In late May I plan a three night stay in Hallstatt after three days in Salzburg. From Hallstatt I will continue to travel by train to Murren, Switzerland. Will my Eurail Select Pass: Germany - Austria - Switzerland be accepted for the train from Salzburg to Hallstatt and from Hallstatt to Murren (via Saltzburg - Zurich - Interlaken). I am aware the Eurail Select Pass only entitles me to a discount on the tickets from Interlaken to Murren. An answer will determine whether I purchase a German - Switzerland pass or buy the Select Pass with Austria added. Thanks.
Don't buy either pass. Much cheaper to buy point to point tickets. Don't buy from RailEurope - inflated prices and bad schedules.
I would not use a Pass day for just going Salzburg to Hallstatt but only if you're spending some hours, then proceeding form Hallstatt to Murren. But that's not your plan. You plan on staying 3 nights in Hallstatt. How long is your trip since you want three countries added?
Traveling in this order - I will spend 3 days in Bacharach, Germany; 3 days in Salzburg; 3 days in Hallstatt; 3 days in Murren, before returning to Zurich for a flight home. Pricing point to point tickets, as I was advised, was more expensive than a Eurail Select Pass. If the Eurail Pass (that will include Austria) does not cover the Hallstatt roundtrip, I will budget more for that portion of my journey. Thanks for your help.
Advised by whom? That is the worst advice ever as point to point tickets are never more expensive than a pass. Please look at ticket pricing on bahn.de (National Rail Carrier of Germany) and oebb.at (National Rail Carrier of Austria) for correct pricing. Do NOT look at RailEurope for pricing as they are in the business of making point to points look inflated so people will buy their passes.
For example, a trip from Salzburg to Vienna using oebb.at is 19 Euro (or about $26) on oebb.at. If you look at RailEurope's prices for the same exact itinerary and train, they want $92. That is almost 4X the price! In addition, they heavily push first class, which in this part of Europe is ridiculous.
I agree with Emily. I traveled for the first time last year in the same area and point by point is MUCH cheaper.
Thanks to all who replied. To Emily, I especially appreciate the Seat 61 website that you provided and your experience as a traveler. I will follow your recommendation and advance purchase most of my tickets from the DB site. From the SBB site I will buy my ticket from Interlaken to Zurich FLG for my return home via Heathrow. I am discovering when the "window" for advanced purchases opens. Thanks to all.
Barry, from wha others have told me here, pre-purchasing tickets is not always needed. It will lock you into a specific non-refundable ticket & if smething comes up & you need to change to a later train, you're out of luck. I have never traveled on Euro trains (other than Paris Metro), & I am planning a family trip for this summer. That being said, I am planning to buy our 1 or 2 "long hauls on trains" at the 90 day window, and the rest will be bought at station ticket machines--either point to point or Germany "Lander" (regional) tickets (good for 1 day).
Experienced travelers, please advise?
Regional tickets, such as the Einfach-Raus in Austria and the Bayern ticket in Germany, can be bought on the day of travel for the same price as if purchased in advanced. Such regional tickets, however, also come with some serious restrictions, such a the number of people, times of travel and types of trains.
Tickets for inter-city trains and/or longer distance can, of course, be purchased on the day from the station, but the cost will be 2-3X more than if purchased in advance online with a saver fare. You are correct that those bought in advance with the saver fares, such as the SparSchiene in Austria, are connected to a specific train at a specific time and cannot be transferred.
As Emily and the others have mentioned, buying P-P tickets will probably be the most cost effective method. You can easily buy tickets for the trip to Hallstatt at the station in Salzburg when you arrive there. I'd also suggest buying tickets for the trip to Mürren, as the small station in Hallstatt is not manned AFAIK. I'm not sure if ÖBB will be able to sell tickets right to Mürren, or just to the first station in Switzerland (ie: Spiez or Zürich). In any case, it's easy enough to buy tickets for the final leg of the journey in Switzerland.
Have you checked the travel time from Hallstatt to Mürren? That's going to be a LONG travel day! One of the easiest trips will probably be a departure at 07:06, arriving Interlaken Ost at 17:28 (time 10H:22M, 4 changes). Are you clear on the route you'll use to reach Mürren from Interlaken?
As you may know, the trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt will require one change at Attnang-Pucheim. When you arrive at Hallstatt, you'll walk down the hill to the lake and take a short cruise on Stefanie to reach the town (fare is ~€2-3 each way as I recall). Have your Camera at hand, as there are some spectacular views from the station side of the lake.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I have altered my Austrian plans slightly and will travel directly to Hallstatt from Bacharach via Salzburg. I have downloaded both the train and bus schedules from Salzburg to Hallstatt and will purchase those tickets as I arrive in Salzburg. From Hallstatt I will return to Salzburg for three days; that will permit me to catch an earlier train to Interlaken Ost; and that ticket I have already purchased. Tickets from Interlaken to Murren will be purchased as I arrive, since there is no discount on the SBB site for tickets purchased in advance, similar to the advice I received about transport to Hallstatt. Also, the train fares from Interlaken to Zurich are not discounted so I will purchase that ticket when I arrive in Interlaken. That should give me a bit of flexibility on the last portion of my trip, as was suggested. With two lengthy train trips (Bacharach to Hallstatt and six days later, Salzburg to Interlaken) and only one short transfer on each, I will trust that food and drink can be purchased on the train. Thanks to all for your help.