Eat Your Way From Switzerland to Italy on the New Eurail Pass Route
Foodies looking for the ultimate combination of fantastic scenery and tasty eats should consider Eurail’s new Italy-Switzerland pass, which makes for seamless traveling between the soaring, snow-capped Alps and the lush Italian Riviera situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Now it’s easier than ever to spend one night stuffing your face with melt-in-your-mouth Swiss chocolate and wake up the next day to gorge yourself on crisp, white Italian wine and flavorful homemade pastas.
Eurail began offering its Italy-Switzerland Eurail pass in April 2017. Travelers with a Eurail pass may ride any Swiss or Italian train within the designated time period, although some reservations may be required on more popular train routes, which are easily booked through Eurail’s Rail Planner app. For example, a traveler can fly into Zurich and journey to Flüelen via train or boat to hop on the newly-opened Gotthard Panorama Express, a scenic train with large curved windows for maximum viewing enjoyment of the Alps and charming Swiss villages dotting the landscape. The train’s hospitality is exceptional, including two English-speaking guides who wander the train to provide interesting tidbits along the route. For hungry foodies who just can’t wait, the train has a dining car and roaming food carts that sell beverages and snacks, including sparkling glasses of prosecco.
From Bellinzona (the destination point of the Gotthard Panorama Express), travelers with a Eurail pass can continue on to the lakefront city of Lugano, a Swiss city on the border of Italy. Lugano’s picturesque lakes, scenic hiking trails and sleepy fishing villages are perfect for a relaxing getaway. Known for its street food, Lugano is host every May to a three-day street food festival, and Italian-influenced pastas and seafood are always available. For the perfect alfresco experience along the shores of Lake Lugano, check out Antica Osteria del Porto, a quaint little restaurant serving homemade pastas and seasonal fare with a gorgeous view.
From Lugano, travel into northern Italy is quick and easy. Travelers can stop in Milan for its high fashion, gorgeous architecture, and sophisticated fare (don’t miss Ratana, a slow-food restaurant using local ingredients in new, inventive ways), or continue on to Genoa as a base for exploring the towns dotting the Italian coast along the Mediterranean Sea. The seaside towns comprising Cinque Terre are world-renowned for their colorful architecture, incredible wine, and otherworldly cuisine. Or check out the sleepy seaside town of Sestri Levante, a peninsular fishing village surrounded by water, with the Bay of Silence on one side and the Gulf of Tigullio on the other. For a hands-on food experience, take a pesto and pasta making class at the Accademia dei Sapori, a cooking school located in a former convent.
Travelers looking for a more bespoke experience on the Italian Riviera should look no further than the tailor-made tours led by Beautiful Liguria. Emanuela Raggio, a native of Liguria (the coastal region of northwest Italy) can create one-of-a-kind vineyard tours, food experiences and cultural excursions. Be sure to ask her for a stroll through the less-crowded, picturesque town of Portovenere, where fresh seafood and sea views abound.