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Swiss passes and my 3 day itinerary

There are many questions and answers on the site about whether to get one of the many types of passes. After reading so many posts, I am still unsure. Here is our time in Switzerland: Sept 14, arrive in Basel at 9AM (end of a Rhine River cruise). We have reservations for 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen at Hotel Silberhorn.

A recap of our travel: on the 14th-Basel to Lauterbrunnen. On the 15/16, do the Jungfraujoch &/or travel to the other towns in the immediate area. We like to hike so I could see us doing some train or gondola travel coupled with some hiking. So we will not likely be always 'on the go' via train, but will travel some both days. Early on the 17th we depart from Lauterbrunnen via train to the Cinque Terra in Italy.

I can't see the economics of any pass except maybe with the half fare card which at 120 CHF, we might break even given the Jungfraujoch savings. Only then would it make sense if the forecast is promising enough that Jungfraujoch is a definite go. Just looking at the full cost for example of Lauterbrunnen to KS at 14.80, or Basel to Lauterbrunnen at 32.70 makes me think this, and 'half fare' doesn't seem to mean 50%, more like 60%.

My questions are, I believe I can purchase the 1/2 fare card at my first station-Basel? Are the ticket agents generally good at advising what passes are most appropriate?

Posted by
12534 posts

Actually, those two prices you posted (32.70 for Basel to Lauterbrunnen, 14.80 for Lauterbrunnen to KS) are WITH a Half-Fare card. The full-fare price is exactly double. The SBB website is tricky in that respect---the prices shown on the first page, which offers the various train times, assumes you have a Half-Fare card. That is the default setting. If you pick a train and proceed to the Purchase page, you can "uncheck" the Half-Fare card option and then see the correct full fare.

So the savings with the card are greater than you think.

Posted by
16169 posts

You on the right track, but the prices you mentioned show up on SBB are already the Half Price fares. So Basel>Lauterbrunnen is 32.70 IF YOU HAVE A HALF FARE CARD. Normal fare is 65.40. Ditto Lauterbrunnen to KS is 14.80 with the Half Fare Card and 29.60 normal fare. It is a little curve ball built into the SBB site. So the Half Fare card is indeed a good deal. You can buy it at Basel station and the SBB agents will be happy to help. It is actually a better deal if you do the Jungfrau than a Swiss Pass, which only gives 25% discount for the portion above Wengen. It will save you about 27 chf on the trip from Lauterbrunnen to CT.

Posted by
16877 posts

For hop-on convenience, consider a Swiss Pass for 4 consecutive days at $276 per person, which covers all trains, buses, boats, and museums, as far up the mountain as Muerren or Wengen, and gives 50% discounts on Muerren-Shilthorn or 25% off Wengen-Jungfraujoch. The Swiss Card is another option ($224 per person) that gives you full train and bus coverage on your Basel-Lauterbrunnen and Lauterbrunnen-border travel days (value of roughly $75 each way), then 50% off all transportation in the middle. All of these options are sold at Basel train station, but I would not expect the agents to do much comparison math. At a Swiss train station, buy the rest of the ticket (at least partly reserved) from the Swiss border to Italy.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your answers and the heads up on that default setting assuming you have the 1/2 price card. I am thinking the half price card is likely the best way to go.

Posted by
9 posts

So, which is purchased now for a Sept/2014 trip? Swiss Pass & tickets or either/neither? I got confused when said above- "at the station" as I was assuming you'd buy the pass & make seat reservations for the Glacier train in advance (& online) as required?

Posted by
16169 posts

@ BigMike. For your grand tour of Swiss scenic railways outlined on another thread, some sort of Swiss Pass would work best, possibly a Select Pass if you will be making longer stops along the way. The Glacier Express and Bernina Express can take reservations right up until departure time and you can make them at any Swiss station. How much time are you allotting for your tour?