Need Advice on the type of tickets

Need Advice on the type of tickets

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
Lalaland
Lalaland
4 posts
new member
Aug 1, 2010 - 7:03 PM
Hi, I am so grateful to find this forum page and the help you guys had given to Tourists like us. My family (husband, 2 kids (8, 11 yrs old) will be travelling to Europe (and Switzerland (1st time)) in mid November. As this is the 1st time I am doing the planning for train trips, I got some confused with the variety of ticket offers. I would definitely need help here for our 4 nights stay in Switzerland
Our planned itinerary is as follow:-
Day 1: Arrive in Zurich Airport in the mornig - > (travel straight to Interlaken)
Day 2: Interlaken
Day 3: Interlaken
Day 4: Bern or Basel or Zurich?
Day 5: Travel to Paris
Qns:-
a) I read from some forum that the train ride from Zurich>Lucern>Interlaken is very scenic but when i tried to use the timetable to find the route, this one seems not to be the proposed route, does that meant that I will have to change train during the way to Interlaken?
b) As we travelling 14 hrs to Switzerland, on day 1 arrival to Interlaken, I believe we will be doing nothing except wander about the interlaken city town. Day 2 we might follow the proposed day trip in this forum to do the roundabout Journey1. If weather permits (is November ok?), we would like to go to Jungfraujoch on Day 3, not too sure what train/ticket requires.
c) As we do not want to travel all the way from Interlaken to the train station bound for Paris (most likely we would take the TGV), we would like to arrive earlier and stay in Bern or Basel or Zurich, any suggestion? And in between, it would be nice to visit Lucern.

With my itinerary like this, is it better to purchase Swiss Saver Pass or Swiss half fare card? I intend to get them deliver to me before the trip to save the hassle, can I also at the same time get them to send me the Swiss Family card as I understand (from this forum again! :-), it is so useful!) that my kids will be travelled for free with accompanying adults.

Thanks in advance for the reply.
Rgds
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 2, 2010 - 12:59 PM
Hello Lalaland and welcome to this forum! As for your questions:

1) Yes, the train ride from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne is beautiful, but as it isn't the quickest route the timetable may indeed not come up with this. If you enter your trip in this timetable, you can select 'advanced search' through the blue link at the bottom of the search fields. This allows you to enter several 'via-stations'. If you fill out Lucerne and Meiringen as your via-stations, the timetable will show connections through the scenic route over the Brünig Pass.
http://www.zuerich.com/en/welcome.cfm

2) After such a long train trip it's wise not to plan further activities after your arrival in Interlaken. The 2nd day could indeed be used for the roundabout trip in the Bernese Oberland. As no hiking is involved, the weather won't be that much of a problem. But a clear and sunny day would of course be preferable, as the views are absolutely amazing. Bad weather alternatives would be the Trümmelbach falls and the Aare gorge - less scenic, but still impressive. It can't be predicted what the weather will be like in November. It can be very clear and sunny, but early winter, snow and clouds are possible as well. Therefore it's always wise to have some alternatives in mind and keep your travel scheme flexible. As for tickets and the best pass to buy: I'd say a Swiss Half Fare Card would be best in your case. A Swiss Saver Pass offers ease of use, as you can travel for free in train, bus and boat and as you don't have to purchase regular tickets for these trips. But then again, a fairly large portion of your trip will include cable cars and mountains trains. These aren't for free with a Swiss Saver Pass. Most are discounted by 50%, but some (including the mountain trains between Grindelwald, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch, which you'll be using) are discounted by 25%. Moreover, you won't be travelling very large and expensive distances, so a Swiss Half Fare Card is very likely the most economical solution. You can purchase your Swiss Half Fare Card in advance through the Swiss Half Fare Card page. Pick your country of residence in the list under the header 'Order your Swiss Half Fare Card here'. During the order process you can also indicate that you want to receive a free STS Family Card along with the pass, which will indeed allow the children to travel along with you for free on all trips. If you have a Swiss Half Fare Card, this means that you'll have to purchase reduced tickets for all trips you want to make. This can easily be done at the spot right before boarding the (mountain) train, at a ticket corner or at the ticketing machines which have clear instructions in English and allow you to purchase half fare tickets.

3) Several train connections to Paris are available. The trains to Paris leave from Zurich, Basel and Geneva. It's best review the page on train travel between Switzerland and Paris (just fill out your departure station - Zurich, Basel or Geneva - and your arrival station - Paris - in the timetable displayed here) and see what the best and most convenient connection is. If you decide to travel through Basel, it's very easy to visit Bern on your way. Some tips for a short visit to Bern can be found on the Bern tourism page. If you choose a connection leaving from Zurich, you can easily combine visits to Lucerne and Zurich. And if your connection runs through Geneva, you could visit Bern, Lausanne and/or Geneva on your way. Zurich, Bern and Lucerne are all worth a visit. Hopefully the links I gave will help you to make a decision.

I hope this helps!
Lalaland
Lalaland
4 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2010 - 7:45 PM
Thank you for your advice, Annika. It is much clearer now.

We have decided to stay in Zurich on the 4th night and visit Lucerne and part of Zurich. If we use the Swiss Half Fare Card, can I check further on the followings:-
1) for the scenic boat ride in Lucerne and public transport in City Zurich, I have to pay 50% fare?
2) Can I check that for my trip from Zurich to Paris via Basel (1st leg European Train), I only need to pay 50% fare (children free)? But for the 2nd leg TGV Lyria, this is the one that I need to pay full fare (including my children).

Thanks so much!
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 3, 2010 - 3:07 AM
Hi Lalaland. Yes, you're right on both suppositions. The 50% fare applies to nearly all bus, boat and train trips in Switzerland and for public transport in Zurich. The Swiss leg of the train trip to Paris is reduced by 50% as well; the French part requires full fare. A map showing the exact validity of the Swiss Half Fare Card can be reviewed at this page, under the link 'Overview of the network on which the Swiss Half Fare Card is valid'.

Good luck on your further preparations!
Lalaland
Lalaland
4 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2010 - 4:28 AM
Hi Annika,
Would like to ask some more questions - Once I got the Swiss Half Fare Card, can I then proceed to book the ticket in advance to Paris through Internet or I need to buy the ticket only at the train station when I am in Switzerland? If I can buy from Internet, how does the system know how to charge me (Swiss part 50% and France part 100% (plus kids))? The reason why I asked this is that I read in forum that the TGV ticket will be cheaper if I booked in advance. If I can only buy in Switzerland, I believe I can get at any station few days in advance by showing the half fare card to entitle to the discount, correct?
Thanks a lot.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 4, 2010 - 12:51 PM
Hello Lalaland. The Swiss leg of the journey doesn't require seat reservations and you don't have to book your ticket for this part of the trip in advance. Simply purchase your half fare ticket for the trip to Basel right before boarding at the railway station of Zurich or Lucerne. As Basel is the border station, your Swiss Half Fare Card won't be valid from Basel on anymore. So my advice would be to buy your half fare tickets for Zurich/Lucerne-Basel on the spot, just as you will purchase all of your tickets in Switzerland with a 50% discount, and order your full fare tickets for the adults and the children for the leg from Basel to Paris online through the page I mentioned. This way, the system won't have to make a difference between both legs of the trip and you don't have to indicate that a 50% discount applies to part of the trip when ordering.

Purchasing your ticket for the entire trip Zurich-Basel-Paris can also be done at a larger railway station in Switzerland a few days in advance, if you prefer this. A railway employee will be able to give you a discounted ticket for the Swiss part of the trip and a full fare ticket for the French part of the trip, plus tickets for your children.

I hope it's clear now!

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