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kidsintoe Dec 7th, 2005 10:23 AM

Milan vrs Turin rail into Switzerland
Who knows about the trains from Milan
verses those from Turin into Switzerland? Is there only one train station in Turin and one in Milan? We want to take the Glacier Express and will be traveling on a Sunday. The train station in Turin is closer, but has fewer car rental return options.

Sampaguita Dec 7th, 2005 10:56 AM

Unfortunately their are no trains from Turin to Switzerland, I know beacuse I live near Turin and sometimes visitors want to come from Switzerland by train. You have to go to Milan central and change, even to Geneva, which is only 3.5 hours drive from Turin through Val d'Aosta and Mt Bianco (Blanc) tunnel. But many direct trains from Torino to Milano. you can check on

kidsintoe Dec 7th, 2005 07:17 PM

Thank you for your reply.
What are your thoughts on driving from Turin to Zurich? We will be renting a car to use for the ten days we are in Turin we could keep it and drive into Zurich? Because we live in Los Angeles and my kids are always in a car I thought the train in Switzerland would be fun.

Sampaguita Dec 7th, 2005 11:05 PM

Its a hard choice, you have the car already, driving through Switzerland is spectacular, but absolutely no speeding, they are very strict on catching speeders and on-the-spot fines, plus you need to buy a one year pass to use the Swiss autostrada, not a good deal for a few days only. The train ride is of course very spectacular as well, and its not too far from Turin to Milan by train. If you are flying in to Milan, why not do the Swiss trip at the end and leave your car off at Milan and then do the train?

Cicerone Dec 8th, 2005 02:40 AM

I know from your other post that you are going to the Olympics. While winter driving is not really hazardous in Switzerland, a lot of the fun in having a car in Switzerland is gone IMO, as virtually all the mountain passes are closed. Therefore, I would also encourage you to try to leave the car where you can. You might consider driving from Turin to Geneva and then dropping the car in Geneva, tacking trains from there to wherever you want to go in Switzerland. This is a fun and easy drive, you can take the Mt Blanc tunnel, and you can stop on the way at Mt Blanc for a half day or longer. The "one year pass" referred to above is only about US$35 so should not be a deterrent in bringing the car into Switzerland IMO. It is a highway tax sticker you need to drive on highways in Switzerland and is good for a year. It could be that the car you get already has a highway vignette on it for 2006 and if so you won't have to buy one. Otherwise, you buy it at a gas station near the border. As you will be paying US$7 a gallon for gas, and drop off charges and an expensive rental to begin with, the highway tax is really pretty small potatoes at that point IMO.

From Geneva you can take train trips. There are lots of fun and scenic train trips in Switzerland that are on the "regular" Swiss Rail trains or just short hops on mountain railways, so taking one of the all-day scenic trains is not always necessary, and if your children are very young, it may be very boring for them to just sit for 6-8 hours on a train.

It is unclear to me where you are flying out of, is it Zurich or Milan? I also don't know how many days you have to spend in Switzerland itself. Some train trips to consider are below. For most schedules go to, websites for scenic trains are listed although they often show up on the regular Swiss Rail site:

1. Golden Pass to the Jungfrau/Interlaken area (4.5 hours from Geneva). Very scenic trip along Lake Geneva and then over some beautiful passes. If you can overnight in the area, you can also do the wonderful little train up to Wengen and then train up to the top of the Jungfrau. Take a look at for info on the Goldenpass and for info on the train up to the top of the Jungfrau. Note that some of the Golden Pass trip may be by bus as the floods last summer closed portions of the rail line, I am not sure if the entire line has been repaired, the website would give the most current info.

2. The "regular" Swiss train down to Zermatt (4 hours from Geneva). Scenic trip along Lake Geneva and then down to Zermatt, the potion of the trip on the little red train from Brig is also very pretty trip, do this in daylight if at all possible. I would leave enough time to spend in Zermatt so you can also take the little train up the Gornegrat from Zermatt and back, a spectacular 45 minute ride each way with views of the Matterhorn the whole way. For info go to From Zermatt as you probably know, you could take the Glacier Express to St Mortiz. I would note that one of the prettiest parts of the ride, from Chur to Filsur, might be partly in the dark given the sunset times in the winter. From St Moritz, if you have enough time you could take the Bernina Express to Tirano and then to Zurich for a flight back to LA (this could be split into 2 days and IMO is better split into 2 trips, esp with kids). If you decide to skip the Glacier Express, from Zermatt, you can get to Milan in about 4 hours for your flight out (including by way of the super fast futuristic Cisalpino trains), or get to Zurich in 5 hours or go back to Geneva. For info on the Cisaplino trains, go to, they also show up on the site.

3. The regular Swiss train to Zurich (3.5 hours), very scenic during the part above Lake Geneva and until Fribourg. From Zurich, you could take the Bernina Express, which is IMO a more scenic ride than the Glacier Express. You could also split this up over a few days by spending time in the St Moritz/Pontresina area or over in Guarda or even in Davos, Klosters or Arosa if you want to ski. For information on the Bernina Express, go to Click on "English" in the lower right to get the English version. Click on "Experience Trains" and then look for the Bernina Express. Also, IMO, the most scenic train ride in Switzerland is the train ride between St Mortiz and Zurich via Chur, esp the part between Celerina and Samedan (which is also part of the Bernina Express trip between Zurich and St Moritz; and part of this is covered by the Glacier Express, from Chur), but you also get it by buying a "regular" Swiss Rail ticket to Celerina or any point after Filisur or even to Filsur which has a great sledge run. You can even do this trip from Klosters/Davos and see a good bit.

You could even look into flying out of Geneva if you can switch your flights although this does limit your scenic train ride options a bit. It is a pretty part of the country, albeit a bit brown in the winter. There is a chocolate train here and a cheese train as well which your kids might enjoy, take a look at the Golden Pass website or do a google search.

As noted above, you could also leave the car in Turin and take a train to Milan. From there you could train to Zermatt (4 hours including Cisalpino). You cuold get to Zurich (4.5 hours also a Cisalpino option in under 4 hours) the ride is quite pretty as well and from there you could do the Bernina Express or get to other beautiful parts of Switzerland by train. Getting to St Moritz from Milan is possible but more of a pain, this takes 4.5 hours and requires a bus trip at the end for about an hour. Go to for schedules.

If you can tell me where you are flying out of and how long you have to spend in Switzerland I can be more definite in my reccos. If you only have one day, I don't know how you will get to St Moritz or Zermatt in time to get to the Glacier Express in any event, the Glacier Express trains leave in the morning so you would need to be there quite early.

Cicerone Dec 8th, 2005 02:50 AM

Just following up on my own post, I assume you have looked into the car rental thing for the Olympics and have assured yourself that you will be able to park at the various venues. Otherwise, it is not worth having a car in the area, IMO, and may not even be worth it then with traffic and distance over the small road network there. It was my understanding from my own research about 18 months ago that there was going to be very limited if any parking at many of the venues, esp the outdoor ones like the Freestyle skiing in Sauze d'Oulx and the Alpine Skiing in Sestriere. People were going to take trains and then be bused from train stations. I thought for security reasons they were not going to let private cars onto the mountain roads leading to many of the events. This may have changed since I last researched the issue. I was planning on going myself but was transferred back to Hong Kong and have decided not to go so have not really researched this issue in a while.

Your kids may get plenty of train rides in Italy . . . .

Sampaguita Dec 8th, 2005 03:10 AM

Ciao Cicerone, you must be Swiss or have lived there, thankyou for your wealth of detail about train rides in Switzerland.I hope you are not upset about Sion valley losing the winter Olympis to Turin, but frankly given the shortage of accomodation in Piedmont at this time, I don't think Sion could have handled it. How is Honkers nowadays? I used to live there in 80's and 90's.

For kidsintoe, there are many trian services being laid on for the Olympics, and you can book parking ahead of time, all details are on the official olympic site

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