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Switzerland - Bus and Rail Travel

I am assisting my mother, 72 years young, in checking off one of her "Bucket List' items. As a result, we will be traveling to Switzerland in Switzerland for 7 days prior to the start of our Italy Tour. We will be staying in Unterageri and making day trips to various locations including, but maybe not limited to, Zug, Lucerne, Engelberg, Oberdorf, Bechenried-Gersau, Chur and finally taking the Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano, Italy.

I have done a lot of research however, not being real computer savvy as well as never having planned an out of North America tour, the European system is a little different. As such, I am looking for a little assistance in locating the information I desire.

In regard to our method of travel, we will be using bus, local rail, ferry and Regional train {I think} (Bernina Express) and it appears that the 1/2 Fare Travel Card may be the most economical way for us to travel.

Is anyone familiar with traveling through/around the various locations I have listed and do you believe the 1/2 Fare Card is the best option ?

Also, can it be purchased at the Zurich Airport upon our arrival ?

Any assistance is appreciated.

Thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

Muddster,
I had never heard of Unterägeri (note spelling, ä and a are two different letters), I had to look it up, it is in canton Zug. It is small and outside the main tourist areas. Why did you choose it? It looks like it has no station, but a bus service only.

Yes, you can purchase the half price ticket at Zürich airport station (Zürich Flughafen).
I looked back at your earlier posts. Appears you have decide to use public transport. I would have chosen a base with a station (Zug, or even better Luzern), you will have to factor in the bus to and from Zug each day.

You can look up times and prices for trains and buses on www.sbb.ch Remember to spell places properly, e.g. Unterägeri. It is fairly good at guessing mis-spelled names, but not always. If you haven't got an ä key on your keyboard you can copy-paste the names.

If you have an specific questions, please ask.

Posted by
23 posts

Chris,

Thank you for your input.

My mom and I like the countryside and she did not want to stay in a metropolitan area, so we chose Unterageri. I realize we will have to hop on a bus to get to Zug and then take a train to many of the other spots.....which will add to the 'European experience' since we are very self reliant here in the States and very rarely use public transit since our system is very limited compared to yours.

We are planning a day-trip through Lucerne to Engelberg to head up Mt Titlis (weather permitting). I was looking at possibly taking an alternate route back, say via Oberdorf, Buochs and then the Bechenfried-Gersau Ferry and bus back to Unterageri.

However, since I am not fluent in the language, it has been difficult at best to navigate the various web sites (to purchase the necessary tickets or determine the correct bus route/times) to determine if this is a realistic option based on route times and/or transfers required to ensure we get on the correct route/bus to get back to Unterageri.

Any suggestions ?

It appears by looking at the map associated with the Half Fare Pass that most of what I am looking to do is covered by the Pass.

Posted by
26046 posts

Pretty much directly across the lake from Zug is Cham (on the train line on the other side of the lake). Walking from the station to the lake (past the mini-golf or crazy-golf) is the Villa Vilette with its nice restaurant and easy morning coffee http://www.villa-villette.ch/ which is set in the Vilette-Park, a small free arboreatum with great peaceful views over the lake and a fair number of local and exotic trees, including a couple of Sequoias.

Zug is a nice town. Not many towns to be found these days with an Aviary on the lakefront (free).

Posted by
8889 posts

Muddster, you wrote "However, since I am not fluent in the language, it has been difficult at best to navigate the various web sites" - Virtually every transport or tourist website is multi-lingual, you can choose your language, usually at the top of the page. Either there will be an "en" to click on (this is the case for www.sbb.ch which says "de fr it en" at the top), or a series of flags (British flag for English), or a little menu.

"purchase the necessary tickets" - In Switzerland you do not need to purchase tickets in advance. There is no discount for advance purchase, and tickets are valid on any train or bus. Buy the tickets on the day, either from the ticket machine, or the bus driver if there is no ticket machine. Be sure to select the ½price fare, or show your ½price card to the bus driver to get the correct ticket.

You can look up buses and trains on www.sbb.ch Go there, enter from Unterägeri, Zentrum, to Engelberg, and a date and time and it will show you all the connections and the price. It will even tell you the "½ price" fare is CHF 16.10.

Posted by
23 posts

Anyone familiar with the station configuration in Chur ?

We are taking the Regional train from Zug to Chur and then the Bernina Express from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy. Our Regional train arrives at Chur Station @ 08:43 and the Bernina Express departs Chur Station @ 08:58. Are the platforms between the two close enough to make the connection without having to run from one train to the other ?

Was hoping to purchase tickets for the Bernina Express in advance but want to ensure there is adequate time between arrival and departure before making the purchase.

Any help is appreciated.

Posted by
16165 posts

I think Chris F showed you the station plan on your other post.