4 countries - Europass / Swisspass / half fare?

4 countries - Europass / Swisspass / half fare?

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
p2athx
p2athx
3 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2011 - 9:35 AM
Annika,

First off, thank you for all the advice and support you provide members on this forum. It has been very helpful to read through old threads and learn about the different combinations to make a trip to europe cost effective. I have the following 16 day itinerary:

6/22 – Arrive Geneva 8AM. Explore Geneva. Train/ Stay in Wengen
6/23 – Alps / Stay in Wengen
6/24 – Alps / Stay in Wengen
6/25 – Alps. Latest train to Zurich / Stay in Zurich
6/26 – Zurich all morning. 430PM train to Paris. / Stay in Paris
6/27 – Paris / Stay in Paris
6/28 – Paris. Versailles. / Stay in Paris
6/29 – Paris / Stay in Paris
6/30 – Morning train to Amsterdam, arrive by noon. Explore Amsterdam / Stay in Amsterdam
7/1 – Explore Amsterdam. 9PM flight to Barcelona. / Stay in Barcelona
7/2 -Barcelona / Stay in Barcelona
7/3 -Barcelona / Stay in Barcelona
7/4 –Barcelona. Train to Madrid. / Stay in Madrid
7/5 -Madrid / Stay in Madrid
7/6 - Madrid / Stay in Madrid
7/7 – Depart Madrid in AM back to USA

My question is, does it make sense for me to buy a europass, swiss pass, or half fare?

I know the only way to find out the specifics is to do a p2p comparison, but prices vary so much from site to site (raileurope vs sbb etc), that it's difficult to compare apples to apples.

I believe the best route is swiss pass or half fare for switzerland, then p2p for the 3 other train rides - Zurich/Paris, Paris/Amsterdam, Barcelona/Madrid.

My main travel within switzerland will be from 6/22-6/25 as noted above. The major train travel will be from geneva/wengen, and wengen to zurich. on the 23 and 24, i will probably use the train just localling to Jungfraujoch or maybe the Schilthorn.

Once again, is there a suggestion you have for me for my trip? Thank you!
Annika
Annika
4353 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 24, 2011 - 5:45 AM
Hi p2athx! I'm glad the forum has been able to assist you in preparing for your trip to Europe. As for your itinerary: for the Swiss leg of your journey, a Swiss Card would be a good solution. It offers a free trip from the airport or border (Geneva) to your destination (Wengen) and from your last destination (Zurich) back to the border (during your trip from Zurich to Paris, the Swiss Card is valid up to the border station of Basel). On all days in between, a 50% discount applies on most trips within Switzerland, which will help you save money on the Jungfraujoch and/or Schilthorn visits.

Just like you, I think it's best to purchase regular train tickets for your other journeys. You could look into the Eurail France-Spain Pass though, as France and Spain are the countries in which you'll be making some longer train journeys. But you're right, you would have to do the math to be sure. I would advise to compare prices for your journeys outside of Switzerland at the RailEurope website, and then see if a Eurail France-Spain pass makes any difference.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
p2athx
p2athx
3 posts
new member
Apr 25, 2011 - 12:41 AM
Annika said: Hi p2athx! I'm glad the forum has been able to assist you in preparing for your trip to Europe. As for your itinerary: for the Swiss leg of your journey, a Swiss Card would be a good solution. It offers a free trip from the airport or border (Geneva) to your destination (Wengen) and from your last destination (Zurich) back to the border (during your trip from Zurich to Paris, the Swiss Card is valid up to the border station of Basel). On all days in between, a 50% discount applies on most trips within Switzerland, which will help you save money on the Jungfraujoch and/or Schilthorn visits.

Just like you, I think it's best to purchase regular train tickets for your other journeys. You could look into the Eurail France-Spain Pass though, as France and Spain are the countries in which you'll be making some longer train journeys. But you're right, you would have to do the math to be sure. I would advise to compare prices for your journeys outside of Switzerland at the RailEurope website, and then see if a Eurail France-Spain pass makes any difference.

Thank you for the prompt reply Annika.

Question:

1. Why would you suggest the Swiss Card over the half fare? Also, I understand it allows for a 'free trip' from the border/airport to my destination (geneva to wengen), but I am a bit confused about my outbound and how that is calculated. The outbound train is via the express Thalys Zurich-Paris train. Would I just get a discount on that section leading up to Basel, and how?

Thank you. I will look into the Eurail France Spain Pass - I am confused whether they are for the full ticket price or if they still require a supplemental.
Annika
Annika
4353 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 25, 2011 - 4:07 AM
Hi p2athx,
The Swiss Card provides a free inbound and outbound trip which is economical for you as your trips are quite long. Wengen - Zurich would be your outbound trip in this case (actually, this is better than using it for your outbound trip Zurich-Basel as I suggested yesterday. This is because as Wengen-Zurich is more expensive, so you would save more). You can do that as Zurich is where many people leave the country by plane, so it's considered to be an airport/border station. It doesn't matter that you would take a train to Paris the next day. You can't use your Swiss Card for that trip though, if you decide to count the trip Wengen-Zurich as your outbound trip. Its validity ends when you reach Zurich.
Eurail passes provide full coverage of the main railroads. It just doesn't include seat reservations you might want or need. Private railroads may be discounted or not included, but it doesn't look like you need to travel on those. Details can be found here.
p2athx
p2athx
3 posts
new member
May 1, 2011 - 11:53 AM
Annika,

Thank you. Looks like the Swiss Card is my best bet. One thing I noticed though is the pricing is VERY inconsistant from website to website. Rick Steves offers it at $276 USD for 1st Class, while i see $295 up to $315 on other websites.

I will purchase the Swiss Card per your suggesting. This is suprisingly difficult - I usually like comparing things very closely, but the tradeoff between Eurail Global Pass, Swiss Half Fare Pass / Swiss Card / Swiss Pass + P2P is very difficult to compare without knowing ALL the details of my travel.

Swiss Card would make the most sense as I think the few days in Wengen will have minimal train travel. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.
Arno
Arno
7294 posts
expert &
moderator
May 1, 2011 - 1:42 PM
Hi p2athx,

It can indeed be quite difficult to decide which pass fits best. You would have to do some price checking for that. As for the pass prices: each reseller sets its own prices. We have compared the (we think) most relevant purchase options on the right side of the Swiss Card page. All details about prices, payment options and shipping options can be found there, so you can easily compare every detail.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno

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