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family travel via train from Zurich to Wengen then Wengen to cinque Terre then back to zurich

Hello,
We are flying into Zurich around 6:15 am the first week of August, staying in Wengen for 5 nights then heading to cinque Terre for 3 nights (Vernazza) then back to Zurich to fly home. We have one night to stay somwhere before flying out of Zurich-we would appreciate suggestions on where to stop for the night-lake como, Lucerne? Somewhere else? We are trying to avoid renting a car and using the train the entire time. Suggestions on routes and passes we should buy would be very helpful. We have two kids, ages 9 and 11.
Thank you!

Posted by
16894 posts

Lugano or Lucerne are good candidates along the main train lines, with no transportation detour.

Lake Como is off on a smaller line, served by regional train from Milan to Varenna, for instance, on the east side of the lake. From Varenna, trains continue north to Tirano and St. Moritz (a slow but scenic route), or you head back south one hour to Milan (or almost that far) to connect to a faster train north via Lugano. Or, again assuming a base in Varenna, you can take the local ferry across to Menaggio and then a local bus C12 (no date on this timetable) from there to Lugano.

Posted by
7079 posts

When you say you have one night to stay somewhere before flying out of Zurich, does that mean you will be heading directly to Zurich airport after that one night? If so, what time is your flight? Lucerne would certainly make more sense if you need to head to the Zurich airport since it's an easy 1-hr train from there to the airport. Would be much longer from somewhere on lake Como, or as Laura suggested, Lugano. Are you prepared for the long long train ride from Wengen to Vernazza (9+ hrs and 3-4 changes), and then from Vernazza back to anywhere that is convenient for a night before Zurich flight. Lots of train ride, hope the kids are well prepared with stuff to do on the train.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the feedback. Yes, we would stay somewhere for one night then have a 5pm flight out of Zurich the next day.
Is driving a better option for the Wengen to cinque Terre and our return from cinque Terre to Zurich?

Posted by
437 posts

It seems you would spend 2 or 3 full days in transit round trip to Cinque Terre. Either driving (although through beautiful scenery) or many train connections will take all day, possibly two if you add a stop on the way from CT to Zurich airport. Is that worth it for you for 3 nights in CT? Check google maps or Rome2rio to compare travel options and time.

Perhaps you could go somewhere closer?

Enjoy the trip!

Posted by
381 posts

I agree with the last poster in that it seems like a lot of travel time between Zurich and CT. If you have to see the CT on this trip, another option is to fly from Basel to Pisa. Quick check on Skyscanner shows Easy jet flies direct Basel to Pisa. First week of August has round trip direct flights at $97. Be mindful that Easyjet has bag fees and sometimes charges for oxygen 😁.

Posted by
7079 posts

It's an option Jay, but not that much better than train. Train from Wengen to Basel (3:20), flight from Basel to Pisa (1:20 plus being there 2 hrs for security boarding = 3:20), train from Pisa to Vernazza (1:40). Total approx 8 hrs, not much better than the train. Personally I think it's worse, dealing with train-flight-train, vs. train with fairly easy changes. If the OP is determined to do it, they just have to be prepared for it not to be easy. Even driving has the drawback of dealing with a car while in CT. Lots of issues to think about.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone for your feedback. Given the multiple changes with the trains we are thinking we will rent a car which will allow us to explore as we go. We don't mind the drive and will likely park the car outside of cinque Terre and use the local trains there to get around. If we can find a car rental place closer to lauterbrunnen we would possible rent a car after going to Wengen. We think we will stay our final night in Lucern.

Posted by
7079 posts

It sounds like a good decision. The trains in Europe are wonderful but sometimes a car does make more sense. Lucerne is a good place to spend the last night before flying out of Zurich. Have a great trip.

Not sure that Lauterbrunnen will have much for rental cars but worth trying. If not, Interlaken might and it's just a few minutes farther on the train.

Posted by
2 posts

Actually there are no rental car places in Lauterbrunnen at all. The town itself is rather small, but beautiful. Interlaken does have at least one rental car location. Interlaken is a change point on the rail system to get to Lauterbrunnen/Wengen. If you choose to rent a car it is a 10km drive to Lauterbrunnen from there. From Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen/Wengen is a 2 hour drive via motorway. It is a beautiful trip to take.