Trips to Lucerne & Interlaken. Should I reserve a train or go unreserved from Milan to Lucerne?

I am flying into Milan arriving at 1:50pm on Sunday, March 12. I need to get to Milano Central and catch a train to Lucerne. A few of the 4pm trains state I do not need a reservation. Is it best to NOT have a reservation in case my flight is late etc?Would I have a hard time getting 5 seats on a Sunday train?What happens if I have a reservation but we have flight delays? If I have the 2 country 6 day ticket, could I just take the next train? Thanks for any info.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 30, 2017 19:32
    Hi Tangee,

    Most connections from Milan to Lucerne would involve changing trains once in Arth Goldau along the way. The trains from Milan to Arth Goldau require reservations in addition to a rail pass. Trains from Arth Goldau to Lucerne don't even accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase 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. a 'Eurail Two Country Select Pass'). For a trip from Milan to Lucerne, you would only book reservations for the first segment, so you would do your search from 'Milan' to 'Arth Goldau'. For planning purposes, you can do a separate search to view schedules for connecting trains from Arth Goldau to Lucerne.

    If you were to miss your Milan-Arth Goldau train, then you would lose the reservation and need to purchase a new one for a later train. You would access a reservation's rules and guidelines by clicking the 'View' button under the cost when you pull up the results of your search. After you click 'View', a box will expand out underneath where the exchange and refund policies for that fare will be stated.

    It is recommended that reservations be purchased in advance, prior to departing for Europe.

    You can then use your pass to hop on any train from Arth Goldau to Lucerne, since these trains don't even take reservations.

    There is a direct train from Milan to Lucerne earlier in the day. Just like trains from Milan to Arth Goldau, this train would also require reservations in addition to a rail pass.
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    • Jeff I'm trying to book tickets from Milan to Interlaken and every time I go into reservations I get the pop up screen. I can not back out if do anything. It will not allow me to check pricing
    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 03, 2017 19:08
      Tangee, that is not our website. To book your reservations, you would instead refer to the website I provided above (www.raileurope.com) and follow the instructions I provided.

      If you're going to be traveling with the Swiss Travel Pass, you would purchase reservations for a train from Milan to Brig or Milan to Spiez by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. the 'Swiss Travel Pass'). The Swiss Travel Pass would qualify you to receive a rate called the 'Passholder 3' on a train from Milan to Brig or Milan to Spiez.

      You can ensure it is a 'Passholder 3' reservation fee you're being quoted by clicking the 'View' button for the costs that display for a particular train/departure. After you click 'View', a box will expand out underneath. In this box, you would refer to the option(s) listed under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' and click 'Read More'. When you click 'Read More', the name of the fare should display as something like 'Trenitalia Pass 3' for a direct train from Milan to Brig or Milan to Spiez.

      Generally, these trains can be booked once within 120 days of an intended date of departure.

      Reservations are not even accepted on the connecting trains from Brig to Spiez and Spiez to Interlaken. Therefore, the Swiss Travel Pass is all you would need to board these trains. For planning purposes, you can do a separate searches on our website to view schedules for these non-reservable segments.
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  • Thank you for your help. I decided and have purchased the direct train from Luzern back to Milan. So I will now need to get to Interlaken from Milan on Sunday March 12. We land at Linate at 2:00 pm so will prob need a train around 5pm. I am not seeing many options. Can you help me with train from Milan to Interlaken please.
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 02, 2017 19:39
      The train you'd be taking from Interlaken to Lucerne is a scenic train called the GoldenPass. This segment of the GoldenPass route has train cars with panoramic windows to allow for the best scenery-gazing.

      Reservations are not necessary on the GoldenPass from Interlaken to Lucerne, so the Swiss Travel Pass is all you would need to board. You can check schedules by entering the route on our homepage, www.raileurope.com.

      Taking a boat on Lake Lucerne is a great idea. Check out pictures and you'll see how beautiful it is and be convinced. The Swiss Travel Pass is valid on these boats with the use of a travel day. The company operating the boats on Lake Lucerne is SGV.

      Mount Pilatus

      For a stay in Lucerne, I'd also want to advise you that the Swiss Travel Pass is now valid on the full excursion to nearby Mount Pilatus. The excursion up Mount Pilatus actually starts with a steamer across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Once you get to Alpnachstad, the ascent continues by cog railway up to Mount Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm). After reaching Mount 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 that is also covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.

      Mount Rigi

      The Swiss Travel Pass also covers the 2 different routes between Lucerne and nearby Mount Rigi.

      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.

      Using your Swiss Travel Pass on any of this would require the use of a travel day.

      There are several other cable cars nearby on which the Swiss Travel Pass should enable you to receive discounts of 25-50%. These other cable cars include: Weggis - Rigi Kaltbad, Kräbel - Rigi Scheidegg, Obergschwend - Rigi Burggeist, Vitznau - Hinterbergen, Vitznau - Wissifluh, Küssnacht - Seebodenalp, and Brunnen - Urmiberg.

      Mount Titlis

      Another option for you in Lucerne is the trek to another nearby mountain, Mount Titlis. 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 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 '1 Day Round-Trip Journey From Engelberg - For Use Only With Swiss Travel Pass' option of the pass for 'Mount Titlis' here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/mount-titlis/index.html. This pass also includes a ride on the 'Ice Flyer' and entrance to the 'Glacier Grotto'.

      Off the Trübsee stop, there are hiking and flower trails, as well as horse-drawn carriages around the lake. Here there are also additional cable cars ('Trübsee-Jochpass' and 'Trübsee-Engstlenalp' cable cars). At the foot of Mount Titlis in Engelberg, there is also the 'Engelberg-Gerschnialp Funicular Railway' to Gerschnialp and the 'Fürenalpbahn' cable car to Fürenalp. You would pay to board these additional cable cars locally when you're there. Just be sure to mention that you have the Swiss Travel Pass, because you may be able to receive discounts of about 50%.

      Mount Stanserhorn

      From April 8th to November 12th of this year, you would also have the option of making the ascent to nearby Mount Stanserhorn. From Lucerne, you would take a short train to the nearby village of Stans. In Stans, you would board a 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.

      For the trip from Lucerne to Stanserhorn, the Swiss Travel Pass would only be valid on the short train between Lucerne and Stans. The Swiss Travel Pass does, however, enable you to receive a discount of about 50% on the funicular from Stans to Kälti and the CabriO cable car from Kälti to Stanserhorn. To receive this discount, you would purchase the ‘1 Day Round-Trip Journey From Stans - For Use Only With Swiss Travel Pass’ option of the pass for 'Mount Stanserhorn' here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/mount-stanserhorn/index.html.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 02, 2017 19:47
      One last recommendation for Interlaken: the short excursion to Schynige Platte via the nostalgic ‘Schynige Platte Railway’ (a vintage cogwheel train). From Schynige Platte, you’ll have more amazing views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, as well as Niesen, Stockhorn and Jura. Right near the station is also Switzerland’s only Alpine Botanical Garden and the Schynige Platte Panorama Restaurant.

      The ‘Schynige Platte Railway’ runs from the nearby village of Wilderswil to the Schynige Platte station. Wilderswil is only a 4-minute train ride from Interlaken on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’. The Swiss Travel Pass is actually valid to cover this full journey, including both the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’ from Interlaken to Wilderswil and the ‘Schynige Platte Railway’ from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte.

      Please note, however, the ‘Schynige Platte Railway’ only runs from May 27th to October 22nd for 2017.
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  • Jeff you have been a lifesaver! I appreciate your help so much. We will arrive into Milan Linate at 2 PM and need to take the bus you mentioned to Milan Central. Ideally we would love to hop on the first available train option into Interlake in however I know we must have a reserved seat. I am concerned with delayed flights which are so typical and if I book a seat that we will miss it and need to buy it twice. In your opinion, would it be advisable to just just buy our tickets at the train station when we arrive? We have a group of five total people. Do you feel that is too risky to get five seats? Where do you think that would be a good option
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