Zurich to Lucerne, Lucerne to Mount Pilatus, Scenic route from Lucerne to Lugano, Lugano to Como, Como to Paris, and Paris to London

We will travel from Zurich to Lucerne. While in Lucerne visit Mount Pilatus. Then would do the William Tell Express to Lugano. Luguano to Como (or Milan then Como). We will then go from Como to Paris and finally Paris to London. All within 15 days in July. What pass would work best and how soon should we purchase to receive it in the mail on time?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 17, 2017 20:50
    Hi Beatrice,

    For the requested itinerary, I would recommend purchasing the 3 country option of the Eurail Select Pass to include Switzerland, Italy, and France.

    For the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-select-pass/index.html.

    Zurich to Lucerne

    Trains from Zurich to Lucerne depart once every 30 minutes throughout the day, and the ride only takes about 45-50 minutes. Trains from Zurich to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Select Pass is all you would need to board.

    Mount Pilatus

    For a stay in Lucerne, you would also want to keep in mind that the Eurail Select Pass enables you to receive discounts on the various mountain excursions in the area, including 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 Mt Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm). After reaching Mt Pilatus (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 Select Pass, you would be able to receive a 50% discount on this journey between Lucerne and Mount Pilatus (Pilatus Kulm). To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘1 Day Round-Trip Journey From Alpnachstad or Kriens - For Use Only With Eurail Pass Which Includes Switzerland’ option of the pass for 'Mount Pilatus' here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/mount-pilatus/index.html.

    Lucerne to Lugano via the Gotthard Panorama Express

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

    The 'Gotthard Panorama Express' scenic route consists of the steamboat from Lucerne to Flüelen and then trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Lugano.

    From April 14th to July 2nd (of 2017), the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains out of Flüelen only operate on weekends and will not run all the way to Lugano. Therefore, during this time frame, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' out of Flüelen will only take you as far as Bellinzona. In Bellinzona, you would switch to another train that would take you the short distance to Lugano.

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

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

    Reservations are required to take one of the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains (with the panoramic windows). For the route, the reservation we issue is inclusive of both the steamboat (from Lucerne to Flüelen) and the connecting 'Gotthard Panorama Express' train from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Lugano. In addition to the reservation, the Eurail Select Pass would enable you to receive a discount of 50% for the actual ticket on the steamboat. You would pay right on board the boat and show your Eurail Select Pass to receive the discount.

    To purchase the reservations for the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' journey on our website, you would type 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' (instead of just 'Lucerne') in the field for the departure city, with 'Bellinzona' or 'Lugano' in the opposite field. Therefore, you would search 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' to 'Bellinzona' or 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' to 'Lugano'. By doing this, our website will know to issue the reservation that will cover you on the steamboat from Lucerne to Flüelen and the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' train from Flüelen to either Bellinzona or Lugano. Also, when you go to purchase these reservations, be sure to indicate the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass').

    If you will be traveling on a day when the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains do not run (i.e. a weekday between April 14th and July 2nd, 2017), you can still follow the same route and enjoy the scenery; however, the trains that go over these rail lines will not have panoramic windows. On days when the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' don't operate, you would instead have to take a connection from Flüelen to Bellinzona that is comprised of regional trains. From Flüelen to Lugano, such connections would involve changing trains in Erstfeld and Bellinzona along the way. Therefore, after your boat arrives in Flüelen, you would take a short regional train from Flüelen to Erstfeld, another regional train from Erstfeld to Bellinzona, and then another regional train from Bellinzona to Lugano.

    The regional trains do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Select Pass is all that would be needed to board. You would still need a ticket for the steamboat, for which you can receive the 50% discount.

    The 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona/Lugano and the regional trains from Ersfeld to Bellinzona follow a slightly different path than the connections comprised of IC and EC trains from Lucerne to Bellinzona/Lugano (via Arth Goldau). The direct IC and EC trains from Arth Goldau to Bellinzona/Lugano take passengers through the new 'Gotthard Base Tunnel', while the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona/Lugano and the regional trains from Erstfeld to Bellinzona take passengers through the old 'Gotthard Tunnel' (the old 'Gotthard Tunnel' is shorter than the new 'Gotthard Base Tunnel').

    Schedules for these regional trains are not able to be viewed on our website, but the connections will depart once every hour throughout the day, and the trip takes just under 2 hours. The direct 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona also take just under 2 hours. The boat ride on Lake Lucerne takes about 2.5 hours.

    Lugano to Como

    From Lugano to Como, you can just take a regional train and you would not need reservations. There are also EC (EuroCity) trains from Lugano to Como, which conversely would require you to have a reservation, even though it's a short distance.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for an EC train from Lugano to Como by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass').

    Como to Paris

    A connection from Como to Paris would take about 8 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Zurich along the way.

    Trains from Como to Zurich are EC trains on which reservations would be required as a supplement to the rail pass.

    Trains from Zurich to Paris are high-speed TGV Lyria trains, which would also require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass'). For the trip from Como to Paris, you would just break up your search once in Zurich. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Como to Zurich and then another search for connecting trains from Zurich to Paris.

    Paris to London

    As of just this year, any Eurail Select Pass that includes France (except for the 2 country option with the combination of France and Italy) will cover the Eurostar trains between Paris and London. Eurostar trains would just require reservations as a supplement to the pass.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase the reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass'). The Eurostar can sell out quickly, so it is recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as possible.
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