Best rail pass for Switzerland France and Germany?

Best rail pass for Switzerland France and Germany?

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bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2017 - 11:51 AM

Hello! My friend and I are making our first trip to Switzerland in 2 weeks and can't wait! Our entire trip is about 17 days. We just had a question regarding rail passes....

I know most say to "do the math" when calculating what rail pass is most practical, but our trip will be much less of a plan and more of "take each day as it comes." The only dead set plans are flying into Geneva, heading to Chamonix for a couple nights, heading back East towards Interlaken/Bernese Oberland, spend a decent chunk of time there, then head East towards Zurich. We will then be spending the final nights in Munich. This trip will include a lot of backpacking/hiking/mtn biking.

What do you guys think? Does it make more sense to get a Swiss Travel Pass then just pay for our transportation out of pocket to and from France/Germany? Or does it make more sense to obtain a 3 country Select Eurail pass?

Any and all help would be sooo appreciated!

Best,

Bill

Lucas
Lucas
5660 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2017 - 2:54 PM in reply to bgar15

Hi Bill,

If you want to take things as they come and be flexible I would look at the Swiss Half Fare Card which gets you 50% off almost all trips you make around Switzerland.

The Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex are the most convenient as would a Eurail Select Pass (which doesn't offer as good coverage in Switzerland as the first two Swiss rail passes do) be.

Those are the 4 rail passes I would look at. I know you don't want to hear it but....there is no way to know the most economical option unless you plan out your days and "do the math" :(.

I would lean to buying the Swiss Half Fare Card and roll with it. :)

Lucas

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2017 - 7:02 PM in reply to Lucas

Thanks Lucas! Appreciate the help.

It sounds like the Swiss Travel Pass is the best and most convenient overall but I noticed the FLEX is a little cheaper. What does the Swiss Travel Pass offer than the FLEX does not?

Lucas
Lucas
5660 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2017 - 5:59 AM in reply to bgar15

Hi bgar15,

The Swiss Travel Pass would be cheaper than the Flex. The Flex is more expensive due to the convenience of choosing the days you use the pass on. Otherwise they are the same product.

Lucas

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2017 - 12:23 PM in reply to Lucas

Thanks Lucas! I think my buddy and I are going to take your original advice, the Swiss Half Fare Card. We mapped a vague version of our trip and it only cost $150. I highy doubt it's possible for us to spend another $400 on travel, with the 50% discount applied...considering we're likely going to set up "homebases" in Interlaken, Bernese Oberland region, and Zermatt.

Lucas
Lucas
5660 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2017 - 4:36 PM in reply to bgar15

If you need help on a town in the Bernese Oberland region, have a look at Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald instead of Interlaken. And add on Luzern for your 3rd home base.

Interlaken isn't that interesting except as a town with good train connections.

Lucas

Arno
Arno
10363 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2017 - 6:35 PM

Hi Bill,

If it's CHF 150 (not $150) it won't be worth it to buy a CHF 120 Swiss Half Fare Card. But be sure to do the math correctly. See our timetable page for detailed instructions on how to find prices. The timetable shows discounted prices by default, so don't assume these are the actual prices you will pay without any pass. Also, did you include cable cars, mountain trains, etc. in your quick calculations? Those add up quickly, and quite some people spend more on those than on actual town to town train transfers. The discussed passes are good for these trips too. A typical cable car return ticket costs CHF 40 to 80 without a discount.

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