My wife and I were looking for input on our train trip from Interlaken to Cinque Terre (Vernazza). We will be using a flexipass in Switzerland but we were wondering about our train travel once we get to Italy. Once we get to Italy we will take the train to Cinque Terre. Should we buy these train tickets once we get to the station or do we need to buy them in advance?
Mario, That trip will take the better part of a day, but it's very straight forward. You can buy tickets for Intercity and Freccia trains online using the Trenitalia website, but not Regionale tickets. Buying online can save money, but that will "lock" you into a particular train and departure time. If you miss that train for any reason, the tickets are worthless and you'd have to buy more at full price. I usually prefer to buy tickets locally, a day or two before I'll be travelling. In the same situation, I'd use a departure from Interlaken Ost at 07:29, arriving Vernazza at 14:24 (time 6H:55M, 4 changes at Spiez, Milano Centrale, Genova Piazza Principe and Sestri Levante). The middle three legs require compulsory reservations. You can check all the schedules using the bahn.de website. If you choose that departure, your Swiss Pass may get you as far as Milano Centrale (I'm not sure), so you'd only have to buy tickets from there to Vernazza. There is a staffed ticket office at Milano (lower floor, two floors down from track level), but there's usually a HUGE queue. I'd suggest buying tickets from the Kiosks as the process is very easy. I've made that trip in the reverse direction several times, but the details are a bit "foggy" in my memory. When I made that trip last September, the ticket office in Monterosso could only sell tickets as far as Spiez. When I arrived there, I went inside the ticket office and bought a ticket to Lauterbrunnen (via Interlaken Ost). Buying the ticket only took a minute or two, so it wasn't a huge inconvenience. Happy travels!
Thank you so much Ken! Very helpful
Mario, you can buy the entire journey from Interlaken to Monterosso from the Swiss. Show them your flexipass and the agent will make the proper adjustments to the Swiss border. Ken has noted the best run above departing at 7:29. This run takes 7hrs17min. Other runs take as much as 9.5-10.0hrs. Here's a picture of the runs on the Swiss train website. http://gyazo.com/edcb9c17fb8efcffc3591e7600cb036f