Berner Oberland/Rail Pass Questions

Berner Oberland/Rail Pass Questions

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Posts: 12. This thread is closed.
rie3001
rie3001
1 post
new member
May 7, 2010 - 8:34 PM
We are going on a trip to France/Switzerland/Germany next month. I'm trying to figure out rail passes and it's not a fun experience! I hope the trip goes better ;-) We are planning on taking the train from Paris to Gimmewald where we will be styaing 4 nights and then to Lucern for 2 night before heading to Germany.

So far I think i have figured that if we purchase a ticket from Paris to Bern, the Berner Oberland Pass would then over us from Bern to Gimmewald, while we are there and then to Lucern. Am I correct in this? We realize that this does not give us totaly free passes all the time but it also offers discounts. We are interested in taking the boats on Lake Thunersee & Lake Brienzersee.

Does anyone have other suggestions I'm not thinking of or seeing with the passes?

Thank you!
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 8, 2010 - 4:55 AM
Hello Rie3001! You're correct: the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland offers discounts from Bern to Thun and from Brünig Hasliberg to Lucerne. The rest of these trips to and from Gimmelwald would be for free on a free travel day. If your main travel plans will be within the Bernese Oberland, and if it's important for you to have a few days of unlimited traveling, the 7 day Regional Pass Bernese Oberland could indeed be a good choice. It covers the boats on lake Brienz and lake Thun and if you use a free travel day, this boat rides are for free as well. You will find a link to the network on which the Regional Pass is valid on the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland page.

I'm not sure if you will be doing some traveling around Lucerne as well, as this wouldn't be covered by a Regional Pass Bernese Oberland. Which pass is most economical, ultimately depends on your exact travel plans. To help you out a bit: the regular costs of the trips you mention, most of which can be found in the onlime timetable, are as follows:
  • Basel - Stechelberg CHF 66.00
  • Stechelberg - Gimmelwald - Stechelberg CHF 11.00
  • Interlaken - Thun - Interlaken by boat CHF 65.00
  • Interlaken - Brienz - Interlaken by boat CHF 46.00
  • Stechelberg - Lucerne CHF 66.00
  • Lucerne - Basel CHF 31.00 (assuming you'll be traveling to Germany via Basel)
  • Total CHF 285.00
If you focus on just these trips, a Swiss Half Fare Card would in fact be cheaper than a Regional Pass Bernese Oberland. The 7 day Regional Pass costs CHF 230.00. To use it in the best way, you should use your 3 free travel days for the most expensive journeys, which would in your case be the Swiss part of your inbound trip from Bern to Stechelberg, a boat trip on lake Thun and the journey from Gimmelwald to Lucerne. The extra costs (for example for a reduced boat ride on lake Brienz (CHF 23.00), the reduced trips between Bern and Thun (CHF 7.40) and between Brünig Hasliberg and Lucerne (CHF 9.80), and the full price trip from Lucerne back to the Swiss border (CHF 31.00)) would be CHF 71.20, making a total of CHF 301.20.

A Swiss Half Fare Card costs CHF 99.00 and grants a 50% reduction on almost all trips in Switzerland. The total costs of the trips you mention would be CHF 285.00 and with the Swiss Half Fare Card you would pay half this amount, being CHF 142.50, making a total of CHF 241.50. In addition, you only need a ticket from Paris to Basel instead of Bern, which is cheaper as well. Of course I'm not sure what other trips you have in mind. If you want to take other trips into account as well you can make your calculations following the instructions in our Swiss rail FAQ.

I hope this helps you out a bit! I understand that this is a complex issue, but I'm sure that your journey in Switzerland will be more relaxed :-).
tsk1979
tsk1979
12 posts
new member
Jul 29, 2011 - 4:07 AM
I am a little confused about boat rides.
We are planning 1+1 free Regional pass, and thinking of doing Interlaken-Thun by boat.
I am unable to find which boat rides are free, as online time table is showing just train connections.

The pass webpage shoes paddle steamer(historic) is free on free days. but i am unable to find timetable information for paddle steamer.

since we can either do lake breinz or lake thun, could you tell, which paddle steamer will be better with more scenic views?
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 29, 2011 - 4:25 AM
Hi tsk1979,

You can get the timetable to display boats only, but it's easier to check the BLS website. Both lakes are beautiful. Lake Thun is larger, so you could take a longer boat trip there.
tsk1979
tsk1979
12 posts
new member
Jul 29, 2011 - 5:07 AM
Thanks.
Could you also tell us how far is the SPIEZ train station from the boat landing
Our plan is
Thun - Spiez paddle steamer : 1833-1923
Speiz - Stechelberg 1933:2047

so if walking from Spiez boat station to Spiez train station takes more than 10 minutes, we have to wait for 1 hour for next train!

Last but not the least, how do we find out which boat rides are free on our pass? Can we take many rides on paddle steamer in one day itself?
For example, Thun to interlaken and back on same day?
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 29, 2011 - 5:22 AM
You're welcome! I would estimate that walk to be about 20 minutes. The Spiez harbour is a nice place to have a drink at one of the restaurants. So that's a way to spend that hour. There is a bus to the station as well, but it may only be available during day time. The bus stop is called Spiez Schiffstation. Most probably, there are more trains from Spiez to Interlaken than one per hour, but then you have to wait longer in Interlaken for your connection to Stechelberg.

All boats that do not need to be reserved (such as evening diner cruises) are free on a free day of the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland.
tsk1979
tsk1979
12 posts
new member
Jul 29, 2011 - 5:50 AM
Thanks again! I guess we will spend time in the harbor. Since paddle steamer is not a dinner cruise, I guess we should be good!
I will scour for a town near lake thun area, which has free or cheap car parking!

Another question about the pass.
It says connections Goppenstein is free through kendersteg tunnel. I was wondering, its free only for us, or will be get discount on car transport also(15-20 CHF full fare)
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 30, 2011 - 2:37 AM
Hi,

The car train is not included in any of the rail passes.
tsk1979
tsk1979
12 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2011 - 3:50 AM
Thanks for your reply.
We also could not figure out if there is discount available with this pass on the Gornergrat(matterhorn) open air railway from Tasch.
We will be driving to tasch, then taking train/cable car to Zermatt, and then the gornergrat railway.
Whats the best place to get the ticket so that it will be cheaper. Since we have a car, we can travel to the nearest car accessible station.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 2, 2011 - 8:51 AM
Hi. No, the Gornergrat railway isn't covered by the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland, so you have to buy regular full fare tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the railway stations of Täsch and the Gornergrat railway station (right opposite the main station in Zermatt).
tsk1979
tsk1979
12 posts
new member
Aug 8, 2011 - 8:52 AM
I have ordered my pass online last weekend(I stay in India).
I was wondering, how much time do they take to ship it.
My Credit card has been billed, and I got a confirmation email. However, I have not got any email after that notifying me that the passes have been shipped.

Secondly, will the passes be pre-validated, or on the "free days" I have to first get to a railway station and then get the passes validated for that day?
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 8, 2011 - 1:57 PM
Hi tsk1979,

All shipping details can be found by going to the pass page and clicking "Show more information" for the reseller you have purchased from. You can ask your reseller if you want to know precisely for your specific order.

Details about validation ("quick transfer") can be found there too.

The free days can be filled out on the pass by yourself, while you're in Switzerland. There should be instructions enclosed.

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