1ST EUROPEAN TRIP

WE ARE TAKING A RHINE RIVER CRUISE FROM AMSTERDAM TO BASEL AND THEN WOULD LIKE TO GO THROUGH SWITZERLAND VIA TRAIN AND THE WILHELM TELL EXPRESS TO LUGANO. ARE THERE PLACES WE SHOULD STAY OVERNIGHT OR EXCURSIONS THAT WE SHOULD TAKE WHILE GOING THIS WAY? WE PLAN TO THEN GO DOWN INTO ITALY FOR 6-8 DAYS AND ALSO TRAVEL AROUND BY TRAIN , VENICE, FLORENCE, ASSISI AND ROME. WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST RAIL PASS TO BUY FOR THIS TRIP?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) February 09, 2015 21:01
    Thank you for your question, Allen.

    The best option for your travels would depend on your specific itinerary and various other factors. As we are not a travel agency, we would not be able to advise about places to go. Once you've determined where you'd like to visit, we can advise how you would get there. For a general itinerary such as this, I would recommend that you call us at 1-800-622-8600 for assistance.
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  • I ALREADY HAVE THE RIVER CRUISE TRIP BOOKED. I JUST WANTED TO KNOW FROM BASEL WHAT RAIL PASS WOULD BE BEST TO USE OVER A 9 DAY PERIOD AND PLANNING ON TAKING THE WILHELM TELL EXPRESS AS PART OF THE TRIP
    AL
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) February 10, 2015 15:45
    There is no dual country rail pass just for Switzerland and Italy. Since that is the case, the best option for an itinerary such as yours would depend on many different other factors. For assistance with a general itinerary like yours, you would call us at 1-800-622-8600.

    In the meantime, you can check schedules (and regular ticket costs) by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering a route.

    The Wilhelm Tell Express scenic route consists of a boat across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Flüelen and a train from Flüelen to Bellinzona. You would then continue on to Lugano from Bellinzona. When you search the Wilhelm Tell Express route on our website, you would enter 'Lucerne-Boat Wmtell' (instead of just 'Lucerne') as your departure city and 'Bellinzona' as your arrival city. This would cover the boat across Lake Lucerne and the train from Flüelen to Bellinzona. When you pull up the results of your search, the departure 'station' in Lucerne would be labeled 'Luzern Sgv Wm Tell'. You would then do a separate search for trains from Bellinzona to Lugano.

    Generally, the Wilhelm Tell Express and other trains in this part of Europe can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure. If your intended travel happens to fall outside of this time frame, you would just enter a more imminent date, some time within the next 90 days, to get an idea of the ticket costs and view schedules when searching a route on our site. Please note, high-speed 'Italo' trains that operate along certain major routes in Italy are an exception and generally be booked up to 120 days in advance of a departure.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) January 25, 2017 18:59
      Update:

      As of 2017, there is a dual country option for Italy and Switzerland. Italy and Switzerland can now be included together on the 2 country option of the Eurail Select Pass.

      To purchase the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticke...
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 14, 2017 19:28
      Update:

      As of 2017, the ‘William Tell Express’ scenic route is now known as the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ scenic route.

      The actual route is still the same, following the rail line between Flüelen and Bellinzona/Lugano that goes through the old Gotthard Tunnel.

      Also still considered part of this experience is the steamboat on Lake Lucerne, connecting Lucerne and Flüelen.

      From April 14th to July 2nd of 2017, the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains only operate on weekends and will not run all the way to Lugano. Therefore, during this time frame, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' will only run between Flüelen and Bellinzona. In Bellinzona, passengers can connect to another train that will take them the short distance to Lugano.

      From July 3rd to October 22nd of 2017, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains run daily between Flüelen, Bellinzona, and Lugano.

      For taking in the scenery, 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains have panoramic windows in 1st class.

      For passengers traveling with a rail pass, the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do require reservations, which would also be inclusive of the steamboat. When booking reservations for the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express', you would have to type 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' (instead of just 'Lucerne') in the field for the departure city or arrival city, with either ‘Bellinzona’ or ‘Lugano’ in the opposite field.

      If you'll be traveling on a day when the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains don’t run (i.e. a weekday between April 14th and July 2nd, 2017), you would instead take a series of regional trains that follows the same route. While you would still be following the same route and enjoying the same scenery, the regional trains do not have panoramic windows, like the actual ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do. The regional trains on the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express' route are:

      Flüelen-Erstfeld
      Erstfeld-Bellinzona
      Bellinzona-Lugano

      The regional trains do not accept reservations. Therefore, any passenger traveling with a rail pass would only need to show the rail pass to board.

      Other notable changes with the new ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ route are:

      - Now offered in 2nd class but with no panoramic windows

      - Eurail Passes no longer cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat but do provide for a 50% discount (Swiss Travel Passes, on the other hand, are still valid to cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat in full)

      - A meal is no longer included on the steamboat
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  • Actually the Wilhelm Tell Express is just another regular train operated by the Swiss Railway system. Somehow to mix up a schedule between Basel and Lugano would be a side-trip to the Bernese Oberland which from Interlaken out can be explored. Places like Grindelwald with the famous Moench, Eiger ans Jungfrau, as well as Lauterbrunnen,, Wengen and Muerren would certainly enhance such a journey, giving the traveler a view and an experience of the alpine high mountain region of the Alps.
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