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Advice needed on which Pass

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Mar 9, 2011 - 8:57 PM
Hello, we have planned to travel 26 may to 14 jun to quite a few places in europe, we are quite confused over which is the best cost effective pass to get, hope you can help and also not quite sure what the pass covers...

We plan to travel from London, Paris, to Swiss (mainly to cover Interlaken - Jungfraujoch area; Zermatt, Zurich - Rhinefalls) before heading to Innsbruck then Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Siena, Orvieto then ending at Rome)

- We need help to plan the best route to take from Paris to the places in Swiss (eg to go Geneva to Zermatt to Interlaken to ZUrich; or Bern to Interlaken to Zermatt to Zurich, etc) then to Innsbruck - whether we should take eurail savers pass or saver pass + swiss pass (not knowing if it can cover france, austria, italy with swiss pass in the between of the journey)

- Whats the best passes to get for our journey? we would like to know how much we have to spend (with all the extras to the mountain... and rails that dont cover before deciding)

our rough itinerary:
Day 1 Arrive London pm
Day 2 London City
Day 3 London City or Day Tour
Day 4 to Paris (via Eurostar? any discounts ?)
Day 5 Paris City
Day 6 Eurodisney
Day 7 to Swiss : from Paris to Geneva then to Zermatt?
Day 8 Zermatt - Matterhorn (does Eurail pass or Swiss pass covers or additional $$)
Day 9 to Interlaken (via Visp & Bern? , should we stop at Bern for walk? - which area to stay?
Day 10 Jungfraujoch Tour
Day 11 to to Zurich - Schwahausen : Rhinefalls then to Innsbruck (arrive in evening....) but apparently no reservation only 3 per day, we are afriad that if we miss the 1640 train, we may have to arrive there at midnight.. how would we check in??
Day 12 Innsbruck - Mountain Excursion & Activities
Day 13 Innsbruck to Venice
Day 14 Venice to Florence (late evening)
Day 15 Florence
Day 16 Florence to Pisa to Cinque Terre to Florence (Left luggage???)
Day 17 Florence to Siena to Orivieto
Day 18 Orvieto to Rome
Day 19 Rome
Day 20 Rome to Singapore night flight

We cant quite understand how to calculate the travel days, can you help? we have 2 adults and 1 child 9 years old travelling.... if we should get multi country pass, how many days of travel days is that, and what are the additional cost we need to pay for those not within the eurail eg, to Zermatt?? to Jungfrajoch area?? and what abt austria mountain rails?

Also if we only get swiss pass & italy pass, the other journey just single ticket , can you advise advise if we must purchase
1.London to Paris (Eurostar);
2. Paris to Swiss; (does Swiss Pass cover border travel?)
3. Swiss to Innsbruck(does Swiss Pass cover border travel?)
4. Innsbruck to Venice (does Italy Pass cover border travel?)

Also after ordering the pass, where is the best and safe website to make reservations?

Appreciate your kind and valuable advise.... we hope you can shed light to our confusion. I have also attached a simple planning...

7350 posts
expert &
Mar 10, 2011 - 5:24 AM

Hello koh-family! Let's take a look at your itinerary first. It looks impressive and I think you'll get to see some true European highlights. As for the route in Switzerland: it would be best to enter Switzerland from Geneva (as this is closest to France/Paris) and end your stay in Zurich (as this is closer to the Austrian border). So the order Zermatt-Interlaken-Zurich seems fine to me. As for day 11: the timetable shows connections from Schaffhausen to Innsbruck about every 2 to 3 hours, so there should be enough possibilities to get to Innsbruck in time. Seats for the train crossing the border have to be reserved, so you shouldn't miss out on the train connection you've planned. You can also decide to leave Zurich earlier in the morning, to make sure that you have enough time left in Schaffhausen and still be able to catch your train. Whether checking in is still possible around midnight, depends on the hotel you've booked in Innsbruck. It would be wise to contact the hotel you've booked (or willing to book) to ask for their policy. Often this is mentioned on their website as well. Hotels can be found through our hotel page as well.

Seats should be reserved for all international journeys, as I just mentioned. Trips within Switzerland, Austria or Italy don't have to be reserved in advance. You can just get on board with your pass or purchase your ticket at the railway station before boarding. In your case, seats should be reserved for the trips Paris-Geneva, Schaffhausen-Innsbruck and Innsbruck-Venice. Seat reservations (for journeys both with and without a rail pass covering the trip) can be arranged for through our website.

Concerning rail passes: it's quite hard to calculate in advance which pass suits your plans best. This is because fares for (international) trips can vary greatly. Prices depend on the moment of booking and travelling, the supplier of the tickets, whether you want to be able to cancel or change your order afterwards, and so on. An indication can be obtained by getting to the RailEurope site belonging to your country of residence (for example via the seat reservation page mentioned above). You can enter the journeys you've planned and see what the costs will be. This will help you decide whether a pass covering that particular country is worth your money, or whether it's better to purchase regular single rail tickets for that trip.

If you choose a pass that allows you to travel for free on a number of (non-consecutive) days, you are the one to decide which days you want to use as 'free travel days'. You don't even have to decide this in advance, but you can stamp your pass or fill out the date each morning before boarding the first train or bus. You should use free travel days for the longest and most expensive trips.

In all, these are your best options:
1) the Eurail Select Saver pass for 3 countries: either France, Switzerland and Italy (as your stay in Austria is relatively short) or Switzerland, Austria and Italy. A 4 day pass may be worth your money as well. Again, which option is best depends on the train fares you'll get to see. You can choose from several fixed numbers of free travel days. You may consider a 6 day, an 8 day or a 10 day pass and use these free travel days for the longest and most expensive journeys, such as French border (from London)-Paris, Paris-Geneva, Zermatt-Interlaken, Zurich-Schaffhausen-Innsbruck, Innsbruck-Venice, etc. All prices are listed here. An overview of what is included and what is not is listed on the Eurail Selectpass page. The full fare has to be paid for most trips made on non-free travel days. Some mountain lifts and trains (such as Gornergrat and Jungfraujoch) are discounted. You don't have to use a free travel day to obtain such discounts.

2) a Swiss Saver Pass and a Eurail Italy Pass, supplemented with regular train tickets for all (legs of the) trips outside of the Swiss and Italian borders. So you'd have to pay extra for the legs London-Paris, Paris-Geneva, Swiss/Austrian border (in most cases Buchs)-Innsbruck, and Austrian/Italian border-Venice. An overview of the validity of the Swiss Pass can be reviewed by clicking the link 'Overview of the network on which the Swiss Pass is valid' at the Swiss Pass page.

Further explanation on how to calculate which pass is best, can be found in our railway FAQ. I hope this gets your started!

Last modified on Dec 24, 2021 - 7:59 AM by Arno
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Mar 17, 2011 - 12:14 AM
Hello !!! Greetings from SIngapore!
Thank you so much for your reply, really appreciate your time to reply us with such great valuable advice. While we were taking time to absorb with the information.. we would like to ask if

- our intinerary is "Do-able"?

- could you advise us the best connection from Paris to Zermatt (is it best thru Geneva ? would we have to get off the train and back again? seems like we cant book one direct from Paris to Zermatt?) or is it better to go to INterlaken (via Basel & Bern?) first then Zermatt then Zurich?

- Thanks for your advice on Passes, we'll purchase Eurail Savers Pass, can I also ask you if we have to pay extra for train route from Visp to Zermatt (under Glacier Express) or if we can get a train that does not require to pay extra?

- Do you think its worth a go to Rhine Falls or visiting the falls in Lauterbrunnen & Trummerbach Fall is good enough, was thinking may be quite a rush to detour toward Innsbruck, perhaps we should spend more time at the mountain instead...?

Now we have a clearer plan for Bernese Oberland: we would like to visit Lauterbrunnen see the falls (stay over there?), going up to Jungfraujoch, going to Wengen, Murren and a Therma Spa at Brig with children slides, Grindelwald ? - based on your experience, whats the comfortable shortest time we should spend there, can you advise us perhaps a nice itinerary which to do what first?

How many days would you advise for Bernese Oberland & Zermatt Matterhorn?

especially the part in Swiss and Austria, we are not quite sure what to really do... my son would like to try out skiing... where would be the best in Swiss, or if you can advise alittle of what we can do in Innsbruck, like which resort to target?

May I also check reservations fees made at your website is charged per trip or multiple? Also how will the tickets be sent to us?

Thank you so much again to take time to reply.


God bless
7350 posts
expert &
Mar 17, 2011 - 5:39 AM

Hello koh-family! I'm glad to hear that our advice was helpful so far. Your itinerary is quite full, but if you don't mind to travel a lot, that doesn't have to be a problem. It's a matter of personal preference whether you want to see as much as possible, or take it easy and explore less regions. I would stick with the plan to enter Switzerland via Geneva and then get to Zermatt first. You could also enter via Basel; in that case it would be wiser to get to Interlaken first, and then vist Zermatt and Zurich. However, the trip from Zermatt to Zurich is long, so I still think Geneva-Zermatt-Interlaken-Zurich is the more logical order.

There are no direct train connections between Paris and Zermatt, as the last leg to Zermatt is run by a local train that requires you to change trains in Visp. You'll find direct connections between Paris and Geneva. From Geneva, you can travel to Visp directly, and change trains to Zermatt there. The leg between Visp and Zermatt is not included in the Eurail Selectpass, whether you get into a Glacier Express or into a regular local train. It's best to catch a local train to Zermatt, as you don't have to make seat reservations and pay reservations fees (which is required for Glacier Express trains). The timetable shows whether or not a Glacier Express train is involved. The regular local ones are indicated by 'Regio' in the timetable.

It may indeed be a good idea to skip the Rhine falls, although they're impressive. It allows a more relaxed trip to Innsbruck and you may be able to spend a bit more time in the Bernese Oberland. Both the Zermatt region and the Bernese Oberland deserve at least a two days' stay, but again: this depends on your personal wishes. You seem to want to do a lot when staying in the Bernese Oberland. The trip to the spa in Brig would take one day, as it's on the southern side of the Alps and requires over 3 hours of travelling to get there and back. Personally, I'd rather spend my time in the mountains around Lauterbrunnen/Wengen/Mürren/Grindelwald. For most children, the cable cars and cog train rides are great as well. In our day trip overview some short roundabout journeys are listed, allowing you to explore a lot of the Bernese Oberland within one day. I don't know much about Innsbruck, but I'm sure the Innsbruck tourism website will be able to provide you with tips. As for skiing: there aren't many options as you'll visit Switzerland in late spring/early summer. However, summer skiing is often possible around Zermatt.

Seat reservations can be made through our website, but will be processed by our partner RailEurope. Please get to their website by clicking 'Singapore' from the list the header 'How to purchase railway seat reservations' (make sure to click 'Show more countries' first), and then arrange for your seat reservations. You'll have to pay per trip and per person. Most tickets are sent by post.

Have fun preparing for your trip!

Last modified on Nov 1, 2018 - 4:17 PM by Arno
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Mar 21, 2011 - 7:14 AM
Greetings from Singapore again,
Annika, Thank you for taking time to respond...

We are almost there... only if you can clarify for me, which would be a better route in terms of time management, and minimising the number of changing train from Paris:
a) Paris to Interlaken to Zermatt to Zurich(whats the connection if we skip the Rhine falls in Zurich?); or
b) Paris to Zermatt - Interlaken to Innsbruck (whats the connection if we skip the Rhine falls in Zurich?)

Can you advise which ones has to change more trains?

Also last but not least, can you advise a nice itinerary at the Oberland? finally our family decided to spend 3nights in Oberland, & 1 night in Zermatt... my husband got 1 feedback that we can skip Zermatt, what do you think?

As for Oberland, we read that we should stay in places like Wengen or Lauterbrunnen or Murren, can you advise, which and what to do first? , including the outing to the top of Jungfraujoch? We thought since we are going all the way so far, perhaps we should try out the Therma Spa at Brig which may be fun for our son... heard that there are water slides with great views of mountain... can u advise how to get there or the routes... so that we dont waste our precious time?

So finally after you advice, our adjusted routes:

early am Paris to either Interlaken / Zermatt (arrive mid afternoon?) : (3 nights Oberland) + 1night Zermatt
Zermatt to Innsbruck : leave mid day? (can u help on the best time?) to arrive late evening in Innsbruck - that is if we skip Rhine falls? if not we 'd hv to leave early right? :-)

Our breakdown for Oberland:
Day 1: excursion to Jungfrajoch?
Day 2: hang around in Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald?? (is that covered under Eurail or under the Jungfrajochbahn??) - quite confuse about this
Day 3: Therma Spa (Water Slides for children?) - is it good review?? we read from a book on what to do for kids...

I guess the only main thing to do in Zermatt is to Matterhorn?

Thank you once again!! Your replies has been great help and blessing to us, at least helps us to steer our planning :-)


Koh Family
7350 posts
expert &
Mar 21, 2011 - 3:33 PM

Hi Koh Family!

I'm glad to hear that I've been able to help you! As for your questions:

The number of train changes can best be found in the timetable. It shows all details of any possible connection. You can also use it to see your options to travel to Brig, Innsbruck or any other destination.

About skipping Zermatt: it's a beautiful located small town that's definitely worth visiting (when the weather is clear). There are several viewing points. If I had to choose one I would not visit Klein Matterhorn but Gornergrat. Details can be found on the Wallis day trips page.

I don't know the Thermal Spa from personal experience, but this website lists lots of information. I think I answered your other questions in my previous posts. Please review the information I linked to and let me know if any questions remain.

Have fun preparing for your trip! Best regards,

Last modified on Nov 1, 2018 - 4:17 PM by Arno


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