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A quick trip from Luzern to Milan--Itinerary help!

A quick trip from Luzern to Milan--Itinerary help!

May 17th, 2019, 08:41 AM
  #1  
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A quick trip from Luzern to Milan--Itinerary help!

My family of 6 (my husband and I, 1 adult "child" and 3 teens) are traveling to Milan for 3 weeks, by way of Switzerland. We fly into Zurich at 2:00 p.m. on June 17 and will be staying our first night in Milan on June 20. The night of the 17th we have reservations in Luzern, but from there, where would you suggest spending our time? We originally wanted to visit the Jungfrau region, but that might not make the most sense logistically. Then we though heading down a straight shot southeast toward Bellinzona and Lugano made more sense. We'd like to enjoy as much of the iconic high Alps as we can (we are from Utah so mountains aren't unfamiliar to us). Please help! There are so many options and I want to make sure we make the best use of our minimal time in Switzerland.
scomp71 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 12:18 PM
  #2  
 
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The Jungfrau Region is the best place to experience high Alps- not Lucerne nor Lugano - ensonce yourselves in a cute mountain village like Wengen - car-less and carefree- great for families with municipal pool and kids games:

https://www.google.com/search?q=weng...ih=613&dpr=1.5

Just take train Zurich to Interlaken to Wengen - 2 full days there will be awesome. Trains are best in Switzerland - for lots on them check www.sbb.ch; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

If staying in Lucerne do a day trip to nearby Engleberg to get a taste of mini-high Alps:

https://www.google.com/search?q=enge...w=1008&bih=613
PalenQ is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 01:21 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for your response PalenQ. I realize that Lucerne and Lugano aren't the high Alps, but were thinking that option since travel is more direct to Milan. When I said we want to experience as much of the high Alps as we can, I was asking if there is a way to do so somehow while we were in Luzern or along the way from, I'd like suggestions.

We originally have reserved a hotel in Wengen, but thought that going from Wengen to Milan would be quite long. In your opinion you would suggest the Jungfrau region over anything else, even keeping in mind convenience of travel? (We wouldn't want to pay the extra expense to go up to the tops with Jungfraujoch or even). I'd love to just experience some typical Swiss culture, countrysides including cows and cowbells, and even mountain valleys. If we opt for the mini Alps version, is visiting Titlis or Rigi a good enough taste of the mountains, where we'd even experience a cogtrain and gondola rides? I guess I'm asking, if you were me making this same trip, what would you do?

Have you been to Bignaso in the Valle Maggio outside of Locarno?
scomp71 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 02:52 PM
  #4  
 
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Jungfrau is spectacular and deserves 4-5 days.

However, some of the most spectacular scenery is near Luzern, Mt. Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn are all deserving of day trips.

You don't go as high up as in the peaks in Jungfrau but you get mountains looming over Lake Luzern. In the summer, you will see green zones reaching up to snow capped peaks on clear (and the cost of these destinations almost demands you wait out for almost perfect weather).

One thing though, Luzern is expensive for pretty ordinary accommodations (but Switzerland is of course expensive in general) so there might be some places away from the city which are better-priced. Though maybe not as convenient for trains, buses, boats. I don't know, I would have to research more if I visit again.

In any event, if you're already going to stay in Luzern, you have some options for mountain and lake scenery. Of course the city also has its charms and you can walk around to some of the scenic sights in a couple of hours on an afternoon.
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May 18th, 2019, 10:13 AM
  #5  
 
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In your opinion you would suggest the Jungfrau region over anything else, even keeping in mind convenience of travel?>
Yup worth every penny - Wengen is 45 minutes from Interlaken and then 20 min to Spiez on the mainline to Milan. Base in Interlaken and it's just as quick to Milan probably as Lucerne. Interlaken is IMO a very nice town off the beaten path. Especially the Matten area with views of high Alps in distance.
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May 19th, 2019, 02:10 AM
  #6  
 
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" Have you been to Bignaso in the Valle Maggio outside of Locarno? "

Of course I have been at Bignasco. It's a small transport hub in the Alta Valle Maggia, close to the hiking trails of Gurin, Campo Vallemaggia, Robiei/Basodino Hut, Cristallina Hut, Piano di Peccia and Fusio, all variants of the hiking itinerary Chamonix - Merano.
Buses to Locarno every hr, to the mountain villages every 2 hrs, to Robiei every 2 to 5 hrs.
But as you told us in post 3 that even the 2 1/2 hrs train ride from the Bernese Oberland (Spiez) to Milan is too long for you, I cannot imagine how you could enjoy a trip to Bignasco.
neckervd is online now  
May 19th, 2019, 02:37 AM
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" I guess I'm asking, if you were me making this same trip, what would you do?"

I would travel from Lucerne dp 8.06 by train via Brunig Pass to Meiringen, leave the train and put my luggage into the 4 Passes roundtrip Postbus, just a few steps away from the train platform and travel via Grimsel Pass (40 min stop) - Nufenen Pass (15 min stop) to Airolo (1 1/2 hrs lunch stop).
If I were in a hurry, I would then fetch my luggage, move to the Lugano bound train (a few steps from the bus) and arrive at Lugano in early afternoon.
If not, I would go back to the bus and travel over the Gotthard Pass (15 min stop) to Andermatt where i would definitively leave the Postbus and change to the Glacier Express train, a few steps away. The Glacier Express leaves Andermatt at 15.54 runs via Oberalp Pass - Ruinaulta Gorge - Schyn Gorge - Albula Pass into the scenic Engadine Valley (Samedan, Celerina, St. Moritz, Pontresina) ar 20.45.
I would then stay a full day in the Engadine Valley in order to enjoy the glaciers, mountain peaks and mountain lakes (Bernina Diavolezza, Corvatsch, etc.) and reach Lugano the following day by Palm Express Postbus (St. Moritz dp 10.25 - Lugano ar 13.50) via Maloja Pass - Lake Como - Lake Lugano.
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May 19th, 2019, 02:48 AM
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.....as an alternative, I could board at Andermatt a train running into the other direction, change at Moerel to the gondola and reach Riederalp/Aletsch glacier shortly before 6pm. After a day in the Aletsch area, I would leave Riederalp at 19.03 and arrive at Milan at 21.37 (earlier train: 15.03 - 17.37).
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May 19th, 2019, 10:58 AM
  #9  
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Thank you neckervd, I must have misrepresented my comment about the trip to Milan being too long. I had meant that I didn't want travel between our destination cities to take up too much of our exploring time. I greatly appreciate your detail trip suggestions. As an alternative, (and as my family is leaning more towards seeing the Jungfrau region) do you have suggestions for that option? Again, we are staying night #1 in Luzern, and have a second night reserved in Wengen. The third night is up in the air. Thoughts on this?
(I also has considered ending up near Spiez so we could get that main line train to Milan on the 20th, the last day).
Thanks again. As you can probably guess, I can't make up my mind about this trip. So much to see and do in such a brief timeframe, and I know I can't even scratch the surface.
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May 19th, 2019, 11:00 AM
  #10  
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PalenQ, your hard sell on Jungfrau made me possibly reconsider. Do you have further suggestions on spending our time wisely (and economically) in this area for 2 days? I'm assuming the Swiss Travel Pass would be the way to go.
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May 19th, 2019, 12:01 PM
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Better if you had three nights there - the Jungfraujoch train is the highest in Europe and up top is a sea of snow and a glacier you can walk to.

Another day do some easy hiking - like the popular ridge train between The Mannlichen (cable from Wengen or Grindelwald) and easy downhill walk to Kleine Scheidegg (where you could hop on Jungfraujoch train. Going to Murren and the Schilthorn is my favorite excursion. Schilthorn is where James Bond's On Her Majesty's Secret Service was largely filmed during construction of the famous revolving restaurant.

https://www.google.com/search?q=schi...w=1008&bih=613

Swiss Travel Pass not a good idea for you plans - not doing enough but the Half-Fare Card YES - half-off everything that moves in Switzerland besides cows! Half-off Jungfraujoch train nearly pays for the Half-Fare Card - by it at any train station

Yes I do believe for average tourist Jungfrau Region, so easily accessible and trains and cables going off in every direction, is the place to go to appreciate the high Alps when landing in Zurich. Wengen again being a favorite of Fodorites.
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May 20th, 2019, 03:02 AM
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The Spiez - Milan trains cross the Alps in 2 long and many short tunnels (totally some 40 miles of tunnels). Above these tunnels you find the highest mountains and the longest glaciers of Switzerland. They can be visited by local trains, buses and gondolas (for example from Brig). You have the choice to reach Milan OVER these mountains or through tunnels.
As an alternative to the travel over the Alps, you can stay in the Bernese Jungfrau area (some mountains and glaciers too) and then take the fast train through the tunnels.
It's up to you.
neckervd is online now  
May 20th, 2019, 09:43 AM
  #13  
 
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The alternative routes from Spiez are neat but in no way compare to the awesome Alps in the Jungfrau. Unless you have a lot of time, I'd beeline it to Milan.
PalenQ is online now  
May 20th, 2019, 01:44 PM
  #14  
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PalenQ, Jungfraujoch is unfortunately out of the budget this time. We have over three weeks after Switzerland in Italy, so we still need to be budget minded. I do think we will do Schilthorn though. What other suggestions around the area?

Even if we take the train from Zurich to Luzern, then from Luzern to Grindlewald (we are now staying outside of this town) and nearby villages, and then to Spiez for our continuing trip to Milan, the Swiss Travel Pass isn't a good idea??? Maybe I have to map out our tentative itinerary and compare point to point prices with the STP. What about renting a car (but for 6 people and luggage)?
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May 20th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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Car would be good for that group but if returning car in Italy check on steep surcharges and be sure to tell Swiss rental agent you are going to Italy as they may have to make different insurance coverage or whatever. If driving I'd stay in Grindelwald, which to me has as good views as any place in Jungfrau area. Wengen is car-less so you have to leave your car way down in Lauterbrunnen but Grindelwald you can drive to your hotel - a definite plus for any group size but especially yours.

I strongly think The Swiss Travel Pass would be a waste of money - the Half-Fare Card would be better or no card at all for your trips if not doing the Jungfraujoch.

I'll think about some easy but great day trips for day 2 - be back and others will chime in hopefully.
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May 21st, 2019, 02:49 AM
  #16  
 
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A car is a good idea for almost all areas in the Alps except the Bernese Jungfrau area whre roads end at Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.
There is no road from Spiez to Italy neither, but a car shuttle train from Kandersteg to Goppenstein.
But once again, if you have a car and if you don't want to ignore completely the Swiss mountians, you must drive over the Passes and along the glaciers.
If you want to drive to Milan, drop off the car at Chiasso or Lugano, both in Switzerland and reach Milan from there by commuter train.
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