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train travel Amsterdam, Germany, France,Switzerland

Hello. We are a family of 4, children ages 17 and 22 traveling to Europe early July.

We will be traveling by train from Amsterdam to Sankt Goar, Germany to Strasbourg, France to Zermatt, Switzerland and then Murren ending up in Zurich. This is over the course of about 8 days which I know is ambitious, but this is what we've planned.

My question is what type of train tickets do we get? I have calculated train costs from one city to another as well as eurail passes (select and global or swiss). It is very confusing as to which is the better deal. Do we get a select pass for 3 countries and then a swiss pass for Switzerland or forget the swiss and do a 4 country or get a global pass for all or do point to point? We will be doing one and possibly 2 mountain excursions to Matterhorn and Schlitzhorn (spelling?) so I know the swiss pass would get us half price on those.

Our AAA agent willbe helping us, but I appreciate your expert advice. Thanks!

Posted by
16883 posts

Have you booked hotels already? If you could cut Strasbourg from the plan, it's possible to get from St Goar to Zermatt in 8h 15m with 3 connections. The stop in Strasbourg adds some time, at least 2 more train connections, and of course an extra rail travel day and hotel check-in.

Two separate passes is rarely the best value choice. Any multi-country Eurail pass would give you 25% off the mountain excursions (full coverage ends at Interlaken and Zermatt). No need for a Global pass, since the 3- and 4-country versions of the Select pass are both cheaper. Any of these "force" you into paying for 1st class. No separate seat reservations are required.

A 2-country version for just Germany-Switzerland would be cheaper still, especially in 2nd class, about $245 per adult and $10 less for each youth. With that pass, extra tickets in the Netherlands and France would be cheap, perhaps $25 for each, depending on route.

Or, if tight timing means that you're ready to book some tickets ahead, you could buy advance-discount tickets as far as the border at Basel and then start using a Swiss Travel Pass (does time in Switzerland fit with the version for 4 consecutive days?) or Swiss Half Fare Card.

You do need a spreadsheet to compare these prices but only you know your preference for convenience vs. price and the planned timing.