Which pass to buy for Zurich Airport to Grindelwald (via the Lucerne & Interlaken), Grindelwald to First, Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald to Montreux (via the Golden Pass), Montreux to Geneva to Paris, & Paris day tours ? Swiss Pass or Eurail Select Pass?

My parents are planning to travel 4 days in Swizterland 2 days in Paris.Day1: Zurich Airport to Lucerne to Interlaken to GrindelwaldDay2: Grindelwald to First and back. Grindelwald to Interlekn to take boat cruise in lake BrienzDay3: Grindelwald to Jungfrau and backDay4: Grindelwald to Interlaken to Montraux (Golden Pass line)Day5: Montraux to Geneve. Geneve to Paris.Day6: Paris day tours.I have researched alot for the passes and i get more confused. I want to understand which is a better option. There are many to and fro between grindelwald and Interlaken, does Eurail select pass cover it? Do i need to book tickets for these journeys or they can just hop on any train in the route? Please help! Thanks.Karan
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 02, 2017 18:17
    Hi Karan,

    For the requested itinerary, your best option would just be to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass and then a regular point-to-point ticket from Geneva to Paris.

    For the Swiss Travel Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html.

    Zurich Airport to Grindelwald (via the GoldenPass route through Lucerne)

    Connections from Zurich Airport to Grindelwald via the GoldenPass scenic route take just under 4 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Lucerne and then once in Interlaken.

    Trains from the Zurich Airport to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you'll need to board.

    Trains from Lucerne to Interlaken follow along a segment of the GoldenPass scenic route. On the trains from Lucerne to Interlaken, reservations are possible but not necessary. Therefore, the rail pass is all you'll need to board.

    Trains from Interlaken to Grindelwald run along the Bernese Oberland Railway. These trains do not accept reservations, so the Swiss Travel Pass is all you'll need to board.

    You can view schedules on our website from Zurich Airport to Interlaken via the GoldenPass route just by breaking up your search once in Lucerne. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Zurich Airport to Lucerne and then another search for connecting trains from Lucerne to Interlaken.

    If you'd like to have reservations for the leg from Lucerne to Interlaken, you would click the 'Seat Reservations' tab when you do your search and indicate the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. ‘Swiss Travel Pass'). Generally, the trains from Lucerne to Interlaken can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Schedules from Interlaken to Grindelwald are currently not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, trains from Interlaken to Grindelwald depart twice every hour and the ride takes 34 minutes.

    For scenery gazing, all of the trains from Lucerne to Interlaken have panoramic windows.

    Grindelwald-First & Lake Brienz

    The Firstbahn departs from its own base station right in Grindelwald. The ascent consists of a cable car from the base station 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.

    The Swiss Travel Pass will enable you to receive a discount of about 50% on the Firstbahn cable cars. To receive the discount on the Firstbahn, you would purchase the ‘1 Day Round-Trip Journey From Grindelwald - For Use Only With Swiss Travel Pass’ option of a pass called the ‘Grindelwald-First Top of Adventure’. You would purchase this here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/grindelwald-first/index.html.

    For cruises on Lake Brienz, you would use your pass to take the Bernese Oberland Railway back down to Interlaken from Grindelwald. Once again, these trains depart twice every hour and the ride only takes 34 minutes. Cruises on Lake Brienz are free with the Swiss Travel Pass.

    Grindelwald-Jungfraujoch

    The ascent to Jungfraujoch from Grindelwald consists of the Wengernalp Railway from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg and then the Jungfrau Railway from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch. The Jungfrau Railway is the highest railway in Europe.

    The Swiss Travel Pass does not cover from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg and Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch, but it would enable you to receive a discount of 25%. To receive this discount, you would purchase the '1 Day Round-Trip Journey from Grindelwald or Wengen - For Use Only With Swiss Travel Pass' option of a pass called the 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe'. For this pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/jungfraujoch/index.html.

    The 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' would also be valid for you to come back down the other direction through Lauterbrunnen. This would involve taking the Jungfrau Railway back down from Jungfraujoch to Kleine Scheidegg and then another branch of the Wengernalp Railway from Kleine Scheidegg to Lauterbrunnen.

    It would not require a 'travel day' on your Swiss Travel Pass to receive the discount on the 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe', unless you use it to return to Grindelwald from Lauterbrunnen. However, the trains from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald (via Zweilütschinen) are very short trains for which you can just purchase regular tickets locally. That way, you would not squander a 'travel day' on your Swiss Travel Pass.

    On the 'Jungfrau Railway' (Kleine Scheidegg-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, and Wengen.

    Expect stunning views throughout the entire trek up to 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.

    Grindelwald to Montreux (via the GoldenPass route through Zweisimmen)

    Connections from Grindelwald to Montreux via the GoldenPass route take just under 4 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Interlaken and then once in Zweisimmen. The trains from Interlaken to Zweisimmen and Zweisimmen to Montreux represent the remaining segments of the GoldenPass scenic route.

    Trains on the Bernese Oberland Railway from Grindelwald to Interlaken do not accept reservations, so the Swiss Travel Pass is all you'll need to board.

    On the segment of the GoldenPass from Interlaken to Zweisimmen, reservations are possible but not necessary at all.

    On the GoldenPass trains from Zweisimmen to Montreux, reservations are highly recommended as a supplement to the rail pass.

    Schedules from Grindelwald to Interlaken are currently not able to be viewed on our website. For your reference, trains from Grindelwald to Interlaken depart twice every hour and the ride takes 34 minutes.

    You can view schedules on our website from Interlaken to Montreux just by breaking up your search once in Zweisimmen. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Interlaken to Zweisimmen and then another search for connecting trains from Zweisimmen to Montreux.

    To purchase reservations for the Zweisimmen-Montreux leg, you would click the 'Seat Reservations' tab and indicate the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. ‘Swiss Travel Pass'). Generally, the trains from Zweisimmen to Montreux can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Montreux to Geneva

    Trains from Montreux to Geneva depart twice every hour throughout the day and the ride takes just over an hour. These trains do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you'll need to board. You can view schedules from Montreux to Geneva by doing a search on our website.

    Geneva to Paris

    For the train from Geneva to Paris, you would purchase a regular ticket. You would purchase tickets from Geneva to Paris by doing a search under 'Find Train Tickets' on our homepage. Trains from Geneva to Paris are high-speed TGV Lyria trains. Generally, these trains can be booked once within 90 days of an intended departure date.
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  • Thank you so much for such detail informations. Can you please also tell me, which swiss pass is preferrable. 3 non consecutive or 4 consecutive or non consecutive. For non consecutive how are they activated for the day? My parents are leaving from US on 14th June, Can i get pass emailed to print them instead of UPS?

    Also, when i try to book Geneva to Paris trains using this website, i don't get swiss pass prices, i see full price tickets, if i choose swiss pass for that day, how to look for prices with swiss pass and how do i book? is it gets cheaper to use swiss pass for the day to get tickets to paris.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 09, 2017 18:35
      Hi Sharad,

      The specific version of the rail pass you purchase would be for you to determine. If you need assistance determining which version of the pass to purchase, you would have to call us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Our current hours are 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM CT Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CT on Saturdays.

      The Swiss Travel Pass is unique from all other rail passes in that it can be issued either electronically or as a physical document that would have to be shipped. However, only the consecutive version of the Swiss Travel Pass is able to be issued electronically. The flexi version of the Swiss Travel Pass is only able to be issued as a physical document that would have to be shipped to you.

      Specifically, the electronic option (the Swiss Travel 'E-Pass') is issued as a 'print-at-home' pass. Therefore, it is something that you would have to print out to take with you. Please note, it is not possible for this pass to be printed at any of the rail stations, so you would have to be sure to print it out before your trip.

      You would purchase the 'Swiss Travel Pass' (including the electronic versions) here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html.

      With regard to the Swiss Travel Pass, you would have to choose your 'first day of validity' (the first day you intend on using the pass) when you submit your actual order. Therefore, this particular pass would not be activated/validated while you are there.

      Please note, the 'first day of validity' for the electronic version of the 'Swiss Travel Pass' (the 'Swiss Travel E-Pass') would have to be within 2 months from the date it is purchased. The remaining days of validity on a 'Swiss Travel E-Pass' can then extend beyond the 2 months.

      In contrast, the non-electronic version of the 'Swiss Travel Pass' would have to be validated any time within 6 months from the purchase date. Once validated, the remaining validity period of the (non-electronic) 'Swiss Travel Pass' can extend beyond the 6 months.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 09, 2017 18:38
      I'm sorry, however, the Swiss Travel Pass does not cover the Geneva-Paris route of the TGV Lyria. If you plan on taking the TGV Lyria from Geneva to Paris, you would have to purchase a regular ticket.
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