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-   -   Help with Swiss Rail passes (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/help-with-swiss-rail-passes-43477/)

Jocelyn May 4th, 1999 03:25 AM

Help with Swiss Rail passes
 
Hi all, <BR> <BR>I'm planning to visit Switzerland for 4-5 days in early October. In the main, I would like to visit the Bernese Oberland region, take the train ride from St. Moritz to Zermatt and possibly visit Geneva as well. I'm a little confused as to what type of Swiss railpass I should buy. Should I get : <BR> <BR>the 7-day Bernese Oberland Pass? <BR>the Swiss Card?? <BR>the Swiss Pass?? <BR> <BR>Which would give me the best deal particularly if I want to go to the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn and take the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz? <BR> <BR>Also, what type of weather conditions should I expect up in the mountains during early October? <BR> <BR>Can anyone help? Thanks!!!

Bob Brown May 4th, 1999 08:23 AM

You do have an ambitious schedule for 5 days. If you go to the Jungfraujoch, you will need to allow about 8 hours, if your point of origin is Interlaken Ost. <BR>The Schilthorn is another day and the Zermatt to St. Moritz trip is an all day ride on a slow train. <BR>And it will take you a day to get from Interlaken to Zermatt and see some of the scenery around the village. <BR> <BR>Early October presents a problem. I left from Zurich for home on Oct 1 last year and it rained that day and every day thereafter for well over a week. Usually, October is thought to be 'golden', but not last year. Of course predicting the weather, particularly in the mountains, is tricky at best. <BR>Of the passes you mention, I considered them all last year. For what you plan, I would not (and did not) get the local Berner Oberlandbahn pass because it is restricted just to the BOB area, and it is not cheap. The Swiss Card, purchased in Switzerland, is about $101 at today's rate of exchange. That is a little less than the RailEurope price. The Swiss Pass is also a little cheaper in Switzerland. I went 2nd class because it is acceptable and somewhat cheaper. <BR>We opted for the Swiss Card because it gave us half off of the BOB trains and gave us good discounts, about 25%, on various gondolas and telepheriques. For example, the Swiss Card gave us 50% off of the top Jungfrau price. <BR>You did not say how you were arriving in Switzerland, so that is a factor in deciding which card to purchase. We flew into Zurich, had the Swiss Card, and rode at no extra cost to our destination in Lauterbrunnen. From there we spent a week running up and down the mountains by train and cable-pulled mountain conveyences. <BR>For the 5 day period, I am not sure if you have exceeded the break even cost when comparing travel by card with full fares or not. One aspect of buying a pass or card is this: Given the chances of bad weather, if you buy the pass you are out the money regardless of how you travel. If you opt for single fares, you pay more but you then have the option of declining the trip when the peaks are socked in. <BR>Before we went, I added up the undiscounted fares for our planned travels. Then I took 50% of that and found that I would save by buying the Swiss Card. I urge you to do the same. <BR>Estimate your breakeven cost and try to decide if the pass or card will actually save you money.

greg May 4th, 1999 10:36 AM

I can symphathize with your confusion. Along with London Transport passes, I find choosing Swiss passes, just as confusing because of abundance of private trains in the country and because the official and travel guides only give vague descriptions "covers most routes in the region", "50% off on some other routes" so it is very difficult to nail down just what is EXACTLY covered. Following web sites may add LITTLE BIT of knowledge to this confusion. <BR> <BR>http://twenj.com/swpasses.htm

vr May 4th, 1999 06:20 PM

I just got my Swisspasses and the little map that shows what is covered in full, what is discounted. So it you have a specific question, I can probably get out my magnifying glass and tell you what the official literature that comes with the pass says. We got a 15 day pass for a trip of that length because we didn't want to stand in any unnecessary ticket lines.

Dave Hutchinson May 4th, 1999 06:25 PM

Jocelyn... I am going to e-mail you my travelogue from our 9 day trip throughout Switzerland last October. If anyone else would like this I will be happy to e-mail it to you. Please request at my e-mail address. Thanks.. Dave..


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