21 day trip - Swiss Travel Pass or regional passes

21 day trip - Swiss Travel Pass or regional passes

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BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 18, 2018 - 6:56 AM

I have been reading many threads on rail and rail passes (a very common topic) and followed links to websites … and I have a spreadsheet. I am still not convinced I know what I am doing!

Just 2 (old) adults no kids. First trip to Switzerland. Coming in from Australia via Germany.

In Switzerland about 21 days (from Aug 30 to Sept 18) – tentative itinerary ...

Train from Zurich to Lucerne (5 nights) - day trips to the usual top spots (some look expensive), Wengen (8 nights) again day trips to the surrounding attractions (again expensive), train from Wengen to Chur (1 night) take the Bernina Express then bus to Lugano (3 nights), more day trips then take the Gotthard Express to Zurich (3 nights). Fly out on the 19th.

I was thinking I should I buy a Tell pass for the five days in Lucerne plus a 15 day Swiss Rail Pass for the remainder of the journey … BUT

Does The Tell Pass have benefits over the STP?

Is there a STP longer than 15 days?

Or just buy a Swiss half price card for the month?

Swiss Travel pass 15 days continuous second-class travel $A1428 plus the Tell pass for 5 days $A624 = $A2052 for two people vs $A354 Swiss Half Fare Card??

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 18, 2018 - 7:36 AM in reply to BarSal

Hi BarSal and welcome to MySwissAlps!

The Tell Pass does have some advantages over the Swiss Travel Pass for the Lucerne area. You can check out what is covered by both passes on our pages here: Tell Pass / Swiss Travel Pass.

For example the Tell pass gets you on the Brienzer Rothorn for free but it is only a 50% discount with the Swiss Travel Pass.

So depending on your plans in the Lucerne area it could be worth to get both passes to cover your trip.
Another option would be to also get the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland for the 8 days in Wengen and then an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass for the last part of your trip.

The Swiss Half fare Card can also work as it is cheaper but no trips are fully covered (all tickets are 50% off everywhere). The advantage of the other passes is that most of the time no extra ticket is required - just hop on the train with your pass.

For long trips like yours often a good idea is to combine the Swiss Travel Pass Flex (maybe 8 or 15 days) and pick the 8 or 15 most expensive travel days to use it. And also buy the Swiss Half Fare Card for the other days.

15 days is the longest option for the Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex.

I know a lot to choose from! The spreadsheet option and doing the math will give you the cheapest option but only once you have planned out all your trips during your stay in Switzerland.

Last modified on Jan 18, 2018 - 7:37 AM by Lucas
BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 18, 2018 - 8:07 AM

Thx Lucas a very helpful well thought out response .. I had not heard of the Bernese Oberland! Lots of links to read and choices to make.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 7:49 PM in reply to BarSal

Hello BarSal,

We did a 20 day trip last year. We used a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass Flex which worked out perfectly. You won’t do expensive trips everyday so you don’t have to use a day from your Pass on those occasions.

In Lugano your hotel will provide a Ticino Ticket which covers local trains and buses. We used that to save some days on our STPF.

Despite the confronting figures he STP will almost certainly beat the Swiss Half-fare Card and is waaaaaaay more convenient to use.

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 18, 2018 - 10:34 PM

Great advice Rockoyster - Thx. Where did you stay in Lugano?

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 10:58 PM in reply to BarSal

Hi BarSal,

We stayed at the Hotel Walter au Lac right on the waterfront.

My trip report is here www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-reluctant-travellers-swiss-adventure-part-5 if interested.

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 19, 2018 - 2:00 AM

Wow! What a great travel journal with some absolute gems for your fellow travellers. I had Bernina Express, Lugano, Gotthard Express on our itinerary and have since moved Lucerne to after the Gotthard Express based on your information. Taken copious notes on Lugano and I am wondering about my stamina to go from Bernina Express straight onto the Lugano bus! Not many options and I hate one night stays.

I think you can get the Gotthard Express direct from Lugano Monday to Friday - did you travel on a weekend?

Did you think upgrading to first class on the Panorama trains was a good investment?

I think primitivo grape is the same as zinfandel? A current favourite worth a try is Vermentino - a few wineries in McLaren Vale make some fine examples. Somewhere between a Sav Blanc and a Reisling and best when young.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Jan 19, 2018 - 3:06 AM in reply to BarSal

Hi BarSal,

Bite the bullet and take the Bernina Bus. It's not that great a test of endurance. It was a very hot day when we travelled. Tirano is not worth an overnighter I would say.

The Gotthard now runs everyday (except Monday) from Lugano. You can find the latest brochure here www.mystsnet.com/filea dmin/doc/02_Produkte_S ervices/01_Swiss_Trave l_System/04_Premium_Pa noramazuege/Gotthard_P anorama_Express/Gottha rd_Panorama_Express_EN .pdf

Was 1st Class worth it? Based on our experience in other trains in 2nd Class perhaps not really. But we did have a largely empty carriage and it was easy to wander about from side to side to get the best views. It may be busier in August September. I don't think the class upgrade was that expensive (it's half the difference between 1st and 2nd class fares)

Tried some Vermentino a few months back. Don't remember the winery. Quite nice but we are red drinkers by and large. 😇

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 19, 2018 - 6:57 AM in reply to BarSal

Hi BarSal,

Note that on the Gotthard Panorama Express 2nd class doesn't have panorama windows (just 1st).
I'd feel 90% of the time 2nd class is totally fine on all other trains. We splurged on the Glacier Express and enjoyed it though. As Rockoyster mentions its nice for some extra space in July/August when there are a lot of tourists here. :)

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 19, 2018 - 7:39 AM in reply to Lucas

Thx Lucas - can you have a second class pass and upgrade on select trains?

This trip we will only be doing Bernina and Gotthard but I think the train we are taking from Lucerne to Interlaken Ost has panorama windows?

Going on from Interlaken stay for one week in Wengen - looking for good accommodation. Just for two people. Looking for great views. Peaceful. Prefer one level. We don't ski. There in September. Doing day trips and shopping local or Interlaken for supplies. Is there a good site I can use. I have been drawing blanks :-(

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 19, 2018 - 8:05 AM in reply to BarSal

Yes you can upgrade. In German its called a Klassenwechsel. You can do this on the SBB mobile app, on their website or at a train station. They charge 1/2 the price difference between the two classes ticket cost. Instructions for the SBB app are here.

As for accommodation every town page we have, noted here, has an accommodation list that we recommend. As for apartment rentals, try these websites.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Jan 19, 2018 - 8:26 AM in reply to BarSal

Hi Sally,

For the definitive Wengen guide see www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

The Luzern - Interlaken Express is part of the Golden Pass Line and has big windows in 1st Class. my experience here . . . www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-reluctant-travellers-swiss-adventure-part-2

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 20, 2018 - 1:43 AM

Thx Rockoyster - Kim's great report was one of the first things I found on this fabulous forum - it is the reason we are booking a week in Wengen! Just need to find the perfect spot. :-)

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 20, 2018 - 1:47 AM

Do you think it makes a difference which day of the week you travel on the panorama trains? I currently have the Bernina Express on a Saturday (1st Sept) but its not locked in stone

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Jan 20, 2018 - 1:53 AM in reply to BarSal

I don't think it makes much difference which day you travel. Good weather is nice but you can't pre-book that. Maybe an issue might be arriving late in the day in Lugano on a Sunday when a lot of places will be closed. But apart from that I can't think of anything else.

BarSal
BarSal
101 posts
active member
Jan 20, 2018 - 5:01 AM

OK thx. We are locals in the Adelaide Hills wine region and I would not go to a cellar door on a weekend because they are so busy. A week day is much better. Wondered if the trains had the same paradigm. I think taking the advice to get a 1st class flex rail pass will probably alleviate my concerns about crowds or luggage issues. :-)

Arno
Arno
11150 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 20, 2018 - 7:36 AM

Hi BarSal,

It's hard to predict how busy the trains will be. They're not only used by tourists but also by residents just to get from A to B. Some routes can be more crowded on weekdays, particularly during rush hour. But it also depends on the weather (if people go out to ski/hike), local events, etc. Hard to be sure about that, although the timetable does show an occupancy prediction for many trains (little traveler icons - 3 red ones is busy).

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 20, 2018 - 8:37 AM in reply to BarSal

I'd add that on panoramic trains like the Bernina Express you have to have reservations - so you won't be worried about not having a seat (and they don't let people on without a seat reservation so it won't be as packed as a regional train could be.

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jan 25, 2018 - 4:23 AM in reply to BarSal

Hi BarSal,

As your trip is longer than the maximum period of 15 days for a Swiss Travel Pass, and you are spending 5 days in Luzern/Lucerne at the beginning of your trip, I would absolutely recommend the Tell-Pass for the "excess" days before starting to use your Swiss Travel Pass.

The Tell-Pass provides unlimited free travel everywhere within its limits of validity, which will cover all the usual mountain and other excursions from Luzern.

It might also be worth using it to cover part of your travel from Zürich to Luzern, but probably only if you were also going to use it for another trip on the same day, e.g. a boat trip on the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne). I would start using the Swiss Travel Pass on the day you leave Luzern for Wengen.

Alpenrose

Edit: Have you now decided to stay in Luzern at the end of your trip instead? If so, my recommendation would be the same - but you would start off with 15 days on the Swiss Travel Pass, and use the Tell-Pass for the remaining days in Luzern at the end. Obviously it wouldn't work if your time in Luzern was in the middle of your trip.

Last modified on Jan 25, 2018 - 4:31 AM by Removed user
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jan 25, 2018 - 4:51 AM in reply to BarSal

>> Going on from Interlaken stay for one week in Wengen - looking for good accommodation. Just for two people. Looking for great views. Peaceful. Prefer one level. We don't ski. There in September. Doing day trips and shopping local or Interlaken for supplies. Is there a good site I can use.

I doubt if you will find a hotel all on one level in Wengen ;-) They are all built to maximise views and are often on sloping ground. Look for one with a lift.

I have stayed at the Hotel Bellevue, which has superb views, and is about 10-15 minutes walk from the railway station. It does have a lift, but you still need to use the stairs: one flight down from street level to get to reception, the dining room and lounges.

The lift up to the bedrooms is entered at street level, and it stops on a landing between floors, so when you get out of the lift, you walk either up a flight or down a flight of stairs to get to your room.

If you are interested, I have written about it in my post of Feb 14, 2017 - 3:22 AM on the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/accommodatio ns

The Hotel Bellevue link on that page seems to be broken. The following link works, but the text is in German. However, the webcam and pictures can speak for themselves ;-)

www.bellevue-wengen.ch/home.html

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jan 25, 2018 - 3:44 PM by Arno

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