Best Rail Pass for July Haute Route hike

Best Rail Pass for July Haute Route hike

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Jenwoltjen
Jenwoltjen
5 posts
new member
May 2, 2017 - 1:03 PM

My husband and I will be hiking the Haute Route in July, starting in Chamonix. We may need to take some cable cars along the way during the hike. Once we arrive in Zermatt, we may do some hiking there but plan to take the train to Bern to spend a few days at the end of the Haute Route hike. We will take the train from Bern to the Geneva airport for our flight home. What would be the best train passes for us? What is the most scenic route from Zermatt to Bern (even if it takes a little longer)? How far in advance can we purchase the train passes online? We leave July 6. Thanks!

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
May 2, 2017 - 2:26 PM in reply to Jenwoltjen

Hi Jen,

Probably the Swiss Travel Pass would be best. None of the regional passes fully cover your planned trips. However a Swiss Half fare Card may also be sufficient for. Our page here will help for doing the math.

There are two standard routes to Bern from Zermatt. First the train to Visp (which follows the Glacier Express route) then either direct to Bern or via Montreux. Both are great options I think! If you go via Montreux you could take the Golden Pass panoramic train on to Zweisimmen and then a direct train to Bern.

Check schedules on the Swiss railways timetable here.

Lucas

Last modified on May 3, 2017 - 8:18 AM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
May 3, 2017 - 12:03 AM in reply to Jenwoltjen

Hi Jen -

Adding to Lucas' reply, if you go to Visp, go from Visp to Brig, take the Lötschberger Train OVER the pass via Kandersteg to Spiez and onward to Bern. The new standard route is via tunnel (Visp to Frutigen) thence to Spiez.

Sit on the left as you go p the side wall of the Rhone Valley. As you go downwards from Kandersteg to Spiez, on the other side of the Alps, either side is fine.

Surely beats the new lower "basis" tunnel for scenery.

Bern is a great town, but not usually number one on tourists lists. I like to visit it regularly and see new things each trip. May I ask why you picked Bern?

Also, I am not an expert on rail passes, but I suspect that the half-fare pass might work well for you. That is because you will not have a lot of long distance travel.

Arno and Annika are experts on rail passes and may wish to add a comment.

Slowpoke

Last modified on May 3, 2017 - 12:06 AM by Slowpoke
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Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
May 3, 2017 - 8:54 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Jen,

Our page here will help for doing the math on whether the Swiss Half Fare Card may be worth it rather than the Swiss Travel Pass.

Lucas

Jenwoltjen
Jenwoltjen
5 posts
new member
May 3, 2017 - 10:48 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Good morning Slowpoke!

Thank you very much for the useful information. My husband chose Bern to visit after we are finished hiking the Haute Route. We will finish our hike on Wednesday morning in Zermatt and our flight leaves Geneva on Saturday afternoon. In your expert opinion, what would be the best use of our time between Wed and Sat? We are thinking that a visit to a city would be better after spending 9 days on the hiking trails. What about a day trip to Lucerne from Bern? Lausanne?

Jennifer

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
May 3, 2017 - 1:43 PM in reply to Jenwoltjen

Hi Jennifer

These links are useful:

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo

You can get a quick idea about each city.

I'd pick Luzern, even though it will be full of tourists.

Have you used the timetable?

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Bern is 1 1/2 hours by train from Luzern.

It is a bit longer to get to Geneva -

Luzer to Geneva - 3 hours +/-

Bern-Geneva - a bit under 2 hours

Luzern has a quit nice old town, but so does Bern. In Bern, I always walk from the station through the arcaded streets of the old town, down to the Nydegg Brücke (Bridge) and cross the bridge, then walk up the short road to the rosegarden. As you coulsd see it has nice views of Bern and, of course, a restauarnt. The flowersv are quite nice, too.

What distinguishes Luzern is the lake, with nearby mountains.

Here are a couple of links that can give you some ideas about the lake.

One is about a hike, but the point for you is the images:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

This one is about a neat place to go up to for lunch- Hammetschwand.

This thread has a few pictures and a map.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-hammetschwand-lift

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/buergenstock-hammetschwand-lift.html

This thread has more pictures:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/itinerary-advice-15-day-swiss-train-pass-20-sep

Unfortunately, the best way to get to it involves the temporarily closed funicular from the boat landing at Kehrsiten. It would or will take you up to the resort area, and then you walk a couple of hundred meters to the start of the Felsenweg, leading to the Hammetschwand lift.

www.buergenstock.ch/en /project/buergenstock-funicular

It may be open by July.

If so then this is a great short excursion:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/funicular-cliff-walk-and-mechanical-lift-on-the-buergenstock.html

After you walk the Felsenweg and take the Hammetschwand lift, there is a nice restaurant/ sausage stand on top with spectacular views.

If the Funicular is not running, you can get close to the start of the Felsenwg by bus.

The tourist info office by track #1 in Luzern Hauptbahnhof is really good. They can help out. When I wanted to go up there with my grandson, they picked up the phone, checked the exact status of the then on-going construction, gave me clear directions and options.

Super.

Slowpoke

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