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Best rail pass for Swiss trip in July

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Posts: 8
Jpehrson
Jpehrson
12 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2020 - 1:54 PM

I am looking for a quick answer to the Swiss Rail Pass as I really don't want to do all the calculations. I am willing to pay a little more for convenience so this is what I am trying to understand. I will be traveling to Switzerland in July and arriving in Zurich. We plan to spend one night there and head to Lucerne the next morning for two nights. We plan to go to Rigi and Pilatus. From there we head to Wengen in the morning for five nights. We plan to see all the major attractions and have wondered if going to Gstaad for Glacier 3000 is a good idea. From there we head to Zermatt for two nights and then finish the trip with three nights in Geneva. For convenience purposes is it better to buy the 15 days Swiss Rail Pass or buy 50% discount card.

CabinJon
CabinJon
115 posts
active member
Feb 13, 2020 - 6:48 PM

I'm biased because we bought an 8 day and a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass on our two prior trips. It is without question the most convenient "ticket" you could get. It may, or may not, be cheaper than using the Half Fare card, taking advantage of Saver Day Pass or Super Saver tickets, or other promotions. We used our STP extensively each trip, often changing plans at the last minute due to weather, whim, or just because we felt like leaving early or lingering longer. No messing with online purchases via mobile devices, no looking for ticket machines. In the end, we did save money vs. a Half Fare card price. If you are comfortable traveling without a rigid itinerary and are flexible in your travel plans, you simply can't beat the STP for convenience.

But again, I'm biased. On our 15 day trip, we took 28 trains, 4 roundtrip cogwheel trains, 6 gondolas/cable cars, 10 buses/trams, and 3 boats. The year before, with our 8 day STP, we took 11 trains, 3 roundtrip cogwheel trains, no buses/trams, and 7 boats. You do have to show the STP to get the special machine readable tickets for some of the mountaintop excursions (e.g., Pilatus, Schilthorn, others) and pay a discounted price for those tickets, so it's not always ticketless travel. You will also need to buy a STP-discounted ticket to get to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen. But most of the time, you just show the STP to get on a boat, or show it to the conductor on a train, when and if they come around to check.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8752 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 8:28 PM in reply to Jpehrson

If you want convenience then get the Swiss Travel Pass. It’s a no-brainer.

Last modified on Feb 13, 2020 - 8:30 PM by rockoyster
Jpehrson
Jpehrson
12 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2020 - 8:36 PM

Agreed! How far in advance of your travel should you purchase the STP online?

rockoyster
rockoyster
8752 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 9:04 PM in reply to Jpehrson

You can buy it the week before you travel unless an unmissable promotion pops up in the meantime.

For checking timetables see www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/checking-train-timetables.

Glacier 3000 is fun but a big detour on the way from Wengen to Zermatt. See www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/autumn-in-montreux-september-2019.

Last modified on Feb 13, 2020 - 9:07 PM by rockoyster
rockoyster
rockoyster
8752 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 9:08 PM in reply to Jpehrson

Wengen to Zermatt I recommend going via Kandersteg. You will then travel on the BLS Regio-Express Lötschberger (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/experiences/bls-regioexpress-loetschberger/) train over the traditional, more than 100 year old mountain route, giving you a wonderful view along the impressive peaks and down into the Rhone Valley. The faster more direct but less scenic route between Spiez and Visp includes passage through the lengthy (in distance) but short (in time) Lötschberg Base Tunnel(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lötschberg_Base_Tunnel).

CabinJon
CabinJon
115 posts
active member
Feb 13, 2020 - 9:14 PM

We purchased our STPs about 2 months before our trip, but you can get it any time, up to and including when you land. However, it is better to order it ahead of time and print out a hard copy of the STP, in fact print two copies, as my original got pretty beat up over the two week period. The price won't change, so there is no need to get it too far in advance. Just be sure to designate the proper start and end dates.

Ildiko
Ildiko
800 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 13, 2020 - 11:09 PM

Hi Jpehrson,

Swiss Travel Pass is definitely the easiest way to travel within Switzerland, you just hop on the trains and enjoy your trip. You can read about how to use the Swiss Travel Pass at www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/howtouse. You find the validity map of it at www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/validity. Make sure to study it.

Just so you can compare to the Swiss Half Fare Card: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/howtouse.

I recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass online, in advance, as most travelers do. So you save time after arriving in Switzerland. If you buy it online, it will be a pdf document that you cannot lose. You can find the prices and promotions here: www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/price and www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/promotions.

Ildiko

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