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Another confused person for swiss train travel- sorry!!!

Sorry to post another thread on what looks like quite a frequent topic, but even reading previous posts I still feel somewhat confused. I have been to Europe several times and have never bought a pass, just single tickets, but it seems like in Switzerland there are more options and I don't understand them. We are two ladies, coming in from Paris. We will be staying for 3 nights in Lausanne and 3 Nights in Murren. We hope to do day trips around the lake in Geneva and hiking/day trips in Murren. When we leave we will be going back in to France from Murren. Generally I buy the major train tickets in advance, and not necessarily the day trip ones to allow for some spontaneity. Under these conditions, what pass/how should I book this?

Also, to add to this, I am wondering if anyone has trouble buying online tickets from the SBB website? It looks like it uses verified by visa, which is something I have run in to trouble with before... thanks

Posted by
1423 posts

The Swiss Half-Fare Card is usually the most economical option. You still have to buy your tickets as normal, but you get 50% off the full fare of any kind of transportation. It is valid for 30 days. You can buy the card once you arrive in Switzerland. The HFC costs 120 SF so it pays for itself if the full-fare value of your transportation tickets is more than 240 SF.

No need to buy any Swiss tickets in advance as there are plenty of seats and frequent departures.

If you want more convenience from your rail pass, then get the 8-day second class Swiss Travel Pass. It costs a little more than the HFC but it covers 100% of all transportation costs except for high mountain excusions. It acts as your ticket so it eliminates the need to buy one; just hop on whatever is going your direction and flash the pass when they ask for your ticket. It also gives you free entry to almost all Swiss museums. You can also buy this once you get to Switzerland or you can buy it in advance from the Rick Steves web site.

Posted by
2833 posts

If you buy the 8-day Swiss Pass it will cover your journey from the Swiss border (Geneva?) to Lausanne, and from Murren to Basel for your return to Paris, as well as trains and boats and travel to Murren from Lausanne for six days.

Posted by
16883 posts

Do book ahead for your Paris-Basel roundtrip train ride on TGV Lyria. The cheapest tickets go on sale about 4 months in advance. I think both SNCF and SBB use the Verified by Visa security protocol, although SNCF accepts PayPal for some fare types. If those don't work, then Rail Europe and offer similar rates. (With a 2-country pass, the pass holder reservation fees are very high for this train and coverage around Switzerland is somewhat less.)

Basel is the most common connection point and an official border town, so a Swiss Travel Pass or Half-Fare Card would apply on the Swiss side of that border.