First Europe Tour queries

First Europe Tour queries

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Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 11, 2015 - 5:55 PM

Hi Annika,

Tamanna here, Thanks or your responses on email. while i am still reading all the links you sent, a few basic questions

1. The Swiss pass costs approx 363euros per person. when i did the calcs for the trips i am doing as per the tips on this website, the cost of just 3 one way trips came close to 350 euros. so are we saying that the pass helps me save more than half the cost of train tickets? is it so cost effective? i read on a few reviews that there are hidden costs that come to light only when you travel, eg seat reservations are costlier, sometimes there are no seats available for passholders etc?? Considering that i am travelling with my mom who has had a spine injury last year, i do not want to risk not having seats. please throw some light

2. when i see a direct route which has a connection (eg zurich to interlaken), they say that trains are at a time difference of 20 mins and hence if you are travelling with luggage, you should plan 45 mins of time gap and hence book separate tickets. qs is that if the route shows a particular connection point (in this case Bern), is that the only connecting station ? where can i get more options?

3. while travelling within Switzerland, or my last transit from Geneva to Paris, should i plan for additional time for visa checking etc? i intend to reach the stations 30-45 mins ahead of the train time, is that sufficient?

Thanks,

Tamanna

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 12, 2015 - 5:32 AM

Hi Tamanna,

Thanks for joining MySwissAlps!

1. I'm not sure which pass you have in mind (I assume the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass, right?), or which trips you plan to do. You can best make a list of your entire itinerary, and then do the calculations as explained on myswissalps.com /train/ticketspasses/ practical/chooserailpass. Swiss Travel Pass prices, and promotions, can be found on myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/price. In general I can say that a pass is cost effective. One usually needs a Swiss Half Fare Card at the very least, but a Swiss Travel Pass is the better choice if a lot of traveling is involved.

You don't need seat reservations, please see here. If you buy them anyway, they don't sell out specifically for pass holders. That only applies to Eurail passes and to specific trains.

2. There are no tickets to book if you have a Swiss Travel Pass. Just board any train you like. Is your question about the time required to change trains? 20 minutes is plenty of time. Usually 5 minutes is enough. Any connection suggested by the timetable is doable. If you miss a train anyway you simply take the next one.

3. Half an hour is sufficient. You don't even need it for checks, as that will be done on board. But a bit of spare time is recommended as trains to Paris do require seat reservations, so you don't want to miss that specific train. Be sure to buy this ticket in advance. You can do so when you purchase your pass. More information is here.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 13, 2015 - 10:31 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

thanks for your response. i had sent an email earlier that Annika hasd replied so my questions were a continuation to that conversation. Apologies if i confused you. So my itenary for Switzerland is as

Day1: reach Zurich by evening from Austria
Day2: Zurich – Mt. Titlis
Day3: Zurich – Rhine falls and return, by evening reach
Interlaken
Day4: Interlaken – Jungfraujoch and back
Day5: Interlaken – Matterhorn and back
Day6: possibly Trummelbach falls and then Leave for Geneva
Day7: Local Geneva site seeing
Day8: Local Geneva site seeing and then leave for Paris

I have done the calcs for trains as per your website and compared it to the cost of Swiss Travel Passes . as i said, the cost of the first few trips was equal to the pass cost, so i was surprised at the amount of saving. I am looking at an 8 day pass . the "where to buy" link has lots of options, prices are almost the same but some difference. Since i am based in Mumbai, is it advisable to Buy it from online via rail europe india or raileurope world?

Thanks for the clarification on point2, considering that i will be buying a pass, will be able to board next train of i miss the planned one. Do they do visa validation at the station (from Innsbruck to Zurich and Geneva to Paris). just so i can plan time accordingly?

thanks for all the inputs, its really making planning so much more easier.


Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 14, 2015 - 10:16 AM

Hi Tamanna,

Please note that a lot is covered for free with the Swiss Travel Pass, but most cable cars/cogwheel trains are discounted, not free. I'm not sure whether you have taken that into account. Anyway, the page I referred to about doing the calculations explains this in detail.

Both Rail Europe websites are fine, but the Indian one is probably slightly better for you since they allow payment in rupees, so no exchange rate issues. Please visit www.raileurope.co.in/pass/swiss-pass?visitor_country=IN for details on prices and shipping.

There are no checks upon boarding a train within Switzerland; you can board any train you like. In case of international trains, passport checks will be done on board.

deepzxk
deepzxk
3 posts
new member
May 14, 2015 - 12:21 PM in reply to Tamanna

HI,

I am also from mumbai and traveling with my mom who has limited mobility.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 15, 2015 - 10:21 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

thanks for your response. Could you please advise on the best route for Jungfrau and Matterhorn. Various forums say different routes, but am a bit confused on the 2 train options in Jungfrau. Also, i read your response to another query that Matterhorn is 2.5 hours one side from Interlaken, and that the trip should be taken up only based on weather. Lemme be a bit honest here, I will definately not be getting my mom to the same destination again as there's the whole world she wants to see :). so even if the weather aint perfect, i would still want to do Matterhorn. can you please advise what is the cut-off weather condition when i should choose something else instead of Matterhorn? and what else could be that choice? on my 3rd day in INterlaken, we are doing TRUMMELBACH FALL and then leaving for Geneva.

thanks

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 16, 2015 - 8:10 AM

Hi Tamanna,

As for the Jungfraujoch visit: you can find a detailed route description on myswissalps.com/ jungfraujoch/ gettingthere.

As for the Matterhorn: you can't actually visit the mountain itself, but you can enjoy the view of it from several viewing points around Zermatt, and from town itself. One of the best in my opinion is Gornergrat, to be reached by a cogwheel train that departs across the rail station of Zermatt. You need clear skies for such a trip. Rain or low clouds means that the mountains are covered in clouds and you will only see fog. So do check the weather forecast on the prior evening, and also the webcams. Also take into account that the weather can change quickly, so if they predict clouds for the afternoon, be sure to take a very early train from Interlaken. There's a lot to do in Zermatt, but most of it requires good weather. There's a museum, but I would not recommend such a long trip to just see the museum and not the mountains.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 17, 2015 - 9:29 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

thanks for your reply. I will definately bear in mind the weather on previous evening. Please advise

1. Whats the best train route for Zermatt from INterlaken. the SBB link shows 2 changes at Spiez and Visp, I would prefer a direct train or max one change as my mom will be there with me.

2. incase we are not doing Zermatt et all due to weather, what do you suggest on that day from Interlaken?

Thanks

Tamanna

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 17, 2015 - 1:43 PM

Hi Tamanna,

1. You always need to change twice on that route, there's no way around that.

2. Please check the Interlaken page and Bernese Oberland page for suggestions. A boat trip is always nice, even if it's cloudy. If the weather is good, there are plenty of peaks to visit (Niesen, Niederhorn). Other options are the St. Beatus caves, and the Open Air Museum. Plenty to do!

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 18, 2015 - 7:45 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno

For planning the train timings within Switzerland, should i view trains on raileurope link or some other local railway link? Also, when search for train from Zurich to Interlaken on raileurope, it shows connection via Spiez, but on forums i have read that i can take Golden pass if i switch at Lucerne. Will this route be allowed if i am using a pass? Also, the Golden pass train (Zentralbahn ) is from the same train station that drops me at Lucerne from Zurich ? i will need a handy time table across all train stations for my itinerary so that i can plan which train connection to take, will i get a handy pocket booklet from Zurich HB or will i always have to search online?

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 18, 2015 - 7:52 AM in reply to Tamanna

Also, i just noticed that Golden Pass from Lucerne to Interlaken is onlyduring early morning (last around 10am ), so guess wont be able to take that route of Golden pass as i will be seeing Rhine falls in the morning and then leaving from Zurich to Interlaken during the day. However, when i searched for trains from Interlaken to Geneva, i do not see Golden pass as option, but i know that leg exists. what am i missing? Apologies if its something very silly,

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 18, 2015 - 3:19 PM

Hi Tamanna,

A Swiss Travel Pass allows you to travel everywhere (please see the map for details). So you can indeed switch trains in Lucerne (it's just one station). Trains run all day long, not just in the morning. You can best check the national timetable (there's an app too; links to apps are here), and first look for trains to Lucerne, then for direct trains from Lucerne to Interlaken (which is the Golden Pass line). Once you're ready to book, only then go to Rail Europe. But you don't need to book trains within Switzerland since you'll have the pass. All you need to purchase is the pass and the ticket from Geneva to Paris.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 20, 2015 - 6:57 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

thanks for your inputs and apologies for delayed response. I have already booked Geneva Paris leg :). the trains from Lucerne to Interlaken are the Lucerne - Interlaken express (15:05, !6:05, 17:05) , this is not the Golden Express rite?

also, not sure if you would be able to assist here, but i need to know what are the shop/mall open and close timings in Zurich bahnhofstrasse? I am told its one of the great places to shop but google shows shop start closing from 6-8pm? i will manage time only in evenings so wanted to work it out.

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 21, 2015 - 6:56 AM

Hi Tamanna,

Any train from Lucerne to Interlaken is fine, there's no need to select a particular time. The Bahnhofstrasse is indeed the famous shopping street of Zurich, please see myswissalps.com/ bahnhofstrasse. Shopping in Switzerland is best done during the day. Shops indeed close between 6 and 8 PM.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 21, 2015 - 7:48 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks for confirming Arno, will plan accordingly

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 21, 2015 - 1:06 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

i finally booked by 8 day pass today on the website you gave! thanks :)

for my itenerary below, do i need to reserve seats for Golden Pass or any other special train?

Day3: Zurich – Rhine falls and return, by evening reach
Interlaken
Day4: Interlaken – Jungfraujoch and back
Day5: Interlaken – Matterhorn and back
Day6: possibly Trummelbach falls and then Leave for Geneva​

Also, if i Do lake Brienz and Brienzer Rothorn trip, i would like to take boat from INterlaken to Brienz one side. the timetable link default shows the train route till Brienz, how do i get the boat timetable and location from Interlaken?

Last modified on May 21, 2015 - 1:25 PM by Tamanna
Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
May 21, 2015 - 3:22 PM

Hi Tamanna,

Good to hear that you've ordered your Swiss Travel Pass!

No, you don't need any reservations. You can reserve seats for the Golden Pass, but this is not required.

Timetables for the boats over Lake Brienz can be found at www.myswissalps.com/boatlakebrienz; see "More on other websites". Here's information on how to find the boat dock in Interlaken.

Last modified on May 21, 2015 - 3:24 PM by Annika
Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 24, 2015 - 7:48 AM in reply to Annika

Thanks Annika,

Need some help, our flight is Mumbai - Zurich - Vienna . We are pure hindu vegeratian and will need to carry food stuff, i tried the Zurich airport links but am unable to find what specific food items are allowed/disallowed and how to package home made food stuff (only dry though). can you please advise?

Thanks

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
May 24, 2015 - 8:31 AM

Hi Tamanna,

Vegetarian food is very easy to find in Switzerland, although I don't know about the special requirements for Hindu vegetarian. You can take a look at ch.ch/en/swiss-customs/ for further information about importing food.

Tamanna
Tamanna
11 posts
new member
May 25, 2015 - 11:02 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks for these links but already seen these, i am not able to get specific answers on what kinda packaging for dry home made breads (we call it thepla). also any specific food items not allowed?

As mom is old and has some specific diet requirements, just gotta be cautious.

thanks

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