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Transportation around Lauterbrunnen

Hello! I am planning a two week trip to Europe (flying into Frankfurt > Munich > Venice > Lake Como > Lauterbrunnen > Frankfurt), so I was planning to get a four-country pass (since we'll travel through Austria). We plan to spend four nights in Lauterbrunnen, and I'm thoroughly confused about whether we need an additional pass or not. It doesn't seem like the Eurail pass covers much past Interlaken. We have not planned much in the way of activities yet, but I assumed we would at least venture to Murren and Wengen. We do plan on paragliding in Lauterbrunnnen, and then I figured we would do a few hikes. I've seen a lot about the half fare card but that still seems expensive for four nights. Would greatly appreciate any advice.

Posted by
16941 posts

Switzerland is expensive. (period). I always question the need for a Eurail Pass. It will be cheaper to buy advance nonrefundable tickets, and if you have more than 240 CHF of transport tickets within Switzerland, get the 30 day Swiss Half Fare Card.

Posted by
153 posts

To add to what Sam said, it's pretty easy to ring up CHF240 worth of trains and lifts. If you're basing yourself in Lauterbrunnen for a few days, you might also consider the Jungfrau Travel Pass, which covers the full price of most of the transportation in that area, and provides a discount on some others. It's available for as few as three consecutive days.

Posted by
11292 posts

I agree with the others that you most likely have it backwards. Don't get a four country Eurail Pass, but do get a pass for Switzerland. Of course, you have to do the math (many speak of doing spreadsheets; I just add it all up on a piece of paper). Look at each train you are definitely taking, and see what the advance purchase prices add up compared to a pass. That's the only way to know for sure. But with only a few trains each in Germany, Austria, and Italy, advance purchase tickets are likely to be much cheaper than a pass. And it doesn't seem that you need the flexibility of a pass, since you will know your travel dates.

Here's where to start looking for real ticket prices (ignore those on Rail Europe). Look about 90 days out from today, to see what the cheapest advance purchase tickets are.

For Frankfurt to Munich and Munich to Venice, look on Bahn: http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

For Venice to Lake Como, you have to pick a town to see prices. If you're not sure, pick Varenna, and look on Trenitalia: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en. You need to input Venice as "Venezia Santa Lucia."

For Varenna to Lauterbrunnen and Lauterbrunnen to Frankfurt, look on Swiss Rail: http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html. Be aware that Swiss Rail's first price will be with a half fare card, so be sure to select "no reduction" to see the full price tickets.

Posted by
16883 posts

No, the Eurail pass doesn't cover anything past Interlaken as you go up the valley, but it does give you 25% discounts without using a counted travel day on the pass. www.jungfrau.ch will show you ticket prices around the Berner Oberland in chart form – click on English, then Travel Information. Also on that page, follow the map link for a view of discounted lines with different pass types.

P.S. I see now that we've discussed a lot of these permutations on your previous threads, including the fact that you'll qualify for youth rate on either Eurail or Swiss passes. I would not normally recommend two passes to cover Switzerland; just one or the other.

Posted by
7205 posts

For the Eurail Pass - you'll be better off without it. DO get a Swiss Half Fare Card.

Posted by
17 posts

The reason I decided on the Eurail pass was the flexibility and because we have several long trips planned across three countries. I wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing nonrefundable tickets three months in advance. For us it would be $47/day for six travel days (we will be 25 on this trip), and many have told me that's a good deal.

Posted by
7205 posts

Do you understand the extra costs and hoops to use that very "flexible" Eurail Pass? Something tells me you might be new at this game. Some people (usually resellers) like to claim that Eurail Passes are flexible and give you much ease as you travel. Guess again, you'll need reservations at an extra cost, you might pay an additional supplement, Eurail Pass holders are limited on trains in some countries...in other words 100 seats are available, but maybe only 25 of those seats available to Eurail Pass holders.

If you're traveling long distance it can be easier and cheaper and quicker to just fly. There are many European airlines that specialize in just such traveling around the continent.

Posted by
31524 posts

As you'll be travelling in Italy and will have a Railpass, you MUST have seat reservations for those trains which require them. If you're caught without valid reservations for the train you're riding on, you'll be fined on the spot! The fines are normally about €50 PP plus the cost of the reservation which is about €10 PP on the Freccia trains.

You'll need reservations for any Freccia or Intercity train, but not Regionale trains. I can't recall if the TreNord trains which operate around Lago di Como accept Railpasses. The high speed Italo trains do NOT accept Railpasses AFAIK.

Posted by
12040 posts

I wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing nonrefundable tickets three months in advance. Why not? People regularly lay down thousands of dollars in trans-Atlantic plane tickets months in advanced. By contrast, with advanced purchase discounts, you're often only committing to prices in the range of €20-70.

Posted by
17 posts

Wow! Clearly a lot of big fans of the Eurail pass here! I am aware of reservation fees and a few of its other limitations. I will think more about point to point tickets and perhaps a German rail pass as some allow you to travel to Venice.

So Jungfrau Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card? I guess the Jungfrau pass seems more practical, even though 180 CHF feels like a hard pill to swallo for three days of travel in one area.

Posted by
21326 posts

I understand Turner9's point of view. Most people have severely limited vacation time (and finances!), so the length of a trip is typically pretty well determined from the beginning. Vacation time often must be requested months in advance, so once the travelers decides on the general target area, the flight schedule is pretty well set.

The trip details are a different story. It takes a lot of time and research to decide on the list of destinations, the order in which they should be visited (needs research on special events as well as geography and transportation links) and how many days are to be spent in each city. Only then is one in a position to pin down train tickets--and that's only if there are no weather concerns and flying has been explored and eliminated as not being a good option. Not that many travelers make non-refundable lodging reservations, so buying unchangeable rail tickets in advance is likely the step that locks down the itinerary.

How many times have we commented (in effect) to a new poster that they've made a mistake by purchasing a round-trip rather than open-jaw airline ticket? How many posters make massive changes in their itineraries within a week or two of their initial posts? Rushing to make non-refundable travel purchases can be costly.

I am not a fan of multi-country rail passes, but if the traveler realizes he won't be ready to buy individual tickets while the great promo fares are available and he is covering cities that are rather far apart, a rail pass might save some money. (Probably not if one of the countries is Germany, though.) Obviously, it's important to do the homework with respect to reservation fees in general and rail pass reservation caps in France. And one must know the general extent of the trip to have any kind of idea what walk-up train tickets would cost.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks, acraven, you've pinpointed my fears about purchasing nonrefundable transportation. While this is a budget trip, I'm willing to pay a little extra for flexibility, the main draw of the Eurail pass. However, I AM very new to all of this so I welcome both the positive and negative opinions of the Eurail pass.

I'm also wondering if someone could create a pass that include every mode of transportation on every route by June (when we depart)...no? Okay, fine.

I'm wondering now if I should purchase the GR flexipass (Russ recommended in another thread - thank you, Russ!) and some sort of Swiss pass? However, would the GR pass cover a trip from Lauterbrunnen to Heidelberg? How does that work if your origin is not in the country?

Posted by
16941 posts

I guess the Jungfrau pass seems more practical, even though 180 CHF feels like a hard pill to swallo for three days of travel in one area.

Like I said, Switzerland is expensive. When you consider that a full fare round trip from Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch is 183.60 CHF, and a round trip from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn is 112 CHF, 180 is not bad, although the Jungfrau pass only gives a 50% discount on the section from Muerren to Schilthorn and back.