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4 Country Rail Pass or 3 Country + Swiss Pass

Hello all, I have sent emails to most rail companies but they are not clear on my best option, they are very board in their response. I'm hoping for some detailed info to help me make the best decision between the country rail pass options. I tried to get my head around this but being a first time traveller it overwhelmed me:) My question: We are doing allot of things in Switzerland (myself & 12year old little girl) and I would like to know if it would be cheaper for me to buy a Swiss pass (which comes with family card) separate to the euro 4 country pass? taking into consideration the discounts the Swiss pass offers with family card etc. Our Itinerary: 8 days France 4 days Spain 10 days Italy Our Switzerland Itinerary: 10 days Switzerland: BERN Bern 21st Sept Train - Zermatt / Matterhorn day trip Bern 22nd Sept Very early morning train Bern to Lucerne (Lake Lucerne cruise 9:12am) LUCERNE Lucerne 22nd Sept Lake Lucerne cruise 9:12am Lucerne 23rd Sept Train - Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Day Trip SPO Lucerne 24th Sept Train - Interlaken day trip – hot air balloon - paragliding - Berner Oberland Lucerne 25th Sept Train – Leave Lucerne to Engelberg ENGELBERG Engelberg 26th Sept Mt Titlis Cable Car Engelberg 27th Sept MT. TITLIS – GONDOLA 2nd & final stage Engelberg 28th Sept Glacier Mountain Engelberg 29th Sept Iceflyer Chairlift Engelberg 30th Sept Explore Engelberg - Night train to Venice Kind Regards,
Peter

Posted by
12016 posts

Peter, you are correct that a Swiss pass is best for Switzerland. You may not even want a pass at for the rest, as with mini fares as low as 9 euros in Italy, and discount fares available in Spain and France, a global or three countyr pass often ends up costing more. Also, I can comment further on you Swiss itinerary, but to start I will just say that staying in Luzern to visit Jungfraujoch and Interlaken is not a good choice. It is 2.5 hours in each direction to reach Lauterbrunnen from Luzern.

Posted by
2768 posts

Peter, with all respect, this Switzerland itinerary sounds like the creation of a travel agent who has read of these adventures but has not been there. As Lola mentioned, staying in Lucerne makes no sense for the Jungfrau trip and paragliding at Interlaken. You will spend a lot ot time on the train traveling back and forth. Stay in Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald or one of the mountain villages. A daytripnto Zermatt from Bern is also a long day and you might not even see the Matterhorn. Mit is often cloudy. Finally, this is too much time in Engelberg and too many trips up Mt. titlis. Myou can ride the Rotair cable car and do allnthe activities upmthere in one day. I'll bet there is a package price for that. Donyou already have a package booked or something? Maybe you can change and use the time in Lucerne to visit Mt. titlis which is quite close, and change the Engelberg time for Lauterbrunnen or one of the villages. There is lots more to do for kids there, like the First Flyer zip line at Grindelwald, or riding Trotti- bikes down from First, and a Rodelbahn at Pfingstegg. I also agree you are probably better off with discount tickets over passes. To use a pass you often have to pay a reservation fee, so they end up costing more than you expect.

Posted by
6898 posts

Ditto the comments about visiting the Jungfraujoch from Lucerne. To get there from Lauterbrunnen, it's 2hrs just to to to the top on the cog train and and another 2hrs to come back down. It's a 5hr round-trip train journey from Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen. That's 9 hours just on the trains. The family card will be invaluable as part of your stay in Switzerland. You don't need a Swiss pass or card to get it either. The child just needs to be traveling with parents who have paid for their tickets. For the Jungfraujoch, your 12-yr old will ride the up and back for free. If you stay in Muerren, you can see the paragliders going over that part of the mountain on the way down. They are very nearby.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi, Thanks for your replies, much appreciated! So if I understand correctly, I can pay as I go for all my train travels from France - Switzerland- Italy - Spain.. No need for a "PASS" As for my Switzerland Itinerary; I have paid for my Bern & Lucerne accommodation & I've just sent an email asking if I can shorten my Engelberg stay (Alphaven). Putting my activity itinerary aside, is 5 nights in Engelberg too long? Would it be better to stay in Wengen, Murren or Interlaken? Also, any other suggestions would be great, I'm completely open to all ideas as to what time would be best spent in Switzerland.

Posted by
12016 posts

If you could shorten you rstay in Engleberg, you could move to Wengen or Mürren for 2 or 3 nights and that would make your trip up the Jungfraujoch, and the paragliding if you do that, mush easier. Engelberg is a nice little mountain village, but as mentioned you can do the Mt. titlis activities in a day. You can use your time in Luzern to ride a lake boat and maybe do the boat---cablecar---cogwheel railway trip up either Rigi or Mt. Pilatus.

Posted by
8 posts

Ok its done! I've shortened my Engelberg stay to just 3 nights and taking the other 2 nights in Wengen. Thank you all for opening my eyes to which I now feel is a better way to go:) Thank you Lola:) Just need to sort out my train ticket vs Pass dilema