Eurail Global Pass or best option for Munich, Schiltach, Lucerne, Grindelwald, Montreux, Zermatt, Varenna, and Venice

We have a trip coming up from May 12th 2019 - May 25th 2019 starting in Munich and ending in Venice. I need some guidance for our route as well as knowing which trains we would have to buy separate from the global pass. We will also have a konus card for our time in Schiltach. Would a 15 continuous pass be best or could we get by with 7 days in a month? Munich - 3 nightsSchiltach/Freiburg - 3 nightsLucerne - 1 nightGrindelwald - 1 nightsMontreux - 1 nightsZermatt - 2 nightVarenna - 1 nightsVenice - 2 nightsThanks for any help. Cameron
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 01, 2019 18:09
    Hi Cameron,

    For the requested itinerary, you would purchase the Eurail Global Pass, which will cover your travels in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. For the Eurail Global Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/eurail-global-pass-5880.

    For the most comfortable travel experience, we recommend booking your pass for 1st class.

    Your itinerary is a long one, so just take each trip one-by-one as you read through the response.

    Munich to Schiltach

    A connection from Munich to Schiltach takes at least about 4.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Stuttgart and then once in Freudenstadt.

    Trains from Munich to Stuttgart are ICE (InterCity Express) or EC (EuroCity) trains on which reservations are recommended as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations from Munich to Stuttgart by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box where it says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Global Pass’).

    Trains from Stuttgart to Freudenstadt and Freudenstadt to Schiltach do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board.

    Schedules from Stuttgart to Freudenstadt and Freudenstadt to Schiltach are not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, direct trains from Stuttgart to Freudenstadt depart once every 2 hours throughout the day and the ride takes just under 1.5 hours, while trains from Freudenstadt to Schiltach depart once every hour throughout the day and the ride only takes about 26 minutes.

    Schiltach to Lucerne (via Offenburg and Basel)

    The fastest and most common route from Schiltach to Lucerne takes just under 4 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Offenburg and then once in Basel.

    Trains from Schiltach to Offenburg do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. Schedules for this segment are not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, these trains depart hourly throughout the day and the ride only takes about 45 minutes.

    Trains from Offenburg to Basel are ICE (InterCity Express) trains on which reservations are just recommended as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations from Offenburg to Basel by searching the route on our homepage, checking the box where it says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Global Pass’).

    On trains from Basel to Lucerne, reservations are not necessary at all, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. For your reference, you can still use the route search feature on our homepage just to view schedules for trains from Basel to Lucerne. Generally, when accessing schedules for non-reservable trains, you would have to to leave the 'I have a rail pass' button unchecked.

    Schiltach to Lucerne (via Offenburg & Konstanz on the Black Forest Railway)

    If you don't mind adding a couple hours to your journey time from Schiltach to Lucerne, you can instead route yourself by way of the scenic Black Forest Railway. Via the Black Forest Railway, the connections from Schiltach to Lucerne would take just over 6 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Offenburg and then once in Konstanz. The segment from Offenburg to Konstanz is the part that follows along the Black Forest Railway.

    None of the trains comprising of this connection would even accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board to make this trip.

    Schedules for the segment from Schiltach to Offenburg are not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, these trains depart hourly throughout the day and the ride only takes about 45 minutes.

    You can use the route search feature on our homepage just to view schedules for the connecting trains from Offenburg to Konstanz and Konstanz to Lucerne. Once again, since these are unreserved segments, you would have to leave the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked for the schedules to pull up. You would also have to be sure to search each segment separately. Therefore, you would do one search from Offenburg to Konstanz and then another search for connecting trains from Konstanz to Lucerne.

    Lucerne to Grindelwald

    Connections from Lucerne to Grindelwald take about 2.5 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Interlaken along the way.

    Trains from Lucerne to Interlaken represent one segment of a famed scenic line called the GoldenPass. These trains also have panoramic windows for viewing the scenery.

    Trains from Interlaken to Grindelwald run along the Bernese Oberland Railway.

    On trains from Lucerne to Interlaken, reservations are possible but not necessary. Therefore, the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. However, the Eurail Global Pass is not valid on trains Interlaken to Grindelwald.

    You would purchase tickets from Interlaken to Grindelwald by searching the route under 'Book Train Tickets' on the homepage of our website (and leaving the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked). For your reference, you can use this same feature just to view schedules for the first segment from Lucerne to Interlaken.

    Grindelwald to Montreux

    For your trip from Grindelwald to Montreux, you can complete the rest of the GoldenPass scenic route. Such connections from Grindelwald to Montreux take just under 4 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once Interlaken again and then once in Zweisimmen. The segments from Interlaken to Zweisimmen and Zweisimmen to Montreux make up the rest of the GoldenPass scenic route.

    The segment from Grindelwald to Interlaken on the Bernese Oberland Railway will once again not be covered by the Eurail Global Pass, so you would have to purchase regular tickets just for this part of the connection. You would purchase tickets from Grindelwald to Interlaken by searching the route under 'Book Train Tickets' on the homepage of our website, leaving the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked.

    On trains from Interlaken to Zweisimmen, reservations are not necessary, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, you can still view schedules from Interlaken to Zweisimmen using the route search feature on our homepage. For the actual GoldenPass options to display from Interlaken to Zweisimmen, you would again have to leave the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked. When you pull up the results of this search, only the departures showing 'Direct' follow the GoldenPass route. The departures showing '1 connection' go a different route altogether.

    On the segment from Zweisimmen to Montreux, reservations are highly recommended as a supplement to a rail pass. However, these particular trains are currently not able to be reserved through our website. Instead, you would have to call us to purchase these reservations. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Our current hours are 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM CT Monday to Friday.

    Montreux to Zermatt

    Connections from Montreux to Zermatt take about 2.5 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Visp along the way. The segment from Visp to Zermatt runs along a stretch of the famed Glacier Express scenic route.

    Reservations are not accepted on either of these segments, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board.

    Schedules for the segment from Montreux to Visp are currently not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, these trains depart twice every hour throughout the day and the ride takes about 1hr10m to 1hr15m.

    You can use the route search feature on our homepage to view schedules from Visp to Zermatt. For these schedules to display, again be sure to leave the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked.

    Zermatt to Varenna

    Connections from Zermatt to Varenna take just over 5 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Brig and then once in Milan. Trains from Zermatt to Brig have you traveling back over the Glacier Express scenic route again. Trains from Milan to Varenna are regional trains run along the eastern shore of Lake Como before reaching Varenna.

    Trains from Zermatt to Brig and Milan to Varenna do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board for these segments. For planning purposes, you can use the route search feature on our homepage just to view schedules for these segments. Getting these schedules to display would again require that you leave the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked.

    Trains from Brig to Milan do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations from Brig to Milan by searching the route on our homepage, checking the box where it says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Global Pass’).

    Varenna to Venice

    Connections from Varenna to Venice take at least 4 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Milan along the way.

    The trains from Varenna to Milan are regional trains, which do not accept reservations. Therefore, the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. You can use the route search feature on our homepage just to view schedules from Varenna to Milan, leaving the 'I have a rail pass' box unchecked.

    From Milan to Venice, you would take a high-speed Frecciarossa train. These trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations from Milan to Venice by searching the route on our homepage, checking the box where it says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Global Pass’).
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) March 01, 2019 19:11
      Mountaintop Excursions for Lucerne

      With a Eurail Global Pass, the Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus excursions from Lucerne are discounted by about 50%, while the Mount Titlis and Stanserhorn excursions from Lucerne are discounted by about 25%.

      Mount Pilatus

      The excursion to the Mount Pilatus summit starts with a steamer across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Once you get to Alpnachstad, you would make your ascent by taking the cog railway up to Mount Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm). After reaching Pilatus Kulm, you would descend via a cable car to Fräkmüntegg and a gondola from Fräkmüntegg to Kriens. To get back to Lucerne, you would take a bus from Kriens.

      With the Eurail Global Pass, you would be able to receive a 50% discount between Lucerne and Mount Pilatus (Pilatus Kulm). To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Pilatus Alpnachstad or Kriens-Mt Pilatus/Eurail Pass’ option of the pass for 'Mount Pilatus' here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-pilatus.

      Mount Titlis

      The ascent to Mount Titlis starts in Engelberg (43 minute train ride from Lucerne). It starts with a cable car from Engelberg to Trübsee, a second cable car from Trübsee to Stand, and then the famous 'Titlis Rotair' gondola from Stand to Klein Titlis. The 'Titlis Rotair' is the world's first 360 degree revolving gondola, offering spectacular panoramic views. Off the Klein Titlis station, you have access to the 'Titlis Cliff Walk', the 'Ice Flyer' chairlift, the Titlis Glacier Park, and a wondrous illuminated cave known as the 'Glacier Grotto'. The 'Titlis Cliff Walk' is a pedestrian suspension bridge (the highest suspension bridge in Europe) from where you can enjoy more incredible views. There is also a panorama restaurant.

      The train between Lucerne and Engelberg is covered by the Eurail Global Pass. For the cable cars between Engelberg and Titlis, the Eurail Global Pass would enable you to receive a discount of about 20-25%. To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Titlis Engelberg-Mt Titlis/Eurail Pass’ option of the pass for 'Mount Titlis' here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-titlis-8165 .

      This pass covers the round-trip between Engelberg and Klein Titlis, as well as a ride on the 'Ice Flyer' chairlift and entrance to the 'Glacier Grotto'.

      Stanserhorn

      Until November of 2019, you would also have the option of making the ascent to nearby (Mount) Stanserhorn. From Lucerne, you would take a short train to the nearby village of Stans. In Stans, you would board an 1893 vintage funicular to the intermediate station of Kälti. In Kälti, you would board the CabriO cable car to the Stanserhorn summit. The CabriO cable car is the world’s first double decker open-air cable car. From the summit, you would experience incredible views of the surrounding Alps and 10 different lakes. There is also a revolving restaurant called the Rondorama and a marmot park.

      The Eurail Global Pass is valid on the train between Lucerne and Stans. For the remaining part of the excursion (funicular from Stans to Kälti and the CabriO cable car from Kälti to Stanserhorn), however, the Eurail Global Pass would enable you to receive a discount of about 25%. To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Stanserhorn Stans – Stanserhorn for Eurail Pass Holder’ option of the pass for 'Mount Stanserhorn' here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-stanserhorn.

      Mount Rigi

      Between Lucerne and nearby Mount Rigi, there are 2 different routes you can take.

      The route via Arth Goldau involves taking a train from Lucerne to Arth Goldau and the 'Arth-Rigi Bahn' cog railway from Arth Goldau to Rigi Kulm. For this first route, the Eurail Global Pass is only valid to cover you on the train from Lucerne to Arth Goldau, but it would enable you to receive a 50% discount on the 'Arth-Rigi Bahn' cog railway from Arth Goldau to Rigi Kulm. Tickets for the 'Arth-Rigi Bahn' can only be purchased locally. Just be sure to mention the Eurail Global Pass, so you can receive the 50% discount.

      The route via Vitznau involves taking a boat on Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Vitznau, and the 'Vitznau-Rigi Bahn' cog railway from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm. The Eurail Global Pass would enable you to receive a 50% discount on both the Lake Lucerne boat and the 'Vitznau-Rigi Bahn' cog railway from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm. Tickets for the Lake Lucerne boat and the 'Vitznau-Rigi Bahn' both can only be purchased locally. Just be sure to mention the Eurail Global Pass, so you can receive the 50% discount. The boats on Lake Lucerne are operated by SGV.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) March 01, 2019 19:22
      For time spent in Munich, you can shop various city passes, activities and tours offered by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/train-tickets/activities/?countries=undefined&cities=cities-487

      For time in Venice, you can shop city passes, activities and tours (including gondola and boat tours) here: http://www.raileurope.com/train-tickets/activities/?countries=undefined&cities=cities-522
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  • I’m Greatful
    Wow! Thank you Jeff so much for all of the advice and guidance involving our itinerary. That clears up a lot of unknown variables in our trip planning.
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  • I’m Greatful
    To clarify, we have 7 travel days in between cities/towns. While we're in Germany and Switzerland it appears we would have free access to metro and buses to get around locally. Is that a correct understanding? In that case wouldn't a 7 day flex pass be best or should I consider a 10 day flex to be safe?

    Very appreciative,
    Cameron
    • Jeff (Official Rep) March 01, 2019 19:42
      You're welcome, Cameron.

      The objective of a rail pass is to cover trains running city-to-city, connecting different cities in the countries included on the pass. Therefore, rail passes generally do not cover metro systems or buses in European cities. In German cities, the metro is known as the 'U-Bahn', and the Eurail Global Pass is not valid on the U-Bahn. However, one bonus of the Eurail Global Pass is that it does cover the S-Bahn commuter trains in German cities.

      If you purchase your Eurail Global Pass in 'flexi' form, you might not want to squander a 'travel day' on the pass just to take the S-Bahn in Munich. You might want to consider only using your pass to cover the S-Bahn on the actual days you'll already be using the pass to take another train to a different city.

      The Eurail Global Pass is not valid on public transit systems and buses within Swiss cities.

      The number of days you purchase your pass for would be for you to decide, based on your travels. If you think you might want to use your pass on the S-Bahn when you're in Munich, then you might want to include more days.
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