Swiss travel

Aug 2nd, 2011, 06:15 AM
  #1  
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Swiss travel

We are starting a mini-tour in switzerland and are amazed at the cost of transport. I THINK we want the Half-fare-card, but I really am confused.
Here's the plan:
2 adults fly into Zurich - leave for Gimmelwald via Interlaken from the airport.
I've seen some posts about the half-fare card covering this entire trip, others seem to think that it does not and that we need additional tickets on top of purchasing the half fare card.

Does one HFC cover BOTH adults?
Could a transfer ticket suffice?
-- we are not returning to Zurich, but are going on to Montbeliard, France and then on to the wine road...and then over to Munich. Still, even using it one-way would save us since we will not be spending much time in switzerland (2 nights). I am concerned that having transfers along the way may nullify the use of this transfer ticket - as in it can only be used for ONE train ride each way?

While we will be in the area for about 2 weeks total, it is not economical for us to buy the 3-country railpasses because we will not be travelling a whole lot.
Any insight would be much appreciated!
pallipe is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 06:21 AM
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Hi pallipe,

The Half Fare Card costs 110 chf and gives you half off of practically everything that moves for one month. The only things it doesn't cover are city/town busses. You buy the HFC, then you buy the half-price ticket for each of your train rides; on the train, you show the conductor your HFC and the ticket at the same time.

Each person travelling needs his/her own HFC.

Whether the HFC or the Transfer Ticket will work best really depends on the fare from the airport to Gimmelwald and from Gimmelwald to your exit border. You can get those fares at the Swiss rail site

www.rail.ch

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 11:55 AM
  #3  
 
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If you have time, really put pen to paper on this one. The costs of tickets are crazy high, so the half fare card is worth it if you have enough trips.
missypie is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:19 PM
  #4  
 
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Don't ngeglect the Swiss card or if doing this all in 4 or 8 days the 4-consecutive or 8-day consecutive Swiss Pass.

Swiss Card can be cheaper since it gives you one trip from any airport or border point to any town in Switzerland and then from that town to any border point - you are going a long way getting out so it seems the Swiss Card could be cheaper than the Half-Fare Card -as the Swiss Card gives you also 50% off jsut like the Half-Fare Card in between the first and last day of use plus the two train journeys coming to the place and going out of it - the cost of these trips in your case would seem to exceed the differential between the cost of the Half-Fare Card and the Swiss Card - I am not sure but will investigate - and the consecutive-day passes per day are a bargain but it depends on what you will do once in Gimmeelwald - remote Gimmelwald - hope you like isolation and watching sunsets, etc if not moving out of there on day trips - but a Swiss Pass covers 100% the cost of getting to isolated Gimmelwald and if you do get bored and want to escape on day trips it would cover 100% of the cost to get back down to Lauterbrunnen or over to Murren or over to Grindelwald or down to Interlaken for a boat ride on either lake bookending Interlaken, etc as well as all you long train trips - and no standing in line with that - just hop on.

check out these superb IMO sites for lots of Swiss transports - the Jungfrau Region - passes - Half-Fare Cards, etc - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.ricksteves.com' www.budgeteuropetravel.com - and do not forget to compare prices for passes in U S dollars as I just checked last week and the same pass, due to the steep climb on the Swiss franc as a safe haven in shaky economic times - means that the same pass is dramatically cheaper IMO at home than for the same exact pass in Switzerland. I will check again as these things can change and report back. Currently Swiss franc is about $1.28 officially which means effectively about $1.30 to dollar and then many credit cards add on 3% for foreign transaction so about $1.35 for comparison purposes - making the Half Fare Card to srat about $145 p/p/ - it only covers one person (kids under 16 always free with pass or Half-Fare Card I believe).
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 01:09 PM
  #5  
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Thanks for the replies.
I've been looking at rail.ch and swisstravelsystem.com, but am overwhelmed!

Also, I don't understand "City Tickets" - they are mentioned but left out of the rates I get when putting in Zurich Airport to Gimmelwald. We really aren't staying very long in Switzerland, so I don't see the need for a City ticket, if I understand it to be a ticket that covers travelling around a city (like Zurich) throughout the day. ???

We're going to explore around Gimmelwald and maybe Murren, but we get to Gimmelwald one afternoon, spend a day, and leave the next afternoon.
pallipe is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Hi again,

Yes, you understand correctly about the "City Ticket"; it's for the busses and trams in a big city like Zürich. It's probably not coming up for Gimmelwald because there are no busses there (it's so small).

As missypie says above, you really need to do the math to make sure you get the right discount card or pass. Yes, I agree, it is overwhelming!! Every time I did this, I had to do a spreadsheet to keep track of each journey I thought I'd take, and all the possible combinations and options. And everytime I went through the process, the Half Fare Card always (always and always) came out as the most economical option. These days, I just get the HFC and don't worry about it.

Good luck as you plan!!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 12:04 AM
  #7  
 
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You're in Switzerland for two days? I doubt any fare card is going to be cost effective for such a short visit, as each person needs one.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 12:24 AM
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pallipe -

I just checked rail fares from Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen - 29.60-38.10 CHF per person depending on route. From Lauterbrunnen you can catch a bus to Stechelberg for 2.20 CHF each and then take the cable car up to Gimmelwald for 5.80 CHF each.

You'll find the train & bus fares at the SBB site provided above, the cable car fares for the Jungfrau region are here:

http://www.schilthorn.ch/en/timetabl...s/all-tariffs/

I have no idea of what route you'll take to France from Gimmelwald, but you can price the fares to the nearest Swiss border town and go from there.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:32 AM
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Just so you know, that is going to be one big haul from Zurich Flughafen up to Gimmelwald.

Have you ever been to Gimmelwald? It is a beautiful town, but it is very secluded and very tiny.

It is nice to visit on the Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Gimmelwald/Stechelberg/Lauterbrunnen loop, but I would never stay there for two days.

Just my two pence.

P_P
P_Peppington is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 04:10 PM
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We made the journey from Lauterbrunnen to the Zurich Airport not too long ago.

We were staying near Stechelberg, so we took the bus to Lauterbrunnen (2.20 CHF each), then took a train to the Zurich Flughafen via Interlaken Ost and Bern via the faster train (Intercity Express). The train only made one stop between Bern and the Flughafen (at the Hauftbahnhof) and we were at the airport by noon.

It will take you a wee bit longer as you'll need to take the cable car down to Stechelberg and then catch the bus to Lauterbrunnen, but it's not that big a deal, just check the schedules and leave yourself plenty of time.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 4th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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And everytime I went through the process, the Half Fare Card always (always and always) came out as the most economical option. These days, I just get the HFC and don't worry about it.>

I think folks who are buying Half-Fare Cards should also investigate the Swiss Card, which provides a journey by public transportation - like trains - from any border point or airport to any place in Switzerland and then another trip from that place out to any border place or airport.

Swiss Cards currently cost $207 p.p. in 2nd class

Half-Fare cards cost about (CHF - Swiss fran $1.30 in today's NYTimes and that if official rate which you probably will not get and also credit card fees for foreign transactions let's say $1.35 expected rate - so let's say Half-Fare Cards cost about $150 (as the franc keeps soaring what will they cost in a week or a month?)

So $207-$150 = $57

$57 at Half-off travel = $114 of actual fares - for travel from any border or airport to any place and then from there to anyplace - fully flexible travel.

I am not sure but at least some long dashes like from Wengen say to the French border to to the Italian border may cost more than $57 one way and if landing in say Geneva and going to Wengen it could also cost more than $57 - if doing those two type trips Swiss Card may be cheaper - for folks flying into Zurich and going to Wengen probably not.

and yes on the Swiss Card in between the 1st and last trip you like the Half-Fare Card get 50% off everything that moves practically in Switzerland. Swiss Card is a Half-Fare Card with the two trips in from border or airport and out to any border and airport included. An option that those doing long journeys in or out should investigate IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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P-P, glad you said that about Gimmelwald. We were there a few days ago (hiked through.) Pretty, yes, but not a lot there. There is a hostel and maybe that's why Rick Steves likes it. But truthfully, I can't imagine spending more than about an hour there.
missypie is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 01:27 PM
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the break even point would seem, if I calculate correctly, about CHF 42 for each trip pr 84 Swiss francs total for the two trips, one to any place and one back out to any border or airport. I'll have to price say Geneva Airport to Wengen and Zurich to Wengen' Wengen to Italy or French or German or Austria border, etc to see if it really can be a better deal as it seems for at least some itineraries - better than Half-Fare Card with all same benefits.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 01:27 PM
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the break even point would seem, if I calculate correctly, about CHF 42 for each trip pr 84 Swiss francs total for the two trips, one to any place and one back out to any border or airport. I'll have to price say Geneva Airport to Wengen and Zurich to Wengen' Wengen to Italy or French or German or Austria border, etc to see if it really can be a better deal as it seems for at least some itineraries - better than Half-Fare Card with all same benefits.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Pal,

One great advantage of the HFC is buying the one-day add-on pass, which you can only buy if you have a HFC. It's a travel pass for one day. A second-class day-card costs 68 chf, or if you will travel after 9 am, costs 58 chf. That helps a lot of you plan to do a lot of travel in one day, say from Wengen to the French or Italian border.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 5th, 2011, 07:34 AM
  #16  
 
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but it is still at 58 francs a lot more than the 42 francs you could do it with the Swiss Card?

what am I missing?
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 5th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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You could only do it with the Swiss Card if it's your last Swiss trip going to the border; with the HFC you can take a long train ride in the middle of your vacation using the day pass.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 5th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Or as often as you'd like, really.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 5th, 2011, 10:16 AM
  #19  
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Wow, lots to think about. Thanks everyone! I don't think we're going to go with the HFC unless we decide we need to do more than just hang out in/around Gimmelwald. We are staying at Walter's place, but I think we'll travel up to the peak, maybe check out Murren for a bit.
Thanks again! I'll add a final note once we're back.
cheers,
p
pallipe is offline  
Aug 5th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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You could only do it with the Swiss Card if it's your last Swiss trip going to the border; with the HFC you can take a long train ride in the middle of your vacation using the day pass>

yeh but really how many in between days are you going to spend 2 x 58 francs for the break even point (with the Half-fare Card alone you would have gotten 58 francs of travel at a full value of 116 francs.

No the Swiss Card seems would save the typical person more money than the Half-Fare Card - at 42 euros for any trip to or from any airport or border to any place and back. I'd compare some regular fares and see if it is as it appears would be. Maybe it would cost less than 42 francs to go from Zurich airport to say Wengen but offhand I'd say more. Will check it out!
PalenQ is offline  

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