Grindelwald to Lugano

Jan 21st, 2004, 11:42 AM
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Grindelwald to Lugano

We are receiving two free round trip tickets to Zurich in August. It will be our first trip to Switzerland, and we have about 10 days. Tentative itinerary:
Arrive Zurich, spend 2-3 days, including one as a day trip to Lucerne.
Zurich to Grindelwald (3 hour train ride). Spend 3 days in Grindelwald, including one as day trip to Jungfrau.
Grindelwald to Lugano (5.5-7 hour trip by train?!).
Spend 3 days in Lugano.
return from Lugano to Zurich (3 hour train ride) for final night.
Is there a better way to get from Grindelwald to Lugano?
Please give me your comments and suggestions on this point, and on my itinerary in general. Thank you.
dflawyer is offline  
Jan 21st, 2004, 12:00 PM
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My advice would be to skip Zurich unless you really have your heart set on it. With only 10 days in Switzerland I personally don't think that Zurich is worth 2 or 3 of them. The trains that run from Grindelwald to Lugano all seem to go through Luzern, so what you could go is first go to Grindelwald from Zurich for a few days, then take the train to Luzern (3-4 hours) and stay there for a few days. And then from Luzern you could go to Lugano (under 3 hours) and then back to Zurich.
Jan 21st, 2004, 12:52 PM
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I agree with the above suggestion that 3 days in Zürich is perhaps secondary given all of the wonderful scenery in the Alps.

From Grindelwald to Lugano, the trip is indirect because of the routes the trains must take to get around and under the mountain ranges.
One the routes from Grindelwald is through Luzern, which means you actually go north from Grindelwald via Interlaken Ost to go south to Lugano.
Another connection takes a route back to Bern and over to Olten and then to Lugano while a third one I know of actually takes you all the way back to Zürich!!

Possibly you want to consider Zürich, Grindlwald, Luzern (for a night) and then continue on to Lugano. I suggest this intermediate stop because Luzern is a pretty city with some attractive places to visit.

People who know Switzerland might ask why not go by way of Brig and the Simplon Tunnel. It is possible, but the route ends up going through Milan. Nothing wrong with that route either, but it is equally round about.

The return trip to Zürich from Lugano is less than 3 hours with some of the connections.
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 12:44 PM
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We've done something similar in the past, and I have a suggestion.

Stop 1: Train from Zurich airport to Luzern--stay 2 nights. You'll be dog tired after the flight and a 1.25 hour train ride is much better than the 3 hour one to Grindlwald. Lucerne is much prettier than Zurich, IMO, and appeals to those who prefer a small manageable town, not a large city. Of course, if you like big cities, Zurich may be your cup of tea.

Stop 2: Grindlwald for 3 days

Stop 3: Consider Locarno instead of Lugano and go the Brig-Domodossola route. Why? Locarno is quieter, a much easier city to navigate than Lugano, very pretty in its own right and the Centovalli train from Domodossola passes through beautiful territory. (Can't resist these plugs: If you go to Locarno, try Restaurant Al Pozz across from the lake in Muralto--they have this roasted chicken and risotto dish that is terrific. Casa Del Populo in the old town has great breaded veal and pizza. Hotel du Lac is on the Piazza Grande and has rooms with balconies overlooking the lake for ~210chf/nt)

Spend your last night in Zurich if you have an early flight and/or want to see a bit of this city.
JN is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 07:03 PM
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I second the notion of bypassing Lugano in favor of Locarno... unless you are really, really into shopping and have lots of money.
Jean is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 07:02 AM
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The rail route from Zurich ( or Luzerne) to Lugano does NOT go through Milan and it is not as "roundabout" as "The Navigator" has don't let that inaccurate information cloud your decision. You can get there from Zurich in only one change if necessary and within a few hours. Check schedules at or and have a great trip.
Jan 23rd, 2004, 07:04 AM
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And you can get there from Grindelwald even easier, probably by going through'll need to look at the schedules if you're going to make some sort of reasonable decision.
Jan 23rd, 2004, 08:30 AM
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Well you don't go anywhere from Grindelwald by train without going through Interlaken, unless you want to climb over the mountains or take the bus in the summer via Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen and then take a train somewhere -- either north over the Brunig Pass to Luzern or west to Interlaken Ost.

As for round about from Grindelwald to Lugano, any time I have to go northwest or north before I go south, I consider it round about. It is certainly less direct than a straight line route!!

Neither Bern, Zürich, nor Luzern is on a direct line from Grindelwald to Lugano.

The shortest journey timewise from Grindelwald to Lugano is through Spiez, the Lötschberg Tunnel, Brig, Simplon Tunnel to Milano Central and then north to Lugano. Three changes: Interlaken Ost, Spiez, and Milano.

If you consider that route, then Zermatt becomes a mild detour west and south from Brig.

But you don't have time on this trip for every scenic mountain village.

bob_brown is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 09:31 PM
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We traveled by train from Murren to Lugano in June 2002. I made our reservation at the train station in Lauterbrunnen when we arrived there. I researched the routes extensively before leaving and printed them out. I showed them to the agent and she picked out a route she said was the best. We did have to go back to Zurich which takes about 3 hours and then pick up the train for Lugano which took about 3 hours. We got in about 2:30 p.m.

I'm not saying this is the best or shortest route, just what we did.

We enjoyed Lugano and surrounds. Stayed at the Park Hotel Villa Nizza and really loved it.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 11:51 PM
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I disagree that there's nothing to do in Lugano if you're not into shopping. Actually, we found Lugano much more interesting than Locarno. We took the boat cruise, attended a concert, went to the art museum, and took the funiculare up to the top of Monte Bre, explored the tiny streets, and relaxed in the city park with its unbeatable view. Kept us very busy for three days and we would have stayed much longer if we'd had the time.
A few bits of advice for Lugano: book a hotel with air conditioning! You will need it in August. Also, bring your bathing suit. Lugano has a very nice public swimming beach.
BTilke is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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I totally agree with BTilke. We enjoyed riding the ferries and going to a couple of small towns, especially Gandria. Just make sure you check out the ferry schedules and plan your time. There are two nice churches in Lugano as well. We were there in July and there was a huge jazz festival at night in the downtown area which was really fun.

I don't have my old itinerary but the more I think about it, the more I believe we went back to Lucerne and then to Lugano and not back to Zurich. The advantage was that we had a direct train from Lucerne to Lugano.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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We only stayed one night in Zurich. We arrived early from Lugano and had enough time to see the famous Chagall windows and walk down the great shopping street to the Lake. It was a Saturday and we enjoyed all the people as well as the flea market in the plaza by the lake. The old town area was "hopping" on Saturday night.

Here is a thread in which I posted a report on our Lugano trip and yes, we did go through Lucerne. Perhaps you will find some info here that is helpful:
Ronda is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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Here is another with some info on Bernese Oberland if you read down far enough:

(hope I copies those shortcuts right)
Ronda is offline  

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