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Planning Swiss train trips in winter January 2022

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Posts: 11 
spaulus69
spaulus69
89 posts
active member
Apr 30, 2021 - 6:01 PM

Hello MySwissAlps.com,

I am looking to do another trip to Switzerland with hopes of riding some scenic trains in the middle of winter.

I did a trip in January of 2020, but seemed to miss all the falling snow, coming from Houston, Texas...I really wanted to see it in person.

This trip I am thinking I might could save some money and do the train travel on the regional trains instead of the Goldenpass or Glacier or Bernina Expresses.

One of my first thoughts of getting to Tirano, Italy. Can I stay a night in Tirano and then return to Switzerland without issue?

Thank you,

Steve

Anna
Anna
1048 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 30, 2021 - 7:36 PM in reply to spaulus69

Hi Steve,

Currently there are strict entry restrictions into the Italian province of Lombardy where Tirano is. Leisure travellers unfortunately are still not allowed to enter. This means train services into Tirano are currently suspended and if you are taking one of the regional trains bound south, it is recommended you disembark at Poschiavo or one of the stations before the border.

I'm not sure if these restrictions will be lifted soon. Hopefully, travel may be possible by January 2022. But I would strongly recommend checking the latest coronavirus updates before finalising your trip. You can stay informed by following this thread: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Apr 30, 2021 - 7:38 PM by Anna
Annika
Annika
6381 posts
expert &
moderator
May 1, 2021 - 6:41 AM in reply to spaulus69

Hi Steve! Nice that you're giving your winter trip another try. Let's hope there's plenty of snow for you next January. Snow in Swiss valleys in winter is not that common, by the way, so you'll need a bit of luck to experience all-white landscapes during your train journeys . Please refer to www.myswissalps.com/besttimetovisit and www.myswissalps.com/weather.

Under normal circumstances it's no problem to spend a night in Tirano and then return to Switzerland. There are no strict border checks. Just make sure you have your passport with you when traveling; the railway personnel might ask for it. Of course we don't know yet what the situation in January 2022 will be like, but we have good hopes that there will be more travel options from next summer, especially for tourists from countries in which vaccination is making good progress like the US. We'll keep all information updated in the thread Anna linked to.

Of course you can choose to travel by regular rather than by panoramic trains. You'll save on seat reservation costs. It has some downsides too; both options just have their pros and cons. We make comparisons for panoramic train routes under 'Regular trains versus....' at:

More panoramic train routes are available at www.myswissalps.com/activities/scenictrips/train.

And although I know you made a very well-prepared trip before and probably don't need much help planning, I will mention these sample itineraries:

They might still provide some inspiration :-).

spaulus69
spaulus69
89 posts
active member
May 1, 2021 - 3:39 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you Anna & Annika, I will check out the links you have provided.

I have my route basically mapped out and what cities I plan on staying the night, my next task is booking scenic trains or use regional trains?

I normally buy the half-fare card and with all the trains I end up taking it pays for itself.

First part of trip is pretty straight forward, land at Zurich International Airport and take trains to Lauterbrunnen area. Pretty simple here right?

Steve

Anna
Anna
1048 posts
top member &
moderator
May 1, 2021 - 6:32 PM in reply to spaulus69

Hi Steve,

We have had several postings on the forum discussing the merits of scenic trains vs regular trains. You might want to check out a few of them below:

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/scenicpanaramic-trains-vs-normal-trains

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/thank-you-panoramic-trains-versus-regular-trains

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/scenic-trains-vs-regular-services

I would personally opt for scenic trains just for the extra services. I take regular trains all the time anyway :) Good luck with the trip planning.

Regatds,

Anna

Lijianhughes
Lijianhughes
15 posts
new member
May 5, 2021 - 1:24 AM

Love the spirit of planning the trip early Steve, I too am thinking of a trip back to the Swiss Alps in 2022 just finger crossed on the COVID situation globally:)

Personally I would suggest taking the regional trains for 2 reasons - 1. From my experience the scenic trains can be a little more crowded with tourist groups. 2. I'd rather get closer to the scenery on feet than view them from a train:)

That said, if travelling time is a concern I would always opt for the fastest option being it an express or regular train.

spaulus69
spaulus69
89 posts
active member
May 5, 2021 - 2:13 AM in reply to Lijianhughes

Hello Lijianhughes,

Yes, I feel like as soon as I get back from Switzerland, I am right back at it trying to figure out my next trip. I have taken all 4 of the major scenic trains before but I am now trying to do it in the middle of winter. I went in January of 2020 before the virus but missed all of the snowfall.

I am thinking the regional trains will mix things up a little.

Hopefully things will go back to normal soon.

Steve

Ildiko
Ildiko
1086 posts
top member &
moderator
May 5, 2021 - 6:51 AM in reply to spaulus69

Hello Steve,
I think you are right, scenic trains are easier to use as with regional trains usually you need to change more times. Also, I had several times when local trains were crowded so I guess it depends on when you are travelling and not on if it is scenic or regular train.
Swiss Half Fare Card and also Swiss Travel Pass can be a good choice. You know our calculation spreadsheet, right? If you are in doubt about which pass to choose, use the spreadsheet, it will help to decide.
Ildiko

Last modified on May 5, 2021 - 6:53 AM by Ildiko
spaulus69
spaulus69
89 posts
active member
May 5, 2021 - 2:20 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hello Ildiko,

I know about the calculation spreadsheet, but haven't used it.

I usually just buy the Half Fare Card and considering all the trains I end up taking I believe it pays for itself.

One of the fears I have is making sure that I take the more scenic route. I remember one time I wanted to go from Zurich airport to Zermatt and one of the moderators suggested to go via Kandersteg? for a more scenic route instead of the more direct route.

I will check out the calculation spreadsheet.

Thank you,

Steve

Ildiko
Ildiko
1086 posts
top member &
moderator
May 6, 2021 - 12:59 PM in reply to spaulus69

Hi Steve,

I see.

Yes, from Zürich to Zermatt you should travel via Kandersteg so you can avoid the Lötschberg-Basistunnel. Travelling in a tunnel is not so scenic, that is for sure. Although is can be faster.

Do you have any particular trip in your mind where you are not sure which route is the best?

Ildiko

spaulus69
spaulus69
89 posts
active member
May 6, 2021 - 2:51 PM in reply to Ildiko

Well, I have not looked at any of the routes yet.

My tentative routes are:

1.) Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen area. Spend 2 nights there.

2.) Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt. Spend 2 nights there.

a.) I want to be sure to catch 3rd leg of Goldenpass from Zweisimman to Montreux then continue on to Zermatt.

3.) Zermatt to Bergun (Glacier Express route). Spend 2 nights in Bergun.

4.) Bergun to Poschiavo (Tirano) (Bernina Express route). Spend 2 nights in Poschiavo (Tirano).

5.) Poschiavo (Tirano) to Lucerne. Spend 1 night in Lucerne

6.) Lucerne to Zurich Airport fly home.

Is there a scenic route using swiss trains to go from Tirano to Lugano?

Steve

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