First time Swiss Traveler Rail Question

First time Swiss Traveler Rail Question

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Posts: 8. This thread is closed.
damoocow
damoocow
3 posts
new member
Feb 16, 2013 - 6:18 AM
I have been slowly losing my mind reading forum posts here and on other sites trying to get an understanding of what I need to do to get the best value of my Swiss trip, hoping someone can help. My 18 yo daughter and I are from Australia and will be coming from Paris through to Florence via Switzerland in early June 2013. We have 3 nights booked in Lauterbrunnen and want to do the Jungfrau while we are over there- apart from that we just want to enjoy the scenery and the Swiss hospitality but we can't work out what pass is best for us [I am thinking it is the half price pass]. I am also struggling trying to work out the trip from Brig to Milan - I assume it's through Iselle but it doesn't come up on rail booking sites.
Cheers,
damoocow
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 16, 2013 - 6:35 AM
Hi damoocow! If you're looking for rail connections, you can best use the Swiss timetable. It's very reliable and shows all available connections, including the Brig to Milan trip. The quickest route runs via Domodossola and Stresa. By the way, if you travel from Lauterbrunnen directly to Milan, there are connections allowing you to change trains in Spiez and stay seated all the way up to Milano, without having to get out at Brig. If you want, you can book your tickets through this timetable as well.

As for a rail pass: the Swiss Half Fare Card is a good option indeed. About equally expensive (assuming you're arriving from Basel and leaving via Brig and Domodossola), but more practical, is the Swiss Card. It provides the same benefits as the Swiss Half Fare Card, but also a free inbound and outbound journey. This means that the legs Basel-Lauterbrunnen and Lauterbrunnen-Domodossola are for free in your case, and that you don't have to buy tickets for these legs. You'd only buy tickets Paris-Basel and Domodossola-Milan.

I hope this helps you out. You're welcome to get back with further questions of course.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
damoocow
damoocow
3 posts
new member
Feb 16, 2013 - 7:02 PM
Thanks heaps for the info. I am unsure about the discount the cards you mentioned get when presenting them for the Jungfrau though - couldn't seem to find out - I am assuming it is 50%?
Based on some basic maths it looks like both the cards seem to work out close together in price for the trips Basel - Lauterbrunnen / Lauterbrunnen - Domodossala and a few small journeys around Lauterbrunnen. I get it to something around CHF 600 for the two of us [including a 50% reduction for the Jungfrau[CHF 190 each] - does that sound like it would be close or is my maths way out??
Arno
Arno
7311 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 17, 2013 - 3:46 AM
Hello damoocow,

You'll indeed get a 50% discount. You can check all such details if you download the maps from the pages Annika gave you. The amount sounds reasonable, and both cards indeed add up to about the same amount. The Swiss Card is just more comfortable as it includes the inbound/outbound trip so you don't need to buy a ticket for those trips.
damoocow
damoocow
3 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2013 - 4:21 AM
Thanks Arno,

Is mid June a busy time for train travel in Switzerland?
I noticed that it is way cheaper to buy a Swiss card when we arrive in Switzerland - is that easy to do and I assume that it can be done at the station in Basel? I am sort of torn between buying the Swiss Cards before I leave Australia and having seats booked or just getting a cheaper one over there....
Arno
Arno
7311 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 17, 2013 - 8:49 AM
You're welcome! Mid June is near the high season (July - August), so it can be busy depending on time and place. Rail pass prices vary quite a lot. Currently purchasing locally is indeed cheaper in your specific case. It's also a matter of convenience though. It's not complicated to buy it at the Basel rail station, assuming you're there during opening hours, but it takes some time (10 minutes or so if it's not busy). If you buy online you can either validate the pass yourself, or have it validated by the train personnel of the train from Paris to Basel, depending on where you buy. So in that case you can switch trains in Basel right away. Also, it depends which reseller services you prefer. Rail Europe is one of the options in your case and they allow payments in your local currency, they have a local helpdesk, and the option of their Protection Plan to cover lost or stolen passes. Be sure to look into the promo codes as well; details are in the forum. Well, I hope this helps you decide. All purchase options are explained in detail on the Swiss Card page.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
derick202
derick202
1 post
new member
Feb 18, 2013 - 11:41 AM
Good day; a slightly different scenario for a first time swiss rail traveller - my wife and I will be making our first visit to Switzerland late in July - we fly into Zurich then stay in Lauterbrunnen for 8 days. Using Lauterbrunnen as our home base we will be hiking throughout the Jungfrau region but not traveling outside of that region except to and from the Zurich airport. Our question is: should we get a Swiss Rail Pass or the Bernese Oberland Regional Pass or both?

Thanks for your help - really love the forum

Regards,
Don
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 18, 2013 - 2:27 PM
Welcome Don! If you'll be making trips within the Bernese Oberland mainly, an 8 day Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is the best choice: it covers an extensive network, stretching out all the way to Bern and Lucerne. This also means that part of your trips from and to Zurich Airport are for free with a valid Regional-Pass: you'll only need tickets up to and from Bern. Please find details, purchase options and a network map at the Regional-Pass page.

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