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Train passes in Switzerland vs eurail passes

Train passes in Switzerland vs eurail passes

Nov 17th, 2013, 06:02 PM
  #1  
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Train passes in Switzerland vs eurail passes

So I've started my research and find that the more I read the less I know ! I understand the Swiss pass and decided that the flexi pass was the best way to go as far as Switzerland travel. But then I started to look at train travel from Switzerland to two stops in Austria and then on to Munich. Help! You can do a combo of two counties with a Eurail pass but I can't figure out if there were any discounts for other travel in Switzerland with that pass. And what train would we take from Salzburg to Munich and what would that cost? Too many sights and options. Has anyone done any of this and how did it work?! I'd appreciate any and all suggestions.
soods is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 06:50 PM
  #2  
 
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You have to know your itinerary and price tickets on each country's website to figure out if a pass is cost effective. Many times you can't snag discount fares in advance.

A Swiss Pass would be valid to the border. Is your only travel in Germany from somewhere in Austria to Munich?

The Swiss website is www.sbb.ch
Austria is www.oebb.at
Germany is www.bahn.de
kybourbon is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 07:44 PM
  #3  
 
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And lots of info on tickets and passes at seat61.com
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 09:12 PM
  #4  
 
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Tell us more about your plans -

1) what routes you wish to travel within Switzerland, and in what time frame

2) what routes you wish to travel that start in Switzerland and end outside of Switzerland

3) what routes you wish to travel that don't involve Switzerland

Good info about passes can be had at www.railsaver.com and at www.ricksteves.com (Rick has a handy ready-reckoner to estimate savings)
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 09:41 PM
  #5  
 
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Hi soods,

Many times you can get the best fares between countries (Switzerland to Germany for example) using each country's train website. Actually, for the best fares between Switzerland and Germany, I've found the German rail site to offer the best values:

www.bahn.com

You have to purchase your tickets in advance, and you are then locked into the specific train you purchased for. But the prices (around 39 euro) are usually worth it.

For the trip from Salzburg to München, you should use the Bavaria Ticket, which charges a flat fee for all-day travel for a certain number of people.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 09:22 AM
  #6  
 
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I second Michel: impossible to give any serious advice without knowing your itinerary (mountain railways and boat trips included)or at least the places you want to visit. Don't look at trains only . There are cheap buses and low cost flights too.
neckervd is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 02:46 PM
  #7  
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Since I am just at the beginning of planning I have nothing set in stone and am eager for suggestions. I thought we'd fly into Geneva, spend a day or two, take a boat ride. Move on to some smaller towns like Montreux and slowly work our way east. We definitely want to spend a few days in the Jungfrau Region and take the train or Gondola up into the mountains. We want to spend a few nights in a quaint Alpine like village. I'm thinking about heading north but not quite as far as Bern. Then east into Germany or Austria depending on the train travel prices. In Austria we'd just see Innsbruk and Saltzburg. Once we get to Munich and spend a couple days, we'll rent a car and do the Mosel and another area, and end in Frankfurt to fly home. I am not sure what areas are side trips, and which we need to pack up and move. I just bought my guide books and started to ask questions here. I appreciate all the help I can get. Though we are experienced travelers. I know nothing about these countries. Thanks
soods is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 04:47 PM
  #8  
 
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These sample fares are for full price in Swiss Francs unless it says Euros, 2nd class, passengers age 26 to 59, minimum (you can always pay more, for first class, for tourist trains with some pampering, etc.)

I’m picking Interlaken as a central place for your days in the Bernese Oberland, just because it’s a transportation hub in that region - there are many other options that some people prefer.

Genève boat ride - example a one-hour tour costs CHF 19 (www.cgn.ch)
Genève-Montreux 14.50 one way
Montreux - Interlaken Ost 30.- one way
Interlaken Ost - Jungfraujoch 50 (each way, with a pass there is a partial discount)
Interlaken Ost - Gimmelwald (an example of a “quaint Alpine village”) 32.- (return)

“I'm thinking about heading north but not quite as far as Bern.” Then Thun is your only real target - there’s not much there. Either go see Bern (you’ll like it, it’s not far) or head east to Lucerne.

Sample excursions while based in Interlaken:
Niesen - train to Mülenen 14.- return, Mülenen to top 55.- return
Brienzer Rothorn - train Interlaken Ost to Brienz 16.- return, Brienz to top 84.- return, much less if you hike part of the way up or down

Interlaken - Lucerne 15.50 one way

“Then east into Germany or Austria depending on the train travel prices. In Austria we'd just see Innsbruck and Salzburg. Once we get to Munich...”

Lucerne - Innsbruck 42.- with lucky advance discount, full fare is Swiss Francs 92.- one way
Lucerne - Munich 48.- with lucky advance discount, full fare is Swiss Francs 112.- one way
Innsbruck - Salzburg Euros 14.- with lucky advance discount, full fare is Euros 41.30
Salzburg - Munich could be less with advance discount, full fare is Euros 35.-

Look at some more trips on www.sbb.ch and add them all up, then look at
www.ricksteves.com
www.railsaver.com
http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...s-pass-en.html

Many times you see a discounted ticket online - right now is not a good time to check on the Swiss website because, like in the rest of Europe, in December new timetables and new fares are coming out and much has not been decided on, so you won’t get results displayed. While you wait until after Dec. 19 with firming up your plans, at least look around now and gather all the info you can.

Considering how expensive Switzerland is in all respects, don’t be guided only by the cost of the fares in where you go and what you do, or you might short-change yourselves in other ways.

Hope this helps.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 06:20 PM
  #9  
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Thanks so much michelheubeli. That was so much great info. If we don't want to stay in interlaken is there some small interesting towns nearby? Is Montreux worth spending a night or two in., or just a stop to somewhere else? Should we do both Bern and Lucerne or just pick one? We'll have 7-8 days in Switzerland if we don't go to Ausria and another 7 in Germany.
soods is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 09:12 PM
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Montreux and its neighbors of Clarens and Vevey are great places to stay. It's the Swiss Riviera, on the lake, with a milder climate than anywhere else in Switzerland, in nice wine country. Just as good or better - stay in either Glion or Caux, two tiny towns up above Montreux with big old turn-of-the-century hotels. Many a morning when the lake remains fogged in until the sun burns it up, from up there you can already see the majestic views of the Swiss and French Alps, Mont Blanc etc.

There is a train line, a mountain goat of a train, that runs up from Montreux past Glion and Caux all the way to the wildflower paradise of Le Rochers de Naye, quite high up - see
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/r...-montreux.html

From Montreux you can undertake many excursions - to Martigny and then up to Chamonix-Mont Blanc, to nearby Chillon castle, or you can do the chocolate-and-cheese tour in the part of Switzerland where the Gruyère cheese comes from - go there as a day tour on a splendid special train, see http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/s...ate-train.html. There are boats on the lake, there is Lausanne with the Olympic Museum (Lausanne is the seat of the IOC), and much more.

About Bern: The train station is right at the historic center of town, which is not a "museum" but a fully functional city center, with the Federal Parliament building, the major banks (of course...), the cathedral ("Münster"), and the famous clock tower where at 12 Noon everything moves and sounds around the clock. Lots of shops in arcades flanking the mostly pedestrianized streets - you walk down to the oldest bridge and its newer, higher, sister bridge (Nydegg), and on the other side you walk up to the Rosengarten (just what you thought this meant, but not only roses), with splendid views over the old historic city and the distant alps.

You can take all this in during a half-day visit and move on. Leave your bags at the train station while you go gallivanting.

In the Bernese Oberland you ask about where to stay. Different people have different likes and dislikes. Grindelwald is a good one if you want to be in easy reach of the Jungfraujoch (the "saddle", lowest point between the prominent peaks of Mönch = Monk and Jungfrau = Maiden). But Interlaken is also a good one, because it is on the flat, easy to get to and get around in, with train lines and buses and boats on the two lakes, a town with great views if you look up, and with lots of hotels and restaurants that make it easy to go off in many directions for day trips. You could spend a couple of weeks in Interlaken and never be at a loss for what to do and where to go.

See http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/b...oberland1.html and look at some maps, keeping in mind that as soon as you go into the mountains from Interlaken, travel times can slow down - what looks like a short distance "as the crow flies" may require huge detours because of the mountains.

There is a system of public coaches, "post buses" that go where trains can't go - see www.postauto.ch
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 02:41 AM
  #11  
 
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All fares given by Michel are for half price tickets which can only be used together with a Swiss Half Fare Card (120 CHF/pax).

Take the historic steam boat from Geneva to Montreux, much more relaxing!

Check whether a Swiss Saver Pass, a Swiss Flexi Pass or a Half Fare Card is the best solution for your trip.

If you plan to stay most of the time in the Bernese Oberland, check the Bernese Oberland Pass (free ride between Saanen, resp Berne or Brig and Lucerne (via Interlaken and via Langnau) and half fare from Montreux to Saanen, from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch, on all trains and post buses from Brig resp Meiringen to Andermatt, and on many other lines.
http://www.regiopass-berneroberland....e-of-validity/

Cheapest way Zurich (resp Konstanz, if you have a Swiss Pass) - Munich: http://meinfernbus.de/
Check the Bayern ticket (valid up to Salzburg) if you are several pax
neckervd is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 06:23 AM
  #12  
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So much great information. You are all so knowledgable ! I guess where I'm stuck right now is figuring out the best pass. I keep wavering. Rick Steve's has a great comparison chart and yet I can't decide. Since we will be there for up to 8 days but taking different modes of transportation (boats, trains, buses) it seems like the flexi pass is good. But then since there are two of us and we're taking different modes of transportation (scenic mountain trains, etc) the half fare card seems right. How do I really know?!
soods is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 06:36 AM
  #13  
 
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You can do a combo of two counties with a Eurail pass but I can't figure out if there were any discounts for other travel in Switzerland with that pass>

the two-country Eurailpass gives much much more limited coverage in Switzerland than does a Swiss Pass - like not being valid on railways such as from Interlaken to Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen (gives 25% off but Swiss Pass covers in full.

Also Eurailpasses don't give discounts off gondolas to mountain tops nor does it cover city buses and trams or free entry to 400+ Swiss museums as Swiss Pass does - and not valid on postal buses or parts of the Glacier Express so not nearly as good a deal.

check these great sites for more info on Swiss trains - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.ricksteves.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html.

If buying a flexipass then you should only look at the 3-day flexipass as 4-day or longer flexipasses are almost always worse overall in cost and benefits than the 3-day flexipass.

And price passes both in U S dollars if from U.S. and Swiss francs as often the same exact pass may be cheaper here than there (and there you also figure in any currency transaction fees - many c cards charge 3% - in U.S. look at handling or mailing fees - many agents have none.

www.bahn.de/en should give you all the fares for Salzburg to Munich. (German Railways official site).
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 08:15 AM
  #14  
 
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Thank you Neckervd for pointing out the half-fare prices of those I called full fare - my oversight. When I switched to "Keine Ermässigung" it became clear...

To soods: Double my quotes and add them up, compare with a Swiss Pass, or - better still - look up your own trip legs at www.sbb.ch
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #15  
 
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If the Half-Fare Card including its cost and then half off the tickets you plan to do then go for the pass - no waiting in lines and if like me you may well use it for more than you planned - a foul weather day in the Alps - day trip to Bern or Lucerne, cities tolerable in funky weather that is not unusual here.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:15 PM
  #16  
 
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a Eurail pass but I can't figure out if there were any discounts for other travel in Switzerland with that pass>

Well except for 25% off railways and some lifts in the Jungfrau Region I do not know of any other discounts - Swiss Pass gives 50% on just about everything except Wengen/Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch - that is now 25% (100% up to Grindelwald or Wengen) - Eurails also pass on most lake boats but other than that pretty much most trains (but not even all regular trains - some get 0% discount with a Eurailpass.

No you are much better off doing a Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card than the 2-country Eurailpass if talking about Switzerland.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 20th, 2013, 12:11 PM
  #17  
 
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http://www.oebb.at/en/

for Austrian tickets check out the official Austrian Railways site - look for special offers - a Swiss Pass takes you to Buchs so book a ticket from Buchs to wherever in Austria you want to go.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 05:36 AM
  #18  
 
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The Swiss Pass is valid in trains up to St. Margrethen and Buchs SG and in buses up to Feldkirch and Nauders.
It grants 50 per cent reduction from Nauders up to Landeck (bus) and from Rorschach up to Lindau im Bodensee (boat).
The Bayern ticket is valid from Lindau up to Salzburg (via Munich) and from Lindau up to Ehrwald (via Kempten).
neckervd is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 11:14 AM
  #19  
 
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The Bayern ticket is valid from Lindau up to Salzburg (via Munich) and from Lindau up to Ehrwald (via Kempten).>

Kind of weird the Bavarian Card being valid in Austria but that is because those are really German trains going thru Austria - so considered part of the Bavarian rail system.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 12:31 PM
  #20  
 
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You can stay in Spiez in Switzerland .Its a small but too beautiful town .Its 170 km from Zurich.And 20 km away from Interlaken.I would recommend Aeschi Par hotel for stay . We have been there in October 2013 and have had a great time .We stayed in an apartment of this hotel .Check this linkhttp://www.vacation-apartments.com/48122.htm
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