Two people holding Swiss train passes in their hands
Transport

Swiss Travel Pass Discounts: Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It?

November 16, 2022 Last Updated on November 16, 2022

If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, then you may well have heard of the Swiss Travel Pass. Discounts are available to holders of this pass, making it worth considering if you’re planning to travel around the country.

But even if you’ve read all about it, you could still be wondering whether it’s really worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass.

How much money can you actually save by buying a pass? Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it when it comes to your plans?

Clearly we cannot cost every single Swiss itinerary in this article – that would be impossible!

What we can do is use some typical itineraries to demonstrate how those Swiss Travel Pass savings could work in your favour. 

To show you what savings you can make, we’ve detailed three popular Switzerland itineraries.

Spoiler alert – if you follow our 8 day Switzerland itinerary suggested below, for example, you could save up to CHF 827 in first class. Or you could save CHF 572 with a second class pass. 

If you want to see how the Swiss Travel Pass could save you money, read on to discover three examples of how this can work in reality.

From train tickets to mountain excursions, cruises and entry to museums and attractions, the savings can soon stack up. 

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

Tram in Zurich
Public transport in more than 90 cities is included with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Note: Due to the amount of information contained in the comparison tables in this article, it is best viewed on a computer.

8 day Switzerland itinerary

This 8 day itinerary for Switzerland takes you from Zurich to Lucerne, Interlaken, Montreux Zermatt, St Moritz and more. Along the way you’ll get Swiss Pass discounts on train fares, cruises, entry fees and so on. 

Mostly your rides and tickets are free when using the travel pass in Switzerland with this itinerary.  

The Swiss Transport Museum, Murren to Schilthorn return ticket and the Gornergrat excursion are chargeable, but all of these are discounted.  

This trip includes four panoramic train trips, three mountain excursions, two lake cruises and entry to nine castles or museums. 

The total savings for this itinerary are CHF 572 for a second class pass or CHF 827.40 with a first class pass. 

Read more: Mountain Excursions in Switzerland Discounted with the Swiss Travel Pass

At the time of writing, the Swiss franc is worth almost exactly the same as the US dollar. All prices are subject to change without notice.

Savings to be made with the Swiss Travel Pass

Trip/activityReg. price 1st classReg. price 2nd classWith Swiss Travel PassNotes
Day 1
Zurich to Lucerne44.0025.00FOCTrain
Mt. Rigi excursion144.00120.00FOC Boat/cogwheel train
Swiss Transport Museum56.0056.0028.00
Day 2
Luzern Interlaken Express58.0033.00FOCLuzern Interlaken Express train
Lake Brienz cruise106.0064.00FOCInterlaken to Brienz and return by boat
Ballenberg Museum35.2035.20FOCBrienz to Ballenberg and return by bus
Day 3
Interlaken to Schilthorn return143.60132.0054.00Train/cable car
Interlaken to Grindelwald return19.6011.20FOCTrain
Day 4
GoldenPass Interlaken to Montreux130.0074.00FOCGoldenPass Express train
Lake Geneva cruise30.0030.00FOC
Chillon Castle visit13.5013.50FOC
Day 5
Montreux to Gruyeres and Broc and return82.0051.60FOCTrain and bus
Visit Chateau Gruyeres, Maison Gruyeres, HR Giger Museum, Maison Cailler at Broc41.5041.50FOC
Day 6
Montreux to Zermatt130.0074.00FOCTrain
Matterhorn Museum10.0010.00FOC
Gornergrat excursion126.00^*126.00^*63.00Cogwheel train
Day 7
Zermatt to St. Moritz268.00152.00FOC°Glacier Express
Day 8
St. Moritz to Chur56.0032.00FOC°Bernina Express
Chur to Zurich72.0041.00FOCTrain
FIFA Museum visit24.0024.00FOC
TOTAL1589.401106.00
Price with Swiss Travel Pass
8 day Swiss Travel Pass617.00389.00
Plus Swiss Transport Museum28.0028.00
Plus Schilthorn excursion54.0054.00
Plus Gornergrat excursion63.0063.00
Total cost with 8 day Swiss Travel Pass762.00534.00
Saving827.40572.00
^high season price / *2nd class only on Gornergrat / °compulsory seat reservations additional / Prices based on 8 day consecutive Swiss Travel Pass

8 day Popular itinerary

Luzern Interlaken Express beside Lake Lungern
Trips on premium panoramic trains such as the Luzern Interlaken Express are included with Swiss Travel Pass.

Our 8 day popular Swiss itinerary gives another working example. This one includes five mountain excursions, three lake cruises, five museums and a panoramic train ride.

For this itinerary, the Swiss pass for rail and other travel saves you up to CHF 350. 

The itinerary departs from Zurich, where most International travellers arrive in Switzerland. You then visit Lucerne, Mount Rigi, Stanserhorn, Harder Kulm, Grindelwald, Brienz, Interlaken, Bern and more. 

As the boats, mountain transport and panoramic trains of the Swiss travel system are included here, there are again considerable savings to be made. 

Again, the vast majority of activities and tickets are free of charge. Only the Swiss Transport Museum and Jungfraujoch and Grindelwald First excursions are payable, and at discounted rates for pass holders.

Savings to be made with the Swiss Travel Pass

Trip/activityReg. price 1st classReg. price 2nd classWith STPNotes
Day 1Zurich to Lucerne44.0025.00FOCTrain
Mt. Rigi excursion144.00120.00FOCBoat/cogwheel train
Swiss Transport Museum56.0056.0028.00
Day 2
Stanserhorn excursion100.4089.60FOCTrain/cable car
Bourbaki & Glacier Garden34.0034.00FOC
Day 3
Lake Lucerne cruise64.0041.00FOC
Luzern to Interlaken58.0033.00FOCLuzern Interlaken Express
Harder Kulm excursion34.0034.0017.00
Day 4
Jungfraujoch excursion235.80235.80158.40
Day 5
Interlaken to Grindelwald and return19.6011.20FOCTrain
Grindelwald First excursion88.0088.0032.00
Day 6
Lake Brienz cruise106.0064.00FOCInterlaken to Brienz and return by boat
Ballenberg museum35.2035.20FOCBrienz to Ballenberg and return by bus
Day 7
Interlaken to Bern48.0028.00FOCRegular train
Day 8
Bern to Zurich90.0051.00FOCRegular train
FIFA Museum visit24.0024.00FOC
Lake Zurich cruise8.804.40FOC
TOTAL1189.80974.20
Price with Swiss Travel Pass
8 day Swiss Travel Pass617.00389.00
Plus Swiss Transport Museum28.0028.00
Plus Jungfraujoch158.40158.40
Plus Harder Kulm17.0017.00
Plus Grindelwald First32.0032.00
Total cost with 8 day Swiss Travel Pass852.40624.40
Saving337.40349.80
Prices based on 8 day consecutive Swiss Travel Pass

8 day Switzerland Grand Tour itinerary

The Swiss Travel Pass covers the entire country so you can plan your own Grand Tour of Switzerland by train.

The next example we’ve itemised to demonstrate the savings the Swiss rail pass can give you is the Grand Tour itinerary.

This trip takes you from Zurich to Interlaken, Montreux, Zermatt, St Moritz, Lugano, Lucerne and St Gallen before returning to Zurich.

With this itinerary we’ve costed train travel only, rather than including entry prices and mountain transport but the savings are still well worth it. 

This itinerary includes travel via six panoramic trains including the famous Glacier Express, Bernina Express, the GoldenPass Line and more.

One cruise from Fluelen to Lucerne is also included as part of the Gotthard Panorama Express service. 

Entry to over 500 museums – including Maison Cailler chocolate factory and museum – is included with the Swiss Travel Pass.

The thing to note here, as compared with the type of rail passes often sold in other countries, is that both express and scenic services are covered by the pass. 

Unlike with the two examples above, all expenses listed for this Grand Tour are completely free of charge and therefore completely covered.

Of course, you may wish to include activities that do have a fee attached but every mode of transport shown in the table below is included for free.

In total, taking the Grand Tour with a Swiss train pass can save you CHF 253 in second class, or CHF 417 in first. 

Savings to be made with the Swiss Travel Pass

Reg. price 1st classReg. price 2nd classWith Swiss Travel PassNotes
Day 1Zurich to Interlaken123.0070.00FOCRegular train to Lucerne, then Lucerne Interlaken Express
Day 2Interlaken to Montreux130.0074.00FOCGoldenPass Express train
Day 3Montreux to Zermatt130.0074.00FOCRegular train
Day 4Zermatt to St. Moritz*268.00152.00FOCGlacier Express
Day 5St. Moritz to Lugano*85.0061.00FOCBernina Express
Day 6Lugano to Lucerne153.00129.00FOCGotthard Panorama Express (incl. cruise from Fluelen to Lucerne)
Day 7Lucerne to St. Gallen90.0051.00FOCVoralpen-Express
Day 8St. Gallen to Zurich55.0031.00FOCRegular train
TOTAL1034.00642.00
Price with Swiss Travel Pass
8 day Swiss Travel Pass617.00389.00
Saving417.00253.00
*Seat reservation fees are additional and compulsory on these trains for all passengers, even those with a Swiss Travel Pass / Prices based on 8 day consecutive Swiss Travel Pass

Planning a trip to Switzerland?

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How much will your Swiss Travel Pass discounts be worth?

There are several factors that surprise many people when it comes to Swiss Travel Pass travel and discounts. 

The first is that even panoramic tourist routes are completely* covered by the pass, with no need to pay extra when travelling on these famous scenic Swiss trains. It’s the same with express services too. 

*on the Glacier Express and Bernina Express a compulsory seat reservation fee applies for all ticket and pass holders.

Secondly, the number of other entitlements is impressive. For the 8 day Switzerland itinerary, for instance, you get all your train travel included with the pass. 

Extras covered on that itinerary, for free, include a cruise on Lake Brienz, entry to Chillon Castle, a Lake Geneva cruise, a ticket for Chateau Gruyeres and a FIFA museum visit. Plus, trips on four panoramic trains and mountain transport are covered, too. 

The key thing is to be aware of the savings you can make. If you cost your trip in the same way –  and it works out cheaper with a Swiss Travel Pass – do ensure you always have your Pass with you so you can take advantage of the savings. 

If you’re not sure whether free travel or discounted entry applies, just ask. Once you’ve paid for it, you really do want to make the most of it!

Bernina Express panoramic train at Lago Bianco
The Bernina Express fare is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. Seat reservation fees are additional.

If you take a typical 8 day trip to Switzerland following a similar itinerary to those above, then it’s more than likely that you’ll make big savings when buying the Swiss Travel Pass. 

The only way to be absolutely certain is to cost it yourself, and you can use the fares and fees listed in the above tables to help you work this out. 

If your trip involves exploring a particular part of Switzerland – or a wider area within Europe – then it may be worth considering other passes, such as the Jungfrau Travel Pass, the Berner Oberland Regional Pass or even the Eurail Global Pass

Find out all about those alternative options in this article

Whichever you choose, a Swiss pass can really help you make the most of your funds when visiting Switzerland. We really recommend considering your options carefully to maximise the available savings. 

With no reservations required on the vast majority of Swiss trains, having a travel pass is also a fuss-free way to explore this breathtaking country. 

Paddle steamer on Lake Thun
The Swiss Travel Pass also includes boat trips.

Final Thoughts: Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It?

To us, it’s a resounding YES! There are so many reasons to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass.

As well as the huge savings that you can make, there is the added advantage of the flexibility of having an all-in-one-ticket to travel around Switzerland.

There’s no need to queue to buy tickets for individual train trips as you have your hop on hop ticket ready to go.

Fancy a boat ride? No problem, your Swiss Travel Pass covers you for boat trips, too.

Too tired to walk back to your hotel after dinner? Just hop on a local bus or tram as public transport is included, too.

The Swiss Travel Pass is super easy to use, too.

We highly recommend the Swiss Travel Pass. We use it for our own travel around Switzerland.
Ready to buy yours? > Click here to get your Swiss Travel Pass.

Top image courtesy Swiss Travel System


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