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Lake Como to Switzerland by train

offshore171

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Hi all,

We've got a week at Lake Como in September. After this we have no real plans yet other than to be at Lake Constance about a week later for a Zeppelin ride and to visit some friends.

So after leaving Lake Como, I'm looking for thoughts on a couple of different route options for the journey north into Switzerland.

Option 1 is to get the train out of Varenna on the eastern side of the lake, up to Tirano, then pick up the Bernina express to St Moritz.

Option 2 is to take the western side of the lake and train it up to Lugano, Domodossola and ending up in Brig. This is of course further away from Lake Constance, but we've got a week.

Any recommendations on either of these routes?
 

jase05

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Hard choice, both will offer fantastic scenery. I do love the Bernina Express but I love Zermatt and the Glacier Express more so I’d probably go to Brig and take a small detour to Zermatt and then catch the Glacier Express to St Moritz
 

Kangarucci

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We are heading from Stresa to Lugano and then catching the Bernina Express to St Moritz, followed by the Glacier Express to Zermatt.
 

jase05

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We are heading from Stresa to Lugano and then catching the Bernina Express to St Moritz, followed by the Glacier Express to Zermatt.
Awesome. Both are splendid. For something different if the weather is good you can do the Bernina Express route in regular trains and open the windows to take some great photos. The open carriages that do the route are even better but only operate for a couple of months each year.
I’d definitely pay the extra for 1st class though on the Glacier Express though
 
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offshore171

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Thanks for the ideas so far.

I had considered Zermatt but was unsure about it, as I’ve probably spent 4 weeks there in winter on various ski trips, but I have never been in off season before.

What would be the main activities at that time of year? It is definitely a detour, being at the dead end of the deepest valley in Europe but it is a lovely place and the Matterhorn is exceptional.



Has anyone stopped off at Domodossola in the way to Brig, and if so what did you think?
 

jase05

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Thanks for the ideas so far.

I had considered Zermatt but was unsure about it, as I’ve probably spent 4 weeks there in winter on various ski trips, but I have never been in off season before.

What would be the main activities at that time of year? It is definitely a detour, being at the dead end of the deepest valley in Europe but it is a lovely place and the Matterhorn is exceptional.



Has anyone stopped off at Domodossola in the way to Brig, and if so what did you think?
I actually prefer Zermatt in summer, the scenery and colours are fantastic. Plenty of walking trails, the flowers are in bloom, the air is fresh, the sky is a beautiful blue and the lakes and rivers are stunning. Gorner gorge is a great walk through a stunning gorge on a wooden walkway. All the gondolas are still open and you can get some stunning views over the mountains and still be able to ski in some parts.
We have stopped in Domodossola for lunch and it was quite nice to wander around for a few hours. Unfortunately haven’t stayed the night there.
 

offshore171

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I actually prefer Zermatt in summer, the scenery and colours are fantastic. Plenty of walking trails, the flowers are in bloom, the air is fresh, the sky is a beautiful blue and the lakes and rivers are stunning. Gorner gorge is a great walk through a stunning gorge on a wooden walkway. All the gondolas are still open and you can get some stunning views over the mountains and still be able to ski in some parts.
Actually this is starting to look like a goer. I did some searching and the accomodation prices are about 1/3 of the price they charge during ski season.

Are the pubs and restaurants generally open in the village out of season?
 
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jase05

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Actually this is starting to look like a goer. I did some searching and the accomodation prices are about 1/3 of the price during ski season.

Are the pubs and restaurants generally open in the village out of season?
Everything is open in Zermatt as there is snow all year round. We were recently there in the middle of summer and it still gets plenty of tourists and can be busy at times unlike St Moritz that was like a ghost town and half the shops were closed.
 

kelvedon

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Option 2 is to take the western side of the lake and train it up to Lugano, Domodossola and ending up in Brig. This is of course further away from Lake Constance, but we've got a week.

Any recommendations on either of these routes?
The trip up from Como to Domodossolo via Lugano would involve back tracking south again as the Simplon line runs west of Lago Maggorie not Lake Lugano or going through Locarno.
It would be quicker to travel south to Milan to pick up the train through the Simplon tunnel to Brig. Following your detour to Zermatt, you could then continue on through the Lotschberg tunnel to Spiez where you could either continue on to Bern or turn east along Lake Thun to Interlaken and take the Brunnig Line over to Lucerne.
 
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offshore171

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Thanks for that.

I just had a play with the timetables and it looks quite doable in a day.

We’d head south from Varenna to Milan as you suggest and pick up the train to Visp, and then change for Zermatt.

We’d then aim for one further 2-3 night stop somewhere to split the distance between Zermatt and Lake Constance (Friedrichshafen). Have visited Luzern and interlaken previously.

Any suggestions?
 

jase05

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Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur?
Chur is a wonderful place to visit and I’d probably head that direction but the trouble with Switzerland is you are spoilt for choices so in reality anyway you go will see some wonderful villages or cities.
Or as suggested below, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen are all stunning so take your pick
 
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kelvedon

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Interlaken or Luzern would have been my suggestions. IMO there is probably more to see in the city of Luzern though Interlaken has a better location for the really high mountains. If you’re not sick of trains and planes The Swiss Transport Museum is excellent.
Verkehrshaus der Schweiz
Grindelwald is near to Interlaken, and lives in the shadow of the Eiger. Easy access for the spectacular trip up the Jungfrau
Jungfrau - Top of Europe - Tickets für alle Bergbahnen der Jungfrauregion: Jungfraubahn, Harderbahn, Grindelwald-Firstbahn, Schilthornbahn, Berner Oberland-Bahn und Schynige Platte-Bahn
Or more affordably, simply take the train over the Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen and down to Lauterbrunnen. Awesome views of either huge mountains or clouds, depending on the weather!
I book my tickets directly from Tickets for Switzerland | SBB
Or Trenitalia - Homepage English - Trenitalia
And if you’re not already using it, look at the excellent The Man in Seat Sixty-One - the train travel guide...
 

offshore171

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Thanks all for the contributions.

Last question: has anyone taken a Zeppelin tour out of Friedrichshafen?

We’ve visited the Zeppelin museum previously (excellent btw) but this time we’re planning to take a flight out over the lake and into the alps. Interested in any comments.
 

jase05

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Thanks all for the contributions.

Last question: has anyone taken a Zeppelin tour out of Friedrichshafen?

We’ve visited the Zeppelin museum previously (excellent btw) but this time we’re planning to take a flight out over the lake and into the alps. Interested in any comments.
I’m disappointed I didn’t know about the Zeppelin’s until too late. We were driving from Innsbruck to Singen to drop off the rental car and I came around a bend near Wasserburg and there she was at eye level. Needless to say when we pulled over for a lunch I googled it and found out about the flights :(
Gives us a good reason to go back now though
 

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