We will be traveling from Milano Centrale to Murren in early September. We will stay in Murren for three days. I have found the fare on the Swiss Rail site from Milan to Interlaken Ost at 174CH for 2 tickets one way. The cost from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen at another 15CH. As review the different options on the various passes, I am not sure if any of these will benefit us. We will also need to look at getting from Lauterbrunnen to Murren and one way for 2 is about 20CH. Definitely confused and looking for some advice.
Jules, you have not identified how you will exit Switzerland which could include additional Swiss train travel. Also, will you be looking at traveling up to the tops of the Jungfrau and/or Schilthorn? As a general rule, if your travel per person is under 250CHF, you don't need a Swiss Pass or Card. You're not saving any money. However, if you can calculate that you will be spending over 250CHF, a Swiss Pass or Card begins to pay off - especially if you are going to the top of the Jungfrau which cost about $180 round trip. You don't indicate what days you will be traveling so I'm looking out to mid-September. I see special fares on the Swiss train website at 56CHF (112CHF for two) from Milano Centrale to Muerren. Here's link to a picture of what I see on the Swiss train website www.sbb.ch http://gyazo.com/63ab1c5640ffad6ed3e7c726c3098d50
Jules, The trip you've described is actually very easy. Are you planning to pre-purchase tickets for the trip from Milan to Mürren, or just buy at the stations when in Europe? Rather than buying tickets for each leg of the journey, it's much easier to simply buy them for the entire journey. If you buy tickets at Milano Centrale to Mürren, they will likely only go as far as Spiez (first stop in Switzerland). When you arrive at Spiez, walk inside the station and buy tickets from there to Mürren. Those will cover all modes of travel. I wasn't able to look beyond August, but SBB had Spiez-Mürren tickets listed at CHF 14.50 PP. If you want to buy your tickets on the SBB website for the entire journey from Milan to Mürren, I found "no refund or exchange" tickets for travel in August for CHF 56 PP, 2nd Class. Regular "refund or exchange" tickets were CHF 105 PP. I used an arbitrary date in late August to search, as the site wouldn't allow a search beyond August. There likely won't be much difference in September. The trip from Interlaken Ost to Mürren is VERY EASY! You'll first travel from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on the local Berner Oberland train (about 20 minutes). When you arrive at Lauterbrunnen, walk across the street to the BLM Cable Car for the trip to Grütschalp. When you arrive there, transfer to the BLM mountain railway which will be waiting, for the relaxing and scenic journey to Mürren. You'll arrive at one end of town, and may have a short walk to your hotel (depending on where you're staying). Happy travels!
Jules, adding on to Ken's remarks, the Italians cannot see Interlaken Ost or any part of the Lauterbrunnen Valley on their Trenitalia screens. As Ken points out, they can see Spiez. We ran into this years ago when buying our tickets in Venice for the same trip via Milan. Then, we could get to Interlaken Ost but that doesn't seem to be available any longer. But, this is just fine if you want to buy from Trenitalia. It's easy to go into the station and buy the tickets for the remainder of your trip to Muerren. Or, you can buy the whole trip from the Swiss. They can see Milano Centrale. One fun thing to do at Spiez if you arrive on the main platform is to run around the back of the train station where there used to be an ATM. Viola, you have Swiss Francs. The Swiss really prefer their Swiss Francs in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You can see places that will accept Euros but the conversion rate is not that great. They like their Swiss Francs if you are paying cash. Or, you can use your credit card at the hotels, shops and restaurants.
Thank you both for your thoughts. We will actually be going back out of Switzerland the same route, through Milan. This was not the original plan, however, a change in the itinerary was made and we do have a little backtracking. We will actually go from Murren down to Cinque Terra. I was originally planning on buying the tickets on line prior to leaving. I was going to get the tickets from Milan up to Interlaken and then buy at the station for there on. I was running into the confusion on when the passes might pay and appreciate the rule of thumb on the 250 CHF. From my calculations, we will be under that for the trip in and out, however, you brought a good point on getting up to some of the peaks in the mountains. We may want to go up to the top of Jungfrau, so this will need to be factored in. Since that is on another line, does this also get calculated in to your 250 threshold? It is good to know about the ATM. I will want to get some Swiss Francs so we will check that out in Spiez. I believe we have 12 minutes in between stops.
Jules, when I mentioned that running around the train station for the ATM was a fun thing, the short train change was the fun part. I just didn't fully describe it above. We had the same length of time. Yes the Jungfrau trip counts as part of your 250CHF total. The Jungfraubahn and the Schilthornbahn are two of the several private train systems in the Berner Oberland. All are part of the Swiss train system and all can be booked online at www.sbb.ch. With some exceptions, it's all seamless to the traveler. The round trip up to the Jungfraujoch from Lauterbrunnen is about 170CHF.
Not sure if others have warned you, you may not want to buy tickets online for Jungfrau, you might get stuck on a bad weather day. You can generally catch weather report and buy day of your trip.