Venice to Grindelwald with a Swiss rail pass?

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12 posts
new member
May 13, 2018 - 12:45 AM

Hi Everyone!

After 29 years of marriage, this is my husband's and my first trip to Europe (in fact, our first big trip anywhere), and we are so excited about the Swiss portion...especially because of the rave reviews so many of our friends have given of the Jungfrau region. We can hardly wait!!

I have tried to find the following travel answers online, but am still quite uncertain and intimidated, and would really appreciate your help.

We will be traveling by train from Venice to Grindelwald on Sunday, August 12, 2018. We will then be staying in Grindelwald for two days and Lucerne for an evening and morning, before traveling to Zurich to fly to Budapest on August 15th. We believe a Swiss Pass will be worth the money for what we want to do.


-I am not sure the best way to secure train tickets from Venice to Grindelwald using a Swiss Pass. Should I only purchase an Italian rail ticket to a town in Switzerland just over the border from Italy... and then use our Swiss Passes from there?

-If so, what Swiss town would you recommend that we book our ticket to from Venice... to begin the Swiss portion of our journey to Grindelwald?

-Or, should I book the trip the whole way through from Venice to Grindelwald, but then is there a way to utilize our Swiss Pass when making online reservations?

-Also, I'm the kind who likes to prepare in advance and know exactly where I'm going and that I will definitely be able to get there.... so advance reservations with specific seat assignments (with good window views : ) and train transfer information, etc, are in my comfort zone. However, most of what I'm reading about rail travel in Switzerland indicates that reservations are not necessary, and that it's fine to just present the pass at each rail station and get on the desired train... and that we won't have a problem getting a seat (with a window view). So... my question/concern is: Is this really the case? (I just need a little reassurance... or experienced advice on this one : ).

-Or... is it also acceptable and/or advised to make reservations even if we have a Swiss Pass?

-Lastly, (and I realize this answer will depend on the advice you give us to the above questions), does it matter if we purchase the Swiss Pass in advance or when we get to our first Swiss train station?

Thank you SO MUCH for any answers and help you can give me... regarding my questions... or any other advice you want to throw in!!

Heidi (and Mike)

4608 posts
May 13, 2018 - 3:11 AM in reply to Mhwilles

Hello Heidi and Mike,

The SBB Timetable ( metable) will provide you with the fastest route which is via Milan and Domodossola.

With a Swiss Travel Pass you will only need an Italian ticket and seat reservations to the Swiss border at Domodossola. Read about Italian trains at aintickets/italy.

It is much more convenient to buy the Swiss Travel Pass on-line and print at home. That way you can print and carry backup copies AND stay on the same train at Domodossola.

Last modified on May 13, 2018 - 3:11 AM by rockoyster
12 posts
new member
May 19, 2018 - 2:20 AM

Hi Rockoyster!

Thank you so much for your helpful response. I got momentarily derailed from my trip planning, but now can get back to it... and very much appreciate your information.

Per your advice, I will book our advance tickets from Venice to Domodossola, and then just use our 4-day Swiss Travel Passes to board each train we need while in Switzerland. And your response seems to confirm that getting a seat on the Swiss train of our choice without reserved seats should not be a problem, correct?

Thank you also for the smart tip to print back-up copies of our Swiss Passes as well. That is a great idea!

I read on another forum discussion that there are several places to purchase our Swiss Pass. HappyRail seemed to have the best price. Is that a legitimate, good option, or is there a better one you would recommend?

And one more question: I had the thought that although I won't be purchasing advance rail tickets the whole way from Venice to Grindelwald, it might still be helpful to search for results of that entire trip, and print the whole route with times and city changes, etc, and follow that schedule (based on our ideal travel time). Is that a good idea, or does it not work quite that way in reality?

Thank you again for taking the time to help we novice travelers!!


4608 posts
May 19, 2018 - 3:43 AM in reply to Mhwilles

Hello Heidi,

Yes, with the Swiss Travel Pass you just hop on a train and go. Reservations are very rare on Swiss trains and only essential on the major scenic panoramic tourist train routes. (Glacier, Bernina and Gotthard Panorama).

I bought my Swiss Travel Pass from HappyRails last year. They are very reputable along with any other retailer listed here.

It makes a great deal of sense to map out the full route with train and platform numbers.

Happy travels.

12 posts
new member
May 19, 2018 - 6:02 AM


Thank you for all of the above!!!

I'm feeling so much more confident about this part of our travel now.... thanks to you!!

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