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Travel suggestions for additional time in Switzerland

We are arriving in early September and will be taking the Rick Steves Switzerland 12 day tour and we are looking for suggestions of how to spend additional five days preceding our tour. We will probably fly into Zurich and we thought about taking a train to Chur to catch the Bernina Express. We would greatly appreciate any insight and suggestions for how to spend our time and what to see and do along the Bernina Express train route.

Posted by
5141 posts

Lots of folks asking this question here. Also browse the posts under the Switzerland section.

One option would be to fly into Milan,
go to Varenna, Lake Como for a few days,
then onto Tirano, Italy , for the Bernini Express route,
Night in Chur/ Pontressina area,
then onto Lucerne, where I expect your trip starts .
Fly out of Zurich.

You are in for a treat with this wonderful tour!

Posted by
16890 posts

With 5 days, you could do something like this:

Fly into Zurich, overnight.

Day 1, train via Chur to Samedan or Pontresina. Novernight.

Day 2, ride the Bernina Express or a regional train on the same tracks to Tirano. You could easily build in a lunch stop along the way at one of the small stops on the way ( I will make suggestions later). At Tirano you change to an Italian train south too Varenna on Lago di Como. Overnight.

Day 3 or 4, train to Locarno, via Milan. Overnight in Locarno.

Day 4 or 5, Treno Gottardo over the Gotthard Pass to Luzern, a 3-hour journey with no changes.

An alternative would be to ride the whole Bernina Express route from Pontresina, including the bus from Tirano to Lugano. Overnight there, then take the Gotthard Panorama Express train +boat combo to Luzern. This train uses the same Gotthard Pass route as the Treno Gottardo, but finishes with a boat cruise across the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne).

Posted by
15 posts

We are also taking the 12 day RS tour, our's is starting in late July. We arrive in Zurich Tuesday mid-morning and will take the train to Chur and then transfer to Pontresina for 2 nights. The next day, Wednesday we take the Bernina Express to Tirano for a couple of hours with lunch, then an early afternoon Train back to Pontresina for a late afternoon short "Waterfall Hike". The next day we take the train to Luzern for three nights before the tour starts. We will be taking a boat to go to Mount Rigi for a 6 hour day, then a couple of days in Luzern with one more day train trip to an undecided destination (and suggestions would be appreciated) Our discounted 5/4 day Swiss Pass saves us about 120 SF over regular fares.
Any dinner suggestions for Lucern/Murren/Bern/Lausanne (not clear if the dinner is included this day with the wine tasting?) would be appreciated.
Bon Voyage Everyone!