Trip from Venice to the Alps

My family and I are planning to take a cruise that ends in Venice on a sunday. We would like to make a quick trip to the Berner Oberland area flying back to the US on Wednesday. Is this possible by train? Our travel agent couldn't figure it out. Thanks,
Hugh (Duluth. MN)

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

It is very possible by train, although it will take around 7 1/2 hours to get to Lauterbrunnen in the heart of the Berner Oberland. The routing is Venice to Milan (2.5 hours by ES train, buy on Trenitalia for best price); Milan to Spiez (another 2.5 hours, also buy on Trenitalia for best p If you depart Venice at 7:50 you can be in Lauterbrunnen at 15:25. There are later departures which work just as well, some with an additional change at Brig on the way. I consulted a Sunday schedule to come up with this. You can fly home from either Zurich or Geneva.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3069 posts

Dare I ask why one would use a travel agent that can't figure out how to use a train to get from point A to point B on a very popular route?

Posted by Hugh
Duluth, Minnesota, USA
45 posts

Thanks for your help. I guess I need a little bit more! I was unable to get the Trenitalia web site to work. No prices or schedules came up. Does each segment have to get booked seperately? Also, how can you get from Spiez to Lauterbrunnen? Is this by train or by bus? We tried to search a route to Lauterbrunnen by train, and the website said that there was not a station for it. Thanks again,
Hugh (Duluth MN)

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6718 posts

Hugh, a couple of hints. It's not you. Trenitalia has re-built its website and even for us experienced users, it's a mess. Although the website is in English, you have to type the train station names in Italian. That's a change for the worse. Second, The Italian Trenitalia system cannot see Lauterbrunnen or anywhere else in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. They never could. The two Swiss train systems there (Jungfraubahn and Schilthornbahn) are a private part of the Swiss system and they want to be paid in Swiss Francs. At least that's what they told us when we made the journey. I used to be able to see Venice to Interlaken Ost on the Italian website. Now, the closest I can get in Switzerland is Spiez. And, even then, all of the runs are not shown. Bummer. Two things. First, you can buy the tickets for the run described by Lola above at the Venice train station 1-2 days before you depart. Again, the Italians will only sell you a ticket from Venice to Interlaken Ost. This is OK. Just go into the smal train station there and buy your remaining tickets. Second, I can see the entire run on www.bahn.de but you can't but the tickets there. Below is a link to see what I see with the 7:50 run opened up so that you see the stops. Again, the Italians will only get you to Interlaken Ost. http://gyazo.com/2f3e1914e4e9c5b1ae2ac340a4ef1d42 Finally, another suggestion. When you change trains at Spiez, run around the back of the small station and there's an ATM. Now that you are in Switzerland, the ATMs will dispense Swiss Francs. This is useful as they don't like Euros much where you are going. They'll take them at some places but you won't like the conversion rate.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

Or, instead of a long, complicated trip all the way to the Berner Oberland, you can take the relatively short trip to the Dolomites, Fiemme or Vizentine Alps.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Hugh, where does your flight to the US on Wednesday start? I guess I was assuming Zurich but do you return to Italy for the flight? If so, there might be closer places to visit than Lauterbrunnen, either the dolomites as Tom suggested, or lesser-known but equally scenic places in Switzerland. .

Posted by Hugh
Duluth, Minnesota, USA
45 posts

Our flight is out of Zurich and everyone has their hearts set on seeing the Berner Oberland area so I have to make this work. I am still having trouble with the trenitalia web site. Is there another site to buy tickets? We are worried about waiting to buy them in Venice because so many ships disembark there on the weekends and the trains might be full. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated Thanks, Hugh

Posted by Tammy
Oberdiessbach, Bern, Switzerland
9 posts

SBB.ch is the site to help you with this. You don't want to miss the Berner Oberland!

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
310 posts

Train tickets cannot sell out. If you can't find a seat, you stand up. No one counts seats and no one is ever kicked off.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
569 posts

If you only have 2-3 days I would highly recommend going to the Dolomites rather than the Berner Oberland, which will easily eat up a whole day of your already short time remaining just to get there. The Dolomites are much closer to Venice, just a few hours by train, and the scenery and mountains are equally spectacular and less crowded. We have been to the Dolomites many times and prefer them to much of the rest of the alps! Besides the scenery the food is amazing...the area has changed hands between Italy and Austria so much that most menus have both an Italian food side and a Germanish food side...you can eat perfectly prepared food from both cuisine traditions. You can easily fly home from Milan on the Italian side or Innsbruck on the Austrian side.
Just my two cents! :)