What should I purchase for scenic options from Geneva to Zermatt, Zermatt to Bellagio, and Bellagio to Milan?

Hi everyone, me and my husband will be traveling to Switzerland end of this September and want to travel between Geneva and Zermat via interlaken. Any suggestions for scenic train travel between the places? And then from Zermat we want to go to Bellagio and Milan in Italy. Any suggestions
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  • Hi Nazir,

    For the requested itinerary, I would purchasing an item called the 'Swiss Transfer Ticket', in combination with regular tickets for once cross over into Italy.

    The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers the ticket costs for one trip from any Swiss airport (or border station) to any single destination in Switzerland and then another trip from that destination to any Swiss airport (or border station). Therefore, it would be valid to cover you from Geneva (airport/border) to Zermatt (destination) and then from Zermatt to the the Swiss/Italian border at Chiasso on your way to Bellagio/Lake Como.

    For the Swiss Transfer Ticket, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-transfer-ticket/index.html.

    Once you cross over into Italy, you'll be traveling only short distances, so the tickets you get will be really inexpensive.

    Geneva to Zermatt

    The fastest and most common connections from Geneva to Zermatt take just under 4 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Visp along the way.

    Picturesque landscapes are everywhere in Switzerland, so the views from these trains would be in no way be anything to turn your nose up at. Any time you travel between places like Geneva and Zermatt it is no doubt going to be scenic. After all, trains from Visp to Zermatt do run along a stretch of the famous Glacier Express scenic route (about 1-hour worth).

    However, if perhaps you want more time on the train scenery-gazing, you can route yourself by way of the GoldenPass scenic route. With this option, you would still have to connect through Visp, so you would also still be taking that train from Visp to Zermatt, which follows along a stretch of the Glacier Express route. In its entirety, such a connection takes just under 7 hours in duration and involves at least 5 train changes along the way; once in Montreux, once in Zweisimmen, once in Interlaken, once in Spiez, and then once in Visp. The segments from Montreux to Zweisimmen and Zweisimmen to Interlaken on the actual GoldenPass route.

    If you go with the fast option from Geneva to Zermatt, you will not need reservations. Reservations are not necessary on trains from Geneva to Visp and Visp to Zermatt, so the Swiss Transfer Ticket is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, schedules from Geneva to Visp and Visp to Zermatt can be viewed by doing a search right on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.

    If you go with the option from Geneva to Zermatt via the GoldenPass route, then reservations would only be recommended on the segment from Montreux to Zweisimmen. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a train from Montreux to Zweisimmen by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage, entering the cities, and typing 'Swiss Travel Pass' in the field underneath where it says, 'Are you traveling with a rail pass?'. Even though you will not actually have a Swiss Travel Pass, doing this would prompt our website to issue you the correct reservations for this train.

    On the segment from Montreux to Zweisimmen, you'll have the option of either ‘Classic’ GoldenPass trains or ‘Panorama’ GoldenPass trains. These will be labeled accordingly when you pull up the results of this search. Carriages on the 'Classic' trains have a vintage turn-of-the-century Belle Époque look, whereas the 'Panorama' train carriages have a more modern look. 'Classic' GoldenPass trains also have 'wine cellar coaches', which offer a wider selection of wine than would be offered in the bar cars on the 'Panorama' trains; however, food is available for purchase on both the 'Classic' and 'Panorama' trains. The Classic trains do have large windows, but the windows on the Panorama trains are larger and more “panoramic”.

    On the segment from Zweisimmen to Interlaken, reservations are possible but not necessary.

    For planning purposes, you can refer to the schedule search feature on our homepage to view schedules for the unreserved segments from the Geneva to Montreux, Zwiesimmen to Interlaken, Spiez to Visp, and Visp to Zermatt. Schedules from Interlaken to Spiez are currently not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, trains from Interlaken to Spiez depart 2-3 times every hour, and the ride only takes about 25 minutes.

    Zermatt to Bellagio/Lake Como

    Bellagio does not have a rail station. Instead, you would take the train into the city of Como, from where you can connect to Bellagio by ferry. Tickets for a ferry between Como and Bellagio would just be purchased locally upon arrival.

    From Zermatt to Como, I would recommend going with a route that involves taking the scenic Centovalli Express. If you do take the Centovalli Express on your way from Zermatt to Como, the connection would take about 6 to 6.5 hours in duration and involves 4 train changes en route; once in Brig, once in Domodossola, once in Locarno, and then once in Bellinzona. The segment from Domodossola to Locarno is on the actual Centovalli Express. Trains from Zermatt to Brig traverse back over the same stretch of the Glacier Express that you arrived in on coming from Visp/Geneva.

    Even though the train from Brig to Domodossola and the Centovalli Express go through Italy, the Swiss Transfer Ticket is valid. However, as I alluded to above, on the train from Bellinzona to Como, the Swiss Transfer Ticket would only cover you to the Chiasso stop at the Swiss/Italian border. Therefore, you would just need to purchase a ticket locally to cover you for the short distance from Chiasso to Como. The ride from Chiasso to Como only takes about 8 minutes max, so this ticket will be really cheap. And then you just need a ticket for the ferry to get you from Como to Bellagio.

    Reservations are not necessary on any of the trains making up the connection from Zermatt to Como via the Centovalli Express, so the Swiss Transfer Ticket is all you'll need to board.

    Currently, our website is not able to display schedules for the segments from Brig to Domodossola and Domodossola and Locarno. Therefore, if you’d like to inquire about schedules for these segments, you would have to call us.

    In the meantime, you can use our website to view schedules for the segments from Zermatt to Brig, Locarno to Bellinzona and for the EC (EuroCity) trains from Bellinzona to Como. To do so, you would do a search for each segment separately right on the homepage.

    Otherwise, the fastest connections from Zermatt to Como (taking only 4.5 or 5.5 hours) have you going down through Milan first, but I would definitely recommend sticking with scenic Centovalli Express option I advised above, because you're already planning on ending up in Milan and you don't and you don't want to do any unnecessary backtracking.

    Bellagio/Lake Como to Milan

    For your trip from Bellagio to Milan, you would first take a ferry to Varenna. In Varenna, you would board a regional 'TreNord' train that will take you right into Milan.

    You would purchase tickets for a train from Varenna to Milan by doing a search under 'Find Train Tickets' right on our homepage.

    Tickets for a ferry from Bellagio to Varenna are only able to be purchased locally when you're there.
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