Switzerland, a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast and an excellent addition to your iteniary. Rivers, torquiose lakes, snow capped mountains, green forests, and trails are all around you. Each no more than a hop & skip away with its’ world-class transit system. Getting there is half the fun, and on my recent adventure I learned how to make my next trip easier.
First, download the SBB Mobile App. This little gem will help you find schedules and tickets for trains and buses to get around the country. If you download this ahead of time, you may find seasonal deals, or discounts for a zone. You can pay for your ticket on your phone, and simply present the QR code to the ticket officer.
If you know you will be around for a while, a 3-day or 7-day ticket may be the best deal.
Google maps is really good at providing accurate train schedules, but the app is better, because it will also tell you the platform number, and include details of the route more concisely.
You will spot platform officers standing next to their trains, or busily walking about the platform at any station. If you are not sure where you need to be to catch your train, to ask them a question. Just remember their job is to keep the trains running on time, like clockwork. Your train will leave at the appointed time, and hardly a moment later. So try to find a tourist information kiosk first.
Intercity trains in Switzerland have a power port above the window. It is the same type used everywhere else on the peniusla, so feel free to charge up on those long day trips around. Local inner city trains don’t have a power connection.
Wifi is fairly strong in most places in the country, even in tunnels and the mountain peaks, and the lowest valleys with 4g almost consistent. Your train does not have a wifi connection however, so if you want data get a sim card.
It is highly recommended to exchange your Euros for francs at an exchange, which are common inside or near at major train station. Euros are accepted in most places, but you may not get a favorable exchange rate through a vendor. Most will caution you about this before your purchase. Using your credit card is an option, but then you must rely on your bank to give you a good rate.
Once on the train, try to avoid confusing first class seating with second. Your ticket is likely going to be second class if you are on a budget. If the chair looks too nice, feels too comfy, and you are surrounded by suits and ties, then you are likely in the wrong car. There are signs on the train, and on the platform that will help indicate where you want to be. Also, the fee for sitting in 1st class without the proper ticket is 100 francs. The ticket officer was kind enough to let me go without paying a fee if I simply relocate myself.
With a swiss pass for the day, you may earn a discount on other activities / tourist spots. I was able to get 50% off on the lift to Oeschinensee lake! This saved me an hour of hiking through the forest, but if I had the time, I would skip the lift entirely.
That’s all for now until my next trip!