4 day rail pass in Lauterbrunnen area?

Apr 7th, 2008, 03:29 AM
  #1  
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4 day rail pass in Lauterbrunnen area?

We will be in Lauterbrunnen for 4 nights in late September, and wish to purchase a rail pass for the valley area sights that period of time. We'll actually be there 3 1/2 days as we must leave for Basil at 7:00 AM the final day for our flight home. I can find only 6 day passes on one internet sight which is far more than we need. Where can I get rail pass infromation for the Lauterbrunnen area?
TwoTravelers is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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lots of rail pass info on Rick Steve's site:
www.ricksteves.com

and I believe you can get pass info on the Swiss rail site:
www.sbb.ch/en/
Travelnut is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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What transportation are you planning

cable cars to mountain tops

or trains to Wengen, Interlaken, boat trips on lakes, etc.

The 4-day straight Swiss Pass can be a boon in the area as it covers all trains, boats, the key lifts Stechelberg-Murren and Murren-Lauterbrunnen - but would be better if you were taking a train to Lauterbrunnen and then taking a train to Basel as those two trips would be 100% covered

But if driving to Lauterbrunnen area then you are perhaps best off with the Half-Fare card sold at Swiss stations that gives you half off everything - better often than the pricey Jungfraubahn Pass which covers most things in the area or the Berner Oberland pass which covers a wider region but not some things Jungfraubahnpass covers. I ditto www.ricksteves.com for info on these passes and always refer folks to www.budgeteuropetravel.com for lots of Swiss trains and passes and www.swisstravelsystem.com for lots of everything about Swiss trains, lifts, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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Well, rail pass information is scattered.

However, I think you are looking at the validity period of the pass from the wrong perspective.

The question is NOT the pass validity period but whether or not it will save you money. There are several passes available, and all have their strengths and weaknesses.

The Jungfraubahnen pass for the region is the second best deal, IF you ride a lot, AND you do NOT want to go to the Schilthorn. The Schilthorn is a pricey trip that is not covered except as far as Mürren. The last section from Mürren to the top is the most expensive part.

The cost of the pass is 195 chf. Now lets see what you would need to do to amortize the cost, that is, reach the break-even point.

Here are some round trip individual prices, undiscounted:

Grindelwald to First 51 chf,
Lauterbrunnen to the Männlichen 50.40
Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch
157.40 chf

Total 258.80

If you had the pass, the same tickets would cost you
195 + 57.40 or 252.60 chf because you pay half of the final leg of the Jungfraujoch trip

So if you took only those three rides, you would have saved a few chf.

Any train rides between places that I did not mention would cost you nothing.

The Swiss Half Fare card would save you 50% off the whole thing. I think it is the best deal at a cost of 99 chf for a month of validity.

If you took the above trips with the half fare card, you would pay a total of 99 +(258.80/2) or 228.40 chf.

So the half fare card despite its validity of 30 days is THE BETTER DEAL.

Also, how are you getting to Basel? If by train you pay half the normal fare.

How are you getting to the Berner Oberland? If by train, same deal.

Where else are you going in Switzerland? If by train or paddle boat, you save half the normal cost.

So those are your option.

To answer your question about where, there is NO ONE place where you can get this information.

The Swiss Half Fare Card data comes from the SBB.ch site; the other came from the Jungfraubahnen site.

There is a third pass, the Berner Oberland Region Pass, but I never could figure it saved me any money regardless of what I did.
It sells for 224 chf and includes 3 days of free travel and 4 additional days of half fare travel. The trips on the free days are indeed free, EXCEPT you always pay half of the cost of the last parts of the trips to the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn.

In all my visits I have never been able to beat the Swiss half fare card or the Swiss CARD which is like the half fare card only it has built into the price a rail trip from the border (or the Zürich airport) to your first night's destination and a rail trip out of the country or exit airport.

Entry and exit points need not be identical.

If you have already bought some kind of Swiss Pass for the trains, you can get the Jungfraubahnen Pass for a little less, 145 chf as opposed to 195 chf. A regular rail pass gives you half fare pricing in the Berner Oberland, and if you already have one, then any other pass is not a good deal.



bob_brown is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 03:39 PM
  #5  
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We'll be traveling by rental car from Venice to Lauterbrunnen, stay the 4 nights at the Hotel Silberhorn next to the Lauterbrunnen rail station, and leave for the Basil airport in our car. We can drive to Intelaken or Bern, etc. for a day trip, but need to ride the rails and lifts for Murren, Wengen, and other stops up and down the valley.
TwoTravelers is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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half-fare card like bob brown also recommended unless you are doing much more than the average tourist here
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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You can buy the half fare card after you get there. I, frankly, would wait. If the days are cloudy, going higher is a waste because you can not see very much. I would go to the Jungfraujoch only if the day was very clear, or promised to be.

Late September will find iffy weather.
So you may spend your days visiting places at the lower levels.

Unless rain is actually falling, the Museum of Swiss Life at Ballenberg is very interesting to some people. I was fascinated with it and actually went twice. It is outside as indicated and requires some walking.

It is not covered by any pass I know of at the moment.
bob_brown is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 08:18 PM
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I had posted a similar thread a few days ago, and did a lot of research on what is the best card. It turns out to be a toss-up between the Swiss Pass (which is available for 4 days or 8 days), and the half-fare card, depending upon your specific travel plans. The Swiss pass for 4 days is available for 260 CHF (15% discount if 2 or more people), and offers unlimited train travel, boat travel and museum entries (all free) for that 4 day period. You still have to pay 50% on mountain lift journeys (beyond Murren, Wengen or Grindelwald), and pay 75% of the ride from Kleine Schedegg to Jungfrau peak. As PalenQ mentioned in his earlier reply, if the poster wants to do a fair bit of travel in Switzerland (in addition to the Jungfrau region), perhaps the Swiss Pass may be better. Otherwise the half-fare card.
indiancouple is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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Correction to my earlier post. The Raileurope site shows that the 4-day Swiss pass is available for only $ 204 (and not 260 CHF as I had written earlier). Strange why a different site gives a higher price. Anyway, raileurope should be authentic. And a 15% discount is applicable on this $204 if 2 people are travelling together.
BTW, the Ballenberg museum is also covered by the swiss Pass.
indiancouple is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 10:22 PM
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I have a question about the Swiss Pass being good for admission at Ballenberg. I could not use the Swiss Card there and the web site does not mention any passes other than the Swiss Museum Pass.

Do any of you have actual experience with using the Swiss Pass for admission to the museum at Ballenberg?

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 8th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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I do not but the info that comes with the Swiss Pass clearly indicates it can be used there

Swiss Card and Swiss Pass benefits are not identical

for example Swiss Cards get 50% off Jungfraubahn but Swiss Passes only get 25%

for the most part they are identical but i've seen no info saying Swiss Cards are good at over 400 museums like Swiss Passes are (only on days on 100% coverage on Flexipasses though - no 50% discount on other days like on transport.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 8th, 2008, 12:58 PM
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Come to think of it it makes sense that Swiss Card is not honored and Swiss Passes are

because it's again only on the 100% covered days on Swiss Passes and not the in between days where everything transport wise is 50%

So in that regard both are the same

Isn't a Swiss Card not much more than a 3-day Swiss Flexi Saverpass and if so i think for most folks the pass would be better since both get 50% off everything in between first and last day of use (except Jungfraubahn which is 50% vs 25% Card vs Pass so that would be an exception)

Swiss Card gives you a trip from any border point or airport to any place in Switzerland and then to any border point or airport byt the most direct route

So i guess if you were not going to budge once you got to a place or use transport that is covered 100% as it would be on the third 100% day of a Swiss Pass the Card might be a tad cheaper

But the BOB and the Lake Brienz boats to Ballenberg and free entry to the museum then would make the pass better perhaps than the card

and the most direct route may prohibit say from Interlaken taking the longer route via Brunig Pass to Lucerne and Zurich rather than the prescribed main route via Bern - not nearly so scenic and you could not get off at Lucerne, etc. (Not sure however how 'most direct' is figured and could possible allow the Brunig route.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 8th, 2008, 09:25 PM
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Before making assertions like some of the above, how about putting actual figures on paper and running a break-even analysis. The cost of the Pass above the cost of the Card, or the half fsare card often outweigh the benefits if most of the travel is within the Berner Oberland region.

I have never been able to run a calculation for my self that showed the Swiss Pass to be an advantage, and I have cited figures more than once on this forum.

So back up your assertions with figures that show where the break even point is reached!

Until I see the francs and rappen or whatever they are called in black and white I remain skeptical.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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<The cost of the Pass above the cost of the Card,>

I did not say the Pass would seem nearly always be better than the Half-Fare card, indeed for the OP i recommended like you the Half-Fare Card, but i did and do think a Swiss Pass is nearly always a better bet than the Swiss Card -

here is what i said previously:

<Isn't a Swiss Card not much more than a 3-day Swiss Flexi Saverpass and if so i think for most folks the pass would be better since both get 50% off everything in between first and last day of use (except Jungfraubahn which is 50% vs 25% Card vs Pass so that would be an exception)

So i was comparing Swiss Cards ($146; 2nd cl) with a 3-day Swiss Saver Flexipass (most travel with someone else but a single traveler would pay more) that costs $165 in 2nd class or $19 more and this gives you the exactl same 50% off everything on days within the first and last day of use as the Swiss Card does*

And in the scenario you present about the Ballenberg Museum, which i believe is covered, i think the entrance there alone would amount to the $19 - let along 100% covered transport by train, boat and or bus to the Museum and back from say a Wengen, Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald or Interlaken base - thus whatever 50% of the full fare of those transports cost - perhaps $40 -or $20 at half off would be a plus. And a small benefit is that you need not go to the ticket window to buy tickets, where with a credit card or Swiss francs you pay the inevitable 3% or so exchange fees some point down the exchange line.

So there is one very practical scenario where a Swiss Pass is better than a Swiss Card. Next i'll look at other excursions that folks with a week or so in the area may make and point out similar savings.

*Since the discount on the Jungfraubahn Wengen or Grindelwald-Jungfraujoch is only 25% of Swiss Pass but 50% on Swiss Card then if taking that jaunt it changes the calculation of course.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 9th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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<Before making assertions like some of the above, how about putting actual figures on paper and running a break-even analysis. The cost of the Pass above the cost of the Card>

I could do actual figures but it would take a lot of tracking down but it you don't buy my about $20 savings in this scenario i will (and perhaps be wrong?)
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Apr 10th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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And the Swiss Card provides a trip to and from one point by the most direct route

That sounds very prescriptive - like there is only one path you must take

Say you land in Zurich and take the quickest route to Interlaken - via Bern

But when you want to go back to Zurich airport you have all day and want to take the longer (timewise) but much much more scenic rail route that tracks along Lake Brienz (perhaps even taking the boat free with your Swiss Pass from Interlaken-Ost train station to Brienz to rejoin the train route)
and then taking the cog mountain narrow-gague railway up and over the Brunig Pass to Lucerne (fully covered by Swiss Passes) - stop off in Lucerne for a few hours to see one of the world's most beautiful cities - putting bags in a station locker - then taking the 45 min train ride to Zurich. A great day that perhaps would not be possible if you had to return to Zurich on a Swiss Card's prescriptive fastest route via Bern - and miss all the lake, pass scenery and Lucerne.

Swiss Pass gives you more options and costs just $19 more than the Swiss Card - and you'd also have a third day of 100% coverage on the pass to do day trips around Interlaken.

(I'm not sure exactly what the Swiss Card means by most direct route - the fastest route i presume via Bern, but not sure really)
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 10th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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An even more constricting example of the Swiss Card's 'most direct' route caveat is if going to from Geneva Airport and Interlaken- BOB area

arriving you'll probably want to hop via the most direct route from Geneva to Interlaken via Lausanne and Bern - but if you say have all day to return to Geneva for a flight the next day the Swiss Card would limit you to the same direct and fastest route

But the Swiss Passes flexibility would allow you to take a bit longer indirect route but one of the nicest train rides in Switzerland - over the Golden Pass route Interlaken-Zweissimmen-Montreux and then along Lake Geneva to Geneva

this is a goregous route with one of Switzerland's fabled specialty trains known for its Panoramic cars and unique swivel seats as well as VIP seats that put you right next to the driver

this is infinitely a much more scenic route, esp when the rail line plunges down thru vineyards to Lake Geneva, thru vineyards with the spector of the Mont Blanc Massif looming wondroulsy across the lake.

You could stop over - lockers in all Swiss stations it seems - and poke around old Montreux or take the train to nearby Vevey, another lakeside charmer and then hop a train to Geneva

So even though the Swiss Pass is for many folks' plans cheaper than the Swiss Card but it gives you many more options as well.

And in this scenario i think the Swiss Pass may even be a better deal than the Half-Fare card - i'll analyze that a bit more though before stating that as fact. But the full fare at 50% off Geneva-Airport to say Wengen i think is substantial vs the 100% fare covered days on the Swiss Flexipass.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 10th, 2008, 03:36 PM
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We have a two night stay in Interlaken in October, coming by train from Dijon and leaving for Venice by train. We are hoping to do Jungfrau on our full day hopefully the weather will be nice and wanted to get off and on at different villages on the way up and down. Which pass would be best and where should I purchase it. We are a family from Australia of 2 adults and 2 daughters aged 18 & 16.
I have not yet bought any other rail passes, thanks to all the wonderful advice on here I think I will opt for point to point tickets. Thank you
mariebut is offline  
Apr 10th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Offhand i would think that you should buy a Half-Fare Card in Lausanne - aftet getting off the train there where you probably have to change and then use it for half fare to Interlaken area and half off the very expensive Jungfrau train (i think about $140 full price from Interlaken) and get 50% off the Interlaken-Domodossola Italy train. No doubt the Half-Fare Card would save you tons of money since it givers you 50% off your point to point tickets, including the Jungfrau train

I'll have to analyze whether the Swiss Flexipass could be better - but in any case forget the Swiss Card which fits very few profiles it seems - the Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card is invariably a better deal for 95% of tourists plans.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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Back to more on the Swiss Card vs Swiss Pass

I can think of only a very very few scenarios where the Swiss Card would be better - since it costs only $19 less - but if you are going from an airport or border point to a place and then not taking any trains, lifts or gondolas or boats that would be covered by the third 100% covered day of the Swiss Flexipass (or not to $20 museums the Swiss Pass covers in full but Swiss Card covers 0%)

if going say to a ski holiday where you once you get to a place will not be leaving the place and get a ski pass, etc. Then you could save $19 with the Swiss Card - the maximum savings over a 3-day Swiss Flexipass.

But most folks in an area like Interlaken/Wengen for a spell may well want to take on the 3rd 100% covered day some great excursions from there that will more than make-up the $19 difference between Card and Pass

And in my previous scenarios about taking a longer non most direct route back to your airport at Zurich or Geneva - a much more beautiful route rather than the prescripted most direct route the Swiss Pass could even have more benefits as if going to Lucerne or Geneva for the day then the Swiss Pass can be used on that day for 100% coverage of boat trips on Lake Lucerne and Lake Geneva - and just a short hour or so float on Lake Lucerne from the Lucerne train station lets you see what i consider Switzerland's most gorgeous lake - this fjord-like body of water.
And you can take the boat to the fabulous Swiss Transport Museum on the lake - one of the world's pre-eminent transport museums and have the $15-20 entry fee covered by the pass but not the Card.

And with Geneva if you arrive there early in the afternoon the day before you flight then a few hour cruise on Lake Geneva late in the afternoon could be a relaxing way to end your day and again 100% covered by Swiss Pass but nothing on the Card.

so the plethora of options that for $19 the Swiss Pass provides over the prescriptive Swiss Card to me makes it the best choice for nearly all folks comparing passes to cards. You need not do anything math calculations to show this.
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