Bernina Express from Chur then to Zurich

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Jenallan18
Jenallan18
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Jun 23, 2018 - 1:27 PM

Hi all

I'll be attending a conference in Bad Ragaz for a few days at end September. Would be taking the Glacier Express to get there, and also been on Golden Pass and Lotschberger. We have a 'day' to travel from Bad Ragaz to Zurich before a midday international flight the next day. Have not been to Zurich before. The Bernina Express looks like a fascinating journey. Would you recommend:

(1) Bad Ragaz to Chur (leave luggage); Bernina Express to Tirano (arr 12:49); wander for an hour or so then reboard the BEX at 14:25 back to Chur (pick up luggage ... how long to allow?) then continue direct to Zurich (arr 8pm ish pending luggage time); spend the evening wandering Zurich and briefly the following morning ... or

(2) Have a leisurely morning traveling from Bad Ragaz via Chur to Zurich for a day of leisure in Zurich

We are happy to spend the day on the train if it's worth giving up the day in Zurich. Or course any other suggestions for that 'side' of the country please feel free to share.

I would really appreciate your advice on this decision.

Thanks,

Jenallan

Jenallan18
Jenallan18
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Jun 23, 2018 - 2:29 PM

Sorry ... another option is to go from Bad Ragaz down to Lucerne then do the Gotthard Panoramic Express (as recommended by RockOyster on another thread) to Lugano then direct train from Lugano to Zurich .... so many very very hard choices ... I could really use your help :)

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Jun 24, 2018 - 2:25 AM in reply to Jenallan18

Hi Jenallan,

Preferences vary from one person to another for all sorts of different reasons, so I can only tell you what I would do, faced with a similar choice: take the Bernina Express (reservations compulsory). https://www.myswissalp s.com/berninaexpress/p ackages

After arriving in Tirano at 12:49, I would have a quick look at the square outside the station, and then board the 13:00 regional train heading back to St Moritz. This train will arrive at Alp Grüm at 14:12, and I would get off here and have lunch in the restaurant at the station. Their menu includes pizzoccheri, a local speciality.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-au/alp-gruem.html

www.graubuenden.ch/en/ explore-regions/valposchiavo/a lp-grum

www.alpgrum.com/restau rant/

Then you can catch the Bernina Express on its way through Alp Grüm at 15:44. This will be the one that left Tirano at 14:25. Reservations are compulsory.

For the evening in Zürich, I would aim to have dinner in the Niederdorfstrasse quarter of the old town, and if time and energy permit, walk along the Niederdorfstrasse from Central to the Grossmünster (15-20 minutes at an easy pace), which will give you a good feel for that charming part of the old town.

As for leaving your luggage at Chur, I would avoid using the left luggage service, which closes at 17:30 on the weekend, and use the lockers instead. There is a station plan that will show you where they are:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/railway-stations/chur-station.html

You might manage to catch the 18:39 (panorama coach, reservations compulsory) from Chur to Zürich. Otherwise there is another train at 19:09.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 24, 2018 - 7:08 AM by Lucas
Jenallan18
Jenallan18
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Jun 24, 2018 - 8:54 AM

Thanks heaps Alpenrose - this is why I LOVE this forum ... where else would we receive such helpful local advice! Alp Grum looks gorgeous. Do you think that if we are not really exploring Tirano then we could just take our luggage with us? Is it even worth taking the bus to Turano then the high speed train back to Zurich directly from there? Jenallan18

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Jun 24, 2018 - 3:32 PM in reply to Removed user

Alpenrose666 - in your post you note something about panoramic cars on the route from Chur to Zürich. I have reservations for 4 from Zermatt to Chur on the GEX July 7 arriving at 15:15h and planned on taking a regional train from Chur to Zürich. Please provide more details and advice as to reserving seats on panoramic cars from Chur to Zürich.

BTW - This site has been an exceptional resource for planning our trip.

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Jun 25, 2018 - 3:36 AM in reply to Jenallan18

>> Do you think that if we are not really exploring Tirano then we could just take our luggage with us? Is it even worth taking the bus to Turano then the high speed train back to Zurich directly from there?

Tirano is not really worth exploring in my opinion (compared with other options). There is a pleasant square with good restaurants outside the station, where you can have lunch if you need to wait for a train or bus, and there is a church some distance away from the station (Santuario della Madonna di Tirano), but that's about it.

I haven't been on the Bernina Express bus from Tirano to Lugano, but from what I've read, including reports from contributors to this forum, it's basically a convenient transport link rather than a scenic trip in its own right - although the final sector from Lake Como to Lugano overlaps with the Palm Express route, which I have travelled on, and this part is indeed scenic.

If you are simply going to take the fast train from Lugano to Zürich through the Gotthard-Basistunnel, I would say that option has little to recommend it in terms of scenery, but if getting to Zürich a little bit earlier is more important to you, it could be a good option. You are the best judge of what works best for you :-)

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 25, 2018 - 3:37 AM by Removed user
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Jun 25, 2018 - 4:34 AM in reply to Removed user

>> Zermatt to Chur on the GEX July 7 arriving at 15:15h and planned on taking a regional train from Chur to Zürich. Please provide more details and advice as to reserving seats on panoramic cars from Chur to Zürich.

I'm sorry, I don't know too much about the panoramic carriages on this route. I understand they were introduced for the first time earlier this year to enhance the experience of the Gotthard-Bernina round trip package.

In response to Jenallan's post, I was simply conveying the information displayed in the Swiss Timetable for that particular departure.

On your travel date, the Swiss Timetable shows that panorama carriages with compulsory reservations leave Chur for Zürich at 14:39 and 18:39. There is also another train from Chur at 18:01 that connects with a panorama train at Sargans. This is a different panorama train though, the Transalpin, which is an international train travelling between Graz (Austria) and Zürich.

The SBB site does not offer reservations on the Chur-Zürich panoramic services, and the Rhätische Bahn only offers online reservations as part of a package (as far as I can tell), so anyone wanting to take one of the panoramic trains between Chur and Zürich will probably need to make further enquiries with the Rhätische Bahn, unless someone else on this forum knows more.

The route from Chur to Zürich is not one of the classic scenic routes, and can't compare with them, but there are some lake views as you travel along the Walensee (Lake Walen, with the almost vertical Churfirsten mountain range on the other side of the lake), and the Zürichsee (Lake Zürich). Sit on the right to enjoy the best views.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 25, 2018 - 4:37 AM by Removed user
Jenallan18
Jenallan18
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Jun 25, 2018 - 7:09 AM in reply to Removed user

Thanks Alpenrose for your feedback on those options - I really appreciate your advice. Jenallan18

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Jun 25, 2018 - 3:09 PM

Alpinerose - Thank you for researching and providing these details. I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

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