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Getting From Lake Como to Gimmelwald

My husband and I will be traveling in Italy in Mid-June and our last stop there will be the Lake Como area, before heading to Bernese-Oberland. What's the best way to get to Gimmelwald from Lake Como by train? Also, do you recommend buying the Swiss Rail pass and the Italy rail pass if we're going to be traveling for two and a half weeks? Unfortunately, there is no regional pass that covers both Italy and Switzerland. And one more thing, what are you thoughts of Gimmelwald vs. Murren? Thanks for your help!

Posted by
7209 posts

First of all there is no Grimmelwald. There is a Gimmelwald and a Grindelwald. So it's probably important that you have clarification on which town you are actually trying to visit.

Posted by
12040 posts

I want to visit Mürrgen, but I'm torn between that, Interwald and Lauterlaken.

Posted by
9423 posts

No offense to the OP, but that was hella funny Tom.

Posted by
20289 posts

OK, back on topic.
1. Don't get an Italian rail pass. Train tickets are plenty cheap already in Italy. It won't pay.
2. Some type of Swiss rail pass may be in order, but we need more information of what train rides in Switzerland you are planning.
3. It depends on where on Lake Como you are. If in Como, there are several routes. If in Varenna, then you will need to return to Milan and change to a train to Spiez, then a train to Interlaken. You could also take a very long scenic route over the Bernina Pass.
4. Grindelwald or Gimmelwald, you will have to get to Interlaken Ost. From there, it depends on where on the train you sit. It splits at Zweiluetchinen. One half goes to Grindelwald and the other half goes to Lauterbrunnen where you can continue your journey to Gimmelwald.

Posted by
32228 posts

@Tom,

That was very creative! I needed a good laugh tonight.

@lanialii,

Could you clarify where you'll be visiting on Lago di Como? The transportation directions will vary somewhat from different locations.

Regarding your last question, both Gimmelwald and Mürren are nice places to stay, but somewhat different. Gimmelwald is smaller and therefore has a somewhat "quieter" atmosphere in the evenings. Mürren is larger and therefore has not only more accommodations but also more restaurants, stores and other facilities. I normally prefer to stay in Lauterbrunnen, as it's a more "central" location in terms of transportation to both sides of the valley. The best location to stay will be determined to some extent by what you plan on doing in that area during your visit.

Once you've decided which location you prefer to stay, post another note and the group can provide more specific directions to get there. When travelling from Italy, you'll first have to get to Interlaken Ost and then take the small Berner Oberland train to Lauterbrunnen. The directions from that point will differ slightly depending on which place you're going to.

For rail travel from Italy to the Berner Oberland, P-P tickets are likely the best idea. However, if you plan on using a lot of the lifts in Switzerland, having one of the Swiss Passes will provide discounts. Whether a Pass is cost effective will also depend on what you plan on doing in the Berner Oberland.

Posted by
55 posts

I apologize for the misspelling of Gimmelwald. Thank you for the jokes though.. very entertaining and witty! As for where I'll be staying in Lake Como, I'm currently trying to book 3 nights in Varenna, but so far, I haven't found a place to accommodate all 3 nights. I'm also looking at hotels in Bellagio, though I prefer to stay in the smaller town of Varenna. It looks like we will stay in Gimmelwald but we haven't figured out our itinerary there yet. We are considering the train ride to Jungfraujoch, though it is a little pricey. Would you say that is a must-do in Berner Oberland? We plan to stay in Gimmelwald for 2 nights before taking the train to Lausanne for either 2 or 3 nights. We are flying out of Geneva. Is Lausanne close enough to take a train the morning of my flight or would you recommend staying the last night in Geneva? Our flight leaves at noon. Thank you all for your help! I really appreciate it!

Posted by
20289 posts

There are IC trains every hour from Lausanne at 42 past the hour direct to Geneva airport and take 42 minutes. There are also many IR trains in between that do the run in 42 to 49 minutes.
Do a little math and see if the Swiss Card will work for you. It would cover rail from Domodossolo to Muerren, Lausanne to Geneva airport. and give you half fare Muerren to Lausanne and at least a 25% discount on the Jungfraujoch between Wengen and the Jungfraujoch (50% discount for the rest of the journey). You can ask Swiss Rail a direct question at: http://www.sbb.ch/en/meta/contact.html
They will answer direct questions with a bit more authority than us amateurs on the Travel Forum.
edit-A trip to the Jungfraujoch could be worthwhile if you have half fare privileges AND it is a beautiful day. Weather can change quickly in the mountains.

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you Sam for your help and valuable information. I really appreciate it! We ended up booking a hotel in Varenna. So I assume to take a train to Interlaken OST, we'll have to head back to Milan first? And it sounds like getting to Geneva Airport from Lausanne should be no problem, so I ended up booking 3 nights in Lausanne before we fly home. I'll have to do some math as to whether I should get a Swiss pass. Thanks again! Btw, how do you know so much about Europe and trains? I've seen you post in other forums. Do you travel there often? I know we all appreciate knowledgeable travelers like yourself. :)

Posted by
32228 posts

lanialii,

It's great to hear that you have a hotel booked in Varenna. For the trip to Switzerland, you'll first take the one hour trip from Varenna to Milan. Note that your departure station is Varenna-Esino and your arrival station Milano Centrale. The train will be a Regionale so DON'T forget to validate prior to boarding the train! If you're not able to buy tickets at the Kiosks in the station in Varenna, there's a travel agency just below the station that's very helpful.

From Milan to Interlaken Ost, there are a number of choices, with differing travel times and number of changes. The one I'd choose is a departure from Milan at 11:25, arriving Interlaken Ost at 14:28 (time 3H:03M, one change at Spiez). If you're buying P-P tickets for that trip, the agents in Italy may only be able to provide tickets as far as Spiez. If that's the case, just go inside the station when you arrive in Spiez and buy tickets to Gimmelwald (these will include all modes of transport, as described in the next paragraph).

When you arrive at Interlaken Ost, you'll transfer to the small Berner Oberland train (blue & yellow) for the 20 minute trip to Lauterbrunnen (it's a scenic but short trip). When you arrive in Lauterbrunnen, walk across the street from the station and look for the Post Bus (bright yellow, you can't miss it - it will probably be waiting). That will take you to the Cable Car terminal at Stechelberg. When you arrive there, walk up the stairs and board the Cable Car. The ride to Gimmelwald will take about 10 minutes (be sure to have your Camera ready, as the view is spectacular). Gimmelwald is the first stop and once you disembark from the Cable Car, it will be an easy walk to your hotel. Which hotel are you staying in there?

Posted by
55 posts

Wow! Thank you Ken for your detailed and very helpful directions. I really appreciate the help you and Sam have provided. We'll be staying at Esther's Guesthouse for 2 nights. She was very responsive and helpful when I first emailed her and her house looks adorable. Where have you stayed and do you travel to Switzerland often? Thanks again!

Posted by
32228 posts

lanialii,

You're very welcome! You won't have any trouble finding Esther's Guesthouse when you arrive at the Gimmelwald cable car stop. Just take the small path (slightly uphill) and it will be on your right side. It's quite a large building, so you can't miss it (this view is looking towards the cable car station).

I've stayed at the Pensione on a past trip, but if I decide to visit Gimmelwald again I might also consider the Mountain Hostel or somewhere in Mürren. Lately I've preferred to stay in Lauterbrunnen as it's a more convenient "hub" for visiting both sides of the valley. I seem to get back to Switzerland every year or two, although I have to budget carefully as it's expensive.

Regarding Railpasses you could also consider the regional Berner Oberland or Jungfrau passes, but you'll have to do some number crunching based on the places you plan to see in that area.