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Which Swiss Pass will work best for me?

This discussion board is terrific! Thanks for all the help.

This summer I will be travelling with my two kids (10 & 13). We plan to go from Venice to Gimmelwald by train. We will spend 2 nights in Gimmelwald and then travel by train to Paris.

I am finding it rather difficult to get in or out of Switzerland quickly. To save time, I had originally hoped to take a night train - either into or out of Switzerland, but it looks like those options are no longer available.

In any case, I am now planning to take a day train from Venice to get there and another day train to get to Paris.

I am considering getting a Swiss Pass because I can't find a way to buy Junior Cards for my kids outside of Switzerland.

Which one will work best for me? It looks like the Swiss Card has all the benefits I need (1 trip in and 1 trip out) and 50% off travel on trains around Gimmelwald (which wouldn't be covered by other passes anyway.) Also, I think I get a free Swiss Family Card, which should cover both of my kids (same as a Junior Card). Am I thinking about this correctly? Should I consider the Swiss Transit Card? It's a little cheaper but it seems like it would still fit my profile. However, it seems a little more restricted on some high mountain lifts.

Thanks for any advice.

  • David
Posted by
14 posts

OK. I have tried to do the math, and I think the Swiss Pass makes a lot of sense for my situation. Since I'm travelling with 2 kids, it's great that I will get a free Swiss Family Card. That will save me at least 40CHF over buying 2 Junior Cards - not to mention the actual savings of avoiding train tickets for the kids.

It's very hard to calculate, but I think I would "save" about $115 just on the trip into Switzerland by not paying for the Swiss portion of the trip for myself or my kids. So, that alone nearly pays for the swiss Card - $187. Not to mention that I plan to take several mountain lifts and with 50% off, the savings will be higher.

Now I have a logistical question. If I use the Swiss Pass, exactly how will it work? The last Italian stop into CH appears to be Domodossola. So, do I buy tickets just to Domodossola, and then I and my kids can ride free (no reservation or ticket) by carrying the passes? I just don't know how to handle the transition to Switzerland. On the outbound, it's much clearer because we will be going through Basel, which seems to be right on the border and besides, we will switch to a TGV at that point. However, it's not clear how to handle the transition in Italy. I would definitely prefer not to have to buy my ticket all the way to Brig if I can avoid it. Does it work to buy tickets just to Domodossola? Will the pass cover the final stretch of Italy before entering Switzerland? I don't want to pay a fine on the train.

Thanks,
- David

Posted by
14 posts

Sorry. Just to clarify: I intend to buy the Swiss Card (not the Swiss Pass). It's confusing that there are so many options with similar names.

So, my question now is: At what point can I begin using the Swiss Card?

Based on the routes I plan to take, it looks like Domodossola is the last stop within Italy. However, it's not on the border. So, can I buy tickets - just to Domodossola and then count on my pass being valid from Domodossola to Interlaken? Or, do I have to buy tickets all the way to Brig or Spiez?

Also, it seems a bit more complicated because some of the trains into Brig/Spiez seem to require reservations. Ughh!

I suppose I will have to buy my tickets on Trenitalia (or somewhere) to Domodossola and then just book a reservation for the remainder of the trip that requires it. Seems complicated.

My entire trip is working out very smoothly, but getting in and out of Switzerland is proving to be the most time consuming and difficult.

  • David
Posted by
7205 posts

You will probably not be able to purchase your Italian train tickets from Trenitalia.com just like 99.9% of the rest of the Americans who've tried and failed. Take your Swiss Card to the ticket counter in Italy and show them what you have. They will sell you the appropriate Italian ticket.

Posted by
8700 posts

David,

According to this page, a Swiss Card will cover your ride from Domodossola into Switzerland.

Posted by
14 posts

Wow! Excellent. Thanks for responding and validating my assumption.

This discussion board is invaluable.

  • David