How do I book travel from Zurich to Stresa, Italy, with a Eurail Italy Pass?

Travelling from Zurich to Stresa and planning to buy Eurail Italy pass for travel in Italy. How can I validate the Eurail Italy pass? It states that we should validate before boarding the train. Can we get it validated in Zurich? If I purchase tickets through Rail Europe for this journey and indicate that we have Eurail Italy pass, one of the options is Zurich to Bern and then Bern to Stresa. It doesn't indicate any price next to the first part of the journey, Zurich to Bern. We want to make sure that we are purchasing the tickets / reservations for the entire trip and to avoid any fines thereafter. Can anyone clarify please? Thanks so much.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 04, 2015 14:48
    Thank you for your question.

    The shortest rail connections from Zurich to Stresa would take about 3 to 4 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in either Brig or Bern en route.

    With a Eurail Italy Pass, you would be eligible to receive a discounted rate called a 'Passholder 2' rate for a ticket on a train from Brig or Bern to Stresa. This rate enables passengers to receive a discount on certain trains, even if their pass doesn't cover one of the countries being traveled through.

    In contrast, a Eurail Italy Pass would not cover a train from Zurich to Brig or Bern.

    When purchasing tickets for a connection from Zurich to Stresa for travel with a Eurail Italy Pass, you wouldn't do one search for the full connection from Zurich to Stresa. Instead, you would do a separate search for each segment.

    Since the Eurail Italy Pass doesn't cover trains from Zurich to Brig or Zurich to Bern, you would purchase regular tickets by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the route.

    To ensure that you're being quoted the 'Passholder 2' rate for a train from Brig to Stresa or Bern to Stresa, you would take the following steps:

    1.) Click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' (instead of 'Find Fares & Schedules') on our homepage, enter the route, and indicate the type of pass you'll be traveling with when you're prompted (i.e. 'Eurail Italy Pass').

    2.) Locate one of the direct 'EC' (EuroCity) trains from Brig to Stresa or Bern to Stresa and then click the 'View' button for the fare listed under your preferred class of service (for this route, that would be 'Comfort' for 1st class and 'Economy' for 2nd class).

    3.) When you click 'View', a box will expand out underneath with the 'Ticket Flexibility' options. The 'Passholder 2' rate would generally be found under the 'Semi Flexible' option under 'Ticket Flexibility'. To verify, you would click 'Read More' for the 'Semi Flexible' option and the fare should be labeled as 'Trenitalia International Trains Passholder 2'.

    4.) Be sure the Passholder 2 option is checked and click 'Select' to proceed and add it to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart).

    Generally, trains that comprise of a connection from Zurich to Stresa can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    With regard to your connection, you would just get your pass validated by the conductor while on board the train from Brig or Bern to Stresa.
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  • Hi

    Thank you for the details. After checking the prices, it seems to be better to get a Eurail select pass that covers Switzerland also along with Italy, though we just would be visiting these 2 countries only.

    A few questions on Eurail Select pass.

    We are a group of 8 traveling together.

    How likely it is for us to get seats together, for the following trips, with no reservations? I am aware that on some of the below there are no reservations. We will have First class pass.

    All are in July.

    1. Zurich airport - Lucern round trip, on Wednesday.
    2. Zurich airport - Bern 6:00 AM on Thursday
    3. Stresa - Milan around 2:00-4:00 PM on Thursday
    4. Florence - Pisa around 10:00 AM on Saturday
    5. Pisa - La Spezia around 5 :00 PM on Saturday

    We are purchasing reservations for all other trips.

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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 12, 2015 16:43

    Yes, the Eurail Select Pass, even though it is for 4 countries, can still be a feasible option for itineraries that include just Italy and Switzerland.

    You're correct that reservations would either not be required or not necessary on the routes you listed. With that being the case, you would just take any unoccupied seats when you board. I'm sorry, as there is no way to tell if you will be able find 8 seats together on each of these trips. I would suspect that you should be able to get the majority of you together or at least close to another, and you would still not have any difficulty boarding in general. In any case, these are all very short trips, each on being only about an hour/hour-and-a-half ride.
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