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Venice, Italy to Karlsruhe, Germany via Switzerland - train options/costs

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My brother and his wife are going to be returning to our home (near Karlsruhe) at the end of their 6 week Fall vacation; they were originally planning on flying Ryanair from Venice to Frankfurt-Hahn, where we would pick them up. That sounded economical and a good-time saver at the end of a long trip so they could have a couple of days left to decompress at the house, repack etc.

Now they are thinking it might be fun to "experience" some of Switzerland by taking the train from Venice instead and overnighting somewhere before heading on for Karlsruhe the next day. They thought maybe Zurich would be a good way-point. In my mind, Zurich is too large of a city to get any warm-fuzzies from for an overnighter. Are there other options that might be a better first/maybe only impression of Swiss culture?

It also looks like somewhere between a 6 1/2-8 hr train ride, depending on the train. Does anyone know if this route is particularly scenic? Would it merit this amount of time on a train, or is a lot of time actually spent in tunnels, without a many scenic views? Italy/Switzerland is not my forte, but I just feel like this isn't the best value for time spent/cost/positive experience.

Southern Germany, Paris, MSM & Normandy Beaches, London, Rome, Florence and Venice all in 6 weeks seemed like a lot without adding Switzerland to the trip, especially for overnight or one day at the most. Does anyone else share this thought? If you would "add" Switzerland to the mix, what city would you add and why?

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