SwissPass, EuRail Pass, or no pass?

Old Jan 25th, 2022, 06:13 AM
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SwissPass, EuRail Pass, or no pass?

First-time traveler to Europe here and I am VERY overwhelmed at the moment and would love some insight if anyone has it.

My friends and I are doing a few days in Switzerland then traveling to Rome for a few days. I've been trying to figure out pricing for everything but there are so many options and I want to make sure I'm choosing the best one/not spending more money than need be. Here is our plan:
  • Take the train from Zurich to Interlaken
  • Lake Brienz Boat tour and Harder Klum
  • Sigriswil Bridge, St. Beatus Caves, Beatenberhg-Neiderhorn
  • Lauterbrunnen
  • Schynige Platte
  • Train to Zurich
  • Take the train or fly to Rome
  • 4 days in Rome then back to Zurich
What's the most economical way to do this? Does the EURail pass cover coss country trains? Or is it just a discount? Or should we pay for the cross country train out of pocket and just get the swiss pass? Are the attraction discounts worth it? If anyone has any experience or insight I would really appreciate it!

Last edited by ejclaus11; Jan 25th, 2022 at 06:45 AM. Reason: add details
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Old Jan 25th, 2022, 06:35 AM
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I don't think EuRail passes are particularly good value anymore. We haven't used them since the early 90's. Perhaps someone with more experience using EuRail will chime in.

Whether or not the Swiss Travel Pass is a good deal for you really depends on what you plan to do while there. It covers pretty much everything that moves in Switzerland (either free or at a discount).

How many days is "a few days"? What mountain excursions do you plan to take while in Interlaken (and I don't recommend Interlaken as a base BTW - I suggest you go higher - to Wengen or Murren). Do you plan to take any boats (assuming you're visiting in season). Visit any museums?

We've been visiting Switzerland for years - we used to buy the Swiss Travel Pass, but purchase the Half Fare Card these days as it's better value for us - but, we stay for up to a month at a time.

I just looked at the Swiss Travel Pass - for three days it's USD 258, for four days it's USD 313. It can be very good value if you plan to take any expensive mountain excursions such as the Jungfrau, the Schilthorn, etc.

You will only know if the pass is good for you if you crunch the numbers.

You'll find fares for some mountain excursions here:

https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/jungfr...top-of-europe/

To determine how much individual train trips cost look here:

https://www.sbb.ch/en/buying/pages/f...fahrplan.xhtml

The Swiss Travel Pass covers:
  • Unlimited travel in Switzerland by train, bus, boat and public transport in cities (more on validity)
  • Valid for travelling on fixed and consecutive days: 3, 4, 8 or 15 day passes available
  • Free entrance to more than 500 museums
  • Ticket includes: Rigi, Stanserhorn, Stoos, Brunni, Klewenalp
  • Up to 50% discount on most mountain excursions (more on validity)
The pass will also get you as far as Switzerland's borders.

Sorry, can't help with Italy.

Melnq8 is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2022, 06:39 AM
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This web site has a good summary of the Swiss rail pass options, including what the Eurail covers in Switzerland. If you will be in Switzerland only for a few days, then a Swiss-specific rail pass may be more expense than it's worth. However, if your plans include pricey mountain peak excursions such as the Jungfraujoch, then one of those passes may well be worth the expense. Note that a Eurail pass may already give discounts on those excursions, so a separate Swiss pass might not add much more value.

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...nd-rail-passes
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Old Jan 25th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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For all you need to know about rail passes, including the Swiss pass, see: https://www.seat61.com/how-to-use-a-eurail-pass.htm

For the train options between Interlaken and Rome see: https://www.seat61.com/international...tzerland-Italy

Why are you returning to Zurich?
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Old Jan 25th, 2022, 07:43 AM
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Contrary to popular belief the Swiss pass doesn't give free travel on all swiss trains etc - in particular it only gives a discount off the Jungfraujoch not the whole cost. And it's important to book asap to to take that trip if you decide to do it.

That said, we thought that the Swiss pass was terrific - you could get on virtually any cable car, gondola, train or boat, had preferential access to certain decks on the boats, and even if we didn't exactly break even [I didn't check tbh] the convenience was more than enough recompense. But it very much depends how much you are intending to use the different forms of transport.
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Old Jan 25th, 2022, 10:11 PM
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Unless you particularly want to visit Zurich again at the end, you would be better off flying into one city and out of another (multi-city ticket). It's also best to book it all as one ticket, not as two singles. Agree with Mel that I wouldn't stay in Interlaken either. We liked Lauterbrunnen. Murren and Wengen also good choices.

We've had a couple of trips in Europe using rail for weeks at a time. Generally, for Italy and France, we've found railpasses are not good value. Buying ahead of time is best for long distance trains. If it's a local train, it makes no difference as the cost should be the same. In Switzerland, fares on gondolas etc can be expensive so one of the Swiss passes might be cost effective. The Seat61 website mentioned above is fantastic, a huge amount of valuable info on train travel.
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Old Jan 26th, 2022, 07:39 AM
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If you plan to visit more sites and viewpoints in the Bernese Oberland than mentioned in your fist post, the https://www.regionalpass-berneroberland.ch/en/ might be a good solution.
It's valid from Lucerne resp. Berne up to Brig, the whole Bernese Oberland included.
If you want to reach Rome by train, it doesn't make any sense to backtrack from the Bernese Oberland to Zurich (in the wrong direction).
Leave Spiez (Lake Thun) by train at 8.05 or 14.05 and arrive in Rome at 14.10 resp 20.34. Change trains at Milan.
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