Train from Milan-Interlaken-Zurich

Hi guys!!
I'll be going on 7 days 6 nights trip to Milan(stay for 2 nights) then Interlaken(stay for 3 nights and wander around the Bernese Oberland area) and then go to Zurich (stay 1 night). My budget is quite limited so I really hope that I can find cheaper alternative to get on train to get to these 3 places. However, when I searched onlien (Swiss national rail), it really is expensive!!!I believe there must be a cheaper alternative which I am not aware of. anyone know anything about it?

Posted by Devon
Ballwin
818 posts

Swiss transportation is reliable and nice, but quite expensive! Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it. There are such things as Italy/Switzerland rail passes but usually it is cheaper to do point-to-point. If you have any contacts/friends in Switzerland, an option for you would be to have them buy you one of the Swiss Day Passes. It varies among counties, but costs around 33 CHF each day. You would need to buy a ticket from Milan to the next city across the border and then your Swiss pass could start if you already had it in hand. You usually must reserve and buy the passes ahead of time, and you must be Swiss to purchase, but anyone may use the passes. These will apply to any public transportation: trams, trains, buses, ferries.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17789 posts

Emma, The Trenitalia website shows trains departing Milano Centrale for Spiez, with a travel time of 2H:28M and second class fare of 59.50€. I didn't check for "Mini" fares. For the trip from Spiez to Interlaken Ost, the Swiss Rail website shows a travel time of 0H:24M, and a fare of CH$5.20. For the trip from Interlaken Ost to Zurich, the lowest fares I could find on the Swiss Rail website were CH$32.50. Travel time is ~2H:01M with one change in Bern. As the previous reply mentioned, travel in Switzerland is often expensive. If you're planning to use any of the Cable Cars or whatever while you "wander around the Bernese Oberland", those will also be expensive. You might consider buying a Swiss Rail Pass as that may reduce your train costs and will provide a discount on the mountain lifts. Hope all is well in Belfast. I really enjoyed visiting there! Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

There are no mini fares across the border. But you can get Smart fares. Today we saw Smart fares of 19 or29 euros for travel on various dates in June and July. These are on the Trenitalia website.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

There are no direct trains to Interlaken from Milano. If on the Bern line you have to do a steep right hand turn off the main line at Spiez. If on the Luzern / Zurich line you have to change at Arth-Goldau and again a few minutes later at Luzern onto the narrow gauge cog railway over the Brunig Pass on the Zentralbahn which adds a couple of hours of scenic mountain railway onto your journey. Or change in Zurich and go all the way up and over to Bern, and perhaps (probably) change again in Bern via Spiez to Interlaken. The easiest and probably cheapest is via Spiez. Do realize that there are two Interlaken station, Ost and West, and which you you will need will depend on what you are doing after you arrive.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

BTW is EMMA from Belfast the same person as Emma from Derry, or is it just a coincidence?

Posted by EMMA
BELFAST, UK, United Kingdom
3 posts

Thank you so much, Devon, Ken and Lola!!
You guys have been really helpful! :) Devon, unfortunately I don't have any friends who reside in Switzerland. Looks like I cannot get that advantage of buying the Swiss Rail pass. I am considering to buy the Swiss Pass for foreigner, however I think I need to do some calculations to see whether it's worth it. Ken, it's amazing to hear that you have visited Belfast in the past! :) Yes, Belfast is good. We have a very good,sunny weather this week which is amazing! Anyway, is there any direct train from Milan to Interlaken? I remembered I did check on raileurope (I think) website, the cost of Milan-Interlaken train is about GBP28. But, the website is under maintenance at the moment so I could not check. Lola, I have checked the TrenItalia website but I could not find the smart2fare as you described. I will be travelling in 2 weeks time in April though. I am thinking of buying all the tickets once I arrived in Milan. Is that a good idea? Thank you!!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17789 posts

Emma, In addition to Belfast, I've also visited a few other sights such as the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Bridge, Dunluce Castle and of course the Bushmill's Distillery (nothing like a 16-year old single malt for lunch). I have a family history in Belfast, so I definitely had to visit there. Regarding your rail trips, you may find it helpful to have a look at This Website (if you haven't seen it yet). As you said, you'll have to do some "number crunching" to determine which option is most cost effective for you. I don't know if the Interrail Passes offer the same discounts as with the Railpasses available here? Scroll down the page to see the bonuses usually offered by Swiss Passes. Cheers!

Posted by EMMA
BELFAST, UK, United Kingdom
3 posts

Hello, Nigel!! I am a different Emma :) Thanks for your help! I manage to find the Smart 2 fare ticket as suggested by Lola from Milan-Spiez for 29euros!AMAZING!!! I noticed there is a GA Switzerland fare as well in which it means "Fare available only for the Italy-Switzerland services that can be bought by holders of the Swiss general discount ticket, Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass, Swiss Card, Swiss Transfer ticket or the Arcobaleno travelcard, limited to the Italy-Ticino Canton services or return." Is that mean, if I have the SwissPass, I can buy this fare?
Does anyone know if I can purchase the pass in Italy?