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Apr 23rd, 2013, 08:59 AM
  #1
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Switzerland - Austria train questions?

Hi, we are starting to plan a trip to Austria and Switzerland and have some questions on the various train passes as this information seems quite confusing. We are planning to fly into Vienna and out of either Zurich or Geneva. Although our plans may change, at the moment we are looking at 3 days in Vienna, 3 days in Salzburg, 3 days in Innsbruck with a daytrip to the Neuschwanstein Castle, and then 4 to 5 days in the Lauterbrunnen Valley where we would want to take the train to the Jungfrajoch.

Would our best bet be to buy a two country Eurail Pass along with a 4 day regional pass for the Bernese Oberland region? I thought this might be the best option as it offers a 50% discount on the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn. Or would one of the other Swiss passes be cheaper and then just do a point to point ticket for Vienna to Salzburg to Innsbruck?

Any advice would be much appreciated. If there is one pass that could cover all of our travels I suppose that would be preferrable. These Swiss Pass options are very confusing and the fact that we will be coming from Austria only further complicates all of this.

Many thanks in advance for any help.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 09:59 AM
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So there is the Switzerland-Austria Railpass and the Swiss Pass - I think you cannot realize the benefit of the Swiss-Austria "Eurailpass" because it is much more expensive than the Swiss Pass and being a Eurailpass brand just does not cover nearly as many things in Switzerland as the Swiss Pass does - like coverage in full up to places like Wengen, Murren or Grindelwald and does not cover buses or give free entry to 400+ Swiss museums as the Swiss Pass does (of use if going to the very popular Ballenberg Open-Air museum overlooking Lake Brienz near Interlaken - a $20-25 value in itself).

So the Swiss Pass would cover you from the Swiss border station to your Jungfrau base - with a Swiss Pass you may not want to do a Berner Oberland Pass but the Jungfraubahn Pass, covering most trains and conveyance sin the Jungfrau region including full coverage to Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn - Swiss Pass does give 100% to Wengen or Grindelwald but from there it is just 25% off vs 50% off with nearly all other trains or cables to mountain tops.

Woith a Swiss Pass you get a discounted rate on the Jungfraubahn Pass - but you may not even want to buy that as except for the Jungfraujoch a Swiss Pass would give you 50% of everything else (things of course that are not 100% covered, like boats of the two lakes bookending Interlaken)

Anyway scour these superbly helpful sigtes IMO for more insights on Swiss trains, passes, etc - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 11:20 AM
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http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/quick-navi...-europe/fares/

Here are some sample fares for trains and conveyances covered by the Jungfrau Bahn Pass - you would get 50% all except Grindelwald/Wengen to Jungfraujoch (25% with Swiss Pass) with a Swiss Pass.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Thank you PalenQ. One more question. The Swiss Pass will get us from the Swiss border to our base in and around the Lauterbrunnen Valley but what about traveling through Austria. Does Austria have a Pass similar to what they do in Switzerland or would we be better off just buying point to point train tickets to travel from Vienna to Salzburg to Innsbruck?

Also, if we plan on just one trip up the Jungfraujoch and teh Schilthorn I suppose we would be better off just buying the ticket with the 25% discount from the Swiss Pass instead of buying the Jungfraubahn Pass. Guess we'll have to do the math to see if it's worth it.

Thanks again.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 12:07 PM
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I believe gthe Schilthorn trip is 50% off with a Swiss Pass - that is from Murren - one of the great benefits of a Swiss Pass in this area is that it covers travel in full from Interlaken to Murren via Laugterbrunnen, including either of the two dramatic aerial cable ways that go up the cliff from the Lauterbrunnen Valley - so you only pay 50% of the Murren to Schithorn cable, one of the very longest in the Alps.

There is an Austria Pass but I am not sure it is worth it for you - out of curiosity I will check it out - you may find some discounted fares from the Austrain Railways site - www.oebb.at I believe.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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Yes indeedy the Swiss Pass map shows Murren to Schilthorn cableway 50% off with a Swiss Pass.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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Thank you PalenQ. One more question. The Swiss Pass will get us from the Swiss border to our base in and around the Lauterbrunnen Valley but what about traveling through Austria>

just a technical point - if you have a Swiss Pass in hand and are on a train that goes from Austria to Switzerland you do not have to get off that train to activate your pass as the conductor will do that for you on the train. Thus only buy a ticket to the Swiss border station.
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Apr 26th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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http://www.oebb.at/en/

Check the Austrian Railways site for discounted tickets and regular fares to compare with the Austrian railpass - I think you'll need to be taking more trains for that to come into play.
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Apr 26th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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The Bernese Oberland Pass (and no other pass for Switzerland) could be the solution.
Coming from Fuessen, you will most probably enter Switzerland at St. Margrethen SG or Buchs SG (or may be take the Memmigen - Zurich bus).
A standard ticket from Buchs SG to Lucerne costs 42 CHF full fare.
The Bernese Oberland Pass is valid from Lucerne uo to the Bernese Oberland and Berne and grants half fare from Saanen up to Montreux/Lake Geneva.
A standard ticket from Lucerne to Zurich airport costs 28 CHF full fare.
A standard half fare ticket from Saanen to Montreux costs 12 CHF.
A standard ticket from Montreux to Geneva airport costs 34 CHF full fare.
http://www.regiopass-berneroberland....ich_web_13.pdf
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Apr 27th, 2013, 06:14 AM
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You do have to take slower regional trains with the Berner Oberland Pass, right - meaning longer journeys and can you use it on say the Golden Pass scenic train - a good way to go between Lucerne and Interlaken and Interlaken and Montreux?
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Apr 27th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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The Golden Pass itinerary IS slower than the direct one via Berne - Fribourg - Lausanne, there is no doubt.
It's up to De Giulio to optimize his itinerary.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Thank you PalenQ and neckervd. Still digesting all of this. I did look at the BO Regional Pass map and was surprised at the extent of routes covered by the pass.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:51 PM
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If coming from Austria and going to Geneva then I'd look at the Swiss Pass because those trips from coverage of the B O Pass will be expensive - and Swiss Pass gibves 50% off just about anything covered by B O Pass - actually with a Swiss Pass you can get a nice discount on a B O Pass I believe but you'd have to be using trains in the coverage area a lot to realize the benefit over a Swiss Pass and its 50% off aspect - if only going to the B O then yes the B O Pass makes sense and again it does restrict you to local trains I believe which can be much slower and not as comfy IME as Inter-City fast trains.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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As far as I know "conductors" do NOT and cannot validate rail passes.
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Apr 30th, 2013, 06:53 AM
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Check www.oebb.at: Vienna-Salzburg from €19.

Salzburg-Innsbruck from €19.

Innsbruck to Zurich from €19.

A pass is what, €60-€70 per day?
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Apr 30th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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A pass is what, €60-€70 per day?>

ridiculous and Man in Seat 61 continually gives the price per day of a Eurail Pass rather than the appropriate country pass like the Austrian Railpass, which at its base is $50/day (about 36 euros a day) and gets cheaper per day the more you use it - to about $40/day (30 euros a day).

Man in Seat 61 continually gives a Eurailpass per day rate in these cases - Why not compare it to the appropriate railpass per day charge??? Very flummoxing!

And those 'from 19 euro) come with severe restrictions often and must be booked way early to guarantee I think

A 3-day Austrian Railpass lets you just show up and hop any train anytime - takes you to Swiss border where you use your Swiss Pass.
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:27 PM
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As far as I know "conductors" do NOT and cannot validate rail passes.>

Well they can and just in the instances I stated, which comes right from the conditions of use of railpasses - only if coming on a thru train that goes thru the border can this be done on the train - just so you do not have to get off the train to go to the ticket window to activate it - this is the only case in which conductors are supposed to validate passes. This is a fact.
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