Switzerland's Glacier Express train crosses a bridge with the Matterhorn in the background
Transport

A Guide to Using the Eurail Global Pass in Switzerland [2023]

April 5, 2023 Last Updated on May 1, 2023

If Switzerland is just one of the countries you plan to visit on your European vacation, a global rail pass for Europe could be the perfect transport option for you. 

There are a range of Eurail and Eurail Global Passes that you can buy and they can offer great value for money compared to buying separate tickets. 

You can buy Eurail Passes for specific countries – such as France, Spain or Italy – and these are known as the Eurail One Country Pass. 

There’s no Switzerland-specific Eurail Pass, though, so if you want to use a Eurail pass in Switzerland, the Eurail Global Pass is the best option.

In this article, we cover the use of the Eurail Global Pass in Switzerland. Using this Europe train pass allows you to travel in Switzerland as well as over 30 other European countries. 

Included in this guide are the Eurail Pass benefits in Switzerland specifically. 

Whether you’re wondering how much is a Eurail Pass, which would be the best Eurail Pass for you or how to use a Eurail Global Pass to save you money in Switzerland, this article is for you. 

We also cover how the Eurail Global Pass benefits work with services such as premium panoramic trains in Switzerland. 

You’ll also learn about the different types of Eurail Global Pass – such as the 15 days’ continuous use pass, longer durations and passes for non-consecutive days. 

The Eurail Global Pass can be the best rail pass for Europe, including Switzerland. To discover the options available and whether this could be the best pass for you, read on. 

[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]

The Glacier Express, one of Switzerland's premium panoramic trains
Travel on the Glacier Express is covered by the Eurail Global Pass however compulsory seat reservations must be purchased for an additional fee.

15 reasons to buy a Eurail Global Pass

  • A pass can save you money as compared to separate train fares
  • Eurail Global Pass prices are cheaper for youths and seniors
  • Children aged 11 and under can travel for free with a paying adult
  • The Eurail Global Pass coverage means you can visit 33 countries
  • You can choose between passes for flexible days or consecutive days
  • Passes are available whether you prefer first or second class travel
  • The pass covers travel on premium panoramic trains in Switzerland
  • Pass holders get 25% off most mountain excursions in Switzerland
  • Pass holders also get a 25% discount on the Berner Oberland Railway
  • Travel from other European countries to Switzerland may be included
  • The Eurail Global Pass is available all year round
  • You can plan trips and reserve seats via the Eurail Rail Planner app
  • The pass is paperless and you simply show the ticket inspector a QR code
  • The start date for your pass can be up to 11 months after the purchase date
  • You can activate the pass up to one day before your first journey

What is the Eurail Global Pass?

A passing train in Switzerland.
Travelling by train in Switzerland with a Eurail Global Pass is very convenient.

The Global Pass from Eurail is a train pass covering travel in 33 European countries for a number of consecutive or non-consecutive days. 

While there is no Eurail Switzerland Pass specifically, the Eurail Global Pass covers most train travel in Switzerland. It is often the best option if you are visiting Switzerland in addition to other European countries.

These Eurail passes cover prepaid train travel for a set number of days. The period you pay for may be continuous, or comprise a specified number of non-consecutive days. When buying, you simply need to state the number of travel days required. 

If you do want a pass solely for Switzerland, there is a separate Swiss Travel Pass available. There are also some other options, such as the Swiss Half Fare Card and regional passes. All of those are covered in this article.

Switzerland Rail Pass Comparison Calculator

Swiss Travel Pass vs Eurail Global Pass – which one should I buy?

In contrast to solely Swiss rail passes, a Eurail continuous pass can take you seamlessly between European countries. 

Therefore, when deciding between a Eurail Global Pass for Switzerland and a Swiss Travel Pass, you need to focus on your itinerary. That means thinking about which Eurail Global Pass countries you will be visiting. 

If you plan to visit other European countries as well as Switzerland, the Global Eurail Pass may be a better option than a Swiss Travel Pass. 

The Swiss Travel Pass is only for Switzerland so you will need to purchase other European train tickets separately. 

Once you have some idea of where you’ll be going and which pass might be best, you can take a closer look at what the Eurail Global Pass entitles you to within Switzerland.


What are the Eurail Global Pass inclusions?

Railjet-train
If you plan to travel by train between Austria and Switzerland, you can enjoy a ride onboard a RailJet train.

So does the Eurail Global Pass cover train travel in Switzerland? More importantly, perhaps, does this Eurail Pass cover Switzerland’s premium panoramic trains? The country is famous for these, and many visitors like to include these in their itinerary. 

Most train travel in Switzerland is covered by the Eurail Global Pass. Pass-holders also get 25% off the majority of mountain excursions, plus free travel on the country’s panoramic trains. 

Seat reservation fees

On some high speed trains in other European countries, and on the Glacier Express and Bernina Express in Switzerland, additional seat reservation fees apply.  You’ll find more information about using your Eurail Global Pass for travel on the premium panoramic trains below.

Premium panoramic trains 

  • Glacier Express – Free travel for pass holders but compulsory reservation fee applies
  • GoldenPass Line – Free travel for pass holders but reservation highly recommended
  • Bernina Express –  Free travel for pass holders but compulsory reservation fee applies
  • Gotthard Panorama Express – Surcharge for trains; 50% discount for lake cruise between Fluelen and Lucerne.
  • Centovalli Railway – Free travel for pass holders between Switzerland and Italy

European routes

Most journeys that begin or end in countries other than Switzerland are covered by the Euro Global Pass. 

Examples of inter-country routes that are covered by the Eurail Global Pass include:

  • Paris to Basel, Geneva or Zurich – 3 to 4 hours by TGV train
  • Milan to Bern, Geneva or Zurich – 3 to 4 hours by EuroCity train
  • Vienna to Zurich – 7 hours by RailJet train
  • Berlin or Hamburg to Zurich – Overnight ÖBB Nightjet train

Eurail Global Pass discounts

Map showing the validity of the Eurail Global Pass in Switzerland
Map showing the validity of the Eurail Global Pass in Switzerland.

For travel within Switzerland that’s not covered by the pass, discounts often apply. A commonly asked question, for instance, is – does the Eurail Global Pass cover mountain excursions in Switzerland?

The answer is that pass holders get 25% off most mountain excursions. The same discount applies on the Berner Oberland Railway line between Interlaken Ost and Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. 

So is there a Jungfraujoch Eurail Pass discount?  Yes, pass holders receive a 25% discount on travel to Jungfraujoch. Tickets can be purchased at any station in the Jungfrau Region and, on presentation of a valid Eurail Global Pass, the discount will be applied.

Eurail Global Pass Options

You can buy two types of Eurail Global Pass. These are valid either for consecutive days, or for a number of Flex days within a set time period. Here’s a brief rundown of the pass options.

Consecutive days

  • 15 days
  • 22 days
  • 1 month
  • 2 months
  • 3 months

Flex days

  • 4 days in 1 month
  • 5 days in 1 month
  • 7 days in 1 month
  • 10 days in 2 months
  • 15 days in 2 months

Eurail Global Pass cost [2023]

1st class carriage on Matterhorn Gotthard Railways train.
Comfort and cleanliness are features of Swiss trains such as the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (pictured) which is covered by the Eurail Global Pass.

The Eurail Global Pass cost is determined by several factors. Firstly, the number of consecutive or Flex travel days on your pass. There is also a Eurail Global Pass for first class or second class travel. 

Your Eurail Global Pass price will also be affected by whether or not you qualify for a youth, senior or family discount. 

The tables below list prices for the Eurail Pass for global use across Europe. 

Eurail Global Pass Prices [2023] – consecutive days

PassClassAdultYouthSenior
15 days1st590443531BUY NOW
2nd465349419BUY NOW
22 days1st690518621BUY NOW
2nd544408489BUY NOW
1 month1st893670804BUY NOW
2nd704528633BUY NOW
2 months1st975731878BUY NOW
2nd768575691BUY NOW
3 months1st12029021082BUY NOW
2nd947711853BUY NOW
All prices are in Euros.

Eurail Global Pass Prices [2023] – flexible days

PassClassAdultYouthSenior
4 days in 1 month1st328246295BUY NOW
2nd258194232BUY NOW
5 days in 1 month1st376282 338BUY NOW
2nd296223267BUY NOW
7 days in 1 month1st446335401BUY NOW
2nd352264317BUY NOW
10 days in 2 months1st534401481BUY NOW
2nd421316379BUY NOW
15 days in 2 months1st657493591BUY NOW
2nd518389466BUY NOW
All prices are in Euros.

Reductions for seniors, youths and children

Two trains wait at a station platform in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s rail network offers frequent services right around the country.

A Eurail Global Pass discount applies to three types of traveller. There is a Eurail Global Pass for seniors, a family discount for kids under 12 and a Eurail Global Pass youth version for adults aged under 28. 

 Youths, families and seniors can benefit from reduced rates, as follows.

  • Youth – Ages 27 and under get 25% off the pass
  • Child – No pass needed for age 3 and under; 4 to 11 year olds get a free pass when accompanied by a paying parent. The free pass must be ordered at the time of purchase of the adult pass/es.
  • Senior – Seniors aged 60 and over get 10% off the pass

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Highlights of the Eurail Global Pass

Berner Oberland train
Whilst most regular trains in Switzerland are covered by the Eurail Global Pass, free travel is not included on the Berner Oberland Railways, however a 25% discount is offered.

To help you make up your mind about whether or not a Eurail Global Pass is for you, here’s a reminder of the main advantages. 

The pass may be cheaper than buying separate train tickets, and therfore may save you money. This particularly applies to seniors and youths, who get 10% and 25% off the pass respectively. Kids under 12 who are travelling with adult pass holders also go free. 

You can visit up to 33 countries as a holder of a Eurail Global Pass. Passes are available for flexible days or consecutive days, and for up to three months. You can also choose between first and second class travel. 

Travel on premium panoramic trains in Switzerland is covered by the pass, and holders also get 25% off most mountain excursions. A 25% discount on Berner Oberland Railway tickets is also available. 

You can use a Eurail Global Pass to travel from other European destinations to Switzerland, and vice versa. The Eurail Global Pass is also available all year round, whereas some regional Swiss passes are seasonal. 

Journeys are easy to plan via the Eurail Rail Planner app, and you can also reserve your seats in this way. Your pass is digital, and you show a QR code to the ticket inspector rather than a paper ticket.

Finally, the start date for your pass can be up to 11 months after the date of purchase, so there’s plenty of time to use it. The pass can be activated up to one day before your first trip. 


Where to buy the Eurail Global Pass

All Eurail Passes, including the Eurail Global Pass, must be purchased before arriving in Europe. Purchasing your Eurail Global Pass online is easy – you can get yours here.

Passes in first or second class and for Flex or consecutive days can be bought this way. You can also benefit from senior, family and youth discounts by selecting the appropriate option. 

> Click here to buy your Eurail Global Pass  


Purchasing the Eurail Global Pass

1st class carriage on GoldenPass Express train in Switzerland
Swiss trains are very comfortable regardless of whether you travel in 1st class (GoldenPass Express 1st class carriage pictured) or 2nd class. Image courtesy MOB.

Buying a Eurail Pass is so easy. Click this link to get started

Next, you need to select your options. 

First you should select the number of passengers travelling including adults, youths, seniors, children and infants. Then select the date you wish to start using your Eurail Global Pass.

Next, select the duration of your Pass and whether you’d like to travel in first class or second class. Make sure you choose the correct type of Pass – ie. continuous (consecutive) or flexible (Flex) days of travel. 

Note that whilst passes are free for children aged between 4 and 11 years, they are required for travel and must be ordered at the same time as the accompanying adults’ passes. 


Activating and using the Eurail Global Pass

Train at Zurich main station
The paperless Eurail Global Pass can be activated via your mobile device so there’s no need to carry a physical ticket.

A Eurail Global Pass is mobile, so it’s a paperless pass. It can therefore be activated via your mobile device or on a desktop computer. The simplest way to do this is to follow the link given on your confirmation email. 

We recommend printing this email, in case you need it later. Taking a copy with you as proof of purchase is also a wise idea, in case your phone is lost or stolen while in Europe. 

How to activate the Pass

To activate your Eurail Global Pass before travel, use Eurail’s Rail Planner app (available on Apple and Android). 

Choose “My Pass” then “Add Your Pass”, and follow the simple steps given. You’ll need your pass number from the confirmation email at this stage. 

Make sure you use the number and your name exactly as it is in the email. This is case sensitive. 

When you’re ready to use the pass, you can “Create a Trip”. You can then activate your pass via the app. The start date and your passport or ID number will be needed. 

Don’t forget to to activate your pass, or you can’t board the train. This can be done up to one day before your first trip, and up to 11 months after the purchase date. 

Eurail Global Pass reservations

You can also reserve seats via the same Rail Planner app. First use the Planner to plan your trip, then save the one you want and add it to “My Trip”. When you want to travel, tap on that sector in “My Trip”. 

The final step is to tap on “My Pass” and “Show Ticket” to bring up the QR code for that journey. You’ll need to show this to the ticket inspector. 


Eurail Global Pass FAQs

A picturesque Swiss village can be seen from the window of a passing train.
Travelling by train means that everyone can enjoy the magnificent Swiss scenery as it passes by.

Does the Eurail Pass cover buses in Switzerland?

The Eurail Pass does not cover bus travel in Switzerland. Some boat trips and most train trips are covered by the Eurail Global Pass, however. 

Where journeys aren’t free for pass holders, significant discounts often apply, such as for mountain excursion tickets. 

Which countries are included in the Eurail Global Pass?

So what countries does the Eurail Global Pass cover? The pass covers 33 countries across Europe. These include France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. 

The others are Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey.

Does the Eurail Pass work in Switzerland?

Yes, the Eurail Global Pass does work in Switzerland as well as 32 other European countries. However you cannot buy a Eurail One Country Pass for Switzerland. The Swiss Travel Pass is thus a better option for travel only within Switzerland. 

What does the Eurail Global Pass cover?

A Eurail Global Pass is an inclusive ticket for train travel throughout Europe. It covers 33 European countries. 

Passes are available for first or second class travel, and for consecutive or flexible days. You can choose a pass for anywhere between four days in a month to three months of continuous use. 

Is the Eurail Global Pass worth it?

The bottom line is that the Eurail Global Pass is worth it if it will save you money. This depends on your itinerary. What you need to work out is whether the cost of separate tickets would be more expensive than buying a pass to cover the same trip. 

If the pass will save you money, then it is worth it. The pass may also save you time, as you can manage your travel via the official Eurail Rail Planner app.


Eurail Global Pass Summary

Swiss Train crossing a bridge.
If your itinerary includes Switzerland and other European countries, the Eurail Global Pass is well worth considering.

The Eurail Global Pass works as a Eurail Switzerland and Europe unlimited train pass, with only a few exceptions. If you plan to travel to other European countries in addition to Switzerland, then this pass may be a better choice for you than a Swiss Travel Pass. 

You cannot buy a Eurail One Country Pass for Switzerland. 

To work out if it’s worth buying a Eurail Global Pass for your trip, the first step is to plan how long you’ll spend in Europe and how many days of travel you’ll need. 

Once you know that, you can work out what each day of travel will cost you. To do this, divide the cost of the pass by the number of travel days to determine the daily cost.

Knowing what your average daily cost is, will help you to decide whether the Eurail Global Pass will save you money. 

Ready to buy your Eurail Global Pass? Buy yours here!


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