We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Which direction would you travel ...

Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Which direction would you travel ...

Hi all - this is the first step of planning our trip - we will be heading to London in April 2013.

The limited plan so far is to travel to Zurich, then to Zermatt - Glacier Express to St Moritz ...

then on to Lake Como (train?) perhaps Venice, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Florence ...

we have to fly home from London so will have to return to London from one of the cities.

Would you start in Italy and finish in Switzerland or vice versa?

Reasons for doing so?

At first we were thinking starting in Zurich and ending in Florence or Rome before flying back to London ... but am thinking it might be nice to finish with the Glacier Express as a scenic highlight. Not really sure but thought the experts here might have some tips to get us started.

Which end first? Many thanks :)

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Glacier Express
Glacier Express
1,036 Reviews
Zermatt, Switzerland
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast
Campania, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Likely To Sell Out
Mount Titlis Day Tour from Zurich
1,046 Reviews
from $163.90*
Likely To Sell Out
Swiss Alps Day Trip from Zurich...
363 Reviews
from $251.50*
Likely To Sell Out
Jungfraujoch: Top of Europe Day Trip...
1,052 Reviews
from $251.50*
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
40,466 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

April is not the best time in the alps - snow melting etc - but both Zermatt and St Moritz are high resorts and will still be busy. It will be glorious around the lakes, both here and in Italy. I think I would travel north to south. That way you get marginally cooler weather in the Alps and the contrast with Como and further south should be very nice. As far as you go south the warmer it gets, also as you go lower, the warmer it gets. Also the flowers etc change...

Glacier Express is wonderful. Getting from St Moritz to Italy is slightly complicated in that you need to take a bus - either direct from St M to Lugano (3hrs but lovely ride) and you could get off along the shores of lake Como - Menaggio, for example. OR you take the Bernina line to Tirano and the connecting bus to Lugano from there. That goes to Lugano and I am not sure that it makes local stops whereas the one that goes daily from St M. does. Check the SBB site for times etc -- you will have to wait until about the end of November for next April's timetables. www.sbb.ch/en There are also regular train services from Tirano to Milano.

If you are going as far south as the amalfi coast maybe it is better to fly to London from Rome.

Edited: 10:09 am, October 07, 2012
Mentioned in this post
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland
Italy
Italy
Europe
Lugano
Lugano
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Menaggio
Menaggio
207 Reviews
Lake Como, Italy
Bernina
Bernina
229 Reviews
Tirano, Italy
Tirano
Tirano
Province of Sondrio, Italy
London
London
England, UK
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer.

If we are to get the Glacier Express and we are coming from London - is it best to fly in to Zurich or Geneva?

Also should we stay two nights (considering we would get there late on the first night) allowing sightseeing in Zermatt and another night before leaving early on the Glacier Express? One would imagine if it is an all day trip we may not be able to head on to Lake Como on the same day?

Any ideas most welcome.

I think Rome back to London may be our best option.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Glacier Express
Glacier Express
1,036 Reviews
Zermatt, Switzerland
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
40,466 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

When you fly into Geneva or Zürich and go to Zermatt there is very little in the train time involved. Maybe slightly shorter via Zürich (and this would also give you the chance to get off en route and visit Bern, which is amazing!)

Anyone going to Zermatt should plan at least two nights to help ensure that you can have a view of the Matterhorn... if there are low clouds you will be unlucky! And there is plenty to do/see in Zermatt.

I seriously doubt that you can get from St Moritz (with an arrival time of around 1800) to Como on the same day - and why would you want to? The Engadine is superb... spend two nights and travel to Como via the Bernina line and then train via Tirano and Monza to Como.

Mentioned in this post
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
The Matterhorn
The Matterhorn
3,111 Reviews
Zermatt, Switzerland
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland
Como
Como
Lake Como, Italy
Engadine
Engadine
211 Reviews
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Bernina
Bernina
229 Reviews
Tirano, Italy
Tirano
Tirano
Province of Sondrio, Italy
Monza
Monza
Province of Monza and Brianza, Italy
Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

Thank you ...

I think then we will fly from London into Zurich hopefully by lunchtime.

We then have to travel with our suitcases and cabin baggage via train to Zermatt.

You mention getting off at Bern - but we would have our luggage with us and may be booking our accommodation at Zermatt for two nights as suggested?

Then we will get Glacier Express to St Moritz and again, as you suggest - stay over - I googled the Engadine (which I assume is a region) and spend two nights.

Then via the Bernina line to Lake Como?

I was initially going to include Venice as part of our Italy tour however I think it is a little more difficult to get to.

After the above plans this would leave us 11 nights to tour Italy.

We have significantly cut down and hope to get to Lake Como, Cinque Terre and Tuscany.

Would love to have seen the Amalfi Coast and other cities but it is also a holiday so have to be realistic.

Any recommendations much appreciated - in terms of time management also thank you.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland
Engadine
Engadine
211 Reviews
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Bernina
Bernina
229 Reviews
Tirano, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Como
Lombardy, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Italian Riviera, Italy
Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast
Campania, Italy
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
40,466 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

Luggage is no problem. you can send your heavy bags from the Zürich airport to Zermatt. At worst they will arrive the following am but at best the same evening. And Bern has luggage lockers (most stations do) on a coin-op basis. So you can stow whatever and walk around free and easy!!

Look at this for Bern:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g188052-c127052/Ber…

Two nights in Zermatt are fafr better than one! And the GE is wonderful. If you can, in the Engadine, stay in one of the small villages near St Moritz - I was just in Sils Baseglia which is lovely and quiet. Situated between two lakes as well... others are Sils Maria, Silvaplana, Champfer. A bit further off is Maloja. We took the Bernina Express to Tirano where you connect to Italian trains. However normal trains also run over the same line and are very frequent. Having spent time on the GE you might want not to take the BE itself and rather take a normal train, stopping perhaps at Poschiavo (luggage into station lockers or baggage room!) and visit that little town. It is still in Switzerland though in an Italian speaking valley and very very pretty.

Mentioned in this post
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
Engadine
Engadine
211 Reviews
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland
Bernina Express
Bernina Express
1,708 Reviews
Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Tirano
Tirano
Province of Sondrio, Italy
Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

Thanks again.

I am about to book flights from London to Zurich.

We then hope to get the train from Zurich to Zermatt.

As we are not at all familiar with this area, airports, trains etc - could you please advise best option - e.g. an international flight arriving in Zurich from London - how much time do we need to collect luggage - and go to wherever we need to - to get the train from Zurich to Zermatt - which appears to be a three and a half hour train ride.

I want to ensure we have plenty of time to get to the train. Also any advice re transport to train station etc - any tips much appreciated.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
canada
Level Contributor
8,074 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

I am no fan of London airports, however, I noticed a flight from London City airport to Bern, which is much closer to Zermatt. To search for low cost flights, I like to use www.whichbudget.com. See if you can find other destinations like Basel, or Milan.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Basel
Basel
Canton of Basel, Switzerland
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

That's interesting about flying into Bern.

I would like to know if others would recommend that over flying London to Zurich and then Zurich to Zermatt.

Pros and cons of each?

Mentioned in this post
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
London
London
England, UK
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
40,466 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

You really do not have to worry about which train you take from Zürich airport to Zermatt, provided you can connect in Visp for the last train of the day... There are through trains Zürich to Visp every hour. And many more trains where you can change in Basel for Visp. It takes 2 hours 15 mins from the airport to Visp and then an hour from Visp on the mountain railway.

if you fly to bern the airport is in belp and you will have to take a train or bus and train into Bern and change anyway. I would aim for either Zürich or basel - or even Geneva from where there are 2 trains an hour to Visp. Choose whichever flight is cheapest but make sure you make that last connection in Visp. For precise train times see www.sbb.ch/en

One final thing. Do not bother about getting train tickets until you get here. Fares do not vary and you do not need seat reservations. At rush hour the train leaving the ZRH airport can be crowded but will empty out somewhat when it gets to the main Zürich station and you can then get a seat. From GVA, the train starts there and there is never a problem with getting a seat. The ticket machines at all the stations "speak" English and take credit cards...

Mentioned in this post
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Basel
Basel
Canton of Basel, Switzerland
Bern
Bern
Bern Mittelland District, Switzerland
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zurich Airport
Zurich Airport
Zurich, Switzerland
Perth
Level Contributor
632 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Which direction would you travel ...

Thank you, so helpful.

We are leaning towards Geneva perhaps then. So there are two trains to get to Zermatt - one to Visp and then connects to another train to Zermatt?

How long would we need to allow to depart the flight and collect luggage and get to the train station and be ready to board? Want to ensure our flight across is early enough to enable us to get the train all the way through to Zermatt.

Which is a nicer train journey - Zurich to Zermatt or Geneva to Zermatt?

I love train travel and look forward to the relaxation once all the transport issues are solved to get on it.

Mentioned in this post
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland