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Travel from Italy to Lauterbrunnen

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2 posts
new member
Apr 12, 2011 - 3:48 AM
I'm hoping to get some advice on how to plan my train trip from Italy to Lauterbrunnen this July. I am not sure of the exact date I'll be leaving Italy and travel to Interlaken. Also, I might leave from either Venice or Florence (maybe it would be more difficult to leave from Florence?).

My questions are:

1. If I don't purchase the train trip in advance through the Swiss SSB website, (Venice-Lauterbrunnen 102 CHF with Half Fare Card), then will I be able to get the same price purchasing a ticket at the train station in Italy (ie would I be able to use my Swiss Half Fare card or would I have to buy a ticket to a border town and then get off the train and purchase another ticket for the Swiss part of the trip?)- having to buy another ticket and the half fare card en route would be nice to avoid I would imagine- or maybe it's not a big deal? Which border town would I go to if that was necessary?

2. do fares on swiss trains go up like they do on France's TGV if you don't buy in advance? Would it be much wiser to book my ticket in advance online? I don't know the date I'm planning on leaving Italy which is why I'm hesitant to do this. But if I did, I would then need to definitely buy a Swiss Half Fare card before I leave for Europe so as to have it when I board the train in Italy, correct? Because I suppose I couldn't ask for the discount fare if I didn't actually have the Half Fare Card yet.

3. My other concern about not booking the trip in advance is that the trains might be full leaving Italy (I read in one place it's important to have reservations for Italy trains and in another that it's not really an issue, so I'm not sure).

4. Lastly, if I do book online from say Venice to Lauterbrunnen on the SSB website, is it Italian or Swiss trains that leave Venice? Why can I book the trip on SSB website but on trenitalia.it it doesn't seem possible (says fares are n/a).

Thank you in advance for your help!
7180 posts
expert &
Apr 12, 2011 - 3:19 PM

Hello hipiper, and welcome! As for your questions:

1) You can either pre-order a 50% discounted train ticket through the SBB website, or purchase it at the border station (from where the Swiss Half Fare Card is valid) along the way. The first Swiss railway station is, in most cases, Brig. You often have to get off here anyway to change trains, but if you don't have a lot of time for getting in the next one, you may find that it's more convenient to already have your ticket. I'm not sure if it's possible to purchase your entire ticket at one of the larger Italian railway stations (meaning a ticket Florence/Venice-Interlaken, with a 50% discount for the Swiss leg). It's best to contact the Italian railways to find out. By the way, it doesn't make that much of a difference whether you travel from Venice or from Florence. In fact, faster connections are available from Florence than from Venice. The Swiss timetable shows all possible connections for both alternatives.

2) As far as I know, fares for trains running between Milano (in Italy) and Brig (in Switzerland) don't change as rapidly as they do for the TGV. Rates are more or less fixed, and pre-booking doesn't really lower the costs. You don't have to own or order your Swiss Half Fare Card yet when booking online; simply pick the 50% rate for the Swiss leg. As long as you have both your Swiss Half Fare Card and your 50% discounted ticket once you enter Switzerland, it's alright.

3) Making seat reservations for international trains (in this case, the train crossing the Italian-Swiss border) is often obligatory, so you can't really avoid this (unless you'll cross the border in a slower, regional train). Such reservations can often be made shortly in advance as well, so you may arrange for this during your stay in Italy, once you have determined on which date you want to travel to Switzerland. Your preferred seats may be not be available anymore in that case.

4) I'm not quite sure if Swiss or Italians trains are used, but that doesn't make a difference for booking the tickets. Generally the SBB website offers more possibilities than Trenitalia. The problem may be that a Swiss leg is involved in the journey, and that Trenitalia allows you to buy tickets and reserve seats for Italian trips only. In your case, it would be best to get to the SBB.

Does this clear things up for you?

Last modified on Nov 1, 2018 - 4:17 PM by Arno
2 posts
new member
Apr 12, 2011 - 10:38 PM
Thank you!


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