Which type of pass to buy when driving rental van?

Which type of pass to buy when driving rental van?

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Europetrip
Europetrip
9 posts
new member
Nov 11, 2015 - 5:30 AM

Hi, Sam is my name. My family of 4 (all adults) is planning to visit Europe mid of April 2016 as follows:-

1: We plan to be in Frankfurt Germany then rent a van for the whole trip.

2: We plan to go to Wurzburg Rothenburg Nuremburg Munich Salzburg Hallstadt Interlaken Zermatt Geneva Lucerne Basel and Frankfurt.

3: We definitely want to go up to Jungfrau, Gronergrat, and Rigi Kulm.

Jungfrau: we book hotel at Wilderswil. How should we go from here to interlaken ..park our van at Wilderswil and take train to interlaken and take mountain train up to Jungfrau..or park our van at Interlaken and take mountain train up to Jungfrau.

Gronergrat: We plan to park our van at Tasch then take the mountain train up to Gronergrat

Rigi Kulm: I have read that if we have Swiss Pass Card, it is free to ride up Rigi Kulm. If we have Swiss half fare Card, then we pay only 50%

My question is what type of pass we should buy Swiss half fare card or Swiss Pass Card (3days) since the rest of the trip is on rental van.

Please let us know your recommendation.

Best regards,

Sam

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 11, 2015 - 6:15 AM

Hi Sam,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! Are you planning to stay in Wilderswil all nights and do day trips from there? Or are you planning to book hotels in different towns? How many days will you spend in Switzerland? Once we know that we can look into rail passes. I assume you mean the Swiss Travel Pass, right? There is no product called Swiss Pass Card.

As for the Jungfraujoch trip: you can leave the van in Wilderswil and take the train to Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald. A map and all further details can be found here: myswissalps.com/ jungfraujoch.

Last modified on Nov 11, 2015 - 6:15 AM by Arno
Europetrip
Europetrip
9 posts
new member
Nov 11, 2015 - 7:59 AM

Thanks Arno,

1: We spend the night of 15/4/16 at Wilderswil and go up to Jungfrau on 16/4/16.

2: We spend the night of 16/4/16 at Saas Grund and go up to Gronergrat on 17/4/16.

3: We spend the night of 17/4/16 at Laussanne and go up to Rigi Kulm on 18/4/16

After that we go to Basel ,Darmstadt, and Frankfurt by our rental van.

You are correct swiss travel pass or swiss half fare card, which should be the best choice for us.

Thanks again Arno..

Best rgds,

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 11, 2015 - 9:33 AM

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the additional details. I would recommend to change your places to stay. Wilderswil is fine for a Jungfraujoch visit, but the others are pretty far away from the attractions.

Saas Grund to Täsch takes at least an hour. Then you have to park, take the train to Zermatt, and another train to Gornergrat.

Lausanne is very far from Rigi Kulm. It will take 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the base station in Arth-Goldau. From there you can take the cogwheel train up the mountain (for example).

Personally I would pick one base town, park the van, and take the excellent trains to reach the attractions. It's quite tiresome to visit Jungfraujoch and afterwards do the long drive to Saas-Grund, including a car train. Likewise, driving from Lausanne to the Rigi, going up, and then drive to Germany is quite a lot for one day too. Changing hotels takes time, and moving around makes you less flexible: the weather has to be good enough to go up the mountain on the single day you have available. With one base it's easier to adapt to regional weather.

If you want to move from town to town, I'd recommend to stay near Lucerne first (Rigi), then move to Wilderswil (Jungfraujoch), and finally Täsch (Gornergrat). You don't need the van for the day trips. In this case I'd recommend the Swiss Half Fare Card (click Price to see purchase option).

In case of one base, I'd recommend the Swiss Travel Pass. From Spiez or Thun, for example, you can easily reach Jungfraujoch, and there are quick InterCity trains to Visp, where you change for Zermatt. Rigi is farther away, but doable, and there are two scenic train lines to choose from.

I hope this was useful!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Nov 12, 2015 - 1:23 AM in reply to Arno

Arno-

I think he meant Luzern, and spelled Lausanne?

<<"3: We spend the night of 17/4/16 at Laussanne and go up to Rigi Kulm on 18/4/16">>

<<"Lausanne is very far from Rigi Kulm. It will take 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the base station in Arth-Goldau. From there you can take the cogwheel train up the mountain (for example).">>

Your answer dealt with the issue,of course, but points out the need for careful spelling.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 12, 2015 - 1:24 AM by Slowpoke
Europetrip
Europetrip
9 posts
new member
Nov 13, 2015 - 8:27 AM

Dear Arno and Slopoke,

Sorry for my poor English, let's start again with my almost final plan for Switzerland mountains trip as follows:-

16/4/16 Early morning, go up to Jungfrau from Interlaken ost

Afternoon, boat trip to lake thun or brienz( have 4 hrs, which one to choose)

Late evening, drive to saas grund

17/4/16 Go up to Gronergrat(matterhorn) from Tasch

18/4/16 Lucerne to Vitznau by boat

Vitznau to Rigi Kulm by cogwheel train

Rigi Kulm to Arth Goldau by cogwheel train

Arth Goldau to Lucerne by train

My idea now is to buy Swiss Travel Pass for 3 days(16-18/4/16) I think it would be cheaper and more convenient. All transportation cost mentioned above(3days) is free except the last part to Jungfrau. What do you think? At first I thought of buying Swiss Half Fare Card. Is it 25% or 50% discount from normal price to get tickets up to Jungfrau with Swiss Travel Pass? Please clarify for me.

The rest of the trip is on rental van. Thanks for your kind assist.

Best regards,

Sam

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 13, 2015 - 10:52 AM in reply to Europetrip

Hi Sam,

Your English is perfectly fine! The Swiss Travel Pass includes a lot for free, including the first section to Jungfraujoch. The section section is discounted by 25%. The boats on all the lakes are free too, as well as the cogwheel train to Rigi Kulm. The Gornergrat train is 50% off. You can find all the details here.

Indeed it's more convenient than a Swiss Half Fare Card. If you would do the town to town transfers by train as well the Swiss Travel Pass would definitely be cheaper. But in your case you should do the math if you want to be 100% sure.

Please see here for how to obtain your pass. In your case I would recommend to buy through www.raileurope-world.com/pass/swiss-travel-pass-82. They offer the pass for just € 171. That's a very good price and I expect it to stay that low until late December (no guarantees though).

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Nov 13, 2015 - 2:33 PM in reply to Europetrip

The drive from IO to Saas Grund will use the train which carries automobiles from a bit above Spiez to Goppenstein.

I expect the the discounts remain the same as for passenger service.

Although you may have to wait for the train a bit, it saves driving time, and mountain driving.

I'd suggest that you confirm which tunnel is being used so you know where you are going to catch the train( I assume it will be the lower one, entered near Frutigen)) and time of last auto train, just to be safe. There will be signs.

Slowpoke

Europetrip
Europetrip
9 posts
new member
Nov 13, 2015 - 3:16 PM

Dear Slowpoke,

Thanks for let us know these info. We absolutely have no idea at all about how to go to Saas Grund. We just look at Google map and it says by car 2:15 hour /104 k.m.

Now would you please let us know where to get info as follows:-

Where to get on this particular train?

Where to get off?

How much would it cost for our family(4 adults) and the van could we use Swiss Travel Pass?

Where should we get the time table for this train?

In case of we miss this train, is it very difficult to drive from IO to Saas Grund in the evening (6:00 pm)?

Please help us on this matter, as the driver I am getting nervous now.

Thanks and best regards,

Sam

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 13, 2015 - 3:54 PM in reply to Europetrip

Hi Sam,

I would count on 2h45 for that route. Less if you're lucky, more if there's maintenance on the road or any other delays. The train departs from Kandersteg. Follow the signs to the Lötschberg car train. You drive the car onto the train and stay in the car during the journey. Then you get off in Goppenstein (you can't miss it, it's the only place to get off the train). There is no road to cross the mountains here, so there's no alternative, other than a huge detour. Single tickets vary from CHF 25 to 45 per vehicle, depending on the size of the vehicle. There's no discount for rail pass holders. From Goppenstein there's a curvy road down to the valley, then another good but sometimes narrow road up to Saas-Grund. Make sure you know how to drive in the mountains. If this is all new to you I would strongly recommend not to drive after dark. Links to further details can be found on myswissalps.com/car/ca rtrains.

I would really suggest to rethink this part of your plan. It would be so much more relaxed to just stay another night in Spiez, or even Wilderswil, and do a day trip to Zermatt by train from there. The entire trip to Zermatt would be free with a Swiss Travel Pass. It makes much more sense than the long drive to Saas-Grund, which is still 1.5 hours from Zermatt, plus spending money on the car train, gas and parking. Of course it's all up to you, but there's a simpler, cheaper, eco-friendlier and more comfortable alternative.

Feel free to let us know if anything remains unclear after checking the linked resources.

Last modified on Nov 13, 2015 - 3:57 PM by Annika
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Nov 13, 2015 - 4:39 PM in reply to Annika

Annika -

Thanks for jumping in.

I did not realize that they were still using the upper tunnel for the car train.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Nov 13, 2015 - 4:56 PM in reply to Europetrip

Here is information on the car train:

www.bls.ch/e/autoverla d/index.php

Not surprisingly, it is found on the web site of the train system, the SBB, which refers you to the rail line BLS which operates the car train..

Annika's suggestion to use the train is excellent. Driving mountain roads, which may be slippery, in the winter is not fun, especially after dark. April is still winter (or certainly only early Spring) at higher altitudes. Note that the highest mountain passes (which you would not use on this route) are closed with snow until early June. Weather/temperatures are highly dependent on altitude.

Not sure where you are from? Which side of the road are you used to driving on?

<<"In case of we miss this train, is it very difficult to drive from IO to Saas Grund in the evening (6:00 pm)?">>

There is more than one train.

If you miss the last one, count on 3 hrs 23 mintes driving via Bern on low altitude roads (mostly autoroutes/ expressways), or 3 hrs 45 minutes via Zweisimmen and Aigle, at higher altitudes.

Slowpoke

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