We are planning on going over to Northern Italy and the mountainous areas in Switzerland. We will be visiting some of the smaller towns and are trying to determine how to get to some of them. I have looked at Eurail and regional trains and some may not stop in the areas we want to be. Tried to figure out local buses, however, I am not having much luck. Any thoughts? This will be our first land based trip to Europe. Thanks
Have you tried using the Deutsch Bahn (just to figure out destinations, connections and times, not to purchase) or the Swiss Rail site, sbb.ch? I've been using sbb.ch but it's too early for our trip to purchase from Sargans to Maienfeld so I'll buy that connection when we're in Zuerich. You'll have to make the comparisons but I'd be surprized if a Rail Pass is a better deal than point-to-point tickets.
Jules, There are some tricks to the transportation systems that we can help you with. A bit more information first, please, so that we can tailor the answers to your desires rather than spouting off about all sorts of places you have no interest in. I take it from your question that you have previously been around parts of Europe on a cruise? Did you get to any of northern Italy then? The most important question for you then is, when will you be going? Which of the smaller towns did you have in mind. In Switzerland there is practically no-where that you can't get to by train or train and Postbus. Don't use RailEurope for timetables (or for tickets for that matter) as they only show those trains for which they sell tickets which is a subset of those available.
Nigel, Thank you for responding. Yes, we have been to Europe on a cruise a few years back. We also have some relatives in the Venice area and in Merano. We will incorporate visits in both of these areas at the beginning of the trip. We also plan on going to the Interlaken area in Switzerland. Our confusion is going back down to Italy. We are thinking of possibly the Piedmont area or the small towns along the Cinque Terre area. If we go to the Piedmont, we thought about going to the wineries in the small towns such as Alba. If we go south to the sea, it will also to see the countryside. We are looking at traveling in early September.