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Confused about Swiss Rail passes...again! Please help!

Confused about Swiss Rail passes...again! Please help!

Aug 25th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,132
Confused about Swiss Rail passes...again! Please help!

This forum was so helpful to us with our trip to the Bernese Oberland in 2006 so I'm hoping for help once again!

We are flying into Zurich and taking the train to Grindelwald.
We'll be taking the cable car to Pfistegg and back.
We'll be taking the cable car to First and maybe taking the trottibikes back down, otherwise the cable car.
We'll also be taking the cable car to Mannlichen, hiking to Kleine Scheidigg and taking the train back to Grindelwald.
There might be another day on a train or cable car - I'm leaving that one open.
Finally, we will take the train to Italy, I guess changing trains (do we change or stay on?) in Chiasso.

No trip to the Jungfrau or Schilthorn as we did those last time and will be trying more hikes and other things.

We used the Swiss card last time for the free fares from the airport and for leaving the country from a different spot, as well as discounts on trains and up to the Jungfrau. It seems that there are a lot of recommendations to people now to consider other passes, but the cable cars are what are confusing me. I've looked at the maps on the SBB site and can't really tell what I'm looking at! I even wrote to the office of one to ask which passes would give a discount, but he only directed me back to the map! (It was worth a try!)

Does anyone have an thoughts on which pass(es) would be best for the airport and departure trips and a whole lot of cable cars? Oh yes - there will be 4 of us, age 17 and above. Should have done this trip this year while the kids were 16!

kwren is online now  
Aug 25th, 2010, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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It sounds like the Swiss Card will be good for this trip too. All the cable cars are half price as they are with the Swiss Pass. But I don't see any long train trips that would warrant a pass. I just bought the Swiss Card for $169 for 2nd class.
scatcat is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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Thanks scatcat - Yes, the only long train trips will be from Zurich and to Italy, and I think the price of the pass almost evens out with the price of those train trips.

Are there any passes which give better than 50% on cable cars? Do all Swiss rail passes give cable car discounts?

Are there saver passes in Switzerland...the ones where there is a discount on the price of a pass if 2 or more are traveling together? (or am I confusing that with Italy?)
kwren is online now  
Aug 25th, 2010, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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There is a Swiss Flexipass Saver for 2 or more persons. If you go to Rick Steves, there is a comparison chart. Just click on railpasses then Switzerland to see the chart.
scatcat is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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When is your trip?

There's currently a 2-for-1 offer for the 7-day BO Regional Pass for the months of Sept & October:

Here's the BO Regional Pass Map:

(Red is FREE; Green is 50% off) Looks like 2 out of your 3 cable car rides (to First & to Mannlichen) will be free.

The 7 day pass is a 3+4, which means 3 of the 7 days it's completely free, and the other 4 days is only 50% off.

If you get a regular Swiss Pass, I *think* all the cable car rides are 50% off.
yk is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Just so you know what to expect . . . the "cable cars" to First from Grindelwald and Mannlichen from Grund are gondolas, 6- and 4-person, respectively. Not at all like the trams from, for example, Muerren to the Schilthorn. Each is a fine trip, but they do take a bit longer than the faster trams - as I recall, First is a bit over a half hour and Mannlichen is over 40 minutes.
FlyFish is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 08:20 PM
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yk - we'll be there June 28 - July 3 so I guess that special won't apply

Here's an example of what confuses me - on the BO Regional Pass map, the key for lines marked in red states, "free travel on 3 or 5 days and tickets at half taxe". Is it free or half price??? Or do they mean that you don't pay for the ticket, but have to pay half of the tax on the ticket? (although the French translation means half price, not half tax) The green is pretty clear - it says 50%.

I don't know much about the BO Regional Pass, but am thinking that it doesn't cover the trip in from the airport or to Italy at the end? Since those would be fairly expensive, would this pass still be a good choice?

I'll check out Rick Steves tomorrow.

Thanks for the heads up Fly - we like to relax on vacation, so a couple of longer rides might be preferable for us!

Can anyone explain the abbreviations for all the stations in Grindelwald? THere is GGM, LWM, Grund, and a bunch of others and I never know what to put in for the destination when I'm trying to get prices. I usually end up with bus, walking, train and cable car for a short trip!
kwren is online now  
Aug 26th, 2010, 02:17 AM
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The red lines on the BO Regional Pass map mean free travel on 3 or 5 days - and on the rest of the days you get 50% discount (taxe = fare).

The BO Regional Pass doesn't make sense for you. The trips you listed in your original post come to a total of 275.20 SFr. and the Regiopass BO costs 230 SFr (3 free days) or 277 SFr (5 free days) and doesn't even cover most of the trip to/from Grindelwald.

I suggest you buy a Half Fare Card for 99 SFr. or Swiss Card for 182 SFr. (The difference between them is exactly the the difference for the to/from Grindelwald trips.)

With Half Fare Card your listed trips come to a total of 137.60 Sfr.

To get fares go to http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/desktopdef.../90_read-6491/

On the sbb.ch website plug in Grindelwald only.

Ingo is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 04:49 AM
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GGM = Gondolebahn Grindelwald-Mannlichen (this is the 4-person gondola from Grund to Mannlichen or in reverse - you sit in like a bucket with 2 people facing each other)

LWM = Luftseilbahn Wengen-Mannlichen (this is what I'd call a tram, holds many many people - everyone stands and there is an attendant who works the door - goes from Wengen to Mannlichen or in reverse)

There is only one train station in Grindelwald proper, next to the Derby Hotel.

The Grindelwald-Grund station is down the hill from the center of town. From Grund is where you make your connections for excursions to Mannlichen or Kleine Scheidegg. This is a different train than the one that comes from Interlaken. To get to Grund, you board the train at the main Grindelwald station, and it then takes you downhill for a short (<5 minute) ride to Grund.

If you are heading to Mannlichen: from Grindelwald take the train to Grund, then walk across the street, thru a large parking lot, to the gondola which takes you up to Mannlichen.

If you are heading to Kleine Scheidegg: from Grindelwald take the train to Grund, then stay on the train when you reach Grund. The train will load more passengers but you stay put! It will then go to Kleine Scheidegg.

I know this is sounding confusing (and perhaps I'm just not stating it simply enough), but it is indeed very simple once you get to Grindelwald. It's a tiny station. You can't get lost!
swisshiker is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 07:53 AM
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swisshiker! you stated it perfectly!!! It makes complete sense now, I won't have to look anything up and you even gave me more info than I asked for (or even knew to ask for!). Thanks for clearing it up
kwren is online now  
Aug 26th, 2010, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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also check out the Jungfraubahn Pass that may be better than the wider-ranging B Oberland Pass for the lifts and trains in the Jungfrau Region. And in addition to www.ricksteves.com, who i always refer folks to cehck out www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com and www.swisstravelsystem.com

As for the Swiss Pass -if your time comports to the 4- and 8-day consecutive passes then that may be the best deal. Especially since in this region of notoriously fickle weather you may want to say if rainy do a day trip to say Lucerne or Bern, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Swiss Card for 182 SFr.

A Swiss Card at CHF 182 or about $182 better than a 3-day Swiss Saver Flexipass at $199.

For $17 extra you get three days of unlimited 100% covered travel on most trains and boats in Switzerland - the Swiss Card gives a trip from any airport or border point to one place and back - a precriptive route i believe. So i guess if on the third 100% covered travel day your travel costs are more $34 - the break even point then the flexipass is a better deal and on the other 100% covered travel days you can go anywhere in Switzerland, not some prescribed shortest/quickest route. Like when you arrive in Interlaken in mid-afternoon you could, with the pass, hop on a boat on Lake Thun, etc - not allowed that day with a Swiss Card, which would charge you 50%.

But Swiss Cards if bought in the U.S. are $169 vs $182 if bought in Switzerland so that changes the calculations somewhat. But for sure if traveling very much on the third day then the Swiss Pass may be better than the Swiss Card. And with the Swiss Flexipass you get 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland (except Wengen/Grindelwald to Jungfrauhjch is but 25%) in between the first and third days of travel over a one-month period.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 09:37 AM
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Seems Swiss Passes once again, as they were for years, cheaper in dollars bought in U.S. then same pass in switzerland.

Quick check shows 3-day Swiss Flexipass at $199 p.p. on Saver Pass (2 or more names on one pass) vs 211.65 Swiss Francs on sbb.ch - franc is about on par with dollar when usual 3% fee on credit card foreign purchases are figured in. So makes this pass about $23 cheaper here than there.

I will do a more thorough check to make sure i got it right, as seems.

And Swiss Card mentioned above is $169 in U.S. vs CHF 182 there - say $182 p.p.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 03:41 PM
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I'm glad to see you here PalenQ! You were such a great help to me for my last trip I'll be trying to figure this out too, but thanks so much for helping me again!
kwren is online now  

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