Get me the best rail pass, please

Get me the best rail pass, please

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Posts: 10. This thread is closed.
06koko
06koko
5 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2016 - 3:29 PM

My sister and I will be in Switzerland at the end of May for only 4 days so we'd like to complete our travels at the minimum of time and expense. I'll break down our travel itinerary for you to better understand me.

1. Lucerne 1.5 days (via Zurich). In Lucerne, we need to take the local train/ bus to and from Sonnenberg (accommodation) and from Sonnenberg to and from the sights. If there is a short (1hour or less) boat cruise around lake Lucerne, we'd love to take that.

2. Lucerne to Bernese Oberland 2.5 days. Lucerne to Interlaken Ost via Brunig Express. Accommodation would be in Murren.

The places we'll visit around Bernese Oberland are Lauterbrunnen, Harder Kulm, Wengen, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, Gimmelwald. In my understanding going to these places, my travels has to start in Lauterbrunnen. That being so, would our travels in that region look like these?

Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Wengen (+ return trips)

Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Harder Kulm (+ return trips)

Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald to First (+ return trip)

Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Klein Sheidegg (+ return trip)

From Switzerland, we'll proceed to Colmar. So wherever is cheaper to board the train (Interlaken Ost or Bern), that is where we'll take the train to Colmar.

From Colmar to Strasbourg to Cochem or Rothenburg Ob de Tauber and finally to Munich.

So...πŸ˜… what pass would we best benefit from? Companion ticket? Eurail select pass? Or Bernese Oberland regional pass? I do not know how much our multi-country travel would amount to nor do I not understand the fares for mountain rails and or cable cars at jungfrau.ch (such as this:www.jungfrau.ch/en/tou rism/travel-information/tickets-rates/interlaken-ost/fares-for-individual-travellers/) so it has been very hard for me to calculate the cost of our travels and decide which pass to buy. Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2016 - 4:12 PM

Welcome 06koko!

I'd recommend to compare the 4 day Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Half Fare Card. My guess would be that one of those plus point to point tickets for Germany will work out cheapest. But unfortunately the only way to tell for sure is to do the math. I know you already tried that. If you don't feel like spending more time on it, which I surely understand, you can't go wrong on either of them. If you prefer convenience, the Swiss Travel Pass is the way to go. The Swiss Half Fare Card requires you to buy tickets for each trip. Details are here:

06koko
06koko
5 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2016 - 5:11 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you, Arno! That was fast ☺️

I disregarded my original plan to buy the Swiss Travel pass because the journeys it covers on our itinerary are few ( Zurich airport to Lucerne, Lucerne to Interlaken Brunig Express and possibly the lake Lucerne boat tour). The mountain rails and cable cars are only discounted and not free with the Swiss pass. Correct?

And you are correct. I tried to do the math with the Half Fare card but it is hard to arrive at a figure if one is clueless with how much each travels cost. So if I may rephrase my question, could you please tell me how much each ride cost around Berner Oberland if my travels start and end in Murren?

About the Companion ticket, does it cover the mountain rails/ cable cars? Boat cruise? What about panoramic trains? Also, could we avail of it on separate dates (eg. May 26 and May 28) or is this a one time deal?

Sorry for posing so many questions. The number of available passes really confuse me and I hope to be clear about it and have a stress-free and enjoyable stay in Switzerland.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 23, 2016 - 7:55 AM in reply to 06koko

Hi 06koko!

The Swiss Travel Pass indeed offers discounts on mountain tops; please see www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity . The Swiss Half Fare Card may turn out to be cheaper, and if you don't mind buying tickets for each trip it will be a good choice: www.myswissalps.com/sw isshalffarecard/price.

As for finding prices: our calculation page, that Arno linked to, explains how to extract prices from the Swiss timetable. It's explained at our timetable page too: www.myswissalps.com/ti metable. Apart from that, you can use the Jungfrau Railways website that you've already found. It allows you to change and select your point of departure at the left side. In your case, this would be Mürren, but you can select any other departure point in order to find the exact fares you're looking for.

I'm sorry, we're not familiar with the Companion Ticket.

munichmaria
munichmaria
10 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2016 - 12:23 PM

Hello, I too have spent the last 4 months trying to figure out the rail passes to purchase and am as confused as ever. I finally gave up and called Rail Europe US directly the gentleman gave me the best itinerary for my situation. I strongly urge you to call them - they are helpful and will give you pricing etc and suggestions. From the US the number is 1-800-622-8600. I spoke with Jeff.

06koko
06koko
5 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2016 - 2:53 PM

Thank you so much both, for your efforts and suggestions.

Munichmaria, I'm glad you shared that you spent months understanding the Swiss passes because I too have been spending so much time on the internet understanding this. The bloggers from different forums are adding to the confusion because they are giving out different answers sometimes. Thanks for sharing the contact number. That'll surely come in handy.

Annika, the links you and Arno shared have been helpful. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a little more understanding that needs your professional confirmation.

1. According to the link you shared on the range of validity of the Swiss Travel pass, "trains and buses to the villages are free". By villages, does it include Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, Gimmelwald and Murren? So my rides here are covered and I get discounted fares to Kleine Scheidegg, First and Harder Kulm with the Swiss travel pass?

2. Zurich airport to Lucerne train fare, is it CHF 24 ( according to several bloggers) or CHF 14.50 (@sbb.com)?

3. Would our trip come out cheaper if we purchase 1 Swiss Travel pass and 1 Half Fare card? I understand we get the Half Fare card at half the price with the pruchase of the Swiss pass?

Oh, and disregard my question about the combination card. I misunderstood that one. Sorry!

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 23, 2016 - 5:38 PM in reply to 06koko

Hi 06koko,

1. All the towns you mentioned can be reached for free. You can download the map from that page to verify. Yes, tickets to the other places you mentioned are discounted by either 25% or 50%. You can find that on the map as well (be sure to zoom in for more details).

2. A single ticket costs CHF 29. You'd better get such information from the official timetable yourself. Blogs might be outdated, or might be about one specific situation which is not relevant to you. The timetable and a detailed explanation of how it works is here: myswissalps.com/ timetable.

3. No, that's not a good combination. One of them will work fine, not both. You won't get a discount on one if you buy the other.

By the way, calling Rail Europe might be very helpful but be aware that they most probably won't do the full math for you, including all of your day trips, cable car rides and museums. Also they do not sell all passes (regional passes for example), so they can't include that in their advise. How to do the math, and an Excel sheet to help you, is all here: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/ chooserailpass. It's not difficult but it is time consuming. The Swiss Travel Pass is the convenient solution. If you want to be sure whether it's the cheapest option also, the math has to be done.

I hope this was useful!

06koko
06koko
5 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2016 - 2:14 PM

You have been immensely helpful to me in clearing a lot, I mean a lot, of issues I have with the passes. Good that you pointed out the map to me too because though I've been to that page countless times I didn't see that there.

And I have one loose end left to tie. It was my mistake in not making myself clear with my third question. I was asking about the Swiss travel pass FLEX combi. The Half Fare card would come out at half the price if we buy it in combination with Swiss Travel pass flex. So, can I buy the combi ticket and we each ( eg. I'll use the Swiss pass flex and my sister use the Half Fare card) use the cards at the same time?

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 25, 2016 - 5:37 AM

Hi 06kok0,

I'm glad this had been useful for you! Regarding the Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi: it's not two physical passes so you could use one each. It's one pass which serves as the combination and it has one passenger name on it. So you will each need a Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi if that's your preferred pass. You'll find all details on myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpassflex. Be sure to read the "How to use" section.

06koko
06koko
5 posts
new member
Apr 26, 2016 - 1:26 PM

Loud and clear, Arno.

Thank you so much for all you do for us travellers to Switzerland. I truly appreciate your patience and attention. Thanks to you my issues with rail passes is now an issue of the past. 😁

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