Rail pass options for Switzerland and Italy

Rail pass options for Switzerland and Italy

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RandMarg
RandMarg
14 posts
new member
Jan 25, 2018 - 5:57 PM

My family and I will be coming from Florence June 2018 and are looking at train travel. I have look at Eurail 4/5 day pass and also have look at Swiss Half pass for tourist which is the 50% off all trains in Switzerland and 50% most mountain cable car type activities.

Thoughts from any and all regarding which to do. I think the cost is similar (+/-$100) but if we do more than 2 mountain tours it will be even better for Swiss Card. The Eurail card could save some hassle but cost more if we did more than expected mountain expeditions and charges for advance tics. Also seems that it is easy to get tics early on Italian trains at discount and then the same for Switzerland trains.

We are looking at Rome - Florence then Florence to Zermatt for 2 days then to either Lucerne or Engelberg for 2 days then Lucerne for 1 or 3 days and then finish with one night in Zurich before we head out. Thoughts on staying in Engelberg and doing Mt. Titlis or Mt. Pilatus or just stay in Lucerne the 3 days and take train to Engelberg.

Thanks for thoughts from all.

Lucas
Lucas
5659 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 25, 2018 - 7:37 PM in reply to RandMarg

Hi RandMarg,

In order to know which pass is most economical for your itinerary you will need to plan out all your specific trips and compare prices of tickets vs. both passes. We have a web page on how to choose the best rail pass to help you with the math.

The more mountain trips you make here the better the Swiss Half Fare Card probably works out over the Eurail Select Pass. Also have a look at the Swiss Travel Pass as well - be sure to read through the "where it's valid" pages on all passes.

Picking between Pilatus and Titlis is hard and really up to personal preference. I've not been to Titlis but it seems like there are a few more mountain top activities for people to do there. I would base yourself in Lucerne over Engelberg either way.

RandMarg
RandMarg
14 posts
new member
Jan 25, 2018 - 10:19 PM in reply to Lucas

A question regarding Swiss Half Fare Card. Can we order the Swiss Half Fare Card in advance now the having it activated in month of June less say but order our tickets 3 months in advance for first class train tics and seats for June?

rockoyster
rockoyster
3401 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2018 - 1:52 AM in reply to RandMarg

There is really no need to buy the Swiss Half-fare Card so far out. You don't need it to make reservations on the few panoramic trains on which reservations are mandatory (eg Glacier Express, Bernina Express) which I don't see on your list anyway. You can buy the Swiss Half-fare Card on-line and also any tickets you need closer to your travel date; just in case your plans change.

Reservations on Swiss trains (apart from those mentioned above are very rare).

Lucas
Lucas
5659 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 26, 2018 - 7:28 AM in reply to RandMarg

Hi RandMarg,

You can buy the Swiss Half Fare Card online here. It can be emailed to you within 3 business days (almost always instantly though). You do not need to have already bought it when buying train tickets. Just indicate you have it to get the applicable discount and be sure to have it on you when you are on the train of course.

Tickets do not need to be booked ahead of time for almost all trains & Reservations are very rare as Rockoyster noted.

Last modified on Jan 26, 2018 - 7:29 AM by Lucas
RandMarg
RandMarg
14 posts
new member
Jan 26, 2018 - 12:09 PM

The reason I thought to buy tics early was that he earliest out tic cost the least. And since I am getting the Half card I would be saving money.

Lucas
Lucas
5659 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 26, 2018 - 1:51 PM in reply to RandMarg

In other countries this is often true but not typically in Switzerland.

Tickets fluctuate a little but mostly based on the day and time of day and not whether you buy it 1 day before or 90 days before. You can search the timetables here for connection details and prices (the first price displayed is the Swiss Half Fare Card price.

Last modified on Jan 26, 2018 - 1:53 PM by Lucas

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