Getting to Varenna from Milan or Zurich.

Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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Getting to Varenna from Milan or Zurich.


Could you please help me with a few questions about traveling from Milan or Zurich?

First, could you tell me specifically how I get to Varenna from the Milan Malpensa airport? I think I have to take a shuttle bus from the airport to Milan Central Station, then another train to Varenna. Is this correct and how much does that cost?

Second, is it possible to land in Zurich and then travel to Varenna on the same day? What trains would you take? I am guessing I would have to take a train from Zurich to Lugano, then a bus to Managio, and then the ferry to Varenna. Is that correct? Do you have any idea how long that would take and how much that would cost?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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For train travel info, I like the english version of the Die Bahn website.

As far as Malpensa to Varenna is concerned, there are a lot of combinations of ways to get there.
Last year, we took a bus from Malpensa to the town of Como. Got off right by the waterfront. Took one of the regularly scheduled boats up to Bellagio/Varenna.

You are correct. There is a bus from Malpensa to the Centrale station and then a train centrale to Varenna.
There is a train from Malpensa that is part of Milan's commuter rail service but this forces you to take two commuter trains (so possible the complexity eliminates any time savings).
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 07:33 PM
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If you want to go from Zurich Airport to Varenna on Lake Como, IMO, I would suggest you take either of the train routes below (see the rail.ch site for train schedules and www.navigazionelaghi.it for ferry schedules on Lake Como ):

Zurich Airport Como ferry to Varenna (change trains at Zurich main station, 5 to 5.5 hours, estimated)

Zurich Airport Varenna-Esino (change trains at Zurich main station & Milan (6 to 6.5 hours)

It may be easier to take the train all the way from Zurich to Varenna-Esino station than to take the train just to Como and then the ferry from Como, as you don't have to lug yourself and bags between train stations and ferry piers, you just have to switch trains in stations.

It is NOT necessary to take a train to Lugano, then a bus over to Menaggio, then a ferry over to Varenna (I assume that is what you mean by " Managio"). IMO this would take as long or longer than going via train to Como and then the ferry, or even going via train all the way to Varenna. I don't think there is very frequent bus service between Lugano and Menaggio, see http://www.sptlinea.it/. It takes 3.5 hours by train from Zurich to Lugano, and then you have to get over to Menaggio and then get the ferry. As far as I know there is no Swiss Post Bus service, this is a local Italian bus service.

It would be possible to do the trip from Zurich airport in a day, as you are taking a major rail line to Milan. There are frequent trains to Varenna Esino. The trick is to take the train with the fewest changes and also the shortest time. Check the rail.ch schedule and your flight arrival time.

I would say that landing at Milan Malpensa and taking the direct bus would be far easier on you, unless there is a big savings in the airfare (but you have to add in the train fare to get down to Como too).
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:29 PM
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There is one Postbus a day in either direction to/from Menaggio as part of the Palm Express between Lugano and St. Moritz. You need to reserve a seat. The bus leaves Lugano across from the station at 11:40. You can find the schedule on sbb.ch

menaggio.com warns about the SPT bus that:
"from the train station [Lugano] to the bus station [Lugano] is more than 1 km. We advise taking a taxi to the bus stop"

So be aware that the Swiss Post bus and the SPT bus stop at different places in Lugano.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:38 PM
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I forgot to add that the Palm Express Postbus runs only in the summer.

If you're willing to take another day, you could train to St. Moritz on your arrival day, and the following day take the famous Berina Express (or another train on that route to Tirano. In Tirano change trains for Varenna-Esino.
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Old Jan 25th, 2008, 04:07 AM
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Thanks to all. While the airfares to Zürich are about $250 cheaper per person, it looks like a lot of those savings would be eaten up by the cost of the train from Zürich to Como which appears to be over 40 euros. I'll have to check the airfares as we get closer (we are planning for a late June trip).

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