Need help choseing the right swiss rail pass.We're arriving from Rothenburg germany to Lauterrunnen. Spending 9 days there Plan to do lots of hiking and catching all the trains and buses. Then going to lyon france. What rail passes suites our needs. Thanks
Carmela, when are you gooing? There are deals on the Swiss passes for travel i nMay, September and October.
going to Lauterbrunnen august 22 to august 31
Can you suggest which pass to buy
Carmela, much of the transportation in the Lauterbrunnen Valley is not expensive. You can easily get from Interlaken Ost into Lauterbrunnen and from Lauterbrunnen up to Wengen, Gimmelwald or Muerren without spending a lot of money. For the real Swiss railpass from the Swiss, they are limited to 1-2 that will work for the visitor. The best one seems to be the Swiss Half-Fare card. It costs 120CHF and is good on all Swiss transportation for 30 days. You get a discount of 50% on all transportation including going to the top of the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn. This Swiss card will be good for all of your travel in Switzerland. You can only buy this card at a train station in Switzerland. I don't think you can buy it online. For your journey to Lauterbrunnen, you could buy your ticket from Rothenburg to Basel SBB. At Basel SBB, you could buy the half-fare card and begin using it immediately for the remainder of your journey to Lauterbrunnen. My wife and I have only had the half-fare card while in Switzerland. I cannot advise on the other types of passes. You might be able to get a Flexi-pass from www.myswitzerland.com. But, be cautious. They are expensive and as I mention above don't use up a precious day if you will only be doing light train travel. Also, these passes promise unlimited travel in Switzerland (I see the statement on their website). Unfortunately, this is not true. These types of passes may only get a 25% discount in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Also, I'm not aware of any type of pass or card that will give you more than a 50% discount up to the top of the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn.
A couple of corrections to Larry's post. The Half-Fare card is 110 CHF. And a Swiss pass or Flex pass will fully cover travel in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and up to the villages ( Wengen and Mürren). That 25% coverage is with a Eurail or multi-country pass. But if you are staying in Lauterbrunnen you would not want to use an expensive day on a Flex Pass to travel such a short distance; they work better for travel all over Switzerland. If you are going for hiking, the best option might be the Jungfrau 6-day Pass for 210 CHF. You can read about it and see a map of coverage on the Jungfrau website, www.jungfrau.ch. The advantage of this one is it fully covers lifts that you would use to access the great hikes in the region, including the First gondola and the Mannlichen cable car. It will also give you 50% off the train to the Jungfraujoch above Kleine Scheidegg. And the train upnto Schynige Platte is fully covered if you want to do the Panoramaweg which is a fantastic hike. This will take you to the First gondola and you can ride down to Grindelwald and train back to Lauterbrunnen, all fully covered. The one thing not covered on this pass is the Schilthorn cablecae above Mürren. You also cannot use it to get to Gimmelwald by bus and cable car from Stechelberg. I realize you are there for 9 days and this pass only covers 6. You would do hikes that are not covered on the pass for your first 2 days, such as Oberhornsee or Rotstockhütte, then start using the pass for the next 6 days.
Lola gives very good advice. I would add though that since you will be there 9 days (I'm sooo jealous:)...you should also consider the Berner Oberland regional pass for 15 days. It gives you 5 days of complete coverage (except from Klein Scheidegg to Jungfrau, or Wengen to Schilthorn) and the other 10 days are a 50% discount. So you would just make sure to use the 5 days on days when you are covering a lot of distance such as going to First / Grindlewald. http://www.regiopass-berneroberland.ch/ticket-en/ I agree it's very confusing. We'll be there for 5 days in June, and I thought we would get a pass, until I priced out each trip we were taking, and decided point to point with a 25% reduction with our railpass would be the best option. You may just have to breakdown and add up all of the trips you plan on taking while there to see which one makes the most sense. We have gotten the Berner Oberland regional pass on 2 previous trips and it worked out quite well for us. Have an awesome time!
Thanks for your help will have to sit down and study the rail passes. Do you know where I can get prices for the trains in Lauterbrunnen so i can price it all out. Thanks. Also advice on hikes in the region thanks carmela
From rothenburg germany do I have to go to Bael first before lauterbrunnen
The Berner Oberland pass is an excellent suggestion. ( Why didn't I think of that one?). It would be 290 CHf but offers coverage over a broader region, including the Schilhorn(50%). And it still includes the lifts that a hiker would want to use. carmel a, you can find the fares on the Swiss train website, www.rail.ch. Put in Lauterbrunnen in the From box and wherever younwant to check the price in the To. The next page will show several options, and may show a price on that page, on the right. Be aware that is the Half Fare price; the regular fare is double that. If it doesn't show on that page, hit the red Fare/Buy button to see it. Again, the price shown is with a Half Fare reduction, so you have to unchecked that or just double what is shown.
carmela, This is something I'll also be dealing with, as I plan to be in the Berner Oberland for a week or so this fall. I plan to travel extensively in the region during that time, including the Jungfraujoch (expensive!). I'll also be travelling to Bern and Zurich afterwards. I've been trying to determine whether it would be better to just buy P-P tickets or whether one of the Railpasses would be more cost effective. Although Rick suggests not bothering with detailed calculations, I'm curious to see the cost differences so have been using an Excel sheet to analyze the options. It's not quite finished yet, but my preliminary results seem to indicate that P-P tickets are roughly about the same cost as using a Railpass (in some cases, the costs using Railpasses are higher). The Railpasses that I'm using in my calculations are: > Swiss Pass or FlexiPass > Berner Oberland Pass > Jungfrau Railways Pass > Jungfrau Centenary Pass (only issued from about May-Oct.) Of the four, the Jungfrau Centenary Pass seems to be the most cost effective, probably because it provides one free trip to the Jungfrau. However it's only good for three consecutive days, so I have to plan my touring accordingly (I believe there's a six day version also). I don't think any of the passes provide more than a 50% discount for the trip to Schilthorn above Mürren, so I'll be paying extra for that. Some of the above Passes can NOT be purchased in Switzerland, so once I've decided which one (if any) to buy, I'll have to order off the net. Happy travels!
From rothenburg germany do I have to go to Bael first before lauterbrunnen If you mean Basel, yes that is the normal route. Of course there are other, even slower, options. That's going to be a long day on the train. Figure on a very short (4 minutes) connection at Steinach, then another change at Ansbach, and another at Karlsruhe and perhaps another at Basel, and a fast change at Interlaken Ost. Even if you don't change trains in Basel you will go through it between Karlsruhe and Interlaken. Figure on 8 to 10 hours.
carmela, Greetings to my neighbor in the Kootenays! I've been meaning to make a trip down to that area to do a bit of exploring and photography. I could perhaps also practice my less-than-perfect Italian language skills in Trail. I also have some friends in Fruitvale. One of these days.... I'm still "crunching numbers" on the best Pass option to use for my trip this year, but haven't got any definite results yet. It's an exhausting task and at times I'm "cross-eyed" looking at the Excel sheet! The "best" pass to use will depend on the specific rail trips you'll be making in that area, which will probably differ from the trips I'm taking. Therefore my results may not be entirely relevant to your situation. In my case, it seems that using one of the Passes along with some P-P tickets may be the best solution. I'll be sure to pass along my findings as soon as I have some numbers that I'm comfortable with. At this point, the Jungfrau Centenary Pass appears to be the most cost effective option for the trips I'll be taking (since it includes one free trip to the Jungfrau. Cheers!
Ken thanks for the information
If you get your calculations done pass the info. I'm still thinking of Don't know the name of the pass. The one that takes you from the Swiss boarder to lauterbrunne for half fare then 50% off in lauterbrunnen region. Then half fare to the france boarder. This pass is good for a month. Why do they make this passes hard to figure out...LOL Ken i'm from Trail not far from Vernon
Carmela, a Half-Fare card does what you describe-50% off all trips, including trips from the border to Lauterbrunnen. It costs 110 CHF. Or perhaps you are thinking of the Swiss Card? This gives you a free trip (100% covered) from the border to your first destination (Lauterbrunnen) and then another free trip back to the border on your last day. In between, all travel is 50% off. This one costs $203 (U.S. dollars) so you would have to figure whether the travel to and from lauterbrunnen to the border is worth the extra $82 over the Half Fare Card. Regular fare from Basel to Lauterbrunnen is 63 CHF, so it looks like the Swiss Card may give you an advantage. My first trip to Switzerland we traveled with a group and used the Swiss Card. One person went to the station every night before a travel day and bought our tickets. On three subsequent trips, I have chosen three different passes (Berner Oberland Pass, 3-Day Flex pass, 15-day Swiss pass). I am still not sure which one works best! I did like the convenience of the 15-day pass as we never needed to buy tickets unless we were using a recretional lift. We traveled all over Switzerland and used the pass every day so got good use from it. But if one is staying in one region, it would not be so cost-effective, as the trips are shorter and less expensive. Also, we go to hike and do ride some recreational lifts like Mannlichen, First gondola, etc., but do not go up the Jungfraujoch, so do not need a pass that provides 50% discount on that one.
thanks Lola Why cann't I make up my mind. Wiil have to dedicate a whole afternoon on this research. I think the place to start is in Lauterbrunnen and calculate what the cost is per ride in the region.any other info will be useful thanks carmela
I'll do more research also I would like to go to the schithorn ,Junfraujoch,grindelwald schynigr platte mannlichen. and of course murren gimmewald If these are your desinations also your research would help me also. Our home base will be the hostel in Lauterbrunnen. carmela Lola Thanks for your info. I may have more questions also. But the big question is WHY do they make it diffucult to chose a rail pass
carmela, I also plan on going to the Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Wengen and perhaps Grindelwald. Perhaps my information will be somewhat relevant to your trip as well? Many of the passes cover travel to Gimmelwald, Mürren, Kleine Scheidegg and other areas, but most only provide a 25% or 50% discount on the high mountain lifts (ie: Schilthorn above Mürren, Jungfrau above Kleine Scheidegg). I'll continue with the "number crunching" again tonight.....
Ken, the 25% only applies to pass coverage for the Jungfraujoch. For Swiss passes it is 25% above Wengen. A half fare card will cover 50% the whole way. The regional passes like Berner Oberland cover to Kleine Scheidegg and 50% beyond that. It is complicated but I don't think the whole decision should be driven by the Jungfraujoch. If the weather is bad you may not even go up there. As for the Schilthorn, it is either covered 50% above Mürren ( Swiss Pass, Flex pass, Half Fare card and Swiss card) or not at all ( Jungfrau pass). But the Jungfrau and Berner Oberlabd passes cover some other lifts that are very useful to hikers. So the big question is are you going there for hiking, or for sightseeing?
@lola, From what I can determine, most of the Swiss and Regional Swiss Passes provide a 50% discount for the high mountain lifts. I believe it's only Railpasses that include other countries that provide a 25% discount. Depending on which pass I decide to use, I should be able to choose which day to take the Jungfrau trip. Although I won't base my decision solely on that trip, the Centenary Pass still seems to offer "the best bang for the buck". I'm hoping that the weather will still be reasonably decent in mid-to-late September (that's been the case in the past when I've been there). Thanks for your always helpful comments.
Ken, you are correct; I was only trying to sort out your statement that "most only provide a 25% or 50% discount on the high mountain lifts (i.e., Schilthorn above Mürren, Jungfraujoch above Kleine Scheidegg.)" And I was speaking only of the various passes offered in Switzerland, including the one named Swiss Pass which is a particular kind of pass, not a generic term. Multi-country or "Eurail" passes add a whole extra layer of confusion and different 25% discounts.
A Transfer Ticket will not take you on recreational lifts, it will only take you to villages, including villages like Mürren which are reached by a lift. Above Mürren the Schilthorn cablecar is a recretional lift and not covered by the Transfer Ticket. A Half Fare Card gives you 50% off everything, whether it is a train, boat, high mountain lift, or Jungfraujoch train. The Berner Oberland Regional Passs DOES cover lifts at 100% on the "covered days" on th epass (you have either 3 or 5 of those, depending on which one you buy). This will cover the First gondola, the Mannlichen cablecar, etc. Only exception is the Jungfrau train above Kleine Scheidegg, which is back to 50%. Here is a map of the coverage of the Berner Oberland pass: http://www.regiopass-berneroberland.ch/range-of-validity/
LOa and Ken
I'm looking at the swiss tranfer card and the swiss half fare pass. so far these might suit my needs the best. The swiss tranfer sounds good but the you have to buy another pass for the region. Still crunching numbers. One question are the mountain lifts extra. Thanks Carmela
OMG, I'm frustrated and confused. Lola, where did you get those synoptic maps? I had been looking at one that was different from either of those, and used it to make my calculations - which now appear to be incorrect! the one I was looking at had the circled number one which I think means 25% discount on most of the trains / lifts between wengen and first, but the ones that you posted only have from Klein Scheidegg to Jungfrau as 25%. Another difference is the 1st link has a dotted line between lauterbrunnen and wengen = 50% discount, and the 2nd link shows a solid line there. Probably not a big difference, but again - all my calculations are out the window. It's back to the drawing board for me! I'm going to be spending the weekend with my excel spreadsheet just like Ken! So - do you think the 1st link is a more recent map than the 2nd?
Jill, it is frustrating that they do not put dates on these maps. But I am thinking that "first map" is incorrect in several respects: the dotted line between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen is definitely a mistake, and the absence of the circled "1" to indicate the 25% section is apparently also a mistake. I checked current prices on the Jungfraubahn.ch website and the 25% reduction is still in place. It applies to the following legs: Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, and KS up to the Jungfraujoch. Based on that I am going to delete my reference to the "first map" and thoughts that maybe the 25% reduction was no more. The most reliable and current map is the one you have probably been looking at, which is the link on this page: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/produkttexte.php?passid=1 and comes out here: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/download_sts/uebersichtskarte_en.pdf Lauterbrunnen to Wengen is definitely fully covered (solid line not dotted) because Wengen is a village. That is what the Swiss Pass is meant to cover fully: travel to villages, but not recreational or sightseeing lifts above the village. And do not worry about the First gondola; that discount is 50% with a Swiss Pass, Flexipass, or Half-Fard card or Swiss card.
Jill, Are you making any progress on your Excel spreadsheet? I'm still plugging numbers in, but not sure it's completely accurate at this point. The Jungfrau Centenary Pass still looks like the cheapest option for me.
Just make sure when you are looking up prices on SBB that you use the full fare. The price they show on the first page, showing route chooses, where it says "prices from" is actually the Half-Price fare. They consider that the default setting.
Carmela, As an alternative to Basel, you could travel to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. From there, your route to Lauterbrunnen includes a lovely cruise straight across Lake Constance to Romanshorn on the Swiss side and on to Lauterbrunnen, all covered by your Half Fare card. I just checked the Deutschbahn website (reiseauskunft.bahn.de) and there is a 6:57 train from Rothenburg for 29 Euro. It's pretty early, but it gets you into Friedrichschafen at 11:06, just enough time to take in the Zepplin Museum and get a quick bite before you catch the 12:41 boat at the nearby dock (Autoquai).
Ken, I did the numbers again and it still looks like point to point will be cheapest as we will have a 3 country eurail pass. We're not going to jungfrua (been there done that). Because you will be doing that trip it doesn't surprise me that the centenary pass is best for you. Actually, I'm thinking we will probably go ahead and get the 7 day Berner Oberland Pass even though for our planned trips so far it will actually be about 20.00 more, but will be much more convenient, and it allows us to spend our "free" day riding as many trains/lifts as we want.
Thanks Gary where do I buy my half fare pass in Rothenburg
How much is the boat ride?we had originally planned on catching the night train. A boat ride sounds great I'll check into this anymore advice is greatly appreciated.Thanks carmela
Gary Just started to surf the net on your reccomendation to go to Friedrichsafen then catch the ferry to the swiss side before departing to Interlaken. We're thinking maybe of spending 1 night in Friedrichshafen or Romamshorn. Which one do would you recommend? Also about the swiss half fare pass. Do I buy it in Rothenburg to Romanshorn. Or can I buy it in Friedrichshafen.. Do you know the website of the ferries on Lake Constance>> Thanks for this wonderful tip Lake Constance looks like a very nice tourist designation.
Carmela, there are several very nice towns along Lake Constance. I believe Freidrichsafen is one of the largest. A few others that you might look at that are quite picturesque are Meersburg and Lindau - both on the german side. Here is a website that is geared toward biking around lake constance, but has many useful links such as ferry info, accomodations and interesting sights around the lake. http://www.bodensee-radweg.com/lake-constance-cycle-path.html You should also check out Andreas' link under the trip report header of the helpline.
Jill, Is the Berner Oberland pass one that has to be purchased in Switzerland (in the Bernese Oberland, for that matter)? Thanks
Tom, you can buy the pass via fax from the states, but it costs 80chf extra - not worth it! I have and will purchase it at the Interlaken Ost train station on my way into the valley. Here's the website with more info on where to buy the pass - http://www.regiopass-berneroberland.ch/
Jill, Thanks for the tip. 80 CHF Yikes!
Help with which pass to buy? We will be in Murren 8 days in July 2013. Cannot decide between the Jungfrau Railway Pass or the Berner Oberland Pass?
From what I have read here, the Berner Oberland Pass for 8 days might be better as we want to hike and take many different journeys. Already have a Global Eurail Pass. Any help would be wonderful! Thanks!!
You know, if you just can't figure it out then stop stressing and buy the Half Fare Card. It works everywhere from the top of the Jungfrau to the tip of Basel and everywhere in between...all over Switzerland. The problem with the speciality pass like the BO Pass or the Jungfrau Pass is that they tie you into a specific location. Be free and stop stressing. The Half Fare Card works everywhere.