My husband and I would like to travel to Lake Como (been there before) or Lake Garda for about 5 days and then go to Switzerland (never been). We have two weeks available and will be flying from Perth Australia. We would like to stay for about 4 nights in a resort/spa hotel in Lake Como or lugano and then go on to visit major places in Switzerland. We are thinking of travelling by train and we like to stay in major cities for at least 2 nights. We will fly out of Zurich.
That's all good. I'd do that if I could.
What's the question?
One thought that occurs to me is that Lake Maggiore may be a better choice than Lake Garda, as it's "on the way" to Switzerland and will simplify transportation.
For example, you could stay for a few days in Stresa and tour the beautiful Borromean Islands and take a trip up Mt. Mottarone. Following that take the train to Domodossola and transfer to the scenic Cento Valli Railway for the trip to Locarno (CH). That's also a very beautiful town and would be worth a couple of days. After that travel by regular train to other points in Switzerland. You could also substitute Lugano for Locarno, and then continue to other points in Switzerland.
Which other "major places" are you considering in Switzerland? A big favourite here is the Berner Oberland and Lauterbrunnen Valley (just outside Interlaken), but whether to visit there will depend on the time of year. Lucerne is also well worth a visit (it's one of the most beautiful cities I've visited).
Hi again. Thanks for your advice and apologies for not having a specific question. We plan to travel in July this year. Considering we only have 12 nights away, perhaps it would be better just to stay in Switzerland. Arrive and depart from Zurich. Would you recommend the grand Train Tour of Switzerland by Rail Europe?
That's a very subjective question and the answer will likely vary with each person. My preference would be to fly inbound to MXP, spend a few days in Stresa to recover from jet lag and see some of the sights, and then continue into Switzerland. Even with a very short 12 days, visiting two countries would provide a nice balance.
Also (and perhaps more importantly), unless you have a very generous budget spending some time in Italy will reduce costs to some extent. Switzerland is a VERY expensive place to travel.
I don't use Rail Europe at all. They're a marketing agency and don't actually operate any railways, so I prefer to deal with the firms that DO operate the railways (ie: Trenitalia or SBB).
I am going to be staying in Lake Como and traveling to Interlakken in Switzerland. In researching options I found the Bernina Express which I think I am going to be taking to Chur and then on to Luzern. It is considered one of the most beautiful train trips in the world and takes you right over the Alps and networks in with the Glacier Express which goes on to St. Moritz and Zermott where the Matterhorn is: https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express