Swiss Half-Fare Pass

Swiss Half-Fare Pass

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
jkitchin
jkitchin
2 posts
new member
Aug 29, 2010 - 7:11 PM
Hello,
My wife and I are traveling to Switzerland in September. We fly in and out of Zurich and will be in the country for a total of ten days. First question about rail travel - can we buy the Half-Fare Pass at the Zurich airport train station?
Second - given the itinerary below, is the Half-Fare Pass the best option for us?
We will not stay in Zurich, but will spend two to three days in each of the other locations:
Zurich to Murten
Murten to Montreux
Montreux to Wengen
Wengen to Lake Lucerne (probably Weggis)
Lake Lucerne to Zurich.

I am sure we will use public transportation for day trips, but have not planned them yet.
Thank you,
John
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
Aug 30, 2010 - 11:34 AM
Hi John,

Yes, you can buy the Half Fare Card when you arrive in Zurich. Just follow the signs to the train station (downstairs at Zurich Airport) and buy one (for each traveller) from the ticket window. Ask the staff to print you out a timetable for your first trip so you are clear on connections and transfer times. You should get a timetabel for all journeys you are not familiar with, saves you the stress of trying to figure it out when you arrive on platform and need to make a switch in a very short time.

The only way you can know for certain that the Half Fare Card is the most economic choice is to "do the math" (i.e., plot out/price all your journeys at www.sbb.ch and evaluate prices of various discount cards), but I think that is crazy-making to say the least. In the fourteen years I've been coming to Switzerland (I happen to be in Wengen right now), the Half Fare Card has always turned out to be the best deal.

If I may offer an unsolicited opinion, I'd like to say that I think you are trying to do way too much in 10 days. When you think about the fact that everytime you change locations you lose half a day to a day with all the packing/unpacking, checking in/out, etc. you will spend alot of times with the overhead of switching and much less time doing/seeing. And, depending on where you are coming from, you will have jet lag to take into account. My recommendation for ten days is to limit to two spots as "base camp". If I am reading your post correctly it appears you currently are planning on four.

BTW, I've always found September to be the best time in Switzerland, weather-wise. Good choice!

Best,

Kim
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 30, 2010 - 12:36 PM
Hello John! I too would say that a Swiss Half Fare Card suits your plans, as you'll be making relatively short trips. But the exact outcome will depend on your other plans. Planning a few long train trips may change the outcome of your math. Instructions on how to calculate which pass is best can be found in our rail FAQ.

Another tip: if you plan to travel from Montreux to Wengen by one of the beautiful Golden Pass Panoramic trains (which have large panoramic windows, spacious seats, and so on) this would require an additional seat reservation. You can also travel this route by regular trains, that don't require seat reservation. Another way to reach Wengen is to get to Visp first and then head on to Spiez. This can be done either through the quick tunnel route, or through the scenic Lötschberg route. The latter one takes longer, but is definitely more spectacular. If you're interested in planning this route, then fill out 'Montreux' as your departure station, 'Wengen' as your destination, and 'Goppenstein' as your via-station in the Swiss timetable.

Good luck, and have a wonderful trip!

And to Kim: have a great stay up there in Wengen!
kauaisam
kauaisam
15 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2010 - 1:21 PM
My adult daughter and I will be flying into Zurich from USA in 3 days. She arrives 2 hours before me. I've read that it is cheaper to purchase tickets on line. But I want to check if you agree. Can we purchase our Swiss Half-Fare Pass and train ticket from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen on line?
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 6, 2010 - 3:53 PM
Hi kauaisam. Yes, you can purchase your Swiss Half Fare Card online by selecting your country under the header 'Order your Swiss Half Fare Card here' at the Swiss Half Fare Card page. Whether that's cheaper than a local purchase at a railway station, depends on current exchange rates. By entering the ordering procedure as described above, you'll get to check the fares for an online purchase (without having to complete your order first). The Swiss Half Fare Card costs CHF 99.00 when purchasedi n Switzerland.

Your ticket from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen with the 50% discount can very easily be purchased at the railway station from a ticketing machine, which has clear instructions in English. But this can be ordered online, too. Please enter your departure station (Zurich Airport), arrival station (Lauterbrunnen) and travel date in the SBB timetable, pick one of the connections and click 'Fare/Buy'. Be sure to select the half-priced ticket when proceeding.

Have a wonderful trip!
jkitchin
jkitchin
2 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2010 - 8:35 PM
Thanks for all the advice.
John

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