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Can I easily get from Wengen Switzerland to Milan Malpensa Airport?

Can I easily get from Wengen Switzerland to Milan Malpensa Airport?

Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:32 AM
  #1  
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Can I easily get from Wengen Switzerland to Milan Malpensa Airport?

We usually get a car on vacation, but I hear Switzerland is easy to traverse by train. If we fly into Geneva and take a train to Wengen, or Murren for about 4 days, could I easily get to Milan Malpensa airport (MXP) to pick up a rental car for the rest of our trip?

I am sorry to post this instead of doing my own research but I am at work and I have to make a decision between two sets of held airline tickets ASAP and I don’t know what to do. Hubby wants car, end of story, but maybe it is not the right choice for the whole trip this time?

Scenario 1 - Fly into Milan, get car, 4 days Italian Lakes, 4 days Switzerland (Wengen or Murren- leave car in a lot in Lauterbrunn?), 5 days Bologna, 1 night transit back to Milan via Siena (or nearby town).

Scenario 2 – Fly into Geneva, train to Wengen or Murren, somehow get to MXP, continue on - 4 days Italian Lakes, 5 days Bologna, 1 night transit back to Milan via Siena (or nearby town).

We originally thought of flying into Geneva, get the car, and then flying out of Bologna, but the one way fees appear to double the cost of the rental. We decided to get and return the car at MXP.

Can anyone help me figure out how to easily get from Wengen or Murren to MXP? Would we be missing out of great scenery by not driving ourselves?
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Very Simple. Take the train from Interlaken to Milan. They have regular bus service to MXP from the Milan train station. I did this "trip" several years ago as I believe it's around a 4/5 train trip from Interlaken to Milan. I'm sure you'll receive other replies with more specific details.
barbmike is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 10:06 AM
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I meant to say 4/5 HOUR train trip.
barbmike is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Final Note. I just checked out the train schedule, and it's slightly over 3 hours from Interlaken to Milan.
barbmike is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 10:14 AM
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By train:

Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, change trains, to Interlaken-Ost, change trains (must change because of differing track gauges - from one platform to another - then train to Spiez, on mainline Bern to Milan - with new Lotschberg base tunnel times have been slashed about an hour to Milan via Brig - there are plenty of direct Cisalpino trains Spiez to Milan but on othe links you may have to change at Brig (or Visp?) so try to catch the direct Spiez to Milan Centrale Cisalpino trains. Travel time should be about 4-5 hours all told is suspect. www.sbb.ch - Swiss Railways site for schedules. And the indications of your Swiss train rides says you should strongly investigate the Swiss Pass (Swiss Saver Pass for more than one traveling together - covers all your trains, even to Wengen as well as lake boats on Lake Geneva or the two lakes, Thun and Brienz in the Interlaken area (i just love taking steamers on these lakes - often overlooked by tourists when heading to the hills though) - for lots of Swiss trains these info-laden sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.sbb.ch (Swiss Federal Railways site); www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html - i have traveled on Swiss trains and Swiss Passes for too many years to admit and can say that the rail system here is easy to use, frequent, relatively on time and just fantastic - towns like Wengen don't even allow cars in so the only way to reach it is by rail (or foot - but a steep uphill hike in that case!)
Palenque is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Simple, but be aware that there are multiple connections. You will need to change trains at Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, and Spiez, and then depending on the train, possibly at Brig and possibly also at Domodossola.
Instead of taking the train all the way to Milano Centrale, you can get off the train at Gallarate (before Milano Centrale). Gallarate has bus service to MXP.
SPQR is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:14 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hey HC,

Is MXP the only place in Italy that you can get your car?

ira is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Ira brings up a good point - cities before Milano on the route from Switzerland may be more convenient - Stresa for example, a lovely lovely resort town on lovely Lake Stresa would be much more convenient and manageable for car rental pick up it seems or even Domodossola, just over the border.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:50 AM
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I know it sounds like a lot of train changes in Switzerland but these are tiny stations. You get out of one train and right into another with people handy to ask in case you aren't sure.

I stressed about it and it was nothing. We did it in reverse coming from MIlan.

You get into either a train or tram --depends on whether you are leaving Wengen or Murren.
You change to a train in Lauterbrunnen that goes to Interlaken Ost
You change to a train going to Speiz
You stop but don't get out at Brieg.
You get to Milan.
You change at Interlaken Ost--be sure to get off at Interlaken Ost (East)
Connie is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Thank you all so very much for your very timely and very informative replies - even including links. You can really count on Fodorites! I even have a couple of hours to spare

I am certain now that if we do not pick up a rental car at the begining of our trip we will be able to easily get to Milan or vicinity to handle.

Ira, Palenque, you bring up valid points. I plan on leaving from MXP so I was using it as the pick up/drop off point. Of course airport fees pick up fees may offset the one way (within Italy) drop off fees, so as soon as I decide where we are going at the lakes I may be able to find an even better car rental spot.

This trip is for September 2010 and I just put the frequent flyer itinerary on hold and have to purchase tonight. I don't really know where I am going yet, just general areas.

All that is left is the "discussion" with hubby!!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:21 PM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi HC,

>.....the one way (within Italy) drop off fees,<

Who is charging you drop off fees within one country?

ira is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:30 PM
  #12  
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It is so far out that AutoEurope - my usual broker - does not have rates yet. Sixt and EuropCar were very high pricewise. Hertz was charging more for a MXP pick up with a drop at Bologna (BLQ) than it was for a MXP drop off, but it was only $50 dollars or so. Still, it was still cheaper than Sixt and EC. I was just doing very quick searches to see if I was making any terrible mistakes with dates or pick up drop offs. You never know if there are big events going on. Renting in Geneva and dropping off Bologna was terrible.
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Perhaps if you stayed in say Stresa after getting off the train for the night and then picked up the car the next day, either here or at the airport, a short enough train ride away, you'd have one less car day to pay and that would be worth perhaps $50?

In any case Stresa is a gem of a lakeside resort on Lake Stresa, with the three famous Borromean Islands just offshort and a short motoscafi boat ride away.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 09:58 AM
  #14  
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I lost the discussion about car vs train, and booked my flight into and out of Milan Malpensa, scenario #1.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions though!

Hubby like to be in control of his time, and not be dependent on public transportation schedules - perhaps too many years of living with me, I always need 5 more minutes

He does like to drive, too, and has driven all over Europe so that helps. It takes us forever to get anywhere as we meander on down little road and stop for pictures and coffee, etc all over. We have fun so that is what is important.

I think we will reduce our time in Murren/Wengen or some such carless town to 2 nights and change the other two to Bern perhaps. There is a Holiday Inn there that we can stay free for points. Might make up part of the cost of the car
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 01:14 AM
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Take a drive through Emmental. It's a beautiful area of Switzerland and not many tourists go through there.
kleeblatt is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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Thank you for the recommendation Schuler - I have a stack of books on Switzerland from the library and will look up Emmental - must be the home of the cheese? I am a cheesehead so it will be just right for me
HappyCheesehead is offline  

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