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Swiss Pass / Itinerary

  1. Anyone has experience with purchasing Swiss Pass? Is it better to buy it from abroad online or directly in Switzerland? Is there a difference in price? Also, does the price differ if you buy with advance of time, or it doesn't matter?

  2. We have 7 days to spend in Switzerland with the first and the last day limited because of the flights.
    We figured that would be a proper division.
    1.2. Zürich

  3. St. Gallen / trip to Liechtenstein

  4. Basel

  5. Bern
    6.7. Geneva
    And possibly we will try to include Luzern somehow.
    Anybody has other suggestions based on your experiences?

Thanks in advance for any tips and comments.

Posted by
27253 posts

When is your trip?

You've sketched out a city-oriented trip. I've been to all those cities at least briefly, and they are quite nice, but visiting cities is not the usual reason for going to Switzerland.

Posted by
7209 posts

Ever hear of the "Swiss Alps" or the "Berner Oberland"? Swiss beauty is paramount in the outdoors and jagged mountain peaks and alpine villages. Yes, the cities can be nice, too. But hardly anybody goes to Switzerland to visit Zurich, Geneva and Liechtenstein.

Lucerne, Gruyere, Leukerbad, Berner Oberland (Murren, Wengen, Jungfrau), Montreux, Lausanne, Bern, St Gallen - much more interesting than Geneva, Zurich and Liechtenstein

You can easily buy Swiss Passes when you arrive at the airport. In Switzerland you'll pay in Swiss Francs, if you order from the USA you'll be in Dollars.

Posted by
89 posts

@ Tim, thank you. But it is all decided now, so it is not that I am looking for an alternative but trying to figure out how to make the best of the plans.

Posted by
8889 posts

Daniel, I agree this would not be my first or even second suggestion for a 7-day trip round Switzerland. Wot no mountains? But it is your trip.
Yes, a Swiss Pass is a good idea. You can buy it at Zürich airport station when you land, for the official price in Swiss Franks. Or you can buy in advance, and pay shipping and currency charges if you are quoted a price in a different currency. Otherwise it doesn't matter.
The Swiss pass covers transport in all the cities you list, so it will be useful. See the validity map here: https://www.swisspasses.com/railpass/overviewmap_en.pdf

I would skip Liechtenstein, it is indistinguishable from the part of Switzerland and Austria surrounding it, except for the road signs that show you are crossing the border.
You have 5 places listed (Zürich, St. Gallen, Basel, Bern, Geneva) for a 6-night trip (7 days). That is mostly one-night-stands, usually not recommended. No room for Luzern (which logically fits between Basel and Bern, see the map).
I hope you are flying into Zürich and out of Geneva. And I seriously recommend reducing the number of different places you stay overnight in.

Posted by
16894 posts

Consecutive-day passes offer a third option - to buy online as an e-ticket that you print at home. All Swiss Travel Passes are pre-validated for your time period when purchased, so you need not make another stop in the train station to activate them.

Prices in Swiss francs are not expected to change before the end of the year. Prices in dollars at https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/switzerland-rail-passes will depend on exchange rates; occasional discounts are also possible. Buying two or more passes in this price range usually qualifies for free USA delivery by UPS.

Posted by
20289 posts

You need to go to the Swiss Rail website, http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html, and add up the costs of full fare tickets. I think you will find that a Swiss Travel Pass will cost more than just buying tickets as you travel. There are a few added benefits to the Swiss Travel Pass, like free local transport, museum entrance fees, and not needing to stop to buy tickets, but that convenience comes at a rather steep price.

Posted by
7175 posts

If I was looking at Swiss cities in 7 days, I would sandwich a night in Bern between stays in Zurich and Geneva.

Having been to all places mentioned I would definitely slot Luzern, Lausanne and Montreux above Basel, St Gallen and Liechtenstein.

  1. Arrive Zurich (3)
  2. Zurich
  3. Day trip to Luzern
  4. To Bern (1)
  5. To Geneva (2)
  6. Day trip to Lausanne & Montreux
  7. Depart Geneva
Posted by
89 posts

@ djp_syd

We did manage to include Luzern and Lausanne and you're right, it was worthy. Not enough time for Montreux or other interesting places such as Vevey. Well, hopefully next time. Not much to explore in Sankt Gallen indeed, but it has its charm and we stayed there with friends, so extra motivation. As for Liechtenstein, it might not be breathtaking, but we always wanted to see the little state, so I don't regret not having it skipped. And Basel is a must for art lovers. ;) Good experience after all. Thanks for your comment.

Posted by
7175 posts

Ah, it didn't register that you had previously visited Switzerland. I also spent time in Sant Gallen with a Swiss friend - it does have a charm, and few tourists. I must get back to Basel for the great art, as my time there preceded that great love I now have.