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Advice re: rail travel in Switzerland

In May we will be traveling from Lake Como to Murren, staying in Murren 3 nights, then on to Lake Lucerne. Should I purchase the rail pass or just the pass for the Bernese Oberland? We would also like to take the Glacier Express. Recommendations?

Posted by
8889 posts

Janet, Where on Lake Como? That affects the route to take and the answer to your question.
Is it somewhere with a station, if not what will be your method of getting to the station (ferry, bus). Either way which station?
"Lake Lucerne" - do you mean the town of Luzern, or somewhere else on the lake?

"the rail pass" - I guess you mean a Swiss Pass.

What trips will you be doing from (Lake) Luzern? Boats on that lake are in included in the Swiss pass, but not in the Berner Oberland Pass.

Where will you be going after Luzern, is it by rail? A Swiss Pass will cover transport Luzern to an airport or border, Berner Oberland Pass will not.

Sorry for the questions, but they all affect the calculation. If it is just (somewhere on Lake Como) --> Swiss border --> Mürren --> Luzern --> airport plus some mountain trains/cable cars around Mürren, then the answer (without doing the calculation),probably just a Berner Oberland Pass.
Neither a Swiss Pass nor a Berner Oberland Pass will cover you before the Swiss border.

Posted by
12 posts

Sorry I was not specific enough. We will be staying in Varenna for 3 nights and our next destination is Murren for 3 nights. Then we need to get to Luzern to meet up with river cruise extension. I was hoping to fit the BERNINA EXPRESS into our itinerary and am exploring different rail travel options.

Posted by
13053 posts

Ok, Bernina Express (or the regional train on the same tracks) makes more sense. I am a strong advocate of using the Bernina Pass route between Varenna and Switzerland, but I feel you need a night on the way, in Pontresina or Samedan, to break up the long journey. Otherwise, it will take you around 10 hours to go from Varenna to Muerren via the Bernina Pass route: 3.5 hours from Varenna to Pontresina, and then another 5.5 hours from there to Interlaken Ost. Then add another 40-50 minutes or so, depending on connections, to get to Muerren.

Posted by
8889 posts

Janet, Yes I agree with Lola. The Bernina Pass route is a perfect fit if you are in Varenna. However it leaves you in the far east of Switzerland, and it would be a good idea to do an overnight stop before heading across 2/3 of the width of the country to Mürren.

"Then we need to get to Luzern to meet up with river cruise extension." - I think you have misread something. No river cruises at Luzern, it has day boats on the lake, the river is no way big enough to float a passenger boat.
I think you mean Basel, which is where most River Rhine cruises start or end.

This rail map of Switzerland might help to map out your trip: https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/infotexte/uebersichtskarte-sts.pdf
It is the map showing where a Swiss Pass is valid. Red lines = rail. Lake Como (not named) and Tirano where the Bernina Route starts are bottom right. Then north to St Moritz and Chur. Then a long way left to Interlaken an Mürren. North-east from there is Luzern. And Basel is at the top of the map, on the border

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you very much for the information. I see now that we need to take one night away from Mürren and stay in St. Moritz or nearby. We are doing a river cruise EXTENSION in Luzern; they will transport us to Basel.

Posted by
27709 posts

janetcassie

Can you explain, because I don't understand, what you mean by a river cruise extension in Luzern? What about it is an extension? Is it on water or on land? Which river? What cruise? I don't think I saw a cruise in your post?

Posted by
12 posts

Nigel, some of the river cruises offer pre- and post-cruise extensions. Our pre-cruise extension is Lake Lucerne for 2 nights, and post-cruise extension will be Amsterdam for 2 nights.

Posted by
27709 posts

OK, got it. So you're visiting Italy, then Switzerland, and going from Luzern to Basel for a boat to Amsterdam? That makes sense. I didn't see anything about a cruise in the question, least of all a cruise of the entire (navigable) length of the Rhine.

I wonder what a pre-cruise extenson in Luzern gives you that you can't get doing it on your own like you did coming from Italy?....