Information about a trip from London to Paris, Paris to Zurich, Zurich to Zermatt, Zermatt to Zurich and Zurich to Berlin

Hi, I intend to travel in May from London to Paris, Paris to Zurich, Zurich to Zermatt, Zermatt to Zurich and Zurich to Berlin. Which is the best option? I think it would be cheapier to buy a train ticket from London to Paris and the rest would be covered by a Eurail Pass with 3 countries (France, Switzerland and Germany). Is the trip between Zurich and Zermatt also covered by this pass or must I buy another train ticket? And must I book a reservation for all of these trips? How many days before?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) December 26, 2016 17:21
    Hi Eidi,

    The 3 country option of the Eurail Select Pass (to include France, Switzerland, and Germany) would be the best option for your itinerary. In fact, starting in 2017, any Eurail Pass that includes France will cover the Eurostar train from London to Paris.

    Also starting in 2017, Eurail Passes that include Switzerland will cover trains between Visp and Zermatt (which previously were only covered by the single country Swiss Travel Pass or a separate ticket). A connection from Zurich to Zermatt does involve changing trains once in Visp en route.

    For the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-select-pass/index.html.

    If you book the pass by December 31st, you can receive 20% off by purchasing the pass from here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-select-pass-off-peak/index.html.

    Rail passes would just have to validated for use within 11 months from the date they are purchased.

    In addition to the pass, some of your trains will require reservations. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase any reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass').

    London to Paris

    The trains from London to Paris (Eurostar trains) do require reservations in addition to the rail pass. Generally, the Eurostar can be reserved 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure. The new passholder reservations for Eurostar trains are not yet available for bookings, so I would recommend checking back with us again after the new year.

    Paris to Zurich

    There are direct high-speed trains from Paris to Zurich (TGV Lyria trains). These trains also require reservations in addition to the rail pass. Generally, the TGV Lyria trains can only be reserved within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    Zurich to Zermatt & Zermatt to Zurich

    As alluded to above, connections from Zurich to Zermatt involve changing trains once in Visp en route. Trains from Visp to Zermatt follow along a segment of the famed Glacier Express scenic route. On trains from Zurich to Visp and Visp to Zermatt, reservations are not necessary, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. The same would apply for your trip from Zermatt back to Zurich. A connection between Zurich and Zermatt would take just over 3 hours each way.

    Zurich to Berlin

    A connection from Zurich to Berlin takes 8 to 8.5 hours in duration and involves changing trains once along the way. The train change can be in either Hannover, Frankfurt, or Basel. With trains comprising of these routes, it is generally the case that reservations would not be required, but they would be recommended. Only on trains from Zurich to Basel would I say that reservations would not be necessary at all.

    When checking schedules and purchasing reservations for a trip from Zurich to Berlin, you would just piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. For example, for the option via Basel, you would do one search for trains from Zurich to Basel and another search for connecting trains from Basel to Berlin. There would just be no need to actually purchase reservations for the segment from Zurich to Basel.

    Generally, reservations open up 120 days in advance of a departure for trains from Zurich to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Berlin, Zurich to Hannover, Hannover to Berlin, and Basel to Berlin.These are high-speed ICE (InterCity Express) trains.
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  • Great news, Jeff! As I will travel in May, I am going to buy the rail pass and purchase the reservations in March. Do you think that until March there will be available the new passholder reservations for Eurostar trains from London to Paris covered by Eurail Select Pass?
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  • Hi, Jeff. Happy new year! Have Rail Passes already included the Eurostar train from London to Paris and trains between Zurich and Zermatt?
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) January 06, 2017 22:11
      Hi Eidi,

      Trains that require reservations are not "free" with a rail pass; a rail pass just covers the ticket costs, and reservations are a supplemental cost to the pass.

      The trains from Visp to Zermatt are already covered by Eurail Select Passes that include Switzerland. That started right on January 1st. The trains from Zurich to Visp have always been covered by Eurail Select Passes that include Switzerland. There is no reservation needed for trains from Zurich to Visp and Visp to Zermatt, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. Therefore, you don't have anything to worry about for this part of your trip.

      In contrast, the Eurostar (London-Paris) does require reservations in addition to the rail pass, and these reservations are not yet able to be purchased on our website. However, I have verified that they are now available for purchase if you 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. Hopefully, these fares will become available for purchase via our website very soon, but feel free to call us in the meantime.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 05, 2018 16:33
      IMPORTANT UPDATE

      As of this month (April 2018):

      The following rail passes no longer qualify passengers to receive ‘passholder’ rates for reservations on the Eurostar:

      Any single country Eurail Pass, including:

      • Eurail France Pass
      • Eurail Benelux Pass

      Any 2 country option of Eurail Select Pass, including:

      • Eurail France-Italy Pass
      • Eurail France-Switzerland Pass
      • Eurail France-Germany Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-France Pass
      • Eurail France-Spain Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass

      BritRail Passes and the France-Italy combination of the 2 country Eurail Select Pass continue to not be valid on the Eurostar.

      Passengers traveling with any of these rail passes would need to purchase regular tickets to take the Eurostar.

      Passholder rates will continue to be offered (depending on availability) to any passenger traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, a 3 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux), or a 4 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux).
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  • Hi, Jeff. Unfortunately I am not able to purchase the reservations by calling you. If I purchase the rail pass today, will I receive a notification when the reservations for Eurostar are available to purchase via website?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) January 13, 2017 15:36
      The new passholder rates for the Eurostar are now able to be purchased through our website, so it would no longer be necessary to call us.

      For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase the reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. 'Eurail Three Country Select Pass').

      The Eurostar can sell out quickly, so it's recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as possible. Generally, the Eurostar can be reserved 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure.
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  • Jeff, I intend to add Netherlands so I will get the rail pass for 4 countries in this order: Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, France (plus England by eurostar). I've searched that visa is not mandatory if I stay in these countries less than 90 days, right? Is there any police barrier inside the train stations asking for foreigner documents? I intend to spend only a day in Netherlands and France, so I won't have any hotel ticket. I wonder if it is enough in these both cases to present only the passport, the train and the airplane ticket.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) January 24, 2017 15:58
      Hi Eidi,

      I'm sorry, as we would not be able to assist with questions regarding VISA requirements. If you have questions about VISA requirements, you would contact your consulate or embassy.

      You would only need to show your passport when taking the Eurostar between Paris and London. For your other trains, you would not have to show your passport. With that said, it is still advised that you have it with you.
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  • Hi Jeff. I firstly purchased the Eurail Pass for 4 countries and after purchased 5 reservations (Zurich to Berlin, Berlin to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Paris and Paris to London). I did not purchase any reservation from Zurich to Zermatt and vice-versa because you told me I don't need to. So must I only present the Eurail Pass with these reservations to board? My Rail Pass was chosen as 6 days in 2 months. It means that I am able to travel with this pass and reservation in 6 different days within 2 months from the day I started the trip?
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    • Jeff, these 6 days must be consecutive or not?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 14, 2017 15:24
      Hi Eidi,

      Above you had asked, "My Rail Pass was chosen as 6 days in 2 months. It means that I am able to travel with this pass and reservation in 6 different days within 2 months from the day I started the trip?" If your Eurail Select Pass is for '6 days in 2 months', then your pass is what is known as a 'flexipass'. A flexipass allows for a set number of travel days that must be completed within a longer time frame.

      With a Eurail Select Pass, you would have 2 months to complete the number of 'travel days' you choose. The 2 months would start to count down after you get your pass 'validated' at the station, which is something you would do before boarding your first train.

      'Travel days' on a flexipass refer to how many separate days you plan on using your rail pass. A ‘travel day’ is a 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. You may take as many trains as you wish during the 24 hour time frame and still only use one day of travel on a pass. For instance, if you were take a day train from 'city A' to 'city B' and then take a connecting train to 'city C' on the same day, then you would only use up one day of travel on your rail pass. In contrast, if you were to take that connecting train to 'city C' on the next day, that would constitute 2 days of rail travel on your pass.

      In your case, since you said you purchased the 6 day option, you would have 6 of these days to complete within the 2 month time frame. With the flexipass, you have the freedom to travel on consecutive days, but you don't have to.
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  • Hi, Jeff. Do the trains usually get late or arrive on time?
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  • What happens if a train gets late and because of it I won’t be able to get other train that I purchased a reservation? Will I be allowed to board a different train?
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    • In fact I have already purchased these reservations and these texts are from the vouchers I have received. I have purchased by www.raileurope.com.br, because I am from Brazil. Are there different rules from country to country?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 15, 2017 16:35
      The rules depend on the fare you purchased. If you have questions about the specific fare you purchased, you would contact the seller you booked through in Brazil.
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  • Hi, Jeff. Is it mandatory to come 30 minutes before the train's departure or can I arrive only 10 minutes before? Is there a line for check-in?
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    • Hi, Jeff. Can I do it 90 minutes in advance, as soon as I arrive? And must i stay there and wait for the next train after the check in? Because i will visit paris only for 1 hour and 30 minutes (connection from amsterdam to london) and i wanted to take a picture in front of Eiffel Tower and go back immediately to the station few minutes before the departure
    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 27, 2017 17:34
      I'm sorry, but there is no way you could make it to the Eiffel Tower if you only have 1.5 hours in Paris. In fact, I would not even recommend leaving the station unless it's somewhere right across the street or the immediate neighborhood. Just make sure you check-in to the Eurostar 45 minutes before your departure.

      You can do the check-in 90 minutes before departure, but you would have to stay in the waiting area from that point on.
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  • Hi, Jeff. With this Eurail Pass for 4 countries, including Germany and Switzerland, do I need to purchase reservations for trains among Germany and Switzerland cities? (ex: Berlin to Dresden; Zurich to Bern)
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    • Hi, do the trains between Berlin and Hamburg need a reservation with a rail pass? Or does it work like trains from Berlim to Dresden whose reservation is recommended but not required?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) March 16, 2017 15:51
      Trains from Berlin to Hamburg are high-speed ICE (InterCity Express) or IC (InterCity) trains on which reservations are recommended but not required.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 05, 2018 16:30
    IMPORTANT UPDATE

    As of this month (April 2018):

    The following rail passes no longer qualify passengers to receive ‘passholder’ rates for reservations on the Eurostar:

    Any single country Eurail Pass, including:

    • Eurail France Pass
    • Eurail Benelux Pass

    Any 2 country option of Eurail Select Pass, including:

    • Eurail France-Italy Pass
    • Eurail France-Switzerland Pass
    • Eurail France-Germany Pass
    • Eurail Benelux-France Pass
    • Eurail France-Spain Pass
    • Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass

    BritRail Passes and the France-Italy combination of the 2 country Eurail Select Pass continue to not be valid on the Eurostar.

    Passengers traveling with any of these rail passes would need to purchase regular tickets to take the Eurostar.

    Passholder rates will continue to be offered (depending on availability) to any passenger traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, a 3 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux), or a 4 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux).
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