I have been desperate to take the Bernina Express through the Alps to Lake Como for years. I finally went with my sister on 15 September this year 2019.
I arranged all our travel and hotels online myself and we spent one night in Zurich, then connected with Bernina Express via Chuz. We traveled on to Lecco in Lake Como Italy and spent two nights there. Then on to Milan spending 3 nights in central Milan before flying home to London.
Zurich – nice city we only spent on night there in Hotel Swiss Night by Fassbind
Zürich. Nice quiet hotel 13 Swiss francs (£1 = 1 Franc ) in a taxi from train station. We traveled from Luton Airport on a Sunday with Easyjet and paid £65 pp including booking in a case. Hotel cost 115 francs for a twin room, no breakfast as we were leaving too early the next morning. We booked our hotel very early (January ) it would have been much more expensive on the day. We used booking.com with free cancellation if needed.
I booked the train tickets following the advice on https://www.seat61 I got our train tickets from Zurich -Chuz then connecting to Bernina Express including reservations and panoramic view carriage for 39 Euros each!
Fabulous amazing journey through the Alps which takes you from valleys to snow capped alps, seeing forests, lakes and viaducts. Churchs sit up on high mountains, with tiny chalets, and large ski centers waiting for the winter snow. It was the trip of a lifetime, the weather was beautiful and the magic of being on such a journey was enchanting.
We stopped in Tirano Italy were the train terminates, ate in one of the many taverns there then got the train towards Milan. This train costs 10 Euro and we were going to Lecco on lake Como. We stayed in Casa al Lago Hotel in Lecco in a lovely room over looking the lake. This cost 137 Euro for two nights in a twin room, breakfast was coffee and pastry in the little cafe facing the hotel. It is included in the room price. Once again I used booking.com, booked in January and secured the booking at a good price.
We enjoyed a boat trip the next day, and the lake is massive with lots of stops you can hop on and off the boat at any stop.( 20 Euros each ) The weather was bright and sunny, the views stunning and the tiny cafes and shops clinging to the hillside superb. We spent 4 hours in Bellagio, which take just over an hour to reach via the boat.
Two days here then we carried on to Milan, 10 Euros each by train and takes about 40 minutes. We stayed in Hotel Ritter, which is 15 mins walk away from the main square. The Milan Cathedral dominates the square and is magnificent. If you can, spend the 20 euros each and go in the lift to the rooftops of the Cathedral. Wander around the spires and soak in the wonder of the this masterpiece. You can walk up to the roof for 9 Euros but that is not for the faint hearted. Lots of very steep steps.
Fashion week was going on in Milan when we were there which added a busy, colourful edge to the city. After 3 nights in Milan it was time to fly home, again with easyjet and booked in January. Cost £60 each including booking in a case.
I am amazed such a holiday cost us so little, I think I am going to call my sister and myself the OAP Budget Jetsetters haha. I would say to anyone go for it, book early, and enjoy.