5 days in Luzern November 2-6, which rail pass?

5 days in Luzern November 2-6, which rail pass?

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Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 13, 2015 - 5:47 PM

Our River cruise ends in Basel at 9am on Nov. 2. We plan to take train to Luzern where we have 4 hotel nights booked. Would like to see Mt. Titlis that day.

Next 3 days would like to visit Bernese Oberland and take in as much of the Alps as we can. Do you know if all forms of transportation will be open to us this time of year? Would like to get to to Murren and Wengen - allow a day for each. Trying to figure out if we just need a Swiss Rail Pass and will get discounts on some cable cars and other transportation up the mountains. Do we also need a Half Fare card.

Looking forward to your response

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 14, 2015 - 7:22 AM

Welcome to MySwissAlps, Khiker!

Trains will operate as usual, but not all cogwheel trains and cable cars will be open. You can reach Mürren, Wengen, the Schilthorn, and Jungfraujoch. You'd best check the timetable if you want to visit other places.

Note that it takes nearly two hours to reach Interlaken, which is the gateway to most other places in the Bernese Oberland. I would not travel that far on all the remaining days (even though it's a scenic route), because there's a lot to see much closer to Luzern as well. Please see myswissalps.com/lucern e/activities.

You do need a pass. Without one you will probably spend a lot on mountain transport. Either a Swiss Half Fare Card or a Swiss Travel Pass will be a good choice. It depends on your exact itinerary, and whether you mind buying tickets for each trip or just hop on and off. Please see the links for all details. This page will help you choose if you want to find out which option is cheaper: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/ chooserailpass.

Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 14, 2015 - 3:54 PM

Thanks. After looking at Mt. Titlis website I realize the cable cars are down for maintenance and we can't go there.

Can you please verify we can leave Alpnachstad station travel to Mt. Pilatus.

My check on the time table from Lucern to Interlaken was first train leaves at 11:05. Didn't know it took 2 hrs. Is there enough time to also travel to Murren or Wengen the Schilthorn or Jungfraujoch?

Do I need to purchase our Swiss Travel Pass before we arrive? I was sad to see the prices have risen - do they increase closer to purchase? Do I need to have the passes sent to our hotel - Waldstaertterhof? Or buy in Switzerland?

Yes I have checked into what to do around Lucern and lots great but would like to see more of Switzerland also

Thanks so much

Khiker

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 14, 2015 - 4:56 PM in reply to Khiker

Hi Khiker,

The cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to Mount Pilatus operates until November 22. Unfortunately the cable car down to Kriens will be out for maintenance from October 19 to November 6, so you'll have to take the same train back down. Mount Rigi is very nice too, and free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Trains from Lucerne to Interlaken run all day long, starting around 6 AM. There's maintenance on the line, so part of it is by bus (see this topic). So there's definitely time to visit the Jungfrau region, but it will be a long day. Alternatively you could consider a guided day trip like this one: www.viator.com/tours/L ucerne/Jungfraujoch-Top-of-Europe-Day-Trip-from-Lucerne/d576-2460JUNG_L.

You don't need to purchase Swiss Travel Passes before you arrive, but it's more convenient and cheaper too. Just take a look at the retailer list and pick the one that suits you best. Be sure to click to the Discounts tab too, as you can get a discount on cable car tickets (www.raileurope-world.com/pass/swiss-peak-promo-7406) and on 1st class passes (www.raileurope.com/rai l-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html). Having it shipped to your hotel in Lucerne is certainly possible (through www.swissrailways.com/ en) but would not make sense in your case because you enter the country in Basel.

Last modified on Oct 14, 2015 - 4:59 PM by Arno
Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 15, 2015 - 5:12 PM

I so appreciate all your helpful information and links. I"m still a bit confused about the Swiss Travel Pass. I believe we will have to purchase the 8 continuous day pass because we are traveling 6 days. It is too late to allow the passes to be shipped to our USA home.

I have checked the Rail Europe passes and Swiss Travel Site passes. We being our travel in Switzerland on November 2, 2015. I can purchase a Rail Europe 8 Day Continuous pass for 380 (adult 2nd class) and print it at home. It's too late to purchase on the Swiss Travel site 295 (adult 2nd class) because it can't be shipped in time.

Are you able to tell me the 8 day pass price if we purchase at the train site in Basel? Would it be 295 (plus a convenience fee). I'm thinking it will be the same in all of Switzerland.

Thanks so much

khiker

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 15, 2015 - 5:43 PM in reply to Khiker

Hi Khiker,

Yes, you need an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass if you need it for 6 days. When do you depart to Europe? If it's very soon, you indeed won't have time to order through the cheapest retailer, www.raileurope-world.com (indeed € 295). They require up to 8 business days for physical shipping.

The price through www.raileurope.com/rai l-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html is USD 383, and through www.swissrailways.com/ en/node/66 it's CHF 363 (about USD 382). In both cases you can print it at home. Note that print at home passes require a day or two to be e-mailed, so don't wait too long. In Basel the price is CHF 363 too. I would recommend to buy through one of these websites so you can board your train straight away rather than spending time on getting a pass. The first site probably saves you a bit of money as you can pay in USD, so no currency or banking fees should be involved.

Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 16, 2015 - 1:59 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you again. For travel Nov. 2-7 I've been thinking all along that 2nd class Swiss Rail pass is fine because it's low season and not as many travelers. Do you agree or should I rethink a 1st class. I will order today as you suggested.

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 16, 2015 - 6:05 PM in reply to Khiker

You are right, 2nd class is fine. It won't be very crowded because of tourists in November.

subhankarusc
subhankarusc
1 post
new member
Oct 19, 2015 - 9:06 AM

We came back from our trip to Switzerland and Italy just a few days back.Don't buy the swiss pass, its overpriced unless you pretty much decide to stay on a train all the time. We pretty much crisscrossed the entire Switzerland Zurich-Lausanne-Montreaux (round) Zurich-Interlaken (one way) , Interlaken-Gornergrat mountain station (round), Interlaken-Luzern and finally Luzern-Milan, put in internal train travels within the city as well and the cost of half fare card (120 CHF) .We still stayed short of the swiss pass fare of 380 CHF. If we had taken the swiss pass we would have coughed up an additional 43 CHF pp (on top of 380) for Zermatt-Gornergrat stretch.

For me, the main reason why I stayed away from the swiss pass was the extremely complex divisions within the swiss railways. Keep in mind that SBB does not operate many very touristy places like Gornergrat mountain train, Jungfraujoch and several cable car stations. So it is hard to budget your trip with a swiss pass. On the other hand the swiss half fare card gives you 50% discount on almost all places and even in Jungfrau you get 25% off (same as swiss pass), so it was easier to track expenses.

Also, buying tickets from the extremely user friendly SBB ticket site or mobile app will save you tons of money, just look for a red % sign and go for super saver tickets when you go for long journeys and don't want to get off in stations in between .

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 19, 2015 - 10:14 AM in reply to subhankarusc

Hi subhankarusc,

Welcome to MySwissAlps, and thanks for your feedback! Good to hear you made the right choice for your itinerary. Of course it's different for everybody, so that's why there's this page with explanation and tools to budget any trip in advance and pick the best rail pass. It's not hard, but it does take some time. In case you did not know, this page shows exactly what's included, which is not just SBB lines, but any train, bus and boat in inhabited areas (so any town to town connection), plus the Rigi cogwheel train, cable cars to Mürren, and many museums. Doing the math (like you did after your trip) is always useful.

By the way, you do get a 50% discount on the Jungfraujoch trip with a Swiss Half Fare Card. With a Swiss Travel Pass, one gets free traveling to Wengen/Grindelwald and 25% off from there. So it's a tricky one, and again a reason to carefully compare passes as the outcome is different for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed Switzerland!

Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 21, 2015 - 2:19 AM

Thanks again. Our plans are to see Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi. Also the Jungfrau region.

What else can you recommend - Spiez or Thun. Should we stop off at any of the train stations/towns as we travel from Lucern to Interlaken.

Khiker
Khiker
6 posts
new member
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:09 AM

One more question. Could you please clear up our confusion on Mt. Titlis. The website says Mt. Titlis ski season opens Oct 31st. It also says all cable cars & stations are down for maintenance Nov. 2-13. We are snow skiers and would definitely check conditions if we could ski one of the days we are in Switzerland - Nov. 2-6. Need to know as we would have to pack for skiing. Thanks so much.

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 22, 2015 - 7:29 AM

Hi Khiker,

The towns between Lucerne and Interlaken are very small. Pretty scenic, but not really sightseeing destinations. Rather places to start hiking. Attractions like the Aare gorge and Reichenbach Fall are closed in November. The boats on Lake Thun operate on a limited schedule, so you may want to include that if you travel via Bern either on you way to or from Interlaken. E.g. Interlaken to Thun by boat, then onwards by trains. Please see myswissalps.com/boatla kethun. It's free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

November is not ski season yet, apart from high areas like the glaciers on Mount Titlis, near Zermatt or Saas-Fee. Mount Titlis is closed during your stay, and the others are too far away. So I would not count on skiing, although some slopes may open if there's enough snow fall early in the season. Most slopes and ski lifts will open around mid December. All weather dependent of course.

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