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Best pass or individual tix for ZRH/Luzern/Lauterbrunnen/Innsbruck/Vienna?

I am trying to figure out what the best pass or combination of passes might be for our upcoming trip. We are flying into Zurich and immediately taking the train to Luzern. Then we have: 2 nights Luzern, 5 nights Lauterbrunnen and then we take a train to Innsbruck (2 nights) and finally on to Vienna. You have some 2 for 1 specials in September - our two days in Luzern are in August - the rest of the trip is in Sept. There are two adults traveling together. We will be traveling around the Berner Oberland region quite a bit, but your coverage maps don't give me much detail as to exactly what is covered there. We will likely take the boat ride on Lake Luzern and a boat ride on Lake Thun or Brienz - we probably won't do the Jungfraujoch but we will likely visit other high mountain areas. I am wondering if I am better off just buying tickets for each trip outside of the Lauterbrunnen region and getting a Berner Oberland pass, or whether any of the other Swiss passes like the half fare card or the flexi pass would be to our advantage. I have spreadsheets galore and am totally stuck. Can you help?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 31, 2012 19:09
    Hi Dakota,

    For the requested travel, I would recommend purchasing a Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass. You can purchase this pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs for trains between different cities in the country or countries included on the pass. In the Bernese Oberland area, only the mountain railway up to Jungfraujoch (which includes travel to Lauterbrunnen) would not be covered with a Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass. The Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass would cover only as far as Interlaken en route to towns such as Lauterbrunnen. A rail connection from Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen involves changing trains once in Interlaken along the way. Therefore, you would just have to purchase an additional point-to-point ticket to cover you for the short portion of the trip from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen.

    A rail connection from Lauterbrunnen to Innsbruck involves 3 train changes along the way; once in Interlaken, once in Bern and then once in Zurich. Once again, you would purchase a point-to-point ticket to cover you from Lauterbrunnen back to Interlaken, where you can begin using your rail pass again.

    You can purchase the point-to-point tickets from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and Lauterbrunnen back to Interlaken under 'Check Fares and Schedules' or 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. This is also where you can just check schedules for the remaining segments of your trips into and out of Lauterbrunnen, as well as each of your other trips. For a trip like the one from Lauterbrunnen to Innsbruck, you would just piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken (purchasing tickets for this segment), another search for connecting trains from Interlaken to Bern, another search for connecting trains from Bern to Zurich, and then another search for connecting trains from Zurich to Innsbruck.

    We would only recommend purchasing reservations on the part of this trip from Zurich to Innsbruck. You would purchase the reservations by clicking on 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' or 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' from the homepage of our website. Each of the other trains that comprise of a connection from Lauterbrunnen to Innsbruck don't even accept reservations, so the Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass is all you would need to board.

    We would also just recommend purchasing reservations on a train from Innsbruck to Vienna. Once again, you would do this by clicking on 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' or 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' from the homepage of our website.

    Trains from Zurich to Innsbruck and from Innsbruck to Vienna can be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Conveniently, a Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass is covered on the BLS boat services on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, as well as the SGV boat services on Lake Lucerne. You would just show your pass to be covered.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 31, 2012 19:15
    Since you're considering other mountaintops other than Jungfrau, you can do the Mount Pilatus mountaintop excursion while you're in Lucerne. For this trip, the Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass would cover the steamer from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, where you would then take the cog railway up the mountain. You would then take a cable car down to Kriens. Once you have descended by cable car back down to Kriens, you would then use your Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass to board a bus back to Lucerne. To be covered on the cog from Alpnachstad up the mountain and the cable car down to Kriens, you would just have to purchase the 'Mount Pilatus' pass in addition to the Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass. You can find this pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/.... Since you'll be traveling with the Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass, you would purchase the 'Alpnachstad or Kriens-Mt Pilatus/Eurail Pass' option of the Mount Pilatus pass.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 31, 2012 19:18
    There are direct trains from Zurich Airport to Lucerne that don't accept reservations, so your rail pass is all you would need to board.
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