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Swiss Pass specifics

My husband and I are planning to buy Swiss Pass tickets for our 9-day July trip to Switzerland in July (from upstate New York)--it appears to be worth the $375 apiece as we will take trains from Zurich to Basel, Basil to Bern, then Bern to the Bernese Oberland for 6 days of hiking during which we will be on trains, cable cars and trams a lot before returning to Zurich. Any advice about that?

Assuming it does sound like a plan--can you tell me exactly how the 8-day pass works? is a "day" a calendar day? or is it like rental cars, where a day is a 24 hour period starting whenever you first use the Swiss pass? If the former is true, and our arrival day counts as a whole day, then we are probably best off buying our train tickets separately from Zurich to Basel, then starting the Swiss pass the next day and using it for the remaining 8 calendar days of the trip (July 8 through July 15).

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
16683 posts

It is a calendar day, so you would need to pay either the first or last day---Zurich to Basel is probably the less expensive one.

You might compare the Berner Oberland Regional Pass---6 days for 300 CHF or 8 days for 340 CHF (about $347 today). This pass provides free travel on many of the lifts, like Wengen or Grindelwald up to Männlichen, train to Kleine Scheidegg, First lift from Grindelwald, and Schynige Platte train. I have used all of these lifts to access hikes in the region. I believe a Swiss pass only covers them at 50%. (You can check that on the Swiss synoptic map).

Travel from Bern is also fully covered, and it would cover your trip back to Zurich as far as Luzern. You would need a ticket from Luzern to Zurich airport.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you so much! This is very helpful...I got confused trying to make out the features, overlap, and relative advantages or disadvantages of the regional passes vs. the Swiss Pass.

Posted by
16683 posts

Emily--it is not easy. In four two-week trips to Switzerland for hiking, I still do not know if we got it right. We used to like the 3-day Flexpass but the rules and benefits have changed. And the BO Regional Pass has totally changed since we first used it in 2002. but it looks like it might work for you if you are spending 6 days hiking in the region.

FWIW, there used to be a 6-day pass for lifts in the region, specifically for hikers. It was designed for people spending a week in the Lauterbrunnen Valley region, and was offered by most hotels. We never used it as we moved around too much. But you could look and see if it might be offered this summer. Or contact your hotel.