First Time User using Eurail Global Pass

I am with a group of 5 Adults from USA …. 4 seniors and adult 34 yrs that is disabled. Our global passes are first class.  We fly to Zurich Sep 30 travel by train to Colmar, FR for 3 nights … then to Interlaken, SW for 2 nights … then to Zermatt, SW for 2 nights … then finally travel to Tuscany/Florence for 9 nights. We all have the Flex Global Pass for 5 days in month.

The main question I have is … do we put all 5 global passes on one device or separate devices? 

Is there a website you recommend to book seat reservations or using the Eurail website and pay the additional 2 euro admin fee? Since we are a group of 5 is it difficult to get all 5 of us sitting close to each other?

Thank you



Best answer by Hektor 14 May 2024, 17:11

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14 replies

Both is posssible. 

There’s no need to book any seat reservations if you do hold a first class pass for this journeys. Just hop on the next train.

Main exception is the last trip to Italy. Here you do need a mandatory reservation. Book this one with Train tickets in Europe - Search & Book on Rail Europe (desktop version only). You need to add your railpass first (bottom left).

Userlevel 7
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Indeed Visp/Brig - Milan - Florence will require a reservation. If you're travelling on a weekday you'll have to leave Zermatt fairly early (6-6:30am) or in the afternoon (after 12:30pm) as there are works towards Milan.

All other trains don't have reservation. Simply hop on and sit wherever you want.

1st class will be empty. Second class tickets are already expensive enough in Switzerland haha.

Thank you for the answers.

My next question … since this my first time using a global train pass in Switzerland … when we get to the train station (I have read that you should get to the station 20 mins prior to leaving) is it mark clearly which is First Class vs Second Class seating?

Thank you


Userlevel 7
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There's no need to come 20 minutes early. The train won't be there! 5 min is enough but feel free to plan with 10 in bigger sections such as Bern, Zürich HB.

Usually there's a screen on the platform which will tell you which sector is 1st class yes.

Most train formations are also available on SBB app on the day. For example:


Hi … I have another question. When I leave Zermatt on the morning of Oct 7 …. I have two routes to take to Florence.

Quickest route --- Zermatt - Domodossola - Milano Centrale - Firenze S.M.N.


Longest route -- Zermatt - Andermatt - Goeschenen - Milano Centrale - Firenze S.M.N.

Currently I see at Domodossola instead of transferring onto a train you go by bus to Milano Centrale. Is there track maintenance going? and where can I find this online to see when the trains will run again.

Thanks for your help!


Userlevel 7
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Yes there are works planned between 9th June and 8th September. All Domodossola - Milan trains are replaced by buses. During the rest of the year on weekdays the route is closed between 10am and 3pm (Italian construction techniques, don’t ask). As I said in a previous post above you’ll either have to leave Zermatt fairly early (6am) or fairly late (midday).

Or you take a scenic detour via Andermatt or Locarno! ;)

Zermatt - Andermatt direct would be with the expensive Glacier Express (49 CHF reservation pp). Don’t do that. Instead take the hourly regional trains with a (straightforward) change in Visp or Brig. Scenic route and little trains for sure. For example:

  • RE Zermatt - Visp 07:37 - 08:46
  • R Visp - Andermatt 09:08 - 11:20
  • R Andermatt - Göschenen 11:29 - 11:44
  • IR46 Göschenen - Bellinzona 11:51 - 13:00
  • little break for lunch
  • EC Bellinzona - Milano Centrale 14:14 - 15:50 (13€)
  • FR Milano Centrale - Firenze S.M.N. 16:10 - 18:04 (13€)

All very comfortable trains and there will be lots of space in 1st class.

Thank you for the information. I am going to put you on the spot know …. One of our bucket list items is to take the Glacier express … we have two options. When we leave interlaken on October 5 … take the train to Andermatt. Then take the glacier express at 14:08 - 17:10 to Zermatt. Or, on October 7 … take the Glacier express from Zermatt at 7:52 - 10:46 to Andermatt. Is there a preference on which direction to ride the Glacier express?


I see in your example above that there is a short transfer of 7 min at Goschenen station. Is that enough time for seniors to transfer from one train to another?


Thank you






Userlevel 7
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Honestly the Glacier Express isn’t that special. Marketing did its magic but you don’t even see a glacier from the train lol. Basically you pay 49 CHF pp to end up in full and loud carriages. You also have to book months in advance as half the seats are taken right away by tour groups.

For a better experience take regular trains along the same route. They won’t be busy, especially not in 1st class. Plenty of space to move around (compared to the Glacier Express where you’ll be stuck on your seats).

So let’s say you go via Andermatt after Zermatt. Between Interlaken and Zermatt I’d suggest the old Lötschberg route in place of the Lötschberg base tunnel (fast but no views). RE trains run hourly from Spiez to Brig via Kandersteg. You’ll get impressive views over the Rhône valley. In Brig change for Zermatt. Little preview:

7 min in Göschenen is no issue. The connection is guaranteed to work, don’t worry. Same level, no underpass, etc.

Userlevel 7
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In Göschenen it generally takes less than 1 minute :)

Well, hopefully this will be my last question… my trip starts on Sep 30 where we travel by train from Zurich Airport to Colmar, Fr … then on Oct 3rd from Colmar to Interlaken … Then on Oct 5th from Interlaken to Zermatt … then on Oct 7th … Zermatt to Andermatt … then to FIrenze S.M.N.… then to Pontassieve (about 10 Hrs). I put this whole trip into Eurail Rail Planner App … then I attached my Global Pass number to the trip … the last step is to activate the pass. Do I activate when I arrive at Zurich airport on the 30th or do I do it a few days earlier? Will this activation; activate each travel day in the trip or just the first trip on the 30th of Sep?


Thank you for your Help


Userlevel 7
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Don't activate in advance, so the chance on any mistakes is smaller.

Activating the pass won't add any journeys to your pass or activate any travel days.

Userlevel 4
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I’m just catching up on some threads, so sorry if this is a bit late for your planning.

Getting from Zermatt to Milan can be made significantly easier by taking the “Matterhorn Alpine Crossing” which is a lift which links the Swiss and Italian sides of the mountain.  You can see details here.  This wouldn’t be covered by the eurail/interrail pass, but it should save you a significant number of train changes.  You will be going over the mountain on lifts instead of around it on trains.  Since these are alps, going around them takes a lot of time.

Cervinia is well linked to Aosta by bus, and Aosta is linked to Milan and the rest of Italy by train.

HI again … I just read that Zermatt had some serious flooding in the past week. Some of the rail service has top between Tasch and Brig and Andermatt. I plan to visit Zermatt from Oct 5-7. Will the rail service be restored by then? Oct 7 is my longest travel day by train … leaving Zermatt early in the morning and arriving late in the afternoon in Florence. Not much is said on web sites regarding how long it will take to restore the rail service. Should I be looking at other options instead of going to Zermatt?


Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks again,


Userlevel 7
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It will be totally fine (unless other violent storms happen in the meantime of course). Right now you have to take a bus between Visp and Täsch before a last bit by train. It only takes a bit longer but buses are plenty and life goes as usual.

This situation should continue for a few weeks.