Swiss Card, Border Town, Reservations

Swiss Card, Border Town, Reservations

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Posts: 4. This thread is closed.
travis33
travis33
2 posts
new member
Feb 9, 2011 - 12:55 PM
Hello,

My sister and I will be travelling from Milan to Lauterbrunnen in early April. Our plans are to stay in Lauterbrunnen four nights and Zurich one night before flying home. While in Lauterbrunnen we plan on visiting the mountain villages of Grindelwald, Gimmelwald, Wengen, and Murren, we would also like to take the trips up to Jungfrau and Schilthorn. Leaving Lauterbrunnen we plan on taking the Golden Express to Lucerne and walk around the city for a few hours before heading on to Zurich.

My questions are:
1) Would a Swiss card be the best option for our plans? If not, which card, do we need a card/pass?
2) Should I buy a ticket from Milan to Swiss border(which town) and then use Swiss card for rest of trip from the border to Lauterbrunnen?
3) How would we validate the Swiss card at the Italy/Swiss border?
4) Is it possible to get the trip from Lauterbrunnen to Lucerne and on to Zurich considered as my trip back to the border on the Swiss card so that this trip would be free?
5) Do I need reservations for any portion of this trip?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Travis
Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 10, 2011 - 4:06 AM
Hi travis33. In your case, the Swiss Card is indeed slightly cheaper than the Swiss Half Fare Card, and I think it's the best option for your trip. How your Swiss Card has to be validated, depends on the reseller that issues your pass. RailEurope (for most non-European countries) issues passes that have to be validated by a railway official at a railway station. You can do so at (for example) the railway station of Brig, which would mean that you'd have to purchase a ticket from Milan to Brig, and that you could start using your Swiss Card from Brig. Swiss Travel Centre issues passes on which the start date of validity is printed (you have to fill out this date when ordering your pass), so this doesn't need further validation. With such a pass you can simply stay seated, and show it to the train conductor once you're in Switzerland. In this case you'd have to purchase a ticket from Milan to the first station within the Swiss Card's validity area, which in most cases is either Domodossola or Chiasso. The trip can be planned using the Swiss timetable.

The trip from Lauterbrunnen to Zurich Airport via Lucerne will indeed count as your trip back to the border, and it will therefore be for free. As long as this outward journey is completed within one day, it's for free, but this does allow you to get out along the way and spend some hours in Lucerne.

Reservations are necessary for international trips (so seats for the train crossing the Swiss-Italian border should be reserved) and for special panoramic trains. If you want to travel to Lucerne by a Golden Pass Panoramic train, you should make seat reservations. Regular regional trains run on this route as well though, and they don't need reservation. Further explanation and ways to arrange for this are listed at the seat reservation page.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
travis33
travis33
2 posts
new member
Feb 11, 2011 - 7:09 AM
Hi Annika,
Thanks for the information. We're undecided on what to do with our day before flying out from Zurich and we may not make the trip from Lauterbrunnen to Zurich airport in one day, so we might purchase the Swiss Half Fare Card to give us a little more flexibility. Do you think this is a good idea? Would you recommend spending our last day in Zurich or Lucerne?

Thanks,
Travis
Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 11, 2011 - 10:29 AM
Hi Travis,

A Swiss Half Fare Card would indeed be the better option if you might take two days to travel to Zurich. Regarding you last day: my personal choice would be Lucerne. It's closer to the mountains, so doing one more mountain excursion (e.g. Rigi or Pilatus) would then be possible if the weather allows it. Zurich is larger and has a lot of museums (and shops!). It depends on what you're most interested in. Zurich would be a practical choice if your flight leaves early the next day. There are hotels very close to the airport as well.

I checked again regarding pass validation: if you have a pass that needs to be validated by railway personnel, you can do it either at a Swiss rail station or ask the conductor of an international train bound for Switzerland. So you don't need to get off the train at the border just to validate your pass.

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