Hello, My husband and I will be heading to Gimmelwald at the end of May, and from there we will be heading to the Lake Como area. We were looking for suggestions fo the best way to travel to Lake Como from Gimmelwald. Thank you in advance!
Lake Como ferry to Menaggio then local bus to Lugano train station. Take train to Luzern transfer to Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen train then from Lauterbrunnen train station to gongola station up to Gimmelwald.
A long trip best break it up and see & stay in Lugano or Luzern overnight.
I am afraid JS has you going in the wrong direction. Where at Lake Como are you going? It makes a difference in the recommended route.
jessica, The route suggested by Lola would be a good one to consider, as it provides somewhat of a "scenic" option during that trip. If you'd rather take the trip via "regular train", you could consider a departure from Interlaken Ost at 08:00, arriving Varenna-Esino at 13:23 (time 5H:23M, 3 changes at Spiez, Brig and Milano Centrale). Unless you're coming from the direction of Sondrio, all rail trips to Varenna will require a change at Milano Centrale. I'm assuming you haven't been to Varenna previously, so a few additional comments to mention. The trip from Milan is ~1H:03M. Be ready to disembark as the train only stops for about a minute. You'll pass through a tunnel just prior to reaching the station in Varenna. Be vigilant if you have to cross the tracks (this is one of the few stations where you can actually walk across the tracks). Unless you have a lot of heavy luggage, you should be able to walk from the station. Have you been provided with directions to the Hotel? It's an easy walk downhill towards the lake, and then take a left across the small bridge and then go straight. Happy travels!
Thank you for all the wonderful replies, what did we do with out the internet!! I am going to look into Lola's route, and hopefully get that book in the next couple of weeks. Also, that you for the help with the hotel, we been to a couple other of cities in Italy, but never the Northern half. We are staying at Liesi "heart Place", a Rick Steve's recommendation, in Gimmelwald, and if any one has any suggestions on what not to miss while we are there, please pass them along. Thank you again for all the help.
Thank you for the responses, we will be staying at the following: Albergo Milano Via XX Settembre 35 23829 Varenna (LC) Italy Also, where would you recommend booking the tickets.
Since you will be in Gimmelwald, you will have experienced the different types of transportation needed to get there. To get to Lake Como, you have two options once you get back out to Spiez (1.20hrs). 1) take the train to Milan and change trains to Varenna. Some runs require just the one train change at Milan and some runs require an additional train change at Brig. This routing will take 5.0hrs from Spiez. 2) take the train from Spiez to Lugano. From Lugano, take the bus to Mennagio. At Mennagio, take the ferry across the lake to Varenna. The fastest journey just from Spiez to Lugano on the Swiss trains is 4:21hrs. Then, you still have the bus and ferry. Oddly, the fastest run here takes you north to Zurich where you transfer to the high-speed to Lugano via the Gotthard tunnel. All your choice.
Good choice on Albergo Milano. We stayed there 3 nights last June and loved it. There is another route in addition to the ones described by Larry, and it may be the most cost-effective and scenic. From Interlaken Ost, instead of heading to Spiez, you go east on the Golden Pass scenic route to Luzern. At Luzern, you take a short hop to Arth-Goldau and pick up the main Zurich-to-Milan IC train via the Gotthard route. This route does stop in Lugano, but you can stay on and arrive at Milano Centrale, catching the train to Varenna from there. The advantage of this route is that you can buy advance-purchase discount tickets on that Zurich to Milan train. The discount is applicable if you board the train at Arth-Goldau. The discounted ticket from Luzern to Milan is 38 CHF in second class, instead of the normal 86 CHF. You can buy this ticket in advance on the Swiss rail site, www.railch or www.sbb.ch. I would just buy the portion from Interlaken Ost to Milan; from Gimmelwald to Interlaken is all non-reserved and you can buy that ticket when you get to Switzerland. The discounts appear about 60 days in advance, and I would buy then to be sure of getting one as they are limited in number. The price includes your seat reservation. You would buy your ticket to Varenna when you arrive at the station in Milan; the ticket machines are easy to use. Remember to stamp the ticket before boarding. The Gotthard route is more scenic than the Spiez to Milan train as you spend less time in tunnels. The Spiez route goes through 2 very long ones, the Lotschberg Basistunnel and the Simplon tunnel. The Gotthard route still has tunnels, but they are short ones. (And some of them actually do spirals to lose altitude.) You can see the various train routes and cablecars on the synoptic map: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/index.php?system=GB click on "synoptic map" at lower right.
I like Lola's route as well. I have not been on the Swiss train through the Gotthard tunnel route. I keep forgetting that it continues on to Milan from Lugano. Not a bad way to go.
Ken's route is inded faster than the one I suggested, by 2.5 hours. But there are not discount tickets available for that route, so it costs about 50 CHF more per person (in 2d class). Time versus money versus scenery---all things to consider. Suggestions for gimmelwald---oh, my. Do you enjoy hiking? You didn't ask for Varenna suggestions, but I volunteer that one of our favorite things there was the cooking class at Il Caminetto. I probably would not normally be happy spending 5 hours indoors in such a beautiful place, but it was a hot day, so hazy you couldn't see across the lake, so we were happy to be inside. chef Moreno is terrific. And afterwards they drove us to the old castle, which we visited (they had one falcon out for demonstration) before hikin gback down to Varenna.
Here'a another ppossibility: the Zurich to Milan trains stop at the town of Como on Lago di Como. The station is Como S. Giovanni, indicated as "Stazione FS" on Google maps. You would have to walk to take a bus or taxi down to th elakeshore and ferry dock. The "fast boat" will take you to Varenna in a little over an hour.. http://www.navlaghi.it/eng/com/nlc_ora_primaverile_2011.html Look for "spring schedule". Examples: the 12:25 boat arrives in Varenna at 13:21; the 13:30 boat arrives at 14:46, and the 14:00 boat arrives at 15:07. This is probably the most realistic one in terms of your travel from Gimmelwald. A boat trip would break up the jounrey nicely.
The cooking class sounds amazing, do you have contact information for that. Also, the boat portion would definitely add a break to the trip so many coices! We as looking for inexpensive and efficient due to limited time.
Jessica, I am on an iPad and do not know how to cut and paste. But if you Google "Il Caminetto Varenna " you will find it easily. The cooking class is 10 to 2 or 3; the restaurant is up on the mountain but they will pick you up in Varenna. It is 30 euro per person but that includes everything, including wine and the transport. We had 10 people at our class, including people from Sweden and South Africa. The common language is English and chef Moreno speaks it well, and also offers interesting insights on EU politics and the implications for traditional Italian cooking. Our daughters pronounced this the highlight of our trip, but the rest of the trip was not lacking in delights, so that is high praise.
We are heading to Varenna as well, and will be taking Moreno's cooking class. From there we're heading up to Murren. Does anyone know if our Eurail Pass will work for us for most of that train ride. I sure love reading Lola's replies. Thanks for letting me hijack your post Jessica. Dale.
Jessica, Here is the contact info for Moreno's cooking class in Varenna, Italy. Dale. Moreno and Rossella Ristorante Il Caminetto viale Progresso 6 23828 Perledo (Lc) - Lake Como phone n. +39 0341 815225 - + 39 0341 815127 firstname.lastname@example.org - skype: ilcaminetto
www.ilcaminettoonline.com - www.lacanoeva.com
"From there we're heading up to Murren. Does anyone know if our Eurail Pass will work for us for most of that train ride." Dale, the Eurail pass should take you as far as Interlaken; after that it is supposed to cover 25%. (I'm just repeating what I read on Rrick's railpass page; we've only used Swiss passes in Switzerland and the coverage is different.) You should ask in Interlaken before boarding the train to Lauterbrunnen. Make sure you get reservations for the trains that require them (this would be the IC train from Milan to Spiez if you are going that way; otherwise the IC from Milan to Zurich.
Thanks for the very quick reply Lola. I kind of figured that our pass would only go as far as once we hit the "little" trains. It's been a while since we were up to Gimmelwald and Murren. I popped "the question" to my now wife back in 1996 in Murren. Heaven on earth up there indeed. Thanks again, Dale.
Great information, Dale. did chef Moreno teach handmade pasta and gnocchi, with a sauce for each?
Just a couple train tips for those of you traveling by train to and from northern Italy (Lake Como area) to the region of Murren Switzerland. The four of us purchased a pair of 3 country eurailpass. ($860.00 per couple.) It never fails that I keep forgetting to enter the day's date "before" hopping on the train. This is a must. Even though all of the conductors gave us a break when they discovered that our tickets were not dated, you'd best remember to do this. We got lucky. It's a very steep fine. We took a small/slow train from Milan to Varenna and stayed at the Hotel Eremo Gaudio for 3 nights. A wonderful place with a spectacular view from our rooms and the terrace where we ate and drank. Wait staff were fantastic!! Thanks Lorna. Food and drinks were excellent and reasonably priced. A fairly easy walk down into town, but a steep walk back up for those of us who are a bit out of shape. :) Moreno's cooking class was a blast! A MUST for anyone in the area. As mentioned, it's not much of a hands on class, but a wonderful experience none the less. (One item off of our bucket list.) Moreno and his wife are so genuinely in love with what they do. He kept us laughing for nearly 4 hours. A cheap and quick boat ride from Varenna over to Menaggio to see the gardens is a nice addition to your stay as well. Our eurailpasses worked just fine from Varenna to Milan, and on up to Interlaken. From there we had to purchase a very cheap ticket (I think it was 10 euros per person one way) that covered all rides up to Murren. This ticket included the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunen, then the cable car up to Grutschalp, and finally the small train on up to Murren. Murren was a ghost town the end of May. Nice!! Happy traveling, Dale.
Nope, this time he did a pork tenderloin, tortilloni, and a potato dish.
I should probably explain why I sounded so happy about Murren being a ghost town at the end of May. This gorgeous little village doesn't come to life until around the 1st week of June...and some places open up the 2nd week of June. This had its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: We had the village pretty much to ourselves. There were maybe 2-3 dozen people up there. Very nice if you don't like crowds like me. Disadvantages: A lot of hotels and restaurants were closed. However, there were enough places open to make it well worth the trip up the mountain. So now Murren is known to be the village that I proposed to my wife in, as did my future son-in-law. He proposed to our daughter in Murren during our stay there. Dale.