Geneva-Murren-Como; which rail pass?

Geneva-Murren-Como; which rail pass?

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stevemcdonald
stevemcdonald
25 posts
new member
Feb 18, 2016 - 5:26 AM

Last August I started this thread www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/planning-trip-for-2016-switz-italy, but now have a more refined itinerary and probably more succinct questions:

We plan to fly into Geneva at the end of June and spend a week between Lake Geneva and Murren - we'd like to be able to use the various transport systems in that area (for example boat on Lake Geneva, train to Murren, and the train and cables between Luterbrunnen and Grindelwald, the Schilthorn cable, etc).

Then we plan to take the train from, I guess, Spiez, to Como somehow. You've mentioned that the best way to get from the Interlaken area to Como is through Milan - so how exactly would that work? Is there one site that would permit me to make reservations from Spiez to Milan, assuming the Milan to Como trip would be available through trenitalia.com?

And considering the week of various jaunts around Switzerland and then the trip to Como, what would be the best Swiss Pass?

Thank you very much!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 18, 2016 - 10:06 AM in reply to stevemcdonald

Good to hear from you again Steve! Where exactly in the Como region are you going? Is it the town of Como or some other town?

stevemcdonald
stevemcdonald
25 posts
new member
Feb 19, 2016 - 1:40 AM in reply to Arno

Well we were thinking of the town of Como at the south end of the Lake. But we could be persuaded if there is a more interesting place (Bellagio? Varrena? - I was watching the thread with "klimes", Debbie from Canada). All depends on how long of a day trip from Spiez. And we'd probably just spend 2, maybe 3 nights, then on to Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence & Rome (3 weeks total). So, to answer your question - the key to the trip is the best way to get to the city of Como, maybe the rail station at Como S. Giovanni.

Thanks for your reply!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 19, 2016 - 8:02 AM

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the additional details. I can't help with Italy related questions, so I'll assume your destination is the town of Como. It's just across the border from the Swiss town of Chiasso. While for many other Italian destinations (like Monterosso we discussed before) you would go through Milan, there is another option for Como: take a train from Switzerland to Domodossola, Italy. Then change to the scenic Centovalli (Hundred Valleys) railway to Locarno, Switzerland. Then continue to Como via Bellinzona. Interestingly, nearly all of this is covered for free with a Swiss Travel Pass, even though part of the trip is in Italy. All you need additionally is a seat reservation for the train to Domodossola (most trains require that), possibly a small surcharge on the Centovalli train (to be paid on board) and a ticket Chiasso - Como (about CHF 2). This is a very scenic route and you would avoid Milan. All details are in the timetable.

The Swiss Travel Pass also covers you week in Switzerland. Mountain trips are mostly discounted by 50%, but new this year is that even the Schynige Platte cogwheel train is free with the pass.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2016 - 8:05 AM by Arno
stevemcdonald
stevemcdonald
25 posts
new member
Mar 1, 2016 - 4:50 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno - we're now working on this. We're thinking about just getting the Swiss Half Fare card like we did in 2012, primarily because the Swiss travel Pass is sold in a certain number of consecutive days (3, 4, 8 or 15), and we would need at least 8 (Geneva-Lausanne on day 1, Lausanne-Murren on day 3, Murren-Grindelwald on day 6 (Jungfraubahn) and Grindelwald-Como on day 8) especially since it gets very expensive for 8 days - and it's only half off all the cables, etc in the Jungfrau area, just like the Half Fare card. Anyway, just a couple of specific questions about the Half Fare card:

1. Good for half-fare on the CGN boats on Lake Lausanne (ie, Lausanne-Chateau de Chillon)?

2. Good for half fare on Golden Pass route (is that the best rail from Lausanne-Interlaken area?)

3. Finally, you suggest the trip from Spiez-Domodossola-Locarno-Chiaso, which we're planning on - Half Fare good on that entire trip as well?

Thank you so much, I don't know how you keep up!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 2, 2016 - 6:18 AM in reply to stevemcdonald

Hi Steve,

The Swiss Half Fare Card works on all those routes. Everything included in the card can be found through myswissalps.com/ swisshalffarecard/ validity.

Please see myswissalps.com/ swisshalffarecard/ price for where to buy the card.

stevemcdonald
stevemcdonald
25 posts
new member
Mar 15, 2016 - 4:01 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks for all your help Arno,

Would you think that I need to make advance reservations for the following rail trips?

1) July 2, 2016: Lausanne - Montreux - (Golden Pass) -Zweisimmen - Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen

2) July 7: Your suggested trip to Como (S. Giovanni): Grindelwald - Spiez - Brig - Domodossola - Locarno - Giubiasco - Chiasso - Como

I plan to get the Swiss Half-Fare Card for each of us. If I need to reserve a seat for any of this, can I do it on SBB?

Thanks

Steve

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 15, 2016 - 10:22 AM in reply to stevemcdonald

Hi Steve,

You do not need seat reservations in Switzerland: myswissalps.com/ train/reservations. From Chiasso to Como you can pick one of the local trains that do not require reservations. It's a ride of a few minutes only.

You can get the Swiss Half Fare Cards though www.swissrailways.com/ en and print them at home. Pick the "Online Ticket" option when delivery options are presented.

stevemcdonald
stevemcdonald
25 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2016 - 7:40 PM in reply to Arno

Having a little trouble here. On one of our travel legs we'd like to take the Golden Pass route Montreux-Zweisimmen-Interlaken. I went to www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass/tickets and noticed it said that reservations are recommended for the Montreuz-Zweisimmen leg. So I clicked the raileurope link and started looking for reservations.

Our trip is in July, so that's too far out I guess, but to get an idea of the cost I started looking at days in May and June. I only found one day where the 9:44AM #3118 Golden Pass train, changing to #4068 in Zweisimmen, was available.

On all other days I checked in May and June, this train was not available and typically the only available route was the 8:36AM #37 to Brig, then changing to Spiez and finally Interlaken West - I don't think that's a Golden Pass route.

I downloaded Schedule #471 (Topzuge GoldenPass Line) from the SBB site and if I'm reading it right it appears that there are also Golden Pass trains leaving Montreux at 11:44AM (#2124), 13:44 (#3126) & 15:44 (#2128) - but none of these show up even when I click on "Later Trains" on the raileurope site. Could all of these trains be sold out already???

Thanks

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 20, 2016 - 11:25 AM in reply to stevemcdonald

Hi Steve,

Actually there's no need to book anything. Only between Montreux and Zweisimmen, seat reservations are recommend for some (not all) trains, and required for large groups only (see the timetable). If you travel with just a few people I would not book anything, except if you want one of the 1st class VIP seats in the front of the train.

You do need a discounted ticket, but Rail Europe does not sell these. You can get them at any Swiss rail station.

Indeed routes via Brig, or Visp, are not the Golden Pass route. Look for routes via Zweisimmen only; that's the Golden Pass line.

Enjoy the ride!

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