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Rail Travel in Switzerland... Help!

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Feb 21st, 2012, 05:36 PM
  #1
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Rail Travel in Switzerland... Help!

My husband and I will be traveling between Lucerne, Zurich, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen (still figuring out in what order we will see them) in June. I have done some research but wanted to get the opinions of educated travelers about rail passes. My findings have been that it is cheaper to just pay for individual tickets rather than to get a rail pass. For travel between these places (and there may be some back-tracking involved due to a need to be in Zurich right in the middle of our travel dates ), am I generally correct?

Also, is it better (cheaper) to buy in advance or to buy at the station? I like the idea of having some flexibility, but also want to avoid the headache of having to figure it out when we get there.

Finally, is it too much to try to do all of these places in 6-7 days? Neither of us have been to Switzerland before and welcome the advice of those of you who have been to these areas!

Thanks for any help you can offer!!
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Feb 21st, 2012, 08:49 PM
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My experience has been that the half-fare travel card is the best deal overall for my needs.
You do not need to buy in advance.
There is plenty of information regarding the different options on the Swiss train website. The site allows you to plan your trips also:
http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and...ailpasses.html

I think 6 or 7 days is just fine. I would maximize the time in the Lauterbrunen/Jungfrau area as it is really unique. Bern is a pretty neat city too.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 09:18 PM
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Switzerland is a country where point of point fares are quite high and passes of some kind might offer benefits. But which one? Simple half-fare card or comprehensive one like swisspass? Many people come here looking for a simple answer, but there is no way around avoid computing the costs if you really want to find out which is more economical. The passes offer some kind of discounts on high mountain train/cable car rides. Since these fares are quite expensive, this is another area passes/discount cards offer benefits.

Since you are going to Lauterbrunnen and Luzern, I presume you will be taking several of these high altitude transports. Here is a map showing where passes are valid as well as where passes offer discounts

http://www.swisstravelsystem.ch/file...S-07-GZD01.pdf
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 05:55 AM
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It MOST CERTAINLY is not cheaper to buy individual rail and gondola tickets in the BO rather than buy a pass.

You have to go to www.sbb.ch and plug in your itin.

I have an old ticket stub from August, 2010. Then it cost 52 CHF (that is about $56 now) to travel by train from Wengen to the Schilthorn (at Murren gondola) and back.

With the Half-Fare Card, I paid 26 CHF for my ticket, so I saved 26 CHF just for that one trip.

The Half-Fare Card is 110 CHF and is good for 30 days.

I don't know where you are staying in the BO, but if you are staying in Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald, or Grindelwald, you have to take either a train or gondola to leave town (unless you plan on extensive hiking).

That means buying train or gondola tickets up to 3 times a day in many instances.

You have to buy tickets to take the boat ride on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. If you are staying in Lauterbrunnen, you have to buy a train ticket to get to Interlaken so you can get on the boat.

You have to buy a ticket to take the gondola from Wengen to Mannlichen.

You have to take a gondola to get from Lauterbrunnen to Murren.

ALL THIS ADDS UP. GET THE PICTURE??????

Tschuss,
Pepper
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 05:39 PM
  #5
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Great info, thank you! I will definitely look into the half-fare pass. Once we get our itinerary set I'll have to go through and make the final call, but thanks for the reminder about all of those little fares. I have no doubt they add up fast! Thank you for the advice, info, and links!
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 06:20 PM
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I love getting a pass since it saves time buying individual tickets, plus it gives you the freedom to hop on a train to go to dinner in the next town - or go to a town for a day hike - without worrying about the cost. You will also use a pass extensively for the cable cars, cog wheel trains etc. As other posters have noted. The Lauterbrunnen valley is my favorite place - enjoy!!!

Martha
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Feb 25th, 2012, 08:52 AM
  #7
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Thanks, Martha! We are very excited about the trip and will definitely be looking into getting passes. I hadn't thought about the cable cars, etc. being included, and it would be nice to have a little more freedom to travel around without having to constantly check the budget first. I appreciate your input!
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Feb 25th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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Wait a minute!

Be sure to check out which is the best PASS for you.

The Half-Fare Card is not a pass. You still have to buy tickets for trains, gondolas, boats, buses, and trams.

You just PAY half fare when you show your card to the ticket agent.

Be sure to do your math or you could be paying more than is necessary.


Tschuss,
Pepper
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Feb 25th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for the the clarification, Pepper! We are still settling our itinerary but will make sure to calculate exactly how much each option would cost before making our final decision.

With a Swiss Pass, do we still have to make reservations and/or get the tickets, or does the pass let you hop on and off as you like? I'm having trouble remembering what I have read with all of the information I have gathered over the past few weeks! I'm thinking reservations are still necessary for most routes...
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