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Swiss Rail pass options

I have been studying the Swiss rail site, and also the related posts here. It seems that each of our trips has distinct quirks, so the advice so expertly offered still leaves a few questions.

We will be in Switzerland Nov-Dec, 2019. I am a senior. We will be using trains:

Nov 28 train Zurich to Basel [base city] one way
Nov 29 explore Basel - want to stay in the city all day to explore [and to adjust to jet-lag] NO TRAINS
Nov 30 train to Luzern or Engleburg [weather dictates trip to Mt. Titlus] & return
Dec 1 train to Bern and return
Dec 2 train to Strasburg - one way

My variables are that the trip in is two different months, and we are traveling outside Switzerland on the last day.
How do these variables affect the value of the Rail Passes offered?
I'm learning towards the four-day SWISS TRAVEL PASS, as I interpret this pass to cover ALL trains, buses, boats, many museums, and some mountain lifts [Rigi.]
BUT, I'm confused if I gain value on the trip to Strasburg; if not, then the 3-day Swiss Travel Pass would be best?

Thanks so much for all of our veteran Swiss travelers [and residents] who have been so helpful over the years.

Posted by
5129 posts

PS
Per above regarding Swiss rail passes- Is a month defined as 30 days or the calendar month?

Posted by
33299 posts

Basel is on the border of Switzerland and France. Within seconds of leaving the station towards Strasbourg you will be in France, and your Swiss Travel Pass will be useless. It gives no travel in France, no travel towards Strasbourg from Basel SBB station.

I haven't priced out the choices, but I would be surprised if for such a small amount of travelling is not cheaper just buying what you need on the day.

Yes you get those extra benefits - if you use them. Do you expect to?

Posted by
5129 posts

Thanks for the info on the Strasburg route, that helps. AND - such a quick response!

It seems that a traveller needs at least a Swiss Half Price Pass, at $124.
I figured the train routes I then need in Switzerland, purchased at half-price, I'm around $90, so =$214 Total with Half Price pass. [I figured total train tickets at $185, at full price, no passes, if I'm correct.]

If I read correctly, the 3-day consecutive Swiss Pass, which covers all trains, plus all the benefits, is $232;
[the Four-Day Pass is $281; Three-Day Flex Pass is $267.]
In past travels, it's nice to have benefits, as we can spontaneously do activities for which we wouldn't have paid full price.

Afterwards, we are in Strasburg for those xmas markets, we're onto the German markets. I haven't done any research on the any rail passes that may help us on that part of the trip, so more research ahead!

Thanks so much!

Posted by
16894 posts

Consecutive-day Swiss Travel Passes will be automatically activated for the start date that you indicate and end at midnight on the last day.

Flexi-style passes and Half-Fare Cards will also be activated for a start date that you indicate, which defines your "one-month" travel window, such as from November 28 to December 27.

I think you're choosing between 4 consecutive days at $281 or 3 days within a month for $267, but 3 consecutive days doesn't work to cover both Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. For the extra $14, you get museums covered during your day in Basel, as well as local bus and tram (which could also be covered by some city cards).

Posted by
5129 posts

Thanks, Laura.
I'm also having a hard time getting an-easy-to read list of the museums included. I went to the Swiss Travel Pass site, but the list appears not to be in English- just isn't too friendly. I've read that once you buy the Pass, you receive a nice booklet with a list of the museums. Any ideas how to access the list from the booklet?
Thx so much!

Posted by
7065 posts

Hi,
For your needs, you could
- Buy a $39 ticket from Zürich Airport to Basel when you arrive
- Book $70 "saver day passes" exactly 60 days before Nov 30 and Dec 1 to cover all travel on these days. The price starts at about $70 for weekends then rises as you get closer to the date. The passes don't include Titlis but they get you a discount; they also include Rigi. By the way Titlis will be (hopefully) very cold and snowy by early Dec.

Total $179. Assuming $1 = CHF1
Basel transportation will be free if you get a card from your hotel / officially registered accomodation.

Posted by
16894 posts

If the museum link I used there doesn't take you to the search page in English (e.g., search by city name), then try https://www.museumspass.ch/en/ or just click on some words that are in English. The PDF version of their brochure is really too tiny to print at home, but you might be able to cut and paste from search results.

Posted by
5129 posts

Balso, do they "saver day passes" have other benefits, or are they train travel only? Thanks so much for your insider tips, all the way from Paris! I appreciate your help.

Posted by
7065 posts

The Saver Day Passes include trains, boats, urban transportation, and some mountain railways including Rigi (the rest are 50% off, except Jungfrau). Details here: https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/pdf/abos-billette/abonnemente/ga/uebersichtskarte-general-abo.pdf.sbbdownload.pdf

But if you stay in a hotel or a registered flat, you get a guest card in Basel for free. This will cover urban transportation on the pass-free days and will probably give museum discounts (not sure about those - you can check online).

As a final comment on Saver day passes: I've used them on a handful of trips but they require some solid planning, given that they are only worthwhile if you are able to purchase them soon after sales open 60 days before your travel date. If you wait the price rises. I'm also not a museum person when I travel, so I only care about transportation costs.

Posted by
5129 posts

Thanks again, you all are really helping my research .
Safe travels!