It's been a long time since we've traveled in Europe and in the past my husband and I have had a Swiss pass. This time we bought the Eurail global pass and I'm still not sure if that was a mistake because much of our time will be in Switzerland, staying in Murren and Zermatt and using the cable cars, gondolas, etc. to go higher into the mountains for hiking. Anyhow, I'm trying to get an idea of what those tickets cost because part of our group is a family of 5 and this will get expensive for them. I assume we won't purchase these until each day we go as we've done in the past but would it help us to buy the junior card for 30 francs for our 13 and 15 year olds? Do they go 1/2 price on the gondolas or just free with an adult on the trains with the junior card? I'm really having trouble getting answers to these questions and I've been on multiple sites. We're interested in Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn in the Jungfrau region and Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn, Schwarzee and maybe more out of Zermatt. I understand that the Eurail global pass only gets us as far as Interlaken, so where is an easy to read chart of costs for Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen, and on up? I believe our pass only gives us a 25% discount on those modes of transportation. Am I right?
Yes, your Eurail Global pass gives you 25% discounts on trains and lifts around that valley (and doesn't use a counted travel day if it's a flexi style of pass). The 13- and 15-year olds qualify for the regular child ticket price of 50% off, without any pass.
IF the Junior Card works in conjunction with your discounted pass holder tickets, which you should confirm when buying it, then it would fully cover kids on all transport when they're with a parent.
https://www.jungfrau.ch/shop/en/tickets/bergbahn/ used to have ticket prices in a handy chart format, but I don't see it since they redesigned their site this year. You can look up individual routes there. Or see them on a map format in Tick's guidebook coverage of the region.
Can you get your money back on the Eurail Pass? Both of your kids travel 100% free absolutely everywhere in Switzerland if you had purchased a Half Fare Card or Swiss Pass for the adults and just requested a "free" Swiss Family Card for your kids. The discounts afforded you as adult travelers in Switzerland with the HFC would have been 50% off all your travels even on those super expensive high mountain rails like the Jungfrau. Your kids would have gone 100% with the free Swiss Family Card.
In your current situation with the Eurail Passes :-( you will need to buy a Junior Card for the kids and after that they will travel with you everywhere in Switzerland as long as you have a valid ticket and they travel with you at all times.
Of course, the Swiss Pass will get you all the way to Murren and to Wengen (and Lauterbrunnen of course) 100% covered.
Thank you both for your quick responses. Laura, I've been on that page all day and can't get it to show me any prices and even when I find a leg to click on, nothing happens except for showing me the time. If I wanted to book it, which I don't right now, I wouldn't be able to because I don't see any way to do it. I can't believe how unuser-friendly it is. I know my way around websites but this is ridiculous.
Tim, I wish I could without losing 22% which for our group would be over $900. I've been feeling sick in the pit of my stomach all day because that's probably what I needed to do but I had no idea the Eurail pass lacked so much. We booked it quickly before we really knew for sure where we were going to spend most of our time and now I'm afraid it's becoming less and less useful to us. Last Friday I spent an hour and 40 minutes on the phone with a Rail Europe lady and today I've found better prices and connections than she found for me. I can't understand why that is.
I don't think the Eurail coverage is especially lacking but it is less than the coverage of the Swiss Travel Pass. Switzerland's integrated transport system is unusual. In other countries, there don't tend to be any trains to the tops of mountains (like the Jungfraujoch) and other styles of mountain lift and local transport are separate operators, not covered by passes. Of course, the Global pass is usually one that you consider if traveling extensively through five or more countries.
Another resource for ticket prices is www.sbb.ch. Change to English at the bottom of the page. Note that the first price you see tends to be the 50% off rate, so each price search requires a few clicks. Or if you do have Rick's book, then it's all on one page. You can also see a few examples in the running text at https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/switzerland-rail-passes.
If you do consider buying a Swiss Travel Pass, then note that all coverage and discounts for adults are only available on the counted travel days of a flexi pass, or you might choose a consecutive-day style. That's in contrast to the Eurail pass where you don't need to use a counted flexi pass day to get the 25% discounts (or 50% off Mts. Rigi and Pilatus near Luzern).
$900 is only 22% of what you spent for Eurail passes. Whoa. Reason #248 never to buy a Eurail pass.
Thanks again. I finally got some point to point prices in the Jungfrau region here: https://jungfrauregion.ch/shop/jrt_jr_en/?___from_store=jrt_jr_en
I don't know why I couldn't get to that page from the home page but it wasn't happening. I found this by googling...
And Emily, that was for 12 days of travel (2 were free with a special promo) for 7 people in lots of countries, but by the time we actually whittled away at our trip we didn't need that many days of travel (I found out it will be fairly wasted during our Italy portion) or as many countries--by then it was too late. When I figure everything out in great detail, it's still not bad...it just ended up that we could've used the 50% off the cable cars, trams, etc. since we are staying a more significant amount of time in those areas, and fewer travel days for the rail pass. It's so frustrating not being able to get answers when you need them!
Laura, on the SBB site, I haven't found a place to insert my global pass for the 25% reduction. Do I just look at full price and figure it out myself or am I missing something? Also, thanks for letting me know the English selection was at the bottom of the page!!
The SBB doesn't have Eurail as a discount category, since the national-system trains are fully covered. Now that you found a working version of the "private" Jungfrau site, it does have the Eurail option under Discount. But again, the kids will be cheaper by benefit of age.