Bern-Montreux-Interlaken-Lucerne-Zurich, 6 days

Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 12
VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 15, 2019 - 7:18 PM

Hello,

I am planning on traveling to Switzerland this summer with my family of 4. I plan to arrive in Bern by train from Milan and plan to stay in Bern except for the last day when I will be staying in Zurich. Here is what I am considering:

Day 1: Start from Milan by train and arrive in Bern around noon, check-in and do a quick half-day Bern city tour

Day 2: Day trip by train to Montreux, Gruyeres and Broc

Day 3: Day trip by train to Interlaken and Jungfrau

Day 4: Day trip by train to Grindelwald and Wengen

Day 5: Day trip by train to Lucerne

Day 6: Travel by train from Bern to Zurich and Zurich city tour.

Day 7: Return flight from Zurich to Vancouver

Prior to Milan, I will be spending a few days in Florence, catching a train to Venice (2 nights) and then catch a train to Milan (1 night stay).

I was wondering what type of rail pass would work out better for us? Should we go for a swiss travel pass or a Eurail pass? Also, is it fine to keep Bern as a base and do day trips to the places mentioned or should I break up my stay to stay a few days in Bern and elsewhere?

Thanks,

Vijay

Steph
Steph
713 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 15, 2019 - 8:10 PM in reply to VijayKr

Hi Vijay and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Nice to hear you're coming along!

Your itinerary sounds fabulous. The only thing I would maybe consider, assuming you are willing to add a base, is that you stay in the Interlaken area for one night on the way from Bern to Lucerne, as you can prevent backtracking Bern - Interlaken on day 3 + 4 and could continue from Interlaken to Lucerne on the Golden Pass line. Check:
- www.myswissalps.com/in terlaken
- www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

However, it's' only an input, your above itinerary is perfect, too.

Check out travelling times for all your days by using our timetable. Make sure you read how it works, it's an incredible tool for planning.
- www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Regarding the passes please find details of the ones you mention below, as well as a spreadsheet in the last link, that will allow you detailed calculations.
- www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass
- www.myswissalps.com/eu railpass
- www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass

Happy planning. We're here for further input.

Best,
Steph

VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 15, 2019 - 8:30 PM

Thanks Steph for your suggestion. I had initially planned on a 3 day stay in the Gruyeres area followed by a 2 day stay in the Interlaken area before proceeding to Zurich. But one issue that I might run into with the fixed Interlaken itinerary is the unpredictability with the weather in the mountain tops. So I thought by staying in the Bern area throughout, I can be flexible on on my itinerary since they all are day trips and can be swapped based on the weather outlook. Does that sound reasonable? I am not sure about the early July weather in the region, so wanted to keep the plan a little open.

For the train passes, I am not clear on whether the Eurail passes have the same power as a Swiss travel pass. The Eurail pass for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids (4-11)) costs about $925 for a 10 day travel in 2 months. The Swiss travel pass is available for 3,4,8.. days only and I will be using the trains in the region for about 6 days - so will need to get the 8 day consecutive pass which ends up costing us roughly about $840. So there isn't a lot of difference in the price but I am assuming the Eurail pass will cover my trips between Florence/Venice, Venice/Milan and Milan/Bern. Does that seem correct? Also, do Eurail passes offer free travel within the Swiss rail systems like the Swiss travel pass (on all the trains that are covered by Swiss travel pass)? Do they offer discounts on cog trains (from Interlaken to Jungfrau etc)?

Thanks,

Vijay

Steph
Steph
713 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 16, 2019 - 9:01 AM in reply to VijayKr

Hello Vijay,

You can find the exact coverage and details of discounts for both rail passes below, including superb pdf maps:
- www.myswissalps.com/eu railglobalpass/validit y
- www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity

Regarding the weather, July is normally a quite a nice summer month. For details:
- www.myswissalps.com/we ather
- www.myswissalps.com/be sttimetovisit

Best,
Steph

Last modified on Apr 16, 2019 - 9:01 AM by Steph
VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 16, 2019 - 2:33 PM

Thanks Steph.

I am considering a slight change to my itinerary. Instead of travelling directly to Bern from Milan, I am considering going to Tirano from Milan and taking the Bernina to St.Moritz that morning (arriving in St.Moritz around 12:36pm) and switch trains to get to Bern. The connecting train from St.Moritz departs at 1:02pm. Do you know if I need to change any stations in St.Moritz and if this connection can be made? I am getting this message when I am trying to book the tickets for Bernina - "For your travel date you can currently only book the reservation. The tickets can unfortunately only be bought 2 months in advance.". If I make the reservation now, then it appears like I don't need to buy a ticket if I go with Eurail or Swiss Travel Pass, correct? The links you mentioned previously seemed to indicate that tickets for Bernina is covered by both the passes but I just wanted to double check. On the Bernina, it is giving me option to reserve in one of the 3 wagons. Is there any recommendation on which wagon would be better from a view perspective or any of them would be good?

Thanks,

Vijay

Arno
Arno
12543 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 16, 2019 - 3:39 PM in reply to VijayKr

Hi Vijay,

St. Moritz only has one station and changing trains there takes less than 5 minutes. You are not required to travel via St. Moritz. That's a slight detour. It might be quicker to get off the train a few minutes earlier in Pontresina and continue from there. If you fill out Tirano to Bern via Pontresina in the timetable at www.myswissalps.com/ti metable, you'll find all options.

Some websites only allow to buy tickets one or two months ahead of time, but others don't have such limits. Please find more websites here: www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/switzerland /price. Indeed you don't need a ticket with the Swiss Travel Pass or Eurail (see Steph's links).

All train coaches are equally good I think. Sitting left or right might make a difference on some sections, but you can't know the direction when picking a seat. Here's more route information: www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress/gettingth ere.

Last modified on Apr 16, 2019 - 3:40 PM by Arno
VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 16, 2019 - 7:23 PM

Thanks Arno.

I looked at getting the itinerary on www.myswissalps.com/ti metable (for Milan to Bern via Tirano), but the route I get is about a 5 hour journey to Tirano, Stazione via Lugano, Stazione. I also looked up on www.thetrainline.com and Google and those sites are giving me a direct train to Tirano (and not Tirano, Stazione) on RE 2550. In fact when I tried the route from Milan to Tirano, Stazione on Google, it gives me a route through Lugano only. Any ideas why is there a difference when I use Tirano as the destination vs Tirano, Stazione? Which one should I use for catching the Bernina Express from Tirano?

Thanks,

Vijay

Arno
Arno
12543 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 17, 2019 - 6:08 AM in reply to VijayKr

You're welcome Vijay! The Swiss station in Tirano is called just that, and the Italian station is called "Tirano, Stazione". They are on the same square in town, so you can walk from one to the other in a minute. So in your case you would take a train from Milan to "Tirano, Stazione", cross the square and board the Bernina Express or any train on that line at the other station.

VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 17, 2019 - 6:38 AM

Thanks. When I tried to look up the itinerary for Milan to Tirano on www.myswissalps.com/ti metable, I get the route to Tirano, Stazione which is a very long journey (5 hours). Where as when I look at www.trenord.it/en/tick ets/tickets.aspx, I get a direct train from Milan to Tirano (2.5 hours). I am guessing the trenord train is going to the Swiss station in Tirano? So, I should be able to get the Bernina from the same station probably?

Also, once I down from Bernina in Pontresina, I am guessing I don't need to make any additional reservations on the Swiss trains that I will need to catch to get to Bern, correct? I will have either the Swiss Travel Pass or Eurail pass.

Thanks,

Vijay

Arno
Arno
12543 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 17, 2019 - 6:49 AM in reply to VijayKr

Hi Vijay,

2.5 hours is correct. The reason you see longer travel times is because you're probably searching for a date a few months ahead, and the Italian railways do not always update other European timetables in time. That's more of an insiders issue and nothing to worry about. If you check the basic timetable at www.myswissalps.com/ti metable, instead of the advanced one, you'll probably get the correct times too.

In any case you will arrive at "Tirano, Stazione" as explained in my previous post.

Last modified on Apr 17, 2019 - 6:49 AM by Arno
VijayKr
VijayKr
6 posts
new member
Apr 20, 2019 - 4:32 PM

Thanks Arno.

I am planning on getting the 8 day 2nd class Swiss travel pass for me and my family. For taking the Bernina from Tirano to St.Moritz, I am guessing I will just need to make a reservation on their site and purchasing a ticket is not needed right? Currently, their website is only making reservations for July. Can I make a reservation on Bernina first class and travel on it with my second class Swiss travel pass? If not, would I need to pay some additional fare somewhere to make the first class trip on Bernina? How would I go about getting that upgrade? Lastly, is there any advantage of going on a first class vs second class on Bernina?

Thanks,

Vijay

Arno
Arno
12543 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2019 - 9:09 AM

Hi Vijay,

Correct, you don't need a ticket but you do need a reservation. There are various website to buy that (with no date limits I think), you are not restricted to the RhB site: www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress/tickets.

The Swiss Travel Pass can also be purchased from various websites: www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/price.

First class is more luxurious and spacious. The views are the same. You will indeed need an upgrade and you buy buy that at the Tirano train station. It does not sell out.

More on MySwissAlps.com

Get a free account to plan your trip

Planning your trip is much easier with a free MySwissAlps account. Learn all about Switzerland and get in touch with us quickly if you have questions.

Learn more

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They will book your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2019