swiss travel pass, should you get one

What is a Swiss Travel Pass? Do You Need One?

Traveling around Switzerland is expensive, well comparable to the countries that surround it and really to many other of the world’s transport systems.

So what is the Swiss Travel Pass? Should you get one? Are they worth it?

A Swiss Pass is an all-in one train, boat and bus for travelling around Switzerland. It becomes more economically the longer the duration you purchase it for and they can be from 3 -15 days.

what is a Swiss travel pass
A Swiss train coming down the mountain in front of The Matterhorn.

There are a few options for you to consider, let me explain further below…

Let me answer all your questions from someone that has bought them before, multiple times.

What is a Swiss Travel Pass?

The Swiss Travel Pass is a convenient way to travel around Switzerland, as it allows you to use any public transportation option within the country.

This includes trains, buses, and boats and saves you from having to worry about purchasing separate tickets. It is available to both tourists and non-residents of Switzerland and can be purchased for a range of durations, from 3 to 15 days.

In addition to unlimited travel on the national rail, bus, and boat networks, the Swiss Travel Pass also offers discounts on other forms of public transportation, such as mountain railways and cable cars, as well as on admission to many museums and attractions.

The pass is available in both standard and first class and can be purchased online or at any railway station in Switzerland.

train in lucerne Switzerland

What are The Two Main Types of Swiss Travel Pass?

There are actually two different types of the Swiss Travel Pass, let me simplify things a little for you here.

1. The Swiss Travel Pass (Standard)

This is for sure one of the most popular travel passes that give you unlimited access to the Swiss travel system, including trains, boats, and buses.

Furthermore, it also gives you access to over 480 museums (of which there are some great ones, especially in Zurich, Geneva and Lucerne).

Key Points

  • This Swiss Travel Pass is only available to tourists or anyone not domiciled in Switzerland
  • Whilst is can be expensive for 3 days, it gets far cheaper for the 8 day and 15 day pass
  • Sure 1st class has more spaced and is more refined, but I find 2nd class on Swiss trains is better, cleaner and definitely safer than most other countries 1st class offerings.
  • Days chosen must be used consecutively in one go, for a more flexible option, please see below the Swiss Travel Pass Flex (below).
  • The below table it full adult pricing. Youth 16-24 pricing is approximately 30% cheaper and children between 6 – 15 will be 50% cheaper than below.

Best For

  • Those that have lots of consecutive travel planned each day during their visit.

Cabin Class3 day4 day6 day8 day15 day
Swiss Travel Pass
(2nd Class)
232CHF (250USD)281CHF
(303USD)
359CHF
(387USD)
389CHF
(420USD)
429CHF (463USD)
Swiss Travel Pass
(1st Class)
369CHF
(398USD)
447CHF
(482USD)
447CHF (615USD)617CHF (666USD)675CHF (728USD)
Swiss Travel Pass – Price Comparison Table

You can purchase your tickets from the official SBB, HERE

Swiss boat on Lake Lucerne.
Amazing Swiss public transport, a Ferry on the Lake of Lucerne

2. Swiss Travel Pass (Flex)

This is another great option for those who want to travel to Switzerland but don’t want to have to use all their travel pass days in one go.

This is my go-to when I am in Switzerland; it is not that much more in cost, but it gives total freedom.

Like the standard Swiss Pass, it does get better value for money as the duration of the pass gets longer.

eg. A 3-day pass works out at 89CHF or 96USD per day whereas a 15-day pass works out at 30CHF or 32USD per day.

Key Points

  • Although flexible, you have one month only to use your days.
  • The below table it full adult pricing. Youth 16-24 pricing is approximately 30% cheaper, and children between 6 – 15 will be 50% cheaper than below.

Best For

Those that want the best pricing but also want to maintain the flexibility in their travel dates

Cabin Class3 day4 day6 day8 day15 day
Swiss Travel Pass
(2nd Class)
267CHF (288USD)323CHF
(349USD)
384CHF
(414USD)
409CHF
(441USD)
449CHF (485USD)
Swiss Travel Pass
(1st Class)
424CHF
(458USD)
514CHF
(555USD)
610CHF (659USD)649CHF (701USD)706CHF
(763USD)
Swiss Travel Pass (FLEX) – Price Comparison Table

You can purchase your Swiss Travel Pass Flex from the official SBB (Swiss) Trains website HERE

There is one other option that could be of use to you.

Swiss train seating in normal class
Swiss train seating is clean and organized.

The Swiss Half Fare Card

The Swiss Half Fare Card as it sounds, gives you 50% off or thereabouts on trains, buses, boats, and most mountain excursions in Switzerland for one month.

Price

The Swiss Half Card costs 120CHF or 129USD and is valid for one month in total.

Key Points

  • You get up to 50% discount on train, bus and boat travels around Switzerland
  • You also get up to 50% off most museums too.
  • Children between 6 -16 enjoy complimentary travel when accompanied by at least one parent holding a Swiss Travel Pass or ticket.

Best For

Those staying in Switzerland for at least 2-3 weeks that are planning to use public transport regularly that have no strict plans.

You can buy the Swiss Half Fare Card on the Official SBB (Swiss) Trains website HERE

Train station board in Zurich, Switzerland
Train station board in Zurich Switzerland.

How Do I Use The Swiss Pass?

One thing I love about Switzerland is the organization, the Swiss are super organized and efficient.

To use the Swiss Travel Pass, you simply need to present it to the conductor or driver when boarding a train, bus, or boat.

You do not need to make reservations or purchase tickets in advance, as the pass provides unlimited travel on all national rail, bus, and boat networks.

The Swiss Travel Pass is an easy and convenient way to see all that Switzerland has to offer, and can save you money on transportation costs while you explore the country.

I hope this has helped you decided which Swiss Pass to get for your holiday in this incredible country.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Swiss train pass used at the station
Swiss train stations have some of the most beautiful back drops in the world.

FAQs

Are Swiss trains safe?

Absolutely, I have always felt safe on Swiss public transport, even late at night there are conductors and security around. Although always use commonsense when travelling alone.

Are Swiss buses & trains clean?

Yes, yes and yes. Swiss public transport is clean and very well looked after. The Swiss respect their public transportation system, they keep is clean.

Can you eat and drink on Swiss trains?

Yes, you can eat and drink on Swiss trains, in fact many dual level trains on the larger routes will offer drinks and refreshments (paid).

Where can I buy normal tickets for trains and buses in Switzerland?

The best place to buy tickets is direct from the SBB (Swiss Trains) website here. For boats and buses it is easy to buy at the stop or wharf, but please note that not all ticket machines have card readers and it is advised to carry cash on you incase.

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