Please sign in to post.

Travelling from Black Forest to Switzerland then onto Austria question

Hello - we will be purchasing a Swiss Half Fare Card and travelling by train from Black Forest to Switzerland for 5 night stay then onto Austria. Can anyone tell me how it works with the card and crossing the border to a new country please?

Posted by
8889 posts

The Swiss Half Fare Card is only valid on Swiss rail lines and bus routes, not in the Black Forest.

You will need to buy a full fare (German) ticket from your starting point to the Swiss border station (unless you have a Konus card, see below), then a Half Fare (Swiss) ticket from there to your final destination.

Assuming you are travelling by train and depending on route, border stations are: Basel SBB, Waldshut, Schaffhausen.
There are also bus routes across the border.

As you cannot buy Swiss tickets in Germany, you would have to stop off at the border station to buy your Half Price tickets.
Where are you buying your Half Price Card? You can buy it on the internet on the SBB website, or at the station when you buy your first Swiss ticket. Same price in both cases.

If you are staying in a hotel inside the Black Forest, you get a card for free transport in the Black Forest. Its called a Konus card, details here: https://www.blackforest-tourism.com/content/download/6356/1165183/version/9/file/KONUS-Flyer+2014_English.pdf
There is a slight problem, AFAIK the Konus card is only valid up to the last station In Germany. OK for Waldshut, but Basel and Schaffhausen, though served by DB (German Railways) local trains, are actually in Switzerland. I would check if you want to use these routes with a Konus card.

The same applies for the Swiss /Austrian border (St Margrethen or Buch(SG)). Half price ticket to the border station, full price Austrian ticket thereafter.

Posted by
33125 posts

The KONUS is valid all the way to the Basel SBB, but it not valid on ICE and IC trains. There are RE trains on which it is valid which go all the way.

Posted by
8889 posts

Thanks Nigel.
I know the Baden-Württemberg-Ticket goes as far as Basel SBB and Schaffhausen, and there are German stations which can only be reached by rail via these two places. But the Konus leaflet shows a red line for "Area of Validity" that is the actual border. Thanks for clarifying.
Is the Konus card valid on cross-border bus and tram routes?

The cross-border ticketing rules are excruciatingly complicated. Yesterday I was in Germany, waiting for my tram back to Basel, and I was asked by a German (presumably on holiday) what ticket to get to Basel. It needs local knowledge.

Posted by
33125 posts

Dunno about trams and busses crossing the border.

For backup on my Basel SBB claim - other than my personal experience which of course you wouldn't have known - have a look at the brochure you so kindly provided. See the special spot identified as that station and clearly identified in the key as covered by that symbol as its final destination.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, If I zoom I can see the circle for "Basel SBB". I was confused by the larger blue dot "Basel" which is on the other side of the red line. Not the clearest map.

Posted by
64 posts

No advice in regards to your post but I'm interested in doing a similar trip next fall. If you get a chance, could you please send along your itinerary? Particularly interested in Switzerland & Austria overnights. Thanks

Posted by
5697 posts

And pay special attention to Nigel's information that the KONUS card does NOT work on ICE's -- we asked at a DB information desk in Offenburg whether the card was valid to Freiburg and the officer there said it was, but didn't specify "not ICE" so jumped on the next train to Freiburg and we got dinged for €16 fare (could have been worse -- hearing that we had not been fully informed, the ICE conductor only charged us for ONE fare, not two.)

Posted by
5936 posts

I went from Vienna and then Salzburg to Switzerland. I purchased my Austrian train tickets well in advance which saves a fair amount of money. I went to the border Buchs-SG and changed to a Swiss train because I had a Swiss Travel Pass.
From the Black Forest, use DB to Basel and then use your Swiss half fare pass.

Posted by
21 posts

Chris F - great imfo thank you. Yes we are travelling by train. I was going to apply online for the Swiss Half Fare Card, but then I still need to activate it once I am in Switzerland?? We are staying in a airbnb in Triberg so i assume we will get a KONUS card?

Nigel - Thanks for imfo - sorry but I cant seem to find the brochure you mentioned.

CJS - Happy to share itinerary - I will send privately

Laura - Thanks

Julesmessen - Thanks

Posted by
3176 posts

If you buy your half fare card online it may come pre-validated for certain dates. The Swiss Pass info says they do. Then you would not need to validate it in Basel. But if you are buying tickets at the Basel station for your ride in Switzerland you will show the card and the agent can tell you if it needs validating.

Posted by
8889 posts

I was going to apply online for the Swiss Half Fare Card, but then I still need to activate it once I am in Switzerland??

No "activation". You specify the starting date when you buy it, and that is printed on the "card". If you buy it on the internet, you get a print--at-home "card" with the validity date on it.
But you do need to stop at the first Swiss station to buy your ½ price ticket.

We are staying in a airbnb in Triberg so i assume we will get a KONUS card?

According to the brochure, Triberg is included in the list of places where you get a Konus card.

Nigel - Thanks for imfo - sorry but I cant seem to find the brochure you mentioned.

It was the Konus brochure I listed in my first post: https://www.blackforest-tourism.com/content/download/6356/1165183/version/9/file/KONUS-Flyer+2014_English.pdf

If you are crossing the border by train via Basel, note there are two stations in Basel.:
1) Basel Badischer Bahnhof - This is the last German (DB) station. Some German trains terminate here, some continue to Basel SBB. If your train terminates you will have to change.
2) Basel SBB - First Swiss station. Trains to other parts of Switzerland start here. This is where you need to buy your Half Price Card and tickets.

Posted by
20316 posts

We are staying in a airbnb in Triberg so i assume we will get a KONUS card?

Do not assume this. Hotels pay for these KONUS cards one way or another, and include the cost in the lodging price. An airbnb would not unless the owner has made arrangements with KONUS organizers. Best contact the host and see if they participate. Failing that, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ticket works. 24 EUR for the first person and 6 EUR for each additional person up to 5 traveling together.

Posted by
5697 posts

My understanding was that the KONUS card is paid for out of the tourist tax -- but that the cities of Freiburg and Baden Baden chose not to participate.