Must see some gorgeous mountains!

Must see some gorgeous mountains!

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cmccreedy
cmccreedy
3 posts
new member
May 27, 2015 - 5:33 AM

We are a 63 year old couple and have Global Eurail passes, however we know that we will have to pay for some tickets/reservations to take the Glacier Express.. We'll be coming from Salzburg and then hoping to see the wonderful mountain passes (maybe with some hiking) as we take almost two weeks to finally arrive in Geneva before heading into France. We were hoping to take part of the Express, if not all, and then end in Zermatt before heading to Geneva. What are the connections you would recommend from Salzburg until we end in Zermatt? Which stretches of the Glacier Express route (and perhaps the Golden Pass too?) will not be covered by our passes and which require reservations? Thank-you so much for any help you can give us! We will be in Switzerland in mid-August and have been struggling with this for too long now. Help!! ;)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 27, 2015 - 5:39 PM in reply to cmccreedy

Sounds like a great train ride. Sorry, i can't help with the details.

Have you considered the Berner Oberland- Jungfrau region?

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

What do you like to do besides ride trains?

Do you know whether there are specific things in Switzerland that you would like to see or do, besides Zermatt and the Glacier Express?

Do you have any interest in the Engadine? It has an interesting but complicated alternative via the Südtirol to coming in from Austria by the standard route through Feldkirch- Sargans- Chur - Glacier Express to Zermatt.

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 29, 2015 - 2:44 PM

Hi cmccreedy, thank you for posting here!

If you don't mind traveling around quite a bit during your two weeks in Switzerland, an itinerary could look like this:

  • you could start in the Upper Engadine as Slowpoke suggested. If you enter Salzburg as your departure station and St. Moritz (or any of the nearby towns) in the timetable, you'll get to see all trip details. Your next stage would be the Glacier Express to Zermatt. It's free up to Disentis, and 25% discounted between Disentis and Zermatt. Please refer to our Eurail Global Pass validity page for such information. The Glacier Express requires you to make seat reservations in advance.
  • after your stay in Zermatt, you could either move on to Lake Geneva and Geneva itself, as that's where you depart from;
  • a detour (but worth it) would be to travel to the Bernese Oberland first using the scenic Lötschberg Regio-Express. Enter Spiez, Interlaken or a nearby town as your destination and Goppenstein as your via-station for details on this route. You could then head for Geneva using the Golden Pass line; it's for free with your Eurail Global Pass and you don't have to reserve seats.

Or course there are lots of alternatives, but this may give an idea to start off with.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 29, 2015 - 3:54 PM in reply to Annika

<<"you could start in the Upper Engadine as Slowpoke suggested.">>

That is certainly a good target.

I actually had in mind a route for the more adventurous, through the Lower Engadine, and one which is not on the normal tourist track.

It is not simple to do, so I'll only give details if there is interest.

In general - Salzbruck to Merano via Innsbruck and Bolzano (Bozen).

From Merano, the fairly new train route through the Vinschgau to Mals Venosta Bus from there into Switzerland at Müstair, through the National Park and the Val Mustair to Zernez.

From Zernez, you are back on the Swiss rail network, and could go to St. Moritz in the upper Engadine, or explore Scuol, and Guarda in the Lower Engadine.

Afterwards, take either the Vereina Tunnel or the Albula pass further into Switzerland, eventually to Zermatt.

I'd not recommend this for the first time visitors to Switzerland unless they wanted to get off the normal tourist track. It will take more time than the route through Feldkirch.

If you stop in Bolzano ( Bozen) I can highly recommend the Hotel Greif.

If you really are a rail fan, there are several special routes in Switzerland.

The best by far, in my opinion, is the Gotthard Pass.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Gotthard_railway

and do a Google search on Gotthard Pass Rail Route.

I'm planning to ride it somehow thsi year, especially, since i don't know what service they will maintain after they open the new tunnel underneath next year.

The Berner Oberland (Jungfrau Region ) has wonderful cograil train rides amongst spectacular scenery with some easy , beautiful walks. Starting and ending at public transportation.

try this one_

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-klei nescheidegg

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cmccreedy
cmccreedy
3 posts
new member
May 31, 2015 - 11:33 PM in reply to Annika

Thank-you, Annika and Slow Poke for your tips! We will definitely take your advice to slow down and spend 4 or 5 days each in Salzburg, Interlaken, and Montreux before heading north to Bourges and Caen, France. Since I wrote you last, my husband has had back surgery, so hopefully he will heal well n the next 9 weeks before we leave for Helsinki and Hamburg, followed by our Switzerland tour and finally brief stay in Bourges and Caen, France.

Yes, we will do the Golden Pass at your suggestion, perhaps part of the Glacier Express, and then some of the special rail routes, if time.

We are trying to not spend a fortune beyond our global pass, but I know some reservations will be required. Is that true for our August connections from Hamburg to Salzburg, and then also to get from Montreux to Caen as it looks like all roads lead to Paris with their high speed trains. Is that correct? Since we're trying to stay somewhat flexible, we are reluctant to buy reservations ahead. Will we definitely need reservations BEFORE we head to Europe, or do you think we're safe to just get them at the stations before we board? (Thanks again for all your patience!!) Chris

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jun 1, 2015 - 12:30 AM in reply to cmccreedy

<<"however we know that we will have to pay for some tickets/reservations to take the Glacier Express.. We'll be coming from Salzburg and then hoping to see the wonderful mountain passes (maybe with some hiking) as we take almost two weeks to finally arrive in Geneva before heading intoFrance.">>

When?

Arno
Arno
7727 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 1, 2015 - 6:19 AM

Hi Chris,

Mid-August is high season. Getting reservations just before boarding is not a good idea. But, be sure to only get them for trains that require them. You won't need them for the Golden Pass, only for the Glacier Express. The timetable allows you to check whether reservations are required for trains. This page is useful too.

Long distance trains in Germany and France usually require reservations, or at least they're recommended. If they're 'just' recommended, I would not get them for short rides, but I would certainly for longer trips.

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