Best rail pass option in Jungfrau region with car

Best rail pass option in Jungfrau region with car

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chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2017 - 11:11 PM

Hello everyone.

I'm flying into Germany from the UK and travelling down in to Switzerland via Hire Car in mid August, with a 3 day base in Lucerne. We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 teenagers under 16 and are planning lots of travel activities mostly in the Jungfrau region. I will drive to the car accessible towns such as Interlaken, Grindelwald, etc, but then we want to go up to Eigergletscher on the train (and possibly up to Jungfraujoch although I know this is an add on). We also want to do things like the First gondola/cable car and the Schynige Platte train ride and as many other things we can fit in over the 3 day period. I am however rather confused by all the different rail passes available and what they do and don't cover after spending several hours surfing the net for some answers, so my main questions are:

(1) Do you only need to purchase 1 x Swiss Half Price Travel Pass per family as this is unclear? One pass is £97 and it says that under 16's will travel free with a valid adult so does that mean I would need to buy 2 x passes at £194 to get both children for free?

(2) The Bernese-Oberland regional pass is available at £153 per adult (25% discount with half price travel card, normally £203) but are children free on this pass as I will be purchasing in conjunction with the half price pass? It will be an extra £24 per child if not.

(3) The Jungfrau regional pass is available at £347.20 with no discount from ACP and is a ridiculous £432.00 from Viator including 25% discount and is way more expensive as they charge full price for adults and children for some bizarre reason??? Again though, because Viator offer discount with the Half Price pass and that pass entitles children to go free, can I just purchase 2 x adult passes at £216???

(4) My final option would be to purchase the half price pass and then just pay for each attraction separately using the 50% discount available, as my thoughts are that if we only manage to get on 4 or 5 trips it may not be worth purchasing one of the regional cards? However I can't find any pricing information for individual trips in order to help me find the most economic way to spend the 3 full days we have in your beautiful country!

Any advice would be more than appreciated alongside any other recommendations for trips in and around Lucerne such as Mount Pilatus, Mount Titlis, etc. Thanks for your patience in reading my long winded post!

Regards, Chris.

Lucas
Lucas
5570 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 3, 2017 - 6:36 AM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, there are too many rail passes here ;).

  1. For car drivers, just getting the Swiss Half Fare Card is often the best option. Both adults need to buy one and the children need the Swiss Family Card (1 card for both of them). It is a free add-on when buying the Swiss Half Fare Card here.
  2. For the Regional Pass - Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau Travel Pass you need to pay the smaller charge for your kids but in the end they probably aren't your best bet . With a car you will drive parts of every trip you make (ie for Jungfraujoch you will drive from Luzern to Lauterbrunnen, and then train and cable cars the rest of the way up as far as you want to go).
  3. I'm not sure what else you may be planning, but based on the places you have mentioned I would base myself in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen for 3 days (and don't use the car at all). If you go this way I would then seriously look at the Jungfrau Travel Pass. Have a look at buying them from this page. Viator, for some reason, doesn't give your children the correct price (we don't know why). ACPRail on the other hand should give them as 30 Euro.

I hope that clears things up? Let us know if you have more questions!

Lucas

Last modified on Aug 3, 2017 - 6:37 AM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2017 - 5:51 PM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris-

It is unusual to base in Luzern if you are spending all your time in the Jungfrau region.

You add 3-4 hours per day of uneccessary travel, and even if you do it by relaxing on the nice train ride, you are wasting your time after you have done that once.

I have always found extremely inexpensive long term parking rates at the large garage in Lauterbrunnen, although the last time (short stay) they were good deal more expensive. I'd check the rates ahead of time; typically, they are similar at Grindelwald and at Lauterbrunnen. Nothing compared to Luzern, where you will have no trouble finding overnight parking for 40 CHF or more, if the garages are not full.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2017 - 10:11 PM in reply to chrisprior1

<<") My final option would be to purchase the half price pass and then just pay for each attraction separately using the 50% discount available, as my thoughts are that if we only manage to get on 4 or 5 trips it may not be worth purchasing one of the regional cards? However I can't find any pricing information for individual trips in order to help me find the most economic way to spend the 3 full days we have in your beautiful country!">>

Hi Chris- I'm not sure what you mean by individual trips.

I always use the SBB timetable for such information, bearing in mind that the first price that appears (in the old format at least) is aimed at the typical Swiss who has a half fare card. The new format timetable better for smartphones, worse for clear data....just out this year....seems to have a different route to prices. See my discussion below.

Please give the examples - two or three things that you call "trips" and I'll check for pricing. If it works, I'll show you how to do it.

Slowpoke

PS -

I used the obvious links on the SBB website under <<" Travel Cards and Tickets">> on the home page to search for individual ticket prices.

Mouse over "Travel cards & tickets" then select "individual tickets. or any of the other options.

www.sbb.ch/en/travelca rds-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/individual -tickets/outward-return-round-trips.html

Then

www.sbb.ch/ticketshop/ b2c/adw.do?sprache=en&artikelnumm er=125

Attached are two screen grabs showing the step before you pay, from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg, as a full fare and with a 50% discount.

Is that what you were seeking?

That is a little tedious, and I suspect that there are sites that give all the information in one place for the Jungfrau Region, but I don't know where they are.

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chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 5, 2017 - 3:11 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for your detailed reply to my questions, now that I know I will need 2x Half Fare Passes I am going to price up some individual trips first to see if it works out cheaper than getting a regional pass.

Many Thanks, Chris.

chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 5, 2017 - 3:24 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Many thanks for your reply and info regarding parking in towns and also where to price up the individual trips. I'm not 100% sure of exactly which trips I want to take the family on but I suppose we will be doing the typical touristy stuff so any of the cable car/gondola mountain rides and mountain trains and also maybe any of the lake boat trips? The reason we are staying Luzern is because I am getting my hotel accommodation free courtesy of my holiday inn points and unfortunately they only have Holiday Inn's in the major cities and Luzern, but I want to spend time in the mountains, so this is the nearest I could get! I do appreciate that to get down to Interlaken and beyond though it's a fair drive down each of the 3 days we will be there so if I can find some stuff to do in around Luzern (Mount Pilatus) etc, then I will gladly look at them options as well

We are driving down into Italy and Lake Como for the second part of our holiday so I want to make sure that we make the most of our 3 full days in the Luzern area. Any more recommendation would be more than welcomed.

Regards, Chris.

Annika
Annika
4924 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 5, 2017 - 6:33 PM

Hi Chris!

Lucerne has a lot to offer for a 3 day stay, so if you're satisfied with our recommendations here, there's no need to spend your time traveling to the Jungfrau region.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 5, 2017 - 7:27 PM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris-

Following up on things to do near Luzern.

Do you like to hike?

And, will you hotel be the one in Neunkirch? If so , definitely outside of Luzern city.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 5, 2017 - 7:29 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2017 - 1:20 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Oops-

"Neuenkirch."

Slowpoke

chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2017 - 10:56 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika,

I appreciate that there are lots of attractions around the main Lucerne area and I am tempted with the lakes, Pilatus, Titlis etc, but I really want to go to Jungfrau for at least one day to take in the mountain scenery and feast my eyes on the iconic North Face of the Eiger and maybe even walk the Eiger Trail.

I also want to take my children to First Mountain as I think they'd love the activities on the Flyer, Bikes and Buggies, plus I am liking the look of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the waterfalls, so I think I will need 2 days in Jungfrau and perhaps a days around Lucerne.

Regards, Chris.

chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2017 - 11:38 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Yes it is the Neuenkirch Holiday Inn where we are and I appreciate that it's not actually in Luzern city, but as a family we are not too bothered about premium accommodation in city centres. We are happy to use Neuenkirch as our base for 4 nights (3 full days) and a half day on day 4 before we travel down to Lake Como.

I did have my heart set on the 3 day Jungfrau travel pass as I've now done the Maths on all of the attractions in that area and even with the half fare pass it works out at 625 chf for 7 x trips (mixture of cable cars and cog wheel trains) whereas the travel card is way cheaper at 420 chf (I've not factored in Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn into this as they are add ons so I am ruling these out).

I'm now coming around to thinking that we should spend a day in and around Luzern and I really like the look of Mount Titlis, but the full price is a lot to ask.

The problem I am finding is that the half price travel card is false economy unless you are going on several really expensive tours because the cost of 2 x cards is 240 chf to start with. Most of the cable car and cog wheel train journeys I've been pricing are around 60 chf for the family at half price so you have to be doing at least 4 of these types of trips to get your money back!

Oh well, I think I'll have a another look at pricing up Pilatus and Titlis with the half price card and then just add a couple of the Jungfrau trips and see what the figures come out like! We are flying this Saturday so I need to make a final decision soon.

P.S. To answer your question on hiking, yes I love to mountain hike when I'm in England, covering long distances and steep climbs, but my wife and kids are not at that level, so I need to find gentle, short distance hikes, preferably downhill :)

Regards, Chris.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 7, 2017 - 2:43 AM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris -

Hiking near Luzern, most of which does not meet your complete set of criteria:

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

A perfect hike that meets your specifications, and happens to be one the most scenic hikes in Switzerland:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Some pictures attached. A nickname for this walk is "The Grannies' Walk."

Regarding rail passes:

<<"The problem I am finding is that the half price travel card is false economy unless you are going on several really expensive tours because the cost of 2 x cards is 240 chf to start with. Most of the cable car and cog wheel train journeys I've been pricing are around 60 chf for the family at half price so you have to be doing at least 4 of these types of trips to get your money back!">>

Stay longer. The Half-fare card is good for a month. ;-) However, you can easily do 2 round trips in the Jungfrau region.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 7, 2017 - 2:47 AM by Slowpoke
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 7, 2017 - 4:51 PM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris-

<<"P.S. To answer your question on hiking, yes I love to mountain hike when I'm in England, covering long distances and steep climbs, but my wife and kids are not at that level, so I need to find gentle, short distance hikes, preferably downhill :)">>

Here's a little light reading about the Jungfrau region, mostly but by no means exclusively about Wengen. The author, Kim, is an experienced hiker and she includes trail descriptions for quite a few trails in the area. Easy and difficult included.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 7, 2017 - 4:58 PM by Slowpoke
chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2017 - 10:21 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Thanks once again for all your info on hikes in Luzern and in Jungfrau. The Mannlichen to Kleine Sheidegg hike ticks all the boxes as it will be a steady train/gondola journey from Lauterbrunnen up to 2000m and then a lovely scenic 3.5km walk to Kleine Sheidegg facing head on to the Jungfrau mountain range and Eiger North Face! From there I fancy heading down to Trummelback Falls (another 3.5k) and then back down the Lauterbrunnen valley to the start point (3k), total 10k which I think I can manage to get my wife and kids to do at a leisurely pace.

Due to our tight schedule we can't stay any longer than 3 full days as we are booked into a full itinery in Italy, so I am now thinking Day 1 doing the above, Day 2 in and around Luzern and Day 3 in Jungfrau and the First Activities.

Thanks for the links to Kim's Jungfrau guide, it is most informative and will give me some alternative ideas for Days 1 and 3 if I can manage to fit some more activities in.

Many Thanks & Best Regards, Chris.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 7, 2017 - 10:44 PM in reply to chrisprior1

<<"From there I fancy heading down to Trummelback Falls (another 3.5k) and then back down the Lauterbrunnen valley to the start point (3k), total 10k which I think I can manage to get my wife and kids to do at a leisurely pace.">>

Hi Chris-

By my standards, admittedly with sore knees these days, but even "way back when" my knees were sound, I personally would be reluctant to hike down to Trummelbach from Kleine Scheidegg with "non-hikers.".

It is a 1240 meter descent.

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false&X=1 59348.36&Y=638313.60&z oom=6

If you make the walk to Wengen, which was hard on my knees then, you could do it in stages and choose when to pick up public transport. First Wengernalp, then Hostel Allmend, then Wengen, then a train to Lauterbrunne would be a possibility.

The train from Wengen down to Lauterbrunnen is not an "excursion" but rather is "public transport " and is rather cheap. Same train loco and cars, by the way. ;-).

You then could choose whether to visit the Trummelbach Falls or start the 1 1/2 hour ( approx.) drive to Neuenkirch. I hope it is not on a weekend. The Brunig Pass an get very slow.

From Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, it is an "excursion" train and they charge a lot more. All on a private railway, by the way. Cost to go up the cableway from Wengen to Männlichen is the same as the cost to ride the cograil from Wengen to KS, if I recall correctly.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 7, 2017 - 11:07 PM by Slowpoke
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chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2017 - 11:44 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

I appreciate the descent is quite sharp from Kleine Sheidegg, I'm just looking at ways I can take one way trips up to height an then hike a round trip to the start point, Lauterbrunnen being the place where I will park. Again without the Regional Pass or Half Price the fares are so expensive (Kleine Sheidegg back to Lauterbrunnen would be 185chf and that's on top of the 180chf on the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Mannlichen!) That's why I think that that the best value is simply to get the Jungfrau pass and then I can just hop on and off all the varying transportations from town to town, but it just means I'll have to spend all 3 days in Jungfrau! I do have the morning of the fourth day to spend in Luzern before I head down to Italy though. It's just the daily drive from Neuenkirch being a pain really (we'll be there next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday).

Regards, Chris.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 8, 2017 - 12:54 AM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris-

Sorry that you chose to save money by staying in in Neuenkirch, in order to travel substantial distances and time to the Jungfrau Region and pay exorbitant prices for exorbitant sights.

There is plenty to do around Luzern. As we used to say in "project management" .. choose time or choose cost in order to attain the project result on schedule...or similar words.

Kleine Scheidegg is spelled with the "c" that you leave out.

I don't understand the subtleties of the various rail passes. Probably, once you choose the trips you prefer, Arno and Annika and Lucas can suggest the best cost saving passes.

Right now, you are faced with the problem that the good stuff is quite expensive and requires major travel time..

There is good stuff nearer Luzern, at lower cost in travel time and CHF, as noted above.

Life is full of tradeoffs.

Come back next year. Skip those other countries, who needs them? ;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 8, 2017 - 12:55 AM by Slowpoke
chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 9, 2017 - 8:51 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

I think I'm going to get the Jungfrau 3 day pass and brave the travel down from Luzern every day (I travel long distances in my company car for work so am used to the open road!)

It is by far the cheapest option for the Jungfrau region plus with the pass we can park up at Interlaken and train in from there each day to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald and First Mountain.

We'll still have had a day in Luzern before we head down to Como so can have a good look around.

In hind sight I should have booked more of our 2 week European road trip in Switzerland as I also fancy Zermatt and the Matterhorn area but maybe we can come back next year like you say!

Really looking forward to the trip now, only 3 days before we're on our way, thanks once again for all your advice and thanks to My Swiss Alps website, a great source of information!

Regards, Chris.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Aug 9, 2017 - 9:41 PM in reply to chrisprior1

Hi Chris-

<<"I think I'm going to get the Jungfrau 3 day pass and brave the travel down from Luzern every day (I travel long distances in my company car for work so am used to the open road!) It is by far the cheapest option for the Jungfrau region plus with the pass we can park up at Interlaken and train in from there each day to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald and First Mountain.">>

If you have the energy to do it, great. You'll have a fantastic trip. The Brunig can get heavy on weekends.

Any chance that the Jungfrau pass lets you park at Lauterbrunnen? If so, I would. Saves time.

Some of the rail passes for that region might reach to Luzern. If the Jungfrau pass does so, then by all means take the train at least one day. Nice ride. Car may be a bit faster, especially if you can park at Lauterbrunnen.

As they say in the Berner Oberland -

"Eine gute Reise!"

Slowpoke.

chrisprior1
chrisprior1
9 posts
new member
Aug 9, 2017 - 9:51 PM in reply to Slowpoke

The Jungfrau Travel Passonly starts at Interlaken whereas the Regional Pass-Bernese Oberland covers Luzern, but is an extra £100 so I'd rather drive down I think.

Not sure that parking costs are included in the pass but it's not too expensive to park and I probably will drive through to Lauterbrunnen one of the days but I was thinking that as the travel pass is valid at Interlaken we could just train it through to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald (not sure what the time differences are between Train and Car for that short stretch?) But it will mean less time for me driving if we can hop on the train at Interlaken.

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