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Question-Traveling to Paris/Rome but first time in Switzerland (Bernina Ex)

Question-Traveling to Paris/Rome but first time in Switzerland (Bernina Ex)

Dec 15th, 2009, 08:47 PM
  #1  
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Question-Traveling to Paris/Rome but first time in Switzerland (Bernina Ex)

Hi, I am planning on a trip for 4 people to Europe in April 21-May 1 2010. While I have traveled there numerous times, I have never had the chance to travel by rail between countries nor have I been to Switzerland. With the other 3 people in my party(first time in Europe and celebrating 60th Birthday and 24th Wedding Anniversary) we are inclined to spend time in Paris and Rome or Florence (one of the two Italian cities). I would like to include a side trip to Switzerland and maybe take one of the scenic rail routes particularly the Bernina Express. I have several questions and I would be truly grateful if anyone can help me out . Here goes:
a) Does anyone have suggestions for a good itinerary that would allow us to start and end the trip in Paris?
b)If we take the Bernina Express is it better to start at Chur (is it really necessary?), get off in one of the smaller towns for an overnight stay (if so, which town is recommended), resume the trip the next day and end in Tirano (perhaps stay there overnight, the next day head to Florence) or vise versa?
c)Since we are working on a budget is it advisable to purchase a multi-country pass (I don't really understand how the pass works) or would flying point to point (Paris to Zurich/Rome to Paris or Florence to Paris) and purchase rail tickets when necessary (to travel through Switzerland on to Italy) be economical for a party of four?

Since we are celebrating milestones I would like to make this trip as memorable as possible. I thought Switzerland would be a nice touch! Thanks in advance for any suggestions you all may have : )
Gemini017 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 09:54 PM
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The first question is why do you have to start and end in Paris?

For the rail pass question, you have to compare point to point vs. pass cost. There is no easy answer since the pass attractiveness depends on your usage model.
greg is online now  
Dec 16th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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I don't get why you need to start and end in Paris either. Fly into Paris and home from Rome. It wastes vacation time to backtrack.

If you must start/end in Paris (already booked?)then I would use one of the budget airlines from Italy to return (use one that flies into Paris Orly). Your luggage must be under the required weight and they are strict about check-in times. Easy Jet flies Rome/Paris (Orly) and Pisa/Paris (Pisa is a short bus or train ride from Florence).
http://www.whichbudget.com/
kybourbon is online now  
Dec 16th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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To take the Bernina Express train - one of the top scenic trains in Europe and the tops IMO in Switzerland for your main goal of doing Paris and Rome would entail a major detour and take a few extra days and with only nine days you may reconsider. the only railpasses you would consider would be the France-Italy Railpass and the Eurail Select 3-country pass if you want to go thru Switzerland and do the Bernina as the whole route would be covered as well as into Italy. For lots on passes and European train travel in general for novices i always point to these info-laden sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com. I am not saying the pass is the most economical because i do not know your exact routing but there are other reasons for passes than to save money - like in Switzerland hopping any train anytime on the route to Chur and Bernina.
Palenque is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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If interested in details about the Bernina Pass train here is a htread where i, and others, dwell on it-it's a long rambling thread but has lots of details on the Bernina Pass rail route somewhere init

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-nutshell.cfm
Palenque is offline  
Dec 17th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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If we take the Bernina Express is it better to start at Chur (is it really necessary?), get off in one of the smaller towns for an overnight stay (if so, which town is recommended), resume the trip the next day and end in Tirano (perhaps stay there overnight, the next day head to Florence)>

Yes you have to go thru Chur, if coming from France and then doing the Bernina Route - you must change trains at Chur because of a difference in track gauges (widths)- you say you have traveled a lot in Switzerland so maybe just take the TGV train from Paris to Zurich, then head to Chur and end up in St Moritz for the overnight. Then the next day you can easily go over the Bernina Pass route and down into Italy to Tirano - leave the Swiss station (it's in Italy i know) and cross the square to the Italian station for trains to Milan and from there to Florence.

From florence you can take the Artesia Overnight train back to Paris (Bercy station) to save time or you can hop to Milan to take the Artesia day trains.
Palenque is offline  
Dec 21st, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Though the OP does not indicate such a possibility taking the Bernina Pass route to Italy makes Lake Como a very convenient stop at the end of the day when doing the Bernina Pass route, by train or car. From Tirano, Italy, the southern terminus of the Bernina Pass route hop an Italian train to Varenna, whose train station is a short enough walk from the Lake Como boat dock, with boats to Bellagio, Como and other points around the lake.
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