In mid September my husband and I will be flying into Zurich after making a connection at JFK. The following is a rough itinerary:
Day 1: Zurich to Chur
We arrive at around 8:00 am in Zurich and plan to take a train to Chur, where we will spend the day and night, relaxing and getting acclimated to the elevation.
Day 2: Pontresina
From Chur, in the morning we will go by rail to Pontresina taking the Bernina Express route on the local trains, where we spend three days. Our hotel in Pontresina will give us the free pass for the local busses and cable cars/gondolas. When we arrive in Pontresina, we will probably spend the first day enjoying the area maybe going on the cable car to Muottas Muragl.
Day 3: Pontresina
From Pontresina following the Bernina Express route to Poschievo on the local trains, with stops in Diavolezza, Alp Grum, and Poschiavo and back.
Day 4: Pontresina
From Pontresina going to the Guarda, Tarasp area.
Day 5: Sils, Soglio, Chiavenna
Leave Pontrasina in the morning and stop in Sils and then go on to Soglio. After spending the afternoon in Soglio, go to Chiavenna to spend the night.
Day 6: Chiavenna to either Varenna, Lake Como or Cannero Riviera, Lake Maggiore. Take bus or train. We've been to Como several times before, like it a lot, and may spend time at both lakes on rent near Varenna/Bellagio and visit Maggiore.
We like to spend time in quaint local towns, eat at casual restaurants that have local menus, pretty scenery, hikes of 1-4 hours of mild to moderate difficulty.
Where I need help is in understanding the transportation and refining or tweaking our itinerary especially in the Switzerland portion. We take carry-on luggage only, but it is filled to the maximum.
TRAIN FROM ZURICH TO CHUR TO PONTRESINA
From what I understand, at the Zurich airport we can take a train to Chur with perhaps a stop in the city of Zurich to change trains? I have looked at the http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html schedules and I don’t think that it is worth buying a half-pass fare for the time that we are in Switzerland because our three days in Pontresina come with the free area transportation passes. I believe that we can try for Supersaver tickets from the airport to Chur on the website two weeks before the date, but the times may not work out and they are not changeable. So the only choice may be just to buy the regular train tickets at the airport to Chur. I don’t see an option of buying tickets to St Moritz or Pontresina from the Zurich airport on the website.
We would like to travel the same route as the BE from Chur to Pontresina on the regular or local train. Is there a special route or destination that we ask for in the Chur Station to go on the BE route?
PONTRESINA TO NEARBY AREAS WITH HOTEL TRANSPORTATION PASS
Next, in the Pontresina area, my hotel includes the transportation passes with two icons, the gondola and bus. It does not include the star. In answer to a previous post, a very helpful poster told me that we could go as far as Alp Grum with the pass. Does this mean that we need to buy at ticket from AG to Poschievo and back?
Also with the transportation pass from Pontresina, how far can we get toward Guarda or Tarasp?
From Pontresina how far will the transportation pass take us toward Soglio?
BETWEEN SOGLIO AND CHIAVENNA
The distance between Soglio and Chiavenna is not much, but in looking at the Swiss train site, it says that it is 73ch per ticket. That seems extreme. Am I missing something? Is there alternate transportation? Is it reasonable to spend the afternoon in Soglio and the night in Chiavenna? Is there a place to store our luggage in Sils and Soglio if we stop there?
Sorry that this is so long, but I would appreciate any help that you could give me.