Scenic trains for Lugano-Zermatt, Zermatt-Lucerne

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7 posts
new member
Mar 2, 2018 - 2:28 AM

Hi! I am planning a trip in June for myself, husband, and 2 teenage kids. We have never been to Switzerland, and we are looking for some scenic rail trips between our hotel stays. We are also looking to balance time efficiency. I am reading a lot of different advice about the best ways to get from location to location, so please weigh in about scenic routes and approximately how long they take. I also don't need to travel the same stretches of rail on both trips since we want to see as much as we can. The routes I am wondering about are:

1) Lugano- Zermatt

2) Zermatt-Lucerne

I also am struggling to figure out what passes to get- I was assuming an 8 day pass. 1st class? 2nd class? If I'm on the Glacier Express at all, do I need reservations?

Thanks so much for your help!

4970 posts
Mar 2, 2018 - 5:10 AM in reply to jenncanuck

Hello Jenn (from Canada) and Welcome to MySwissalps.

A clearly mapped out itinerary is the basis for deciding which pass (if any) suits. Based on your itinerary you need to do the sums based on the cost of all your planned trips on trains, boats, cable cars etc. You can use the Swiss Train Timetable ( metable) to work out the fares for any trip. When you go to buy a ticket the fare you see on the right hand side of the page will normally be the half-fare price. Double it to get full fare. With A Swiss Travel Pass it is free provided it is shown as free on the Area of Validity map ( PDF downloadable from isstravelpass/validity).

You should read “How to choose the best travel pass” ( ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass).

A 2nd class pass is fine unless you have money to burn. You can always upgrade any particular trip to 1st class with a class upgrade which costs half the difference between a 1st and 2nd class ticket.

Do your teenagers qualify for a Swiss Family Card ( issfamilycard).

Now to the routes . . . .

1a) Lugano to Locarno to Domodossola (Centovalli Express).

1b) Lugano to Göschenen to Andermatt to Zermatt (Glacier Express or regular trains).

2a) Zermatt to Interlaken Ost via Kandersteg then to Lucerne on Golden Pass Line.

2b) If you choose 1a then go reverse 1b to Göschenen to Lucerne. Either by train or to Flüelen and by lake steamer to Lucerne.

Glacier Express is the only trip you need a reservation of the above.

7 posts
new member
Mar 2, 2018 - 1:43 PM in reply to rockoyster

This is incredibly helpful- thank you so much. (Also, nice deductive skills on my Canadianism, although I've been living in the States for many years!) :) Of the options you listed which would you prefer and why? If it's too hard to choose, what are the draws of the different routes? Right now the idea of mountains, lakes, green, and sun could not be more appealing!

Thanks again,


4970 posts
Mar 2, 2018 - 7:32 PM in reply to jenncanuck

Hi Jenn,

It’s hard to say which to choose. It all comes down to personal preference. Everywhere you go in Switzerland is scenic. 1a/2a are most time efficient.

I didn’t even mention the Bernina Express, which is my favourite, due to lack of understanding of your overall itinerary. Like, how are you getting to Lugano in the first place and where do you plan to depart Switzerland from?

7 posts
new member
Mar 2, 2018 - 7:49 PM

So we are flying into Milan and staying in Tremezzo for a few nights, then heading to Zermatt (so we have to get ourselves to Lugano), then Lucerne (Luzern? French vs German spelling I'm assuming?), then briefly in Zurich, then home. It's going to be way too short, but that's what we've got!

4970 posts
Mar 2, 2018 - 8:09 PM in reply to jenncanuck

Were you planning to overnight in Lugano?

OK, so here’s a left field idea.

Instead of Lugano, catch a ferry to Varenna (you may need bus to Menaggio) then train to Tirano. From there catch Bernina Express to Chur or St Moritz. Next day Glacier Express to Zermatt.

Bernina Express ( rninaexpress)

Your spelling assumption correct. 😉

47 posts
active member
Mar 3, 2018 - 10:57 AM in reply to rockoyster

Please help me to revise the itinerary

Day 1---- Arrive at Zurich airport. (how much time will take for immigration?)

Move to Chur check in Hotel - Later in the afternoon visit Appenzell & Return to Chur (is it possible?)

Day 2 Board to Bernina Express up to Tirano then by bus to Lugano. Stay at lugano. (How much luggage we will carry in the bus?)

Day 3 Lugano via Locarno- Brig To Zermatt. Stay @ Zermatt

Day 4 Zermatt to Gornergrat excursion. Later move towards Interlaken check in Hotel Later visit to Swiss open air Museum ( How to reach there & how much time we can spend there?)

Day 5 Jungfraujoch excursion Stay at Interlaken. Lake cruise? Which one is better at Lucerne or Interlaken?

Day 6 Move to Lucerne , check in hotel Which one is better? Swissfolklore show at stadelker or Lake Lucerne cruise or both?

Day 7 Lucerne to mt Titlis excursion. Stay at hotel in lucerne.

Day 8 Move to Zurich and catch the Return flight to Indi

10496 posts
top member
Mar 3, 2018 - 10:59 AM in reply to Arnabghosh

Hi Arnabghosh,

Please stop posting your itinerary on random threads. I have replied to your original post from earlier today. We reply to all posts within 24 hours at the most.

Last modified on Mar 3, 2018 - 11:00 AM by Lucas

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