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Switzerland - France transportation - NEED HELP!! PLEASE.

Call me stupid, call me dense but I am not getting it!! I have read for hours and still don't understand. I need someone to tell me exactly what to buy! My intinerary is simple. Here are the locations I need transportation.
No car. Yes train. I know I have to switch to bus and gondola. Traveling in September.

Zurich Airport to Gimmelwald
Gimmelwald to Schilthorn
Gimmelwald to Trummelbach Falls
Gimmelwald to VilleFranche (via Geneva)
VilleFranche to Paris

What exactly do I buy and should I buy in advance?

Posted by
20297 posts

Tickets within Switzerland do not need to be bought in advance.
Villefranche-Sur-Mer or Villefranche-Sur-Saone?

Posted by
20297 posts

The quickest way, at least according to Deutsche Bahn, is to skip Geneva and travel via Milan. Are you planning a stop over in Geneva?

Posted by
16894 posts

I also don't see any benefit to the train schedules via Geneva. If traveling by train via Italy, it would be simplest to just buy the train tickets at Zurich train station, along with anything else that you need. Faster French and Italian trains do both offer advance-purchase discounts, but the distance through Italy on this route is not terribly expensive to start with (whereas travel through France would cost more).

However, maybe you meant that you will fly from Geneva to Nice, or maybe you should; I see several affordable options at www.skyscanner.com.

You may also be debating whether you want a Swiss Travel Pass for several days (to match however long you are staying) or a Swiss Half Fare Card. Those are sold here through this link (with more info), but also sold in Zurich Airport train station.

Posted by
32231 posts

Kathy,

A few thoughts....

  • Zürich airport to Gimmelwald - you can buy tickets at the airport that will take you directly to Gimmelwald. Tickets willl cover all modes of transport. The trip will be about 3H:20M with 4 or 5 changes, depending on which trains you connect with. Are you clear on the route you'll be taking from Interlaken Ost to Gimmelwald? When you pass through Lauterbrunnen, you should be able to buy whatever tickets you need for subsequent journeys in Switzerland OR you can take a few minutes and buy them at the airport in Zürich. My preference would be to take an hour on the day you visit Trummelbach Falls and buy them at the station in Lauterbrunnen, rather than deal with that in Zürich in a jet-lagged state.
  • Gimmelwald to Schilthorn - walk to the Cable Car station in Gimmelwald and buy a return ticket to Gimmelwald. Very easy! If you want to save a bit of money, specify Mürren as the destination on the return trip and then walk down the hill to Gimmelwald from there.
  • Gimmelwald to Trummelbach Falls - again, the Cable Car station in Gimmelwald should be able to sell tickets for that. Take the Cable Car down to Stechelberg and then connect with the Post Bus for the short ride to the Falls.
  • Gimmelwald to Villefranche-sur-Mer - that's going to be an agonizing journey by train of 9-19 hours. As the others mentioned, you might consider a budget flight on that route. One option that should work is an easyJet flight from Basel-Mulhouse Europort to Nice. Travel time from Gimmelwald to Basel-Mulhouse is about 3H:23M with four easy changes, which includes a Bus from Basel SBB to the airport. The station in Lauterbrunnen should be able to sell tickets for that journey. The flight is about 1H:15M, which is a much better use of your valuable holiday time. Unfortunately, on some days they only have an evening flight, which means you'd arrive in Villefranche quite late. I didn't check other airlines. I believe there's a train from a location near the airport direct to Villefranche. Buy tickets for that when you arrive in Nice.
  • Villefranche to Paris - very easy! You'll first need to take regional train or Bus from Villefranche to Nice Ville. From there you'll connect to TGV to Paris. There are numerous trains to choose from. I'd suggest buying tickets for the Villefranche > Paris trip on *www.capitainetrain.com. They should be offered for sale now.

If you decide to book with easyJet, it will be cheaper if you buy well in advance. Note that the cheapest class of tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable. Be sure to read their Terms & Conditions carefully, especially related to luggage.

Posted by
7209 posts

If you're really that confused then just walk to the ticket counter and buy the correct ticket from the ticket agent. There's no need to fuss or panic or worry over these things. If you can't figure it out then just wait till you arrive and buy the ticket. Your itinerary is fairly simple (especially after you arrive in Gimmelwald).

Posted by
62 posts

Wow, to clarify, I only picked Geneva because on the map it looked more direct.
I thought going by train we would see more Swiss scenery. If not, then maybe we should fly to nice from the closest airport to gimmelwald?
Would it be worth buying the half price pass or since I only need a couple trains, just pay full fare?

Posted by
8889 posts

Kathy,
The nearest airports to Gimmelwald and the Bernese Oberland are Zürich and Basel. Bern has an airport but it has few flights. Basel has Easyjet flights to Nice, so it is probably the cheapest option.

Next, you need to go to www.sbb.ch and price up all your train trips. It will give you both "half price" and "full prices fares.You can then work out if a half price card is worth buying. There is no discount for buying rail tickets in advance in Switzerland.
P.S. Cable cars (passenger compartments hanging from cables) are also classified as railways in German ("Seilbahn" = Cable railway). They, and buses, are all listed on www.sbb.ch

Posted by
62 posts

Ok, thanks to all. It's still a little foggy, but it appears that, for what little I need, I will just buy the regular price tickets as needed. The info on going through Milan instead of Geneva is very helpful. I am more familiar with Italy and France trains.

Posted by
8889 posts

Kathy, when looking up train times and routes (for example on www.sbb.ch or www.bahn.de ), do not try and second-guess the system by saying "Geneva because on the map it looked more direct". Railways do not always follow straight lines, especially when there are mountains in the way. And High Speed lines may be longer on the map, but a lot quicker than slow local trains.
Just do a search where you actually want to go (Gimmelwald to Villefranche-sur-Mer). The computer always looks for the quickest routes, and often brings up options which are not obvious.

Posted by
4478 posts

Or, if it's still too much to handle, buy all your tix from Rail Europe before you go