What should I purchase for a trip from Amsterdam to Munich (with trips to Walldorf, Dachau, Fussen/Neuschwanstein & Zugspitze) to Venice?

Dear Expert,
I need guidance for my euro trip with my partner in December 2015.

Day 1
Depart from Amsterdam Centraal to Munich by Train
- Undecided whether CNL or day train.

Day 2
Arrive in Munich (assume i take the CNL)
- Visit a friend in Walldorf
- Munich Night tour by train

Day 3
- Munich city tour by train (possibly Dachau, Alliaz Arena, Marienplatz, etc)

Day 4
- Munich-Fuessen-Neuschweinstein-Fuessen-Munich

Day 5
- Munich-Zugspitze-Munich

Day 6
- Depart from Munich to Venice (Wish to take the Brenner Pass route)

My question:
1. Based on my plan above, which Rail Pass is possible and cost effective? I have read about German Rail Pass (GRP). It covers my Day 6 trip to Venice but does not cover my trip from Ams to Munich (is this true?). Also not sure whether GRP takes the Brenner Pass route?

Appreciate your expert advice on this matter.

Thanks

Ezwardi
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  • I’m sad
    Please can some one assist me? I saw CNL is sold out
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) October 22, 2015 18:05
    Hi Ezwardi.

    Generally, all countries being traveled through would have to be accounted for on the pass that you have; however, the direct day trains from Munich to Venice ('Brennero' EuroCity trains) are an exception in that they are covered by the single country 'German Rail Pass'. Considering this, you're exactly correct that the German Rail Pass would be the best option for your itinerary. You would purchase the German Rail Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    With the German Rail Pass, you *should* also be able to receive a discounted rate called the 'Passholder 2' on the 'Pollux' City Night Line train from Amsterdam to Munich. However, City Night Line has seemingly stopped offering these specific rates for the time being, and there is no telling when they will make them available again. Instead, you can purchase a point-to-point ticket to cover you from Amsterdam to the town of Emmerich at the Dutch/German border, which in combination with the German Rail Pass, would enable you to purchase a regular reservation ('Passholder 1' rate) on the City Night Line train from Amsterdam to Munich.

    Booking the Amsterdam to Munich 'City Night Line' for travel with a German Rail Pass

    You would purchase a seat reservation for the train itself by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the route ('Amsterdam' to 'Munich'), and indicating that you'll be traveling a 'Eurail Global Pass' or a 'Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass'. Even though it is actually the case that you'll be traveling with a ticket from Amsterdam to Emmerich and the German Rail Pass, our system would just need you to enter a pass here that covers the entire route in order to allow you to purchase the passholder reservations for the train itself. Otherwise, if you indicate that you'll be traveling with the German Rail Pass, our website will think that you do not have the necessary pass/ticket coverage for the route and fail to quote you the appropriate passholder reservation fees.

    Currently, the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket is not able to be purchased on our website, but you can purchase it by calling us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Even though you would be booking a ticket that shows Emmerich as a destination, that does not mean you would get off the train there. You would just remain on the train for the full journey from Amsterdam to Munich.

    It would not be possible to validate a German Rail Pass at the station in Amsterdam. Instead, your German Rail Pass would be validated while you're on board the train as it crosses the border into Germany.

    Daytime connection from Amsterdam to Munich with a German Rail Pass

    A daytime connection from Amsterdam to Munich would take about 7.5 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Düsseldorf or Mannheim en route.

    Once again, to compensate for the fact that your rail pass doesn't include the Netherlands, you would need to purchase that supplemental ticket from Amsterdam to Emmerich at the Dutch/German border (by calling us). Whether you take a train from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf or Amsterdam to Mannheim, the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket would be valid to cover you for the segment up to the German border. The German Rail Pass would then take over to cover you for the segment after you cross the border into Germany, including the connecting train from Düsseldorf to Munich or Mannheim to Munich.

    In addition to the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket and the German Rail Pass, reservations would be highly recommended on the trains themselves from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf or Amsterdam to Mannheim and also on the connecting trains from Düsseldorf to Munich or Mannheim to Munich. The trains from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf or Mannheim and Düsseldorf or Mannheim to Munich are all high-speed 'InterCity Express' (ICE) trains.

    You would purchase the seat reservations for by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with. For a daytime trip from Amsterdam to Munich, you would just have to piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment (i.e. one search for trains from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf and another search for connecting trains from Düsseldorf to Munich).

    For the segment from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf (or Amsterdam to Mannheim), you would once again just have to indicate that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' or a 'Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass' (even though it is actually the case that you'll be using the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket in combination with the German Rail Pass to cover the ticket costs for one of these trains).

    When you purchase reservations for a connecting train from Düsseldorf to Munich (or Mannheim to Munich), you can say that you'll be traveling with the 'German Rail Pass'.

    Munich to Walldorf with a German Rail Pass

    The station for Walldorf (in Baden-Württemberg) is 'Wiesloch-Walldorf'. A connection from Munich to Wiesloch-Walldorf would take about 3 to 3.5 hours in duration and involves chancing trains once in either Heidelberg or Stuttgart en route. In addition to the German Rail Pass, reservations would just be recommended on the trains between Munich and Heidelberg or Munich and Stuttgart. You would purchase reservations for this segment of the route by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities (i.e. 'Munich' to 'Heidelberg'), and indicating that you'll be traveling with the 'German Rail Pass'.

    Trains between Heidelberg and Wiesloch-Walldorf or Stuttgart and Wiesloch-Walldorf don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you'd need to board. For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for these trains by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the cities (i.e. 'Heidelberg' to 'Wiesloch-Walldorf'). Since you wouldn't be purchasing actual reservations for this segment of the route and your objective would just be to view schedules, you would not indicate that you'll be traveling with a rail pass when typing in your search criteria in this case.

    Munich - Dachau with a German Rail Pass

    From Munich to Dachau, there are trains departing about 4 times every hour. The ride on a regional train would only take about 13 or 14 minutes, while the local 'S-Bahn' trains take about 22 minutes. The German Rail Pass is valid on any of these trains.

    With that said, you might instead want to consider purchasing one of the tours for Dachau offered on our website. You can find these tours under the list of tours for Munich here: http://www.raileurope.com/en/activiti....

    Munich - Füssen - Neuschwanstein Castle with a German Rail Pass (Round-trip)

    Füssen is the station in Germany you would go to for travel to the Neuschwanstein Castle. Füssen is accessed by regional trains from Munich. The trains between Munich and Füssen are regional trains that don't accept reservations. Therefore, the German Rail Pass is all that would be needed to board. These trains depart once every couple hours throughout the day, and the ride between Munich and Füssen only takes about 2.5 hours in duration one-way.

    For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for the trains between Munich and Füssen by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the cities. Since you wouldn't be purchasing for these trains and your objective would just be to view their schedules, you would not indicate that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass when typing in your search criteria.

    Once you're in Füssen, you would take a bus to the town of Hohenschwangau. From Hohenschwangau, you would then have a few different choices to get up to the castle; you can take another bus, you can walk, or else you can take a horse-drawn carriage. Please note, the bus would take you to a point from where you would still have to walk another 10 minutes or so up a steep hill. The horse-drawn carriage would take you to a point from where you would have an easier 5 minute walk to the entrance of the castle. To walk all the way from Hohenschwangau to the castle entrance would take approximately 30 minutes in duration. The rail pass does not cover the buses between Füssen and the castle, so you would have to pay to board these buses locally upon arrival.

    Instead of using your German Rail Pass for a trip out to Füssen/Neuschwanstein, you might instead want to consider purchasing one of the Neuschwanstein offered on our website. Just like the Dachau tours, the Neuschwanstein tours can be found under the list of tours for Munich here: http://www.raileurope.com/en/activiti....

    Munich to Zugspitze with a German Rail Pass (Round-trip)

    The gateway for the Zugspitze is the town of Garmisch. Garmisch is accessed by regional trains from Munich. The trains between Munich and Garmisch don't accept reservations, so the German Rail Pass is all you'll need to board. The trains depart hourly throughout the day, and the ride only takes about 1.5 hour one-way.

    To begin the trek up to Zugspitze from Garmisch, you would first take the 'Zahnradbahn' to Eibsee. In Eibsee, you would have the choice to continue on the 'Zahnradbahn' cogwheel to Zugspitzplatt (the Zugspitze Glacier Plateau), where you would switch to the 'Gletscherbahn' aerial cable car to the summit ridge, or else you can take the 'Eibsee-Seilbahn' aerial cable car all the way from Eibsee to to the summit ridge. If you make your ascent one way, you might want to consider descending via the other, just so you can have both experiences.

    Conveniently, the German Rail Pass covers the 'Zahnradbahn' between Garmisch and Zugspitzplatt. In contrast, I do not suspect that the German Rail Pass would cover the 'Gletscherbahn' aerial cable car from Zugspitzplatt to the Zugspitze summit or the 'Eibsee-Seilbahn' aerial cable car from Eibsee to the Zugspitze summit. For these cable cars, it's likely that you would have to pay to board locally.

    Munich to Venice with a German Rail Pass

    As I alluded to above, a special bonus of the German Rail Pass is that it covers the direct day trains from Munich to Venice (even though these trains leave Germany). Generally, you would purchase reservations for a train from Munich to Venice by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the route; however, there is an error on our website that would prevent these reservations from being quoted to you if you indicate that you'll be traveling with the 'German Rail Pass'. In order to be quoted the appropriate reservation fees for one of these trains, you would just have to indicate that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' instead.

    When the costs display, you would then just want to be sure you select a 'Passholder 1' rate ('Passholder 1' just refers to regular reservations for passengers traveling with a rail pass.) To ensure that it's a 'Passholder 1' reservation fee you're choosing, you would click the 'View' button for the cost listed under your preferred class of service for your preferred departure. After you click the 'View' button, a box will expand out underneath. In this box, you would refer to the option(s) listed under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' and click 'Read More'. When you click 'Read More', the name of the fare should display as something like 'Germany Italy Day Train Passholder 1'. Generally, the 'Passholder 1' fares for the Munich-Venice day trains would be the 'Non Flexible' option under 'Ticket Flexibility'.
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  • Hi Jeff,
    I have waited every single minutes for your respond since i posted this question and my wait is worth it! Detail explanation indeed and I really know what I need now. Millions of thanks for your detail explanation.

    I would have to consider Daytime connection from Amsterdam to Munich now as CNL does not have the 2 sleeper anymore for my travel date. If i take this option, i will be stopping by Walldorf on the way to Munich then.

    Question:
    1. When I board the train in Amsterdam Centraal, I will purchase a single ticket to Emmerich. The train I board from Amsterdam to Emmerich will be the same ICE train to Munich? Or do I have to disembark in Emmerich and take another train to Munich?

    2. Munich - Fussen - Garmisch - Munich
    Is this route possible via train using German Rail Pass? Was thinking of spending the night in Fussen or Garmisch instead of going back to Munich since Fussen and Garmisch is almost next to each other.

    Appreciate your advice.

    Thanks
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) October 23, 2015 15:28
    Hi Ezwardi.

    Glad to help. If you'd like to verify availability for the City Night Line train, you can always call us. Once again, we can be reached at 1-800-622-8600.

    Daytime connection from Amsterdam to Munich with a German Rail Pass

    If you go straight to Munich from Amsterdam, the train you take out of Amsterdam would be to either Düsseldorf or Mannheim. You would just be purchasing the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket to cover you up to the Dutch/German border (since the German Rail Pass doesn't cover rail travel in the Netherlands). This does not mean that you would actually get off the train in Emmerich. You would remain on your train until it arrives into either Düsseldorf or Mannheim (depending on which option you choose), at which point you would switch to a train that would take you to Munich.

    Amsterdam to Wiesloch-Walldorf with a Germain Rail Pass

    If you go to Wiesloch-Walldorf from Amsterdam, the connection would take about 5 to 6 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in either Mannheim or Frankfurt en route. With either of these options, you would still need to purchase that Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket to cover you up to the Dutch/German border, and you would not actually get off the train in Emmerich. You would remain on your train until it arrives into either Mannheim or Frankfurt (depending on which option you choose), at which point you would switch to a train that would take you to Wiesloch-Walldorf. If need be, you can call us to purchase the Amsterdam-Emmerich before you head to Europe.

    In addition to the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket and the German Rail Pass, seat reservations would be highly recommended on the trains from Amsterdam to Mannheim or Amsterdam to Frankfurt (high-speed 'InterCity Express' (ICE) trains).

    You would purchase the seat reservations for a train from Amsterdam to Mannheim or Amsterdam to Frankfurt by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the route. When prompted to enter the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with; however, you would have to indicate that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' or a 'Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass' (even though it is actually the case that you'll be using the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket in combination with the German Rail Pass to cover the ticket costs for one of these trains).

    While on board your train, you would show to the conductor your Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket, your German Rail Pass, and your seat reservation.

    Munich to Füssen to Garmisch (Zugspitze) with a German Rail Pass

    The German Rail Pass covers the trains from Munich to Füssen and the trains from Munich to Garmisch; however, there is actually no rail line that connects Füssen and Garmisch. You would travel from Füssen to Garmisch by taking a bus to the town of Reutte in Tyrol (in Austria), where you would switch to a regional train that runs along the 'Ausserfern Railway' to Garmisch. This route, including both the bus and the train, is very scenic.

    You would pay to board the bus locally. The train from Reutte in Tyrol to Garmisch runs for 2/3 of its nearly 60 minute journey time in Austria, so the German Rail Pass would only begin covering you for the final 20 minute-long stretch or so. You would pay a supplement locally to cover you for the portion in Austria. The trains from Reutte in Tyrol to Garmisch are regional trains that don't accept reservations, so the supplement and the German Rail Pass are all you'll need to board.

    Schedules for the trains from Reutte in Tyrol to Garmisch are not able to be viewed on our website, but they depart once every 2 hours throughout the day, and the ride takes just under an hour in duration.

    Before the Ausserfern train reaches the German border, it stops in a town called Ehrwald in Tyrol, which actually serves as another point from where you can take a cable car up to the Zugspitze summit ridge. Therefore, you don't necessarily have to take the train all the way to Garmisch. The cable car from Ehrwald to Zugspitze is called the 'Tiroler Zugspitzbahn'. You can then make your descent via one of the of the other ways I described in my initial response above (the 'Gletscherbahn' to the 'Zahnradbahn' to Garmisch or the ''Eibsee-Seilbahn' to Eibsee). You would pay for the 'Tiroler Zugspitzbahn' cable car locally.

    As I mentioned in my initial response, the German Rail Pass covers the 'Zahnradbahn' between Garmisch and Zugspitzplatt. However, I do not suspect that it would cover the 'Gletscherbahn' cable car between Zugspitzplatt and the Zugspitze summit or the 'Eibsee-Seilbahn' aerial cable car between Eibsee and the Zugspitze summit. It's most likely the case that you'd have to pay for these cable cars locally.

    I believe there are also other connections from Füssen to Garmisch, which would be entirely by bus. For these, I'd recommend searching online or inquiring locally, but it's my understanding that these bus rides are also very scenic.
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  • Hi Jeff,
    As usual, your expert advice is highly appreciated. The response is as good as a detail itinerary.

    Many thanks for your help.
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  • Hi Jeff,
    Am considering another option here.

    Am planning to go straight from Amsterdam to Garmisch. I am assuming the following:
    1. Buy ticket from Amsterdam to Emmerich (can i buy this from you?).
    2. From Emmerich, GRP is activated. I continue my journey to Dusseldorf and Munich.
    3. Do I stop and change train in Munich before heading to Garmisch?

    Thanks
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) October 27, 2015 14:29
    Hi Ezwardi.

    Even if you go straight from Amsterdam to Garmisch, the connection would still involve going through Munich, so you would just combine the instructions from my first response for a connection from Amsterdam to Munich and trains from Munich to Garmisch/Zugspitze. Thus, the connection from Amsterdam to Garmisch would involve 2 train changes along the way; once in either Düsseldorf or Mannheim and then once in Munich.

    Additionally, you would still need to purchase the Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket so that you'll be covered for the portion of the train from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf or Amsterdam to Mannheim that runs in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam-Emmerich ticket is not able to be purchased on our website, but you can purchase it by calling us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Once again, even though you would be booking a ticket that shows Emmerich as a destination, that does not mean you would get off the train there. You would remain on your train until it arrives into either Düsseldorf or Mannheim (depending on which option you choose), at which point you would switch to a train that would take you to Munich.
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  • Hi Jeff,
    Its me again. I have question for my trip from munich to venice using GRP.
    I need to leave munich in the morning so earliest train was EC81 to Venice @ 758am with 34 mins transfer time in Verona. From Verona, i change to EC37 and leave for Venice @ 1330.

    Question:
    I tried to book a reservation in your website. I put Munich as the departing city and venice as the destination. But the only available time is 1138am (EC87). I need to leave earlier. If i change the destination to verona, i can see the 758am train. Can i just select the 758am (EC81) and book my seat reservation? Is my GRP still valid when i board EC37 from verona to venice or do i need to purchase a separate ticket?

    Appreciate your feedback.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) November 11, 2015 19:05
    Hi Ezwardi.

    The German Rail Pass would be valid on the direct day trains from Munich to Verona ('Brennero' EuroCity trains) but not on any connecting trains from Verona to Venice. Therefore, for the segment from Verona to Venice, you would just have to purchase a regular point-to-point ticket.

    For travel with the German Rail Pass, you would book reservations for a direct day train from Munich to Verona the same way you would a direct day train from Munich to Venice. Therefore, you would click 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), enter the route (just 'Munich' to 'Verona'), and indicate that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass'. While it is actually the German Rail Pass that you'll be using to cover the ticket costs for this train, there is currently an error on our website that prevents these reservations from being quoted to you if you indicate that as the pass you'll be traveling with. By indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' instead, you'll be able to purchase the reservations that are needed.

    When the costs display, you would then just want to be sure you select a 'Passholder 1' rate ('Passholder 1' just refers to regular reservations for passengers traveling with a rail pass.) To ensure that it's a 'Passholder 1' reservation fee you're choosing, you would click the 'View' button for the cost listed under your preferred class of service for your preferred departure. After you click the 'View' button, a box will expand out underneath. In this box, you would refer to the option(s) listed under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' and click 'Read More'. When you click 'Read More', the name of the fare should display as something like 'Germany Italy Day Train Passholder 1'. Generally, the 'Passholder 1' fares for the Munich-Verona and Munich-Venice day trains would be the 'Non Flexible' option under 'Ticket Flexibility'.

    You would then purchase regular tickets for a connecting train from Verona to Venice by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') on our homepage and entering the route. Since your rail pass would not be valid to cover any of the trains from Verona to Venice, you would not indicate that you'll be traveling with one when you're prompted by our website.

    The trains from Verona to Venice are high-speed 'Frecciabianca' trains or regional ('Regionale' or 'Regionale Veloce') trains.
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