Which pass is suitable for me

Which pass is suitable for me

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duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 20, 2010 - 11:32 PM
I am travelling to Switzerland on 20 to 25 may. Following are the journeys/ excursions i wish to take.
1. Zurich to Jungfraujoch and back via Interlaken
2. Zurich to Lucerne
3. Next day Lucerne to Mount Titlis
4. Next day Lucern to Zurich airport.

Also include local urban travel a bit e.g in Lake Lucern etc. Pls suggest which railpass is most suitable for 2 adults. is it Half fare ticket or any other pass and what is the discout in get on various excursions with half fare ticket
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2010 - 12:56 AM
Hi duaparveen,

Welcome to the forum! The standard prices for your plans, excluding the boat trip, are:
  • Zurich - Interlaken Ost - Jungfraujoch and back: CHF 126 (to Interlaken Ost) + CHF 181.80 (up to the Jungfraujoch)
  • Zurich - Lucerne: CHF 23
  • Lucerne - Engelberg - Titlis and back: CHF 32 (to Engelberg) + CHF 82 (up to the Titlis)
  • Lucerne - Zurich Airport: CHF 27
You can find the prices of regular trains in the online timetable and the other prices on the websites of the individual mountain transportation companies. In total, these trips would cost CHF 471.80. A Swiss Half Fare Card allows you to purchase all these tickets for half the price: CHF 235.90. The Swiss Half Fare Card itself costs CHF 99, making a total of CHF 334.90. It saves you over CHF 130. Other passes would be too expensive for your relatively short stay.

The Swiss Half Fare Card page provides all information on what's included (the boat on Lake Lucerne is included as well) and how to order.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your stay!
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2010 - 1:33 AM
Dear Arno,
Thx for the reply and such a detailed working. I have a few more queries related to this.

1. Do the scenic trins i.e from Zuric to Interlaken and Interlaken to Jungfraujoch also offer 50% discount

2. What about cable rides for mount Titlis.

3. The individual train tours work oout to be cheaper than the conduted tours by different oprators but do the train tickets have the facilities like ice flyer etc....

4. Can I purchase these passes on my arrival at Switzerland
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2010 - 6:48 AM
Hello duaparveen,

As for your questions:

1. Yes, these trains are discounted as well.

2. The prices I mentioned are for the cable ride up the Titlis. So, that's discounted as well.

3. The cable ride ticket includes most events on top of the Titlis. The Ice Flyer needs to be paid for seperately though, and is not discounted. More information can be found on www.titlis.ch. I'm not sure if there are tickets which include this as well, but I don't think so.

4. Yes, the Swiss Half Fare Card can be purchased on larger rail stations (e.g. Zurich Airport) or be shipped to your home address. Shipping rates (free for the UK, but it's different per country) can be found on the Swiss Half Fare Card page.
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:36 AM
Dear Arno
Thx for answering the queries so aptiently. There is one more confusion. The cost of trip as calculated by you with half fare card is CHF 334. However if i compare these with the cost of conducted tours by various tour operators, following are the typical costs - though there is slight variation from operator to operator

1. Zurich to Jungfraujoch - CHF 190-199
2. Zurich to Lucerne - CHF 23
3. Lucerne to Mount Titlis - CHF 122
4. Lucerne to Zurich Airport - CHF 27

The cost comes out to be CHF 371. Which is very close to CHF 334.00 and if we add the cost of ice flyer i.e. CHF 42 to it, this works out to be cheaper plus teh advantage of guided tour is always there. I need your frank opinion on this comparison, plus are the conducted tours better or the individusl rail tickets
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2010 - 2:48 AM
Hi Duaparveen,

In all, I think it's cheaper to purchase a Swiss Half Fare Card and combine this with discounted tickets. The costs for the Ice Flyer on the Titlis are CHF 12.00. This adds up to total costs of CHF 334 + 12 = CHF 343 for the Swiss Half Fare Card option, and CHF 371 + 12 = 383 for the tour operator option (or is it included there?).

I'm not sure which tour operator(s) you have in mind. I have no personal experience with guided tours. My preference would be to purchase single tickets and decide when and whether I'd want to travel. But this is of course a very personal decision. Maybe you could post an example of the tour and operator you consider?
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:06 AM

Dear Arno
Thx for the reply. My only dilema is since the prices are very close - not a drastic difference . the only thing i am concerned about is the overall experience. The two tour operators amongst those shortlisted are
Meier Tours and Viator offering following prices

Meier CHF 199 Zurich Jung and CHF 122 Lucerne - Mt. Titlis
Viator USD 188 Zurich Jung and USD 115 Lucerne - Mt. Titlis - Viator tour to Jungfraujoch does not touch Interlaken

Pros and cons of rail travel and conducted tours are as per my thinking can be as follows

1. conducted tours will have guides - or do the trains also run a commentary.
2. no hassel of looking for trains on your own

for rail travel

1. quality of travel service is standard. in case of operated tour customer reviews are varying some were extremely satisfying others very dissatisfying e.g. delayed departures, most common was very less time on top, with rail travel you can move on your pace.
2. Train from Zurich to Interlaken I have found was golden pass express ( Have you considered this train for fare calculation) has beautiful windows for panoramic views
3. In case the weather is bad i can chk weather report and avoid going to top and spend time at maybe interlaken or some other place saving on time and money where as tour operator will take me up inspite of anything being visible or not

confusing is'nt it that's whi i am discussing it in a forum to help me make decision

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:46 AM
I've been in Switzerland often and for me it's always been very satisfying to make my own itinerary, depending on the weather and other circumstances on the spot. I wouldn't want to miss this kind of freedom and that's why I wouldn't book a trip with a tour operator, but I do understand why you consider it. You could look into to your prior travel experiences. Have you travelled with guided tours or on your own before and how did you like both?

Bye, Jules
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2010 - 9:05 AM
Hello duaparveen,

I see your point. It's indeed about the overall experience, which primarily depends on personal preferences. You pretty much covered the most important pros and cons. I looked into the tours you mentioned. They seem to be well organized and comfortable. That would be the biggest advantage from my point of view. An important difference is that the package tours offer bus traveling to the valley stations of the cog train/lift. I personally like train rides better. And I prefer the freedom of picking my own departure time. The morning tends to be more clear/less clouds, which is obviously important for alpine viewing points. Usually, I'm already back down in the valley in the early afternoon, and then decide what else can be done: just head back, spend some time in a town along the way or take a boat trip.

Guides on the conducted tours can be very convenient for the transfers, or if you don't speak a language that the Swiss understand (German, English, French, Italian is all good). For the excursions itself, my personal preference is to explore everything in my own pace. E.g. if it's cloudy after all, you can just wait for another hour for better views. About the provided information along the way: a guide can do a good job here. However, the individual traveler is serviced as well in many cases: The train up the Jungfrau has video and audio information on board for all travelers. I believe the Golden Pass train offers audio info to all travelers as well.

Regarding the Golden Pass route (Lucerne - Interlaken Ost): the price I listed is the quickest route via Bern. Taking the Golden Pass would take longer but it is certainly more attractive and even slightly cheaper as the route is shorter (and slower). If you travel on your own, you could even travel via the Golden Pass when going to Interlaken and take the quicker route back.

I hope this helps a bit. I would be great if you post your final decision and how you liked the excursions. Further questions are welcome too of course!
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2010 - 10:48 AM
Dear Arno,
Thx a ton for replying to my volley of queries. After discussing in this forum I think I will travel on my own. For Jungfraujoch i will prefer as suggested by you to use the route Zurich to lucern to Interlaken through golden pass one way and other route the other way. But will this give me enough time at Jungfraujoch and some time at Interlaken on my way back.
How much does the round trip from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch take.
Is it advisable to take Golden pass in Morning or while coming back
Is spending time in Golden pass advisable at all or will this squeeze the schedule too tight
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:10 AM
You're most welcome, no problem. Regarding the traveling times between locations, please check the Swiss timetable. Whether you take the Golden Pass in the morning or the afternoon does not really matter. I would suggest to first decide what time you want to go up the Jungfrau, and should that be very early, the quicker route could be better for your morning trip. The Golden Pass is just a nice route compared to the standard route. There's no need to get off the train on the way and spend even more time on it. Just enjoy the ride.

Have a great stay!
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
Apr 30, 2010 - 9:14 AM
Dear Arno,
Thx a lot for your suggestions. Finally I have made up my mind and i will be taking Individual trains and a Swiss Half fare card as suggested by you. Will share more about my experience once i return back
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 30, 2010 - 9:35 AM
I'm glad I could help. Enjoy your traveling! I'm looking foward to hear about your trip.
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
May 5, 2010 - 5:10 AM
Dear Arno,
One small piece of information. Do swiss railway stations have a cloakroom facility, wherein you can deposit your luggage for a fee and lateron retrieve it.
Moreover when i was checking for timetable and routes in sbb.ch a pop up appeared about day card - any suggestions about it and what about city cards
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
May 5, 2010 - 12:46 PM
Hi Duaparveen, most large railway stations have lockers where you can store small pieces of luggage. At many railway stations a luggage counter is available as well. This is actually meant for delivering your baggage and have it transported to another place. Maybe they'll hold your luggage there as well during the day, but I'm not sure.

You can indeed purchase a day card in addition to your Swiss Half Fare Card. This day card allows you to use the general train, bus and boat network for free. You can choose from day cards that are valid from 9am (costs: CHF 54.00 2nd class / CHF 87.00 1st class) and day cards that are valid during the entire day (costs: CHF 64.00 2nd class / CHF 103.00 1st class). Of course you'll already travel with a 50% discount using your Swiss Half Fare Card. So only if you plan a trip that's worth at least double the amount that you have to pay for the day card, it's cost effective to purchase a day card. You can check prices for most journeys with the Swiss timetable.

City tickets are available as well. They offer a free trip to the city plus use of the travel network in this city during one day. Most Swiss rail passes, including the Swiss Half Fare Card and the day cards mentioned above, are also valid for public transportation in many cities. The Swiss Half Fare Card offers a 50% discount in many cases and additional day cards often allow free traveling. Whereas the day card is meant especially for holders of the Swiss Half Fare Card, the city tickets aren't. So if you already use a Swiss Half Fare Card (and a day card), a city ticket would be redundant.
Some larger cities also offer a special city or regional pass, such as Zurich with its Zurich Card. Other cities offer free use of the city network to hotel guests, which is the case in e.g. Basel and Geneva.
duaparveen
duaparveen
8 posts
new member
May 5, 2010 - 11:04 PM
Dear Arno,
Thx for the info. Is the day card valid for Interlaken to Jungfraujoch round trip , Engelberg Titlis round trip and Lake Lucern cruise also
Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
May 6, 2010 - 1:26 AM
It is valid wherever the Swiss Half Fare Card is valid. A map is included on the day card web page.

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