Help from the experts on bernina exp.!

Aug 27th, 2013, 03:38 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Help from the experts on bernina exp.!

I am in need of some travel advice. Group of five adults would like to take the bernina express in Switzerland and end our trip in garmisch partenkirchen because we would like to visit family over the new years holiday that live in GP. . We can only travel between Dec. 24 til Jan 2, because of schedule concerns. We are trying to figure out the best route to take that would encompass the bernina express route and finish in GP. I notice long train rides with multiple changes from st moritz to GP and the same from Chur To GP. We don't have a specific route to take between bernina express route stops and GP. We are open to ideas which is the best route or routes! Any ideas?
orzo808 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 09:11 AM
  #2  
 
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My two cents: head directly to Garmisch. Fly to Munich, the train trip to Garmisch is easy and short, and if you want the experience of riding a train to the top of a mountain in the snow, do the Zugspitze train on a clear day. If you want supplementary trains in the snow, ride the trains to Oberammergau via Murnau and to Innsbruck via Mittenwalds as day trips. They are not the Bernina Express but will make life much more easier to you and your travel companions.

As for the original request: planning travel on the Alps in the mid of winter is not easy. Sometimes there is no snow (this is bad for skying and tourism), sometimes snow is moderate, sometimes snow is overwhelming and keeping buses and trains going very difficult. You cannot really tell ten days before travelling, let alone now in August. St. Moritz is at very high altitude, the Bernina railway much more. To this difficulties you add doing the trip in a week when almost any day is a festive one. And to add more difficulties, you want to ride the Bernina that means beginning or ending on the wrong side of Alps.

So: the Bernina railway goes from St. Moritz or Pontresina, Switzerland, to Tirano, Italy. You want to ride it? You either fly to Milano, overnight there - then train to Tirano and Pontresina/St. Moritz (and you would be doing this on Xmas day); or fly to Zurich, train to Chur and St. Moritz, than Bernina railway to Tirano, as soon as you arrive you go immediately back to St. Moritz. Hope the weather is good, if not you are simply riding a railway to the clouds.
Then: in summer you would take a train to Scuol-Tarasp and a bus to Landeck, Austria. Not sure the bus runs in winter, not even sure the road is open in winter. So you will probably have to take a train to Chur, then to Sargans, where you board a train to Innsbruck, where you change to Mittenwald and then to Garmisch. It is 7 hours in the summer timetable, not sure how it would work in winter and on festive days.
Making the logistic work will not be easy. If you are a train buff and spending your days on trains gives you joy, do it: we are talking about the most beautiful railways on earth. If you are a normal traveller, just reconsider and head directly to Garmisch. Minimizing travel distances in Alps during winter and staying all the time in a single place in order to choose the best day with the best weather to do a trip are sensible things to do.
asps is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 09:21 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi orzo808,

I generally take the train between my home in Garmisch and Switzerland once or twice a year.

I can tell you that the route from Scuol or Chur via Innsbruck to Garmisch is just stunning, as it rolls through the Tyrolian Alps. It's better imo than the Glacier Express.

The route from St. Moritz (via Chur, Sargans, Innsbruck) is only 6h57, and you couldn't do it any faster by flying -- 4h from St. Moritz to the Zürich airport, then 2h waiting, then the flight, then collecting your luggage, then 2h30 from München airport to Garmisch.

I assume you are starting in Italy (Tirano) and ending in St. Moritz.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 09:24 AM
  #4  
 
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Oh wow, I didn't notice the note by asps that snow in the winter can make going by train difficult. That has NOT been my experience at all. Tons and tons of skiers take the trains to the slopes all winter, and tons and tons of business commuters commute by train through the winter both in Switzerland and in Germany. The only time snow slows the rails is when there is a huge snow storm or a major avalanche -- the kind of thing that hits the newspapers. Under normal operation, snow won't affect the trains at all.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 09:25 AM
  #5  
 
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Oh wow, I didn't notice the note by asps that snow in the winter can make going by train difficult. That has NOT been my experience at all. Tons and tons of skiers take the trains to the slopes all winter, and tons and tons of business commuters commute by train through the winter both in Switzerland and in Germany. The only time snow slows the rails is when there is a huge snow storm or a major avalanche -- the kind of thing that hits the newspapers. Under normal operation, snow won't affect the trains at all.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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ooooh dear. So sorry for the double post.
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 11:01 AM
  #7  
 
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If you do the entire trip in ONE day that means about 9 hours which does not include the approximately 2-hr trip from Milan (assuming that is your origination point) to Tirano. A minimum of five changes.

If you think the whole thing is worthwhile then there pretty much is only one route from St. Moritz and that would take you through Chur with a change in Mittenwald and Innsbruck.

I suppose you could go to Munich and stop off there for a couple of days or perhaps travel via Salzburg.

You have said only that you want scenery..actually you haven't really even said that but rather implied it. Yes, the scenery on the BE route is spectacular but after that perhaps not quite as spectacular and look, as much as I like the idea there's only so many fir trees and snowdrifts you can see before you want to see/do something else.

And that possible "something else" might be?????
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 11:02 AM
  #8  
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I see from the switzerland rail website that there is only one train in late december around 2:30. I wonder if that is too late in the day to take this train, because it gets dark early in the winter. Or is it to early to plan the trip and they will put on more trains as the time approaches..
orzo808 is offline  

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