Paris-Grindelwald-Geneva Pass options

Paris-Grindelwald-Geneva Pass options

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VisitorDani
VisitorDani
3 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2011 - 5:20 PM
Hello, there!

I am from the United States and am planning a trip with my partner with this five-day itinerary:

16 September: Paris (Gare du Nord) to Grindelwald
17-19 September: Exploring Bernese Oberland
20 September (or late on 19 September, if necessary to make our flight): Grindelwald to Geneva

This will be our first trip to Switzerland. We will be staying at a hotel in Grindelwald for the entire time. We like to hike/trek and think First to Bachalpsee, Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, and Lauterbrunnen to Trommelbach Falls might be places we'd enjoy visiting and good beginnings to longer hikes. We're also hoping to visit Wengen, Grimmelwald, and Mürren for lunch and relaxing walks. We're open to other suggestions, as well.

I have four questions I'm hoping someone with Swiss transportation experience might be able to help me with. Thank you in advance for your patience in reading this long post!

1) What Passes should we buy? I know everyone asks this, but it truly is confusing to try the calculations! The 3-day Swiss Saver Flexi Pass (bought in advance for US$228/person) appears to take us from the Swiss border to Grindelwald and back to Geneva for our flight out for free using two of our free days. Would the third day be of use in Bernese Oberland? Or, from Grindelwald, is there little free transport available with the Pass if we're staying up in the mountain towns/areas? If that is the case, is the slightly cheaper Swiss Card (US$205/person) just as good since it still offers 50% discounts on the mountain transport?

Another option: Are we better off buying a Bernese Oberland Regional Pass with the 2-for-1 special 7-day pass (only available to purchase in CHF, correct?) at ~US$147/person? If so, what is the most economical way to get from Paris to Grindelwald and Grindelwald to Geneva?

2) If we do get a Swiss Pass/Card, do we have to book a Paris-Geneva ticket with Rail Europe (TGV) and then book a separate ticket from Geneva to Grindelwald to use a free day of our Pass?

3) What does the Bernese Oberland Regional Pass cover that the Swiss Pass does not? From the coverage maps, it looks like the Regional Pass only covers four or five additional routes for free compared to the Swiss Pass; both passes offer 50% discounts on all routes not covered by the passes. Is that correct? How much do each of those Bernese-Oberland-Regional-Pass-only trips cost at full-fare? I guess I'm asking this: How many trips using Bernese-Oberland-Regional-Pass-only routes would we need to take to make the ~US$147/person pass pay for itself?

4) When should we leave Grindelwald to make our flight in Geneva? Our flight departs Geneva Airport at 12:00 on 20 September. On http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/ I see that there is a train departing 05:19 in the morning on 20 September from Grindelwald, with two changes (traveling with R, ICE, IR), due to arrive at Geneva Airport at 08:59. Our alternative would be traveling to Geneva on 19 September, staying overnight in the cheapest hotel we could find, then taking public transport to the airport in the morning. I hear that Swiss transport is very dependable, but, for a costly international flight, which plan would you recommend?

Sorry for such a long-winded post! I appreciate any help and guidance you can offer. Thank you so much for offering this forum for questions!

Cheers,
- Dani
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 20, 2011 - 6:39 AM
Hi Dani, and welcome! First of all, let's take a look at your rail pass options (which can be quite confusing indeed). Since you'll be traveling in September, I think the current 2 for 1 offer for the Regional-Pass is an interesting option in your case. The advantage of this pass over the alternatives (such as the Swiss Flexi Pass or the Swiss Card) is that it offers free traveling in cable cars and mountain trains on some days too, whereas the other passes only provide discounts here. So if you think you'll use public transport intensively during at least some days of your stay (for a roundabout trip, for example), the Regional-Pass is an economical solution. If you were to plan less public transport trips in this region, and/or if you'd like to focus on other regions than just the valleys south of Interlaken, the Swiss Card would be more interesting. But only calculations based on a fixed list of travel plans would give you a definitive answer. They can be tricky though, so if they're too hard you'll just have to make a reasonable guess.

Let's say you opt for the Regional-Pass. In that case, part of your inbound trip from Paris will be covered by the pass. You can check where the area of validity starts at the map (just follow the link at the bottom of the Regional-Pass page). So what you would need is a ticket Paris-Geneva, a regular ticket for the non-discounted leg of your inbound trip, and a discounted ticket for the remaining leg up to Grindelwald. It may even be worth using a free travel day for this inbound trip. In that case, you won't need a ticket at all for the last leg of the trip. It depends on the route you pick where the Regional-Pass becomes valid. It isn't necessarily the easiest route to travel through Geneva, by the way. Is this already booked? If not, a trip from Paris via Basel may be more easy. The Regional-Pass would already be valid up from Bern in that case.

Yes, Swiss public transportation generally is very reliable, and if you leave early on September 20 you should easily manage to catch your flight. But of course one can never be sure, and if you want absolute certainty you could choose to leave at September 19. This overview of hotels near Geneva Airport may come in handy.
VisitorDani
VisitorDani
3 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2011 - 9:13 AM
Thank you so much for all of your suggestions and advice! Very helpful, indeed! I especially appreciate the recommendation to go to from Paris to Grindelwald via Basel instead of Geneva. That looks like a very good option for us.

One further question: At this point, I think we are going to go with the Regional Pass under the 2-for-1 offer. I notice the Regional-Pass page states "a 20% discount applies on the regular price of the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland if you posses a Swiss (Flexi/Saver) Pass, Swiss Transfer Ticket, Swiss Card or Swiss Half Fare Card." I think it's unlikely that we'd choose to buy both passes, but, if we were to do so, do you know if this 20% discount can be combined with the Regional Pass 2-for-1 offer? Or, is that not considered a "regular price?"

Thanks again for all of your help!

Cheers,
- Dani
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2011 - 3:33 PM
Hi Dani! I'm glad you're able to decide about the best rail pass now. Yes, the discounted fares for Swiss rail pass holders apply to the 2-for-1 Regional-Pass offer too. But in your case, it wouldn't indeed be economical to buy them both. Have fun with your further planning!
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2011 - 4:50 AM
Dear All,
I have aplnned to go to Swizz and booked the trip through ww.Swissair.com with my family ( Wife and infant of 10 months old).I have certain queries regarding the excurion and kindly guide me.
My Itenarary : August 30 - Zurich to Luzern
August31, September 1st - Luzern
Septermber 1st to 3rd - Interlaken
September 3rd - Back to Zurich and return home.
Queries: 1. How do i book the excursion to Mt. Titlis -
2. Can i book the entire package including railway journey from Luzern to Engelberg , Rot air , Chair car lift in the Railway station in Luzerne or at the Zurich airport SBB counter.
3. Or do i need to seprately book the train tickets at Luzern station and Rot air / Chair car lift at the Engelberg station.
3. As i have an Infant of 10 months it is advisable to take them to Mt. Titlis or Jungfrachouh (Even am wearing warm clothes)

Kindly guide me.

Satish
Arno
Arno
7299 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2011 - 11:18 AM
Hello Satish, and welcome to the forum!

You don't need to book tickets to either Titlis or Jungfraujoch in advance. You can just buy tickets at the day you'll be doing these trips. The Swiss Half Fare Card would be worth to look into.

Here's a discussion about children and high altitudes.

Please open a new topic next time, as your queries are unrelated to Dani's post. This is in our forum rules as well.

Enjoy your stay!
VisitorDani
VisitorDani
3 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2011 - 7:25 PM
Annika said: Hi Dani! I'm glad you're able to decide about the best rail pass now. Yes, the discounted fares for Swiss rail pass holders apply to the 2-for-1 Regional-Pass offer too. But in your case, it wouldn't indeed be economical to buy them both. Have fun with your further planning!


It's a bit belated now (I was traveling for a week here in the States), but I wanted to say thank you for all of your help. This forum provides an excellent service. Your thoughtful and rapid answers are invaluable. I am very grateful!

There may be more questions to come as I try to figure out how to use the Regional Passes we bought, but, until then,
All the best,
- Dani

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