Is it more cost-effective to get a travel pass, half fare card or just pay for each train for my 3 days in Switzerland?

In two weeks, my friend and I are flying to Zurich and then taking a train to Lucerne where we will be staying for three nights. While there, we want to go to Mt. Titlis, take a ferry on the lake and if we have time, go to Mt. Pilatus. I believe a pass will cover the train to Lucerne and might cover the ferry. I know that you get a discount on trip to Mt. Titlis if you have a pass, but wonder if it's worth it the additional cost of the pass. Could someone help me determine what the best option is in order to be the most cost effective? Thank you!
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  • Hi Michael,

    It would not be necessary to get an actual rail pass if all you'll be doing is Zurich, Lucerne, Mt Titlis, and Mt Pilatus. However, instead of regular tickets, your most economical option would be to get something called the Swiss Half Fare Card.

    The Swiss Half Fare Card enables travelers to receive 50% off all tickets for trains operating within Switzerland, as well as the mountain railways, public transit in Swiss cities, buses, and boats. To purchase the Swiss Half Fare Card, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/swiss-half-fare-card-8025.

    Currently, the half-price tickets between Zurich and Lucerne (to go with your Swiss Half Fare Card) can only be purchased locally when you're there. Just be sure to mention that you have the Swiss Half Fare Card, so that they charge you correctly.

    For planning purposes, you can check Zurich-Lucerne schedules in the meantime by searching the route on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.

    Mount Titlis (with a Swiss Half Fare Card)

    The excursion from Lucerne to nearby Mount Titlis consists of a train from Lucerne to Engelberg, a cable car from Engelberg to Trübsee, a second cable car from Trübsee to Stand, and then the 'Titlis Rotair' gondola from Stand to Klein Titlis. The 'Titlis Rotair' is the world's first 360 degree revolving gondola, offering spectacular panoramic views. Off the Klein Titlis station, you have access to the 'Titlis Cliff Walk', the 'Ice Flyer' chairlift, the Titlis Glacier Park, and a wondrous illuminated cave known as the 'Glacier Grotto'. The 'Titlis Cliff Walk' is a pedestrian suspension bridge (the highest suspension bridge in Europe) from where you can enjoy more incredible views. There is also a panorama restaurant.

    For the segment from Lucerne to Engelberg, you would use your Swiss Half Fare Card and purchase the regular tickets for half-price locally (just like for the trains between Zurich and Lucerne).

    To be covered between Engelberg and Mount Titlis and receive the 50% off, you would purchase the 'Mountain Tops: Titlis Engelberg to Mt Titlis for Swiss Half Fare Card Holders' option of the pass for 'Mount Titlis'. For this pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-titlis-8165.

    This pass also includes a ride on the 'Ice Flyer' and entrance to the 'Glacier Grotto'. Off the Trübsee stop, there are hiking and flower trails, as well as horse-drawn carriages around the lake. Here there are also additional cable cars ('Trübsee-Jochpass' and 'Trübsee-Engstlenalp' cable cars) for which you can also apply your Swiss Half Fare Card. At the foot of Mount Titlis in Engelberg, there is also the 'Engelberg-Gerschnialp Funicular Railway' to Gerschnialp and the 'Fürenalpbahn' cable car to Fürenalp. You would pay to board these additional cable cars locally when you're there. Just be sure to mention that you have the Swiss Half Fare Card.

    Mount Pilatus (with a Swiss Half Fare Card)

    The Mount Pilatus excursion starts with the 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 Mt Pilatus (Pilatus Kulm), you would make your descent by taking a cable car to Fräkmüntegg and then a gondola from Fräkmüntegg to Kriens. To get from Kriens back to Lucerne, you would take a bus.

    To be covered for this entire excursion between Lucerne and Mount Pilatus and receive the 50% off, you would purchase the 'Mountain Tops: Pilatus Alpnachstad or Kriens to Mt Pilatus for Swiss Half Fare Card Holders' option of the pass for 'Mount Pilatus'. For this pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-pilatus.
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