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