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Eurail select pass +Swiss half card?

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Our family of 4 adults will be traveling in May from Prague (2 days) to Vienna (3 days) by train, then fly from Vienna to Bern, and train to Lauterbrunnen , staying in Gimmelwald for 3 nights. We hope to hike in the area as well as take the lifts one day to Jungfrau and one day to Schlithorn. We then travel by train to Italy for 3 days before returning to the U.S.

I have spent a great deal of time sorting out our best options for train passes but I am not sure about the best option! Since we cover several countries, I added up the cost of point to point tickets and it appears that a select rail pass is a good option vs, point to point.

However, a rail pass offers only 25% on the lifts above Murren. Is it a good idea to purchase a half fare card for Switzerland AND the rail select pass? The savings of half the fare for Jungfrau and Schlithorn lifts is greater than the fee for the half fare card. I realize we will only be taking advantage of 3 days for a card that is good for a month! I appreciate any insight you can offer!

Posted by
20319 posts

If you have more than 240 chf of train tickets in Switzerland, then the half fare card is the way to go. I would not mess with a select pass. I hope you are not using the fare map in the RS books for estimating. The only way to do it is on the national rail sites and look at advance purchase nonrefundable tickets. Fast trains in Italy require reservations fees of up to 10 euro for passholders, and sometimes you can get tickets in advance for 9 euro without a railpass.
Edit- I can see prices from of 76 euro total for 4 adults Prague to Vienna in July.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the reply Sam. As a matter of fact I was referring to those estimates on the RS map! I will calculate from actual websites in the country where we will travel to make sure I am getting accurate fares. Most of our travel is set so that I would be fine with advance purchase tickets. The only ones I feel need flexibility are in case our flights are delayed on the flight within Europe etc. Thanks again!

Posted by
16894 posts

I think that Rick’s Train Travel Time & cost Map will show that the Select pass is not the best value for the trains you mentioned, unless maybe you really wanted 1st class. The fact that you are flying one long leg reduces the area where you'd use the multi-country pass. I don't know your Italian destinations, but am guessing that you're not going as far as Naples in 3 days.

Instead, I would get a Swiss Travel Pass. It sounds like the version for 4 consecutive days (about $268 per person) would cover you between arriving in Bern and exiting over the Italian border. You can buy the rest of the Italian ticket (with seat reservation) at a Swiss train station. It still only gives 25% off from Grindelwald to Wengen (upper route) or Jungfraujoch, but would fully cover trains through Lauterbrunnen to Muerren, on the other side of the valley.

Or, the Half Fare Card allows you half off all Swiss transportation (not museums) whenever you purchase the tickets (online, in station, from ticket machine, etc.).