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italy-switzerland travel advice in mid to late May

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Mar 29th, 2015, 04:56 PM
  #1
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italy-switzerland travel advice in mid to late May

My husband and I are planning a trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland for 8 days (not including air travel time) in mid May. We are flying into Milan and planning to spend 3-4 days at Lake Como with a day trip to Verona, then traveling by train into Switzerland. Initially we planned to visit the Ticino, but since we're already spending time in Italy itself I thought it might be more interesting to spend a couple of days in Lucerne and a couple of days in the Berner Oberland (looking at Grindelwald or Wengen?). We fly out of Zurich.

Would it be better to go from Como to the Alps to Lucerne before taking the train to Zurich for our flight back, or should we do Lucerne and then to Grindelwald or Wengen? I'm trying to spend the least amount of time in transit and not overspend on trains to force an itinerary.

How much time do we need to see Lucerne and the BO? We are hikers, but not really hardcore. I am not much for big cities while on vacation unless they're REALLY interesting. I don't like going to museums just because they're there.

Is Zurich worth spending any time before our flight departs?

Another possibility would be to pick a second Italian destination before making our way to Lucerne and skipping the BO. Any thoughts on this? I studied abroad in Italy so it is dear to my heart, and I would never complain about spending the extra days there.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 05:52 PM
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kja
 
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"looking at Grindelwald or Wengen?"

People differ in their reactions. Of these two, I preferred Wengen.

"lI'm trying to spend the least amount of time in transit and not overspend on trains"

You can work out your options on sbb:
http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

"How much time do we need to see Lucerne and the BO?"

Depends on what you want to see and experience! As a VERY rough guide, maybe a day or two for Lucerne itself, and maybe a day or two for day trips from Lucerne. And again as a VERY rough guide, at least 3 or 4 for the Bernese Oberland -- although I'm not sure that mid-May is ideal for visiting there.

"Is Zurich worth spending any time before our flight departs?"

I thought it worth a couple of days. Not everyone thinks so. Your call.

Good luck!
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:18 PM
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A "day trip" from Lake Como to Verona? Where are you staying on the lake? Even from Como, it's about 2.5 hours each way to/from Verona. And the town of Como would not be my first, second or third choice for a stay on the lake.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 10:25 PM
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Hi theWanderbug1087,

As for your route, I recommend you do Lake Como - Berner Oberland - Luzern. That just makes the most sense geographically, as the Berner Oberland lies between Lake Como and Luzern. Also, Luzern is closer to the Zurich airport, so you're nicely located for your departure. In fact, there are direct trains from Luzern to Zurich airport that take an hour, so you could conceivably stay there the night before your flight out.

Normally I recommend Wengen as a base for the Oberland, but you may find it a bit boring in mid-May. Since Grindelwald is larger, there will be more restaurants and shops open, even in this low season.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Mar 30th, 2015, 01:36 AM
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"I'm trying to spend the least amount of time in transit and not overspend on trains to force an itinerary".
It seems to me that you will just do the contrary.

If you want to visit Verona it would make more sense to stay along Lake Garda. From there, it would be possible to visit other and less visited italian towns like Cremona (town of Stradivari), Mantova and it's stunning palace, the scenic old city of Bergamo, Trento, Padova.........

Why do you want to go to the Bernese Oberland? If it's only for high mountains and stunning glaciers, there would be tons of other places of easier reach from Lake Como or Verona, like
Bernina Diavolezza, Grawand (the highest hotel of the Alps in the middle of glaciers)....

If Verona is not a must, it could make more sense to stay along Lake Maggiore instead of Lake Como. Lake Maggiore is only a few miles from Milan Malpensa airport, along the railway line to Brig (Aletsch Glacier) - Visp (Zermatt/Matterhorn) - Spiez - Interlaken (Jungfrau).
There are also boats from Stresa/Lake Maggiore to Locarno (Switzerland) where you can board direct Lucerne bound trains.

But if the main purpose of your trip is to meet as many American and Asian tourists as possible, Lake Como, Interlaken etc. and Lucerne are the best choices by far....

You have only 8 days, so don't waste your time at Zurich, unless you are interested in one of it's stunning museums.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 09:15 AM
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Would it be better to go from Como to the Alps to Lucerne before taking the train to Zurich for our flight back, or should we do Lucerne and then to Grindelwald or Wengen? I'm trying to spend the least amount of time in transit and not overspend on trains to force an itinerary.>

Well definitely IMO take the train to Lucerne first if coming from Como as that rail line, the Gotthard line, has poor connections in May at least to the Jungfrau Region but practically direct to Lucerne (change at Arth-Goldau) - Lucerne to Interlaken is just two hours - take the scenic Brunig Pass route (part of the legendary Golden Pass train) - Interlaken has lots of easy train links to Zurich.

As for where to stay - Wengen is normally much more quiet than Grindelwald at any time of year but as wandav2000 says will be excetionally quiet in May - an off season with many things I think closed for lack of custom. Grindelwald will also have things closed but since many more folks gravitate there it makes the best sense.

For lots of great goodies on Swiss trains check these info-laden sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 11:50 AM
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To me and many for the average traveler the Jungfrau Region is the absolute highlight of Switzerland - not only dramatic glacier-girdled high Alps but a panoply of varied things to do from easy hikes to a muyriad of toylike trains and aerial gondolas going off in every direction.

I disagree with neckervd that the Italian Alps are just as good - well as mountains they may be but they just do not have the many public transport options to easily get to the peaks.

The Jungfrau Region will enthrall yous:

https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...=1600&bih=1075
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