Need help to choose rail pass!

Need help to choose rail pass!

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Its2cheryl
Its2cheryl
3 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2015 - 3:12 PM

travelling early September to Switzerland and France. In Switzerland only 8 days, for hiking. Landing in Geneva, travelling to Grindelwald (4 days) want to take trains to get around to the nearby valleys and up to Top of Europe. Then we need to get to Chamonix (staying 4 days). Need train from Chamonix to Avignon where we pick up a car for a week, then would like to take TGV from Avignon to Paris, (2nights sightseeing) and finally a train to Charles de Gaulle airport. My question is since there is not a lot of train travel in France, would we be best to get the Swiss half fare ticket instead of the France-Switzerland pass? Or can anyone recommend another option?thank you!

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 19, 2015 - 4:14 PM in reply to Its2cheryl

Hi lts2cheryl,

You mentioned 8 days in Switzerland, but I see only 4 in your plan since Chamonix is in France. Did I miss something? Please let me know and I'll get back to you.

Its2cheryl
Its2cheryl
3 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2015 - 6:03 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno, thanks for getting back to me!

Actually, you are so right! So would we get the France-Switzerland rail pass or....Would we then look at the rail pass for France and purchase the Swiss Half fare pass for the trains to and around Grindelwald, Junfraujock, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen, First? It would cost us about $300(CDN) for the two half price passes, so I wonder if the value us there? I think it might be, just for the reduced price in the trip up to the Top of Europe. I am also confused about which trains require reserved seats and the cost of the reservation on top of the cost of the pass. Is there a similar half fare pass for a France?

FYI..about 10 yrs ago I did this trip and we bought consecutive day passes on First Class because it covered more trains...I can't see that on any site, so assume things have changed.

I think the second class France -Switzerland rail pass would cost approximately $1000.00 (for two) and we would need reservations on any TGV (Avignon) and I think the train from Klein Scheidegg to Jungfraujock, maybe the train to get to Chamonix from Martigny? otherwise we just hop on and off trains as we would like to.

I have spent hours online researching routes and cost of trains without passes of any kind, and it looks like there may be a bit of a saving with the pass, but I don't see it being a huge difference in overall price unless I am missing something.

Advantage to pass=no lineups for tickets. Disadvantage =having to pay extra for reservations and limited Rez seats available.

thanks again!

cheryl

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 20, 2015 - 9:49 AM in reply to Its2cheryl

Hi Cheryl,

In that case I'd recommend a Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi. It includes the transfers from Geneva airport to Grindelwald and from Grindelwald to Chamonix for free. It gets you 50% off further trips while in Grindelwald. This option is slightly cheaper than a Swiss Half Fare Card, and more convenient as you don't need tickets for the first and last day in Switzerland. Prices can be found through the linked page: click to the Price section of that page, select Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi under "Rail product" and click "Show results". Also check the Discounts section!

Note that there's a $50 off promo for the Swiss Travel Pass. You may want to look into that too. I wouldn't normally recommend it for your itinerary, but now it's quite cheap and it's the more convenient option: no need to buy tickets except for mountain excursions, and the option to do longer trips or boat trips for free if your plans in Grindelwald change (e.g. because of the weather). Please see www.raileurope.ca/rail -tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html and this forum thread. This is the consecutive pass you probably used 10 years ago. Back then it was called Swiss Pass, now it's the Swiss Travel Pass.

I don't know all about the options in France. I haven't heard of a half fare card for France. I think you can best take a point to point ticket from Avignon to Paris, and perhaps a local pass. Details are here. In most cases you can buy your pass for Switzerland and these tickets for France from one website.

Last modified on Aug 20, 2015 - 9:53 AM by Arno
Its2cheryl
Its2cheryl
3 posts
new member
Aug 21, 2015 - 2:08 AM

Thanks, great info, will look into all you have suggested!

can you let me know the link to member "Kim" post about the Bernese Oberland, please?

i was reading section one of three, when I got bumped out of the site and would like to read all three sections! The information was fantastic, well written! Please let me know how I can find it again..

thanks so much!

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 21, 2015 - 6:32 AM in reply to Its2cheryl
Last modified on Aug 21, 2015 - 6:34 AM by Arno

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