Eurail or Swiss Pass

  • Removed user
    52345 posts
    21 June 2011 at 22:57:40 #804430

    Good Day!

    Thank you for this excellent forum. I have read many of your forum entries which have answered most of my questions and wonder if could answer a question I haven’t found an answer to yet.

    We are from Australia and my wife and I are travelling around Europe in August and for the second part of our trip we are doing the following:

    Day 1 Naples to Venice by train
    Day 3 Venice to Tirano by train
    Day 4 Tirano to Chur Bernina Express
    Day 5 Chur to Interlaken, part by Glacier Express
    Day 6 Interlaken
    Day 7 Jungfrau Excursion
    Day 8 Interlaken to Lausanne by train then to Geneva by boat
    Day 9 Geneva
    Day 10 Geneva to Milan by train

    So that’s 3 days travelling in Italy and 7 days in beautiful Switzerland. I had to cut it down a bit as my wife said it was too much!

    There is an alternative to purchase either a 10 day 3 country Eurail Pass which covers Italy and Switzerland or I could purchase 2 passes, an Italy 3 day Eurail Pass plus an 8 day Swiss Saver Pass. There is a cost saving by purchasing the 10 day Eurail Pass but I don’t think it covers everything that the Swiss Saver Pass does. Do you know which would be the better and safer option for the trip I have planned?

    Thanks for your help.

  • Annika
    7001 posts
    22 June 2011 at 9:23:46 #833304

    Hi Haggis, and welcome! I’m glad to hear that the forum provided information you were looking for. As for your question: you’re right, there are differences between the Eurail Select Pass and the Swiss Pass in what is covered. Some examples that are relevant to your itinerary: part of the Glacier Express (Disentis-Brig, which you’ll probably cross when heading for Interlaken using the Glacier Express) isn’t covered, whereas the Swiss Pass offers free travel there as well. Regional trains from Interlaken to Wengen or Grindelwald (you’ll be using them when getting up to the Jungfraujoch) are discounted by 25% with the Eurail Select Pass, but for free with the Swiss Pass. Urban transportation in Chur, Interlaken, Lausanne and Geneva isn’t included in the Eurail Select Pass, but is included in the Swiss Pass. Please refer to the Eurail Select Pass and Swiss Pass page for detailed overviews.

    So in all, the Swiss Pass covers more trips in Switzerland and offers a more comfortable way of traveling there. Another difference is that the Eurail Pass comes in a 1st class variant only, whereas the Swiss Pass is available for cheaper 2nd class traveling as well. Calculations would have to show whether the advantages of the Swiss Pass make up for the price difference with the 3 country Eurail Select Pass.

    I hope this helps you decide! Best regards,

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    23 June 2011 at 8:13:10 #833305

    Beautiful! Thanks Annika.
    I’ve now purchased Swiss Saver passes and Eurail Italy passes for the trip. I reserved seats on the Bernina and Glacier expresses but my next question is how to book on the other normal trains e.g. Geneva to Milan. I go through the process on SBB but I have to pay the fare at the end. I can’t see how I can just use my passes to pay and reserve seats. There doesn’t appear to be an option. Should I enquire through SBB?

    Also I thought that first class was the best way to go but a lady from South Africa on anothet forum said that second class was just as good. Is first class a lot better?

    Thank you!

    7001 posts
    23 June 2011 at 14:16:34 #833306

    Hi Haggis. Second class traveling is very comfortable in most trains. First class offer more space and more luxurious seats, and it may more quiet than in 2nd class during the tourist peak season.

    As for ordering the right ticket from Geneva, including free travel for the Swiss leg of your trip: it seems that you got into the right procedure on the SBB website. During step 2 of the order process, a box in the lower right corner will appear, asking you if you have any reduction options. You should select the ‘GA’ in either 1st or 2nd class (depending on whether you have a 1st or 2nd class Swiss Pass) from the drop-downlist. The GA is Switzerland’s ‘General Abonnement’ and it offers the same free travel and reduction options as the Swiss Pass does. If you select this option, the free travel for the Swiss leg of your trip should automatically be calculated and the total price should be lower.

    During step 4, you can indicate if you need seat reservations as well.

    I hope you’ll succeed this way! If not, it’s best to contact the SBB.

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    26 June 2011 at 5:32:29 #833307

    Thanks Annika, I now just have to wait for my passes as I need to quote the numbers for the tickets.
    I’ll see how that goes.

    Thanks again

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