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Eurail Flexi or Swiss Travel pass?

Les and I will be visiting Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in June.

Careful travel calculations show we can save ~$800 buying a Eurail Global 7-day Flexipass, vs. buying an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass in addition to a 5-day Eurail 2-country Saverpass. However, this hinges on one fact we're unsure of.

R Steves' Swiss travel book, 9th ed, pg 407 says, "With a Eurail pass, discounted (not free) trips [some lifts & boats] are still offered at the lower price any time within the two-month validity window (not just on a flexi-day)." The same page states that this not the case "with the flexi version of a Swiss Travel Pass."

When I messaged the Rail Europe North America Help Desk, for confirmation of this Eurail Flexipass perk, the reply was, "I would like to inform you that you can avail the benefits offered for the Eurail Global pass only during the travel days."

Hmmm. Which is it? Is R Steves in error and I should believe the Eurail responder directly? Or, was there an error in understanding on the part of the Eurail N.A. employee? Or, am I missing something?

I would appreciate any insight that fellow travelers can provide, before I commit to purchasing.

Posted by
15573 posts

I would believe the Eurail N.A. employee. But maybe Laura or someone at RS will chime in tomorrow sometime. The statement you cite from the RS guide book does not pass the smell test IMHO.

Posted by
7165 posts

How about just getting yourself a Swiss Half Fare Card and forget the Eurail Pass??
You can travel all over Bavaria in Germany for about 35 Euro all day long with the Bavarian pass which also works for your trip to Salzburg. Otherwise buy point to point tickets.

In your careful planning did you use RailEurope to calculate your train fares? If so that as a mistake. They’re just a reseller/ middleman who inflated the prices for unsuspecting tourists.

I highly doubt you really need a Eurail Pass.

Posted by
1653 posts

In addition to the comment above:

  • there are cheap fares on the Railjet trains between Austria and Switzerland, available if you buy in advance from OEBB (oebb.at, Austrian Federal Railways). For instance I'm seeing Innsbrück to Zürich for 19 euros at random dates in the first half of June. Sales are already open: you should look now!

  • Germany to any station in Switzerland and vice versa can cost as little as 19 euros if you buy in advance from Deutsche Bahn (German Railways, bahn.de). And again, sales are open (at least up to mid-June (4 months ahead)), so have a look now

  • Another vote for the aforementioned Bavaria pass, which you don't even need to book ahead.

These tickets aren't refundable but given the low fares, the risk is limited (and zero for Bavaria, which doesn't require booking). Also, OEBB do offer refundable tickets at a slightly higher price.

Suggested reading: www.seat61.com for all info about European train travel.