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Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

by phingy Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Hi guys, I'm planning a trip to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken as my base. My proposed itinerary:
20 Oct Zurich -- Interlaken (or direct to Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald)
21 Oct Interlaken -- Swiss Alps (Jungfrau) -- Interlaken
22 Oct Interlaken -- Lugano
As traveling around these cities are quite expensive, I was thinking if it will be worth it for me to get the Swiss half fare pass or just purchase the point to point tickets? Any idea if the discount is applicable on the mountain railways?
Also, I can't decide if we want to be based at Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Any idea how are the hostel prices? I would definitely go for the most affordable option as I plan to try out skiing and visit the Jungfrau top and am on a tight budget.
Appreciate advice on this! THANK YOU!!!

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10 Answers
  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    It's been longer then 4 years ago, but my wife and I bought a Swiss Rail pass for our 5 days in Switzerland and for us it was worth the price. We travelled between Bern and Lauterbrunnen. We went up to Schilthorn on the other side from Jungfrau because it was about 2/3 the price of going up to Jungfrau and we wanted to have breakfast in the revolving restaurant on the top. We also did another round trip between Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken (about a 20 minute one way ride) and then did trips from Lauterbrunnen to Lucerne and finally from Lucerne to Zurich for our flight home.

    My stayed 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen at Hotel Oberland. I think you would find more reasonable prices in Lauterbrunnen then you would Interlaken or Grindelwald.

    We were there from about October 6 to October 10, 2008 and I don't recall seeing anyone skiing at that time as there was snow at the very high elevations, but not that much if any at the lower elevations. Temps when we were there were in the 50's and 60's. There is a nice hostel in Lauterbrunnen from what I remember.

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  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by travelfrosch Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Are you flying out of Lugano, continuing to Zurich, or going on to Italy. If you're returning to Zurich, a Swiss Half-Fare Card will give you a free ride to and from Zurich Airport, with the rest of your rides at a 50% discount. Otherwise, a 4-day Swisspass or 3-day Swiss Flexipass might be worth it. To compare your options, see ricksteves.com/rail/comparet... for more information.

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  • phingy's Profile Photo

    by phingy Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I will be heading to Italy after Lugano and will be back about a week later in Zurich. I am also considering the half fare tickets as the validity is for a month. Any idea if the discount is applicable on mountain railways to Jungfrau? I think that should be the most expensive rail routes for me.

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  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by travelfrosch Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    The 3-day in one month Swiss Flexipass probably would work best. You could use the third day for your return to Zurich for the Swiss portion of the trip. Also, a Flexipass gives you 50% discount on train travel in Switzerland for the days you don't use a "flexi-day," as well as 50% discounts on most high mountain rides (cable cars, gondolas, etc).

    Swisspass covers part of the Jungfraujoch route (only to Lauterbrunnen / Grindelwald), and offers a 25% discount on the high section that costs the most.

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  • Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by K_V_B Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    I would consider the Swiss Half Fare Card a better deal than the Swiss Pass. The Swiss Pass only gives 25% off on the Jungfraubahn, but the Half Fare Card gives 50% off!
    There is also a "Swiss Card", that gives you half price, plus free transit from and from your point of entry (which does not have to be an airport). However the Swiss Card you need to buy in advance but the Swiss Half Fare Card you can buy in Switzerland too.
    Use that and the www.sbb.ch site to look up prices and get an idea of costs.

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  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by travelfrosch Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 5:45 AM

    My only concern with the Half Fare Card is that the OP is traveling from Italy to Zurich Airport. I'm not sure if it counts as a "return trip" if you're traveling from an international border.

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  • phingy's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by phingy Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    I was considering the Swiss half fare card as my first 3 days from 20th to 22nd because the traveling expenses are the highest (about CHF180 on Jungfrau alone!). But the cost of the half fare card is not too cheap either. I'll be heading back from Milan to Zurich. I was wondering if I should go across to Lugano and get the half fare back to Zurich instead.

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  • Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by K_V_B Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    travelfrosch wrote:
    My only concern with the Half Fare Card is that the OP is traveling from Italy to Zurich Airport. I'm not sure if it counts as a "return trip" if you're traveling from an international border.

     I think you are confusing two products.

    There is the "Swiss Card" which gives you free travel from your point of entry to somewhere in Switzerland on one day, free travel from another point in Switzerland to your point of exit on another day(and that can be a border station) and half price travel in between those tow days. The Swiss Card costs 195,- CHF

    There is however also a "Swiss Half Fare Card" which just gives you half price travel for a month.  This costs 120,- CHF.

    With a half fare card (both versions) you van buy tickets at half price, and you can also buy a day pass for 58,-.

    (There is also a half fare card that is valid for a whole year. It costs 175,. and most Swiss have one.)

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  • Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by K_V_B Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    phingy wrote:
    I was considering the Swiss half fare card as my first 3 days from 20th to 22nd because the traveling expenses are the highest (about CHF180 on Jungfrau alone!). But the cost of the half fare card is not too cheap either. I'll be heading back from Milan to Zurich. I was wondering if I should go across to Lugano and get the half fare back to Zurich instead.

    The Half fare card costs 120,- this will already save you 90,- on the Junfrau. It will also allow you to travel for half price on the Chiasso - Zürich part on your trip back from Italy later, if it is still within the month of validity. Just have a look on www.sbb.ch and look up prices.

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  • phingy's Profile Photo

    Re: Traveling to the Swiss Alps via Interlaken

    by phingy Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    I've just looked up and after doing the costing I think the half fare card is worth it! (I initially cos the price confused from CHF 120 to CHF 195, hence the reluctance).

    Will probably spend about SGD 500 going by this route: Zurich - Lauterbrunnen - Jungfrau - Lauterbrunnen - Milan

    Appreciate any comments!

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