Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass or Swiss Pass ?

Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass - Itinerary (Zurich to Lucern. Lucern to Interlaken. Lucern to Franfurt Airport) Needing assistance with benefits EuroRail Pass vs Swiss Rail vs Tell-Pass makes it confusing. Haven't found a good comparison. Unsure of the benefits of EuroRail with these other two. Seems point to point tickets might be cheaper but Lucern activities individual tickets could make up the difference. Anyone have any experience and advice?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 18, 2018 18:04
    Hi Gary,

    To try and help you decide, I'll lay out below the benefits each pass offers for the Lucerne mountain excursions and how to check costs.

    When using a Swiss Travel Pass, the Mount Rigi and Stanserhorn excursions are completely covered, the Mount Pilatus excursion is discounted 50%, and the Mount Titlis excursion is discounted by about 45%.

    When using a multiple country Eurail Pass that includes Switzerland, the Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus excursions are discounted by about 50%, while the Mount Titlis and Stanserhorn excursions are discounted by about 25%.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 18, 2018 18:16
      SWISS TRAVEL PASS

      For the Swiss Travel Pass itself, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/swiss-pass-5934.

      Mount Pilatus (50% discount with Swiss Travel Pass)

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

      The Swiss Travel Pass is valid to get you from Lucerne to Alpnachstad (either by train or by the steamboat across Lake Lucerne) and it is also valid on the bus ride from Kriens back to Lucerne. Please be advised this would require the use of a 'travel day' on your Swiss Travel Pass.

      To receive the discount for the other segments, you would purchase a 50% off option of the pass for 'Mount Pilatus' here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-pilatus.

      The option specific to the Swiss Travel Pass is currently not appearing on our website; however, you can just purchase the 'Eurail Pass' or 'Swiss Half Fare Card' option and either would still be valid for you to use (both still grant you a 50% discount). The 'Mount Pilatus' pass would cover you on the cog railway from Alpnachstad to Mount Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm), the cable car from Pilatus Kulm to Fräkmüntegg and the gondola from Fräkmüntegg to Kriens.

      Mount Titlis (discount of about 45% with a Swiss Travel Pass)

      The excursion from Lucerne to Mount Titlis consists of a train from Lucerne to Engelberg, a cable car from Engelberg to Trübsee, a second cable car from Trübsee to Stand, and then the '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.

      For the trip between Lucerne and Titlis, the Swiss Travel Pass would only be valid on the train between Lucerne and Engelberg. However, the Swiss Travel Pass does enable you to receive a discount of about 45% on the cable cars between Engelberg and Titlis. To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Titlis Engelberg to Mt Titlis for Swiss Travel Pass Holder’ option of the pass for 'Mount Titlis' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-titlis-8165.

      This pass also includes a ride on the 'Ice Flyer' and entrance to the 'Glacier Grotto'.

      Please be advised that getting from Lucerne to Engelberg would require the use of a ‘travel day’ on your Swiss Travel Pass.

      Stanserhorn (fully covered with Swiss Travel Pass)

      In 2018, the excursion to Stansherhorn only operates from April 14th to November 18th. 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.

      As of just this year, the Swiss Travel Pass is now valid to cover the full excursion between Lucerne and Stanserhorn. Please be advised that using your Swiss Travel Pass for this would require the use of a 'travel day' on the pass.

      Mount Rigi (fully covered with Swiss Travel Pass)

      There are 2 different routes between Lucerne and Mt Rigi, both of which are fully covered by a Swiss Travel Pass with the use of a 'travel day'.

      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.

      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.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 18, 2018 18:53
      EURAIL PASS

      For the 2 country option of the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/eurail-select-pass-2-countries-8039.

      Mount Pilatus (discount of about 50% with a Eurail Pass)

      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.

      The Eurail Pass is valid to get you from Lucerne to Alpnachstad (either by train or by the steamboat across Lake Lucerne). Please be advised this would require the use of a 'travel day' on your Eurail Pass.

      To receive the 50% discount for the other segments, 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 (discount of about 25% with a Eurail Pass)

      The excursion from Lucerne to Mount Titlis consists of a train from Lucerne to Engelberg, a cable car from Engelberg to Trübsee, a second cable car from Trübsee to Stand, and then the '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 Eurail Pass is valid to get you from Lucerne to Engelberg. Please be advised this would require the use of a 'travel day' on your Eurail Pass.

      To receive the discount for the other segments, you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Titlis Engelberg to Mt Titlis for Swiss Travel Pass Holder’ option of the pass for 'Mount Titlis' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-titlis-8165.

      This pass also includes a ride on the 'Ice Flyer' and entrance to the 'Glacier Grotto'.

      Stanserhorn (discount of about 25% with a Eurail Pass)

      In 2018, the excursion to Stanserhorn operates from April 14th to November 18th. 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 Pass is valid on the train between Lucerne and Stans with the use of a 'travel day'.

      To receive the discount for the other segments, 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 (discount of about 50% with a Eurail Pass)

      There are 2 different routes between Lucerne and Mt Rigi; one route via Arth Goldau and the other via Vitznau.

      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.

      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.

      Tickets for both of these route to Rigi can only be purchased locally when you're there. To receive the discount, just be sure to mention you have the Eurail Pass.
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  • Hi Jeff,

    thank you so much for the great feedback.
    It appears the Swiss Travel Pass has more savings vs Eurail Pass but wouldn't necessarily satisfy our train travel needs from Lucern to Frankfurt Airport. That would be an additional $300 exceeding the Eurail Pass covering all our needs with less discounts.

    One more question; for the Eurail - do you need to book reservations in advance? i have read several sites, some say yes - some say no. Thought i would ask the expert. Does the Eurail Pass ever offer deals?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 19, 2018 20:26
      Hi Gary,

      It just depends on the train. Within Switzerland, only few trains require reservations. The vast majority of trains within Switzerland do not even accept reservations, so a rail pass is all you would need to board.

      Zurich to Lucerne

      Trains from Zurich to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so a rail pass is all you would need to board (whether it be a Eurail Select Pass or a Swiss Travel Pass).

      For planning purposes, you can use the route search feature under 'BOOK TRAIN TICKETS' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) to just view schedules for trains from Zurich to Lucerne.

      Lucerne to Interlaken

      On trains from Lucerne to Interlaken, reservations are possible but not necessary. Trains from Lucerne to Interlaken run over a segment of the famed GoldenPass scenic route.

      If you want to have reservations for this trip, you would purchase them by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 2 Countries’ or a 'Swiss Travel Pass').

      Lucerne to Frankfurt Airport

      Connections from Lucerne to Frankfurt take just over 4 hours in duration and involve changing trains at least once in Basel along the way.

      On trains from Lucerne to Basel, reservations are not necessary, so a rail pass is all you would need to board (whether it be a Eurail Select Pass or a Swiss Travel Pass).

      If you decide on the Swiss Travel Pass, you would need to purchase regular tickets for the train from Basel to the Frankfurt Airport. You would purchase tickets by searching the route under 'BOOK TRAIN TICKETS' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com).

      If you decide on the 2 country option of the Eurail Select Pass for Germany and Switzerland, your ticket costs from Basel to Frankfurt Airport would be covered. With that said, the trains from Basel to Frankfurt Airport are ICE trains on which reservations would be highly recommended as a supplement to the rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase the reservations by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 2 Countries’).

      When searching for trains departing out of the station at the airport, you would just have to type 'Frankfurt Airport' in the field for the arrival city. Currently, 'Frankfurt Airport' will not actually populate into the field, but you can still type it in there anyway and the schedules will display. When you pull up the results of your search from 'Basel' to 'Frankfurt Airport', the station at the airport would be labeled as ‘F-Flughafen Fernbf’.
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  • Jeff,

    I was about to purchase the two country Europass you recommended when i noticed that 'group rate' is 2-5 adults in same group. So if I purchase Group Rate Europass for my wife and i, those discounts above apply for both of us? or we need individual Europasses to receive the discounts you posted earlier?

    Thanks again...
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  • Dave (Official Rep) July 30, 2018 15:33
    Hi Gary,

    You are correct, the Saver rate applies to Groups of 2-5, and is just a discount on the pass itself. You will have 2 travelers on 1 pass as opposed to individual passes, but the bonuses apply exactly the same.
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