Buying Swiss Train tickets

I am trying to figure out the most cost effective means of transportation for my husband and I while we are going from Milan to Lauterbrunnen and then from Lauterbrunnen to Paris. I thought about buying a Swiss Card or Pass or Transfer ticket, but I'm not sure that will really save more money than just buying the point to point tickets in advance. We will be traveling from Milan to Lauterbrunnen on Wednesday, May 22nd and out of Lauterbrunnen to Paris on Saturday, May 25th. From what I've seen so far, it looks like I will need to buy a ticket from Basel to Paris from TGV in a week as soon as it goes on sale, and if I do that, I may be able to get the tickets for 50 euros for both of us (which seems like a good deal, right?). I'm having trouble navigating sbb.ch though. Do they not offer discounts for booking in advance? When I put in Lauterbrunnen to Basel it says 32.70 for tomorrow as well as in March - so either their prices are constant or I'm doing something wrong. Finally, do I just need to book a ticket from Milan to wherever it will let me in Switzerland from trenitalia and then buy a separate ticket from that place to Lauterbrunnen? I feel like I've been able to look up the prices from Milan to Spiez before, but when I try now even for tomorrow, it just comes up as N.A. which makes it hard to calculate how much these tickets are going to cost us.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

In general, SBB does not offer advance purchase discounts for travel within Switzerland. ( sometimes they have a special promotion for travel between certain cities during the winter, but I haven't seen oneofour those lately). 50 euros for two for the TGV Basel to Paris is indeed a good deal. Even the Special Offerprice onSBB is 79 CHF for that trip. Trenitalia seems cranky today, but I had good luck using FS Italia, the link in the upper left corner of the Trenitalia home page. It offered tickets from Milan to Spiez on 22 May for a Smart fare of 22 euro each. That was on the EC 52 departing Milan at 11:25. You might give that a try. Choose a Smart Fare from the drop down menu on the page that loads after you choose a train on the first page.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6719 posts

Lola has a great idea about using Trenitalia to buy a Smart fare to Spiez. From Spiez, you are 20 minutes from Interlaken Ost and another 25 minutes from Lauterbrunnen. The Italian website cannot see Lauterbrunnen so getting to Spiez will work. Its not a large station. You can easily buy the remainder of your tickets there to get to Lauterbrunnen. Your tickets will not be expensive from Spiez to Lauterbrunnen. Also, there used to be an ATM around the rear of the Spiez station. Use it to get Swiss Francs. The Swiss prefer their own currency over Euros where you are going.

Posted by Rachel
San Diego, CA, US
31 posts

Done! I was able to book a smart fare from trenitalia (I realized that before I had checked "find the best price" and that's why the fares weren't showing up). It saved us a bunch of money, so thank you both a bunch! I will plan on buying our other Swiss tickets when we get there if there aren't advanced purchase discounts (and thanks for the ATM tip!).