I'm trying to figure out I will be better off purchasing individual tickets while in Italy and then a Swiss Pass in Switzerland or if I should purchase a Eurail Pass, but am having trouble figuring out if there is a ticket from Genoa into the Berner Oberland area. Does anyone know if one exists and how much they run?
You're better off with the Swiss Pass. The SP gets covers the mountain trains in and out of Lauterbrunnen/Grindlewald, eurail doesn't. You also get a better discount on the journey to the top of Jungfrau and Schiltorn. You can purchase tickets from Genoa all the way to Interlaken when you're in Italy.
Aaron, first, the Berner Oberland is a very large area. I'm assuming that you mean the Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen part of it. Second, you can easily buy a ticket from Genoa to Interlaken Ost in Italy. However, don't try to buy a ticket from Genoa to Lauterbrunnen or anywhere inside the Lauterbrunnen Valley, because the Italian system will not sell you one. RailEurope won't do it either. You can't see such a run on their websites. As I said above, you can get to Interlaken Ost. The reason is that the Swiss want to be paid in Swiss Francs for travel on the Jungfraubahn and the Schilthornbahn rail systems which run from Interlaken Ost into the Lauterbrunnen Valley and up the mountain sides.
CLICK HERE to see a train schedule to Interlaken Ost from Genoa. As I said above, you can easily buy the tickets when you arrive in Genoa. If you need to get to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you can buy tickets at the Interlaken Ost train station. It's not busy.
I suggest that you do not buy a Eurail pass for Switzerland if you plan on traveling in the Lauterbrunnen Valley which includes, Grindelwald, Wengen, Gimmelwald, Muerren and the two moutain tops (Jungfrau and Shilthorn). A Eurail pass will only get you a 25% discount in these areas. A full Swiss pass will get free transportation to all of the areas above except the Jungfrau and Schilthorn. For these two mountain top runs, you get a 50% discount.
However, there is a Swiss 1/2-fare card. It costs CHF99 and is good for 30 days. It provides a 50% discount on all Swiss transportation. If you go up to the Jungfrau (which costs $180 round trip), the pass almost pays for itself.
If you are traveling with children 15 and under, they travel free if the adult has a Swiss pass of some type.
Great, thanks for the reply. As a follow up, our whole trip begins in London (three days). We will then catch an easyjet to Venice (three days), catch a train to Florence (two days), then to Cinque Terre (three days). We will then go into Switzerland, specifically Gimmewald (three days), and Interlaken (just one day). Finally, we will end the trip in Chamonix (two days), and Paris (four days). I have to admit it has been difficult, to say the least, trying to figure out the most efficient, cost effective way to travel. I do like the idea of the Swiss Pass and 1/2 off card, especially with all the discounts and my intent to see the top of the Jungfrau. I calculated the Italy transportation to be around $90 for my wife and I to go from Venice to Florence, and $60 from Florence to Genoa. From there we will hike the five cities of Cinque Terre. I apologize that this is so long winded, but if we pay for individual tickets in Italy, a swiss pass in Switzerland, is there a good option for France?
Thanks for your invaluable input,
Just for clarification, you don't need both a Swiss pass and the Swiss 1/2-fare card. They are two different items. One or the other is just fine. Also, you really must see the Jungfrau. It's really breathtaking. You'll be up there for a few hours. As a hint, get up there early as it often starts to cloud up about midday. The food up there is quite good as well. Have lunch and come back down.
CLICK HERE to see more info on the different Swiss passes along with their costs. Any of the Swiss passes will cover you to the Swiss border with France. When you cross the border, you pay for part from the border to Chamonix or Paris.
Thanks Larry, I really appreciate the feedback.