Zurich -> Cinque Terra

My wife and I fly into zurich early June (never been to europe before) and want to spend a couple of days enjoying the alps while making our way to Cinque Terra in Italy. Any thoughts? I am thinking maybe a train thru luzern, interlaken to lauterbrunnen the 1st day (need an early night that day). But it looks like taking the trains from there all the way to Cinque Terra will be too long & complicated to do in just one day. True?? Where is a great place to stop on the way (not really interested in large cities - looking for beautiful places in small, friendly villages). How about the lake region in northern italy? Any suggestions for us newbies? (BTW - I bought 2 of rick's books, but almost like drinking out of a firehose - it all sounds great!)

thanks

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6718 posts

Actually, it is not complicated to get from Zurich to Monterosso. It is a long 8.0hr. trip but you can do this with only one train change in Milan.

But, the fun part would be to get to Lauterbrunnen or Muerren in the Berner Oberland. It's a 2.0hr trip from Zurich to Interlaken Ost. From there, it's another 22 minutes into Lauterbrunnen or 45 minutes to Muerren. You'll be thrilled will that choice.

To get from Lauterbrunnen to Monterosso, it's still and 8.0hr. train journey with train changes in Interlaken Ost, Spiez and possibly Brig and Genoa. Go for the Berner Oberland first.

Posted by chip
clemson, sc, us
2 posts

that sounds like a great choice - is there anything in between berner oberland and cinque terra that I should make time for? I like the idea of breaking up the 8 hr train trip.

thanks

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6718 posts

A couple of thoughts. From Intelaken Ost to Milan, you will change trains in Spiez and possibly Brig. This all takes place within 70-80 minutes of your departure. Next, you will receive a ticket for each train your are on for the journey. For your initial R and IC trains, no seat reservations are required. You can hop off and on a later similar train as long as it's between the departure and arrival stations on your ticket. However, your train from Spiez or Brig will be an EC or CIS train that does require seat reservations. It also has a firm departure time for the train. No hopping off and hopping on a later train. Once you're on that train, it's going to Milan.

Next, what your can do is make your train run from Milan to Montegrosso for later in the day so that when you arrive in Milan, you have 3-4 hours before your next train. There are 3-5 stops between Brig and Milan. You could book a ticket from Interlaken Ost to Arona and from Arona to Milan. However, you're playing with fire as you have to make sure that you will meet your Milan/Monterosso train on time. Walking around Milan seems doable.

Posted by Christine
Oakland, CA
73 posts

I am doing the same trip in July--after much research, I decided to stop in Milan for one night. I hope to arrive there midday and see some of the sites and go to a nice dinner that night. The next day I have reservations to see The Last Supper and then will head to the CT.