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eurorail

My husband and I are planning a trip from Milan, IT to a few places in Switzerland, then France and then to Rome. Does the eurorail pass work in Switzerland? Also what are your thoughts feeling about the pros/cons of getting the pass?
thank in advance!
Amy

Posted by
15625 posts

Mostly cons on the Eurail Pass. But yes it works in Switzerland, depending where you go. You only get a 25% discount on trains in the Berner Oberland region. Italy and France you need to purchase seat reservations on mainline trains.

Posted by
7189 posts

Any new traveler should just avoid Eurail. Not to be mean, but it’s mostly new travelers who get sucked into the Eurail scheme. Just buy point to point tix and you’ll save yourself money and headaches.

Posted by
9452 posts

You will do better, overall, book the Milan to wherever-in-Switzerland in advance for the discount. We travel Milan to Lauterbrunnen every year and I buy the Milan to Spiez segment (Direct EC train at 7:20 am arrives 9:53 am) on SBB in advance. As an example, the price for such a ticket 2 months from now is CHF 79 but a non-refundable ticket is only CHF 34.

There are Swiss passes that make sense depending on your complete itinerary (how many train segments, high mountain lifts, and ferries you will take) but in-country travel does not usually require a reservation.

Posted by
31056 posts

Amy,

At first glance, your proposed Itinerary seems a bit convoluted and inefficient. Is there any possibility you could change the order and perhaps start in Rome or France?

Posted by
23890 posts

France is a big place. Do mean just over the border from Geneva in the Alps, or do you mean Alsace which is just over the border from Basel and southwest Germany? Or do you mean Paris or Normandy?

If you do wind up with an intercountry pass - unneeded and overly expensive and cumbersome in my opinion, but please answer Where? above, it isn't called a eurorail pass. You may have conflated two distinct words, Euro, the common currency in many European countries, and rail for train. The name of the pass which was named long before the EU - European Union and its currency the Euro, back when we just spoke about Europe. It was 3 words stuck together - Eur (Europe) rail (train) pass (pass) - they left out the double r and it has been called Eurailpass ever since.

In some circumstances - few but some - it may be worth the high cost, but probably the three countries where it is least helpful are Italy, Switzerland and France.

Italy because regular train fares are so darned cheap and so easy to get, and because to go on anything other than the very slowest trains you have to pay extra - around 10€ (10 Euros) for each person for every leg, if you have to change trains you pay twice - in addition to your pass. Some normal long distance fares are as low as 10 or 20€. So you save nothing and pay more. There is an entire network of high speed trains run by a competitor (Italo) who don't honour the pass at all.

Switzerland because the Eurailpass discount on the mountain cable cars and trains and gondolas is much less than various of the Swiss solutions so you are spending a lot of money to not get the best deal.

France because, like italy, you have to pay extra for faster trains, and often the TGV is the only reasonable answer, and quotas restrict the number of seats available to passholders on international trains. And other really cheap deals are available.