MOst scenic rail route Swtizerland to Lake Como?

I am going to a conference in Cernobbio (Lake Como). I am flying in from Australia and was hoping to arrive in Switzerland and take a train across to Lake Como. Is there a particualrly scenic train route (from Bern or Geneva, for example) into Italy.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 07, 2016 19:31
    Hi,

    Como itself or Chiasso would be the closest rail stations to Cernobbio. Both are only about 4 km away. The route to Como or Chiasso would depend on where you're coming from in Switzerland.

    Routes everywhere in Switzerland can be considered scenic, although there are 5 specially designated scenic routes. Depending on where you're originating, you can try routing yourself so that you connect to one of these lines. There is the GoldenPass, the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express, the William Tell Express, and the Chocolate Train; it all depends on where you want to go.

    From Bern, you might choose to take the train down to Interlaken, where you can board a GoldenPass train over to Lucerne. From Lucerne, you could head down to Como by way of the 'Gotthard railway' (which represents part of the 'William Tell Express' scenic route). This would involve changing trains once in either Bellinzona or Lugano on the way from Lucerne to Como, or else twice (once in Arth Goldau and then once in Lugano).

    You could even take a boat (across Lake Lucerne) from Lucerne to the town of Flüelen, where you'd still be able to connect up with Gotthard railway down towards Como. In fact, the boat from Lucerne to Flüelen and the connecting train from Flüelen down to Bellinzona/Lugano is what is considered the 'William Tell Express' scenic route.

    The trains from Bellinzona/Lugano to Como do stop in Chiasso just before they get to Como. Coming from this direction, Como is past Cernobbio, so might choose to disembark at Chiasso. I'm just not sure if travel to Cernobbio would be easier from Chiasso or from Como.

    The rail option I advised would add about 1.5 to 2.5 hours journey-time to the most direct routes from Bern to Como (which would follow different paths down to Como). It is the case that we are generally only able to advise of the most direct route(s) between a pair of cities. If you wish to navigate your trip a specific way, then you would have to identify the specific cities you wish to travel through and book your tickets accordingly. If you'd like assistance planning such a trip, you would call us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. What you purchase for any itinerary would depend on the specific itinerary itself and various other factors. This can be determined once a specific itinerary is settled upon.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 14, 2017 19:10
      Update:

      As of 2017, the ‘William Tell Express’ scenic route is now known as the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ scenic route.

      The actual route is still the same, following the rail line between Flüelen and Bellinzona/Lugano that goes through the old Gotthard Tunnel.

      Also still considered part of this experience is the steamboat on Lake Lucerne, connecting Lucerne and Flüelen.

      From April 14th to July 2nd of 2017, the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains only operate on weekends and will not run all the way to Lugano. Therefore, during this time frame, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' will only run between Flüelen and Bellinzona. In Bellinzona, passengers can connect to another train that will take them the short distance to Lugano.

      From July 3rd to October 22nd of 2017, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains run daily between Flüelen, Bellinzona, and Lugano.

      For taking in the scenery, 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains have panoramic windows in 1st class.

      For passengers traveling with a rail pass, the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do require reservations, which would also be inclusive of the steamboat. When booking reservations for the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express', you would have to type 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' (instead of just 'Lucerne') in the field for the departure city or arrival city, with either ‘Bellinzona’ or ‘Lugano’ in the opposite field.

      If you'll be traveling on a day when the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains don’t run (i.e. a weekday between April 14th and July 2nd, 2017), you would instead take a series of regional trains that follows the same route. While you would still be following the same route and enjoying the same scenery, the regional trains do not have panoramic windows, like the actual ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do. The regional trains on the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express' route are:

      Flüelen-Erstfeld
      Erstfeld-Bellinzona
      Bellinzona-Lugano

      The regional trains do not accept reservations. Therefore, any passenger traveling with a rail pass would only need to show the rail pass to board.

      Other notable changes with the new ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ route are:

      - Now offered in 2nd class but with no panoramic windows

      - Eurail Passes no longer cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat but do provide for a 50% discount (Swiss Travel Passes, on the other hand, are still valid to cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat in full)

      - A meal is no longer included on the steamboat
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