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Train Travel (Italy & Switzerland)

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Apr 6th, 2014, 07:49 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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Train Travel (Italy & Switzerland)

Need advice on the following train travel. I didn't realize when I booked our airfare how difficult it is to travel between Italy and Switzerland. Want fastest routes:

Rome to Florence

Florence to Pisa

Florence to Lucerne

Lucerne to Mt. Pilatus

Lucerne to Zurich Airport (for 10:30am flight to US)

Thanks for the advice!
aganagirl is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2014, 08:48 PM
  #2
kja
 
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For trains (and busses) in Switzerland, see sbb:
http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
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Apr 6th, 2014, 11:11 PM
  #3
 
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For looking up schedules only, www.bahn.com.
For ticket price info for Italy part, www.trenitalia.com.
greg is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2014, 11:58 PM
  #4
 
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Www.seat61.com for train info in Europe
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Apr 7th, 2014, 12:39 AM
  #5
 
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The easiest and also the most expensive is to go rail europe and let them organize it for you.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 02:27 AM
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Rome to Florence - Trenitalia (takes about 2 hours). You can buy online on Trenitalia and might snag some discounts (regular price about 45€).

Florence/Pisa - Trenitalia (about 1 hour-10€). Buy in Florence. Regional train (no fast trains) - no discounts, no reserved seats.

Florence/Lucerne -
Florence/Milan - Trenitalia
Milan/Lucerne - Trenitalia - This leg only has one train per day without a change. Departs Milan at 14:10. Otherwise, you would have to either take a train to Zurich and change to an SBB train to Lucerne or from Milan to Arth-Goldau and change to SBB.

Lucerne/Mt. Pilatus - Buy in Lucerne - boat/cable car/bus/cog train.
http://www.pilatus.ch/en/

Lucerne/Zurich or Arth-Goldau/Lucerne- SBB.

Lucerne-Zurich airport - SBB. On SBB, you want Luzern/Zurich flughafen (airport). Takes about 1 1/2 hours.

On Trenitalia's website, you must use the Italian spelling of cities - Firenze, Milano Centrale, Luzern, Zuerich.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 04:49 AM
  #7
 
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There are many cross-border trains to Switzerland from Milan. When I went to Lucerne, I took an EC train from Milan, and changed in Arth-Goldau to an SBB train. It was a very easy change, just across the platform. However, I would recommend that you get the direct train, leaving Milan at 14:10. It will make the ticket purchase easier, as well as avoiding the change of trains.

To maximize your potential savings for advance purchase, you should buy a ticket to Milan separately from the ticket from Milan to Lucerne. Keep in mind that the discounted tickets are not changeable or refundable. You can buy both tickets on the Trenitalia site, using the Italian names of the Italian cities, and the German name "Luzern" for Lucerne. There are numerous discounts on the trains from Florence to Milan, with no time limit, but they sell out quickly; you can buy them up to 120 days in advance.

The discounts for the trains from Milan to Switzerland are called "Smart" (maximum discount) or "Smart2" (somewhat smaller discount) tickets. These have to be bought at least two weeks in advance, but you will have a better chance of getting them if you buy at least a month in advance.

You could also buy the ticket from Milan to Lucerne on the Swiss rail site, but when I last used the site, you had to either pick up the tickets at a Swiss station (which you couldn't do) or have then mailed to you, but only to a European address. Maybe they now have a print-at-home option.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 06:09 AM
  #8
 
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SBB does have a print option now and requires printing from Adobe, not your web browser. If you have problems printing, you might be out of luck. Trenitalia requires you to retrieve your international ticket at a self service kiosk in one of their stations (larger stations have these).
kybourbon is online now  
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Apr 7th, 2014, 06:16 AM
  #9
 
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Once in Switzerland you may want to investigate either the Swiss Pass, Half-Fare Card or Swiss Card (both about the same but different!) vs just buying regular tickets. For loads of great info on Swiss trains and passes - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com along with jamikins mention of www.seat61.com. A Swiss Pass passes not only on trains but lake boats (great floats on Lake Lucerne IMO Switzerland's most gorgeous lake), city trams and buses and gives free entry to 470 Swiss museums and attractions such as some in Lucerne.

Unfortunately cross-border trains from Italy more and more require a simple change of trains in Brig/Visp unlike preivously when many went right thru to several Swiss towns. Try to catch the odd one that still goes straight thru.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 08:29 AM
  #10
 
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Mt Pilatus - I would keep the schedule open because I have been in Lucerne many times and it seems Pilatus is fickle - often its head in clouds, fog or mist, etc.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 12:32 PM
  #11
 
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Mt Pilatus is a good one to combine with a boat float on lovely Lake Lucerne - take a boat to Alpnachstad to catch the thrilling mountain railway - one of the steepest in the world to the summit of Pilatus - then take a thrilling aerial cable car back down the other side, to Krens in suburban Lucerne with buses back to central Lucerne. A Swiss Pass would cover the boat in full and bus Krens to Lucerne and give 50% off the up and down Pilatus train and cable way.
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