Swiss Rail Pass vs 2 country Eurail Select Pass (Switzerland/Italy) for Zurich Airport to Lucerne, Mount Pilatus, Lucerne to Zermatt, Zermatt to Bellagio via the Domodossola/Locarno scenic route, Bellagio to Vernazza, & Vernazza to Pisa

We will arrive in Switzerland 10/12. We travel from ZRH airport directly to Lucerne for 2 days. On 10/14 we travel to Zermatt for 2 days. Then onto Bellagio, IT (to Como?) via Domodossola/Lugarno scenic route (?) for 3 days (to 10/16) . On 10/16 we go to Vernazza, IT. On 10/19, we go to Pisa just for the day before flying out. I believe the Swiss Pass is $269 PP(538 for 2) for 4 days, which covers the most expensive parts of our trip. We would pay for ZRH to Lucerne separately, as well as the Lugarno/Como/Vernazza/Pisa section which I believe is about $130 PP ($260) extra. The 2 country Eurail pass is $530 for 2. Our question is...are the savings on the Swiss Pass for the boat ride in Lucerne, the trip from Kriens to Pilatus ($72 PP) and the cable ride in Zermatt to Matterhorn ($100?) all covered in the Swiss pass? IF so, that would more than override the cost of the extra trains outside the 4 days. Does anyone know? Is there anything here we are assuming that isn't true?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 18, 2017 16:44
    Hi Cheryl,

    There is a lot that goes into the answers to your question, and we are not able to provide or verify prices over this forum. For the kind of help you need, you would be best served 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.

    In the meantime:

    The Swiss Travel Pass is now valid on the full excursion between Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. The excursion up Pilatus starts with a steamer across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Once you get to Alpnachstad, the ascent continues by cog railway up to Mt Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm). After reaching Mt 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. This would use a day on the rail pass.

    In Zermatt, one of the main draws is the observation deck at Gornergrat, where you'll have spectacular views of the Matterhorn. To reach Gornergrat, you would take the 'Gornergratbahn' cogwheel train. The Swiss Travel Pass enables travelers to receive a 50% discount on the Gornergratbahn. To receive the 50% discount, you would purchase the 'Zermatt to Gornergrat for Swiss Travel Pass Holder' option of the 'Gornergrat Mountain Peak' ticket here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/gornergrat/index.html.

    The Swiss Travel Pass also enables travelers to receive a 50% discount on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise excursion (Zermatt-Furi-Trockener Steg-Klein Matterhorn). Tickets for the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise excursion (Zermatt-Furi-Trockener Steg-Klein Matterhorn) are only able to be purchased locally when you're in Zermatt. Just be sure to mention that you have the Swiss Travel Pass.

    Bellagio does not have a rail station. You would take the train into the city of Como, from where you can connect to Bellagio by ferry. Tickets for a ferry between Como and Bellagio would just be purchased locally upon arrival.

    If you'd like to take the scenic Centovalli Express on your way from Zermatt to Como, the connection would take about 6 hours and involve 4 train changes en route; once in Brig, once in Domodossola, once in Locarno, and then once in Bellinzona. The segment from Domodossola to Locarno is on the Centovalli Express. Even though the train from Brig to Domodossola and the Centovalli Express pass through Italy, the Swiss Travel Pass is valid.

    From Lucerne to Zermatt, the fastest connections take about 3 hours and 45 minutes in duration and involve 2 train changes en route; once in Olten and then once in Visp.

    Connections from Como to Vernazza range from 4 to 5.5 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Milan and then once in either Monterosso (the Cinque Terre village just north of Vernazza) or La Spezia (the city just south of the Cinque Terre).
    • Jeff (Official Rep) August 18, 2017 16:49
      For a stay in Lucerne, the Swiss Travel Pass also covers the Mount Rigi excursion via 2 different routes.

      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’.

      You would also want to keep in mind that the Swiss Travel Pass provides for discounts on the popular Mount Titlis and Mount Stanserhorn excursions from Lucerne.

      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 360 degree 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 an 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.
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  • I’m more confident now, though overwhelmed with options
    Wow. This is amazing information. I am not sure why raileurope has a 1* rating. If everyone there knows as much as you do, they should rank 5*. Thank you. I will call and order what I can through you. Is that possible, Jeff? Do you have an extension number?
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    • I haven't convinced my BF to take the scenic route from Zermatt to Como. He's a simple guy and wants the fewest transfers and hassles. Is there any part of this route where we really should have a seat reservation? I haven't seen anything that allows you to use your pass for the ticket and JUST make a seat reservation (paid for separately). I tried to sign into Swiss Rail Pass site and they wouldn't take the Rail Europe ticket#. Theirs had the same amount of digits but only numbers. Ours ends in a letter. Why is that and will I have a problem down the road? I went to Raileurope.com and tried to find a schedule for Zermatt to Como on 10.16.17. I got: ZERMATT TO COMO
      At this time, our online system can't find tickets or schedules for this trip.
      Click Here for more information. It said to call the office. Is there a problem that date, is it too soon or is it that this just has to be done by phone? I wanted to see the options before I called anyone.
    • Hi Cheryl,

      I'm sorry, I would not have any information about other websites.

      The fastest connections from Zermatt to Como take 4.5 or 5.5 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Brig and then once in Milan.

      To view schedules for a trip from Zermatt to Como, you would refer to our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Zermatt to Brig, another search for connecting trains from Brig to Milan, and then another search for connecting trains from Milan to Como.

      If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, it would cover you fully on a train from Zermatt to Brig. These trains do not accept reservations, so the pass is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, you can still just view schedules from Zermatt to Brig by doing a search on our homepage.

      Since trains from Brig to Milan enter into Italy, they would not be fully covered by a Swiss Travel Pass. However, a Swiss Travel Pass does enable passengers to receive a discounted rate called the 'Passholder 3' on one of these trains. To receive the 'Passholder 3' rate for a direct train from Brig to Milan, you would have to indicate that you'll be traveling with the 'Swiss Travel Pass' when you enter/search the route on our homepage.

      You would then need to purchase regular tickets for a train from Milan to Como, since these trains are not covered by a Swiss Travel Pass. You would purchase these tickets by selecting an option when you pull up the results of your schedule search for this segment of the route.

      When you choose your train from Milan to Como, be sure to choose an option that departs out of the Milan Centrale station, because that is where your train from Brig would arrive into.
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