Rail Pass or Point 2 Point??

I think I should get a 5 day Pass with four countries (Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Germany) but wonder if point 2 point would be better. I know how much the pass would cost, but don't know how much reservation fees would cost. Combine that with the flexibility to take any train with the pass -vs- being pinned down with an advance purchase fare ticket, I am confused. Here is my plan... Day 1 – June 11th • Zurich airport to Zurich • Zurich to Luzern • Luzern to Interlaken Day 2 – June 13th • Interlaken to Milan (2-3 hour layover) • Milan to Monterosso via Genova Day 3 – June 15th • Monterosso to Pisa via La Spenzia (2-3 hour layover) • Pisa to Rome Day 4 – June 16/17 • Night train from Rome to Munich via Austria (2 hour layover) • Munich to Dachau to Munich ( 4 hours @ Dachau) • Munich to Rothenburg ob de tauber Day 5 – June 18th • Possible KD River cruise on Rhine
• Hatzenport to Trier Please chime in with your thoughts and suggestions.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

My thoughts are that you will see very little on this proposed itinerary except the inside of trains. I don't even know if your itinerary is physically possible. Rome to Munich to Dachau to Rothenburg in one day, then on to the Rhine AND Trier the next day? And not accounting for jet lag AND taking a night train 4 days later? This does not seem like an enjoyable trip.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

Zuerich airport - Interlaken Ost: Are you planning to stop in Luzern? If not, the fastest route is Zuerich Flughafen - Bern - Interlaken Ost. No seat reservations are possible. Interlaken Ost - Monterosso: No seat reservation for regional train from Interlaken Ost to Spiez. €10.00 reservation fee for EuroCity train from Spiez to Milano. €10.00 reservation fee if you take a EuroStar Italia train from Milano to Genova and change there to a regional train (no fee) to Monterosso. €3.00 reservation fee if you take a direct InterCity train from Milano to Monterosso. Monterosso - Roma with stopover in Pisa: No fee for any leg on a regional train. €3.00 for each leg on an InterCity train. €10.00 for each leg on a EuroStar Italia train. Roma - Muenchen on a direct CNL night train: Reservation fees of €27.50 for a bunk in a 6-person couchette, €37.50 for a bunk in a 4-person couchette, and €75.00 for a bed in a 2-person sleeper. No reservation needed for Muenchen - Dachau - Muenchen - Rothenburg ob der Tauber. A pass covers KD Line boats on Germany's Rhine & Mosel rivers. Hatzenport - Trier: No reservations are possible.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8756 posts

You don't need, and they are not generally available, reservations for train journeys within Switzerland. None of the routes you mention in Germany have mandatory reservations, reservations are purchasable in Germany for ICE and IC trains. I never get them. You haven't responded how you will get from RodT to the Rhein / Mosel. Regional trains in Italy neither offer nor require reservations. Italian IC trains require reservations - my memory is that pass-holder IC reservations are 3€ per leg. 2 trains with a connection = 2 legs = 2 reservations fees. Italian high speed trains require reservations at 10€ per leg. If you buy point to point Italian tickets the reservation fees are included in the ticket cost. Austrian (I still don't see a 2 hour layover in Austria) day trains don't require reservation. The runs into and out of Italy will likely be IC and they do require a reservation on the Italian section. You may use the CNL - CitiNightLine train overnight - I'm afraid that I don't know the CNL reservation policy. Use the DB website for times for all; also for prices within Germany and trains originating in Germany. Use the SBB website rail.ch for trains within Switzerland and crossing Swiss borders. Use the Trenitalia website for Italian train prices. Regional trains are not shown over a week out - use the same day next week. I'll let you do the grunt work and arithmetic. Happy planning

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Charles, Your Itinerary is a bit hard to follow in the way that's it's presented. It's also a very "busy" Itinerary, so may be difficult to accomplish, especially in what appears to an eight day time frame. My suggestion would be to reduce the number of destinations and provide a more relaxed pace. A few questions and comments..... > Are you firm on staying in Interlaken, or planning to visit sights in the Lauterbrunnen Valley? > Especially for such a short time frame, Pisa is not worth the effort. I'd suggest skipping that. > It appears that you're planning to use open-jaw flights, inbound Zurich and outbound Munich. Is that correct? Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

Also... I would not recommend single night stays in the Alps. Weather can be a crap shoot. With only one night, you risk not seeing anything other than fog and overcast skies.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

Impossible, cannot be done. We have seen a lot of poorly planned busy trip but this may take the prize. Lets get back to the beginning. What is the purpose of the trip? Rail pass do not always give you the option of taking any train. Many of the high speed trains that you would need to take require a premium fare commonly called a seat reservation. In Germany it is a mixed bag depending on the train class - IC, ICE, etc. I know I am being blunt but you really do need to rethink this trip.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8756 posts

I, like others, am confused. Your days don't seem to match up with your dates so I assume (correctly?) that there are one or two stopping days in there? Are you really intending to go all the way south to Rome and only spend a single day there? Where did you come up with Hatzenport, an unusual choice? How are you getting from RodT to the Rhine or Mosel? Could you be more specific about your train from Roma to Muenchen? I don't see a schedule that includes a 2 hour layover in Austria. Is this your first trip? If so, or even if not, with such a packed, tight, very difficult schedule I don't understand the time spend in CT.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Sorry for the confusion. This is my 10th trip to Europe so I know what I am getting into from an aggressive schedule standpoint. I am taking my son for his Senior trip so he wants to see as much as he can so this is what we came up with. I have already been to most of these sights, know my way around, and know what I am going to see and not see. Also, my brother, who lives in Germany is also providing some car transportation for us, which I did not put in my original post. What advice I am really looking for is should I get a 5 day pass or buy point to point? I have done lots and lots of research on the RS website and other various sites, as well as combing through previous posts in this section. I keep coming up with the cost of the pass ($950) being about the same or almost more than if I were to buy point to point, not even factoring in reservation fees, which I am also real fuzzy about. I have always gone with point to point so this would be my first rail pass so that is why I want to make sure I know what I am getting into. So if anyone could help me with the projected reservation fees and whether or not I should buy the pass or do point to point, that would be great. THANKS!!

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

Adding to my previous post. I haven't taken the time to do the math, but it's quite likely that booking point-to-point tickets well in advance to take advantage of discount fares (where offered) and paying the standard fare for regional trains will be cheaper than a railpass plus any required reservation fees.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Thanks so much. The last few posts have been very helpful to give me an idea about the reservation fees. To answer a couple of questions. 1. My brother who lives in Germany and has a car is meeting me in Rothenburg and dropping me off on the Rhine.
2. The 2 hour layover attached to my Night train in Munich was a quick walk around Munich before heading to Dachau and then Rothenburg. So, to clarify, I am not stopping in Austria...I only mentioned it so you would know why I was including Austria in my Select pass because the train was passing through the country. So it sounds like you guys are recommending me to get the Select Pass??

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

In my previous post I said that if you book in advance and get discount fares, point-to-point tickets are likely to cost less than a railpass. I certainly would not recommend you get a pass until you have figured out all the fares for point-to-point tickets on your routes and have compared them to the cost of a railpass plus any required reservations. If you need to know which national rail sites to use to get the lowest p2p fares, just ask.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Yes, please tell me which sites to use for point to point. I have used the DB site for the Germany routes. I found the TrenItalia for the Italy ones, but could use some help on the Switzerland and Switzerland to Italy routes. Thanks!!

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

For Zuerich - Interlaken Ost use the Swiss Rail site. To see the complete timetables for Interlaken Ost to Monterosso use either the Swiss rail site or the German Rail site. To get fares for the legs use the Swiss Rail site for Interlaken Ost - Spiez and the Trenitalia site for Spiez - Milano and Milano - Monterosso. Example: The cheapest fare for Spiez - Milano is a Smart fare of €19.00. To see fares on the Trenitalia site for legs that include regional trains enter a date no more than seven days beyond the current date. My head wasn't on straight in my first post when I gave you reservation fees for the night train. I have corrected what I wrote in that post. There is a direct CNL night train from Roma to Muenchen. Use the German Rail site for fares. If you wait until after 09:00 to go from Muenchen to Dachau, one Bayern-Ticket (€22.00 for the first person and €4.00 for each additional person up to a total of five) will cover your rides to Dachau, back to Muenchen, and on to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You can take as many rides as you wish all day anywhere in Bavaria, but you are limited to regional trains. The ticket also is good on the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, and buses in Muenchen after 09:00. Buy the ticket at the station in Muenchen.