Cinque Terre to Interlaken Ost

Hello, We are starting to tie up all the loose ends for our upcoming trip in May. Our last stay in Italy will be the Cinque Terre, and we are then going to Interlaken (staying in Wilderswil) to explore the Berner Oberland. Larry was very kind to give me some tips early on about how to get from the CT to Interlaken, and I was looking at Trenitalia today trying to figure out if it's better to buy tickets now or wait until we get there. Any thoughts? We are a family of 5 and so can also use the Familia discount where that's cheaper. We will be buying a Swiss Flexi pass, and on Trenitalia, you can tell them you have the pass, but they also want the pass number. On SBB, I couldn't even make a reservation. Because I'll have the pass, is it better to wait? Should we get tickets from La Spezia to Milan now and then buy the next leg when we get there? We weren't planning on buying the Swiss Passes quite yet but within the next few weeks. Maybe we need to buy now and have the numbers for Trenitalia. Hummmm...so many questions, so I apologize. Larry really was quite helpful, but the devil is in the details! Many thanks for all your help!
Becky

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Becky, I don't know what route you are thinking of, but with 5 people I would think about minimizing changes. There are IC trains direct from Monterosso to Milano Centrale at 6:55, 10:55, and 12:55, arriving in Milan 3 hours later. I see 9 euro tickets still available for some dates in late May, and that would beat any "familglia" price, but they will disappear soon. The tickets from Milano C. to Spiez can be bought at the station for the same price (15 euro if you have a Swiss pass) so no need to do that now. After Spiez you don't need reservations and just show your pass on the train. It is a long day and if I were doing this I would get an early start, catching the 6:55 from Monterosso, arriving 9:55 (IC 658). The Direct train to Spiez departs at 11:25, so you have time to get a snack or buy lunch to picnic on the train. I would buy tickets for this leg in Italy, several days before travel (probably before heading to CT). The train arrives in Spiez at 13:53. I didn't check the schedules onward to Interlaken Ost and Wilderswil, but it may take an hour or so, so you would still arrive in mid-afternoon. The later train from Monterosso (at 10:55) does not connect as well at Milan with trains into Switzerland. If you go the other way (via La Spezia and Parma), you can ride regional trains which are cheaper, but it takes an hour and a half longer to get to Milan.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

You can buy the tickets all the way to Spiez on the Trenitalia website.

Posted by Becky
Woodinville, WA
75 posts

Thanks Lola and Jeff! I know that I can buy tickets directly to Spiez, but I didn't know I could leave from Monterosso. Thank you! The problem is that we don't have our Swiss Flexi Passes yet, and the website asks for a pass number when booking on Trenitalia. It seems like leaving early at 6:55 (sorry kids!) and arriving earlier (with no stops except Milan) is the way to go. I'll go ahead and book those tickets now and will wait to get the others. So the price stays 15 euro even if we wait? Many, many thanks!
Becky

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

True, but if you want to include the reduction for a Swiss pass from Domodossola to Spiez, you must have the Swis Pass in hand when you buy. Otherwise, you can see if theRe is a Smart Fare (22 euro) available and skip the Swiss pass discount.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Hi again, I posted the above at the same time as you were posting. The 15 euro ticket from Milan tomSpiez with a Swiss Pass will not change. It is what it is-the regular fare from Milan as far as Domodossola. Your Swiss Pass will cover it from there. The fare that will change ( as in disappear) is the 22 € Smart Fare that you would want if you were not using a Swiss Pass. but since you will be, no worries. You can wait and get that ticket later. But grab those kMonteross to Milan tickets now to get that 9 euro price.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17713 posts

Becky, I travelled that same route last September, so it's still somewhat "fresh" in my mind. Which of the Cinque Terre towns are you staying in? That may have a bearing on which train you'll be able to connect with heading to Switzerland. I most definitely agree with Lola that your best bet is the 06:55 departure from Monterosso. You'll change at Milano Centrale, at Spiez and again at Interlaken Ost. It's going to be a long day regardless, but that's the best option and will get you to Switzerland at a reasonable hour. The easiest method would be to buy your tickets at the station in Monterosso, a few days before you'll be travelling. They will only be able to sell you tickets as far as Spiez, but from there you'll be able to use your Passes. You'll have your Railpasses in-hand at the time, so should be able to get the discounts on the portion from Domodossola onward. Where are you planning to buy your Swiss Railpasses? If you buy them on this site, you should be able to make a call to Rick's Rail experts and they'll be able to help you fine tune the details. Happy travels!

Posted by Becky
Woodinville, WA
75 posts

Hi all, Thanks for the advice! We are staying in Manarola. Does the regional train run that early in the morning to get us to Monterosso for the 6:55a departure? I kept working with Trenitalia yesterday, but after back and forth trying to find the 9 euro tickets, I think they are gone. Alas. But, we do have two kids under the age of 14. Does Trenitalia consider 13 a child for that leg (Monterosso to Milan)? I keep finding conflicting information that sometimes it's 14 and sometimes it's 12. They are only 10 euro for the trip to Milan. So, it's the economy tickets, which are still only 19 euro for 3 and 10 euro (hopefully) for 2. It still seems smart to buy that leg of the trip now. True? I don't want those to go away and be left with more expensive tickets. It's not that much of a difference compared to the whole cost of the trip, but still :). Thank you!!!
Becky

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17713 posts

Becky, Unfortunately, the only train from Manarola to Monterosso that will work is a departure at 05:50, arriving 06:01. That means you'll have a wait of 54 minutes until your next departure. The Monterosso station is quiet at that time of the morning, except for the occasional IC or freight train zipping through. I'm not sure about the children's tickets (never had any reason to check those). Good luck!