Zurich-Lucerne, Lucerne-Venice, Venice-Florence, Florence-Rome, should I buy the Eurail Pass for Switzerland and Italy?

Hello,I am traveling to Switzerland and Italy with my wife. My itinerary is as follows:Zurich (2 days) -> Lucerne (2 days) -> Venice (2 days) -> Florence (1 day) -> Rome (2 days).Is the Italy - Switzerland EURail pass a good option for me? Does it cover trains from Lucerne to Venice and within Italy? I read somewhere that for travel within Italy, I still have to pay for getting a seat. Is that true?Also, does this pass cover local transport in Italy and Switzerland (similar to the Swiss Travel Pass)?Or should I just buy the Swiss Travel pass and travel to / in Italy on my own?Thanks,Navin
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 02, 2018 18:01
    Hi Navin,

    For the requested itinerary, your best option would be to purchase the 2 country option of the Eurail Select Pass to include Italy and Switzerland. For the 2 country Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/eurail-select-pass-2-countries-8039.

    I'm sorry, the Eurail Select Pass would not be valid for public transit in Italy or Switzerland. The objective of a rail pass is to cover the ticket costs for trains running between different cities within the country or countries included on the pass. Generally, rail passes do not cover buses or metro systems in European cities.

    When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. In Italy, most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains.

    Generally, for travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by searching a 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’).

    However, with regard to trains in Italy, passholder reservations are currently not able to be booked on our website. If you need to purchase reservations for a train in Italy you would instead have to call us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Our current hours are 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM CT Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CT on Saturdays. Generally, trains in Italy can only be booked once within 120 days of an intended departure date.

    We hope to have this fixed soon, but there there is no actual word on when. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    Zurich to Lucerne

    Trains from Zurich to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Select Pass is all you would need to board.

    Lucerne to Venice (fastest, most common option)

    The fastest, most common connections from Lucerne to Venice take just under 6.5 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in either Arth Goldau or Milan along the way.

    With regard to the option via Arth Goldau:

    Trains from Lucerne to Arth Goldau do not accept reservations, so the Eurail Select Pass is all you would need to board.

    The direct train from Arth Goldau to Venice is an EC (EuroCity) train that does require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    With regard to the option via Milan:

    The direct train from Lucerne to Milan is an EC (EuroCity) train that requires reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    From Milan to Venice, you would take a Frecciarossa high-speed train. Frecciarossa trains also require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    Lucerne to Venice (scenic option)

    For travel between Lucerne and Venice, there does happen to be a more scenic alternative, which would take you along the Gotthard scenic route between Lucerne and Lugano. The full Gotthard scenic route consists of a steamboat across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Flüelen and then a specific route from Flüelen to Lugano. From April 21st to October 14th of this year, a direct train called the Gotthard Panorama Express runs daily on this route from Flüelen to Lugano.

    The steamboat from Lucerne to Flüelen is now only able to be booked locally. Just be sure to mention that you have the Eurail Select Pass, because it entitles you to receive a 50% discount.

    If you prefer, you could skip the steamboat and just take a train direct from Lucerne to Flüelen. The train ride from Lucerne to Flüelen only takes about an hour, while the steamboat takes about 2.5 hours.

    The Gotthard Panorama Express (Flüelen-Lugano) require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass. Currently, the Gotthard Panorama Express train is not able to be booked on our website, so you would have to call us to purchase reservations for this train as well. Generally, this train can only be booked once within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    In Lugano, you would switch to a train to Milan. From Lugano to Milan, there are either EC (EuroCity) trains or regional trains. The EC trains require reservations, and the regional trains do not even accept reservations.

    From Milan to Venice, you would take a Frecciarossa high-speed train. Frecciarossa trains also require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    Venice to Florence

    From Venice to Florence, you would take a high-speed Freccciarossa or Frecciargento train. There is also a high-speed train called the Italo that runs this route, but Italo trains are privately operated and therefore do not accept rail passes. Freccciarossa and Frecciargento trains do require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.

    Florence to Rome

    From Florence to Rome, there are high-speed Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and Italo trains. Since Italo trains do not accept rail passes, you would once again just want to be sure to take one of the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains. Frecciarossa and Frecciargento require reservations as a supplement to the rail pass.
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  • Thank you Jeff for the detailed reply! This is very helpful :-).
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