Coming from Rome for 6days in Switzerland

Coming from Rome for 6days in Switzerland

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Posts: 13. This thread is closed.
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2010 - 10:55 PM
Hi,

I'm planning for a honeymoon trip to Italy and Switzerland.
So according to our plans, we will be departing from Rome in the morning of 18th Feb 2011, and then spend 6days in Switzerland (2 or 3days Interlaken -> 1 or 2 days Bern -> 2 days Luzern -> Zurich to fly home).
I have the following question:

1. Is that the best route for us to visit the 3 regions, costs-wise and time-wise? And is it better to spend the extra day in Interlaken or Bern?

2. For our train ride from Rome to Interlaken, how should we plan it? I have spent quite some time searching up online, and seems like the Rome->Milan->Spiez->Interlaken is the most direct route.
We are most probably getting a Swiss Pass, so how should we plan so that we can save on train fares? Is it better to get a train ride to Chiasso(payable), and then get on another train to Interlaken(free on Swiss Pass)?

3. For the Swiss Pass, are there certain routes which we still need to pay?

Hope to get some help. Thank you.
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2010 - 1:29 PM
Hello mondtan and welcome to the forum. As for your questions: staying in Interlaken, Bern and Lucerne would be fine. Bern is especially suitable for city tours, as it isn't located within or very close to the Alps (whereas Interlaken and Lucerne are). A train ride from Bern to Spiez, which will get you to several mountain destinations, takes only half an hour though, so Bern is still quite a central location. If you want to spend as much time in the Alps as possible, you may want to consider an overnight stay in the southern part of Switzerland as well (such as Zermatt or Saas-Fee) and/or spend the extra day in Interlaken instead of Bern. But again, it depends on what your preferences are. If you like staying in larger towns/small cities, the itinerary you mentioned is absolutely perfect.

There are two main routes by which you can enter Switzerland from Italy. One runs through Chiasso, Lucerne and Meiringen; the other one through Domodossola, Brig and Spiez (this is the most direct one). Train journeys (including trips starting in Italy and ending up in Switzerland) can be planned through the Swiss timetable. Depending on your connection, the validity of the Swiss Pass starts at either Chiasso or Domodossola. So up to Chiasso/Domodossola, you'll have to pay full fares. From there on, your inward journey will be for free with a Swiss Pass. So you''ll have to purchase a regular ticket up to Domodossola/Chiasso, and continue your journey for free from there on with your Swiss Pass, in either another train or in the same train. For international trains, you will have to make seat reservations. This can be arranged for online, which you may want to combine with the purchase of your Swiss Pass.

A map showing the exact area of validity is available through the link 'Overview of the network on which the Swiss Pass is valid' at the Swiss Pass page. Almost all regular train, bus and boat routes are covered by the Swiss Pass. Only mountain transportation requires the purchase of additional discounted tickets.

I hope this provides some answers. Good luck on planning your trip, and have a wonderful honeymoon!
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2010 - 3:52 AM
Hi Annika,

Thanks for the information. That really helps alot for my planning.
Now I am rather fixed on taking the Rome -> Milan -> Domodossola Route, since it takes up less time and doesn't require as much train transfers.
But I still have quite some queries, so can you help?

1. On the map, there are certain routes, such as from Iselle to Brig, which are dotted lines and indicated as Lines with discount (50%), so does that means we will have to pay for that portion for our train ride from Domodossola to Brig?
If so, how do we pay for that, because i get the impression that with the Swiss Pass, I do not need to get a ticket to board.

2. Are we able to book tickets in advance with the Swiss Pass? If so, how do we go about it, because I can't seem to find it on the SBB website and is that payable?

3. For all the train ride (Rome to Milan by Eurostar Italia, Milan to Domodossola by Eurocity, and InterRegio/Regio/Intercity for the rest), is there any where to store our luggage? We will probably have some huge luggage to lug around.

Thanks once again.

Best regards,
Dazmond
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 25, 2010 - 1:39 PM
Hi Dazmond. I understand your confusion on the dashed lines at the Swiss Pass validity overview. The lines you mean indicate tunnels, so the Swiss Pass is valid here. Only the lines with smaller dots (for example: the cable cars around Zermatt) indicate discounted instead of free routes. You don't have to pay anything extra for the section between Brig and Iselle.

Yes, you'll be able to book your tickets in advance. This can be done through the SBB website. Fill out your travel plan, select the connection you want to book and then click 'Fare/Buy'. This will get you into an ordering procedure. If you're asked for 'Reduction for Switzerland', please select 'GA' in either 1st or 2nd class from the drop-down list. This means 'General Abonnement' and it offers the same discounts and free travel options as the Swiss Pass. The system will then automatically not charge you for any part of the journey for which the Swiss Pass is valid. You'll be able to order along seat reservations as well. Please note though that you have to pick up your tickets at a Swiss railway station. This may be quite inconvenient if you want to make use of the direct connection between Milan and Spiez, but if you plan on getting out at Domodossola anyway, you may be able to select Domodossola as the train station where you want to pick up your tickets. The tickets can also be sent to your home address, but in that case shippings costs are involved.

In most trains, enough storage space for suitcases and backpacks is available. You'll find special luggage sections in the carriages and/or storage room between seats.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2010 - 9:00 PM
Hi Annika,

Thanks for te clarification on the difference between the dotted and dashed lines (tunnels). They do look pretty similar.

Thank you so much for answering the questions.
Have a nice day!

Best regards,
Dazmond
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Aug 26, 2010 - 1:22 AM
Sorry Annika, some questions about bookings with Swiss passes.
I just tried booking on the website for Domodossola to Interlaken, and it goes straight to the option of either Full fare or Half fare, without an option for GA. Is it because this particular route doesn't take reservation (no R indicated on comments)? In that case, do we just go to Domodossola station directly and board with the Swiss pass, without any tickets?
Also, I noticed that Brig to Spiez allows reservation, but putting in that query also doesn't give an option for GA.
Lastly, I tried Grindelward to Jungfraujoch, which should be 25% of the fare with Swiss pass, and again there isn't such an option.

Am I doing something wrongly? Or is this (http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/query.exe/en?) not the site which I should be booking tickets on? I do notice that the GA option appears when I am trying to book a cross border route from Italy, but not when trying to book routes within Switzerland. Please advise. Thank you.

Best regards,
Dazmond
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 26, 2010 - 1:41 PM
Hello Dazmond. Don't mind asking your questions! The SBB site is the one I referred to (so you're trying at the right website), but the procedure I described is suitable for ordering international train tickets and seat reservations. That's why I pointed this out for booking your trip from Rome to Interlaken. You can pick a 'GA' option (equal to the Swiss pass discounts) for international trips, so that the booking system can charge you for the foreign (in your case, the Italian) leg of the journey, but not for the Swiss leg.

For trips within Switzerland for which seat reservation isn't required, or even is impossible, it makes sense that you can't choose the GA option. Making the trip with a GA/Swiss Pass means, after all, that the entire trip is for free, and apart from that you can't even make seat reservations - so nothing would be left to order. Seat reservation isn't possible for the trip from Domodossola to Interlaken, and the entire trip is for free with your Swiss Pass, so there's no need (and no possibility) to order a seat reservation for this trip in advance.

The SBB system only offers either regular full prices or half fare prices. As the Swiss Pass offers a different discount (25% instead of 50%) for the Jungfraujoch trip, you can't pick the right fare when ordering your ticket in advance. If you wish, you can order your seat reservation for the Jungfraujoch trip through the Jungfrau Railways website. You may also be able to purchase your ticket through the webshop there, but currently there's error on the page, so I can't check. It may be wise though to reconsider purchasing this ticket in advance. It's an expensive trip, and if weather is bad at the day for which you reserved seats and ordered your tickets, it may be a waste of your money. The tickets can easily be bought at a railway station (such as Interlaken or Grindelwald) before boarding the train, with the appropiate Swiss Pass discounts. A local purchase would allow you to make sure that weather is fine before leaving.

As far as I know, the SBB website doesn't allow you to make seat reservations only, without ordering (discounted) tickets for the same trip. This would explain why you can't choose the GA option for the Brig - Spiez leg. If you definitely want to arrange for seat reservations for this part of your journey (although they're not required and most of the times not really necessary), you could contact the SBB and ask for information.

I hope it's clear now!
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Aug 27, 2010 - 6:34 AM
Hi Annika,

Everything is very clear.
Thank you so much for your patience and many tips. You have been such a great help!
We are really looking forward to the Switzerland trip.

Hop you have a nice weekend!

Best regards,
Dazmond
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Dec 2, 2010 - 10:44 PM
Hi Annika,

I have just tried to book the train ride from Rome to Domodossola for the morning of 18 Feb 2011, but was not successful.
I tried on the SBB site and the Trenitalia site, but came back with either a failed search or longer journey at later time.
Does that means that they are all sold out?
If that is so, what are my other options?

Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Dazmond
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 3, 2010 - 4:04 AM
Hi Dazmond,

I don't expect those seats to be sold out already. The SBB reported some problems with the timetable this morning: it works, but with limitations. I tried Roma - Domodossola and noticed less train services being offered than expected. I would advice to wait a day or so and try again.

The new train schedules always go into effect early December. Perhaps that causes some problems at the moment.
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Dec 4, 2010 - 4:00 AM
Hi Annika,

In that case I will try again next week. Hopefully that will work.
How early in advance can we usually book train tickets? And is there a validity period for it?

Thanks.

Best wishes,
Dazmond
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 5, 2010 - 6:27 AM
Hi Dazmond. Usually, seat reservations can be made up to 2-3 months in advance. Your reservations will be valid for the selected date and train only. I noticed that the SBB site still doesn't work properly, so you'll have to wait a bit longer. Good luck!
mondtan
mondtan
8 posts
new member
Dec 5, 2010 - 8:59 PM
Thanks Annika.

I suppose it's ok to wait longer as long as the tickets don't run out. Will probably try in another week in that case.
Thanks!

Have a nice week!

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