Itinerary help -8 days in Basel & best rail pass?

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AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 5, 2017 - 8:53 AM

Hi There..

I will be traveling to Switzerland from 3rd Nov to 10th Nov. 4 adults and a toddler (16 months). This is my itinerary for now. Interested to experience snowcapped mountain, panaromic view, boat ride. Not keen on museums or hiking. Pretty much catering to a toddler as well. I am open for suggestions. Appreciate any feedbacks please.

3rd Nov - Check in to Basel

4th Nov - A day travel from Basel to Zurich and then back to Basel

5th Nov - A day travel from Basel to Lucerne and Mount Titlis, then back to Basel

6th Nov - A day travel from Basel to Interlaken and Grindelwald, then back to Basel

7th Nov - A day travel from Basel to Chur. Planning to take the Bernina Express Ride. Then back to Basel.

8th Nov - Check out from Basel and head to Geneva by train.

9th Nov - A day travel from Geneva to Matterhorn, Zermatt and back to Geneva.

10th Nov - Check out from Geneva

Below are my lengthy questions:

1) Which pass should I choose that suits my 8 days travel? Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card?

2) I plotted the itinerary based on the places I want to visit without knowing the distance much and the route. I would appreciate if someone could give me the travel route and time for all the planned days. For instance: Basel to Zurich takes an hr. Departure station : Basel sbb and Arrival station : Zuerich hb.

3) Where is the best place to do paragliding? Interlaken or Geneva? Any specific place?

4) Where can I stay in Basel and Geneva? Any recommendations? I would prefer to a place close to airport and train stations. To make it easier to travel with a toddler. An apartment with 2 rooms would be ideal. But I am also fine with hotel and book 2 rooms separately.

5) Swiss Half Fare Card / Travel Pass – Does this pass include entrance to Basel Zoo?

6) Swiss Half Fare Card / Travel Pass – Does this pass include cable car ride and the activities to Mount Titlis?

7) Swiss Half Fare Card / Travel Pass – Does this pass include the Bernina Express ride? I understand we need to reserve seat for this ride. But do I just pay the seat reservation fee only as ticket fare is covered in the pass? Or Do I pay the train ticket and the seat reservation fee separately?

8) Swiss Half Fare Card – I understand its 50% discount on the trains, boats n etc. Does that mean I still need to queue and pay the ticket for the half price?

9) I am planning to do the Bernina Express Ride on the 7th Nov. Do I need to purchase this earlier? If yes, How? Online? OR can I just purchase it over the counter and reserve the seat on 4th Nov. Thinking of purchasing it during my travel to Zurich. Is 3 days prior the trip sufficient?

rockoyster
rockoyster
4074 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2017 - 9:30 AM in reply to AJSwiss

Hi AJSwiss and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

My first response to your itinerary is that you are going to be spending A LOT of time on trains.

You really need to use the SBB TImetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to figure out how long some of these trips are going to take. For example doing a day trip to Chur and including the Bernina Express and returning to Basel is highly problematic even without a 16-month old toddler. The SBB timetable will tell you this will take over 13 hours on trains if you plan to take the full Bernina Express route from Chur to Tirano!

You really need to read this as well www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass

Last modified on Oct 5, 2017 - 9:35 AM by rockoyster
AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 5, 2017 - 10:21 AM

Thank you for your quick response rockoyster. Am trying to fit in Zurich, Mount Titlis, Interlaken and Bernina Express and finally to Geneva in that 8 days. Any recommendations on how I could make this possible without much of changing accommodation. I dont mind traveling to a main place on the first day itself where i could cover these places with less hours on trains. And finally travel to Geneva where i need to board the plane back home. Appreciate your assistance

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 5, 2017 - 4:33 PM in reply to AJSwiss

Hi AJSwiss,

Unless you have something specific in mind to do in Zurich I would give it a pass.

Also, have you booked into Basel already? It isn't a convenient location for your planned itinerary. I would stay in Lucerne and Interlaken (or a nearby village like Lauterbrunnen or Wengen) and then your last night in Geneva.

The 8 day Swiss Travel Pass should fit your needs quite well. You won't know for sure what the most economical pass is for your needs unless you do the math on our how to choose the best rail pass page.

But you won't have to buy too many tickets on your trip with the Swiss Travel Pass - just those routes that aren't fully covered - there aren't many, mostly just mountain trips and most are noted here. If you have to buy a discounted ticket you must still wait in line to buy that ticket. Anyone under 5 doesn't need a ticket or rail pass at all.

You will have to reserve a seat on the Bernina Express - it is mandatory. The Swiss Travel Pass covers your seat ticket though. It is awkward to try and do the Bernina Express from any of the towns we or you have mentioned but it is possible on a long day. Lucerne would be the most convenient of the towns you may stay in - you need to travel to Chur and then to Tirano and then back to your town of choice for that night.

Use the timetable Rockoyster gave you before to plan out the options for you. The Bernina Express is noted as the BEX trains on the timetable.

AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 6, 2017 - 9:13 AM

Thank you Lucas. Your comment was very helpful. I have not booked the accommodation in Basel yet. I will give Zurich a pass then. I will try looking to stay in Interlaken instead. Drafted my agenda as below:

3rd Nov : Reaching Basel Airport by 5pm. Train to Interlaken directly.

4th Nov : Interlaken - Lucerne - Mount Titlis - Interlaken

5th Nov : Interlaken - Jungfrau - Grindelwald - Interlaken

6th Nov : Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen and Wengen - Interlaken (Sigthseeing or paragliding)

7th Nov : Wanting a panaromic view train. Since Bernina Express is out of the way and may take whole day for a round trip. Thought of taking Golden Pass Train. Which is from Lucerne to Montreux (about 5 hrs ride). Montruex To Geneva (1 hr normal train ride).

8th Nov : Geneva

9th Nov : Geneva

10th Nov: Check Out

Do you think this is feasible? Any places to visit in Geneva since we will be there 3 days?

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 6, 2017 - 10:45 AM in reply to AJSwiss

Hi AJ,

Yes, I think Interlaken is a better option for you.
The Golden Pass would definitely work for you. You would just need to take it from Interlaken to Lucerne. The route from Lucerne to Interlaken you will take when you visit Lucerne on the 4th so no need to go back to Lucerne on your way to Montreux.

The train between Zweisimmen and Montreux is the proper panoramic train. This route page will give you more details.

There are new modern trains on older heritage trains - both are great. On the timetable the heritage trains are labeled Belle Epoque and the newer trains MOB panoramic.

As fore Geneva, there are activities we note here. You can also make day trips to Lausanne and Montreux. There is a vineyard walk/hike noted here that is nice and of course have a lake cruise.

Last modified on Oct 30, 2017 - 8:46 AM by Arno
AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 8, 2017 - 6:45 PM

Hi Lucas..

1) Which is a better place to stay in Interlaken? Interlaken West or Interlaken OST? Wanting to travel to Lucerne and Mount Titlis on same day.

2) What is the best time to start our trip to Lucerne + Mount Titlis? Would 10am be fine?

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 8, 2017 - 7:20 PM in reply to AJSwiss

Hi AJ,

  1. Interlaken Ost rail station would be better for your trip to Luzern and Mt. Titlis.
  2. I would base this on the weather forecast that morning. If the morning looks sunny and the afternoon looks cloudy I would get going earlier - if late afternoon looks better than wait if you can. Use the timetable link on my last post to plan out your trip (it is about a 3.5 hour trip to the top of Titlis).
AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 9, 2017 - 9:45 AM

Thank You Lucas.

More questions on the Swiss Travel Pass.

1) If I were to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass at the Basel Airport, would the travel pass validity starts from the day I purchase it? The reason am asking this as I would not need 8 days travel pass. Taking the 4 days travel pass to utilise it most:Between 5th to 8th Nov as we will be traveling to few places, mountains, and the golden pass from Interlaken to Montreux. Other days would be just point to point if required in Basel in Geneva.

Or Should I purchase it online and specify the traveling dates?

2) Since the Swiss Travel Pass covers the Golden Pass Ride. Can I reserve the seat online prior booking my Swiss Travel Pass? Or can I reserve the seat directly when I purchase my Swiss Travel Pass at the counter. Is there a minimum seat booking period for the reservation?

3) Swiss Travel Pass - Do you have any discount or promo for purchasing 4 days travel pass for 4 adults? Does senior passenger (above 60 years old) requires to purchase full price ticket?

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 9, 2017 - 11:47 AM in reply to AJSwiss

HI AJSwiss,

You can specify the date to start the Swiss Travel Pass whether you buy it online or at a rail office. Buying it online is easier as you can have it emailed to you at home for printing (avoiding line-ups at rail offices and having an electronic back-up).

You can reserve the Golden Pass seats before or after buying the Swiss Travel Pass. Make the reservations here.

There is a current promotion on the Swiss Travel Pass here.

Last modified on Oct 9, 2017 - 3:54 PM by Lucas
AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2017 - 6:18 AM

Hi Lucas,

1) Would it be cheaper buying the Swiss Travel Pass online? Or its as the same as purchasing from the rail office?

2) Where in Basel can I purchase the Travel Pass? Arriving at Basel Airport on 3rd Nov (Friday) at about 5.30pm.

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 24, 2017 - 7:18 AM in reply to AJSwiss

Hi AjSwiss,

The price is the same for the Swiss Travel Pass either online or at the rail station.

The advantage of buying it online is that they email to you as a PDF attachment. That way you skip waiting in lines at Basel rail station (just hop on the first train and go) and you have an electronic back-up in case you lose it.

There is a SBB rail office at Basel EuroAirport as well. For more details on the airport click here.

AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2017 - 8:37 AM

Perfect. Thank you for the details.

I am planing Mount Titlis Trip on 5th Nov. Is there a train route from Interlaken OST to Lucerne? I tried to reserve my seat on Golden Pass Train at 11am, but it doesn allow. Message:" Unfortunately, a reservation of space is not possible on this date / time". Is this something I would need to worry about?

This is the only day I have for Mount Titlis since the cable car would be closed for maintenance on 6th Nov onwards.

Lucas
Lucas
9889 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 24, 2017 - 9:24 AM in reply to AJSwiss

You can use the timetable to plan the trip from Interlaken Ost to Mt. Titlis. Use Kleintitlis on the timetable destination.

Are you trying to reserve between Interlaken Ost and Luzern? You don't need to reserve that section at all.

AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2017 - 4:00 AM in reply to Lucas

Yes I am trying to reserve the Golden Pass Train from Interlaken to Lucerne directly.

When I use the timetable, its shown as Interlaken OST - Brunig Hasliberg (by bus) - Luzerne Interlaken Express - Luzern Engelberg Express - Engelberg Stand - Kleintitlis.. Takes about 3 and half hours. So if I start my journey at 12:00 from Interlaken OST. I will be reaching Mt Titlis at 15.30.

1) Is there a faster way to reach Mount Titlis? Thought of taking the Golden Pass Train ride from Interlaken OST to Luzerne. Thats why was trying to book that journey seat.

2) Wanting to do Lucerne and Mt Titlis.. - If I am only reaching Mt Titlis at 15.30, assuming 2 hrs spent there. I would be reaching Lucerne on my way back at 19:00.. I dont think can spend time in Lucerne during dark?

In short - I would want spend time in Lucerne and Mt Titlis on same day if possible. Is there an ideal time for travel these places?

rockoyster
rockoyster
4074 posts
expert
Oct 25, 2017 - 6:00 AM in reply to AJSwiss

There is some construction taking place on the rail line at that time. That's why there is a bus involved. Normally you would travel on the Luzern-Interlaken Express the whole way in just under 2 hours.

If you want to visit Luzern and Titlis in 1 day then you'll need to get started earlier than midday.

Last modified on Oct 25, 2017 - 6:01 AM by rockoyster
AJSwiss
AJSwiss
9 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2017 - 9:15 AM

Thanks Rockoyster. That explains.

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