Paris-Geneva-Zermatt-Jungfraujoch-Ruinaulta-Zurich (with day-trips to the Rhine Falls & Lake Lucerne). What is the difference between Swiss Pass, Swiss Saver Pass, and Swiss Flexi Pass?

5 of us will be traveling together from Paris --> Geneva --> Zermatt --> Jungfraujoch --> Ruinaulta --> Zurich (with day trips to the Rhine Falls and Lake Lucerene) over a 2 week period in July 2016.

I am wondering which pass is best for us? We will be spending a few days in each city and may need transportation while we are there. What is the difference between the three? Some of the locations we wish to visit may not be near the train stations. How can I find out the list of transportation options that the Swiss pass offers?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) January 15, 2016 19:31
    Hi Tricia,

    The 'Swiss Pass' is now called 'Swiss Travel Pass'. The term 'Flexi' in 'Swiss Flexi Pass' just refers to one of the ways a 'Swiss Travel Pass' can be offered. Rail passes can be offered in two different basic formats: flexi and consecutive. Most rail passes are only offered in flexi form; however, the 'Swiss Travel Pass' happens to offer both options.

    A flexipass allows for a set number of travel days, which must be completed within a longer time frame.

    'Travel days' on a flexipass refer to how many separate days you plan on using your rail pass. A rail day is a 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. You may take as many trains as you wish during the 24 hour time frame and still only use one day of travel on a pass. For instance, if you were take a day train from 'city A' to 'city B' and then take a connecting train to 'city C' on the same day, then you would only use up one day of travel on your rail pass. In contrast, if you were to take that connecting train to 'city C' on the next day, that would constitute 2 days of rail travel on your pass.

    The consecutive day passes allow for unlimited train travel within a set time frame. Therefore, if you were to purchase the 15 day consecutive pass, that means you would be entitled to unlimited travel within that time frame of 15 days. Considering this, 'travel days' aren't applicable to the consecutive day passes.

    'Swiss Saver Pass' would refer to a special discounted rate called the 'Saver' rate; however, this rate is actually no longer offered on the 'Swiss Travel Pass'.

    For the itinerary you laid out, you would most definitely want to get a rail pass instead of regular tickets. The cost of regular tickets for all your trips would far exceed the cost of a rail pass.

    If you get the 'Swiss Travel Pass', you would still have to purchase regular tickets for the train from Paris to Geneva (high-speed 'TGV Lyria' trains). You would purchase tickets for the train from Paris to Geneva by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the route.

    Whether you opt for a flexi version or a consecutive version of the 'Swiss Travel Pass' would depend on how you want to break up your trips. You would purchase the 'Swiss Travel Pass' here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticke....

    Geneva to Zermatt

    A connection from Geneva to Zermatt takes just under 4 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Visp along the way. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you'd need to board these trains.

    Zermatt to Interlaken/Jungfraujoch

    For your trek up to Jungfraujoch, you would travel to Interlaken. A connection from Zermatt to Interlaken takes just under 2.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes en route; once in Visp and then once in Spiez. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you'd need to board these trains as well.

    Interlaken to Jungfraujoch

    From Interlaken, you would start your trek up to Jungfraujoch. Between Interlaken and Jungfraujoch, there are two different routes you can take; one that goes via Grindelwald and another that goes via Lauterbrunnen/Wengen.

    The route through Grindelwald would look like this:

    Train from Interlaken to Grindelwald on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’
    Train from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg on the ‘Wengernalp Railway’
    Train from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch on the ‘Jungfrau Railway’

    With regard to this option, the 'Swiss Travel Pass' would only be valid to cover you on the train Interlaken and Grindelwald.

    The route through Lauterbrunnen/Wengen would look like this:

    Train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’
    Train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg on the ‘Wengernalp Railway’ (Wengen is a stop along this rail line)
    Train from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch on the ‘Jungfrau Railway’

    With regard to this option, the 'Swiss Travel Pass' would only be valid to cover you between Interlaken and Wengen.

    While the 'Swiss Travel Pass' is only valid between Interlaken and either Grindelwald or Wengen, it would still enable you to a receive a 25% discount for the remaining part of each route, whether that be between Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch or Wengen and Jungfraujoch. Currently, we're not able to issue these discounted tickets, so you would just purchase them locally. Just be sure to mention that you have the 'Swiss Travel Pass' when you do so.

    Interlaken to Ruinaulta/Chur

    To see the Ruinaulta, you would first travel to Chur. The best route from Interlaken to Chur would have you traveling along the 'GoldenPass' scenic route for part of the way. This option takes just under 4.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Lucerne and then once in Zurich. The segment from Interlaken to Lucerne would be on the 'GoldenPass' line. Reservations are accepted on the 'GoldenPass' trains from Interlaken to Lucerne, but they are not necessary. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you'd need to board one of these trains, as well as the connecting trains from Lucerne to Zurich and Zurich to Chur.

    Once in Chur, it would be up to you how you want to explore the Ruinaulta area.

    There is a regional rail line from Chur to Disentis with several stops in close proximity to the Ruinaulta area. These stops include Reichanau-Tamins, Trin, Versam-Safien, and Ilanz. The trains that make these stops depart out of Chur once every hour. I'm not sure which of these stops would provide for best access to the canyon, but I believe it may be Versam-Safien. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is valid on this rail line.

    Otherwise, you might prefer to take the bus that goes from Chur to Laax Staderas. From Laax Staderas, you'd be able to hike to the 'Il Spir' observation point. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is unique in that it covers buses, in addition to the trains. Therefore, you would also be able to use your 'Swiss Travel Pass' to take one of these buses.

    Ruinaulta/Chur to Zurich

    From Chur, there are direct trains back to Zurich. The trains from Chur to Zurich take about 1.5 hour in duration and depart several times every hour. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you need to board one of these trains.

    Zurich to Rhine Falls

    The rail station at Rhine Falls is 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall', which is on a local rail line between Schaffhausen and Winterthur. A connection from Zurich to 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall' takes about 45 to 50 minutes in duration and involves changing trains once in Schaffhausen en route. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you'll need to board these trains.

    The ride between Schaffhausen and 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall' only takes 5 minutes, and these trains depart twice every hour throughout the day (note: the trains between Schaffhausen and Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall only operate between April and October.)

    The 'Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall' station is located at the southern banks of the falls and is just a short walk from the visitor center.

    From Schaffhausen, you would also have the option of taking a bus to 'Neuhausen am Rheinfall' and exiting at the 'Zentrum' stop, which is a 10 minute walk from the northern banks of the falls (note: this walk is down a very steep hill and would not be recommended for those who have difficulty walking.) This particular bus (between Schaffhausen and Neuhausen am Rheinfall/Zentrum) isn't covered by the 'Swiss Travel Pass', but the pass should enable you to receive a 50% discount.

    We also happen to offer a couple of different tours for day-trips between Zurich and the Rhine Falls. Instead of using your 'Swiss Travel Pass' to take the trains up to Schaffhausen/Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall, you could purchase one of these tours. There is the 'Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich' and the 'Zurich Super Saver 2: Rhine Falls including Best of Zurich City Tour'. Both of these tours would be by air-conditioned coach out of Zurich.

    For the 'Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich', you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/en/attract....

    For the 'Zurich Super Saver 2: Rhine Falls including Best of Zurich City Tour', you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/en/attract....

    Zurich to Lake Lucerne

    For Lake Lucerne, you can just take the train to Lucerne from Zurich. The trains from Zurich to Lucerne depart about once every 30 minutes throughout the day and the ride takes less than hour. The 'Swiss Travel Pass' is all you'll need to take one of these trains.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) December 29, 2016 16:40
      Update:

      With regard to the excursion up to Jungfraujoch, reservations are now possible for the Jungfrau Railway segment between Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch. In fact, as a supplement to the ‘Jungfraujoch Top of Europe’, reservations are now highly recommended on the Kleine Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch segment for travel between the months of May and October. The Kleine-Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch reservations can be purchased locally at the preceding stations in Interlaken (Interlaken Ost station), Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen; as well as the nearby station of Mürren.

      Reservations are still not accepted for the segments between Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg, whether you take the route via Grindelwald or the route via Lauterbrunnen. Therefore, the ‘Jungfraujoch Top of Europe’ would be all you’d need to board for these segments.
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