When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on Switzerland, we post them here. (Of course, it’s still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you’re set for a great trip!
- Swiss rail pass changes: The Swiss Card has been discontinued, and the half-fare deals that have long been included in the flexipass version of the Swiss Pass will be replaced by an option to buy a separate “Swiss Half Fare Card Combi' at half the price of the usual Half Fare Card. This combination especially makes sense for anyone getting the Swiss Travel Pass who anticipates taking a lot of high-mountain trains and lifts on multiple days, since the high-mountain discounts that come with the Swiss Travel Pass do use up a flexipass travel day (fortunately, discounts don't use up a travel day on any other kind of rail pass, including Eurail-brand passes that cover Switzerland). A few smaller changes are also afoot. For details on what's currently available, see Switzerland Rail Passes and Train Tips.
- You can now buy last-minute train tickets for long-distance trips from railway staff on the platform (but you still must buy the ticket before boarding).
- In Stein, the Appenzeller Demonstration Cheese Dairy’s guided tours now require advance reservation. However, you don’t need a reservation for their self-guided iPad tours (15 SF, can be split between 2 people).
- Local guide Marie-Therese Lauper now has a website: www.bern-guide.ch.
- The Markthalle food court in the old market hall has closed.
- There is no longer Internet access at the Thalia Bookstore inside the Loeb Department Store.
- In 2015, the Schilthorn cable car early- and late-ride discount is not valid between June 20 and August 23.
- Esther’s Guesthouse in Gimmelwald now offers packed lunches — handy for hikers (order the day before).
For books printed before August 2013, the following may apply:
- When checking weather online for this region, whether through a website or weather app, be aware that you’re likely to see temperatures and conditions from the Jungfraujoch weather station, high up between the area’s tallest peaks. The weather in villages on or nearer the valley floor — such as Gimmelwald, Mürren, and Lauterbrunnen — is usually sunnier, and almost always much warmer.
- The Berner Oberland Regional Pass has changed its validity period: Rather than offering a certain number of unlimited-travel days within a wider window of discounted travel, the pass now covers all regional travel within a certain number of days (4, 6, or 8 days). Its prices have changed accordingly.
- The Jungfraubahnen Pass doesn’t cover most lifts on the Gimmelwald/Mürren/Schilthorn (west) side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. While you can use it to ride the lift up to Grütschalp and the train across the ridge to Mürren (and, if you like, walk from there to Gimmelwald), it does not cover any of the cable car that connects Stechelberg with Gimmelwald, Mürren, Birg, or the Schilthorn.
- The Books Books Books bookstore has moved to Rue de la Mercerie 12.
- Hotel des Voyageurs is closed for renovation through spring of 2015.
- If walking directly from the train station to Lausanne Guesthouse & Backpacker, avoid walking via the tunnel described in the book, as the tunnel is the private property of the railroad.
- The hike on the far side of Lake Lugano is no longer recommended, as landslides have become so frequent.
- Art Hotel Stella is now called Albergo Stella.
- The LucerneCard has been discontinued.
- Restaurant Schiff has closed.
- The Inside Internet café in the train station mall has closed.
- The photos on pages 98 and 99 of the sixth edition of Rick Steves Switzerland were accidentally switched; the photo on page 99 is of the summit of Mt. Pilatus.
- Hôtel Parc et Lac is being renovated and expects to reopen in September 2014.
For books printed before March 2013, the following may also apply:
- The Riviera Lodge is now called the Vevey Hotel, and has a new phone number (021-922-3532).
- Grizzly’s Restaurant has closed.
- Bündnerstübli restaurant has closed.