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Ideas & Inspiration Rail Pass Itinerary: Scenic Journeys
Rail Pass Itinerary: Scenic Journeys

Rail Pass Itinerary: Scenic Journeys

Experience an incredible train journey every day for 10 days on this fully costed Eurail and InterRail itinerary

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Why choose this trip

Milan → 'Centovali Railway' → Milan → Marseille → Nimes → Lyon → Montreux → Milan → Innsbruck → Venice/Venezia → Rome/Roma → Milan

Every day is a beautiful journey day on this 10 day Eurail and InterRail itinerary

We've constructed this itinerary so that every day of travel includes some fabulous views which can be seen from the train.
Even more of these views can be seen in the Facebook gallery which we have compiled to highlight this itinerary.

In order to take as many scenic journeys as possible, you will have to make more connections than on our other suggested itineraries.
However, don't let that put you off, we've personally checked out all of these suggested connections between trains, confirming that they should be relatively stress free!
This itinerary has also been put together to minimise additional reservation fees.

The exact departure times will be updated after the next update of the pan-European rail timetables which will occur on December 11th

OR our Concierge rail travel planning service, could help you plan a similar itinerary.

The required rail pass:

If you use a 10 days of travel within 2 months InterRail Global Pass OR a 10 days within 2 months Eurail Global Pass you can take breaks between your days of train travel.
You can then spend some time in fabulous destinations including Marseille, Nimes, Lyon, Innsbruck, Venice and Rome.

From and to Milano:

This rail pass itinerary starts and finishes in Milano, which has three ticks in the box:

(1) Milano is an international rail hub.
So an easy option is to use a purchase a pass valid for 15 days of travel, so that you can use these additional five days of travel to travel to and from Milano by train.

(2) It’s also a budget airline destination - after all you don't have to take a train from/to Milan.

(3) Milan has direct flights from destinations outside Europe - so ideal if you'll be flying into the continent, to use a Eurail Pass.
Malpensa Airport is connected to the city by the Malpensa Express rail service.

Managing Luggage:

The itinerary also loops back to the city at the close of day 6, so you can also split your luggage.
Leave some of your luggage at your hotel, or deposit it in the left luggage at Milano Centrale station, when you set off on Day 2
Then on day 6 pick up the new bags and leave the luggage you'll have used on Days 2 - 6 behind.

Introducing The Route

Most of the journeys are clickable, so you can access more useful info about each individual train ride including:

(1) All you need to know about the stations where you will be joining and leaving the train.

(2) What to expect when on board each train, such as catering facilities and tips for how to manage your luggage.

(3) Insights for scenic journeys - what to look out for, which side of the train to sit on for the best of the views etc.

Plus if you click the station buttons on the journey guides, you will also usually* find:
(1) Lists of overnight accommodation with easy access to the station and with high user ratings;
(2) Links to destination guides to help you make the most of each location.
*Just the big cities, for now.

1. A day trip from Milan

Don’t be alarmed by the amount of trains we suggest on day one, particularly as this is a day trip from Milano; so you won’t have to ferry your luggage.

On Monday - Friday it includes the two most scenic railways on the Swiss/Italian border:
(1) The Centovali Line between Domodossola and Locarno is a must, not least because it’s free for Eurail and InterRail pass users.
(2) The MG Railway to/from Capalago; though this line doesn’t offer any discounts on its tickets to Eurail and InterRail pass users.

Train 1:
Depart:
Milano Centrale at 09:20
Arrive: Domodossola at 10:59

Making as many scenic journeys as possible with a rail pass

Train 2:
Depart: Domodossola at 11:25
Arrive: Locarno at 13:19

Making as many scenic journeys as possible with a rail pass

Train 3:
Depart: Locarno at 13:35 - the train will be heading to Basel
Arrive: Guibiasco at 13:52

Train 4:
Depart:
Guibiasco at 14:08 - the train should be heading to Chiasso
Arrive: Capalago-Riva S.Vitale at 14:49

Trains 5 and 6: (The MG Railway)
Depart: Capalago-Riva S.Vitale at 15.25
Arrive: Generosso Vetta at 16:-05

Depart: Generosso Vetta at 16:15
Arrive: Capalago-Riva S.Vitale at 16:55

Train 7:
Depart:
Capalago-Riva S.Vitale at 17:19
Arrive: Como San Giovanni at 17:50

Train 8:
Depart: Como San Giovanni at 18:36
Arrive: Milano Centrale at 19:17

OR If you want to skip the MG Line, leave the train from Guibiasco to Chiasso when it arrives in Lugano
You can then spend some time in this beautiful city on the shore of the lake - to which it gives its name.

Train 4:
Depart: Guibiasco at 14:05 - the train should heading to Albate-Camerlata
Arrive: Lugano at 14:33

Train 5:
Depart: Lugano at 16:42 or 17:42 or 18:42
Arrive: Milano Centrale 17:50 or 18:50 or 19:50

2. to Marseille

Before setting off on Day Two, it's a good idea to visit the ticket office in Milano Centrale station and book the reservations for all of the Italian Intercity trains

  • this Thello train to Ventimiglia,
  • the train from Ancona to Roma on Day Nine,
  • the trains from Roma to Genova

For rail pass users the reservations on these trains are optional, but worth every cent, particularly in summer.

(1) Depart: Milano Centrale at 09:10 by IC train
Reservation fee = €3 for 1st and 2nd class pass users
To make the most of the sea views you need to be sat on the left on departure from Genova; where the train will have reversed direction.
(2) Depart: Ventimiglia/Ventimille at 13:15 by TER train
(3) Depart: Nice at 14:23 by TER train; Arrive Marseille at 17:03.
Sit on the left for the best of the sea views - you'll be looking over the beaches and marinas of the Cote D'Azur between Nice and Frejus and then the sea can also be seen after departure from Toulon.

3. Along the Cote Bleu

Day Three of this rail pass itinerary includes the Cote Bleu route west of Marseille

Train 1:
Depart: Marseille St Charles at 13:51
Arrive: Mirimas at 15:16

This train takes the spectacular Cote Blue route west of Marseille, sit on the left when boarding to make the most of the views.

Train 2:
Depart:
Mirimas at 15:30
Arrive: Avignon Centre at 16:10 - the train will be heading to Lyon

MONDAY-FRIDAY
Train 3:
Depart: Avignon Centre at 16:40 - the train will be heading to Narbonne
Arrive: Nimes at 17:20

SATURDAY/SUNDAY
Train 3:
Depart: Avignon Centre at 17:40 -the train will be heading to Narbonne
Arrive: Nimes at 18:17

4. to Geneva

Depart: Nimes** at 08:13
Arrive: Clermont Ferrand at 13:20
Make the most of a Eurail or InterRail Pass by following our scenic itinerary

Views from railway bridges/viaducts don't get more spectacular than that from the Le viaduc de Chamborigaud.
Sit on the left of the train and look out when the train departs from Chambirogaud station, around 1hr 5mins into the journey.
The viaduct isn't the only spectacular sight on this journey, for more than 30 mins after Villefort the train takes a spectacular passage through a series of deep river valleys - the Gorges De L'Allier; the best of these views are also on the left.

The railway then follows the rivers for more than an hour to Langeac - and on this part of the journey there are great views from both sides of the train.
The train journey from Nimes to Clermont is one of the most beautiful in France

Train 2:
Depart:
Clermont Ferrand at 13:58
Arrive: Lyon Part-Dieu at 16:22

Train 3:
Depart:
Lyon Part-Dieu at 16:38
Arrive: Genveve at 18:35

5. the Mont Blanc Express

As will be seen below this day of travel comprises a round trip from Geneve.

Train 1:
Depart: Geneve at 10:32
Arrive: St Gervais-Les-Bains at 12:16

Train 2:
Depart: St Gervais-Les-Bains at 12:28
Arrive: Vallorcine at 14:01

Train 5:
Depart: Vallorcine at 14:17
Arrive: Martigny at 15:07
Fabulous daily views are guaranteed if you follow this rail itinerary

Between St Gervais and Martigny, you will be following the ‘Mont Blanc Express' route.

There are good views from both sides of the train, between Vallorcine and Les Marécottes the best of the views are on the right, but the descent to Martigny, pictured above, can be best appreciated on the left.

Train 6:
Depart:
Martigny at 15:16
Arrive: Geneve at 16:50

6. Golden Pass & Gottardo

Train 1:
[Depart:] Geneve at 08:12
Arrive: Montreux at 09:10

Train 2:
Depart: Montreux at 09:44 (Golden Pass Panoramic)
Arrive: Zweisimmen at 11:33

Take a beautiful journey every day on this Eurail and InterRail itinerary

Train 3:
Depart: Depart: Zweisimmen at 11:39
Arrive: Interlaken Ost at 12:50

Sit on the right when boarding this train, the best views of the gorge south of Spiez can be seen from this side of the train.

The train will then reverse direction on departure from Spiez, so without leaving your seat, you'll then be on the left hand side and able to see some fabulous views over Lake Thun.
Looking over Lake Thun on our scenic rail pass itinerary
Train 4:
Depart: Depart: Interlaken Ost at 13:04
Arrive: Luzern at 14:55

Passing by four lakes on the Luzern-Interlaken Express

Train 5:
Depart: Luzern at 15:18
Arrive: Cadenazzo at 18:12 (the train will be heading to Locarno)
The Lauerzersee can be seen from trains heading south from Arth-Goldau

There are views of Lake Zug on the left and then after departure from Arth-Goldau, the Lauerzersee, pictured above, can be seen on the right.
Sit on the left of of this train for the best of the views; highlights include the views over Wassen village as the train spirals up to the old Gotthard Tunnel.
Looking down on the village of Wassen on day 6 of our scenic rail pass itinerary
Another highlight of this journey comes when the train exits the The Gotthard Tunnel and descends down the mountain on another series of spirals; the train will travel over both sets of tracks pictured below.
Through the Gotthard Pass on this spectacular Eurail or InterRail itinerary

Train 5:
Depart: Cadenazzo at 18:39
Arrive: Milano Centrale at 20:17

At face value, the connections between the trains on this day seem tightly timed, but you’ll be changing trains in Switzerland, so making the onward trains in time should be virtually guaranteed.
All of the connections at each station should be on the same level, so getting your bags from one train to another shouldn’t be too arduous either.

Also stock up on food/drink before you set off from Montreux, you won’t have time to pick up provisions on route, though your efforts will be rewarded; this day should be a highlight of the trip!

7. to Innsbruck

If you do want to follow the routing suggested below, buy some food/drink before you set off from Milan.
Though an option is to push the itinerary back by two hours and depart from Milano Centrale at 10:20 OR spend a couple of hours in Chur between trains having a late lunch/dinner there.
If you take either of those options, you can follow the same routing, but you'll be depart from Chur at 17:12 and arriving in Innsbruck at 20:14.

Train 1:
Depart: Milano Centrale at 08:20
Arrive: Tiriano at 10:52

Day 7 of our scenic journey rail pass itinerary takes you by Lake Como
Train 2:
Depart: Tiriano at 11:00 (the train will be heading to St Moritz)
Arrive: Pontresina at 12:52
This suggested Eurail or InterRail Pass itinerary is packed with incredible views

Train 3:
Depart: Pontresina at 13:02
Arrive: Samedan at 13:08
The connections at both Pontresina and Samdedan seem tightly timed, but it won't be a problem.
Making the transfer between trains at these stations usually involves simply crossing a platform/track from one train to another.

Train 4:
Depart: Samedan at 13:16
Arrive: Chur at 15:03

This Eurail and InterRail itinerary is packed with stunning views every day

Train 5:
Depart: Chur at 15:12; the train will be heading to Zurich via St Gallen
Arrive: Buchs SG at 15:45

Train 6:
Depart: Buchs SG at 15:54 - the Railjet train will be heading to Wien
Arrive: Innsbruck Hbf at 18:11
Travelling through the Arlberg Pass on day 7 of our scenic journeys itinerary

Sit on the right of this train for the best of the views as the train travels through the beautiful Arlberg Pass.

All of the connections on this day are straightforward - and as you can see from the images above it's worth the effort!

8. to Venice

Depart: Innsbruck Hbf at 07:34 on Sat/Sun or 11:34 daily
Arrive: Venezia S.Lucia at 13:56 or 18:10

Reservation fees: 1st class = €20.90; 2nd class = €14.50
The best option for purchasing the reservations for this train is to book them at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive in Innsbruck the previous evening.
Or book them at Milano Centrale station when booking the other reservations

9. to Rome via The Adriatic

By this stage of the trip, train journey fatigue may be setting in, so if that is that case you can take a Frecce train direct from Venezia to Roma.
Though if you do opt for this, whether you have a 1st or 2nd class pass, you will need to pay a €10 reservation fee prior to boarding; more info is available here.

Train 1:
Depart: Venezia S.Lucia at 08:40
Arrive: Bologna Centrale at 10:48

Train 2:
Depart:
Bologna Centrale at 11:32
Arrive: Ancona at 14:50
See the best of Italy on this stunning scenic rail pass itinerary
Sit on the left for the sea views, which come after Rimini.
This train may be double-decked and if that is the case, it’s worth making the effort to heave your luggage up to the top deck.

Train 3:
Depart:
Ancona at 15:55
Arrive: Roma Termini at 19:50
By Intercity train; optional reservation fee = €3 for 1st and 2nd class; more info is available here.

10. to Milan via the Mediterranean

If train journey fatigue has set it in, you can take a Frecce train direct from Roma to Milano.
Though if you do opt for this, whether you have a 1st or 2nd class pass, you will need to pay a €10 reservation fee prior to boarding - more info is available here.

Train 1:
Depart: Roma Termini at 09:57; the train should be heading to Torino Porta Nuova
Arrive: Genova Piazza Principe at 15:35
Our suggested rail pass itinerary includes 10 days of beautiful train journeys
By Intercity train; the optional reservation fee = €3 1st and 2nd class; more info is available here.

The train will race through the Cinque Terre, but the best of the stunning views can be seen between Sestri Levant and Genova.
You’ll have to cross your fingers and hope your reserved seats are on the left hand side; as between La Spezia and Genova there are some of the best coastal views which can be seen from any European express train.
If they’re not then after departure from La Spezia, seek out somewhere from where you can see the sea views.

Train 2:
Depart: Genova Piazza Principe at 16:19
Arrive: Milano Centrale at 17:53

By Intercity train; optional reservation fee = €3 for 1st and 2nd class pass users.

Approx Total Train Travel Cost

Not including the optional suggested journey on the MG Railway but including the optional reservations on the Thello train and Italian IC trains.

1st Class Adult = €565.90
InterRail 2nd Class Adult = €424.50

1st Class Youth = €430.90
InterRail 2nd Class Youth = €324.50

APPROXIMATE* cost comparison with purchasing tickets:

Cheapest 1st class tickets = €916
Cheapest 2nd class tickets = €606

1st class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €1086
2nd class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €823

The costs estimates based on one Adult aged 18+ travelling solo.

*We looked through 100s of departure times/dates to assess these costs and used the most 'typical' prices we could find.

However, the prices of train tickets can fluctuate, so these cost estimates do not take into sporadic promotions and other offers - nor do they include exponentially high prices at holiday times etc.

However, note that you can make a big saving on this itinerary if you use a Eurail or InterRail Pass, plus using a pass makes those tightly timed connections in Switzerland possible.

You'll still save with a pass if you do opt to take those Frecce trains in Italy

Handy Tips & Rail PassGuides

These additional tips can help you:

  1. Save money when booking overnight accommodation.
  2. Know 'the rules'
  3. Have more comfortable journeys
  4. Avoid last minute panics at the station etc.

Our Other Info which should be of use to Rail Pass Users:

Our General guide for Eurail and InterRail Pass Users

Using stations in France

Using stations in Italy

Europe's Daytime Trains

Europe's International Rail Routes

24 Tips for European Rail Travel

Travelling With Children on European Trains

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.