Lugano & Bernina Express questions

Sep 8th, 2010, 08:49 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 39
Lugano & Bernina Express questions

I'm a first-timer to Switzerland, will be headed there in less than two weeks (can't wait!!) and have some lingering questions about Lugano.

We're staying at the Hotel International Au Lac, which the hotel website says is on the end of Via Nassa about 2km from the train station. Is this walkable with luggage? Ie, not too steep or crowded? Or is there a better method of getting to the hotel (bus? taxi?)

We only have 1 day in Lugano. Any tips on what not to miss?

Our next stop on the itinerary is Pontresina, so we plan to take the Bernina Express bus + train. Should we reserve our tickets at the train station the night before? We'll have a Swiss Pass, in case that matters. Also, what side of the bus/train should we sit on to get the maximum views?

Thanks in advance for your help!
tmway2000 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 12:57 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
For the bus tickets from Lugano to Tirano, we purchased ours a few days beforehand. The girl at the desk in Luzern tried to tell me that the bus wasn't running but luckily I had done my research and she finally found the correct info for us. The first part of the bus trip is interesting and a bit of a wild ride, those buses come so close to the houses and the roads are so narrow. But it did get fairly boring once you hit the suburbs. But Lake Como was nice to see.

As for the train we also had a Swiss Pass (which we just loved using and tried to use it to the max each day!) we just purchased our tickets once we got to Tirano but we travelled on the regional train as opposed to the Bernina Express. Its exactly the same just difference cars. You will love the scenery up to Pontresina, its just amazing. As for which side well I just dived from side to side, its all stunning! We almost had an entire carriage to ourselves.

Where are you staying in Pontresina? Its a fairly steep hike up the hill to most of the hotels so be prepared for that.

We only had one day in Lugano as well, we stayed in Locarno and did day trips from there but the best thing we did was to do the Olive Tree Walk from Lugano to Gandria and catch a ferry back (free with your pass) http://tinyurl.com/2fcu8ml, here is a link the some info on the walk.

There is a travelator from the station down into the town, but I don't know where your hotel is. Is there not directions on the hotel website?

Best wishes for a great holiday, you will be amazed by how beautiful Switzerland is.
Maudie is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 06:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,312
For best seats on the Bernina train, get on the left side going up from Tirano.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 07:12 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,025
Should we reserve our tickets at the train station the night before? We'll have a Swiss Pass, in case that matters.>

this is what i did and they told me they put on more buses as needed - not sure about that however.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 10:37 AM
  #5  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,115
We're staying at the Hotel International Au Lac, which the hotel website says is on the end of Via Nassa about 2km from the train station. Is this walkable with luggage? Ie, not too steep or crowded? Or is there a better method of getting to the hotel (bus? taxi?)

Have you contacted your hotel and ask about the best way to get there from the train station? As I recall, Lugano is pretty flat, though I can't remember if the sidewalks are all cobblestone or not. Of course, it's tough to drag your wheeled luggage on cobblestone sidewalks for 2 km.

We only have 1 day in Lugano. Any tips on what not to miss?

Apart from walking along the lake, my favorite memory of Lugano is getting on the ferry and cruise along the lake (covered by Swiss Pass). Routes and schedules here:
http://www.lakelugano.ch/en/10/homepage.aspx

Our next stop on the itinerary is Pontresina, so we plan to take the Bernina Express bus + train. Should we reserve our tickets at the train station the night before? We'll have a Swiss Pass, in case that matters.

If you know which DAY you're taking the BE bus/train, you can email Rhatische Bahn and request for seats ahead of time. I did that for our trip (in 2 weeks' time). They will reply with an email and conf #; but you are NOT charged until you show up to the station for the bus.
http://www.rhb.ch/index.php?id=33?&L=4

If you click on "tickets, reservations, and offers", it'll show the links where you can request seat reservations.

Anyway, I only reserved seats for the bus between Lugano and Tirano (mandatory seat reservation). For the train part, we're going to take regional trains instead of the designated Bernina Express, so we don't need reservations.
yk is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 04:33 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 39
Thank you so much, everyone, for the replies!

The hotel website for Lugano isn't very helpful, so I'll contact the hotel directly for directions.

@Maudie: we're staying at Hotel Muller. Their website says we can call ahead and they'll pick us up from the station.

One more question: regarding the Bernina bus, does it leave from the train station or do we go to a separate bus terminal?
tmway2000 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 06:06 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
That's great that the hotel will collect you, its not very far but would be a bit of a struggle with your luggage.

The bus leaves right from the station, there is a parking area next to it. You can't really miss it but the people at the station will direct you. As you head into Lugano on the train it is on the left hand side.
Maudie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 07:33 PM
  #8  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,115
It's been several years, but I'm pretty sure the Bernina Express bus picks up and drops off right at/or very near the station. (There's a small office for the immigration officers to inspect your passport).
yk is offline  
Aug 28th, 2011, 06:25 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 89
bookmark
HeaAndrews is offline  
Aug 28th, 2011, 11:18 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,025
When I took the Bernina Express bus it did indeed serve the train station in Lugano as well as terminating I believe in the city center, lakeside.

for lots of good info on the Bernina Pass train line and Bernina bus, etc check out www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (Italy section) and www.seat61.com.

You need reservations to ride the bus that would be in addition to a Swiss Pass or Eurailpass which covers the basic train and bus fare.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 09:39 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,025
for folks planning this itinerary - Bernina Express and Lugano - I would suggest doing the Bernina Express as a whole day day trip from St Moitz - sans baggage so you can get off at Bernina Ospiz say and walk to the glacier and around the glacier lake - or at other stations near glaciers - stay in St Moritz and then take the Majola Pass bus to Lugano - down the awesome Majola Pass - infinitely more scenic than the Bernina Express, a utilitarian linking of Tirano, Italy to Lugano but not nearly having the spectacular Alpine thrills of scenery as the Majola Pass bus does.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 30th, 2011, 09:22 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,025
Scenic Swiss Trains in a Nutshell | Europe Forum | Fodor's Travel ...
http://www.fodors.com/community/.../...-a-nutshell.cf... - rail links at Tirano, Italy and St Moritz - Majola Pass bus to Lake ...

This Fodor's thread talks at length about the Bernina Express rail route and Majola Pass bus - one of my old threads that could be usefl perhaps.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 12:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,139
Bookmarking
aussie_10 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:54 AM.