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So many options ...... So little time!

I will be traveling on business in June and will be flying to Zurich. I would like to travel on the front and back end of my meeting hoping to see a bit of Germany, Italy and possibly squeeze in dinner in Paris. I will be in Zurich for 3 days and will have a travel companion that will likely see the sights in Switzerland while I am busy at work. I'm thinking I should purchase both a Swiss pass and and Eurorail pass. Is that overkill? What's the difference between 1st and 2nd class, and in your opinion, is it worth it? Would also welcome any thoughts on must see places in any of the countries I mentioned, or elsewhere for that matter! Many thanks in advance.

Rebecca
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 21, 2012 18:28
    Hi Rebecca,

    The pass you purchase would depend specifically on where you would like to visit while you're in Europe. Based on the information you provided regarding your plans, you can purchase a Swiss Pass in combination with a 3 country Eurail Select Pass to include Germany, France, and Italy. Purchasing the Swiss Pass separately, not as a part of the Eurail Select Pass, would be beneficial due to the special bonuses the Swiss Pass grants. The Swiss Pass is unique in that it covers the entire Swiss Travel Network, including buses and boats. Therefore, it doesn't just cover the trains, as other passes do. The Swiss Pass also allows for entry to over 400 museums and discounts on various hotels and guided tours.

    To view costs and information for the Swiss Pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....
    To view the bonuses offered, you would click the tab for 'Travel Bonuses' once you have accessed the page for this pass.

    To view the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here:
    http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    Your other option would be just to purchase a 4 country Eurail Select Pass to include Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy.

    Trains to and from Paris would require reservations, as would trains between Switzerland and Italy. To purchase the reservations, you would click on 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' from the homepage of our website. Reservable trains in this part of Europe can be booked at any point within 90 days of an intended date of departure. Trains to and from Paris can sell out quickly, so you would want to book your reservations as soon as possible.

    On trains in Europe, 1st class offers more comfortable and larger seats, more leg room, and is sometimes less crowded with fewer seats per train car. First class train cars also may tend to be quieter than their 2nd class counterparts. The Eurail Select Pass is only offered in 1st class to adult passengers 26 years of age and up. This pass is only offered in 2nd class to youth passengers 25 years old and younger. The Swiss Pass is offered in both 1st and 2nd class to all passengers, but I would recommend booking this pass in 1st class.

    For dinner in Paris, you might want to consider the Paris Dinner Cruise. The Paris Dinner Cruise goes down the Seine with beautiful views of the lights of Paris at night. For the Paris Dinner Cruise, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/....
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Why do you recommend the 1st class for the Swiss Pass? Also is there internet access for either class? If you have 2nd class tix, would you have access to bistro/dining car? A group of friends traveling to Zermatt from Zurich, coming from the US.

    Many thanks!
    Tessmania
    • Jeff (Official Rep) October 14, 2015 19:57
      Hi Tessmania.

      Generally, 1st class would be recommended for the reasons mentioned above. On trains in Europe, 1st class offers more comfortable and larger seats, more leg room, and is sometimes less crowded with fewer seats per train car. The train cars also tend to be quieter than the 2nd class train cars.

      Some trains in Switzerland might offer WiFi service; however, there is no way to tell in advance which trains those would be.

      Actual dining cars are no longer a fixture on most trains in Europe, but long-distance trains would still have food service of some kind; be it an attendant walking down the aisle with a snack cart or a bar car that sells small meals, snacks, and drinks. In most instances, dining cars have been replaced with snack and beverage carts. If a particular train offers food service, it would be available for both 1st and 2nd class passengers.
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