Rail passes & rail travel in Switzerland - 8 days

Rail passes & rail travel in Switzerland - 8 days

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Posts: 11
jacksonchua
jacksonchua
5 posts
new member
Nov 14, 2017 - 8:39 AM

Hi,

I am currently planning for my honeymoon trip and my wife and I will be travelling to Switzerland in late April. (23rd April 2018 reached Zurich).

As i am planning to buy the 8 days Swiss travel pass and i have a couple of questions.

1) Upon reaching Zurich, i will want to travel to Zermatt. Do i need to pre-book the SBB rail tickets / seats before i can take the rail or i just show my Swiss Travel Pass booking confirmation and i am allowed to take the rail.

2) I am planning for 8 days in Switzerland and i will be travelling to London from Zurich via airplane. Is there necessary for me to purchase the 8 days full travel pass or can i purchase seperately. Or any advise?

Thank you

Jackson

Lucas
Lucas
3376 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 14, 2017 - 9:55 AM in reply to jacksonchua

Hi Jackson and welcome to MySwissAlps!

  1. You don't need or often can reserve seats on any Swiss trains. The exemptions are on special panoramic trains like the Glacier Express where a reservation is mandatory. You may indeed want to take the Glacier Express to Zermatt. It starts in the town of Chur (about 1.5 hours by train from Zurich and then 6 hours to Zermatt).
  2. I'm not sure your meaning here. What do you want to purchase separately? Just point to point tickets instead of the Swiss Travel Pass? If you are in Switzerland and traveling regularly over 8 days then buying the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass would make perfect sense.

FYI April is a low season in Switzerland - hiking in the mountains isn't available due to snow levels... but snow levels aren't good enough for skiing either which shuts down in most places by mid-April. Hence many towns are very quiet at that time of year; with some restaurants and hotels closing until mid-June.

jacksonchua
jacksonchua
5 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2017 - 2:50 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thank you for your prompt reply. i am now considering to purchase the full travel pass or the 50% travel pass as i need to consider on my route. Most likely i will be taking straight from Zurich to Zermatt via the rail. I would like to check, from Zurich to Zermatt, there isn't any direct rail right? As i saw we have to transfer at Visp Station.

Also i am travelling from 23rd April to 11th May and in between will stop by London so that is why i have to travel that period.

Do you happen to know where can i check for bus schedule and prices as i am planning to Gimmelwald and i saw that there is a need to take the rail, bus and finally the gondola to reached the destination.

Thank you

rockoyster
rockoyster
928 posts
top member
Nov 15, 2017 - 3:16 AM in reply to jacksonchua

Hi jacksonchua,

You are correct on the Zurich to Zermatt route. The minimum number of changes is 1 at Visp.

As far as getting to Gimmelwald the SBB Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) will show you trains, buses and cableways. Just put in your start and end points and the timetable will show you the fastest route and intermediate connections.

Last modified on Nov 15, 2017 - 3:17 AM by rockoyster
jacksonchua
jacksonchua
5 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2017 - 3:31 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

Thank you, i did a check on the SBB website for the rail schedule. There is a part i dont understand.

I indicate the location at Zurich Airport to Zermatt directly. and it came out the following.

Zürich Flughafen, PL. 3 [IC 8] - is this easily asses in Zurich Airport? Also what does the IC 8 means? the rail number?

Arrive at VISP, PI. 6 - What does the PI 6 means? the platform number?

Depart at Visp, PI. 3 [R 237] - The R237 means the rail number to board?

Sorry for asking so much as this is my first time in switzerland and i search online i dont understand.

Thank you

rockoyster
rockoyster
928 posts
top member
Nov 15, 2017 - 3:45 AM in reply to jacksonchua

Trains are categorised as IC (Inter City), IR (Inter Region), R (Regional), S (Suburban)

IC8 = InterCity 8 = the number of the train you will take.

Pl is indeed the platform at which you catch the train. They are very well sign-posted. You won't have any trouble.

R237 = Regional train #237

If you are going from Zermatt to Gimmelwald then consider going via Kandersteg. It will take you a bit longer but is a more scenic route that the Visp to Spiez line you would normally follow. You will go Zermatt - Brig - Kandersteg - Spiez - Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg (by bus) - GImmelwald (by cable car). It is between seasons in April so may be pretty quiet.

Last modified on Nov 15, 2017 - 3:48 AM by rockoyster
jacksonchua
jacksonchua
5 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2017 - 3:59 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you for all the information.

I am planning to route from Zurich to Zermatt as of now. And from there will travel to Interlaken, Gimmelwald, Lurcene and finally back to Zurich to fly off to London.

Also can i know if the travel pass will cater for all rail, bus and cable car rides? or is there a like a restriction on which train, bus or cable car i can take for free?

rockoyster
rockoyster
928 posts
top member
Nov 15, 2017 - 4:06 AM in reply to jacksonchua

Here is the Swiss Travel Pass validity map for 2018 www.myswissalps.com/do cs/systemlibrariesprov ider/rail/swisstravels ystem2018.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Some mountain cable cars and cog railways you need to buy a separate ticket at a discount (usually 50% but Jungfraujoch train is only 25% discount from Wengen or Grindelwald) but apart from that most everything is covered. Study the legend on the map.

rockoyster
rockoyster
928 posts
top member
Nov 15, 2017 - 4:29 AM in reply to jacksonchua

When I said April will be quiet, you may not be able to go from Gimmelwald to Schilthorn depending on when you are there. The 2018 timetable has the note "Services on the Mürren – Schilthorn route will not run due to maintenance work from 23rd – 27th April 2018. There will be limited service on the Stechelberg – Gimmelwald – Mürren route. If demand is heavy, connections cannot be guaranteed. "

See schilthorn.ch/cmsfiles /fahrplan_2018_web.pdf

jacksonchua
jacksonchua
5 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2017 - 4:37 AM in reply to rockoyster

WOW Thank you for such important information. So if i want to go Gimmelwald, i will have to avoid the the dates. We want to go Gimmelwald because we want to stay at the Olle & Maria's Bed and Breakfast. But we are skeptical on what can we do over there as it seems like there are not restaurants while only hiking / skiing activities. Are there any other location near Interlaken / Lurcene / Zermatt where we can stay in such houses to enjoy such amazing views?

rockoyster
rockoyster
928 posts
top member
Nov 15, 2017 - 4:54 AM in reply to jacksonchua

I think you will be OK to reach Gimmelwald, it is very unlikely demand will be heavy, but it is a tiny vlllage.

I'm not sure how long you are planning to stay there but I would look at finding somewhere at say Wengen which has equally impressive scenery. But also because it is between season many places may be closed.

This is a very thorough guide of Wengen www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

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