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Itineraries & Rail Passes

salisbury, england
Level Contributor
32 posts
15 reviews
Itineraries & Rail Passes

I'm visiting Switzerland at the end of July for 12 days along with partner and 8-year old son.

We're flying in to Geneva and then hope to use Swiss Rail to get around; I've got a rough idea of what we want to do : Lausanne/Vervey; Zermatt; Murren/Interlaken; Locarno/Lugano.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's made a similar trip : is it perhaps better to keep to one or two bases and make trips or get around as much as possible using the rail system?

Could I also ask for advice on (budget) accommodation in those areas.

Lastly could somebody please explain how the Swiss Rail pass system works? I've looked on their website but I'm still confused - is it better to buy both Railpass and Canton (ie Bernese Oberland) pass?

I'm asking for a lot but many thanks in advance!

Kitchener, On...
Level Contributor
152 posts
1. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

I don't know to much about the Rail in Switzerland, but a good web page is Rick steves Europe through the back door. The address is www.ricksteves.com They are very helpful!

canada
Level Contributor
8,300 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

I have been to those places on different trips, but you should be able to cover all of them in 12 days.

The Swiss Pass/Flexipass are also good for city transport systems (bus, tram, boats and some cable cars etc.) You have 15% discount when 2 people travel together, and your 8 year old travels free under the Family Card. An alternative is a Swiss Card/ Half Fare card, but you still have to queue up to pay for each trip, and some careful calculation to find out if it is really worthwhile.

For budget accommodations, please search for earliers tips from this forum.

Zürich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
48 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

a good budget hotel chain is minotel, their website with lists of all hotels in switzerland is http://www.minotel.ch/

England, United...
Level Contributor
3,532 posts
195 reviews
4. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

For Murren / Interlaken try the Hotel Staubbach in lauterbrunnen, about 180CHF a night for two rooms with balcony b&b.

We're staying in Brig for 3 nights, then Interlaken for 7 in a flat we rented through the wesite. We're staying at the Minhotel in Brig, but it's not cheap, 590 Euros for 3 nights b&b for a family room.

We looked at Locarno, the Station hotel seemed to be a budget option. Also in Davos the youthpalace, about 200 CHF half board for a family room.

We're buying Swiss Card, this gives us free transport on all main rail, buses and boats. It limits the mountain trips though as these are 25% discount. I don't think there's much choice otherwise across all of Switzerland. The other option is a transfer ticket - this gives you one trip from airport to resort and one back, then half price on everything else. Your son just needs a family card, then it's all free. They both need to be bought in the UK before you go - Swiss Travel System - they send them by post.

salisbury, england
Level Contributor
32 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

Many thanks for all replies; we think we'll use the Swiss Saver FlexiPass - seems like the best option!

Lake Gaston, NC
1 post
6. Re: Itineraries & Rail Passes

I've also stayed in the minhotel chain in Switzerland...although about 7 years ago. Loved everyone. Stayed in a different one all across the country for 14 nights...and was never disappointed. Budget in price back then, but definately good quality, clean, and very quaint and charming in character.... one was a horse farm, another was an old monastery, several were bed and breakfast inns, two were urban ultramodern types, one was a cabin high in the Alps... each was different and unique...made the trip so meaningful.

We rented a car and drove all around, gave us flexibility. We used a Railpass some, but found it more expensive and more restrictive.

Good luck, and have a wonderful trip!!