Zurich to Milan in 10-12 days, which base towns?

Zurich to Milan in 10-12 days, which base towns?

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ncatanzaro
ncatanzaro
5 posts
new member
Feb 9, 2018 - 2:57 PM

Hi All,

I've been reading and reading and figured to post my own itinerary questions. My mother (69) and I (41) would like to travel from Zurich to Milan in late May. Neither of us are into hiking, more sightseeing strolling. My main question would be where should our bases be for day trips (not more than 4 different bases?)

Should we rent a car?

We want to ride the bernia express at some point, a cogwhell and a boat or gondola ride

zurich-rhine falls?

Appenzell or straight to Lucerne (rigi-kulm excursion? )

Jungfrau

Lausanne

is St Moritz a must?

Chillion castle , vineyards

Gruyeres

geneva or lugano or both

lake como or milan or both

thank you so excited! once we figure out our bases then we can look for hotels...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 9, 2018 - 10:11 PM in reply to ncatanzaro

Hi Ncatanzaro -

Welcome to my Swiss Alps.

It's nice to have enough time to look around a bit, instead of flying through each destination.

You'll have some time to look around.

There is lots of useful information on the Getting Started page and links on the various pages:

www.myswissalps.com/ge ttingstarted

There are two indispensable tools for trip planning- the SBB timetable for all modes of public transportation, and a map.

This map is good for travel. Open the menus and check out "Traffic" under "Points of Interests."

map.search.ch/

You can see immediately the relative locations of your cities of interest. Zoom in to zoom level 32 and the railroads appear prominently, so you can see how the routes run:

map.search.ch/?pos=669000,211712&z=32

This page explains how to use the "Advanced" timetable, which is the SBB timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Please read the information there.

With those two resources you can lay out an itinerary which is the most effective at getting to your desired cities. You can also visualize that some cities are well suited for day trips.

If you want learn a bit more about the various cities and regions, check here:

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo

Some comments about your destinations. -

As you will note in this link:

www.myswissalps.com/be sttimetovisit

the seasons make a difference. And, altltude is very important.

In late may, Spring will be in full swing at lower altitudes. In fact, that is why I am planning my next trip for that time of year.

At high altitudes, near the Jungfrau, for example, it will be the tail end of winter, with Spring just beginning, , and is a "low season." Too much snow left on the trails for hiking and snow slides, not enough good snow for skiing. So, few tourists, and many (but not all) hotels and restaurants are closed. In the Jungfrau region, cableways and special locations are just beginning to run in late May. The cograil line to Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch runs all year. In May, you can get up to Schilthorn.

Search for names in the search function, for example, Schilthorn.

The wonderful , easy, scenic walk at Männlichen (above 2000 meters) will not open till June 15th in most years; maybe later this year if the heavy snow pack lingers:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

The floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley is usually pretty much snow free in late May. 8oo meters, but not a lot of full sun, because of the high mountain walls.

The point of those comments is to alert you that altitude makes a real difference, especially at the time between seasons. .

Unfortunately, the map I linked does not give altitudes.

City pages in this forum do:

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

Look down that page on the left.

This extremely detailed map does, too. You probably won't need it, but some people just like maps. ;-) Overkill for non-hikers, but you can get the altitude for any location if you need it: Enter a city name, such as Gruyeres, in the search box:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false&E=2 571878.38&N=1157956.80 &zoom=5

<<"is St Moritz a must?">>

That's a personal opinion. It was for me on my first trip to Switzerland, bu I've only gone back once or twice to take guests. I go back to Luzern ( local German spelling) frequently, and Wengen a lot. To each his own.

However, if you want to rice the Bernina Express and go on to Lugano, it makes sense. Some prefer Pontresina, because you are close by, butnotpaying for the name.

Spring is the best time to see the Rhine Falls. Snow melt adds a lot of water. Powerful, impressive, not very high. If, by any chance, you have seen Niagara Falls in the USA and Canada, you will be underwhelmed. In that part of Switzerland, with your stated aims, I'd go to Stein-am-Rhein or further east to Appenzell and St. Gall.

Wonderful Old Town,for walking, the Abbey Library is a Unesco World Heritage sight....

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/st-gallen.html

If you do go east, Zürich is a pretty good base. Not terribly scenic,but good museums and restaurants. Some parts of the Old Town, on both sides of the river, are nice to walk through.

If you don't go East, you should look for bases at at places like Montreux (Lausanne is a compromise between Montreux and Geneva. Most prefer Montreux. I like both.)

Luzern- just barely on your list - but I'd put it first. That is the usual recommendation on this forum for the first time visitor. Close to Zürich, scenic, beautiful lake, nice old town, easy train ride to Bern or Basel....

And, then, somewhere near - not in - Interlaken. Even though it is low season the mountain villages are much nicer. I like Wengen. Other choices are good, www.myswis salps.com/interlaken

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

South of the Alps, Lugano on the way to Milano. Or, my preference, Locarno. Check them all out on the map., to see the travel logic.

Those are some thoughts for you to explore.

Slowpoke

ncatanzaro
ncatanzaro
5 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2018 - 8:04 PM

thank you so much, alot to research

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2018 - 10:45 PM in reply to ncatanzaro

<<"

thank you so much, alot to research">>

You are welcome.

Switzerland is packed full of good places to visit and stunningly beautiful scenery. It's pretty hard to go wrong. But, some research ahead of time lets you get to places that appeal most.

After you set up a trial itinerary, let us know. There are plenty of forum members here to criticize it...oops, I meant to say, help with thoughtful advice. ;-)

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3402 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 5:57 AM in reply to ncatanzaro

Should we rent a car?

Not before you have read www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain and “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass).

Then if you decide to rent a car, re-read them again. 🤓

For 10 to 12 days I would say pick at most 3 bases.

The Swiss Timetable link that Slowpoke provided is essential to figure out how long you are going to be spending travelling if you visit all the places in your wish-list (which I think is too big for the amount of time you have).

Have a look at the map you can download at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity. Not only does it show where you can use the Swiss Travel Pass it also gives you a broad overview of the lie of the land and the main train routes.

If you make it to the French side Montreux is a better base than Geneva or Lausanne.

geneva or lugano or both?

You can end the Bernina Express trip in Lugano and you will not be far from Milan. If you take the Bernina Express which goes from Chur to Tirano and Bus from Tirano to Lugano in one day you won't go through St Moritz.

lake como or milan or both?

Lake Como is just down the track from Lugano. If you really want to visit Como it's an easy day trip if you are based in Lugano. But there is plenty to see and do around Lugano, Bellinzona and Locarno. You can get your fill of Italy in Milan.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 8:00 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"You can get your fill of Italy in Milan.">>

And, you can also get your fill of Italian food in the towns you named. '-)

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3402 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 9:51 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Indeed. In fact Slowpoke, I wonder why people bother with Italy. 😉

ncatanzaro
ncatanzaro
5 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2018 - 3:25 PM

yea i was wondering if Italy was pushing it, here is what i have been able to come up with so far

Zurich (old town, lake) 1 night arrive flight 11am

Lucerne (bridge, mt pilatus,Rigi-Kulm excursion) 2 or 3 nights?

Stay at Murren (no car town) or Wengen (it's right on the train line to the Jungfraujoch, car free city) or grindelwald (busy buses, shopping, tourists) or Interlaken ( Visit the Art Noveau-style restaurant at the summit or walk out onto Two Lakes Bridge for an on-top-of-this-world experience. ) visit schilthorn. 2 or 3 nights?

Stay in Montreux (Hotel Eden Palace au Lac Hotel) do choc/cheese train or Vevey not Lusaane? Go to Geneva , Chillon castle, vineyards, guyeres 3 nights?

Day trip to Bern on way back to Zurich (regional train from Lucerne via Schüpfheim to Bern, the scenery will be better than the fast InterCity trains.) stay over?

Zurich 1 night fly home

may have a night or two extra, is St Mortiz a must? can we fit in Lugano?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 3:53 PM in reply to ncatanzaro

Hi Ncaanzaro-

Time for the Ticino?

use the time table that I linked in my first post.

Luzern-

Don't forget the lake.

Pictures in these threads will show you some of what it is like, even if you don't do the hike or walks mentioned in them:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-hammetschwand-lift

This may be helpful:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/recommendati on-for-villages-on-lake-luzern

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 3:57 PM in reply to rockoyster

<<"Indeed. In fact Slowpoke, I wonder why people bother with Italy. 😉">>

You know perfectly well why...history, overall culture, art, museums, Roman remnants,much more good Italian food. For a start.

;-)

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3402 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 8:54 PM in reply to ncatanzaro

More random thoughts as they came into my head.

Too bad you dropped the Bernina Express but it is awkward to combine with the French side. From Zurich at end of trip you could look at www.rhb.ch/en/tickets-travelcards/promotions /gotthard-bernina-circular-tour.

On arrival go straight to Lucerne. One less hotel swap. Do a day trip to Bern from there or short visit on way back from Montreux.

Go to Montreux via Golden Pass Line (www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass). Also Lucerne to Interlaken. Say Wengen.

Save St Moritz and Lugano for next trip. Or return Montreux to Zurich via Glacier Express from Zermatt (1 night) or Brig to Chur or St Moritz and then Zurich.😎

ncatanzaro
ncatanzaro
5 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2018 - 9:42 PM

hi rockoyster

I forgot about bernia express have to fit that in somewhere...

since we will be traveling in May will it still be a good idea to go to Zermatt and St Mortiz?

where should we stay the most nights? luzern, interlaken (actually wengen) or Montreux?

I would like to stay in Zurich for at least one night, we have never been and as much as the mountains are beautiful i'm going to be itching for some city life, trendy restaurants, bars etc ;-)

rockoyster
rockoyster
3402 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2018 - 9:50 PM in reply to ncatanzaro

I can’t really say what’s best for you - just offering some choices. But I’d save Zurich until the end seeing you are flying out of there. Zermatt and Glacier Express is an alternative to Bernina.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2137 posts
top member
Feb 15, 2018 - 12:53 AM in reply to ncatanzaro

>> since we will be traveling in May will it still be a good idea to go to Zermatt and St Mortiz?

In Zermatt, the train to the Gornergrat and the cableway to Klein Matterhorn/Glacier Paradise will both be operating in late May.

However, May is one of the worst times to go to St Moritz, as nearly all of the mountain transport is closed for maintenance.

The Diavolezza cable car will be operating though, for a wonderful view of the Diavolezza glacier. You first take a short trip by train from St Moritz to the station "Bernina Diavolezza", where the cable car valley station is adjacent to the railway station.

The Diavolezza cable car is not covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, even for a discount. However, if you stay more than one night at a hotel that participates in the "mountain railways included" arrangement, they will give you a pass for free local transport, which includes the Diavolezza cable car.

There is more information about the free mountain transport pass here:

www.engadin.stmoritz.c h/sommer/en/bergbahnen -inclusive/

If you are interested in going up to see the Diavolezza, the photos attached to my post of Jul 28, 2017 - 5:42 AM on the following page might interest you:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/alternate-trains-for-glacier-express

Alpenrose

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2137 posts
top member
Feb 15, 2018 - 1:00 AM in reply to ncatanzaro

>> Stay in Montreux (Hotel Eden Palace au Lac Hotel) do choc/cheese train

The Chocolate Train will be operating, but the Cheese Train only operates on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 5 January and 11 March 2018.

Alpenrose

rockoyster
rockoyster
3402 posts
expert
Feb 15, 2018 - 1:44 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Also "The Chocolate Train runs again from 1 May. As a result of the construction works, guests are taking the bus in Montbovon. The bus takes them to Gruyères, to Broc and back again. This probably applies for the entire season until 31 October. " Refer www.mystsnet.com/filea dmin/doc/01_News/Const ruction_works_MOB.pdf

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 15, 2018 - 1:50 AM in reply to ncatanzaro

<<"bernia">>

Actually, Bernina.

Slowpoke

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2137 posts
top member
Feb 15, 2018 - 2:03 AM in reply to rockoyster

>> Also "The Chocolate Train runs again from 1 May. As a result of the construction works, guests are taking the bus in Montbovon. The bus takes them to Gruyères, to Broc and back again.

Thanks for adding that important bit of information rockoyster!

Another thing I should have mentioned is that the Chocolate Train only operates Monday to Thursday in May and June.

Alpenrose

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