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Trains & Swiss Passes

Hello, I have read numerous posts about the advantages/disadvantages of the different Swiss pass options, so I am sorry for one most post about that topic. I am beyond confused of which pass to buy, if any, and am hoping for some guidance on my specific trip. We will have 2 adults, both age 26, traveling in Switzerland on the following schedule:

Day 1: Train from Stresa, Italy to Lausanne, Switzerland (how does this work if train is going through Italy and Switzerland with a Swiss pass?)
Day 2: Possibly take the Chocolate train? also possible train from Lausanne to Montreux and back to see Chateau di Chillon (either this day or day before)
Day 3: Train from Lausanne, Switzerland to Murren, Switzerland
Day 4: Possibly making trip to Jungfrau or Schilthorn and back to Murren
Day 5: Not sure, but will probably need to take some kind of transportation around Berner Oberland
Day 6: Train from Murren to Zurich to fly back to US

I have read that a lot of people seem to recommend the half fare card. Do you think this card would be our best bet? This card must be purchased in Switzerland, correct? What if I'm on the train Day 1 and not in Switzerland yet to buy the card? And if we get the half fare card, we would still need to purchase train tickets/reservations (but at the half fare instead of full fare price? Sorry if that seems obvious!) ? Thanks for everyone's help!

Posted by
16485 posts

Well the Chocolate Train is 99 chf full fare, 69 chf Half Fare, 59 chf 2nd cl Swiss Pass, 49 chf 1st cl Swiss Pass.
The Half Fare will definitely save you money. You can buy from Rail Europe through this website and pay $137 per person and for $18, they will mail them to you (3 days estimated). Or you could buy a ticket from Stresa to Brig full fare on local trains, then buy the Half Fare card at Brig station and then get the next train to Lausanne. The trains are direct and every half hour, so there is no rush. The cost there is 120 chf per person, slightly less than the exchange adjusted price from Rail Europe and no shipping cost. However, if you have the H-F Card in hand, it will cover the train from Domodossola to Brig. I don't think they sell the Half fare card at Domodossola since it is in Italy. The train from Stresa to Domodossola is on an Italian regional train and is 8.30 euro each.
Another advantage to the Half Fare Card is you can choose if you want to travel any leg 1st class or 2nd class, you just need to pay for it. You pay half either fare.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Sam. That's helpful. So basically we can either pay a little more to get the half fare card before hand and maybe save a few bucks on the trains, or we can just take a train into Switzerland and buy the HFC there and go forward. I think after looking at potential trains we'd be taking while in Switzerland the half fare is going to be our best bet.

Also it turns out the actual Chocolate train will not be running the days we are in that area so if we want to do it we'll just have to make the trip on our own. Thanks for the help.