Paris-Interlaken-Luzern-Venice rail pass options?

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3 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2017 - 12:47 PM


My husband and I are travelling to Switzerland on Sep 26th, 2017 for 5 nights. I have done quite a bit of reading up to put a basic plan together. Would appreciate clarification from the experts :)

Our plan is Paris>Swiss>Venice. We plan to do 3 nights in the Jungfrauch region and 2 in Lucerne.

1. What should be the order of travel Paris>Interlaken>Lucerne>Venice or Paris>Lucerne>Interlaken>Venice?

2. What is the most practical way to travel from Paris to Swiss. Our research tells us Paris>Basel>Interlaken. If so, should we book the TGV? Are there any other comfortable trains not as expensive or any other routes that are scenic?

3. We are torn between staying in Interlaken vs. Grindelwald vs. Wegen/Murren. Will staying in Interlaken give us more things to do like the lakes etc? Also, in case we select any other place than Interlaken and arrive late in the day from Paris, will it be difficult to get to these places?

4. How do we travel out from Swiss to Venice? Is the Bernina Express journey something not to be missed?

5. My last question about which I haven't made any headway. For our itinerary (briefly given below), is a pass recommended? If so, which one would be the cheapest.

Paris to Interlaken, day trip or stay in Jungfrauch region, Top of Europe, Lake Thun, Train to Lucerne, Lake Lucerne ride, Train out to Venice.

Apologies for this litany of questions but having a tough time deciding. I must say your website is Gold! It gave so much clarity and the staff answering on the forum are helpful and very courteous too.

Thank you


10385 posts
expert &
Aug 17, 2017 - 3:51 PM in reply to Parinitha

Hi Parinitha and welcome to MySwissAlps!

  1. Geographically it makes sense to visit Luzern before Interlaken.
  2. Typically you are charged based on the route you are taking and not the train itself (mostly). You can look up the various ticket options of traveling from Paris to Switzerland here to see what best suits you time-wise and price-wise
  3. Interlaken is closer to some lakes etc. so you need to decide what you want to do in the area and base your town on that information. Interlaken is a good town for train and boat connections. Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Murren are prettier towns, in prettier locations, with quicker access to local mountains.

  4. You can use the Swiss railways timetable here to see the quickest routes to Venice from Interlaken etc.

    The Bernina Express is a very nice scenic train trip but a little out of the way from Interlaken to get to. The train starts in Chur which is about 3.5 hours then the Bernina Express is about 4 hours to Tirano, and then another train of several hours to Venice.
    A better scenic train option is the Gotthard Panorama Express from Luzern to Lugano and then on to Venice (via Milan).
  5. I would expect the Swiss Travel Pass is your best option. To be sure though you need to do the math on all your planned trips in Switzerland and compare prices. Read through, How to choose the best rail pass here.
Last modified on Aug 17, 2017 - 3:52 PM by Lucas
3 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2017 - 9:22 AM in reply to Lucas

Lucas, thanks for the detailed response. I'd like more clarification on the following:

1. For my travel from Switzerland to Venice, I found the following two routes from Luzern and Interlaken. Here are my questions about this trip:

Luzern>Arth Goldau>Milan>Venice OR Interlaken>Spiez>Milan>Venice

  • Which one is more convenient or the more commonly used route? I see on the map that Interlaken is closer to the Italian border but not sure if that makes any difference.
  • If I take a Swiss travel pass, will my journey till Milan be covered by it?
  • Also, do I have to make any reservations on these trains since these are cross border?

2. If we were to take the Gotthard route to travel to Italy, the train from Fluelen leaves only at 2 pm. So from there to Bellinzona is a 2-hr journey which means I reach there at 4 pm. From there to Venice via Milan is another 5 hours .

  • Is my understanding correct?
  • If we do take this trip, whats the best way to buy the Bellinzona to Venice tickets, over the counter or prior reservation?
  • Also, this would mean that we start our stay at Swiss at Interlaken and then move to Luzern and exit from there to Venice. Is that correct?

3. If we take one of the trains mentioned in point 1, and wish to take the Golden pass one of the days all the way to Montreaux and back, how best can we plan our itinerary.

  • a) Should we start our stay in Lucerne, then take the Golden Pass line to Montreaux and deboard at Interlaken for our remaining days?
  • b) We start our trip in Interlaken. Take the Golden Pass to Montreau and go back all the way to Luzern and continue our stay there.

4. Is there difference in weather in Interlaken vs. Lautterbrunen or Grindelwald? If we are not accustomed to too cold weather, is it better for us to stay at Interlaken. Keeping the weather factor aside, our preference would have been to stay at Lautterbrunnen and visit the Interlaken lakes on one of the days.

I'm sorry again for the long list but this has been really confusing despite all the information claerly provided on MySwissAlps.

Thanks again,


10385 posts
expert &
Aug 25, 2017 - 5:33 PM in reply to Parinitha

Hi Parinitha,

Let's see if I can answer everything!


  • The most convenient route is the one that works the best for you on your date of travel - both are fine to use. Use my timetable link in my last post to see the options
  • The Swiss Travel Pass only covers Swiss train travel. You will need to buy a ticket from a Swiss border town (in your case it would be Chiasso) to Milan. You can do this before you travel online here. This way there is no need to leave the train at Chiasso.
  • Reservations would be normal on Italian trains (so from Chiasso to Milan) but not within Switzerland no.


  • This is true if you take the Gotthard Panorama Express train. There are many regional trains you can take along the exact same route if you want. Read about this option here.
  • Same as the above option to Milan. You need to buy the ticket from Chiasso though. Bellinzona to Chiasso is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass
  • If you want to take the Gotthard Panorama Express you would start in Luzern (most convenient if you are staying there or Interlaken).


  • You can honestly do either A or B - if it were me doing this itinerary I think I would visit Interlaken and that area first, then move to Luzern and then off to Italy via the Gotthard Panorama Express. I would try and do the Golden Pass to Montreux when staying in Interlaken as well but wouldn't be too concerned about doing it during my trip - there are a lot of things to do.

4. I don't think the weather would be dramatically different between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen no. Lauterbrunnen is only about 250 meters higher in elevation. I would also choose Lauterbrunnen for my stay over Interlaken.

I hope this helps clarify everything!


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