Planning trip from Milan to Lucerne with a Swiss Pass & taking the train from Milan to Lugano. Can we buy Swiss pass at Lugano station?

Planning a trip from Milan to Lucerne with Swiss pass. will take the regular train from Milan to Lugano, and start using Swiss Pass from Lugano. Do we need purchase the Swiss Pass in advanced or we can easily buy it at Lugano station?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 19, 2015 15:59
    Thank you for your question, Lin.

    Unlike most other rail passes, the Swiss Travel Passes are available for purchase locally in Europe. However, we recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass in advance, prior to departing for Europe. You can purchase the Swiss Travel Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html.

    With a Swiss Travel Pass, you would be eligible to receive a rate called the 'Passholder 3' on one of the 'EuroCity' trains from Milan to Lugano. The Passholder 3 rate is a special rate created to allow passengers traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass to still receive a discount on one of the direct 'EuroCity' trains that operate between Milan and Switzerland (even though Italy would not be included on the pass).

    Generally, you would be able to purchase Passholder 3 reservations for a EuroCity train from Milan to Lugano by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass when you're prompted. However, there may currently be an error on our site preventing these rates from displaying and being able to be booked there. If nothing displays when you do such a search from Milan to Lugano, you can call us at 1-800-622-8600 to see if these rates are available and place your order. The trains from Milan to Lugano can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    If instead you take one of the 'Regionale' trains from Milan to Lugano, you would just have to purchase a separate ticket to cover you from Milan to Chiasso at the border. The Swiss Travel Pass would then be valid to cover the portion of the route after the train passes through Chiasso. You would purchase a ticket for one of these trains from Milan to Chiasso by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass. When you pull up the results of your search, you would just want to be sure you select one of the trains labeled as 'Regionale'. The Regionale trains from Milan will stop in Lugano just 25 to 33 minutes after they are shown to be arriving into Chiasso on our site.
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  • Jeff,

    Thank you so much for your quick reply.

    I like your suggestion. Actually after I wrote my question here I realized that we should start using our Swiss Pass from Chiasso, which would be the best.

    Our plan is take train from Milan to Como, spend half day or less there. Hop on the train from Como to Chiasso. And transfer at Chiasso to SBB train to Lucerne. I hope this route works.

    We are planing to buy two 8-day Swiss family with 2 children under 12 years old. Can I purchase it online at raileurope.com? I tried to put 2 adults and 2 children's names at Swiss Pass online shop, but at the end it only showed 2 adults Swiss Passes and didn't show there will be 2 children share with the pass.

    Thanks again!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 19, 2015 21:23
    Since the children would be free, you would actually not be prompted to enter their names when you add the pass to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart). For them to travel free, we would issue what are called 'Swiss Family Cards' with your order.

    To be issued these Swiss Family Cards with your purchase, you would refer to the page for the Swiss Travel Pass on our website, choose the 'Youth/Child (4-25)' option for each child under where it says 'Who is traveling?' and then indicate their ages when it prompts you.

    After doing this, you would click 'Get Prices' and a question would appear that asks 'Is everyone in your party traveling together at all times?'. If you click 'Yes', then the option for the Swiss Family Card would appear right below it with the question 'Are all of the children (ages 15 and under) in your party always traveling with at least one of their parents or legal guardians?'. Just make sure the 'yes' box is checked underneath this question, and you would be issued Swiss Family Cards with your purchase. Even though you have indicated that there will be children in your party, you will see that you will not be charged anything more than the cost of the adult passes.
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  • Jeff,

    Thank you so much for your excellent answers.

    We will arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan. I checked that there is a train connection between Malpensa and Como. Is it possible that we take the train from Malpensa to Como, spend a few hours there. then hop back to a train crossing the border to Chiasso? From Chiasso we can start using Swiss Pass till our destination Lucerne? Also if we don't have to go to Milan center train station, where is the best place to get our Swiss Pass activated?

    Lin
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 20, 2015 16:41
    Hi Lin,

    There is a local train station right at the Malpensa Airport with trains only to certain towns in the area. A connection from there to Como would only take about 1 to 1.5 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Saronno en route. Tickets for a connection from the Malpensa Airport to Como can only be purchased locally upon arrival. The connections from the Malpensa Airport to Como (via Saronno) depart at least once every hour.

    There are direct 'EuroCity' trains from Como into Switzerland, so if you take one of these, you would not have to get off in Chiasso en route. If you take one of these EuroCity trains, a Swiss train officer will validate your pass for you right on board the train, and you would just have to pay a very small supplement to cover you for the segment between Como and the Swiss border (Chiasso). To get to Lucerne, you would take a EuroCity train from Como to Arth Goldau and switch to another train there that would take you to Lucerne.

    You can check schedules for the connections from Como to Lucerne by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the route.

    Otherwise, if you wish, you can take a train from Como to Chiasso and get your pass validated at the station there. You can purchase tickets and view schedules for the short trains from Como to Chiasso under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage, although the ride is only about 5 to 7 minutes and the trains depart several times an hour.
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  • The train from Como to Arth Goldau seems like a better choice. Thank you so much for your professional answers. It does save us a lot of time and energy to research it ourselves.

    I do have one last question. We are planing to go to Paris from Grindelwald after spending a few days there. What is the best way to travel by train, of course with Swiss Pass too.

    Lin
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 20, 2015 19:27
    A connection from Grindelwald to Paris would take about 6 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes en route; once in Interlaken and then once in Basel. The train from Basel to Paris is a high-speed 'TGV Lyria' train.

    The Swiss Travel Pass would cover the trains from Grindelwald to Interlaken and Interlaken to Basel. However, the Swiss Travel Pass is not valid on the TGV Lyria train from Basel to Paris. You would purchase tickets for the train from Basel to Paris by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the route. You can also refer to 'Find Fares & Schedules' just to check schedules for trains from Grindelwald to Interlaken and Interlaken to Basel.

    When you're in Grindelwald, I assume you're planning on making the trip up to Jungfraujoch. The Swiss Travel Pass actually doesn't cover travel beyond Grindelwald on the way up to Jungfrau, so you would have a couple different options: The 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' mountaintop excursion or the 'Jungfrau VIP Pass'.

    The Jungfraujoch Top of Europe covers a roundtrip between Interlaken and Jungfraujoch, although with this pass, the roundtrip would just have to be completed within a 24 hour time period once the journey has begun. This pass is an open voucher that you would use to hop on any of the trains between Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch within the 24 hours. You can purchase the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/jungfraujoch/index.html. Since you'd be traveling with the Swiss Travel Pass, you would purchase the 'Grindelwald or Wengen to Jungfraujoch for Swiss Travel Pass Holder' option of the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe.

    Your other option, the 'Jungfrau VIP Pass', would be valid to cover any travel in the Jungfraujoch region over the course of 3 days. This includes travel on the routes between Interlaken and Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald or via Lauterbrunnen/Wengen. You can purchase the Jungfrau VIP Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/jungfrau-vip-pass/index.html. If you purchase the Jungfrau VIP Pass, you can use it to cover your trains between Interlaken and Grindelwald, rather than expending a day of travel on your Swiss Travel Pass.
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  • Jeff,

    Thank you so so much for your help!

    Best,

    Lin
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  • Hello, again,

    Milan Malpensa airport to Como via Saronno, I understand this a local train which we will just get the tickets at Malpensa.

    Do we need make reservations for these train trips:

    1. Como to Lucern via Arth Goldau, we will start using our swiss family travel card on board.

    2. Lucern to Interlanken

    3. Interlanken to Basel

    Should I also assume NO reservation needed between Grindelwald and Interlaken?

    Thank you,

    Lin
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 26, 2015 16:49
    Hi Lin,

    Yes, tickets for the trains from the Milan Malpensa Airport to Como via Saronno can only be purchased locally when you're there.

    Trains from Como to Arth Goldau are 'EuroCity' trains that do require reservations. For travel with a Swiss Travel Pass, you would purchase reservations on a train from Como to Arth Goldau at the 'Passholder 3' rate (the same type of rate that I mentioned above for the train from Milan to Lugano). The Passholder 3 is a special rate on these trains that was created to allow passengers traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass to still receive a discount even though the Swiss Travel Pass doesn't cover Italy.

    Generally, you would be able to purchase Passholder 3 reservations for one of the EuroCity trains from Como to Arth Goldau by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our website; however, there may currently be an error on our site preventing these rates from displaying and being booked there.

    To verify that you're purchasing the reservations at a Passholder 3 rate on a direct train from Como to Arth Goldau, you would take the following steps:

    1.) You would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, enter the cities, and indicate that you'll be traveling with the 'Swiss Travel Pass' when you're prompted to enter the type of rail pass you'll have.

    2.) When you pull up the results of your search, you would choose your preferred departure and click on the 'View' button under your preferred class of service for that train (there is a 'View' button to correspond with each cost shown for all departures).

    3.) After you've clicked the 'View' button, you would then refer to where it says 'Ticket Flexibility'. Underneath 'Ticket Flexibility', you may see 3 options: 'Non Flexible', 'Semi Flexible', and 'Fully Flexible'. You would click the 'Read More' link next to each of these options until you see the fare titled 'Trenitalia International Trains Passholder 3'. Generally, the Passholder 3 rate would be found under the 'Semi Flexible' option or possibly the 'Fully Flexible' option.

    4.) Be sure the option labeled 'Trenitalia International Trains Passholder 3' (or something with 'Passholder 3' in its name) is checked and click 'Select' to proceed to add the ticket to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart).

    If you don't see the Passholder 3 rate when you follow this procedure, you can call us at 1-800-622-8600 to verify its availability.

    The connecting trains from Arth Goldau to Lucerne don't accept reservations, so the Swiss Travel Pass is all you would need to board.

    Reservations aren't necessary on the trains from Lucerne to Interlaken ('GoldenPass' scenic trains) and the trains from Interlaken to Basel ('InterCity' trains), so the Swiss Travel Pass is all you would need to board these trains.

    Trains between Interlaken and Grindelwald don't accept reservations, so the Swiss Travel Pass (or a Jungfrau VIP Pass) is all you would need to board.
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  • Hi, Jeff,

    Excellent. Thank you so much for your reply.

    Best,

    Lin
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  • I found the same challenge. The cost of ticket from Como to Arth Goldau on 5-Aug is $188 vs. from Como to Lucerne is $24. Am i missing anything?
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