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Switzerland in 12 days via Milan, April 2020

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Susannahrose
Susannahrose
3 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2019 - 7:01 AM

Hello,

Thank you for a very helpful and friendly forum, I have been reading so much information here for the past few months and I think am ready to put a trip together! My husband and I have about two weeks to fill between cruises (Mauritius to Venice and then after from Rome to Amsterdam). He is a bit unimpressed with the idea of training it around the Alps so I have to make this simple and reasonably affordable to convince him it will be a wonderful experience! We have travelled throughout the world quite extensively however not a great deal of train travel. This is what I have in mind, I hope I can get some opinions on the plan please:

  • 15th April: Train Venice to Tirano via Milan. (Overnight Tirano, Hotel: Bernina Express Rooms & Breakfast).
  • 16th April: Train Tirano to Konstanz, stopping at St Moritz for a few hours to look around, (not worried about taking the actual Bernina Express train). I am considering using the luggage service and sending our suitcases on to Schaffhausen from Tirano, making do with backpacks. (Overnight Konstanz, Hotel: Hotel Halm).
  • 17-18th April: Ferry Konstanz to Schaffhausen. This will probably be the selling point for my husband, (he prefers boat travel!) Rhine Falls in afternoon. Day trip to The Black Forest for Cuckoos and Cake! (Stay 2 nights. Hotel: Best Western Plus Hotel Bahnhoff).
  • 19-20th April: Train Schaffhausen to Lucerne. Possible day trip Mt Pilatus. (Stay 2 nights. Hotel: Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora).
  • 21st-23rd April: Train Lucerne to Montreux via Brienz, Zweissmen etc on Golden Pass route. Day trip to Gruyeres for Cheese and Chocolate. (Stay 3 nights. Hotel: Golf Hotel Rene Capt).
  • 24-26th April: Train Montreux to Brig. Day trips to Zermatt/Gornergrat and ride on part of Glacier Express route to Andermatt. (Stay 3 nights. Hotel: Good Nite Inn).
  • 27th April: Train Brig to Rome via Milan. (Stay in Rome 3 nights).

Like many others despite reading all the links and doing my sums, I am still unsure which way to go regarding the rail passes. (Possibly cheaper without the pass but weighing up convenience etc). Initially I thought just go with the 15 day Eurail Global Pass but have been reading quite a few bad reviews on other forums, mostly regarding complications in Italy such as only a certain amount of Eurail seats available and making reservations. So, perhaps the Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card and point to point elsewhere would be best, something I will continue to work on, especially as it gets closer to the date and I may be able to see actual fares on our specific travel dates.

Thanks for taking the time to offer some advise!

Sue

Anna
Anna
322 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 16, 2019 - 9:53 AM

Hi Susannahrose,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! Taking the train is a great way to explore Switzerland. It's comfortable, safe and eco-friendly. I'm sure you and your husband will enjoy it :)

Looking at your itinerary, it seems doable for a 12-day trip. I'm just concerned that travelling from Tirano to Konstanz via St Moritz in 1 day would mean spending a long time on the train. But nothing wrong with that if that's not a problem for you.

Based on your travel plan, I think the a combination of an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass and Saver Day Pass would be best for you. Please find more information from the links below. I also recommend reading the guide to choose the best rail pass.

Just to let you know, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass/ Saver Day Pass it will get you all the way to Konstanz on the German border but you would need a ticket to cover the ferry trip from Konstanz to Schaffhausen. Similarly, you would need tickets to cover your journey from the Swiss border to Rome. I recommend looking up these links for details on buying cross-border tickets.

A few more useful links for your trip:

Best regards,

Anna

rockoyster
rockoyster
7838 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2019 - 10:42 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Anna,

The ferry from Konstanz to Schaffhausen is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. I did it in 2017 and it is still on the validity map.

It’s a really nice boat ride Sue.

Last modified on Nov 16, 2019 - 10:43 AM by rockoyster
Anna
Anna
322 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 16, 2019 - 10:46 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you for that information!

Good to know.

rockoyster
rockoyster
7838 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2019 - 7:11 PM in reply to Susannahrose

Hi Sue

You wrote “. . . especially as it gets closer to the date and I may be able to see actual fares on our specific travel dates“.

Regular Swiss train fares don’t change over time apart from Supersaver fares which can sell out but are tied to a particular train (unlike regular tickets which are good for a whole day on a given route): www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/switzerland.

By far the best way to check timetables, find fares* and buy tickets on-line if required is using the SBB Mobile app (bit.ly/2ICIUHi). In the unlikely event you don’t have a device capable of running the app then you can use the timetable on the SBB website (bit.ly/2HH1U7B). If you are not familiar with using the timetable it will pay to first read the instructions at www.myswissalps.com/ti metable.

* The SBB website shows half-fare prices by default, the mobile app allows you to nominate whether to show full or half-fares (by editing the passenger details in settings) and is also smart enough to offer you the Saver Day Pass (www.myswissalps.com/sa verdaypass) if that offers the best fare. The app also show a platform map (at least at the larger stations) to help you make connections.

You might want to squeeze in boat rides on Lake Luzern and Lake Geneva for hubby’s benefit (although timetables may be a little restricted at that time of year).

Susannahrose
Susannahrose
3 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2019 - 4:59 AM

Thanks Anna and Rockoyster for your replies, tips, information and links, much appreciated.

Anna, I did ponder on whether to stay 1 night in either St Moritz or Chur (or somewhere else along the way) but that would mean cutting out a day at one of the other stops so I think we'll be fine to continue on to Konstanz, especially if we do send the luggage ahead to Schaffhausen we will be able to have a decent break for a look around St Moritz which will probably be enough for us.

Rockoyster, yes, I do hope to get at least one other boat ride at one of the lakes too. And I have been having quite a play around on the SBB app, thanks!

One other thing I was wondering ... Any tips for going to Gruyere and (I guess) Broc for "Cheese and Chocolate"? Was looking at organised tours but they don't seem to start until May. I've read something about a bus from Gruyere that takes you on to Broc, is this a regular connecting service or and would this be running in April?

Also, I know this site is for Switzerland but does anyone know if there is some sort of "all day" rail pass for Italy (particularly for when we are in Rome), so far I haven't been able to find any information regarding this.

Thanks, Sue.

Last modified on Nov 18, 2019 - 5:14 AM by Susannahrose
Susannahrose
Susannahrose
3 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2019 - 5:27 AM

Another question, regarding Konstanz, is this the better choice for the train and ferry or would we better off staying at Kruezlingen?

Thanks!

rockoyster
rockoyster
7838 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2019 - 5:38 AM in reply to Susannahrose

Hi Sue,

Stay at Konstanz it has a lovely old town. Your hotel (Halm) is right over the street from the SBB station at Konstanz. Yes it's in Germany (just) but SBB trains run through to Konstanz. The boats from Kreuzlingen Hafen mostly go via Konstanz and pick up passengers. Certainly the Rhine boats do.

Lots of Swiss people cross the border to Konstanz to do their shopping there because they have EC, rather than Swiss prices. 😎

The medieval village at Gruyéres is great. The cheese factory is interesting but only if you get there at the right time of day (in think aorund 9:30 -11:00 and 2:00pm to 3:00 from memory) when they actually pour the cheese in to the molds. The Cailler Factory tour is really just an animated show about the history of chocolate and the company. You get some free chocs but you don't really tour a factory as such. You get to see a small "show" production line. I personally wouldn't rate it as a worthwhile detour. Maybe for kids? Maybe I'm just getting too old and cynical? 🤓

We went Montreux - Montbovon - Gruyéres - Bulle - Broc Fabrique - Bulle - Chatel St Denis on trains then caught a bus back to Vevey. It's a nice bus ride and offers a bit of variety.

For Italy have you see this site - www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm

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