Switzerland to Northern Italy

Mar 22nd, 2013, 06:32 PM
  #1  
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Switzerland to Northern Italy

Hi (I'm a first-timer at this forum)... I'm travelling with my teenage sons (14 and 12) Sept/Oct for 3 wks flying into London and out of Milan. The trip so far: London (5 nights), Eurostar to Paris (6 nights), Paris to Switzerland by train (Murren - 4 nights). We are then left with 5 days to explore northern Italy before flying out midday Milan. I am at a loss as to the best way to go about it without crisscrossing back and forth. Is there a way to get from Switzerland to Venice (would really like to go there) and then back to Verona and maybe Bergamo? Or do we have to go to Milan first? Also wouldn't mind slotting in the lakes. Is it too much to ask? While I'm on the questions: do you think it is a good idea to go from Paris to Murren and base ourselves there for the time in Switzerland? I know it's a full day of travelling, but the trains are supposed to be amazing. Any other suggestions most welcome. We will be looking forward to some downtime and hiking, etc. following the two major cities of London and Paris. Thank you!
smm_18 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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There will be almost no afternoon sun at Murren in October. You will of course see nothing of Seitzerland but Murren and the immediate surroundings.
The shortest train ride from everywhere in Switzerland to Venice goes through Milan.
4 daily train connections Paris - Muerren (6 to 6 1/2 hrs) change at Basle, Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen and Gruetschalp
4 daily train connections Muerren - Venice (7 1/2 hrs) change at Gruetschalp, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken Ost, Spiez, Milan, for some trains at Brig too.
neckervd is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 03:11 AM
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Thanks again neckervd. We'll be in Murren 24-27 Sept (so not quite October!)... Would Lauterbrunnen be a better base?

Thanks so much for clarifying the trains to Venice, was afraid of that. That means we'll be backtracking by going to Milan/Venice and back again.

What do you think of Switz to Verona 2 nights (would this be about 5 hours?), Verona to Venice 2 nights, Venice to Bergamo 1 night, Bergamo to Milan for flight out?
smm_18 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 03:17 AM
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One night in Verona is plenty and Venice can use more time.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 04:21 AM
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Thanks, nytraveler – good call. It all seems a bit rushed, but unfortunately that's the way the trip has panned out, leaving only 5 days to explore some of northern Italy. It was suggested to me that Venice is a must, particularly for my boys, and this has made things rather awkward, what with all the backtracking. If only we could go direct from Switz to Venice!
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Mar 25th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Some thoughts for you. Last year I based myself in Padua for a few days and daytripped by train quickly and easily to Venice. I think you can also take a boat from Padua to Venice. I really enjoyed Padua and it was such a peaceful and interesting place to return to from a busy Venice. Venice was interesting. I enjoyed the art more than Venice, but that's me.

I then trained from Padua to Brescia and changed to a regional train to Bergamo. I spent a few days in Bergamo up in the high town at a B&B. Loved it. The best food I had in Italy at the end of 4 weeks in Italy. Mind you, be prepared to carry luggage up two flights of stairs out of the station at Bergamo. Unless they have finished installing that lift. (though my host at the B&B did not seem to place much faith in that!)

I then travelled regional train from Bergamo to Milan and on through to Brig in Switzerland and spent a few weeks in enjoying various areas of Switzerland. Loved Murren by the way.

After returning to Milan from Chur/Tirano, I trained from Milan to Stresa and spent a wonderful day on the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore. There are 3 islands to visit. My next wonderful meal on the smallest untouched fisherman's island! A wonderful day. I think you could also visit Lake Como from Bergamo? A couple of ladies from Norway did other day trips by train from Bergamo.

None of this may take your fancy. Perhaps I was looking for a rest from major cities after Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice.
Good luck with your planning and your trip.
2012moving is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 09:15 AM
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Some thoughts for you. Last year I based myself in Padua for a few days and daytripped by train quickly and easily to Venice. I think you can also take a boat from Padua to Venice. I really enjoyed Padua and it was such a peaceful and interesting place to return to from a busy Venice. Venice was interesting. I enjoyed the art more than Venice, but that's me.

I then trained from Padua to Brescia and changed to a regional train to Bergamo. I spent a few days in Bergamo up in the high town at a B&B. Loved it. The best food I had in Italy at the end of 4 weeks in Italy. Mind you, be prepared to carry luggage up two flights of stairs out of the station at Bergamo. Unless they have finished installing that lift. (though my host at the B&B did not seem to place much faith in that!)

I then travelled regional train from Bergamo to Milan and on through to Brig in Switzerland and spent a few weeks in enjoying various areas of Switzerland. Loved Murren by the way.

After returning to Milan from Chur/Tirano, I trained from Milan to Stresa and spent a wonderful day on the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore. There are 3 islands to visit. My next wonderful meal on the smallest untouched fisherman's island! A wonderful day. I think you could also visit Lake Como from Bergamo? A couple of ladies from Norway did other day trips by train from Bergamo.

None of this may take your fancy. Perhaps I was looking for a rest from major cities after Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice.
Good luck with your planning and your trip.
2012moving is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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Sorry. The above has been repeated because there was a glitch with an error msg from the website which knocked me off the website.
2012moving is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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I agree that if you want to do both Venice and Verona you should do 3 nights Venice and 1 Verona. But the suggestion to stay the whole time in Padua and daytrip to both Venice and Verona is also good. Venice is best after the cruise ship day trippers are gone but with Padua just a 20 minute train ride (trains go till late at night) you could arrange to be there early and/or late so enjoy Venice at its least crowded. That way you would only have to do one hotel. Definitely keep Bergamo, even for just a night. I loved that place.

You are actually trying to do quite a lot in three weeks (four countries) but you are sensible in that for the first three you are only having one base. You could probably steal one night from Paris (never enough time there, but five nights is almost as good as six) and give it to Italy. Since you are going to be in the Veneto anyway having the extra day would be worth it to me.
isabel is online now  
Mar 25th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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have a look at a map. The direct itinerary from Interlaken to Venice goes through Milan!
There are other itineraries, like Interlaken - Berne - Zurich - Zernez - Glurns - Meran - Bolzano/Bozen - Toblach - Cortina d'Ampezzo - Calalzo - Vittorio Veneto - Venice, but they are much longer (in km) and take three times more time.

I agree with moving: Stresa/Lago Maggiore (2 hrs by train from Interlaken, 1 1/2 hrs from Riederalp/Aletsch Glacier, 4 1/2 hrs from Venice) IS beautiful.

Lauterbrunnen is worse than Murren. For afternoon sun, go to Wengen (or some areas above Grindelwald).

If you want sun from early morning until evening, you mast go to a place like Crans-Montana (but the gondolas there doesn't run any longer in late September) or Riederalp-Bettmeralp (Aletsch Glacier area).
neckervd is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Thank you, 2012moving - that's a great idea! I hadn't even thought of Padua. It sounds perfect as a base, and I really don't want to be moving around TOO much on the last leg of the trip. I will now consider either 3 nights Padua (with day trips) and 2 nights Bergamo (with day trips) or vice versa. Bergamo had taken my fancy during some earlier research. The old town sounds delightful.

Isabel, you've reconfirmed this and I think we'll forgo Verona (even though I thought the colosseum would be a drawcard for the boys, since we're missing out on Rome...)

Yes, I have considered ditching a night in Paris, but have booked an apartment for the six nights and am, well, just unsure! I'd hate to be there and wish we had one more day... I'll think about it!! I do love Paris – only hope the boys do! This is supposed to be a trip for US, not me.

Anyone have any accommodation ideas for Padua? We are on a budget. Our Paris apartment is 840 E for 6 nights, London hotel 119 pounds/night. Clean, cheerful, family friendly is what I'm after.

Thanks again neckervd for all your advice on connections, and plain-speaking opinions! Great stuff.
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Mar 25th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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I would not forgo Verona but you can do it as a day trip if you stay in Padua (could you do it as a day trip from Venice too, it's just longer). It sounds like your sons would enjoy the colosseum. And as much as I loved Bergamo, there wasn't that much to do there whereas if you stay in Padua you'll have more day trips than you can fit it (Venice, Verona and Padua itself being the top three). I did Bergamo as a day trip from Milano and while I really loved it, if this were my first time in the area, and with your sons, I think they will find the towns of the Veneto more interesting.

http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/italy__the_veneto
http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/italy__venezia
http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/bergamo_mantova
isabel is online now  
Mar 25th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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Good point, isabel... Now thinking maybe 4 nights Padua, with day trips (Venice, Verona) and finish with 1 night Bergamo before shuttling into Milan for the flight home. Only drawback is missing out on lakes, but we can't have it all! Does Padua have any pretty nature spots in case we need downtime from cities? Or somewhere nearby?
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Mar 25th, 2013, 05:09 PM
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Padua has a botanical garden that is a UNESCO World
heritage Site.
isabel is online now  
Mar 25th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Perfect! Thank you. That's one for me, keen gardener. And Lake Garda looks to be not too far away...
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Mar 26th, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Venice is a it's best in the evening and early morning, when all the day trippers have gone or not yet arrived. You will miss a lot if you stay aat Padova.
neckervd is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:48 AM
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Yes, that's a consideration. However, we can always catch an early train, or stay on after sunset. All part of the adventure!
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Mar 26th, 2013, 07:41 AM
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Of course. It's feasible: if you have dinner at Venice, walk then to the train station, take a train to Padova and walk to your hotel, you may still arrive there a few minutes before midnight.

In the other direction, it's still easier: if you don't have breakfast, you may be able to sleep until 6.30am.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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Generally I think staying in someplace like Venice is better than day tripping in. But in the case of Padua (Padova in Italian), the trains are so frequent (4-5 per hour, the fastest taking less than a half hour), start so early and run so late that it is really possible to still get a very good experience. The day trippers are really only at their worst between about 10 and 5,and even then, if you walk a few blocks away from the main route between the train station, Rialto and Pz San Marco, you pretty much avoid them. Padova itself is such a wonderful place, hotel prices are much less, and it's faster and easier to do a day trip to Verona, also a very worthwhile city. Ideally you'd have three days in Venice plus three or four more in Padova/Verona but unfortunately lots of people don't have this much time.
isabel is online now  
Mar 26th, 2013, 09:52 AM
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Generally I think staying in someplace like Venice is better than day tripping in. But in the case of Padua (Padova in Italian), the trains are so frequent (4-5 per hour, the fastest taking less than a half hour), start so early and run so late that it is really possible to still get a very good experience. The day trippers are really only at their worst between about 10 and 5,and even then, if you walk a few blocks away from the main route between the train station, Rialto and Pz San Marco, you pretty much avoid them. Padova itself is such a wonderful place, hotel prices are much less, and it's faster and easier to do a day trip to Verona, also a very worthwhile city. Ideally you'd have three days in Venice plus three or four more in Padova/Verona but unfortunately lots of people don't have this much time.
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