Bernina Express to Cinque Terra

May 8th, 2015, 05:33 PM
  #1  
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Bernina Express to Cinque Terra

We are in Brussels now. we are taking the Bernina Express to Tirano.Spending the night there then on to the Cinque Terra. We understand we can get the unreserved train to Varenna from Tirano.Then take a boat ride across Como for fun. We've been to Rio Maggiorea few years ago and want to see Lake Como. From Lake Como shall we get a train to Milan then on to our hotel in Levanto?

Any specific train info from Como / Varenna to Levanto is appreciated. We can't figure out where to get tickets in Varenna to Milan or the Levanto area. I have read we have to find an agent somewhere?
Thank you.
jamesly is offline  
May 8th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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Frankly, I would spend the night almost anywhere besides Tirano. Not much to see and do there IMO. Why not take the train to Varenna and spend the night there?

The station in Varenna is probably still unmanned. At one time it did have ticket machines but most people were recommending buying tickets at a nearby travel agency.

You can check schedules from Tirano and Varenna-Esino here:

http://www.trenord.it/it/home.aspx?ssoToken=
Dukey1 is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 08:03 AM
  #3  
 
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In the case you would be interested in mountains, you should stop over somewhere around Pontresina. Otherwise your timetable would look like this:
Bruxelles dp 14.25 - Chur ar 23.45, change at Frankfurt and Zurich
Chur dp 8.32 - Tirano 12.45/13.10 - Bellano ar 14.31, dp by Lake Como boat 15.05 - Como ar 17.55, Como San Giovanni dp by train dp 19.13 - Milano Centrale 19.50/20.05 - Levanto ar 23.09.
neckervd is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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Not necessarily, Neckervd, they can take the TRAIN from Tirano all the way to Milan if they want to. Why spend time and energy changing to a boat UNLESS they actually want the lakeviews a boat affords?
Dukey1 is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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Why spend time and energy changing to a boat UNLESS they actually want the lakeviews a boat affords?>

Which is exactly what the OP stated THEY want to do.

regardless of how they get to Tirano let's address what they ask - Tirano to Varenna - boat to Como - going to the mainline train station in Como - San Giovanni - then going to Milan Centrale and changing there to a regional or IC train to Levanto - about every other hour direct or in between change at Genoa - if you take regional trains then any ticket is good on any regional train for like six hours after you buy it - there are no seat reservations possible so just hop on.

However from Como S Giovanni to Milan and Milan to Genoa you have either EC or IC trains that demand seat reservations before boarding and this comes with your ticket - it seems you should be able to buy all those tickets once in Como San Leandro, the mainline station and not the Nord de Milan commuter railway station right by the Como boat docks for boats from Varenna - these trains do not go to Milano Centrale but I believe to Milano Cardona so you'd have to transfer to Milano Centrale - a hassle.

Como S Giovani to Levanto takes between 3:45 and 4 hours depending on what types of trains - best to look for just one change of train in Milan from Como.

There is no need to reserve these trains in advance though you may get a minor discount on EC or IC portions of trains but those are sold in limited numbers so must be booked weeks early to guarantee and then are non-changeable non-transferable so just buy those tickets once in Como S Giovanni when you know exactly what trains you can catch- again no big savings I believe by booking Como to Levanto in advance - unlike high-speed trains - this is not a high-speed line but a slow-speed line.

For lots of stuff in general about European trains check www.seat62.com; www.budgeteuropetrave.com and www.ricksteves.com. If coming from Brussels by train then check out some kind of Eurail Select Pass that in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland lets you hop any train anytime - if you want full flexibility - and also on regional trains in Italy - IC EC you need the mandated seat reservation which IME is easily gotten on those type trains.

I have stayed in Tirano and found it a nice enough town, lots of hotels in vicinity of the station.
PalenQ is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 09:24 AM
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We can't figure out where to get tickets in Varenna to Milan or the Levanto area. I have read we have to find an agent somewhere?>

Well if going by boat you buy boat tickets at the boat dock, a short downhill stroll from Varenna's train station - then when get off the boat at Como take a bus or taxi to San Giovanni station which is a large mainline station that will have rafts of ticket machines and manned or womanned ticket windows.

Or in Tirano you could be a ticket all the way via Varenna to Como-Nord of course.
PalenQ is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Dukey:
"they can take the TRAIN from Tirano all the way to Milan if they want to"
That's obvious. But they tell us above that they WANT to take a boat and that they WANT to travel via Como.
neckervd is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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"Or in Tirano you could be a ticket all the way via Varenna to Como-Nord of course"
May be via Monza. But in this case it would be easier to go up to Milan.
neckervd is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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"Or in Tirano you could be a ticket all the way via Varenna to Como-Nord of course">

No I misfired - that train line from Tirano goes to Milano Centrale but not via Como - Como Nord or Como S Giovanni - dumb!
PalenQ is offline  
May 11th, 2015, 05:24 AM
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The boat option unfortunately will take a couple of hours longer all told than staying on the train to Milan - maybe leave it in flux until the day leaving Tirano and see how the weather is?
PalenQ is offline  
May 11th, 2015, 07:03 AM
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jamesly - Are you taking the official Bernina Express or local trains - you need a reservation for the official tourist-oriented train and they can fill up early - I assume you have one - if not and all is gone just hop the hourly or so regular regional trains that you can always hop on on that route. Some have open-air flat bed rail cars that to me are the ultimate observation car.
PalenQ is offline  
May 12th, 2015, 08:44 AM
  #12  
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Sorry for the late reply, I wasn't getting notifications..And I am doing some work here during the days so I missed this. Thank you all for your advice.

Whew. Lots of info..

So we decided NOT to take the boat across Lake Como..various reasons. Hopefully the train ride will be somewhat Lake "scenic"

Why stay in Tirano?
We are just looking for a relaxing night. Veranna seemed pretty darned small too. If there is a good restaurant and pretty scenery for the night.. We'll be happy.

Yes we have reservations on the BE. So I think we'll be good there. I called them directly to make sure we got it right.

As suggested here, we'll probably wait to buy the train tickets when we are in Tirano.. and as suggested PalenQ WE may wait and see about the boat still...

We'll go straight through to Tirano/Varenna/Milan/Levanto.
Staying at the Hotel Carla. This will be our third time in the Cinque Terra and I hope it's as fun as the previous 2...

One thing we are doing that has always been something we hoped to try is a Sleeper Car on the train.. We are taking a sleeper train on the CNL train from Cologne to Zurich...

I will try to report back on the Night train trip..
Thank you again.. May have more questions..
BTW Brussels has some good and some bad but all in all we have enjoyed it here a lot, once you know where to go it makes all the difference..! Really good restaurants and friendly folks.
jamesly is offline  
May 12th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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If you can select your seats on the BEX sit on the west side - right side going towards Italy as IME nearly all the awesomemost views are on that side - if there are empty seats on the right and you're on the left - move to the right ASAP.
PalenQ is offline  
May 12th, 2015, 10:08 AM
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Which Bernina Express train did you book?

If you travel by CNL up to Zurich, you will arrive at Zurich at 8.33 and at Chur at 10.43
The Bernina Express train which starts from Chur leaves Chur at 8.32
So you have most probably booked the BEX train starting at St. Moritz at 15.12 and arriving at Tirano at 17.32. I suppose you know that you will have to take a standard train from Chur dp 10.58 to St. Moritz ar 12.55.

BTW: if you leave Bruxelles at 17.45 and travel via Roenedaal to Arnhem, you can board your sleeping car 2 hrs earlier than if you leave Brux at 19.28 by direct Cologne bound rain.
(can make sense if you have a eurailpass)
neckervd is offline  
May 12th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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(can make sense if you have a eurailpass)>

Only consecutive day passes not flexipasses that most folks have - the 7pm rule - board the overnight train itself after 6:59 pm and the next day would be your unlimited travel day, getting 7 pm to midnight gratis - but if you took a train to get to the night train anytime- before 7 or not you'd have to use two days on a flexipass.

and sometimes you can keep going on in the morning and really travel far on just one day on a flexipass - like in this case going from Zurich to St Moritz and Italy.
PalenQ is offline  
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