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Rail Pass

I purchased a two country Eurail Pass for Germany and Austria. I am traveling from Konstanz to Innsbruck on one leg of my trip. When you check the train schedules, the best way to get to Innsbruck goes through Zurich. Does anyone know for sure that you can take a route through a third country or not? My thinking is that you have to stay within your two countries. I have e-mailed the Eurail website and they have not mailed me back and probably won't. The other route goes through Munich and takes longer, but will definitely be within the pass guidelines. My curiosity is more what fuels this question than anything, since I have searched quite a bit on this matter. I will probably go through Munich unless I can find a definite answer.
Thanks - Bill

Posted by
16883 posts

Hi, Bill. If you choose to cross a part of Switzerland, then you must buy an extra ticket for that segment before boarding the train. You can buy it in Konstanz train station, for instance. Many DB-recommended departures with more connections also travel through Switzerland, but you can create your own route through Munich, as noted.

Posted by
8889 posts

William,

No, you can't use a pass to take a short-cut through another country. Swiss Railways aren't getting any money from your pass, so it isn't valid. A slight caveat is that it is the boundary between the three railway companies (DB/ÖBB and SBB) which matters. This is not always in the same place as the national border. For example in Konstanz the boundary is Konstanz station.

But, you do not need to detour all the way to Munich. Just work your way around the northern edge of the Bodensee (Lake Konstanz): Konstanz to Friedrichshafen to Lindau (or take a ferry across the lake direct to Lindau), Lindau to Bregenz then direct train from Bregenz to Innsbruck.

If you do decide to travel via Zürich, you need to find out the first place the train stops at in Austria, probably Feldkirch. Then you need to buy a ticket from the SBB ticket office from Konstanz via Zürich to Feldkirch.

Posted by
16941 posts

You can take the catamaran ferry from Konstanz to Friedichshafen on the north side of the lake, then regional bahn to Lindau, then S-bahn to Bregenz, then Railjet to Innsbruck. I have no idea if the catamaran is included in the Eurail pass. That takes the same time as going through Zurich, just more changes, but avoids going through Switzerland.

Posted by
140 posts

Thanks all! I will consider the options given and you confirmed my suspicions.
Bill

Posted by
12979 posts

Hi,

In your case I would choose the longer route that fits in with your Pass. The Austria-Germany 10 day Pass is the one I use too. There are times when a shorter route requires you to buy a separate ticket to cover the non-covered areas of the Pass, but it's also possible to avoid that extra purchase by tailoring your train routes where the Pass can be applied as long as you are flexible. I avoid going through a third country on a two country Pass, ie, Austria and Germany, which is one main reason for getting a 2 country Pass in the first place.

Posted by
140 posts

FYI -
I just got a response back from the Eurail website and they just confirmed all of the advice that I received from this site. If you enter another country that is not named on your pass you have to purchase a ticket for that part of the trip.
Thanks again to those who responded. It is nice to have a place to go for info.
Bill

Posted by
18376 posts

Eurail isn't always right. A few years ago, I asked them if a Eurail pass including Austria covered travel on an Austrian train (then an OeEC, now a RailJet) from Salzburg to Innsbruck. These trains go from Salzburg to Innsbruck through Germany (Rosenheim) to Kufstein, Austria, then up the Inn river via Wörgl and Jenbach to Innsbruck, without stopping at any station in Germany. Eurail assured me that a railpass including Germany was required. I later checked with an Austrian Rail worker at a ticket counter in Salzburg, and he assured my that a rail pass with Germany was not required to use those trains.

As for Konstanz to Innsbruck, I think the route along the north side of Bodensee through Germany to Lindau, then to Bregenz, Austria, although possibly longer, would be a more interesting route than across Switzerland.