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Swiss Pass or multi country pass?

Hello: I am new to this forum and a neophyte European traveler (apologize in advance)
We are traveling late August thru early October 2018. Beginning in Switzerland for 9 days (Zurich, Lucern, Wengen, Zermatt, St. Moritz, Tirano/Lake Como). Then Italy for 3-4 weeks, Flying from Rome to Paris for the Ryder Cup (golf), Then Amsterdam for a few days before flying back to the US.
My question is should we do a Swiss Pass plus a 2-country pass for Italy & France? I am confused on if a 2 country pass would work for our situation as they seem to be for short durations. And if using a Swiss Pass how soon do we need to make reservations on the scenic trains (Golden, Glacier, & Bernina) ? I tried to look at tickets on the Bernina from St. Moritz to Tirano but it wouldn’t let me select a September date. Is it too soon to book?

Posted by
7915 posts

My question is should we do a Swiss Pass plus a 2-country pass for Italy & France?

No. Most will agree that rail travel in Italy is inexpensive enough that a pass is not necessary. Also you are flying Rome to Paris and going to the Ryder Cup so it does not look like you need a pass for France. I would only buy some form of the many Swiss Passes e.g. Half Fare or Travel Pass. You have to reasearch the benefits of each to see where you will save money based on where you plan to go.

Posted by
16894 posts

There's no deadline to make the Swiss scenic train reservations and it is too soon now for September. Booking normally opens 90 days in advance for these.

You probably will get good value from a Swiss Travel Pass that fits your number of travel days. If most of your travel fits within a window of 8 consecutive days for about $420, then that's a nicer price than 15 consecutive at about $510. The mid-priced option is 8 days of use within a month for $470.

If you are only in Italy for 3-4 weeks, there should be no worry about "short durations" of the pass itself. A pass for Italy could cover your 8 longest travel days within a one-month window (such as Sept 20 - Oct 19) or a 2-country pass covers up to 10 days within a 2-month window. However, I agree that one of these passes is not likely to save money nor add convenience for a typical tourist itinerary. See how cheap regular, 2nd-class tickets can be, even without advance purchase, on our Italy map.

Posted by
8889 posts

I agree with the others. Almost certainly best to get a Swiss Pass or Half Price card. Details on the Swiss Railways website here:
All Swiss rail routes have a least one train per hour, including those covered by the three "scenic" tourist trains. Normal hourly trains don't need a reservation.

For Italy, a lot cheaper to buy in advance from the Italian Railways website:
But not yet, it is too early for September.

You also say "Paris . . . ., Then Amsterdam for a few days before flying back to the US.". That trip is best done by train. The company running those trains is is "Thalys", their website is here:
Are you flying out of Amsterdam or returning to Paris?