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Need help planning trip Salzburg, Switzerland to Lake Como

Hi! My extended family has rented a villa for us and other families for one week in Lake Como in early August 2018. My family would like to go to Salzburg and Switzerland the week before. I know this would entail flying into one airport and leaving from probably Milan. I know I'd like to go to Interlaken at some point but the rest I need help planning please. What is the least expensive way to fly from Colorado? I was browsing flights and the cost for 3 was $9,000!!! Where would you recommend we fly to and where would you recommend we travel during that week before Lake Como? I've never been to these areas so hoping you who are experienced can guide us. Thank you so much!

Posted by
20316 posts

It is still a bit early, as August 2018 is still more than 330 days out, but if July is any indication, looks like you could go for about $1100 per person on Icelandair with a single change in Reykjavik. Coming home you'd have to spend a night in Reykjavik, but that could be a blessing. Fly to Munich (to get to Salzburg) and home from Milan.

Where on Lake Como? Its a big lake with 3 arms.

Posted by
3198 posts

Easiest would be flight to Salzburg or Munich with a return from Milan. I just messed around with Google flights and came up with fares on Iceland Air in the $1,100 range for July - calendar doesn't go to august because date is too far out. There's no reason for the airlines to quote low prices yet since folks don't normally buy tix this early. Most likely you'll be able to get fares in the $1,100-1,400 range later in the year or toward the beginning of 2018. Don't be scared off by the fares you see today.

Posted by
631 posts

my question is why Salzburg? If this is just because you've seen photos and read things in guide books and don't really know europe so thought "why not?" can I suggest you forget it.

Western austria, south west Bavaria, Switzerland and Como would all be in reasonable range of Zurich airport which could make flights a lot simpler. And by only using one airport in one country car hire would be simpler and much cheaper if you needed it.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for your responses. I wasn't going to buy airfare yet but I was just wondering when it is time what is typically the best..most affordable..airports. We are going to Salzburg because of the Sound of Music tour that I've always wanted to do. We are staying a couple of miles from Bellagio on Vasenna.

Don't know if you can rent a car at one airport (for example in Munich) and return it in Milan. Not sure how it works when driving in Europe. Have only been to London, Spain and a cruise where we were only in France and Italy for the day.

Thank you!

Posted by
20316 posts

I think you can do without a car, and I think you can get reasonably priced open jaw flights Munich and out of Milan. But if you do decide on a car, do not rent in one country and drop in another. Too expensive. In that case fly RT to Zurich.

Munich airport to Salzburg is easy with a Bayern ticket, just 31 EUR for two adults and one child under 15, or 37 EUR for 3 adults. Train change at Munich Ost station. 2 1/4 hour trip.

Salzburg to Switzerland is a straight shot on the Railjet train, up the Inn Valley and through the Arlberg Tunnel.

There is a very nice train ride from eastern Switzerland over the Bernina Pass to Tirano, Italy, then change trains to Varenna (assume that is what you meant by Vasenna). Interlaken, in central Switzerland, is a little out of the way for that route. And don't do Interlaken, do Muerren. Its a car-free village, so any car will sit in a paid lot in the valley below.

Posted by
631 posts

definately do not consider a one way car rental between offices in different countries, basically you would have to pay to have the car shipped back.

You have a reason for Salzburg. What about Interlaken and Berner Oberland? Sam's idea of using the Bernina Pass railway and approaching Lake Como from the north east is a good one, well worth doing. But Interlaken (and Muerren) is some hours off route.

Do some research about the canton of Graubunden. This area of switzerland starts a few minutes south of Sargans where the Railjet from Salzburg calls, covers the eastern alps area including Davos and St Moritz (both expensive) and eventually meets the Italian border just north of Como. It would form a logical arc on you tour. Chief town is Chur right at the north, other villages en-route to consider are Filisur, Bergun and Pontresina. It is also the area with switzerlands 4th language, hence some odd combinations of letters in names.

https://www.graubuenden.ch/en

one interesting thing, most of the Albula and Bernina railway lines which form the link between Chur and the Italian border are available to view in Google Streetview , they strapped their camera and the hardy operator to an open freight car at the front of a train!

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for your continued responses. Will definitely now not rent a car in one country to return to another based on your recommendations. I do appreciate the information on how we can travel from Munich to Salzburg, etc. My good friend has lived in Interlaken and my parents visited there and said it was the most beautiful place they'd ever been..thus my reason for wanting to go there. We are actually staying in Vassena (though I misspelled it before) which is in the Province of Lecco.

Would it be silly to rent a car just for Switzerland as we travel around the country? In Salzburg, all i really want to do is the SOM tour....Then visit Switzerland before we head to our week in Vassena :-)

Posted by
20316 posts

People on this Forum generally turn their noses up to Interlaken, because they know, (opinion) that there are better options. Interlaken is indeed a beautiful place. The distant high mountain peaks are magnificent, but soon a little thought comes into one's head, "Why not get to some place right up close to those beautiful mountains?" The answer is that it is easy to do, thus our prejudice. It is great to stay at those high mountain villages, Wengen and Muerren, they have plenty of hotels up there and they are car free. You have to leave the car in the valley and go up on a train or cable car.

Posted by
12 posts

Very interesting re Interlaken. I will definitely look into the other options you mention. We do live in Colorado and go into the mountains often but I'm sure there is no comparison with the Alps! :-)

Posted by
1 posts

I'm also planning a trip to Switzerland, stopping first in Salzburg - specifically to go on the Sound of Music tour, then to Bolzano Italy to see Otzi the Iceman, and then to Grindelwald, Wengen, or Murren. We live in Los Angeles, and I've got miles on United, so I'm looking at a one-stop to Salzburg, and returning non-stop through Zurich. For you, Milan is definitely the closer option. I was thinking of Interlaken at first, but realized that if I'm going to see the Swiss Alps, it would be better to be as close as possible. From Interlaken, I would still have to take a train to any of those mountain towns I mention earlier.

I decided to take the train from Salzburg, through Innsbruck to get to Bolzano, and then another train to get to Interlaken (through Zurich and either Bern or Luzerne). I prefer trains while traveling in Europe to experience more of the local transportation. Additionally I had a bad rental car experience going from England to Scotland. Car returned without any problems, then 2 weeks later I got a bill from the car rental company in Edinburgh saying the car was damaged and I owed $1000. Luckily my credit card company disputed the charge per my request. After that experience, I try not to rent a car internationally unless local transportation is not easily accessible, and when I have to rent a car - take lots of pictures of the car before returning it.

Posted by
631 posts

Orbops: for Bozen - Switzerland consider the train-bus-train option via Mals. Missed by most tourists but an interesting route. Bus is SwissPost from Mals to Zernez.

Posted by
631 posts

CookinCo: just noticed your spelling mistake and that you are heading for Vassena, that probaby will need a car. I'd say travel from Interlaken area by train to Milan Airport (train from Switzerland to Gallarate then taxi to airport, saves much time and avoids hassle in Milan), hire car at airport and return it back there when leaving, keeps it simple.

Posted by
2 posts

I wouldn't worry too much about flights yet, however I have gotten so many great deals on tickets just checking google.com/flights and subscribing to Scott's Cheap Flights. All free and easy! I flew to Rome in the Spring round trip for $400 and just bought tickets to Munich in March for $500 from a small airport in North Dakota! If you stay relatively flexible you can usually find cheap flights.