suggest that the quickest and least hassle option is to take a train from interlaken to Stresa on Lake Maggiore via Spiez. It seems to take about 3 hours with a couple of changes.

The other alternative is the William Tell route to Locarno or Lugano but this seems to be a much longer route and means back-tracking to Lucerne.

My questions are

- has anyone done the first route to Stresa via train or car and is this a pleasant, scenic journey? Is it a harrowing drive? Is lake Maggiore a worthy destination compared to Lugano or Lake Como? Should we make the effort to get to Lake Como instead and get to the airport from there? Should we attempt to drive from Stresa to the airport or should we play it safe and stay in Milan overnight in order to make sure we get the flight? Or is it easily manageable by train from Stresa?

Lastly, will a Swiss rail pass make sense for 4 days in the Berner Oberland and the one day travel to Italy? We plan on doing the Jungfraujoch trip and the Schilthorn trip. Lastly, should I also consider Mt.Titlis as well or as an alternative to one of the above mentioned mountain trips? My snow deprived Aussie kids are desperate to see snow!

Many thanks for any help.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 21, 2015 - 7:23 AM

Welcome to MySwissAlps, Catcam!

I can't answer all of your questions, but here's what I can tell: the connection via Spiez and Domodossola is definitely the easiest one to get to Stresa. Parts of the journey are scenic, but there's also a less interesting tunnel connection between Spiez and Visp. Alternatively, you could do the same route, but avoid the tunnel and take the regional Lötschberg train via Goppenstein. That certainly is scenic. It will add some traveling time to your route, but you may find it's worth it. Details are in the timetable at www.myswissalps.com/ti metable, and you can add a "via" station to find alternatives (the timetable shows the quickest connections by default). The Wilhelm Tell Express is a beautiful journey, but indeed involves a whole lot more traveling in your case. Details are here: www.myswissalps.com/wi lhelmtellexpress. You should decide whether you want to spend the extra hours.

Yes, a rail pass certainly makes sense. Will you be doing all traveling by train? In that case I assume you should also add an inbound trip from an airport or border to Wengen to your list of plans in Switzerland. If that's the case, you can best look into a Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi. It allows a free trip from the border/airport to Wengen, and from Wengen to the Swiss/Italian border. Your excursions in between, like Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn, are discounted by 50%. Here's more information and a retailer overview: www.myswissalps.com/sw isstransferticket/pric e. Since you're from Australia, the cheapest purchase option for you is www.raileurope-world.com. Make sure to select the "Combi" variant from the drop-down list first.

Do note that this pass narrows down your options, as it requires you to pick the quickest or cheapest connection to the border. The Wilhelm Tell Express wouldn't be an option in this case. If you don't want such limitations, you can consider the Swiss Half Fare Card (www.myswissalps.com/sw isshalffarecard) or Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi (www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpassflex/pric e) instead.

The ride from Stresa to Milan takes 1h30 to 2h30, depending on the connection you pick. I don't know how late you need to a check in at the airport, but if you leave early I guess you should be fine.

Catcam
Catcam
3 posts
new member
Aug 21, 2015 - 8:08 AM in reply to Annika

Thanks so much for the reply Annika. Just to clarify re the rail pass, we arrive to Interlaken by car. We will have travelled from Germany and we drop the rental car at Interlaken. You have been so helpful with the information regarding rail passes, as it is confusing with so many options. Now that I have clarified that we arrive by car - which rail pass would be the best option? Would the Berner Oberland pass be best? I am still not certain whether we will drive to Stresa or take the train, but I suspect the train will be more relaxing. Sometimes driving can be quite stressful, and we will have already done quite a lot of driving by the time we get to Interlaken. If we take a train from Spiez, I guess that influences which rail pass to get. Do you know what the drive is like from Spiez to Stresa? Thanks!

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2015 - 5:40 AM

Hi Catcam!

If your inbound trip is by car, the Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi is not a good option. A 4 day Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland will be very comfortable for your stay stay in Wengen, but if you travel to Stresa on day 5, it won't cover this journey south. And I too would definitely prefer a train ride over driving. If you'd drive by car, you would again need to pick up and drop off a car, and either drive a pass or get on the Lötschberg car train in order to travel south. In all, a train ride is much easier.

So let's assume you'll be heading to Stresa by train. In that case I think you should compare the Regional Pass + regular tickets Wengen-Stresa with Swiss Half Fare Cards. It will probably depend on how intensive you plan to travel while you're in Wengen. If you'll be using public transportation in the Bernese Oberland very frequently, the free rides offered by the Regional Pass might make up for the extra costs of full-fare tickets Wengen-Stresa. You can only tell for sure if you make calculations, as explained here. I hope that helps you choose!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Aug 22, 2015 - 7:29 PM in reply to Annika

Annika

Glad you mentioned the Lötschberg Express for CatCam

<<"Parts of the journey are scenic, but there's also a less interestingtunnel connection between Spiez and Visp. Alternatively, you could dothe same route, but avoid the tunnel and take the regional Lötschbergtrain via Goppenstein. That certainly is scenic. It will add sometraveling time to your route, but you may find it's worth it. Detailsare in the timetable at www.myswissalps.com/ti metable, and you can add a "via" station to find alternatives (the timetable shows the quickest connections by default).">>

Goppenstein is a good "via"; I always pick "Hohtenn" because the name is shorter, and it also whereI get off to hike the rail-trail as far as Ausserberg. The new lower "basis" tunnel takes all the fun out of the trip.

That modest increase in time on a not extremely long trip really adds to the pleasure. Sit on the right.

Slowpoke

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