My husband and I will be traveling from Switzerland (visiting the Berner Oberland area) to Venice, Italy. Was wondering if one of the scenic rail journeys could easily be incorporated in that trip...is one "on the way"? Or should we just take the regular train (maybe an overnight)?
Well depending on where you are staying in Switzerland and your budget, you might want yo consider the Bernina Express down to Tirano and then onwards to your destination with the Italian railway system.
we are staying in murren. i was considering the bernina route. what would be the length of the trip from where we will be to tirano? would it be closer to go to Florence rather than Venice first?
There is no overnight train. From Mürren to Tirano by the Bernina route will be 8.5 to 9.5 hours. From Tirano it is still 2.5 hours to Milan where you meet the train to Venice. The Gotthard route, a direct train from Zurish to Milan, would be faster but less scenic. The fastest way from Mürren to Milan goes via Brig and two long tunnels. If you have two days for the journey, Bernina route would be my choice, with an overnight stay on Ontresina, Poschiavo, or even Varenna, depending how you want to break up the trip. Milan to Venice is 2 hr. 35 min. Milan to Florence is 1:45.
We have done that in reverse. It will take part of 3 days. We took the train from Venice to Lugano, Switzerland, and spent the night. The next morning we took the Bernina Express, which begins with a very interesting bus trip from Lugano to Tirano, Italy.(the border between Italy and Switzerland is very twisting in that area). There you get the Bernina Express train to Chur, Switzerland. The next day, we took trains from Chur to Interlaken, which took about 4 or 5 hours and 2 transfers, then on to Murren. I'm sure you can do that in reverse. The scenery was pretty, but it consumed too much time for what we got from the experience. I would spend the extra time in the Berner Oberland and not do the scenic train. We did enjoy the experience and did not consider it a waste of time, but it wasn't very memorable for the amount of time and money we spent. The trains in Switzerland all go through some rather spectacular scenery.
Hope this helps.
You do not need to make a 3 day journey of it if you want the most scenic part. Skip the bus between Menaggio and Lugano. Go from the Berner Oberland to Pontresina in day one, and from there to Tirano, Milan and Venice on day 2.