Geneva to locarno or zurcich to locarno??

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suncitygirl
suncitygirl
4 posts
Jul 15, 2010 - 10:55 AM
hi i am attending the locarno film festival this year
i am wondering what route is most scenic

geneva to locarno or zurich to locarno

i really especially like the u-shaped valley of lauterbrunnen - and would like to stop there or similar places

thanks
Wandermann
Wandermann
262 posts
Jul 15, 2010 - 11:56 AM
Hello suncitygirl,

You don't mention how long your stay in Switzerland can be. Lets hope it is at least more than just hopping in and out.

I am biased, because I consider the Lauterbrunnen valley to be my valley and I would certainly recommend you to go there.

My personal choice would be, start in Zürich, go to the Interlaken region via Lucerne, the Brünig Pass and Meiringen.
After having visited the Lauterbrunnen valley (can't you spend at least a couple of days there?) go to Brig, Domodossola (Italy) and take the Centovalli Railway to Locarno. I'm quite sure you will not be disappointed!

I know the route from Geneva to Brig as well and this too is certainly a beautiful train trip, but it is not my favorite.

I am curious for answers other people might give you here.

Have a nice festival as well as a beautiful trip going there! :-)
jooch
jooch
10 posts
Jul 16, 2010 - 6:34 AM
Wandermann or any mod. In response to the last reply posted, would the trip from Brig to Domodosolla via Post Bus be a good investment time wise in order to view the scenery of the Simplon Valley? We would like to travel from our base in Brig to visit Domo, Lucarno, and Bellinzona then return to Brig via Andermatt. Thank you for your assistance!!
Wandermann
Wandermann
262 posts
Jul 16, 2010 - 10:21 AM
Hello jooch,

The Simplon Pass has beautiful scenery. Normally spoken only part of the trip between Brig and Domodossola can be done by bus, which will take you longer than travelling by train all the way. A query Brig-Domodossola on the site of Postbus Switzerland directs you to the site of the SBB.

If you want to take the Simplon Pass by bus you probably best search for "Route Napoleon Express", but I can't tell you anything about this route from personal experience.

The Centovalli Railway certainly is very beautiful (and this is from personal experience!).

Planning travelling between Brig, Domodossola, Locarno, Bellinzona, Andermatt and back to Brig is covered by the Timetable Switzerland, link has already been given.

Enjoy your trip!
suncitygirl
suncitygirl
4 posts
Jul 20, 2010 - 8:08 AM
hi wandermann

thank you for the response

i will be arriving geneva airport at 10am and would like to make to locarno by midnight the same day. i was hoping to stop in lauterbrunnen as a via point and get off for a while. is this crazy? yes??? but, i don t have much site seeing time, as this is a business trip, so i thought i would pack it in and see as much as possible from the train ride. i have looked at the switerzerland timetable link and it seems doable but i am not sure how to buy tickets so that i can make the first leg of my journey to lauterbrunnen then get off for a several hours and then make the second leg to locarno. i am not sure what sort of rail pass or ticket is recommended or required

additionally, do you know which routes are preferential between geneva airport and lauterbrunnen and then between lauterbrunnen and locarno

finally, i will be traveling with several bags of equipment :( is there locker areas at lauterbrunnen, etc. and is the walk from the actual train station into the splendors of the valley doable. i i wish i had time to hike and wander - but i think i will only be able to stay 2 or 3 hours.

thanks for all your help
Wandermann
Wandermann
262 posts
Jul 20, 2010 - 12:13 PM
Hello suncitygirl,

I already thought you would not have so much time. But let me warn you, once you've seen the Lauterbrunnen area you might want to come back ;-).

I don’t know if it’s safe to start at 10:36 am, leaving Geneva Airport by train, when you arrive at 10:00. In this case you would arrive in Lauterbrunnen after a 4 hours train ride, at 14:25 (through Bern and Interlaken Ost). Checking out, going to the railway station etc. might take some time. The next possibility for you is leaving at 11:01 and then too you will arrive in Lauterbrunnen at 14:25 pm.

The train ride between Lauterbrunnen and Locarno will take you about 4 to 5,5 hours (depending on your choice). If you want to arrive at 23:30 in Locarno, you might leave Lauterbrunnen at either:

- 16:33 (via Interlaken Ost, Lucerne, Art Goldau and Bellinzona, arriving in Locarno at 21:57). In this case you will take the beautiful track through the Brünig Pass by daylight, or
- 18:03 (via Interlaken Ost, Spiez and Domodossola, arriving in Locarno at 22:08).

In my view the train ride between Domodossola and Locarno (the Centovalli Railway track) is too impressive to take when it's getting dark, so my suggestion would be, leave Lauterbrunnen at 16:33.

About two hours is enough to give you a first impression of the Lauterbrunnen area (correction: of course it's not enough :-)). Leaving the train station of Lauterbrunnen, turn left and go towards the beautiful Staubachfall (waterfall), you can't miss it, and do with your time as you please.

I am quite sure there are luggage lockers at Lauterbrunnen railway station.

A rough calculation of costs of train rides from Geneva airport via Lauterbrunnen to Locarno and from there back to Geneva airport adds up to about CHF 276.
It would probably be best if you purchase a Swiss Half Fare Card, which you can order online (CHF 99 and giving you 50 % discount at your trips).

Please check everything for yourself at Timetable Switzerland, just to make sure.

I hope this helps and I whish you a very pleasant stay in Switzerland!
suncitygirl
suncitygirl
4 posts
Jul 20, 2010 - 12:53 PM
thanks wandermann
this is great - and very detailed
-yes i don t think i would want to plan on leaving until noon (as customs sometimes take very long time) etc.
1. is their flexibility with what train you take - or do you sign up and commit for a certain time
2. are all train tickets bought on SBB website?
3. is it reasonable to buy tickets right before you board, or should i do it in advance? half fare cards?
i am sorry for all the questions - i am sure i could find some answers on my own on the websites - but it does seem confusing

i won t actually be returning to geneva - but flying from milan (or possibly zurich) to lisbon so it might not be to my advantage to buy half fare card? (i will be back in switzerland in september - does the half fare card still work then?)

anyhow thank you thank you again
i am as excited about the trip as i am about the destination
Annika (moderator)
Annika
2451 posts
Jul 21, 2010 - 3:38 AM
Hi Suncitygirl,

You can purchase your tickets through the SBB website. Fill out Geneva Airport as your departure station, Locarno as your arrival station and Lauterbrunnen as your via-station. Be sure to fill out the right travel date as well. The timetable well then come up with several connections. Pick one and click 'Fare/Buy'. This will get you into an ordering procedure in which you have to enter some other dates on your travel route as well. The ticket will be valid during the date you've filled out. This doesn't prevent you from making stops on the way, for example in Lauterbrunnen. Only if you want to make seat reservations (which isn't necessary in your case), you'll have to stick to one particular train. But without seat reservations you simply have to complete your trip on the date you've entered and it's no problem to get out at Lauterbrunnen for a couple of hours and then continue your trip. You can have your ticket sent to your home address by regular mail (which can be quite expensive), or pick it up at the railway station of Geneva Airport, which may be most convenient.

Of course you can also arrange for your ticket in Switzerland at the Geneva Airport railway station. It can be done rather quickly at a ticket counter and the personnel will help you out getting the right ticket. If you mention you want to head for Locarno via Lauterbrunnen, this will be no problem. If you plan quite some time between your arrival at Geneva Airport and your departure to Lauterbrunnen, purchasing your ticket at the spot should fit into this scheme.

The Swiss Half Fare Card is valid during 1 month. I'm not sure when you're leaving and when you're returning to Switzerland, but if more than one month has gone by, your Swiss Half Fare Card won't be valid anymore. If the trip from Geneva Airport to Locarno via Lauterbrunnen is the only one you'll be making in Switzerland before the film festival, the costs would be CHF 126.00 and this would mean that you're best off with regular train tickets, instead of a Swiss rail pass. Even if a trip from Locarno to Zurich Airport would be included (costs: CHF 61.00), the Swiss Half Fare Card wouldn't be cost effective. This would only be the case if you'd return to Switzerland within one month and make some further trips there (or if, as Wandermann supposed, you'd return to Geneva Airport).

A little note on your luggage: you can store it in Lauterbrunnen, or hand it over at the Geneva railway station and pick it up at the Locarno railway station the same evening, using the Fast Baggage Service of the SBB.

Good luck on your further preparations!
suncitygirl
suncitygirl
4 posts
Jul 22, 2010 - 8:50 AM
thanks again for all the help
everything makes more sense now

i plan to buy tickets when i arrive and go without seat reservations so that i can get off in lauterbrunnen for as long as possible
because the locarno film festival is rather well attended event in a rather small town - do i run a serious risk of not being allowed on the connecting train from domodossola to locarno? or is there standing room as well if it gets packed

i don t think i can do fast baggage service as i wont be able to drop my bags off by 9am

one final question - how much of the proposed trip is tunnels - is there a preferred route with less tunnels?

thanks again
Annika (moderator)
Annika
2451 posts
Jul 23, 2010 - 3:02 AM
You won't find any larger tunnels on the route from Geneva to Lauterbrunnen. As for the section between Lauterbrunnen and Locarno: this depends on the route you choose. You seem to prefer the route crossing Domodossola, is that right? In that case, two larger tunnels are involved: one taking about half an hour between Frutigen and Visp, and one between Brig in Switzerland and Iselle in Italy. The alternative route through Arth-Goldau includes only one larger tunnel from Göschenen to Airolo. Tunnels are indicated on SBB maps, such as this one, by dashed red lines.

In most trains running between Domodossola and Locarno, seat reservation isn't possible. So you'll just have to get in and see what happens. In most cases enough seats are available.

Have fun!

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