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What pass would work for travel between Italy and Switzerland?

Hello, We (two adults) are traveling to Italy and Switzerland in June and are hoping to find the best way to get around between the two countries. Currently the plan is to stay in Como for the first weekend and then travel to Interlaken and hike for several days, ending in Zurich to fly home. Would the Swiss pass cover travel from Como to Interlaken? And would it cover travel from Interlaken to the nearby mountain towns? Is there a better pass option for us to consider? The full length of the trip will be 10 days, 3.5 in Italy, 6.5 in Switzerland. Thank you!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 28, 2012 19:18
    Hello,

    A dual country pass for Switzerland and Italy has not yet been created. Some passengers doing extensive traveling within these countries end up purchasing a 3 country Eurail Select Pass to include Switzerland, Italy and one other bordering country.

    If you just intend to go from Como to Interlaken and then to Zurich, then I would recommend that you just purchase point-to-point tickets for each trip, as opposed to a rail pass. You can check ticket costs and schedules under 'Check Fares and Schedules' from the homepage of our website.

    Otherwise, especially if you intend on doing any other traveling while you're in Switzerland, you can purchase the Swiss Pass in addition to a point-to-point ticket to cover you for your travel from Como to the border before you cross over into Switzerland.

    There are connections from Como to Interlaken that involve 2 train changes en route; once in either Lugano or Bellinzona and then once in Lucerne. In this case, you would just purchase a ticket locally at the station to cover you from Como to Lugano or Bellinzona. The Swiss Pass would then cover you for the rest of your connection to Interlaken. By doing the connection from Como to Interlaken via Lucerne, you would travel along the Golden Pass scenic route from Lucerne to Interlaken.

    Since we are not able to sell tickets for the trains from Como to Lugano or Bellinzona, you can just check the schedules for these trains by entering the city-pairs under 'Check Fares and Schedules' on our homepage and clicking the option to 'Check Schedules'. Trains from Lugano or Bellinzona to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so for planning purposes, you would follow this same procedure to check schedules for this segment of the trip.

    The Golden Pass scenic trains from Lucerne to Interlaken require reservations in addition to the rail pass. If you opt to purchase the Swiss Pass, you would purchase the reservations from Lucerne to Interlaken by clicking on 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' from the homepage of our website.

    If you opt to go with point-to-point tickets for your travels instead of the rail pass, then the reservation would automatically be included with any ticket purchase for a train from Lucerne to Interlaken when you do your search under 'Check Fares and Schedules'.

    The Golden Pass scenic train can be booked at any point within 90 days of an intended date of departure, depending on availability. Due to very high demand, these trains can sell out quickly, so it is recommended that you purchase tickets for this train (or, if you opt to purchase the rail pass, just reservations) as soon as possible.

    A connection from Interlaken to Zurich involves one train change en route in either Bern or Thun. These trains do not accept reservations. Therefore, if you purchase the Swiss Pass, that is all you would need to board.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 28, 2012 19:30
    Just to follow up, if it helps you decide, the Swiss Pass is a unique rail pass in that it also allows for many other bonuses, including entry to over 400 museums. You can view the bonuses by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket.... The Swiss Pass would also allow you to do any side trips you might wish to take.

    While you're in Interlaken, you might want to purchase the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Pass. This would cover you for travel via a cogwheel railway up to Kleine Scheidegg and then the famous Jungfrau railway through the Eiger Tunnel up to the peak of Jungfraujoch. You can purchase this pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/....

    If you purchase the Swiss Pass, you would purchase the 'Grindelwald or Wengen-Jungfraujoch/Swiss Pass' option of this pass. If you purchase regular point-to-point tickets for all of your travel, then you would purchase the 'Interlaken-Jungfraujoch/Full Fare' option of this pass.
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  • Thank you so much for your incredibly helpful and detailed response!
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  • Hi Jeff,

    I have a related question regarding travel from Italy to Interlaken using a Global Eurail pass. We would like to prepare for an upcoming leg or travel in June 2015 from Levanto (near Cinque Terre) to Interlaken Ost. The Italy/Switzerland coordination is extremely confusing, even trying to determine the appropriate route.

    Would you be able to suggest the most direct route we might consider? My guess is that we would need to coordinate/reserve each step along the way. As I'm not sure whether it will require us to go through Genoa or Milan or Lucerne or any other route, I'm not sure whether it will overlap trains like the Golden Pass that I know require special reservations. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Patrice Bergman
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 07, 2015 19:42
      Thank you for your question, Patrice.

      The most feasible rail connections from Levanto to Interlaken take about 6.5 to 7 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Milan and then once in Spiez.

      Of the trains comprising of this connection, only the segments from Levanto to Milan and Milan to Spiez would require reservations in addition to the rail pass. There is no need to purchase reservations for the short trains from Spiez to Interlaken, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

      For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' when you're prompted to enter the type of pass you'll have. For a route such as this, you would do a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Levanto to Milan ('InterCity' trains) and then another search for connecting trains from Milan to Spiez ('EuroCity' trains).

      Generally, these trains can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure. However, this is the time of year when the annual 'Summer Schedule Changes' occur with some of the rail networks in Europe (including the national rail network of Italy). As a result of the Summer Schedule Changes, many trains operating after June 13th have not yet been updated into the international booking system, including the trains from Levanto to Milan. In the meantime, you can just enter a date some time in April or May to get an idea of the reservation costs and view schedules when searching this segment route on our site.

      We expect the schedules for the Levanto-Milan trians operating after June 13th to be released some time by mid-May at the latest (but hopefully before then), at which point you would be able to purchase the reservations. To see when the Levanto-Milan reservations will be able to be booked, I would just recommend checking it on our website periodically.

      For planning purposes, you can just check schedules for the un-reserved segment from Spiez to Interlaken by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and entering the cities, this time not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass when you're prompted.
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  • Jeff,
    This is an enormous help and I especially appreciate the hint about the summer schedule changes. Will check out your site as well as circle back in May to purchase reservations. Grazie!
    P
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