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Travel pass info needed for Switzerland trip

My family and I will be traveling to Switzerland next summer (2018), and will be doing quite a bit of travel by train, bus, funicular, and lift. Our trip will include Zurich, Luzern and Lauterbrunnen (Berner Oberland area). We will be in Switzerland for 2 weeks. What type of travel pass should we get (there will be 3 adults). I have heard of the europass, travel pass, swiss pass, etc etc... what is the best deal and where do we get it?? How do I find out about the options?

Posted by
7209 posts

There's no EuroPass - you're thinking of Eurail.

If you're spending all your time in Switzerland then get a "Swiss" travel option. Top of the line Swiss travel product is the Swiss Travel Pass (15 day version for your two weeks). It's expensive but lets you jump on and off as many Swiss trains, buses, boats, gondolas, funiculars, trams as you like. It also allows free entry into many museums in Switzerland.

The more practical Swiss product is the Swiss Half Fare card which gets you 50% discount on all your Swiss travels, and it's valid for 1 month of travel.

15 day Swiss Travel Pass 2nd class = $475
1 month Half Fare Card - $120

Posted by
27275 posts

The Swiss Travel Pass does not provide full coverage of some extremely expensive high-mountain transportation--sometimes just a 25% discount. That's why it's important to work up a list of the trips you plan to take and research their prices. That's the only way you can compare what your bottom line will be with each of the possible Swiss passes, and with none of them. There isn't one "best deal" that applies to all travelers.

Go to the SBB website to check schedules and fares within Switzerland. Important: The site assumes you will have the half-fare card (I guess that's standard procedure for residents), so you'll need to double the prices shown to get the full fare.

Posted by
16503 posts

A Swiss Travel Pass, whether a consecutive day pass or a flex pass where you choose the days, will fully cover your travel between towns and villages, whet there by train, bus, or boat. It will also give you a discount of 50% on most high mountain lifts, above the villages, except for the Jungfraubahn, where the discount is only 25%. With the pass, where you are traveling between villages, you just board the train, and show the pass to the agent when he or she comes around.

A Half Fare Card can be more cost effective, especially if you are going up the Ajongfrau. But you must factor in the convenience when comparing to a travel pass. With a Half FRevCard, you still need to buy tickets for each journey.

Posted by
7926 posts

just strike it rich somehow between now and Summer (2018) and there will be no need to worry with train, bus, funicular, and lift i.e. Travel pass info needed for Switzerland trip

Posted by
16894 posts

Coverage of the Swiss Travel Pass will change a bit next year and prices may, as well. For instance, Mt. Shilthorn will become fully covered but the higher portions of Mt. Pilatus will revert to a 50% discount. This is not yet reflected on our pass comparison but will be in January. These can only be purchased a maximum of 6 months in advance. Since all coverage and discounts provided by the Swiss Travel Pass are offered only on the counted travel days, the consecutive-day versions have been a better deal than the flexi passes for most people, e.g. 15 consecutive at roughly [edited] $475 covers a lot more than 8 flexi days at $436.

Posted by
16503 posts

Laura—are those next year’s prices? Right now the 8-day Flex Pass is $436 on this website. I hope it isn’t going up by $200 for next year.

Posted by
16894 posts

Sorry, my earlier message had accidentally used the 1st-class youth rate instead of 2nd-class adult. I edited it now.

Pass prices for next year haven't been announced yet, but probably will be before the end of December (rates in CHF). They can do whatever they like but I don't expect big changes. Rates in dollars will of course depend on exchange rate fluctuation through the year.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you all for the information. I tried to go on the web site to see what the regular fares were to compare them to swiss pass, etc., but couldn't figure out how to get the fares... the specific individual trips are listed but the fares didn't come up. Can someone please tell me how to see them? Is it on another menu?

This is turning into a big research project... I am trying to see what type of travel pass (if any) will give us the best bang for the buck and I am finding out it is not easy! Can anyone just take a quick look below at my proposed itinerary and let me know if the best option is apparent? Is it a Swiss travel pass? Half fare card? Or is paying the regular fare cheaper? There will be 3 adults traveling in the July-August timeframe. The trip will be for 2 weeks total.

-Zurich airport to Zurich hotel
-Train from Zurich to Alpnachstad
-Cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to top of Mt. Pilatus
-Gondola down Mt. Pilatus to Kreins
-Bus from Kreins to Luzerne
-Train from Luzerne to Zurich
-Train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen
-Travel (train or cable car- not sure yet) from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn (Piz Gloria restaurant)
-Travel from Schilthorn back to Lauterbrunnen
-Train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Schiedegg
-Gondola from Manlichen to Wengen
-Train from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen
-Train from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch
-Train from Jungfraujoch to Lauterbrunnen
-Train from Lauterbrunnen to Zurich
-Train from Zurich hotel to Zurich airport

Thanks! If something is readily apparent with regard to the best travel deal please advise. Just looking for a "ballpark" estimate.

Posted by
33004 posts

Train from Luzerne to Zurich
-Train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen

why do you want to do that? is there something drawing you to Zürich? i would always suggest taking the narrow gauge train of the Zentralbahn - marketed as Golden Pass - from Luzern to Interlaken Ost for connections up in the hills. The route I suggest has mountain passes, steep cograil sections probably unnoticed by most passengers as it is now so quiet and smooth - circular tunnels, mountain lakes, little villages, waterfalls and forest. Even the ordinary un-marketed hourly regular trains on that line are fully panoramic floor to ceiling. The train turns around in Meiringen where Sherlock Holmes met his death (or not) on the waterfalls at Reichenbach Falls (you can climb or ride a funicular, or take a postbus to the top and hike down) and from Brienz (where traditional woodcarvers can be found) you follow the top of Lake Brienz along the shore to Interlaken. IMHO much nicer than via Bern or Zürich. Faster and cheaper too.

Posted by
13 posts

Nigel, thanks- yes I will to be in Zurich for the ironman triathlon (the original purpose for my trip). So, I need to base all our Switzerland travel from there...