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train travel from Zurich to Grindenwald/Grindenwald to Basel

Point to point cost versus Swiss Rail Pass. We are only going there for two days and 3rd day travel to Basel to board Viking River Cruise

Posted by
7209 posts

Grindelwald? You can see the cost of point to point tickets on www.sbb.ch/en

Will you do anything involving transport while visiting Grindelwald? If not then a STP will be overkill for such a simple itinerary.

Posted by
8889 posts

No such place as "Grindenwald". I guess you mean either Grindelwald or Gimmelwald, which are both in the Jungfrau region.

Yes, look up fares on the SBB website: https://www.sbb.ch/en/
The first fare shown is assuming you have a Half Fare Card. Click on that to select a full fare. For example Grindelwald to Basel costs CHF 72.20 with no discounts.
BTW, do you mean Zürich city centre or Zürich airport? two different places.

Posted by
35 posts

TIM: I came to the same conclusion (so far) that point to point is better. It is a simple itinerary with train travel directly from Zurich to Grindelwald. I know there has to be some train changes along the way and I was thinking it was in Interlochen to get up to Grindelwald. I did manage to figure a price of 72.20 (like Chris F) from Grindelwald to Basel. Our return trip by train goes to Basel to board a Viking River Boat.

CHRIS F: Thanks for the spelling correction: Grindelwald is our destination for two nights. We may only take a side trip for part of a day to Mt. Eiger. Other then that, we will just enjoy Grindelwald and hope to find a hotel in city center near the train station. I am having trouble figuring the first leg cost from Zurich. I could use some help to figure out a train from the airport to the next destination before we need to change. I am thinking it is Interlochen. I was here 20 years ago so I imagine things have changed even train travel. Your help is great appreciated.

Posted by
7209 posts

Looks like the cost Zurich Airport -> Grindelwald is about 85chf

Posted by
35 posts

CHRIS F: Thanks to your direction I was able to figure out Zurich Airport to Grindelwald train route and cost. I am looking at 176.31 USD for this part of our trip and this is taking a train that stops at Bern/Interlochen and then Grindelwald. My only question is when I put Grindelwald in I get all these what I think are stops? Grund, First Bahn, Klusi etc. I think I want First Bahn meaning train station? This is in the center of the town? Right? Wrong?

Thanks Chris for your assistance if you read this---
Kathryn

Posted by
35 posts

TIM: Thanks Tim, I came up with 88.20 USDso we both are in the right ballpark range for cost--- Kathryn

Posted by
8889 posts

I am having trouble figuring the first leg cost from Zurich. I could use some help to figure out a train from the airport to the next destination before we need to change. I am thinking it is Interlochen.

Katrein, the trick is to know that the station at Zürich airport is called Zürich Flughafen ("Flughafen" is German for airport).
Go to the SBB site, enter Zürich Flughafen to Grindelwald. Result:

Two departures per hour, takes 2h52, usually two changes required, Bern and Interlaken Ost, and tickets are CHF 85.20

That is the price you will pay at Zürich Flughafen station. That ticket is valid on any train that day. When looking up trains, you don't need to know the route or where you change, you just enter A to B and it will find the quickest route and tell you where to change.

A suggestion: Either when coming from Zürich Flughafen, or going to Basel, you could choose not to go via Bern, but the slower route via Luzern. This is actually cheaper because it is shorter, but takes longer (~1½ hours longer) because it is going through the Alps between Interlaken and Luzern, instead of round them on the high speed line via Bern. But it is a lot prettier.
Video here (his pronunciation of the names is nearly as bad as your spelling of them ☺): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB0Y9HTqPsc&list=PLke86NFI6R8zpIbyf6KDQm2iZxxAHQL6E

Posted by
8889 posts

To answer your next question (you posted while I was typing and finding that video), If you just put in a name, "Grindelwald" you will generally get the station.
"Grindelwald (Firstbahn) is a bus stop. You can spot this because if you continue, it shows you making a change at "Grindelwald" to a bus for a 2-minute trip! There is also an option to display a map.

and this is taking a train that stops at Bern/Interlochen

Not quite, you are changing trains at Bern and Interlaken (total 3 trains). The train will be making lots more stops than that. For example:

Zürich Flughafen dep 09:18, Bern arr 10:28
Intermediate stops: Zürich Flughafen arr 09:16 dep 09:18, Zürich HB arr 09:27 dep 09:32, Bern arr 10:28 dep 10:34, Fribourg/Freiburg arr 10:55 dep 10:56, Lausanne arr 11:40 dep 11:42, Genève arr 12:18 dep 12:20, Genève-Aéroport arr 12:27
As you see, you get off the train before its final destination. If you don't get of, you will end up in Geneva airport.

Next train: Bern dep 10:34, Interlaken Ost arr 11:28
Intermediate stops: Bern arr 10:24 dep 10:34, Thun arr 10:52 dep 10:54, Spiez arr 11:02 dep 11:03, Interlaken West arr 11:22 dep 11:23, Interlaken Ost arr 11:28
Don't get off at Interlaken West, you want Ost!

Final train: Interlaken Ost dep 11:35, Grindelwald arr 12:08
Intermediate stops: Interlaken Ost dep 11:35, Wilderswil arr 11:39 dep 11:40, Zweilütschinen arr 11:45 dep 11:47, Lütschental arr 11:52 dep 11:52, Burglauenen arr 11:57 dep 11:57, Schwendi bei Grindelwald arr 12:00 dep 12:00, Grindelwald arr 12:08

Posted by
35 posts

Oh my gosh--- Rick Steves Team:

You are a wealth of information. We clearly want to take the train via Luzern even if it is longer especially since it is the scenic route. I have been to Switzerland 2 times and my husband 0. So, I want him to get the full experience of the Swiss Alps in the short time we are staying in country. Thank you so much for your response. I am going back to search the train sight for a good train to reserve tickets feeling very confident with the information you gave me to make a good choice on our travel plans. BTW-- I saw a travel book by Rick Steves on Amsterdam and the Netherlands. It was my first time viewing one of "his" books. I watch the tv shows a lot. I plan on purchasing one on Switzerland and this one. I am a retired librarian so you know where I go first to review information and get books. Also, I never looked at this web sight before and I am finding it very informative along with this forum. I have lived overseas and traveled around the world but it has been before internet--- a whole new ballgame for travel. Again, thanks!!

Posted by
8889 posts

I am going back to search the train sight for a good train to reserve tickets

You don't reserve Swiss trains, it is a "turn-up-and-go" service. You just buy a ticket at the station (ticket machine or manned ticket counter), and get on the next train. Tickets are valid for any train on the date shown on the ticket.
All rail lines have at least one train per hour, often more, so it is easy just to travel without pre-planning.

For more info on how Swiss trains work, read here: https://www.seat61.com/Swiss-trains.htm

The people posting on this forum are not employees, just people who like travelling, like you.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for the information about purchasing train tickets on day of travel and no reservations needed/accepted which leads to my next question. Can we use a credit card for purchase. After you purchase your tickets, is it open seating or first come first serve, correct. I am referring to 2nd class.

Posted by
7209 posts

My son-in-law is Swiss and lives in Geneva. I've asked him about reserving seats on Swiss trains and he just laughs at me and says nobody does that.

Posted by
35 posts

Well, I certainly don't want to be laughed at. American tourist do enough crazy things when overseas. Lets not add this to the mix. I kind of want to know what I am doing when I am using train travel to get around the country. I hope!!

Posted by
8889 posts

Can we use a credit card for purchase.

Yes, credit card, debit card, Swiss Franks and they even accept Euros. If you are from outside Europe, make sure you have told your bank you will be using your card in Switzerland, in case they block it as a suspicious transaction.
If you buy from a machine with a card you need to enter your PIN. If your card doesn't have a PIN, you will be restricted to using cash for the machine, or buying tickets from the manned counter.

After you purchase your tickets, is it open seating or first come first serve, correct. I am referring to 2nd class.

Yes to both ("open seating" is the same as "first come first served"). Applies to both 1st and 2nd class.

Posted by
20332 posts

BTW, you can reserve seats for 5 CHF/seat.
https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/seat-reservations.html

The only real reason for doing this is you have a group (3 or more) that want to be sure to sit together on a longer journey. Trains are expensive compared to the rest of Europe, and Swiss don't like spending extra money if they don't have too. With trains at least once an hour, they know finding a seat is seldom a problem.

The SBB search engine will even show the expected loading of each leg if you check within a few days of your departure. Next to the train number with a little icon. 1 "stick figure" means light load expected, 2 means middling, 3 means expected to be crowded and maybe a seat reservation is in order.

To get routed via Luzern on a trip from Zurich Flughafen to Grindelwald, put "Luzern" in the "Via" box when you do a search.