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western Switzerland, end of October

I am trying to quickly and loosely plan a brief time in Switzerland at the end of October. I am currently in the UK and am waiting to get the RS Switzerland book from my US library as an e-book. But that may take another couple of weeks, so I want to plan enough now to at least book accommodation. I can fill in details later.

Boundary conditions:

*. Land at Basel midday October 23. Sleep 10/23 in Basel, and I believe this means my hotel will provide a public transport card for ... 24 hours? Explore Basel that afternoon and possibly the next morning.
*. Depart from GVA very early on October 29 (booked an airport hotel for 10/28).
* Solo traveler, interested primarily in BO as well as perhaps Basel / Bern / Lucerne and in scenic train rides (I love trains and have been known to ride from A to B to A (eg, Tokyo and Kyoto) just for the pleasure of watching the world go by ....)

This gives me Oct 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 as full days. Alas, there are five days and I will purchase a 4 day SRP to use days 1-4 or 2-5. And being at the end of October I will need to roll with the weather., choosing among cities, mountains, and train rides as weather permits.

Basic idea: make a clockwise loop:
Oct 23: arrive Basel, and explore. Sleep Basel.
Oct 24: Basel to Murren or Wengen via Lucerne (routed thus to maximize scenery). Sleep Murren or Wengen 3N (24, 25, 26)
Oct 25,26: BO including Schilthorn if the weather permits. Or train to Bern or Lucerne to explore as a day trip if the weather isn’t nice. Or joyride one of the scenic train lines or cog rails or post buses ....
Oct 27: depart BO for ... where? Sleep where? If I knew the weather would be fab, I would just stay in the BO for another day and walk.
Oct 28: make my way to Geneva, perhaps in part by boat? GVA hotel.
Oct 29: early morning flight.

So this loose plan keeps me in the western half of CH, and I hope has enough flexibility to handle weather that is either fantastic or stormy. Does it make sense?

But this also requires being on the move 5 days with a four day pass. Hmmm.

1. How should I strategically manage having a 4-day pass for 5 days? Am I best off using it for days 1-4 or 2-5, and paying for transport on the remaining day?
2. Where should I book my four nights (24, 25, 26, 27)?

Sorry to ask such squishy questions but I do want to get lodging set quickly — alas before I have a chance to really study RS’ book.


Posted by
8889 posts

"Basel . . . my hotel will provide a public transport card for ... 24 hours?" - You will be given your pass when you check in (so you need to pay to get from the airport or station to your hotel - ticket machine). It will be valid to the end of the day you check out. It will get you around the city after you check out, and to the station, but not from there to Mürren.

Posted by
71 posts

Thank you . Perhaps it makes sense on Oct 34 to explore Basel using the provided ticket, and in the afternoon purchase a rail ticket to Lucerne, explore and sleep there, and commence my rail pass on Oct. 25.

One more question as there is contradictory information on the internet:. Can I purchase my rail pass in Basel or must it bepurcjased outside Switzerland?

Thank you.

Posted by
8889 posts

You can purchase a Swiss Rail Pass in Basel SBB station, at the manned ticket counter. You will need to show your passport to prove you are a tourist.
See here:

You can also purchase these tickets at every major rail station in Switzerland (e.g. at Zurich or Geneva airports) as well as at the tourist offices in Zurich, Berne, Basel, Geneva and Lucerne.

BTW, there are two "main" stations in Basel, on opposite sides of the river. The one you want is Basel SBB, SW of the city centre. This covers trains to Switzerland and France.
The other one is "Badischer Bahnhof", it is owned by DB (German Railways) and serves trains to and from Germany.