Switzerland-Germany-France travel question about passes

  • 28 February 2024
  • 8 replies
  • 137 views

Here is my itinerary for a long awaited Christmas Market trip.  Wondering what the best way to purchase train/bus tickets or maybe a pass?  I loved the SSB App when we visited only switzerland before.

Day 1 Zurich to Interlaken

Day 2 Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen (Schlithornbahn) back to Lauterbrunnen and then to Basel

Day 3 Basel to Strasbourg, to Hinterzgarten (Ravenna Gorge) back to Hinterzgarten and then back to Basel

Day 4 Basel-Colmar-mulhouse-zurich

Any advise would be appreciated!


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A short 4 day Eurail pass should probably be good value, if only for the convenience. There's a 15% sale right now too.

You get 25% discount on Schilthorn (Lauterbrunnen - Grütschalp - Wengen is fully included). Everything else is included, seat reservations aren't required either. Buses or trams won't be but tickets within cities are cheap.

You can use DB Navigator and SBB app : I use them both, they're fairly reliable. :)

I don't think Hinterzgarten is doable on top of Strasbourg, it's quite the detour.

I agree that I'd skip Hinterzarten, too (after visiting Strasbourg).

You didn't provide the number of travellers and your exact date, but:

There's a day ticket for trains and buses valid from Basel to Colmar for 24,20 € for up to 5 people and from Basel to Strasbourg for 39,10 € for up to 5 people.

From Friday to Sunday, there are special christmas shuttle buses from Colmar to nearby christmas markets that do allow to visit beautiful tiny villages with their christmas markets in a row with Colmar as final point. Especially beautiful. And very convenient. There is a bus every hour clockwise and counter-clockwise that goes directly to the entrance of each christmas market. Much more recommended than doing one more long train trip to Hinterzarten is: Going by train from Basel to Colmar, doing a roundtrip to visit three christmas markets in Alsace by bus and end finish when it gets dark in Colmar and head back to Basel.

Otherwise I’d do Colmar and Strasbourg in a row from Basel. It’s even possible to build in one of the tiny villages.

The other day I’d go to the Ravenna gorge from Basel directly (normally there’s a direct shuttle bus from Freiburg, too - or from Hinterzarten station)

We have 4 Travelers.  Our flight lands in Zurich on a Wednesday and we fly out Sunday.  Didn’t even think that I could do a 4 day pass.  Since Sunday is technically our 5th day (I forgot to mention) but we are staying at a hotel that has a shuttle to airport.  That makes more sense than a 5 day pass.

In regards to the Stasbourg-Hinterzarten.  we were going early to Strasbourg when it opens, leave by 3:30 or 4 to avoid the bigger crowds and because we wanted to be in Hinterzarten-Ravenna at night, and the following night we want to be back in Zurich, so it might not allow us to have enough time to see it in the dark. Or maybe just me hating to push the limits of time LOL.

The bus info is great, thank you for that.  Is there a link/website for info, or how do I find out where they pick up etc? Might be too early in the season to see it maybe?

The bus info is great, thank you for that.  Is there a link/website for info, or how do I find out where they pick up etc? Might be too early in the season to see it maybe?

I’m not sure if you mean the bus in Colmar or to Hinterzarten. I assume Hinterzarten.

You’ll find all information here when it’s later in the year but there are still a lot of last year’s informations available: Weihnachtsmarkt in der Ravennaschlucht | Hochschwarzwald

It’s in german only, but it’s possible to use Google translate (tap up right and there’s a field “more languages”). 

Just to mention it: There are direct trains from Basel to Zürich Airport every hour from 4:37am in the morning.

also, I’m a paper person so I’m getting a paper pass LOL.  I assume there is a place at Zurich airport to get it activated?

How do I activate my Eurail Pass? You may order your paper pass already activated if you do know your travel date for sure so you don’t have to care about anything. The ticket office at Zürich Airport is open every day from 6.30 to 21.00 if you’d like to try it there.

Sorry, I was referring to the shuttle buses in Colmar/Alsace region.

You do find here last year’s information right now and you’ll find information for this year when available: Navettes de Noël du Pays des Etoiles (navettedenoel.fr) (free if you do hold the group tickets mentioned in my previous post). They do pick up in front of Colmar station and do have a second stop at Colmar city.

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