Itinerary help!

Itinerary help!

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brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 3:09 PM

Hello,

I am trying to decide how to best utilize our time to get a good switzerland experience while not being too crazy with traveling form one place to the next. We will have from June 1- June 11

We had a change in our schedule and need to fly into Milan instead of Zurich. So my questions are:

1) We are planning to arrive into to Brig from Milan- Is this best? Also, we are booking on CISALPINO train not trenitalia train- is this ok?

2) we have to make a choice once we get into Brig as to where we want to go first. I was thinking going to Zermatt that same day (june 1) and staying the night having all the next day and night there again (june 2) and then from there going to Montreux (june 3/june4), up to Bern (June4/June5), down to Interlaken (June5/June6) and exploring this area for the rest of the trip (Kandersteg, Gimmelwald, Wegen, Jungfraujoch) and then taking the train from Spiez back t Milan on the 11th. My only concern with this plan is that we will be missing out on Lucerne. I need advise on is we should skip Montreux and just do Zermatt and Lucerne or skip Zermatt and do Montreux and Lucerne? I want to be able to experience different surroundings so if Interlaken and Lucerne are similar maybe its ok to skip lucerne or same with Zermatt/Interlaken, etc... Is Montreux a must see place and good for switching things up a bit? We are 2 travlers in our mid 20's and are interested in hiking, biking, outdoor activities and also experiencing just getting to experience swiss culture.

3) Train pass- I don't know weather to do an 8 day swiss pass, 15 day swiss pass or the half pass card because we have to buy our tickets from Milan to Brig and Spiez to Milan anyway. So if we were to limit our travel to just going to a 1-2 far destinations like Brig to zermatt and interlaken to lucerne or from Brig to Montreux and Zermatt with the rest of the time having shorter trips around the interlaken area, could we use the 8 day pass for the long trips at the start and then be ok with just buying tickets for the rest of the days to travel within the interlaken area?

Sorry if any of this is confusing.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 4:02 PM in reply to brit37

Hi Brit37

Here is a partial answer, based purely on my own personal preferences. Everyone has their own, of course.

For me, Zermatt and the Berner Oberland are similar, with greater variety in the B.O.

For me, Montreux is not a favored destination, although all of the train rides to it are scenic. Many others like it.

I and the forum sponsors, usually recommend Luzern (German spelling; it is in the German -speaking region ;-)...) as a preferred destination for first time travelers to Switzerland.

Luzern and the Lake Of Luzern offer a wide range of sights and experiences.

This web site has a lot of information about the cities. Check the menus...

The train ride from Milano to Spiez is very nice. Once you come out of the tunnel and descend to the Rhone Valley, and continue onward, the last part now probably goes through the new LONG tunnel from Visp to a point well above Spiez. You miss some scenery. The alternate- to go over the Gotthard to Luzern instead of to Spiez is one of the most scenic rail routes in the whole world. Or, you could change at Visp/Brig and go to Montreux if that is your preference. You'll travel along the Rhone Valley. Nice ride.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Milano Centrale to Luzern via the Gotthard Pass - 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Almost all have one stop and train change at Arth-Goldau in Switzerlnd. Your train contuinues to Zürich, while the train to Luzern waits directly across the platform to go to Luzern. Well coordinated.

Milano Centrale to Spiez - 3 to 4 hours with changes, except two trains at 1123 and 1823 that takes 2 hours 30 minutes with changes.

Milano Centrale to Montreux - fast trains at 1223, 1723, and 1923 - 3 hours no changes. The others have changes and take up to 4 hrs 23 minutes.

I have not done Milano Malpensa to Switzerland for 10 or 12 years.

In those days, you were pointed to a train into Milano Centrale, and then changed for the ride up the mainline alongside the lakes to Domodossola and Switzerland.

Experienced travelers with out jet lag who spoke italaian used to use a set of local train and/or connections that went directly from Malpensa west to the main line, avoiding the pointless long trip in to Milano....unless you want to vivit Milano, of course. I did business there.

5 or 6 years ago, the Cisalpino was frequently late. if you have no connection at the end of the day, it does not matter. Since that time the management and maintenance have been taken over by the Swiss . I suspect that service has improved.

I'll ask a friend. I fhe is not on holiday in the mountains, he may have an update.

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 18, 2015 - 4:15 PM

Hi Brit37,

You don't need full fare tickets for Milan to Brig and Spiez to Milan if you have a Swiss Travel Pass for those days. The pass covers the legs Domodossola to Brig and Spiez to Domodossola.

The Swiss Travel Pass Flex allows non-consecutive travel days. The Swiss Travel Pass is for consecutive travel days. The latter usually works out cheaper, even if you don't travel much every day. Please see the links for all pass details. This page helps you to choose.

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 5:16 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you so much for the advice!

This helps tremendously. So my new plan is to just stick to the B.O. region and Luzern (I will use this spelling from now on :D ). So with this new decision, I have a few more questions.

Is the train from Milano centrale to Luzern via the Gotthard Pass the only route option? While I am not opposed to taking that train due to the beautiful scenery, I am trying to maximize time and wonder if there is perhaps a faster alternate route? Also, which train line does the Gotthard pass journey? Would a swiss pass count for any of this journey or would I buy a separate train ticket to get me from Milan to Luzern and then activate a swiss pass once I get into Luzern? I think I am going to buy the 8 day consecutive pass (unless you would suggest the flexi pass?) My plan right now goes: take the train to Luzern on June 1, spend June1-5 here, Take the train back down to Interlaken and spend the rest of the time here and surrounding towns- Wegen, Gimmewald, Kandersteg, Murren (which of these places do you like best as a base for hiking and outdoor activities?) I assume we won’t be taking any other trains on June 1st so I plan toactivate my swiss pass on June 2 and use it to get around Luzern for the days we are there and back to Interlaken: If I get the 8 days pass, I just figure we can buy train tickets on our last 2 days to get around B.O. and to go to Spiez and then buy a ticket to go from Spiez back to Milan. Or if the flexi pass makes more sense and we can buy cheaper bus fares or something to get in between the towns of B.O. on days where we only have a 30 minute commute then maybe that is the better option…? What do you think?

Also, the Cisalpino train says the journey from Spiez to milano centrale is 21/2 hours (is this incorrect?)

If you do find out there is a way to go from Malpensa straight to Luzern or Brig that would be fantastic!

Thank you SOOOO much for your help. You are saving me! You are all amazing and I am so thankful for this incredible website you have created!

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 5:24 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika!

Thank you for the advise! I asked a few more train questions in response to your first reply. However, I did look up the train to domodossola. I like that there is a train that goes striaght from the airport to there vs having to go to Milano centrale. Would I be able to get from Domodossola to Luzern? Would that be the best route to go? I still don't know what train ticket is the best way to go. I don't think I need to 15 consecutive day pass but the 8 day pass cuts us a few days short. Unless I buy a ticket from Milan to Luzern and then activate the ticket later to get us to the end, using the pass to get from Spiez to domodossola. Or would it be better to activate the pass earlier to get us from Domodossola to Luzern (if this is an option) and buy a full fare ticket from Spiez to Milano centrale? Thank you for all your help! You are wonderful!

Also, my game plan is to start in Luzern and work my way down to the B.O. area-- unless you suggest otherwise. Thank you!!! :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 9:51 PM in reply to brit37
brit37 said:

<<"Thank you so much for the advice!">>

<<"Thank you SOOOO much for your help. You are saving me! You are all
amazing and I am so thankful for this incredible website you have
created!">>

You are welcome.

Last things first. This web site is managed by Arno and Annika. I am a guest who has traveled a whole lot in Switzerland since 1980. And, who does not type as well as they do. ;-(

<<"This helps tremendously. So my new plan is to just stick to the B.O. region and Luzern (I will use this spelling from now on :D ). So with this new decision, I have a few more questions.">>

Good decision.. Luzern is good in good or bad weather. The BO really needs good weather.. From the point of view of snow remaining, the later you can get to the B.O., the better. Early June is still late winter up there, pretty much, depending on altitude. At Luzern, it is early summer.

<<"Is the train from Milano centrale to Luzern via the Gotthard Pass the only route option? While I am not opposed to taking that train due to the beautiful scenery, I am trying to maximize time and wonder if there is perhaps a faster alternate route? Also, which train line does the Gotthard pass journey? Would a swiss pass count for any of this journey or would I buy a separate train ticket to get me from Milan to Luzern and then activate a swiss pass once I get into Luzern? I think I am going to buy the 8 day consecutive pass (unless you would suggest the flexi pass?) My plan right now goes: take the train to Luzern on June 1, spend June1-5 here, Take the train back down to Interlaken and spend the rest of the time here and surrounding towns- Wegen, Gimmewald, Kandersteg, Murren (which of these places do you like best as a base for hiking and outdoor activities?) I assume we won’t be taking any other trains on June 1st so I plan toactivate my swiss pass on June 2 and use it to get around Luzern for the days we are there and back to Interlaken: If I get the 8 days pass, I just figure we can buy train tickets on our last 2 days to get around B.O. and to go to Spiez and then buy a ticket to go from Spiez back to Milan. Or if the flexi pass makes more sense and we can buy cheaper bus fares or something to get in between the towns of B.O. on days where we only have a 30 minute commute then maybe that is the better option…? What do you think?">>

That is a lot to answer. I'll get started but may not finish.

1.- The direct train from Malpensa to Domodossola is welcome. Glad they finally got it organized.

Look at map and you'll see why.

2.- I've been looking at the various routes and have not gotten good answers to time and distance. I am sure that there is no train from Malpensa to Spiez that takes 2 1/2 hours. That time is for selected trains from Milano Centrale to Spiez.

3.- Your inbound journey considerations, if you go through Spiez, must consider additional time to your actual destination. That could be Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, or Wengen. That can add quite a bit to the total time. If/ when you go back out through Spiez, keep that in mind, as you will likely be coming from the B.O.

I just looked up Malpensa to Spiez at 11AM on Monday July 1.

3 hours and 3 minutes.

All the way to Wengen - 4 hrs and 31 minutes.

To Interlaken Ost, 3 hrs 38 minutes.

The trains into the Lauterbrunnen Valley from I.O. are slow, and from Lauterbrunnen up to Wengen is very slow due to cograil. Small train cars. limited luggage space, too. You are on a mountain railway.

4.- I do not yet see good routing to Luzern via the Gotthard, if you go from Malpensa to Domodossola. The real issue is total time to destination, I believe. To get that accurately, we have to know what time you arrive in Malpensa. Also, to what degree changing trains is a problem for you? Specifically, can you move luggage between trains in a crowded large station...such as Milano Centrale, quickly and easily? Are you traveling light, or do you have large suitcases? Inside Switzerland, it is easier and better organized at most stations. Domodossola is small. Had stairs to haul bags up and down, last time I was there many, many years ago.

5. You will have to change trains at some point, no matter what the route. A change at Milano Centrale, plus a fast train to Arth Goldau, and an extremely easy change there to the train for Luzern may prove no worse than the route to Spiez, Interlaken and , e.g. Wengen. Depends on when you are ready to leave the airport. What time?

5.- if you want to save hours or minutes here and there, revert to Zürich as your entry point. Pay more, save time...?

<<"Also, the Cisalpino train says the journey from Spiez to milano centrale is 2 1/2 hours (is this incorrect?)">>

That is correct for certain fast trains. You would till have to get to/from Malpensa.

Switching your arrival from Zürich to Malpensa is causing you a a lot of hassle, and a lot of lost time. Prabably sonme cost due to the Italian train tickets. I hope you are not doing just to save a few dollars/ CHF/pounds sterling or Euros?

<<"If you do find out there is a way to go from Malpensa straight to Luzern or Brig that would be fantastic!">>

Brig is what you already know about. It is intermedate between Domodossola and Spiez. Simple. Luzer depends on time of day.

I'm beginning to think you need to look at a map.

I won't deal with train passes; Arno and Annika are knowledgeable on that issue.

You are asking good questions, and it is clear that you are thinking about what you are reading. Keep it up. ;-)

Let us know your arrival time at Malpensa.

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:16 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I see—Thank you Arno and Annika for creating such a wonderful website and thank you slowpoke for taking time to help me! You areall fantastic :D

Our flight gets in to Milan at 6:05 in the morning on June 1st and we are staying in Milan the night before our return flight home so we areflexible on the train ride back to Milan on June 11th.

We aren’t able to fly directly into Zurich due to our flight arrangements. Otherwise I would definitely be willing to spend a little more tofly into Zurich (it would cost A LOT more!)

You have me worried a little bit about weather. I am definitely trying to escape from being in the snow. I know it is cold in some of the mountainous areas but if it’s still snowy and jacket weather maybe I need to reconsider? How warm is Luzern in early summer?

As far as our luggage- we are packing light. All carry on luggage, no checked bags so moving around the train station should not be aproblem. However, changing trains less is better because I’m afraid I’m going to mess it up.

I don’t plan on arriving from Milan to Spiez, just going from Spiez to Milan on Cisalpino tain on June 11th.

Are trains from Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald, and Kandersteg also slow like the train from lauterbrunnen to I.O? Are all these town going to be cold!!!?

And you are correct about the train from Spiez to Milan—I was referring to Milano Centrale for the 2 ½ hours. But that will be fine forour return because we are staying in Milan that night.

So we definitely want to hike and do outdoors activities… now that you know I am much more interested in warm weather, are there other places you would recommend instead? I am definitely getting a little apprehensive about that thought of being in the cold weather.

I just googled and read a bit about the weather in June in B.O. Seems that it’s hard to predict at all what the weather will be. Might be warm, might be cold, might be rainy… all a dice roll. Guess I will just have to pack my brave pants and be prepared for all weather! Haha. We are planning to get to B.O around June 6th or 7th.

What train would I book tickets on to go from Milano Centrale to Arth Goldau to Luzern? I think I will just buy that ticket and then activate my swiss pass on June 2nd.

I have a map in front of me at all times and I still get confused with everything! So thank you so much for your guidance. Hopefully Arno or Annika can advise me on which train pass is better for the 8 days (flexi or consecutive).

Thanks again for all your help!

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:54 AM in reply to Slowpoke

What do you think of this change to the itinerary:

June 1: Milan-Luzern (night here)

June 2: Luzern: hiking Mt Pilatus (night here)

June 3: Luzern: Hiking Mt. Rigi (night here)

June 4: Luzern: Hiking, biking, other (night here)

June 5: Morning train from Luzern to Basel. Explore Basel for the day (night here)

June 6: Enjoy the morning here, take a train from Basel to Bern (night here)

(or spend an extra night in Basel and skip Bern- taking the train straight from Basel to Murren?)

June 7: Day day in Bern (or 2nd day in Basel), train to Murren (night in Murren)

June 8: Murren day/night

June 9: Murren day/night

June 10:Murren day, take train to spiez afternoon (night in Spiez)

June 11: Train to from Spiez to Milan

I added in the loop going up and around instead of back down the way we came--- This way we get a little city life experience and it gets us in to B.O. toward the last days of the trip, which will hopefully have warmer weather. If you think this itinerary is too much or that it would not be as enjoyable, then maybe I should just stick with doing the original plan of going up to Luzern and back down to the B.O. for the rest of the time. Let me know your thoughts :)

Thank you!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 10:24 AM in reply to brit37

Hi Brit -

I like the way you pay attention and think about what you are planning.

I won't have time today for much detail; or research, but I offer a couple of comments to keep the thinking going_

1.- The connection from Malpensa to Luzern leaving at 0750 via Cadenazzo and MIlano Centrale looks reasonable, with probably enough time for the connection at Centrale. Especially with light luggage. In my experience both the inbound and outbound trains will be late....;-(. But, you never know.

However, since you have now explained your itinerary more clearly, some new options arise.

Malpensa to Luzern is certainly worth the trip, and I would do it myself, given the opportunity, but is a bit of along haul.

You have to go to Milano on your return.

Perhaps it would make sense to make the return to Milano via the Gotthard pass. I'd have to think about routing and overnight options on the last night before going to Milano. Then, the northbound route through Brig/Visp, avoiding a long journey and Milano Centrale, might make sense. Destination for Day 1 to be yet to be considered.

June in the lower elevations of Switzerland is early Summer. Maybe late Spring...can be rainy or sunny.

Warm places in Switzerland -

The Ticino (South of the Gotthard Pass), Montreux and the west-facing shore of Lake Geneva, the west facing shore of Lake Luzern, especially Weggis. However, most any place at lower altitude will have pleasant temperatures.

You are right that the higher elevations in the BO will be cold. Of course, mountain sun can be quite warm. Clouds and fog are no fun. That said, the BO is so spectacular that it deserves a look, even if your hiking is at the lower altitude of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, or the mid heights of Mürren and Wengen.

The escape from the BO is Bern, the shores of the Brienzersee (Brienz and Giessbach) Interlaken, and the Thunersee, maybe Thun for part of a day, Meiringen if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan.......... But, even if you have some days without sun, you really want to go there to get a feel for the lay of the land. The absolute minimum I would recommend is to go to Wengen ( nice town) (not Mürren) and after May 29, take the gondola car up to Männlichen. On the way up in the cable car,and once at Männlichen, you can see how everything is laid out, (including Mürren across the Valley) get a feel of the distances, and know what to do when you come back in some early September time. Schilthorn is pretty spectacular, but i've not been up there to get a sense of how it lets you see the lay of the land toward Grindelwald and Grosse Scheidegg. Going up to Männlichen gets you to a central location. Views from the Jungfrau would also work.....but that is a lot of money to spend if the weather is not good.

Pilatus is just a sharp pointed rock, with a small area at the peak. The cog rail train up is one of the steepest in the world.. The only hiking is up the side of the mountain, although there may be a mountain or Alpine trail continuing to the west or south west. I'd have to look at my hiking maps. It could be an experience to stay up there. I'd rather stay on the Rigi...a gentler mountain, more inns, hotels, trails. Nice views of Pilatus from Rigi.

Luzern is a good location for a day trip to Zürich, to Bern, to Basel ( to the Emmental if you are so inclined) . If you have the Swiss Rail Pass, you can do all those excursions with no extra travel cost.

There are many, many nice trails around Lake Luzern.

Those are some thoughts.

I like the way that you propose specific itineraries. Give something to react to. And, the logic apparent behind your choices allows discussion.

More later.

Happy planning.

PS - check your airline's weight limit for carry-on baggage.

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 19, 2015 - 12:07 PM

Hi brit37,

Based on your last itinerary, I was considering the 8-day Swiss Travel Pass and regular point to point tickets for the first and last days. But, the Swiss legs of your incoming and outgoing journeys would already cost CHF 138 without a pass, so actually a 15-day Swiss Travel Pass makes more sense and is more convenient too. Alternatively you can look into the Swiss Half Fare Card, if you don't mind buying tickets for each trip. It may work out cheaper. The Swiss Travel Pass Flex will likely be more expensive. It is more expensive for most travel plans, but of course you could do the math for that as well. Detailed instructions can be found here.

As you can see on the various pass pages, a cheap way to purchase in your case (based in the US) is www.raileurope-world.com (do mind the shipping time of up to 8 business days).

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 2:53 PM in reply to brit37
brit37 said:

<<"What do you think of this change to the itinerary:

June 1: Milan-Luzern (night here)

June 2: Luzern: hiking Mt Pilatus (night here)

June 3: Luzern: Hiking Mt. Rigi (night here)

June 4: Luzern: Hiking, biking, other (night here)

June 5: Morning train from Luzern to Basel. Explore Basel for the day (night here)

June 6: Enjoy the morning here, take a train from Basel to Bern (night here)

June 7: Day day in Bern (or 2nd day in Basel), train to Murren (night in Murren)

June 8: Murren day/night

June 9: Murren day/night

June 10:Murren day, take train to spiez afternoon (night in Spiez)

June 11: Train to from Spiez to Milan

I added in the loop going up and around instead of back down the way we came---">>

A quick reply to the direct question. It is a good itinerary. i would suggest minor changes.

Adding the loop is not a bad idea.

You do have time to stay for several days in 3 places rather than just two.

On this specific route, I would spend less time in Basel, definitely include Bern, and might even include Zürich in the loop.

(Caveat - Personal preferences enter here. I don't enjoy Basel. Every time I am there, I think I am in a German city...and I prefer to be in Swiss cities, when I am in Switzerlnd. If i want German cities, I go to Germany. Some good art museums in Basel, though. )

All are three cities are short trips from Luzern, and have short train trips between them, so you could make them day trips or a loop, or stay in any one of them.

Go up to Pilatus as a half-day trip.

Hike the some or all of the Swiss Path .

www.weg-der-schweiz.ch/en/

I like to take the train to Brunnen and the boat to Treib (or, slow boat to Treib) ride the funicular up to Seelisberg, walk to Bauen, and catch a boat back via Brunnen and train, (or via Flüelen and train) to Luzern.There are many access points to the Swiss Path by boat, train and bus, at various points.

For something not in the usual tourist itinerary have lunch on Hammetschwand. Take the boat from Luzern to the funicular stop below Bürgenstock. Ride up to the hotels, turn left, walk to and along the Felsenweg. Great views of the lake. Take the outdoor elevator to the top. Have lunch - there is a nice outdoor restaurant with tent there. Great views in all directions. Return by the same route (preferred) , or walk down the back-side trail and return to the hotels/funicular. Lake boat to the Transport Museum, if you are interested (das Verkehrshaus). Tram to Luzern

myswitzerland.com/en-us/buergenstock-hammetschwand-lift.html

Hike on the Rigi. Lots of trails and inns/hotels. Several ways to get up there.

When you go to the B.O., I recommend that you go to Wengen, not Mürren. If you go to Mürren and Gimmelwald, 92% of the people you see will have a copy of Rick Steve's book in their hands. Many are from the USA....

myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

No particular reason to stay the last night in the BO at Spiez, instead of Wengen, but there is no harm in doing so. Perhaps you are in a hurry to get to Milano.... or, you might like to try the slower trrain on the first segment.

bls.ch/e/bahn/linie-express-loetsch.php

The route to Brig and onward to Milano via Domodosola involves the new basis tunnel underneath Kandersteg. Fast. Boring.

If you are going by that route, and want a somewhat slower but famous scenic train ride, get the Lötschberger train at Spiez, take it to Brig. Then change for Domodossola. It takes the old route, going all the Way up the valley to Kandersteg ( quite scenic) then, through the old high level tunnel, and down the south -facing wall of the Rhone Valley on the so-called Südrampe. Looks out over the Rhone valley as you gradually descend into it.

(There is a rail trail along that route, which I will hike with my grandson on June 12th. We will start in Bern, ride the train - which is a local and makes many stops - will start our walk at Hohtenn and walk as far as Ausserberg. Then, we will catch the train back to Bern.)

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brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:09 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno! I am going to take your advice and buy the 15 day pass. I think it will be the best option to have flexibility on where we want to go and to also get us back from Spiez to Domodossola. Which train do I book from Domodossola to get back to Malpensa? Also, I have a new idea for getting to Luzern. I am writing it in the reply to Slowpoke but wanted your opinion as well :)

My new idea for getting from Malpensa to Switzerland: Take the bus from the airport to Lugano (1.20 min) and then catch the train from Lugano to Luzern? (2.30) and activate the swiss travel pass on this day. There is a bus that leaves the airport at 8:20 and gets us to Lugano by 9:30 a.m. Is this a good plan?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:14 PM in reply to brit37

<<"My new idea for getting from Malpensa to Switzerland: Take the bus from the airport to Lugano (1.20 min) and then catch the train from Lugano to Luzern? (2.30) and activate the swiss travel pass on this day. There is a bus that leaves the airport at 8:20 and gets us to Lugano by 9:30 a.m. Is this a good plan?">>

<<"I think it will be the best option to have flexibility on where we want to go and to also get us back from Spiez to Domodossola. Which train do I book from Domodossola to get back to Malpensa?">>

I think you are going through Milano Centrale?

Well done! I forgot about that bus....almost took it one time.

Excellent idea.

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:28 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Thank you a million bazillion times for your help with all of this. You have been instrumental with guiding me through this planning process!

I have a new idea for getting from Malpensa to Switzerland. What if I take the bus from the airport to Lugano (1.20 min) and then catch the train from Lugano to Luzern? (2.30).

There is a bus that leaves the airport at 8:20 and gets us to Lugano by 9:30 a.m. I plan to buy the swiss travel pass (15 days) and activate it on this day and be able to use the pass for my return train home from Spiez to domodossola.

Another option is to book a flight from Malpensa to Zurich and start there. Tickets are not very expensive. I didn’t really think about this option before (silly me). I guess the train sounded nice and relaxing after a long flight but if starting in Zurich makes the most sense then maybe the flight is the best option.

We plan to start our trip in Luzern for sure on June 1st and then maybe we can choose to side trip to one of the warmer places for a day. I am going to look in to that more.

We will definitely be going to the B.O. regardless of weather. And thank you for the advice on Murren vs Wegen. That seems to be the consensus on where to stay. Is Basel worth a day and a night? I’ve heard it is a hip town that might be fun for travelers in our 20’s J

We were planning on doing a day trip to Rigi vs staying there for the night. Is it better to stay at Rigi overnight? I have booked a place in Luzern for June 1- to June 4th to be our base, is this a good idea?

Oye! So much to think about and hotels are filling up quick! I am having so much fun with this because the more I research about each place the more I learn about the country.

Thanks again for all your time and help!

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:33 PM in reply to Slowpoke

YOU'RE NOT A SLOWPOKE AT ALL! haha you beat me to it! I think you need to reconsider your username on here to speedygonzales :D

My new concern with the bus option is TRAFFIC! Is there and event going on that might make the bus trip much longer than 1 hour and 20 min? I read something about that.... So it's either this option or to fly- what do you think?

And I do think the train from Domodossola goes to Milano Centrale. Which train is that? Do I need to buy tickets in advance for that option?

You're the best! Thank you for your lightening speed response! :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:54 PM

<<"My new concern with the bus option is TRAFFIC! Is there and event going on that might make the bus trip much longer than 1 hour and 20 min? I read something about that.... So it's either this option or to fly- what do you think?">>

Since the train from Lugano to Luzern leaves every hour at xx11, you can get whichever one you want. The traffic problems are much worse getting into Milano from the airport. You can end up with spare time in Lugano. If you wish, take the funicular down from the station ( across the tracks IIRC) and walk to the lake front for a lunch.

However- Even though I remember that the bus (Malpensa to Lugano) exists, I'm not finding it on the Swiss timetable.

How did you find it?

As for plane vs. surface, it is up to you.

All i can say is that I would never miss the opportunity to take the train through the Gotthard Pass. Especially, since next year the new basis tunnel opens, and I don't know what kind of service they will maintain on the higher old route.

en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Gotthard_railway

<<"And I do think the train from Domodossola goes to Milano Centrale. Which
train is that? Do I need to buy tickets in advance for that option?">>

Ask Arno or Annika. I think I'd buy them at any station in Switzerland where you have a few minutes to spare. Maybe you'll get a tiny discount for the Swiss Pass.

Sounds to me like things are coming together for you.

Once you have visited Switzerland a few times, you'll begin to realize how many ways the travel system can work for you, with different choices .

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 3:58 PM in reply to Slowpoke

I just saw your post about the changes to my Itinerary! Wow! You have made so many excellent recommendations! I didn't realize you have already answered some of the questions I had in my last post. I apologize. Thank you for all of those suggestions- I am going to include them in the plan.

I am still confused about Rigi though, is it possible to do as a day trip from Luzern without staying overnight?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 4:46 PM in reply to brit37

<<"I am still confused about Rigi though, is it possible to do as a day trip from Luzern without staying overnight?">>

Absolutely. It is a great day trip. But, it is one place you might like to stay overnight. Nice trails.

Take train to Arth Goldau. Change to cog -rail (Rigi Bahn) ( about 500 meters walk.)

Ride to Rigi Kulm.

Look around. Walk down to Rigi Staffel and catch train down either side. Or, better, walk to Rigi Kaltbad. Take train to Vitznau and boat back to Luzern. Or, cable car down to Weggis and 15 minute walk downhill to boat dock.

Plenty of places to eat and look out.

I will now put in a recommendation for the place we stay whenever we are in Switzerland. We have been going there many many years. I shall take my grandson on June 10th.

It has some eccentric aspects, but we love it.

Hotel Bergsonne, at Rigi Kaltbad.

bergsonne.ch/main-eng.html

Not open on Mondays, check by phone.

Frau Dorly Camps-Stalder is an amazing cook. Friendly, but not much English. Warning - "Slow Food." Worth the wait, but there will be one. That is why we stay over. Not cheap

Herr Willy Camps is a grump. His wine cellar is unbelievable. His English is good, but he takes a little getting used to.

The views are incredible. As long as it is clear, you will feel like you are in a stationery helicopter looking out over Lake Luzern. Rooms are not terribly expensive. They get you on the food and wine.

It is 10 minutes walk uphill from the station. If you are staying over, they'll come to the station to pick you up.

See pictures

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brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 5:57 PM in reply to Slowpoke

I found the bus on these to websites. I just googled Malpensa to Lugano.

malpensa-express.com/ EN/index.php/en/

www.jetbus.ch

After your recommendations, I think our new plan will be this. June 1-4 in Luzern with a day trip to Zurich and Basel (june 2), day trip to Mt. Pilatus (june 3), and then on June 4th we will check out and travel to a place to stay near Rigi. It looks amazing! Thank you for the pictures. I have been spending the last 2 hours trying to find the best place to stay near Mt. Rigi for June 4-June 6th. I was thinking maybe staying in Weggis for the two nights with the option of hiking one day and then the next day doing the other suggestion you made with the boat ride and lunch? But if it’s worth it to stay closer to Rigi then I want to do it! If the weather is clear, I feel like this will be a highlight of our trip. So glad you suggested it!

I looked up the Bergsonne- I think it might be sold out. Would you suggest one night here or two if we can get a reservation? Have you heard of Hotel Restaurant Alpina? That hotel has availability…

June 6th we will head toward Wegen and stay here from June 6th-June 9th, June 9th head up to Bern and be there June 9-June 11. ( We could do Thun if you think that’s abetter location than Bern or maybe just a day trip from Bern to Thun? Or vis versa since they are so close).

I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere! What are the times for the train from Lugano to Luzern? I tried to find it and I found that there is a train with 1 stop at 10:11 and a direct train at 11:11, is this correct? I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take the train since you are speaking so highly of it. Our flight would get us into Zurich around 11 and then I assume the hour long train would get us to Luzern around 12:30 or 1:00 (if trains go to Luzern often from Zurich). If we do the train and all goes according to plan, we will get to Lugano by about 9:30 and then if I did my search correctly, and we take the train at 11:11, we get to Luzern by 1:45 pm. Almost the same time as the flight and we don’t miss out on the views and experience! Things are shaping out and I’m getting very excited!!

:D

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2015 - 7:19 PM in reply to brit37
brit37 said:

<<"I found the bus on these to websites. I just googledMalpensa to Lugano.

http://www.malpensa-express.com/EN/index.php/en/

http://www.jetbus.ch">>

I found it too.

One goes also to Chiasso, which is closer. But, at Lugano, you do have the option to go down to the lake, if you wish. Chiasso is the border town....not much there , AFAIK.

<""After your recommendations, I think our new plan will be this. June 1-4 in Luzern with a day trip to Zurich and Basel (june 2), day trip to Mt. Pilatus (june 3),">>

Pilatus will not be a full day.

<<"(and then on June 4th we will check out and travel to a place to stay near Rigi. It looks amazing! Thank you for the pictures. I have been spending the last 2 hours trying to find the best place to stay near Mt. Rigi for June 4-June 6th. I was thinking maybe staying in Weggis for the two nights with the option of hiking one day and thenthe next day doing the other suggestion you made with the boat ride and lunch? But if it’s worth it to stay closer to Rigi then I want to do it! If the weather is clear, I feel like this will be a highlight of our trip. So glad you suggested it!">>

Weggis is at the foot of Mt. Rigi. It has bus service. No train. There is no bus between the valley station of the cable car ( die Talstation) and the town by the lake. You can see the distance on the image i sent. Uphill, twenty+ minutes.

Or, take a bus to Vitznau and ride the cograil.

I have stayed at and enjoyed the Central am See in Weggis two or three times - nice rooms. Kitchen - good. Don't know any others.

<<"I looked up the Bergsonne- I think it might be sold out. Would you suggest one night here or two if we can get a reservation?">>

You may be running into weekend traffic or weddings or something. Don't use a booking service. Telephone them ( ask if the the person who answers ("Please, do you speak English") or send them an e-mail directly, addressed to Mr. Camps in English. Tell him that I suggested you check with him to see if rooms were available. My name is Fred Osterholtz. Mr. Camps will probably remember me.

I'd stay one night, if I got there early in the day but I could enjoy two nights if I got there late one day and left early or midday the second morning.Llittle or no public transport up and down the mountain after early evening.

<<"Have you heard of Hotel Restaurant Alpina? That hotel has availability… ">>

Nice people. They helped me out once or twice. Never stayed there. Nice location. The views are not quite as good, and the kitchen is not in the same class as the Bergsonne. You could walk up to the Bergsonne to eat...if they have a table. I'm surprised that the Bergsonne is booked. If you can get the Bergsonne, it is worth it.

"<<June 6th we will head toward Wengen and stay here from June 6th-June 9th, June 9th head up to Bern and be there June 9-June 11. ( We could do Thun if you think that’s abetter location than Bern or maybe just a day trip from Bern to Thun? Or vis versa since they are so close). ">>

Though that you flew out of Milan on the 11th?

Bern is nice enough for a couple of days, or is a base for a day trip. I would have suggested spending most of a day there,but not two. Good connection point for the train via Spiez to Milano Centrale.

Thun is not appropriate for your first time itinerary, IMO. It is a fallback if the weather up in the BO is lousy.

<<"I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere! What are the times for the train from Lugano to Luzern? I tried to find it and I found that there is a train with 1 stop at 10:11 and a direct train at 11:11, is this correct?">> Every hour at xx11, plus a few at xx33.

The "one change of train" ones pause at Arth Goldau. You get off, walk across the platform to the waiting train to Luzern ( tracks 4 to track 5 for the 1011 from Lugano.) Some of the trains from Lugano go to Zürich (pause at Arth Goldau), others go to Luzern an on to Basel (pause at Arth Goldau.)

<<"I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take the train since you are speaking so highly of it. Our flight would get us into Zurich around 11and then I assume the hour long train would get us to Luzern around 12:30 or 1:00 (if trains go to Luzern often from Zurich). ">>

Trains run from Zürich Flughafen twice per hour to Luzern, at xxx13 and xx43. (1 hour 2 min , or 1hour 12 min) Some require a change at Zürich main station, with a 12 minute connection. Those usually arrive on track 16 and the trains for Luzern depart on track 5.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

https://www.nsinternational.nl/en/stations/station-maps-floor-plan#station_maps_switzerland

Zürich main station is well organized. In addition to the concourse the rail heads, theere is an undergriound cross- track pedestrian passage about mid way along the train platforms.

You are right on your assumptions, about the relative timing,as far as i can tell.

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