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Advice on rail/transport pass for 2 week trip

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1 post
new member
Nov 24, 2012 - 2:55 AM
We've planned our trip to a pretty good level but are a little unsure about which pass would be the most cost effective. Any help that could be given would be much appreciated!
All travel proposed will be by train, bus, and feet - we are not hiring a car.
Arrive at Geneva airport 5th July 2013. Stay in Geneva for 3 nights leaving for Montreux on Monday 8th July where we will stay another 3 nights. In Montreux we will probably do a couple of day trips (Lausanne, Vevey, Gryueres). After Montreux we are looking to go up to Lauterbrunnen where we will base ourselves for 5 nights. Here we will hopefully do lots of hiking and walking. We'd like to do day trips to Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen and the hikes we'd we looking to do include Kleine Scheidegg and some other day hikes hopefully. After Lauterbrunnen we'd like to go straight down to Zermatt, and then get the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz. We'll stay 1 night in St Moritz and then head straight back up to Zurich for 2 nights before flying out of Switzerland.
Thanks in advance for your help!
586 posts
top member
Nov 24, 2012 - 12:28 PM
The only way you can know most cost-effective pass is to "do the maths" yourself, by pricing all of your planned trips then comparing the costs and features of the various passes. This site does a very good job of describing the confusing array of passes.

If you would rather not give yourself this big headache (and who would?), just buy Half Fare Cards and be done with it. Each adult member of your party will need one, children 15 and under travel with parent for free with the free upon request Swiss Family Card (when an adult buys a HFC). HFCs are very simple, you get 50% off of everything (bus, boat, train, lift, gondola, etc) in whatever class you choose to purchase a ticket. Good everywhere (except for a couple of obscure privately owned little lifts that you won't encounter on the journeys you have described), no mental gymnastics around which days you get a discount, which transports are only 25% off, and so on. Easy breezy.

You can buy HFCs at the Geneva airport when you arrive. They are good for one month.

I've been to Switzerland 17 times, have burdened myself with doing the maths twice, and both times HFC came out either most cost-effective or within a couple of dollars/francs. IMO, not worth the headache to price it all out to the penny!
7202 posts
expert &
Nov 26, 2012 - 7:26 AM

Hi ilovewaves! Finding out which pass is best, is a complex task indeed. Based on just the trips you mention here, a Swiss Half Fare Card as Kim suggests would be a bit cheaper than a 15 day Swiss Saver Pass or a 5 day Swiss Saver Flexi Pass. However, your list of plans isn't complete yet, and the outcome may change once you have a full list and do the maths based on that. If your plans aren't fixed yet, all you can do is make an educated guess and determine whether you made the right choice afterwards ;-).

Note that you plan to make some long and expensive transfers (Geneva-Lauterbrunnen, Lauterbrunnen-Zermatt, Zermatt-St. Moritz, St. Moritz-Zurich), for which a Swiss Saver Flexi Pass may come in handy.

Also consider your preferences in terms of buying tickets. During such a long stay, many travelers appreciate the ease of use a Swiss Pass offers: no need to buy regular or discounted tickets for nearly all trips during your entire stay. You'd only need a set of discounted tickets for Grindelwald/Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg and a seat reservation for the Glacier Express (but that goes for all rail passes); all the rest the trips you mention would be for free with a Swiss Pass and you can just hop on and off wherever and whenever you want, and thus adjust your plans on the spot.

Please visit the Swiss Half Fare Card, Swiss Pass and Swiss Flexi Pass pages for further details. If you enter your country and other details in the upper right corner, purchase options will be displayed. You can wait a while with your purchase and check the rail forum next Spring to see whether offers on the pass of your choice are available.

Last modified on Jan 27, 2020 - 11:14 AM by Arno


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