Combination of rail passes, Zurich, Interlaken

Combination of rail passes, Zurich, Interlaken

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wilburvon
wilburvon
13 posts
new member
May 2, 2016 - 1:07 PM

We have two seniors and one adult traveling by train from Munich, Germany the middle of July to Lucerne by train. We will travel to Interlaken by train and spend 3 nights in Gimmelwald and 4 nights in Grindelwald. We will then travel to Zurich by train for a flight home. The Jungfrau Pass seems to be a must, but should I pay for individual tickets from Germany and on the routes mentioned or get some other kind of pass? It's a little confusing comparing passes. Thank you for your help.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 3, 2016 - 8:23 AM

Hi wilburvon!

You're right, there are lots of pass options and deciding which one's best can be quite tough. I'll list some options you can consider. If you want to make sure which is most economical, there's no other way than calculating all costs according to these guidelines. In case that's too complex, or too uncertain if you don't have detailed plans yet, just pick whatever appeals to you in terms of convenience and ease of use. You can't go wrong with any of the options below:

  • a Swiss Half Fare Card. It will provide 50% discount on all of your trips in Switzerland, including the Swiss leg of your inbound journey from Germany;
  • a Jungfrau Travel Pass (maybe a 6 day plus a 3 day variant to cover all of your days in Grindelwald/Gimmelwald) plus regular tickets for you inbound and outbound trips. Such full fare ticket can be pricey, but you can try and see if cheaper supersaver tickets are available. Mind that they're bound to specific trains and specific times though and that availability is limited. A disadvantage of the Jungfrau Travel Pass is that its validity area is limited, so if you 'd like to travel outside of the Jungfrau region for whatever reason (e.g. better weather circumstances elsewhere) you'll have to pay full fares;
  • a Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland for your stay in Grindelwald/Gimmelwald, plus again regular ticket for your inbound and outbound trip. Its coverage is more comprehensive than that of the Jungfrau Travel Pass and thuss offers more flexbility.

Just to make sure: are you aware that Gimmelwald is tiny and that it doesn't have (tourist) facilities? That's fine of course if you're looking for a quiet mountain resort.

wilburvon
wilburvon
13 posts
new member
May 3, 2016 - 11:45 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you very much for the reply. Looks like you've given me good information to make a good decision.

wilburvon
wilburvon
13 posts
new member
May 4, 2016 - 12:49 AM in reply to Annika

It looks like the Bernese Oberland Pass for eight days seems to be our best bet. How would we pay for the trip from Munich by train and get credited for the part of the trip that starts in Switzerland? Will the train station in Germany honor our pass and only charge us for the train to the border or will we have to get off the train and show our pass in Switzerland? The map on the Bernese Oberland Pass website only shows the pass being good from Luzern and south. You seemed to indicate it was good from the Swiss border on our trip from Munich. Do you know which is true?

Also, we have added two family members (five total) and now wonder if we should rent a car in Luzern and take it to Interlaken. Would we be able to rent a car in Interlaken for our return trip to catch our flight in Zurich 8 days later. Can we park the car in Interlaken, I'm sure there's a fee, or can we rent another vehicle for the return trip. Thank you.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 4, 2016 - 7:16 AM

Hi wilburvon,

The Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is not good from the Swiss border, that's why you need a ticket to first reach the region (please see the last bullet in my previous post). The map shows the correct coverage. If your pass is valid on the incoming/outgoing days, you only need a ticket to the first town within the covered area. The pass is not relevant for that part of the trip. Tickets to/from Germany can be purchased here.

I wouldn't rent a car in this case. You can park it in Interlaken or Grindelwald, not in Gimmelwald. Parking is indeed paid unless the hotel includes a parking place. However, most good locations can't be reached by car so it would sit in the car park for most of the time. Also, the airport in Zurich can easily be reached by train.

Does this clarify things?

Last modified on May 4, 2016 - 7:17 AM by Annika
wilburvon
wilburvon
13 posts
new member
May 4, 2016 - 11:16 AM in reply to Annika

Yes, that clarifies a lot. Sorry I misunderstood about the pass working from the Swiss border. Do you recommend buying the train ticket from Munich and the Bernese Oberland Pass online before leaving the United States? I believe you are saving me from getting some headaches while in Switzerland and also saving me some money. We are traveling with our adult children and this will probably be our last opportunity to have such a trip. Thank you.

wilburvon
wilburvon
13 posts
new member
May 4, 2016 - 11:24 AM in reply to Annika

As far as the lack of tourist facilities in Gimmelwald, yes, I'm aware of this and have reservations at Esther's Guesthouse. We hope it will be a beautiful, relaxing three days where we can take some easy hikes, soak up the scenery and perhaps take the cable car to other close venues, like Murren and Lauterbrunnen before going on to Grindelwald, where it will be more of a tourist location. We've decided to focus on a small area instead of trying to visit too many sites all around Switzerland. My wife and I were in Zermatt in 1974 for one night and never saw the Matterhorn because of cloud cover! If we focus on a small area, surely we'll have some clear days in July where we can enjoy the mountain scenery.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 4, 2016 - 3:19 PM

Hi wilburvon!

Good that it's all clear now. I understand you want to make the most out of this special trip with your childeren. And if peace and quiet are what you're looking for, Gimmelwald is a great choice.

Purchasing your passes and the international train ticket in advance would be convenient indeed. That way you won't have to spend time on it during your stay in Europe and you won't have to get out along the way (e.g. in Bern) to arrange for anything. You can just stay seated and show your ticket (up to Bern) or Regional-Pass (from Bern) when asked for, assuming you arrange for a Regional-Pass that's already valid during your inbound train trip so that the leg Bern-Gimmelwald is covered. The Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland can best be bought from www.swissrailways.com/ en. Resellers for the ticket from Munich to Bern can be found here.

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