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Need Advice on Rail Passes - Zurich/Grindelwald

We are 2 Adults and a 13 year old. Going to be staying 5 days in Zurich and 7 days in Grindelwald.

Zurich (a lot of train travel here almost everyday)
Day 1 - 03Jun2024 - Arrive afternoon in Zurich, explore walk around the old town, Munsters etc
Day 2 - 04Jun2024 - Explore Zug - The Zugerberg, Lake + Cherry Blossom Hike Zug – Oberwil – Zug
Day 3 - 05Jun2024 - Rhine Falls, Laufen Castle at the Rheinfalls, Schaffhausen
Day 4 - 06Jun2024 - Pilatus with Cogwheel train and cable car
Day 5 - 07Jun2024 - Mount Rigi, walk around chapel bridge etc

Day 6 - 08Jun2024 - Zurich to Grindelwald. Take the Scenic train Luzern - Interlaken Express
Day 7 - 09Jun2024 - Grindlewald First, Bachalpsee Lake - trek (easy) - will take 2.5 - 3 hrs , First mountain cart - Go carting
Day 8 - 10Jun2024. - Visit Lake Brienz - Take a boat ride (BO pass), Giessbachbahn – Europe's oldest funicular railroad. Maybe Harder Kulm.
Day 9 - 11Jun2024. -

Day 10 - 12Jun2024. - Jungfrau
Day 11 - 13Jun2024. - LAUTERBRUNNEN
Day 12 - 14Jun2024. - Train to Zurich (11 am and Flight back (late afternoon))

Am thinking of taking the Swiss Half fare card and the Berner Oberland Pass. Compared to the Swiss travel pass this seems cheaper as the Swiss travel pass does not cover cable cars etc.

Q1. Is the Interlaken Express from Luzern to Interlaken covered by the Berner Overland Pass. Do I just have to do the Seat reservations?

Q2. When looking at the site for booking the Berner Oberland pass, there is an option for children 6-16. Does that mean even If I have the Swiss family card, I need to purchase the child BO pass?

Q3. Is it a hassle buying tickets along with the Half fare Card (for the Zurich Leg). Not sure of the ticket types, are they valid for specific trains ?
I tried looking up on the SBB site eg. For the Rhine falls trip from Zurich, it gave me an option of “ZVV 9 o'clock Day Pass All Zones, Half-Fare Travelcard”. No idea what the day pass covers and which region, does it cover tram rides? Would appreciate some insight into where to look for details?

Q4. If we go with the Half fare card, will I get a Swiss family card that covers the 13 year old for free travel?

Q5. Also please free to add your insights to the above itinerary.

Posted by
20332 posts

Q1. Yes it is covered. I don't think you need seat reservations, but that is up to you. If you avoid the 7:06, 9:06, 12:06, 14:06 departures, the trains should be less crowded, as those ones connect to the Golden Pass Express, so will have more people doing the full route to Montreux. Otherwise it is just a normal Swiss train with hourly service between Luzern and Interlaken. All the trains have panoramic windows.
Q2. If you get the Family Card, your 13 yo is free all the time as long as they are with you. No Child BO card required.
Q3. The day ticket will cover you all day within all zones in the ZVV, which is the Zurich transit district, including the Rhine Falls.
Q4. Yes
Q5. Since you want to do Pilatus and Rigi, why not say in Luzern for 2 or 3 days. You can visit Zug from there as well, doing the Rhine Falls trip on your first full day. That will save travel time and expense. Also, if you want to go to the Jungfraujoch, only go if the weather is clear in the morning, and you should go at the first opportunity as you do not know if you will get a favorable day later on.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you Sam for your Insights. The initial plan was to stay in Lucerne for 3-4 days, I think we left it too late with the hotel bookings, most of the hotels were either sold out for the date or were priced really high. So we decided to book extra nights in Zurich and do the extra train trips.

Point noted on Jungfraujoch, will try and do that on the first clear day that we have in Grindelwald.

Thanks and Cheers

Posted by
33137 posts

Q1A - yes. Q1B - No, but you can (not free)

Q5 - be more flexible with your time in the Berner Oberland / Grindelwald, etc. Leaving the Jungfrau until the end is asking for trouble. Look at what you have each day and do the most weather critical as soon as you have a nice day.