Venice to Zurich by train via a scenic route
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jun 27, 2012 1:54 PM Last Post By: neckervd
Jun 18, 2012 1:44 AM
I have really tried to do a lot of homework & really wanted to go via on the Bernina Xpress but due to the time schedules we are finding this may not be possible in the short time frame we have.& along with the time of the year which will be late Dec early Jan meaning not a lot o daylight hours
So we do know that the regional trains do the same route just will not have big glass carriages.We are ok with that as long as we get to see the scenery.
Our question is: Is this doable without a lot of train changes & in daylight hours with just one overnight stop somewhere (pls not St Moritz due to the prices around that time of the year & availability because our budget will only stretch to around 300sf per night)
Where will the best scenery be from to. Can we go Venice (dep as early as we can) - Milan - Tirano & then onto some where after Tirano for our o/n stop withour missing out on any scenery & then picking up a train again the next morning into Zurich or will we still miss out on much of the scenery given the number of daylight hours we will have.
We also believe we can forward our luggage onto Zurich without having to manhandle it ourselves at any stops can we only do that from Tirano
We also have to be mindful of staying anywhere very high say over 3000m due to health issues & thin air
Do hope someone can help us with some proposals & expert advice
Jun 18, 2012 3:43 AM
1Departures from Venice to Poschiavo (last village before the Bernina Pass) at 6.58, 8.50, 10.50, 12.50 (about 7 hrs)
The train change at Milan and at Tirano is very easy (no steps). I don't recommend the luggage transport by rail (would last at least 3 days).
Poschiavo - Bernina Pass - Pontresina - Albula Pass - Chur - Zurich: trains more or less every hr from 6.28 until 17.34 (5 hrs journey).
In late December, it will get dark at 4pm. The sun will rise behind the mountains around 9 to 10 am.
Jun 18, 2012 7:10 PM
So would Poschiavo be ok for our o/n stop & hmmm not liking u saying that the fwd luggage service may take 3days when I read 2days from checkin to pick up so they would not guarantee that??
So would the # of train changes be: Venice to Milan (1st change) Milan to Tirano (2nd change) Tirano - Poschiavo o/n)
Then Poschiavo - Zuirich would there be any train changes. Its manhandling our luggage that is our main issue & am I correct in assuming that not all stations to trains will be on a level footing therefore making it necessary having to lift heavy suitcases up into trains a number of times.during the whole of the trip.
Edited by: Peggysue45
Edited by: Peggysue45
Jun 19, 2012 9:55 AM
3Luggage service Italy - Switzerland:
I don't know any reliable offer. Trenitalia offer only luggage transport between big cities (like Venice to Milan or Rome). For international transport, they work with TNT which guarentees the transport of a suitcase from Venice to Zurich within 5 days (express tariff) or 6 days (economic express tariff). The Italian Post offers a (much cheaper) similar service, but you will have to count in weeks rather than in days,
For Swiss domestic travel, you register your luggage until 7pm and you collect it after 9am on the day after next. This service is provided at each staffed station, for example Tirano (Swiss section), Poschiavo, Pontresina or St. Moritz.
All that is not of big help if you must do the journey within 2 days.
"So would Poschiavo be ok for our o/n stop?"
Frankly, it's difficult to recommand anything, because all will depend on the weather. Tirano could be a solution too. Poschiavo is smaller, more scenic, but more expensive (prices in Swiss francs and not in euros like at Tirano). If you leave Venice with the first train, you could go up to Pontresina or St. Moritz until it gets dark. But prices there will be at their top between Christmas and New Year (famous winter sport area).
Train changes at Milano, Tirano, St. Moritz, Chur (same platform), Zurich main station, plus Poschiavo if you sleep there, may be Pontresina and Samedan instead of St. Moritz if you want to use a shortcut.
Jun 19, 2012 5:47 PM
Would you know of any Swiss tour company who may offer a package that is similar to the Rocky Mountaineer. ie: Train (Bernina Express) which would include an overnight stop with all train tickets (along with any regional trains),& accommodation this would also eliminate any luggage handling on our part- but I am thinking not as I have put in a lot of searches & not coming up with anything :(
'Train changes" - will we have any difficultiy in finding the next train with each change (& pls tell us which is the most common language spoken in Switzerland so that we can have English translations ready)
"So would Poschiavo be ok for our o/n stop?"
"Frankly, it's difficult to recommand anything, because all will depend on the weather" - can you explain what the weather will depend upon pls. If we decide to o/n here is the station far from the town centre so that I can keep that in mind when searching accommodation or are taxi's readily available.
May we also ask you this without highjacking this original thread of our time in Zurich of the following:
Day trip to Lucerne - Day trip to Heidland/Liechtenstein - Day trip to Mt Rigi we have to be mindful of high altitudes so Jungfrajoch would be out but believe Mt Rigi to see (we do not wish to go to the top) just as good. Are these towns all worth seeing. Our interests are basically your countryside - alps (seeing not climbing them lol) - historical monuments & archaeological type ruins/museums- we are not into art.
We are looking at 6nights in Zurich would this be enough to see & do those day trips as well as having a couple of leisure days
I will repost if you do not wish to answer our Zurich Q's on this thread
I am unsure of Lonely Planet rules & regulations as its my 1st time on the board as am usually on TripAdvisor.
Jun 19, 2012 11:18 PM
Jun 20, 2012 1:28 AM
6"'Train changes" - will we have any difficultiy in finding the next train with each change?"
Of course not!
At Milan, a big electronic display above the central hall and many small displays on all platforms show destination, departure time and platforms of all trains that will leave in the next 30 minutes or so. In addition to that, there are printed lists of the same for the whole day. If ever, you prefer to ask a railway official on the platform, just show your ticket and ask where you have to go (in any language, he will understand (not the language, but your problem)
At Tirano, you cannot get wrong: the Rhetian (Swiss) railway station is just a few metres beside the Italian one and there is only one railway line (and only 1 train).
The stations of Pontresina, St. Moritz and Samedan are very small and there are hardly more than 2 trains in them (the train in which you arrive and the train you will have to board). Loud speaker announcements are usually made in Rumantsch, German and English.
At Chur, the Zurich bound train waits at the same platform.
Weather in December:
Tirano is 430m/1400ft above Sea level, Poschiavo at 1015m/3330ft. The probability that there may be some snow is higher at Poschiavo than at Tirano. Nights at Poschiavo are colder for sure. There is sometimes fog and/or wind in the Valtellina Valley (and thus at Tirano) whereas the sun shines at Poschiavo.
The distance between Poschiavo railway station and Poschiavo center (with 5 hotels) is about 300-500m.
Taxi at Poschiavo:
Gianluca Balzarolo, Via Dal Crot 296, 7742 Poschiavo, Tel +41 (0) 81 844 10 42, Fax +41 (0) 81 844 10 66
Crameri Luigi, Via da Mez, 7742 Poschiavo, Tel +41 (0) 81 844 08 68, +41 (0) 79 681 22 05
At Tirano, Hotel Bernina is just in front of the railway station.
Day trips from Zurich to Lucerne, Rigi (only about 1700m/5500ft above sea level), etc. are possible, of course. But be aware that the countryside in the Alps is much more spectacular.
For other medieval towns and scenic landscapes, you may check
Entirely walled medieval town of Murten
Roman theatre and museum of Avenches
Menhirs around Grandson
Gorges de l'Areuse and Creux du Van
Watch museums at La Chaux de Fonds and Le Locle
Underground mills of Le Locle
Musical box museums at L'Auberson, Ste-Croix and Seewen SO
Celtic lake dwelling museums at Neuchatel-Hauterive and Biel/Bienne
Caves of Vallorbe, Reclere, Beatus (check opening times in winter)
Medieval city of Berne and it's fine museums
Lucerne: historic center, Rosengart Museum (Picassos), Glacier mills, steamboats plying the lake, cog railways to Pilatus and Rigi
Baroque churches/monasteries at Solothurn, St. Urban, Einsiedeln, St. Gallen
Subtropical gardens at Brissago Islands, Isola Bella (Italy), Isola Madre (I), Villa Carlotta (I)
Engadin Valley (St. Moritz - Scuol)
Swiss National Museum at Zurich with dependances at Schwyz, Prangins, Gandria, Wildegg
Aletsch Glacier (Riederalp)
Rhine falls and historic towns of Schaffhausen (with castle) and Stein am Rhein
Medieval Gruyeres with cheese diary and nerby chocolate factory (Cailler at Broc)
You may also fly from Venice to Basel or Geneva. Fares start at 66 EUR. http://www.easyjet.com
Jun 20, 2012 1:39 AM
Jun 26, 2012 5:13 PM
8Thx Seat 61 enjoy ur reports.
"Milan depart 10:20, Zurich arrive 18:53 via Tirano, Chur and the Bernina Express" Is this a timetable that makes departing Tirano on the BE at around 2pm Train 952 (winter schedules as we will be there 1st week Jan)
If so due to short daylight hours would we be completing some of the journey in darkness? so even if we did o/n in St Moritz would we have still seen the best scenery in daylight
Then I am concerned about connecting with the BE the next day Train 972 which leaves Tirano @ 8.50am could we catch that one but again confused that the schedule only says it arrives in St Moritz @ 11.12 & then nothing more does it terminate there or is there a change of trains & do we also have to be mindful of the days that it runs?
The 2011 timetable states that the service does not run between 27th Dec - 31st Dec would that be the case this year also would you know. I really think that at the end of the day we will find it a lot easier to go on the regional instead of stressing out trying for the BE given the time of the year as I am sure we will see just as good on the regional do you know if there are different classes on the regionals on this route
Many thx also for the heads up on the ticket purchasing much appreciated
Jun 27, 2012 1:54 PM
9Timetables valid until Dec 8th 2012:
Short cut Pontresina - Samedan in both fields
(3 star Hotel)
From US$86.35 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$411.86 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$27.26 per night