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Please help - scenic train travel questions from Zurich

Thanks for everyone that answered my previous questions about scenic trains and travel from Milan to Zurich for our travel in June. We are very much looking forward to the ride on the Bernina express.

Forgive me for asking the following: After spening hours on the Bernina express - with possibly spending a few additonal hours along the way before continuing on to Zurich, how different are these various trains and tours through the Alps. In other words, if we do a few within a 5 day period are they all going to "run together" and not seem all that different ?

We have been exploring some other options once in Zurich and then Geneva. Among them is a trip to Jungfraujoch. I know it's a long day trip, which we could do ourselves, but we have also seen various tours along the lines of "Top of Europe Day Trip from Zurich" which also goes to Jungfraujoch. This looks amazing - and we are inclined to want to do it - either on our own - or on a tour. Will it at all seem redundant.

Thanks again for any advice and recommendations.

Last question. There are 3 of us traveling. If we plan on doing multiple train trips on our own, does a rail pass make sense vs individual trips. Also, in traveling in Italy we have always bought train tickests in advnace. Should we be doing the same for Swiss trains?

Thanks.

Posted by
32652 posts

I think that the Glacier Express route, the Golden Pass route, the Bernina route are all quite different. The three man sections of the Golden Pass route are even very different from each other.

To try to get to the Jungfraujoch from Zürich, either by yourself or in a group, is setting yourself up for failure. It is something like 2.5 hours traveling in the lowlands (add another hour to go via the Brunig Pass) before you even get to Interlaken, then 20 minutes up to Lauterbrunnen. You then have a train to Kleine Scheidegg where you change onto the train which will take you up and through the mountain before finally stepping out at the Jungfraujoch 4 hours and 3 minutes after the train left Zürich Hauptbahnhof (add an hour if via Brunig) and if you leave at 8:00 you arrive after noon.

The problem is that the weather in the Alps is very unpredictable, and the mountains make their own weather. To have the best chance of reaching the top in decent weather I always advise going up early in the day. The clouds usually roll in by late morning and you wouldn't want to travel all that way and spend those hundreds of dollars (just on the ascent) to look out on a cloud and have no view, or worse step out into a cloud and barely see your hand in front of your face. If you are staying in the area I always advise checking the screens to see what is happening at the top, weather wise and then decide when and on which day to go up based on what you see.

There's no way at all to know what you will find when you step on the train 4 hours earlier.