Please Help! Lucerne to Varenna by train

Please Help! Lucerne to Varenna by train

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ktmalin1
ktmalin1
3 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2016 - 9:34 PM

We will be traveling through Europe in mid September. On September 12, we would like to leave Lucern Switzerland and take the train to Varenna-Esino (Italy). We would really like to take the Bernina Express. It seems that I would have to take a train from Lucerne to Zurich to Chur to get on the Bernina Express, then that train will take to me to Tirano then take Italian train to Varenna-Esino. Is this the best way to do this? Also, when trying to book train tickets on Bernina Express, at the end, it asks me to select my route and the options are:

Thalwil - Vereina oder Albula

Gotthard - Lugano - Bus

Göschenen - Disentis - Reichenau

Göschenen - Disentis - Chur

Zürich - Vereina oder Albula

I do not understand what this is. Can someone please help? Thank you in advance!

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2016 - 2:48 PM

Hi ktmalin1,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! If you prefer to travel on board the official Bernina Express (there are regular trains on the same route too), your trip looks like this according to the timetable:

  1. Lucerne 6:10 AM departure
  2. Zurich 7:07 AM departure
  3. Chur 8:32 AM departure
  4. Tirano 1:08 PM departure
  5. Varenna-Esino 2:36 PM arrival

I'm not sure where you tried to book, but it looks like they let you pick the route, and the last option seems to apply to the suggested route. You should be able to buy a ticket from any of the websites listed here. In your case, in the US, you can buy through www.raileurope.com/eur opean-trains/trenitalia/how-to-book.html, for example. Note that you will not travel via the quickest, most obvious route, so you need to search for tickets for 3 separate legs: Lucerne - Chur, Chur - Tirano and Tirano - Varenna.

By the way, will you have a rail pass? In most cases that will save you money, and you won't need tickets for part of all of this trip.

Last modified on Aug 24, 2016 - 3:17 PM by Arno
ktmalin1
ktmalin1
3 posts
new member
Aug 24, 2016 - 5:28 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you so much for your response, Arno! Yes, I'm thinking of just taking an alternate route:

1. Lucerne 9:40 AM departure

2. Arth Goldau 10:17 AM departure

3. Monza 1:32 PM departure

4. Varenna 2:23 PM arrival

It will cut our travel time by almost 4 hours and will be cheaper. We do not have a rail pass, as we hear it is more expensive for Americans to travel that way. I was going to book through sbb.ch or rhb.ch if we decide to use Bernina Express.The Bernina is appealing to us, since it is supposed to be one of the best train rides in Europe.

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2016 - 5:42 PM in reply to ktmalin1

Hi ktmalin1,

The best choice regarding rail passes and tickets does not depend on where you live. Many Americans buy a rail pass of some sort. You may have read something like that about Eurail Passes, which can be quite expensive and are not the best option for everyone. There's often a better solution for Switzerland. Actually, most trips in Switzerland are more expensive with regular point to point tickets. Most people at least need Swiss Half Fare Cards to save money: myswissalps.com/ swisshalffarecard. This page explains it in detail: myswissalps.com/ train/ticketspasses/ practical/chooserailpa ss.

The alternate route you posted does not include the Bernina Express. If time is important to you, the alternate route is a better option. If you like to see more scenery, you can add a boat trip. That would make it the Wilhelm Tell route: myswissalps.com/ wilhelmtellexpress.

Last modified on Aug 24, 2016 - 5:43 PM by Arno
ktmalin1
ktmalin1
3 posts
new member
Aug 24, 2016 - 5:51 PM in reply to Arno

Yes, you are correct it was the Eurail Pass that was very expensive.Thank you so much for the information. I will check it out. Boat trip sounds very exciting! I really appreciate your help with our travels!

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