Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Italy via Triano to Wengen via Bernina express

Italy via Triano to Wengen via Bernina express

Sep 10th, 2019, 05:30 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 372
Italy via Triano to Wengen via Bernina express

Planning to enter Switzerland for a 7 night trip mostly in the Swiss alps of Jungfrau region and Lucerne after a 10 day trip in Italy via Milan.


Should I travel from Milan via Tirano and straight onto Bernina express to chur for my stay in first stop in Swiss alps ‘Wengen’
asimm is offline  
Sep 10th, 2019, 05:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 144
The Bernina-Albula is really one of the most beautiful rail lines of the world. I did it 1-3 times and still wish to return.

It is however very far from Wengen and a huge detour if you're going from Milano to Wengen. It may be possible to do it in 1 very long day with an early start and at least 6 changes of train, but you'll spend the entire day on trains.

Your alternative is:

A) First stop in Wengen as in your original plan, but in this case you should skip the Bernina line(do it on your next Swiss trip) doing the Gotthard-Panorama Express instea of the Bernina-Express.

B) Take the Bernina Express, but do an extra stop, at least for 1 night, before heading to Wengen.
BDKR is offline  
Sep 10th, 2019, 05:51 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,541
I'm not familiar with the route from Milan to Tirano, but have traveled to/from Tirano to various points in Switzerland several times via the Bernina Express. It's a beautiful journey.

While staying in Chur is certainly an option, it wouldn't be my personal choice. It's a small city, and much prefer quiet villages, but that's just me. Perhaps you might be interested in spending a few days in the Engadine? Lots of beautiful places to choose from.

Do be aware that contrary to popular belief, the Bernina Express route can be traveled without reservations and seat assignments. One just need purchase a ticket on a regional train. The primary difference is the windows – the official BEX trains (with, I believe, only one daily departure in winter) have panoramic windows and assigned seating. The regional trains do not.

https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express

What time of year do you plan to go?
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2019, 04:59 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,547
Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
contrary to popular belief, the Bernina Express route can be traveled without reservations and seat assignments. One just need purchase a ticket on a regional train. The primary difference is the windows – the official BEX trains (with, I believe, only one daily departure in winter) have panoramic windows and assigned seating. The regional trains do not.
And, IME, one would gain little to nothing with the panoramic windows, as you don't need to see the sky. The regular train windows are more than sufficient for seeing the stunning scenery, and those (regular) windows can actually be opened.
kja is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 12:04 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 372
Thank you for the information which makes me understand that
1. The expensive Bernina express is not needed to travel from Tirano to Wengen, rather i can do this on a local train. How much cost effective is the local train

2. The journey is long for day travelling and 1 night to be spent in between. Would prefer a small scenic town, any recommendations

Am planning to do this trip in the first week of June, if that helps

Thanks a ton
asimm is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 12:45 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,349
Tirano - Bernina - Glacier Express - Brig - Wengen costs 220 CH/pax without lunch and 265 CHF/pax with lunch in the dining car (without beverages).
Cheaper with Swiss Travel Passes or half Fare Card.
Timetable (valid from May 9th to October 10th 2020): Tirano dp 7.41 - St. Moritz 10.11/10.20 - Brig 16.40/16.48 - Spiez 17.24/17.33 - Interlaken Ost 17.57/18.05 - Wengen ar 18.49
neckervd is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 05:28 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 539
You can determine travel times, class, etc. yourself using the SBB website (Swiss Rail site). Remember to indicate no discount if reviewing ticket prices as there are shown using the half fare card. If doing a significant amount of train travel in Switzerland, consider purchasing a half fare card. Or consider using the DB rail site, which allows you map access of the specified route.

In honor of PAL (a long time European rail expert whom is no longer with us,) consider contacting Byron at B.E.T.S. (Budget European Travel Service) at 800-441-2387. Byron can answer your train questions re Switzerland and sell you the correct ticket /Travel Pass.

Huggy
Huggy is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 05:30 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 539
PAL is already missed! What a resource!!!!!!
Huggy is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 05:56 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,541
Our most recent travel (December 2018) on the Bernina Express from Zuoz to Tirano, via Pontresina and return (regional trains) was 35 CHF each with Half Fare Card.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 06:45 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by kja View Post
And, IME, one would gain little to nothing with the panoramic windows, as you don't need to see the sky. The regular train windows are more than sufficient for seeing the stunning scenery, and those (regular) windows can actually be opened.
The rolling stock on the Bernina line is gradually being replaced with more modern cars which have AC and thus also have sealed windows. The new cars have more "panoramic" windows than the old and many have a commentary too. In any case you can never know what rolling stock will be on the train you select...

As to what pass/ticket to get -- depending on how much travel you have for one particular day consider getting a Saver Day Pass. You can buy these without having the Half Fare card. They start around 50frs per person in 2nd class and cover ALL travel by any means to all inhabited places. See www.sbb.ch/en for more details. You can save a lot of money with these.
Hambagahle is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 07:51 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 144
"And, IME, one would gain little to nothing with the panoramic windows, as you don't need to see the sky."

Seeing the sky can be actually very nice, but on the Bernina Express you'll not see the sky most of the time if you look up, but mountains towering above you. ;-)

I travelled once by a train(Transalpin EC) in a similar panoramic coach across the Austrian Alps and the 1st class ticket was worth every cent.

On the Bernina route I always used the local trains and had the luck with opening windows, which is even better IMHO than the panoramic windows, but it's not for everyone.

"In any case you can never know what rolling stock will be on the train you select..."

You can find a lot of the actual train compositions of RhB(the railway operator running the Bernina route) here:

https://www.vagonweb.cz/razeni/razen...e=RhB&rok=2019
BDKR is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 09:27 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,541
The rolling stock on the Bernina line is gradually being replaced with more modern cars which have AC and thus also have sealed windows. The new cars have more "panoramic" windows than the old and many have a commentary too.

Which was the case for us in December.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 09:56 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 144
I haven't travelled in these new "Allegra" trains, but according to the official description they do have windows which can be opened, despite the air conditioning.

For those who speak German:

2010.05.01_ALLEGRA-Triebzug.pdf
BDKR is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 05:12 PM
  #14  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,547
Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
on the Bernina Express you'll not see the sky most of the time if you look up, but mountains towering above you.
My recollection is that the towering mountains (the stunning towering mountains!) were generally far enough from the tracks that I looked OUT rather than UP with only very rare exception -- but then, I was running from side to side of the train, and maybe I simply missed the vistas where having a window overhead would have made a difference.
kja is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 03:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 205
The new panoramic windows are not really overhead - they go up towards the ceiling. I, too, see little difference in how one sees the views between the new and the old trains.

We were in one of the new carriages and I do not remember seeing any window that could be opened Probably there are - but then I can also say that other passengers are not always enthusiastic about having train windows open. It is noisy AND an open window either lets in cold or hot air... I have asked people on more than one occasion to please close the window!
Hambagahle is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 04:21 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 372
Thank you all

From your suggestions and guidance, it is clear that travelling on a regional train makes no difference and offcourse the regional train would be cheaper

Is Engadine the most preferable in between stop from Milan to Wengen/Lauterbrunnen or since now i would be taking a regional train, i should take any other route

thanks again
asimm is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 06:06 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,541
asimm -

It's the same route, just a different type of train. Yes, a stop in the Engadine makes complete sense.

Towns to consider in the Engadine - St Moritz, Pontressina, Samadan, Sils, Celerina, Zuoz, Zernez...and several more.



Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 12th, 2019 at 06:16 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 06:11 PM
  #18  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,547
Hoping not to get flamed yet again, I agree with all the options Melnq8 mentioned in the Engadine except St. Moritz, which I found to be an over-rated and now quite tawdry testiment to yesterday's concept of glamour. JMO.
kja is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 06:25 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 144
Other recommended overnight stops:

Alp Grüm https://www.alpgrum.com/

Diavolezza mountain hut https://www.diavolezza.ch/

Muottas Muragl https://www.mountains.ch/en/romantik...muottas-muragl

Bergün https://www.myswitzerland.com/en/destinations/berguen/

Filisur - it's next to the iconic Landwasser viaduct, you can hike to a point overlookiing the bridge and watch the trains https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landwasser_Viaduct

Thusis - close to Via Mala gorge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viamala
BDKR is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 11:27 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 205
St Moritz is OK if you know which hotel to choose and what to see/do. Personally I dont like it as much as the small villages because it is really a town in the mountains (10'000 year round population).

Coming from Tirano on the Bernina line and needing to get to Chur to carry on to Wengen via Zürich and Bern the following places are right on your route if you take the Albula line to Chur: Pontresina, Samedan, Bever. Celerina and St Moritz and the villages to the south (Sils Maria etc which is my all time favourite place in the Engadin) means a little detour. Not a significant one though. Sils Maria is a 20mns bus ride from the station at St Moritz. However you can go right from Pontresina on the Bernina line to Samedan which is where the Albula line branches off. If you want to travel via the lower Engadin and take the train via the Vereina tunnel to Landquart you can connect there to Zürich. In which case Zuoz and Zernez are options.
Hambagahle is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:50 PM.