Swiss Card dilemma

Swiss Card dilemma

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
satyashis
satyashis
2 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2012 - 2:02 PM
Hi,
I have read through a number of your posts as well as various internet sites on Swiss Rail, and I must admit that your forum is the most informative. Like most first time travelers to Switzerland, I am quite confused on how the swiss rail passes/cards work. As per my Travel Agent, my Swiss card entitles me to 5 transfers within Switzerland (Please correct me if I am wrong). Following is my itinerary:
  • I reach Paris on 10th August and after staying for further 2 nights, I would travel from Paris to Interlaken, via Basel on 13th August. Ticket for Paris to Basel (with reservation) is attached. I don't see any major problems with this part of the journey.
  • At Basel, I change over to Swiss Rail for my journey to Interlaken. (This is my Transfer-1). My Swiss Rail ticket is attached, which is a Swiss Card. I understand, I need to validate my Swiss Card. How and where do I do it in Basel? I have only 5 minutes between connections (although there are later trains as well). Is this enough with baggage and a child?
  • At Interlaken, on 14th August, I would go to Jungfrau (This is my Transfer-2). I can see that my Swiss Card says Jungfrau-Titlis included, but reading some older forum posts, I am confused whether I need to pay anything again for the Jungfrau excursion. As I understand, Interlaken to Jungfrau needs 2 train changes. Which are these stations? Some forum posts says Swiss Card/Swiss Pass are free till valley stations only and then you need to pay up for the rest of the section at 50% discount (even if your ticket says Jungfrau included). I repeatedly enquired this with my travel agent and he said that with the Swiss Card that I have, there is no need for any extra payment anywhere. Please confirm.
  • On 15th I travel to Lucerne from Interlaken (This is my Transfer-3)
  • On 16th I would go to Mt. Titlis from Lucerne (This is my Transfer-4). Again the same questions as Interlaken above.
  • On 17th I would go to Zurich from Lucerne (This is my Transfer-5) and then finally fly out of Zurich.
Apart from the questions on extra payment requirement for Jungfrau and Titlis excursions, I would also like to know whether I am entitled for any other benefits from this Swiss Card.

Also I plan to roam about in Zurich for few hours, since my flight is at 22.00 hours in the night. How soon can I check-in at Zurich airport? Can I do a baggage drop and then go to the city for sight-seeing? Please suggest.

Hoping to get some information from your side
regards
Satyashis
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kumar
kumar
4 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2012 - 11:38 PM
Hi,
We had travelled recently with a Swiss Rail Pass, which was called family flexi saver pass. That allowed 5 days of unlimited travel within Switzerland. Looking at your pass I could not tell if it is of the same type or not. Anyhow, I will try to answer some of your questions below :

In Basel you can go to the enquiry counter, which is towards on end of the terminal bldg. They will stamp your card there. In my opinion, 5 minutes is too short since there may be people in front of you in the queue. But as you have noted, there are many trains from Basel to Interlaken, you can check in www.bahn.de or sbb.ch.

We went to Jungfrau also and it is better to have flexibility for the date, since if the weather is not good, there is no point going there. We had to pay a reduced fare for that with our Swiss pass. From Interlaken you first come to Grindelwald and then change again at Kleine Scheidegg - you can get all this info on the net.

Finally, I would say that if you like natural beauty, try to stay overnight in Grindelwald as opposed to Interlaken. We stayed for 4 nights in Grindelwald and you fell within the lap of nature. Interlaken in only 30 mins. away by train but it is much more crowded.

Enjoy your trip.

Kumar
Arno
Arno
7295 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 7, 2012 - 3:59 AM
Hi Satyashis,

I'm glad you find our website useful, thanks for mentioning that! The regular rail passes for Switzerland are listed here. However, some travel agents issue tailor made passes that do not match any of these regular passes. Your pass looks like a custom one as well. It indeed resembles the Swiss Flexi Pass that Kumar mentioned, but it's not the same thing. Your travel agent should be able to explain how to use it, as they issued this special version. To me, it looks like it includes the 5 transfers you listed and the trips to the Titlis and Jungfraujoch, so you do not need additional tickets for that. The regular passes indeed require you to purchase an additional discounted ticket for a part of the trip. Say that you would like to visit another peak not listed on your pass, you too would have to purchase additional discounted tickets. According to your pass: "Tickets for additional excursions may be purchased locally with a 50% discount".

Most probably, the personnel of the train from Paris to Basel can validate your pass as well. If not, you should do it in Basel.

All trains throughout Switzerland are in this timetable. In order to travel from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch, you may either travel via Grindelwald (change in Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg), or via Lauterbrunnen (change in Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg). I would suggest to pick one route to go up and the other one to go down. The train that departs from Interlaken consists of two sections which split during the journey: one section goes to Grindelwald, the other one to Lauterbrunnen. The Titlis trip is easy: take the train to Engelberg from Lucerne, then walk a couple of minutes to the cable car station.

The Zurich main station has a luggage storage room and lockers as well. I think that's the easiest way to drop of the luggage. After your sightseeing, just take a train to the airport (it takes 10 minutes). You can check in for your flight at that station as well.

Enjoy your stay!
satyashis
satyashis
2 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2012 - 4:44 AM
Hi Arno/Kumar
Thanks for the info. How much time does it take for the round trip from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch? Would I have time for small detours on the way, say like a small trek, or may be going to another part of the valley, etc.? Remember that I only have one full day in Interlaken for the Jungfraujoch trip and any other associated trips and I also have a child 4 years old. So I don't want to make it too hectic. I understand I need to buy separate tickets for these detours?

Regards
Satyashis
kumar
kumar
4 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2012 - 7:59 AM
We took a train around 10 AM or so from Grindelwald and got back around 4 pm or so - it all depends how much rushed you want to be. We also had a kid, 7.5 yrs, so wanted to take things easy. We had an incredibly good weather, so it was worth our while to spend as much time up there as possible. I would say that you keep at least 5-6 hours for the whole trip so that you enjoy it well, but all depends on the weather.

I think you can possibly walk on the glacier at the top and there are also lots of trekking routes around Kleine Scheidegg.

I would suggest you buy the lonely planet book for Switzerland - we found it really helpful.
shibatosh
shibatosh
7 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2012 - 11:05 AM
Satyashis,
Travel time from Interlaken to Jungfrau is 2 hrs approx, including transfers. I would suggest, if the weather is good, spend time in Jungfrau and enjoy the views and activities.
While returning, you can return via Lauterbrunnen also. If you have some time, you can take a bus form Lauterbrunnen station to visit the Trummelbach falls. Or you can come back to Interlaken and enjoy the sights / shopping there ...
Also, Kleine Scheidegg, from where you change trains, is a quaint little place, and you can enjoy the vista there also by taking a later connection to Lauterbrunnen / Grindelwald on your way back.
Hope this helps.
Shibatosh

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