Travel from Venice to Switzerland?

May 14th, 2009, 01:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
Travel from Venice to Switzerland?

Wondering what the best way to get from Venice to Switzerland would be . Don't see any cheap flights from Venice to ZRH, so thinking about a train. Would like to most probably end up in the Engandine, although Bern or Berner Oberland would be fine. Would rather not hire a car.
kenav is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 03:12 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
Try this website for train connections and schedules:

Although this is the site of the German Railroads (Deutsche Bahn), I find it the easiest to maneuver. It covers all the trains that you could conceivably take. Just look at a map, pick out the in-between stops you would like to make, enter them as "via", and see what comes up.

The fastest connection (6 hours) is via Milano, but there are also others, some of them quite scenic, but also longer with more changes, such as Venice-Verona-Innsbruck-Feldkirch (both Austria), Zuerich.
treplow is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,520
I would consider Luzern as your destination--easy train connections via Milano.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,812
Hi kenav,

It's quite a spectacular trip from Milan to the Engadin -- go on the Bernina Express from Tirano, over the Bernina Pass, to Pontresina and St. Moritz. I think that would be the easiest and also the nicest route. More information at

Unlike treplow, I find the Swiss site to be the fastest and easiest to navigate (no need to input traveller's age, for instance); it's at

Where in the Engadin will you be going? How are you plans for that destination shaping up?

Have fun!

swandav2000 is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 03:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
swandav - Do you mean - we should first get to Milan and then to Tirano and then via the Bernina express to Pontresina, etc? Three different trains? Also, isn't there a "regular" Swiss train that does the Bernina route but doesn't cost as much?

(Our plans are very loose right now.)
kenav is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,812
Hi kenav,

You can get the entire train schedule, with changes and duration, at the site I gave you above. You owuld just use "From Venice," "To Pontresina," "via Tirano" to get the exact route.

It's a very long trip, though, about nine hours. So you may want to break your journey at Milan or at Poschiavo, a great little town.

Yes, there are lots of regular trains that run over the same route as the "scenic" and marketed BE. The only difference in price would be the reservation fee for the BE, about 5 chf.

Good luck!

swandav2000 is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 02:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
Seems very loooong!! Maybe should rethink this and keep just to Switzerland.
kenav is offline  
May 19th, 2009, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
While I love the Bernina Express, I don’t think it’s the best way to get yourself and your bags from Venice to the Engadine. First off, you will have to arrive into Tirano by 2:30 pm or you will miss the last Bernina Express train, as that is the time it departs Tirano (at least in summer, it goes a bit earlier in winter, see the schedule). So you have to take the first train out of Venice early that morning and really hope that the trains in Italy are running smack on time that day. Second, the cars are not really made to carry luggage and it may be a bit of pain finding space for your stuff. There are “regular” Swiss trains that go this same route and would take luggage and are cheaper, see for the schedule. They run about hourly from what I can see.

If you are planning to spend time in the Engadine, you can of course do the Bernina Express train ride as a separate half day trip, as you can get it from St Moritz or Pontresina. The St Moritz to Tirano portion is the high glacier portion, the St Moritz to Chur portion is quite lovely through a gorgeous valley, this valley can also be done as a walk and you can see the train bridges. The Chur to Zurich portion is quite pretty but not worth IMO doing unless you are going on to Zurich. You can take “regular” Swiss trains for any of these portions, you don’t have to buy the Bernina Express tickets, but those trains are the only ones with the observation cars so it is nice to do that for the glacier portion from St Moritz to Tirano and back if you can.

To get from Venice to the Engadine, I would suggest you do one of the following:

1. Take the train to Lake Lugano (5 hours) and then take the great Palm Express bus ride up in the Engadine (3 hours). This would take about the same time as going via Tirano and taking the Bernina train route, but would be a different experience, as this is a gorgeous ride up over the Splugen Pass and Majola Pass and through some lovely ancient towns like Promontogno and Stampa (You could rent a car and do the drive too, but if you would prefer not to then the bus works). You could spend a night or so in the Lake Lugano area first. This itin could also be done by taking a train to Lake Como and getting the Palm Express from Chiavenna, but going via Lugano only requires 1 change in Milan and so may be easier and will save you about an hour versus going through Como. (Although Como for a night or two is certainly lovely as well. )

2. Take the train from Venice to Zurich (6-8 hours, night trains are available and may be a good option), then take the very lovely 3.5 hour train ride up to the Engadine. This route is in fact the first part of the Bernina Express, you just don’t have the panorama cars (don’t need them on this part of the route) and don’t pay the higher Bernina prices. (I don’t include the ride to Guarda in this, as it takes a tunnel and is not as scenic as the route up to St Moritz, Pontresina, etc). The bit from Chur to St Moritz is very very lovely (and as I note above, can be done as a walk down through the valley.)

3. Drive from Venice to the Engadine. This actually is not a long drive and the part from Como to the Engadine up through the passes is a great drive. You could train to Lugano and rent from there if you wanted to rent and drop off entirely in Switzerland.

I agree that the train via Austria would be very scenic, but to get to the Engadine from Venice via that route would take I think like 12 hours or more, and of course you want to do it during the day as that would be the point, otherwise take the Venice-Zurich night train. I think that you really want the train that goes via a change in Villach in Austria , as I believe it is more scenic than the one that goes via a change in Porta Nuova which takes the Brenner Pass (which I think goes through a tunnel, others may have more precise info on this route). I have taken the one via Villach and it really has some great mountain scenery.
Cicerone is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 06:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,958
WOW!! I really have to print this out and get a map and mull over all the information you've given me. Thanks Cicerone.
kenav is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 8

Dayang_Ahyar is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 01:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
I assume you want to go from Venice to the St Moritz area in the Engadine region. If that is the case, my suggestions are below. If you want to go somewhere else in Switzland, please let us know as the below would not be helpful to get to other parts:

1. IMO the best train stop for you is the Lugano main train station (also called Lugano FFS, but on the Swiss Rail site at is it just noted as Lugano). From Venice you only have to change trains once (in Milan) to get to Lugano main train station. See for timetables. I think your only option is the train departing Venice at 6:20 am arriving Lugano at 10:10 am.

2. The Palm Express Bus will depart at 11:55 am from the bus station called Lugano Stazione Nord, which is a 3-4 minute walk from the Lugano main strain station. When you get off the train in Lugano, go to the main station building and exit the front door, turn left and walk maybe 100 meters to the bus station. (There may also be signs in the train station directing you toward the Lugano Stazione Nord bus station). See for a plan of the station and it shows the location of the bus station at Stazione Nord. You could also most likely just walk along Track 1 inside the station (with tracks on your left) and you will come to the bus station at the end of the covered portion of Track 1.

3. Note that from October 29 the Palm Express only runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, see
for the schedule. I believe a reservation is required for this bus, which you should be able to do through the website.

4. Not sure where your end destination is, but you could consider getting off the bus someplace like Sils Maria or Silvplana and taking a look around, have a meal locally. You can then take a regular Swiss Post Bus on to St Moritz in 15-20 minutes from there. Both are in lovely lake settings surrounded by mountains. You can take a cable car in the Sils area up the mountain.

Just a personal observation, in November you may encounter a good bit of fog or clouds on this route, so please adjust your expectations accordingly. In the higher elevations in late Nov and early December you should have nice views, but coming up from the lake, the lower elevations may be in clouds. The journey would still be interesting, IMO, but may not be as pretty as in other months. Also bear in mind that the sun will set around 4:30 pm and it will be dark by just after 5 pm most days.
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

The Cisalpino(pendolino train now eun by

works best for me for this via Milan Lugano Chur Zurich

Super nice... other more circuitous routes that is my fav...
qwovadis is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 8
WOW! So detail.. tq so much!
Dayang_Ahyar is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,285
Lots of good advice here, but two additional comments:

Poschiavo is not a good stopping off choice on Sundays; almost everything will be closed.

There's something going on with the runs from Milan to Basel/Zurich and vice versa. I did that route three weeks ago and it was a complete mess. The regular rolling stock (pretty nice trains) were replaced with an old, run-down, filthy (the windows were covered with crud, no opportunity to enjoy the view) and uncomfortable train. It ran an hour late. It was supposed to go from Milan to Zurich but at Arth-Goldau the train crew apparently were too disgusted to continue - I heard this announcement: "please exit the train at Arth-Goldau to catch a REAL (emphasis mine) train to Basel or Zurich. This journey is finished."

The normally super-cool 7:03 am train that runs daily from Basel to Venice also has been replaced with a run-down substitute. (at least that was the case on my two journeys to Lugano in October)
FoFoBT is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 11
Hi Dayang

Why dont you take a flight via Easyjet ( from Venice Marco Polo to Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport and then a train to Zurich . Its less than EUR 30 on every alternate day. A train from Basel to Zurich is around EUR 20/23 and its about 1.5hr.

We have used Easyjet for numerous ocassions and will be flying from Madrid to Basel and then train to Lucerne too this coming December.

Earlier this year, we took the train from Milano Centrale and change train to Lucerne via Arth-Goldau.
sabhaida is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 11:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 51
I need inputs for my travel via train from Venice to Zurich in July, 2012. Our stay in Switzerland will be 3-4 Nights (Before we head to Paris)

I understand there are no direct trains, we will have to change. I was hoping to make my train journey from Venice to Zurich to be a trip in itself (staying 2 Nights in between).

Can i possibly take Bernina or Glacier express as the part of the trip? Any other trains i could take?

I am interested to see the Mt. Jungfrau , Interalaken & Lucerne region. But that being said i am open to recommendations.

I am looking for a Beautiful train journey with spectacular views, scenic valleys, cliff side journeys and postcard swiss towns!

Hoping to do an interesting train journey from Venice to Zurich instead of a flight and then taking trains to cover these regions.

Thanks in advance.
Hitashi is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,768
I came back from Venice into Switzerland (Vevey) by a day train that transfered at Sion. It was a L-O-N-G boring ride quite honestly. I'd gone to Venice from Vevey by overnight sleeper train (but this route doesn't run any longer).
suze is offline  
Apr 9th, 2012, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 51
@ Suze - Makes sense. I also dont want to spend a precious vacation day travelling on a boring train ride.
Hitashi is offline  
Apr 9th, 2012, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 392
I agree with sabhaida. Easyjet will probably be the least expensive and the quickest. You could always take the flight from Geneva to Venice if you wanted to do spend a day or two around there instead of going to Basel.
GillsinEurope is offline  
Apr 10th, 2012, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Here are some thoughts:

1. Do you have to go to Zurich for a particular reason? If not, you have some other options. You only have 3-4 days. If this were my trip, I would spend none of it in Zurich (and I used to live there). The countryside is what Switzerland is all about. Especially in July.

2. You could take the Bernina Express as part of this trip; with luggage this will be a little bit of a pain, although doable. However, rather than going to Zurich, an easier and much more logical way to end this trip is to stay in the lovely Engadine area (St Moritz, Pontresina, Davos or the utterly charming Guarda). This area would tick all the boxes on your wish list, and would not have the throngs of tourists who will be in Interlaken in July (there will be some of course, but not the bus loads you will see in Interlaken and the Jungfrau). This area has, IMO, prettier towns, as for example Guarda, plus the odd castle thrown in.

To take the Bernina Express as part of a trip from Venice, you would take the train from Venice to Milan (2.5 hours), then Milan to Tirano (2.5 hours). You need to be in Tirano by 1:30 pm or so to catch the Bernina. There are 2 departing in the afternoon, one is a local which departs at 2:02 pm, and the other departs at about 2:20 pm. See the timetable and other info at If you take the express, you can get off at St Moritz from where you can get another train to other places like Guarda (about an hour).

You want a reservation for the Bernina, and IMO you want the first class panorama cars, which give the best views (not a whole lot of luggage room, however, but perhaps the train staff can assist.) The first part of the journey is the part up over the glaciers and this will take you down into St Moritz. You can then spend a few days in this area. If you like scenic train journeys include time on the Bergun-Fillisur journey (which is also part of the Bernina, but is also on just the regular train line between this area and the lowland of Zurich. You can also do an easy downhill walk around this train line.)

When you are ready to move on the Paris, you can continue your journey by taking the train to Zurich (If you go from Guarda you may take a tunnel which is not as scenic as going from St Moritz or Pontresina). In Zurich you can switch to the fast train TGV to Paris (4 hours). For then TGV, you most likely would want a reservation, see the website for info on all trains in Italy and Switzerland. All

3. It is possible to take the Glacier Express for part of this as well. The logical way to do this would be take a train to Chur in Switzerland (10 hours and several changes, this may not be an attractive option.) From Chur you would take the Glacier Express either to St Moritz or to Zermatt. The St Moritz trip would be quite a bit less interesting than doing the Bernina, as you would miss the glacier portion. The Zermatt end would be the more interesting, but I have to say that the Glacier Express is my least favourite of all the “scenic” trains in Switzerland. It’s a little bit on the long side and a little dull (which is hard to do for Switzerland). See for info on the Glacier Express. Zermatt is of course quite lovely and interesting for 3-4 days and you could take side trips to places like Saas Fe which will be less crowded. If you want to go to Zermatt from Venice, then really the best thing to do is just take the regular train, it’s a little over 7 hours, and the last hour or so is the same as the Glacier Express in any event.

4. A very scenic way to make the journey from Venice to Switzerland is to go via Austria. You might even consider skipping Switzerland and spending the 3-4 days in a place like Innsbruck, where you can get up into the mountains, and there will be somewhat fewer tourists (although probably not many, and it is a bit cheaper. The train journey is through the Italian and Austrian Alps and is quite lovely (have done it in winter most of the way), and takes about 8 hours and requires changes (non stops go via the tunnel which skips the mountains. Going via Villach is what you want as that is in the mountains.)

5. I can’t end this post without putting in a word for the Lake Geneva region which is just lovely in July. (And there is a the jazz festival potentially, don’t know your dates, but see Although I agree the train journey there is not the most scenic, it’s 6 hours with no changes if you take the 4:30 pm train, so really that bad as journeys go. You get most of the day in Venice, can have dinner on the train, and it will still be twilight when you arrive at 10:30 pm. Look at staying in Vevey, Lausanne, Montreux or small towns along the lake, from where you can do walks in the lovely Lavaux vineyards above the lake and get Alp views, take the fun cliffside incline railway up to Rochers-de-Naye and do walks up there or just take in the views, or take the train for an hour or so up to Châteaux D’oeux in the mountains (or even take part of the Golden Pass, IMO the part from Montreux to Zweisimmen is the most scenic, see for info). (I would not stay in Geneva itself which is not as charming as the towns further down along the lake.) Guidebooks or sites like
and and
can give you info on both. From the Lake Geneva area you can take a train in about 4 hours to Paris.
Cicerone is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:57 PM.