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3 countries (France, Switzerland and Italy) Europe Tour

Hi

I am seeking some advise here for the best train passes which can fit in our budget. I am travelling with my wife and one year old infant. My itinerary is as follow:

2 nights in Paris
2 nights in Geneva
4 nights in either Grindelwald/Wengen/Murren/Lauterbrunnen
3 nights in Zermatt
1 Night in Venice
3 nights in Florence
3 nights in Rome

Should I get a Eurail 3 country select pass? Or should I get a Swiss pass in Switzerland and get point to point tickets elsewhere? Switzerland seems bit expensive in terms of point to point ticket purchase. Which Swiss pass fits the best? They have Swiss pass, Swill half fare card etc. Does Swiss pass cover mountain railways and cable cars/lifts? Does it make sense to buy Joungfrauch 3days/4 days pass in addition to Swiss half fare card?
I am still doing my own research but he things are getting confusing the way their websites describes.
Any help will be appreciated!!!
Thanks

Posted by
2133 posts

You have 18 nights and 7 locations and a one year old baby. Your transfers through Switzerland and ok but that's a long long day getting to Venice for a one night stay - and Venice deserves more than one night. It seems like your main focus is Switzerland...if that's true, I might consider cutting down on some of your other stops. If it were me and a one year old baby with 18 nights, I think I'd shoot for 4 locations, maybe 5 max. If you've never been to Paris, it's definitely worth more than 2 nights...it's worth 4 easily.

Posted by
1056 posts

I agree with the previous comment, one night in Venice is not enough time. I wouldn't stay any longer than one night in Geneva. I also think I would only spend two nights in Zermatt. I would add that night to Paris.

Posted by
10052 posts

Something's gotta give... As advised above, you need to focus a bit. What time of year are you planning to travel? I will assume summer with the concentration on Switzerland's high mountain locations.

I think Zermatt and the Berner-Oberland are reasonable stays at 3 and 4 nights. I do not know Geneva, but it just seems like a big city to me. I would drop either Paris or Rome and probably Geneva, add time to the remaining locations, especially Venice.

Perhaps something like this:

  • Fly to Zurich, transfer immediately to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, 4 nights
  • Zermatt, 3 nights
  • Florence, 4 nights
  • Venice, 3 nights
  • Rome, 4 nights

You'll still have a long transfer day on the trip between Zermatt and Florence, then it is a piece of cake in Italy.

Conversely, drop Rome, add Paris 4 nights, and fly home out of Venice.

You would probably do well with a Swiss Half-Fare Card. If you plan to take a lot of lifts in the Berner-Oberland, then a Berner Oberland Regional Pass in addition. That is what we do because we hike and take lifts a lot, and with the Half-Fare Card you get an additional discount on the pass. I always do a spreadsheet listing the full prices of everything we plan to do, then looking at the impact of the various passes.

In Italy if you buy high-speed links in advance, the freccia trains, there is a significant discount.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks you for your instant replies. I am visiting these places in the first week of September. I agree that adding extra nights in Paris will make more sense. The only reason I am staying 2 nights in Geneva because I wanted to go to Chamonix, France. Chamonix is easy to travel (1 day trip) from Geneva. Also from Paris, Geneva is only 3 hrs by high speed train and it will be very convenient. From Geneva, Jungfrauch region is not that far (3hrs with transfers).
We will need to cut down 1 place in Italy in order to cover destinations in deep.
I am still not sure which train pass makes sense. Please advise.
Thank you.

Posted by
10052 posts

So you probably should drop Rome as the farthest place. Maybe 4 nights Paris and at least 2 in Venice.

As I mentioned above

You would probably do well with a Swiss Half-Fare Card. If you plan to take a lot of lifts in the Berner-Oberland, then a Berner Oberland Regional Pass in addition. That is what we do because we hike and take lifts a lot, and with the Half-Fare Card you get an additional discount on the pass. I always do a spreadsheet listing the full prices of everything we plan to do, then looking at the impact of the various passes.

You have to do your own analysis. List out all of your planned journeys including mountain lifts and note the full cost. Then look at what the fare is at half-price, adding in the CHF120 for each adult's Half-Fare Card. This fee is easy to amortize in a couple of trips. Add in the Berner Oberland Regional Pass if you plan to do a lot of lifts in that area, noting most of the lifts are at no extra charge with this pass. This site might help.