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Swiss Passes or Point to Point Tickets with local city fare card

by Michelle SG
(Singapore)

Hi,
I will be travelling and spending 10 days in Switzerland in the following sequence:

CHF 15.50 24/4 : Zurich - Basel(CHF 15.50)
CHF 31.00 25/5 : Day trip to Zurich (CHF 31)
CHF 31.00 26/4 : Day trip to Lucerne (CHF 31)
27/4 : Day trip in Basel (I will be staying in Basel for 4 nites)

CHF 41.00 28/4 : Basel- Lugano
CHF 31.00 29/4 : Day trip to Milan (return)
30/4 : Day in Lugano
CHF 44.20 1/5 : Lugano -Interlaken - Grindelwald
CHF 95.80 2/5 : Day Trip to Jungfraujoch
CHF 68.00 3/5 : Interlaken - Zurich - Salzburg

4/5 - 5/5: Salzburg
6/5 : Salzburg - Munich
7/5 : Munich - Prague
8/5 : Prague
9/5 : Prague
10/5 : Prague - Munich

For my days in Switzerland initially I'm thinking of getting the 4D consecutive Swiss Pass (CHF 266) and a 3D Flexi pass (CHF 254), a total of CHF 520.

When I went to check the point-to-point tickets, I realized it's much cheaper.

Can someone advise if I could optimize my train tickets purchase as follows:

1. Get the point to point train tickets but what fare card can I buy to cover the local transport in Basel, Lucerne or Zurich (I learned that there is a Zurich Card for CHF 20 that covers all local transport)?

2. Do I have to buy the point-to-point tickets before my trip or I can do it when I'm there?

3.What is the meaning of "1 day travel pass half card"? Can I buy this and does it cover the travel between the inter-city trips between Basel and Lucerne or Basel with Zurich?


Answer for

Swiss Pass or Point-to-Point tickets



Need help figuring out the best Pass Option?


For all who landed here to find help with choosing a Swiss Pass,

please refer to my help page.

I've listed an example that will help you find the best deal.




Hello Michelle,

This is quite an itinerary you have here. You need a holiday when you get back home ;-)

You are quite right with your calculation. I added all the point-to-point (pop) ticket prices in front of your list for easier calculation. I assume that you return to Interlaken Ost from the Jungfraujoch.

  • Total cost: CHF 507.50 (pop tickets CHF 357.50 + CHF 110.00 for the Swiss Half Fare Card + CHF 40 for two City Passes)

  • Total cost Swiss Passes: CHF 520.00 + Grindelwald - Jungfraujoch (CHF 95.80) + Chiasso - Milan and Buchs SG - Salzburg.

  • Option: Discounted Flexi Pass until May 31st!
    If you travel in a group of two at all times, then you are eligible for a discount of 15% per Flexi Pass: CHF 215.90 instead of CHF 254.00.
    Total cost with discounted Flexi Pass for 3 non-consecutive days:
    CHF 493.90 per person (215.90 for pass + 238 for pop tickets + 40 for city cards).

    Recommended Flexi Pass days: Basel - Lugano; Lugano - Grindelwald; Interlaken - Buchs SG.

Tip: Sometimes there are Super Saver Tickets (pop) available online. Check them regularly to see if there's an offer that would fit you. Right now, their discounted ticket for the Jungfraujoch is only valid up to End of April. Offers can change daily. Can only be purchased online.


1) Local transport costs in Basel, Luzern and Zürich


Basel: Since you are staying for four nights in Basel, you are eligible for the Mobility Ticket, a Guest Card that allows for free use of the transport system throughout the city and a little beyond (including zones 10, 11, Airport and ferry rides). Your hotel reservation will guarantee your free transport from the train station to your hotel where you will receive the Mobility Card.

Zürich: You are correct, the Zürich Card will cost you CHF 20 for 24 hours and can be purchased either online (use the Voucher option) or when you arrive at the Airport in Zürich: Switzerland Info Center located at Arrivals 1 and 2, in Check-In 2 and in the Transfer and Shopping Area A.

If it is a beautiful day when you visit Zürich, I'd recommend to go up to the Üetliberg - Zürich's "house mountain" - the view is excellent and the cost of the transport is included in the Zürich Card as are certain sightseeing trips on the lake.

Lucerne: The Lucerne Card costs CHF 19.00 for 24 hours and grants unlimited travel on all public transportation, a 50% discount at select museums, and more. Not sure if it is worth your money though. Lucerne is a small compact city and easy to explore on foot, and if you only take one or two tram rides it's maybe not worth your money.

I'd recommend visiting the Tourist Office when you arrive in Lucerne, located off track 3 in the central train station. Depending on what you are planning to do and see, it could be useful. I couldn't find, for example, which museums are included or if a city tour or a boat excursion (which I highly recommend if the weather cooperates) is part of the deal.

Lugano: If stay more than three nights in Lugano, you receive a free Guest Card that allows for free public transport and you receive discounts on many attractions.

No matter where you stay over night, ask for a Guest Card (free). Most villages, towns and cities offer one. The discounts or free stuff you receive are different from place to place, but it's always worth to check. Ask at your hotel or at the local tourist office.


2) Where to buy tickets


You can buy pop tickets right at the train station before you depart, except for the leg Interlaken Ost (or West ) to Salzburg Hbf if you want to profit from the Supersaver ticket of CHF 68.00 instead of paying the full price of CHF 97.00, you can only buy this ticket online (check "Conditions and Validity"). Seat reservation required.

Option
Normal train vom Interlaken to Zürich, then EuroNight train to Salzburg (arriving in Salzburg at 4:12 am). You can choose a chouchette (women car available) or a sleeper car from CHF 127.50. You can buy this ticket at the train station (or online - it's up to you). If you buy it at the train station I would recommend you buy it as soon as you arrive in Switzerland to be sure that your sleeping quarters are reserved (don't forget to show your half fair card for the Swiss leg of the journey). If you do, ask for further discounts - sometimes they are available depending on the seats they have left.


3) 1 Day Travel Pass


You can travel with this pass as you do with any other ticket; in fact, you enjoy the same benefit as if you would travel with the Swiss Pass (hop on hop off anywhere, free entries to Museums, free city transportation and so on), but it's not valid up to the Jungfraujoch.

There are two options: 1-day Travel Pass (CHF 68.00) and Multipack 1-day Travel Passes for 6 days: CHF 340.00 (CHF 57 per day). Both of them are not economical for you; you still need to purchase the Half-Tax card, which means another CHF 110.00 on top of the price. And although these day passes include city transportation, the leg Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch is not included, and neither are Chiasso to Milan and Buchs SG to Salzburg.

Then there's the 9'clock Travel Pass, a little cheaper because you are not allowed to travel before 9am or on weekends. One day CHF 58.00 or the Multipack for 6 days for CHF 290 (CHF 49.00 per day). All your pop tickets in Switzerland cost less, even the leg Interlaken to Buchs SG. And although you would profit from free city transport and more, I don't see a benefit for you.


Salzburg - München - Prague - München


Pop tickets are probably the cheapest way to go. Salzburg - München starting at CHF 50 (ask for savings fair), and roundtrip München - Prague starting at CHF 90.

I checked the Eurorail Select Pass:

  • Price for 5 countries (15 days within 2 month) CHF 950;

  • Price for 4 countries (exclusive Italy - 11 days within 2 month)
    CHF 700 plus the roundtrip ticket to Milan.

Both Passes don't include the trip to the Jungfraujoch (CHF 95.80).

I hope this helps you make a decision. I wish you a wonderful journey.

Safe travels,
Fida.

PS:
Information on Swiss Passes and Swiss Half Fare Card

Comments for Swiss Passes or Point to Point Tickets with local city fare card

Click here to add your own comments

Thank You!
by: michelle_sg

Hi Fida,

Thanks a million ton. I really appreciate your advice and guidance. Indeed this rail pass thing was causing me lots of headaches and stress.

Usually I'm not so uptight about the travel fare but because I'm travelling alone and hotel accommodation for a few places add up to a lot!

Btw my accommodation in Basel will be free as I will bunk with my friend who is going there for work. After I will travel on my own to Lugano and Italy.

I managed to book ZRH-Salzburg with sbb @CHF48 and Salzburg - Munich thru oebb @CHF34. So based on your estimation and the rest of transit fare, total should come up to CHF559 as compared to the flexi/Swiss passes @CHF 729.

Once again thanks, your help is deeply appreciated! I will recommend my friends to visit this site whenever they need help.

Cheers,
Michelle

PS:
I need a few more follow up clarifications from you:

1. Where do I get the ticket from Grindelwald to Jungfrau? (I will be staying in Grindelwald).

2. Is there any day tour for Jungfrau which also covers the train ticket cos I wish to join a tour group at least with some tour guide to lead and share about Jungfrau. (Don't want to travel alone on top of the mountain:)

3. Can I buy all these point-to-point tickets and the half fare card at the train station in the Zurich airport since I already know my itinerary?

4. Can I also claim my mobility card from any train station?

5. Does the station accept credit card payment for these train tickets or do they need to be paid in cash?

6. Where can I buy the city card for Zurich and Lucerne? Can I buy them at each of the main stations respectively or can I just get them from Basel station, which I will be staying near by?

7. In case I decide to buy the Flexi Swiss pass, can I also buy it from Zurich airport station cos I saw on some sites they mention it's only available online?

8. Initially, I also planned to get the 3-day Flexi Pass for travel from Lugano – Interlaken - Grindelwald - Zurich. Can I buy it but even if my friend will only travel 2 out of 3 days with me? Is it acceptable?

9. If I decide to buy the individual Flexi Swiss pass, do I still need the half fare card?

Answers to your additional Questions
by: Fida

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad I could be of help.

I wanted to integrate my answers to your new questions into your post, but it didn’t work – too much text. So here goes:

1. You can buy the tickets in Grindelwald or any other train station.

2. Tour operators offer day trips to Jungfraujoch from Lucerne and Zürich, but they include a roundtrip and are quite expensive.

You don't really need a guide though. Believe me, you will never be alone "on the top of the world" :) The Jungfrau is definitely a crowd pleaser. On the way up from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfrauhoch they show an informative film. Soon after Kleine Scheidegg, the cog railway disappears into a tunnel and remains there to the top. The train will stop on two occasions and you have a chance to glance out the windows. Once on top, everything is pretty much self-explanatory and you will find the ice palace, the little museum and the Sphinx on your own. If you are adventurous you could hike to the Mönchsjoch Hut – well marked but you do need suitable cloth and shoes (approx. one hour hike).

If weather permits, the view from the top is stunning, otherwise the trip could be very disappointing, especially when you consider the price you pay. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.

Some people experience headaches and dizziness. After all, you 'climb' pretty quickly from and altitude of 2'061m (6,762 ft) to 3'571m (11,716 ft).

3.Yes, but I don't recommend it. Changing your plans can cost you time and money. It's really easy to buy tickets at the train station before you depart.

4. You are only eligible for the Mobility Ticket if you can produce a hotel bill as proof that you are a paying guest. Maybe your friend can help?

Instead, you can buy a Basel Card for CHF 20 for 24 hours (CHF 27 for 48 hours). You can buy the Basel Card at the tourist office at the train station in Basel (open 8:30 am – 6:30pm, on weekends shorter opening hours).

5. Yes, they do accept credit cards.

6. You can buy them online or in each individual city (in Basel for Basel, in Lucerne for Lucerne, and so on). You can buy the Zürich Card upon arrival at the Airport (Switzerland Info Centre).

7. Yes, you can buy the Flexi Pass upon arrival at the Switzerland Travel Center at the Airport. You only need your passport as proof that you are living overseas.

8. The Swiss Travel System website states clearly that the two holders of a discounted Flexi-Pass have to travel together at all times, or they are not eligible for the discount. You could risk a fine. Ask at the Swiss Travel Center before you buy.

9. The Flexi Pass is valid for one month, and between the first and last date of your travels, the pass acts as a Half-Fare card. But you are only eligible for the whole package of free things (like free city transport, entrance fees to museums etc) on the specific day when you use one of these 3 frees travel days.

Have a wonderful trip,
Fida


Eurail pass
by: Nick C

Hi,

My spouse and I will be in Zurich this November and we will be traveling by train to Luzern and Interlaken and finally going up to Jungfraujoch as part of our 2 weeks tour to Switzerland, Austria and Czech Rep.

We got a 3 countries Eurail Select pass for this. Would we be able to use this pass for all the train trips from Zurich to Luzern and Interlaken for free?

How about to Jungfraujoch? Up to which train station is the pass covered?

Would appreciate if you could enlighten me.
Thanks

Jungraujoch ticket
by: Fida

Hi Nick,

I don't know what Eurail Pass you bought and what's included. It should be written on your ticket or please check with the seller of the ticket.

Most likely the ticket up to the Jungfrau will not be included but you will receive a 25% from Grindelwald.

Have a great trip,
Fida

Trip To Jungfraujoch via Intarlaken from Basel
by: Johan

Dear Fida

First of all, I would say a great job you are doing in guiding in the best possible way.

Now my question. I am based in Basel for few days and the next week are holidays. I want to go to at the maximum two places in Switzerland. Can you suggest the best economical way of choosing the fare options and tickets. I do have a tram paas for the month of April in Basel.

Places I selected are
Intarlaken and Jungfraujoch

Rhine falls

At the maximum within the time period I have I can add one more destination, that can be Matterhorn Zermatt.

I am here in Basel till 16 May 2014, and wish to visit only these destinations over weekend and public holidays.

May i request if you can suggest the best possible cards and tickets to be taken. I will have one more friend joining along with me for same requirements.

Thanks
Johan



Hello Johan,

Thanks for the compliment :)

Have a look into the Flexipass for three days (it acts as a half fare card between your chosen travel days). If you travel at all times with your friend then you are eligible for a Flexi Saver Pass.

As for going up to the Jungfraujoch, check out the options listed under "Tickets" on this page.

If you need more help figuring out the best pass option, here's a template that shows you how to do it.

Enjoy the trips!
Fida



Confused about public transport in Switzerland
by: Anonymous

My husband and I, both seniors, have traveled in Europe extensively for 40+ years. We are returning to Switzerland where our daughter lives. Our total stay in Zurich is July 20 - 28 Aug. We plan to go to Zermatt by train, then to Paris and return to Zurich (Küsnacht Goldbach station). We also plan to train to Arosa. In between we will use the bus, boats, etc. in the Zurich area.

The info for point to point does not recognize the Goldbach station & at times does not accept Zermatt. It is very confusing to try to determine if the passes are worth buying. And if you take a local bus does that count as a day off your total travel? Same for museums. I see that the museum entry has to be used on the same day as a travel day. Help! Too much information is proving to be less than helpful.






Hello Anonymous,

It can be confusing and above all, time consuming to find out how everything works.

Basically, Swiss Travel Passes offer free public transport on trains, busses (including city transport) and boats (with very few exceptions) on the day of your travels.

Mountain transport is not included, meaning, if you want to visit a mountain peak such as Jungfraujoch you receive a discount (25% between Grindelwald/Wengen and Jungfraujoch - for the rest of the journey, transport is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. Almost all other funiculars, cable ways etc. give a discount of 50%. If you travel with the Swiss Half Fare Card then you receive a 50% discount up to the Jungfrujoch.

The difference between Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Travel Flexi Pass is that the first one is valid on consecutive days and the latter on the days you travel extensively between the first and last day of activation.

The Swiss Travel Flexi Pass Combi gives you free travel on the chosen days (when you travel extensively/most expensive routes) and half fare on the dates between the first and last activated travel days.

You find detailed information on all passes here.

Click on the Validity map to see which routes are included. Keep in mind, that not all bus lines are on the map (limited space) but the passes are valid on every postal bus and local route including city transport (except on buses privately operated visiting very remote destinations - for example from Kandersteg into the rugged but amazingly beautiful Gasterntal or between Lenk or the "Laubbärgli").

Admission to more than 470 museums are included in the Swiss Travel Passes on the days you travel; but not if you have a Half Fare Card and buy point-to-point tickets. See Swiss Travel Pass benefits here.

As for "Küsnacht Goldbach" or Zermatt not showing up on the SBB/CFF timetable: Please use the exact writing, meaning incorporate double names ("Kusnacht Goldbach" instead of "Küsnacht Goldbach" works too) and make sure you write the destinations names correctly. It's a bit fickle that system. Make sure you enter the correct "via", for example if you want to take the scenic route between Lucerne and Interlaken (or Zürich and Zermatt), enter via "Brünig-Hasliberg".

This page might help you figure out the best pass option for you.

If you still have trouble figuring out the right travel pass, I gladly help you, albeit for a fee. As you realise, it's very time consuming and above all, you need to figure out your itinerary first.

Have a wonderful trip,
Fida






Travel from Geneva to Lausanne to Chuv
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I was wondering where do I buy the tickets to Lausanne and then take the metro M2 to Chuv. Do I have to buy the tickets for each place separately or can I buy like a 1 journey ticket? Someone told me that I can buy a 1 journey ticket for 27 swiss franc. Can I buy that from the Geneva airport. Is there like a ticket store where I can buy it or do I have to use those ticket machines there are there?

Thanks in advance




Hi Anonymous,

You find answers to your questions here and here.

All the best,
Fida



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