Help!! Need advice on train tickets Zurich to Interlaken with day trip to Lucerne

Any advice appreciated!!! need advice on Swiss trains!! I will be in Zurich for a couple days, then moving on to Interlaken, and thinking about doing a day trip to Lucerne on the way to Interlaken. Is Lucerne worth the day trip (have heard the toboggan run is really cool)? Can I book a train ticket departing in the morning from Zurich-->Interlaken via Lucerne, get out at Lucerne and spend the day there, and get back on a connecting train later that afternoon/evening to go to Interlaken?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 04, 2019 18:48
    Hi Kelsey,

    If you're going from Zurich to Interlaken, then stopping in Lucerne is actually the perfect plan. That way, you can experience a section of the famed GoldenPass scenic line when you take your train from Lucerne to Interlaken.

    The fastest connections from Zurich to Interlaken go via Bern; however, some travelers will opt to travel via Lucerne instead, just so they can take the GoldenPass.

    All of the Lucerne-Interlaken trains have panoramic windows for viewing the scenery.

    You would purchase tickets by searching a route under 'Book Train Tickets' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. If you plan to route yourself through Lucerne, just be sure to break up your searches accordingly. To do so, you would do one search from Zurich to Lucerne and then another search for trains from Lucerne to Interlaken.

    If you're heading back to Zurich and you need an actual round-trip, then I would definitely recommend purchasing the Swiss Half Fare Card instead of regular tickets. The Swiss Half Fare Card enables travelers to receive 50% off all tickets for trains operating within Switzerland. The Swiss Half Fare Card combined with the corresponding half-price tickets would end up being less expensive if it is a round-trip that you'll be doing. Plus, it would enable you to receive 50% discounts on all the mountain railways and cable cars/funiculars while you're in Interlaken and Lucerne. With regular tickets, you would have to pay full price for these.

    For the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/swiss-half-fare-card-8025.

    With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would just purchase your half-price discounted tickets when you're there. You can still use our website just to view the trains' schedules for planning purposes.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 04, 2019 18:49
      The toboggan run in Lucerne that you're likely referring to is the one off the Mount Pilatus excursion.

      The excursion to the Mount Pilatus summit starts with a steamboat across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Once you get to Alpnachstad, the ascent continues by cog railway up to Mt Pilatus itself (Pilatus Kulm). After reaching Pilatus Kulm, you would make your descent by taking a cable car to Fräkmüntegg and then a gondola from Fräkmüntegg to Kriens. To get back to Lucerne, you take a bus from Kriens.

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you can receive the 50% discount for the Mount Pilatus excursion by purchasing the ‘Mountain Tops: Pilatus Alpnachstad or Kriens to Mt Pilatus for Swiss Half Fare Card Holders’ option of the pass for ‘Mount Pilatus’ here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount....

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card (if you just opt to purchase regular tickets for your trains between Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken), then you would instead purchase full fare tickets for the Mount Pilatus excursion by choosing the 'Mountain Tops: Pilatus Alpnachstad or Kriens-Mt Pilatus/Full Fare' option of the pass for 'Mount Pilatus'.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 04, 2019 19:59
      For a stay in Interlaken and the Bernese Oberland region, there are several nearby mountain excursions:

      • Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
      • Mount Schilthorn
      • Harder Kulm (Harderbahn)
      • Grindelwald-First (Firstbahn)
      • Schynige Platte

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would be able to receive a 50% discount on each of these excursions. Otherwise, if you opt to purchase regular tickets, you would have to pay the full fare to do these excursions.

      Jungfraujoch Top of Europe

      Interlaken is the gateway to Jungfraujoch. To get from Interlaken to the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe station, there are 2 different routes you can take; one that goes via Grindelwald and the other that goes via Lauterbrunnen/Wengen.

      The Grindelwald route looks 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’ (the highest railway in Europe)

      The Lauterbrunnen/Wengen route looks like this:

      -Train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’
      -Train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg on the ‘Wengernalp Railway’
      -Train from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch on the ‘Jungfrau Railway’ (the highest railway in Europe)

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would receive the 50% discount by purchasing the 'JUNGFRAUJOCH/TOP OF EUROPE Interlaken to Jungfraujoch Swiss Half Fare Card Holder' option of a pass called the 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe'. For this pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/jungfraujoch-top-of-europe-8315.

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would purchase the full fare by instead selecting the 'JUNGFRAUJOCH/TOP OF EUROPE Interlaken to Jungfraujoch Full Fare' option of the same pass.

      Be sure to specify Low season, Mid-season or High-season, depending on when you'll be making the trip.

      On the 'Jungfrau Railway' between Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch, reservations are highly recommended for travel between the months of May and October. The reservations are a small cost in addition to the 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' and have to be made locally at the stations in either Interlaken (Interlaken Ost), Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, or Wengen.

      Expect stunning views throughout the entire trek between Interlaken and Jungfraujoch, whether you take the route via Grindelwald or the one via Lauterbrunnen/Wengen. To get the most of your Jungfraujoch experience, you might want to consider making your ascent one way and your descent the other. The ‘Jungfrau Railway’ itself runs mostly through a tunnel (the ‘Jungfrau Tunnel’), but there are two ‘sightseeing stops’ in the tunnel (‘Eigerwand’ and ‘Eismeer’) where passengers can exit their train and take in the views through windows built into the side of the mountain.

      At the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe station, you have access to the Sphinx Observation Terrace and the Aletsch Glacier (Great Aletsch Glacier). The Jungfraujoch station (Top of Europe) is the highest rail station in Europe, the Sphinx Observation Terrace is one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world, and the Aletsch Glacier (Great Aletsch Glacier) is the longest glacier in Europe.

      Mount Schilthorn

      Interlaken also serves as the gateway to Mount Schilthorn. From Interlaken, there are 2 different routes you can take to reach Schilthorn.

      The Grütschalp route looks like this:

      -Train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’
      -'Grütschalpbahn' cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp
      -'Mürrenbahn' train from Grütschalp to Mürren
      -‘Schilthornbahn' cable cars from Mürren to Birg and Birg to Schilthorn

      The Stechelberg route looks like this:

      -Train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’
      -Bus from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg
      -'Schilthornbahn’ cable cars from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald, Gimmelwald to Mürren, Mürren to Birg, and Birg to Schilthorn

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would receive the 50% discount by purchasing the 'Mountain Tops: Schilthorn Interlaken to Schilthorn for Swiss Half Fare Card Holders' option of the pass for 'Mount Schilthorn' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-schilthorn-eo

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would purchase the full fare by instead selecting the 'Mountain Tops: Schilthorn Interlaken to Schilthorn Full Fare' option of the same pass.

      Harder Kulm (Harderbahn)

      The Harderbahn in Interlaken takes you to a viewing platform at the ‘Two Lakes Bridge’ (Zweiseensteg) for spectacular views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz below, as well as incredible panoramas of the surrounding Alps; including Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. There is also the Harder Kulm Panorama restaurant offering more stunning views.

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would receive the 50% discount for the Harderbahn by purchasing the ‘Mountain Tops: Harder Kulm Interlaken to Harder Kulm for Swiss Half Fare Card Holder’ option of the pass for ‘Harder Kulm’ here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/harder-kulm-8178.

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would purchase the full fare by instead selecting the ‘Mountain Tops: Harder Kulm Interlaken to Harder Kulm Full Fare Ticket' option of the same pass.

      Be sure to specify Low season, Mid-season or High-season, depending on when you'll be making the trip.

      Grindelwald-First (Firstbahn)

      The Firstbahn cable cars departs from their base station in the nearby village of Grindelwald. To reach Grindelwald, you would take a train along the famed ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’ from Interlaken. The ascent consists of a cable car from the base station in Grindelwald to Bort, another cable car from Bort to Schreckfeld, and then another cable car from Schreckfeld to the summit station of First. Once you’ve ascended to the First summit station, you would have access to the 'First Cliff Walk (by Tissot)', a 131 ft long suspension bridge leading to an observation platform that offers spectacular panoramic views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains.

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would receive the 50% discount for this excursion by purchasing the ‘Mountain Tops: Grindelwald-First Interlaken to First for Swiss Half Fare Card Holder' option of the pass for 'Grindelwald-First' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/grindelwald-first.

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would purchase the full fare by instead selecting the ‘Mountain Tops: Grindelwald-First Interlaken to First Full Fare Ticket' option of the same pass.

      Schynige Platte (seasonal)

      The famed Schynige Platte Railway starts in the nearby village of Wilderswil, which is just a 4-minute train ride from Interlaken on the ‘Bernese Oberland Railway’. The Schynige Platte Railway runs between Wilderswil and the Schynige Platte station.

      At Schynige Platte, you'll have more amazing views of Eiger Mönch and Jungfrau, as well as Niesen, Stockhorn and Jura. Right by the station is also Switzerland's only Alpine Botanical Garden and the Schynige Platte Panorama Restaurant.

      With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would receive the 50% discount for this excursion by purchasing the 'Mountain Tops: Schynige Platte Interlaken to Schynige Platte for Swiss Half Fare Card Holder' option of the pass for 'Schynige Platte' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/schynige-platte-8312.

      Without the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would purchase the full fare by instead selecting the ‘Mountain Tops: Schynige Platte Interlaken to Schynige Platte Full Fare Ticket' option of the same pass.

      In 2019, the Schynige Platte Railway only runs from May 30th to October 27th.
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  • It will NOT be a round-trip, we are not returning back to Zurich (we are heading to Munich after Interlaken). So, when buying the train ticket from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne, do I need to purchase 2 separate train tickets from your website (1 for Zurich to Lucerne and one from Lucerne to Interlaken)? Or can I just purchase one ticket (Zurich to Interlaken) with the ability to get out at Lucerne and get back on a connecting train with my original ticket later that day?
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