The Bernina Express train ride is included with the Swiss Travel Pass
Transport

Swiss Travel Pass [2020] – Switzerland’s All-in-One Transport Pass

October 16, 2019
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The Swiss Travel Pass is the perfect way to travel around Switzerland. With this single transport pass you have complete freedom to go anywhere in the country, and make up your plans as you go. The Swiss Travel Pass is flexible, easy to use, and covers all public transport within the country – and much more.

In this article I cover everything you need to know about the Swiss Pass so that you can choose the best option for you. 

Note: The information in this guide also applies for Swiss Travel Passes purchased for travel in 2019.


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

What is the Swiss Travel Pass?

The Swiss Travel Pass (often referred to as the Swiss Pass) is an all-in-one ticket to travel the whole of Switzerland. The pass gives you access to the famously efficient public transport system with a single ticket. You can use the pass to travel by boat, rail, or road. 

With this single pass, you don’t have to spend any time buying Swiss rail tickets for individual journeys or dealing with language barriers. Whether you’re in a tiny alpine village or the big cities, you can move about without any concerns.

The Swiss Travel Pass comes in a few different options for different durations and budgets, which we’ll get into below. 

Swiss Pass Cost

The Swiss Travel Pass cost varies depending on the duration and option you choose. You can expect to pay between 240 and 890 francs (€220 to €815) for between 3 and 15 days. This is without the 15% reduction in price for youth. We’ll explore the costs of each option further below.

Comparison of the different Swiss Travel Passes

Swiss Travel PassSwiss Travel Pass FlexSwiss Half Fare Card
1st or 2nd Class1st or 2nd Class1st or 2nd Class
Duration:
3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days
Duration:
3, 4, 8 or 15 days in 1 month
Duration:
1 month
Price:
CHF 232 – CHF 810
Price:
CHF 267 – CHF 890
Price:
CHF 120
BUY NOWBUY NOWBUY NOW

Should I buy a Swiss Travel Pass?

If you’re planning on staying in just one or two cities and doing most of your travel by foot, you may not benefit by buying a Swiss Pass.  An exception to this is if you plan on taking at least two mountain excursions in Switzerland. 

The best way to decide whether or not you will benefit from purchasing a Swiss rail pass is to write down the rail journeys you plan to take and check the price of the individual fares for each sector on the SBB app (read more about it here) or website.

Then, add the cost of the mountain excursions you’d like to do, remembering the Swiss Pass entitles you to 50% off most cable cars, funiculars and cog railways – you can find the prices on each mountain’s website – and tally up the costs.

To make things a little easier for you, you can access a copy of our Switzerland Rail Pass Comparison Spreadsheet.  Get your copy here!

What is included in the Swiss Travel Pass?

There are a great deal of benefits to traveling with a Switzerland train pass. You can pay once and travel without any concerns for the whole of your time in Switzerland. But there’s much more to it. 

Here is what’s included and the biggest benefits of the Swiss Travel Pass:

  • Choose the duration of your pass.  You’ll have unlimited travel for either 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days with the regular Swiss Travel Pass or 3, 4, 8 or 15 days of travel within a one-month period with the Swiss Travel Pass Flex.
  • All public transport is free with the Swiss Travel Pass. You’ll be able to travel within and between cities without any concerns and without putting your hand in your pocket. 
  • Passholders receive free entry to more than 500 museums in Switzerland, offering a great saving.
  • Passes are available in digital format (paperless) so they are environmentally friendly. 
  • It’s also so much more convenient having just one ticket for all your transport needs.
  • Plus, you’ll also get 50% off cable cars and funiculars! 

Some cable cars and funiculars close over winter. In this article we list the closure dates for the upcoming season.

Where to Buy Swiss Rail Passes

The best place to buy the Swiss Travel Pass is right here using our special discount code.  (Read on for our step-by-step instructions on how to purchase.)  Not only will you save money, buying online ahead of your travels also means you’ll be able to start using your pass the minute you arrive in Switzerland.

Click this link to buy your Swiss Travel Pass!

You can also purchase the Swiss Travel Pass at any railway station in Switzerland and at Zurich Airport.

Swiss Travel Pass
Image: (C) Swiss Travel / Daniel Ammann

Switzerland Travel Pass – The Different Options

There are a variety of options for your Swisspass. Compare the different inclusions, prices and benefits below to choose the best option for your trip. 

All are available for a range of days, and you can choose to travel 2nd or 1st class. So, whether you’re touring Switzerland on your honeymoon, or backpacking Europe on a shoestring budget, there are options for every kind of traveller.

First class carriages (coaches) are generally more spacious and private, and you’re often positioned on the upper level of the train, providing a better view of the countryside passing by. All sections of the Switzerland trains are smoke-free.

Swiss Travel Pass 

The regular Swiss Travel Pass is what most tourists use when visiting Switzerland. This pass provides unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System for 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days. 

With all the benefits previously mentioned, you can buy this pass as a first-class ticket or a second-class pass. Hop onto any train, bus or boat. Get half-price off mountain trips and funiculars and visit world-renowned museums for free.

You can choose to buy one of these passes for your whole vacation, or just for the part of it when you’ll be exploring the cities and moving between them.

Swiss Travel Pass1st Class2nd Class
3 DaysCHF 369 – BUY NOWCHF 232 – BUY NOW
4 DaysCHF 447 – BUY NOWCHF 281 – BUY NOW
8 DaysCHF 663 – BUY NOWCHF 418 – BUY NOW
15 DaysCHF 810 – BUY NOWCHF 513 – BUY NOW

Swiss Travel Pass Flex

This Swiss Travel Pass Flex is perfect for those travelling between Switzerland and other countries or folks who don’t plan to use the transit system every day.

You can make use of the same benefits for the same amount of days. The only difference is that your travel days don’t need to be consecutive. As long as all your travel takes place within one month, you can choose any day to travel and make use of your pass. 

As the name suggests, this Switzerland pass provides greater flexibility in your itinerary. 

Swiss Travel Pass Flex1st Class2nd Class
3 DaysCHF 424 – BUY NOWCHF 267 – BUY NOW
4 DaysCHF 514 – BUY NOWCHF 323 – BUY NOW
8 DaysCHF 742 – BUY NOWCHF 467 – BUY NOW
15 DaysCHF 890 – BUY NOWCHF 563 – BUY NOW

Swiss Family Card

The Swiss Family Card makes traveling with your children so much easier and cheaper. Related children, including foster and stepchildren, between 6 and 15 years old travel free.  (All accompanied children under 6 years of age travel free in Switzerland.)

The family card is complimentary – you just have to specify that you’d like one when booking! 

Whether one parent has the card or two, up to five children travel free. On the funiculars and cable cars where adults only receive discounts, the Swiss Family Card still provides free travel to accompanying children. 

Swiss Half Fare Card

For those intending to do a little less travelling, you may prefer the Swiss Half Fare Card. Very simply, once you have purchased the card you can travel throughout the country with half-price tickets. Tickets for each sector of travel can be purchased online, via the SBB app or at any train station in Switzerland.

The pass is valid for a month, which makes it a great option for those spending a longer holiday in the country.

The half fare card is substantially cheaper, and is often a great choice for those travelling for the most part by car. You can still access many mountain railways at half price. 

The Family Card is available on request with the Swiss Half Fare Card, so accompanying children travel for free. 

The Swiss Half-Fare Card costs CHF 120 and is valid for one month. BUY YOURS HERE.

Youth Discount on Swiss Transport Passes

If you’re under 26 years old you can take advantage of the substantial 15% youth discount available to all travellers under 26. 

Click here to buy your Swiss Travel Pass.

Unfortunately, no senior discount is provided. However, you can get a group discount for anyone traveling in a group of 10 or more. 


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Highlights of the Swiss Travel Pass

Switzerland has one of the world’s densest railway networks in the world. That’s why the pass is often referred to as the Swiss Train Pass or the Switzerland Travel Pass. 

There are even specific scenic routes like the breathtaking Glacier Express and the GoldenPass Line that you can take you to see more of Switzerland.  We’ll cover these in further detail below.

Convenient, fast, and comfortable, the Swiss trains go almost everywhere. Where they don’t go, you’ll usually find a PostBus operating on that route.  Of course, transport on these buses is included with your pass. Travel on public buses in Liechtenstein is also covered.

As well as the buses and the Intercity trains that operate on the Swiss Travel System’s network, your Swiss Pass also covers boat trips across the beautiful Swiss lakes. Lake Geneva, Lake Zurich, Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, Lake Lugano and Lake Lucerne, are amongst the favourites. Most boats, with the exception of dinner cruises and the like, are included in the pass.


Click here to download a Swiss Travel Pass Map which shows where the pass is valid.

Free Public Transport in Swiss Cities and Towns

Transport within Switzerland’s cities is easy with the Swiss Travel Pass. Simply hop aboard a train and bus and off you go.  There’s no need to queue to buy a ticket for your journey – simply show your pass to the conductor on request.

With many of Switzerland’s cities located beside a lake, a boat ride – included with your pass – might be the most convenient way to get from A to B in 75 Swiss towns and cities.

The Swiss Travel Pass includes free public transport in Switzerland.

Panoramic and Scenic trains covered by the Swiss Travel Pass

Unlike many transport passes which have a surcharge for the most scenic routes, Switzerland’s panoramic trains are all included with the Swiss Travel Pass.  The Swiss panoramic trains listed below offer a wonderful way to see the spectacular landscapes of the country – and all these panoramic trains are free with the Swiss Travel Pass!

Bernina Express

  • Operates between – Chur and Tirano
  • Highlights – 55 tunnels and 196 bridges
  • Journey time – 4h13
  • Year round – Yes (see timetable here)
  • Seat reservations required – Yes / Book here

GoldenPass Line

  • Operates between – Lucerne and Interlaken; Interlaken and Zweisimmen; Zweisimmen and Montreux
  • Highlights – 3 mountain passes – 8 lakes – 6 cantons 
  • Journey time – 2h; 1h35; 2h08
  • Year round – Yes
  • Seat reservations required – Optional / Book here

Glacier Express

  • Operates between – St Moritz and Zermatt
  • Highlights – 291 bridges and 91 tunnels 
  • Journey time – 8h03
  • Year round – Except 14 October and 14 December, 2019
  • Seat reservations required – Yes / Book here

Gotthard Panorama Express

  • Operates between – Lugano and Lucerne
  • Highlights – Steamboat ride on Lake Lucerne, many loop tunnels, the church of Wassen can be seen from 3 angles
  • Journey time – 5h
  • Year round – Only Operates 19 April – 20 October, Tuesday to Sunday
  • Seat reservations required – Optional / Book here

Note: Passengers now exclusively travel in 1st class panoramic coaches. No 2nd class is available on the train therefore passengers with a 2nd class ticket need to buy a class upgrade for the train ride. The boat cruise continues to be available in 1st and 2nd class.

Voralpen Express

  • Operates between – St Gallen and Lucerne
  • Highlights – lovely hills and charming villages
  • Journey time – 2h15
  • Year round – Yes
  • Seat reservations required – Not available

Centovalli Railway 

  • Operates between – Locarno and Domodossola
  • Highlights – 83 bridges and viaducts
  • Journey time – 1h50
  • Year round – Yes
  • Seat reservations required – Optional

Schilthorn cableway in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland.
Schilthorn cableway

Swiss Travel Pass discount on Cable Cars, Funiculars and Cog Railways

No visit to Switzerland would be complete without at least one cable car or funicular ride.  Being a country blessed with towering snow-capped peaks, there are plenty of mountain excursions to choose from and many of them are available to Swiss Pass holders at discounted rates.

Is Jungfraujoch free with the Swiss Travel Pass? This is a question commonly asked by visitors to Switzerland.

The answer is no, the entire journey to the Jungfraujoch is not covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.  Passholders can travel for free as far as either Wengen or Grindelwald. A 25% discount applies for the remainder of the trip to Jungfraujoch.

The table below lists just some of Switzerland’s most popular mountain excursions and the discounts available to Swiss Travel Pass holders.

Cable car/funicularDiscount
Stechelberg to Murren100%
Murren to Schilthorn*50%
Wengen to Jungfraujoch25%
Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch25%
Grindelwald First 50%
Harder Kulm50%
Schynige Platte 50%
Brienzer Rothorn50%
Grindelwald to Mannlichen50%
Kandersteg to Oeschinensee50%
Engleberg to Mt Titlis50%
Stanserhorn100%
Mt Pilatus50%
Mt Rigi100%
Glacier 300050%
Gornergrat50%
Matterhorn Glacier Express50%
Locarno to Orselina25%
Orselina to Cimetta50%

*Until 31 December, 2019, the Murren to Schilthorn cable car is free for Swiss Travel Pass holders.  From 1 January, 2020, a 50% discount will apply.

To obtain tickets for any cable car, funicular or cog railway, you should present your Swiss Travel Pass at the ticket office.  On payment of the discounted fare, you will then be issued with a ticket for the ride which you will need to present before boarding.

Museums Included with the Swiss Rail Pass

There are around 500 museums and monuments included in the Swiss Travel Pass. If you’re a museum hopper, or adore Switzerland for its many cultural and historical offerings, there are many museums you won’t be able to resist.

Some of our favorites are the imposing Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, and the Swiss National Museum in Zurich. You’ll find multiple museums, including historic castles and monuments, in just about every town and city you visit.

With the Swiss Travel Pass you also receive 50% off admission to the popular Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne. 

Below are just a few of the museums, castles and monuments in Switzerland that offer free entry to Swiss Pass holders.

  • Castles of Bellinzona
  • Swiss Open-Air Museum, Ballenberg
  • Chillon Castle, Veytaux
  • Swiss National Museum, Zurich
  • Maison Cailler, Broc
  • La Maison du Gruyère
  • Einstein Museum, Bern
  • Olympic Museum, Lausanne
  • Alimentarium, Vevey
  • FIFA World Football Museum, Zurich
  • Thun Castle
  • Thun Panorama
  • Klostermuseum St. Georgen, Stein am Rhein
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum, Meiringen
  • Matterhorn Museum, Zermatt

Switzerland has a rich history, and you’ll learn much about the country and greater Europe in the many varied museums. 


Purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass

Purchasing your Swiss Pass online is simple and easy.  I recommend you order your pass through Klook. First, select the pass you wish to purchase – Consecutive or Flexible. Then choose the number of travel days you require – 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. (See the description below on what constitutes a ‘travel day’.)

Next, select your preferred class of travel (1st or 2nd class), and then nominate your preferred delivery option – E-ticket* or mail^ (by postal service).

Select the date you wish your pass to commence from the dropdown box (ie. the first day you want to use the pass to travel in Switzerland). Be sure to choose the correct date as this cannot be changed once your order is confirmed. 

Next, add the number of passengers you wish to purchase a pass for.

Now click the Add to Cart button at the bottom of the page.  You’ll then be required to create an account or sign in to your existing Klook account before completing your payment.

Immediately after placing your order, you will receive a confirmation email from Klook.  If you don’t receive an email, check your Junk folder before contacting Klook via email.

*As of 1 January, 2020, the Swiss Travel Pass Flex will be available as an E-ticket.

^Please allow at least 7 business days for delivery of your Swiss Pass by post.


Swiss Travel Pass discounts

By purchasing your Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card using our link and quoting the code HTEKLOOK, you can receive a discount of USD5 off your order.

(Terms and conditions: First-time Klook customers only; Minimum order cost of USD$100; USD$5 discount off total order price; Use code: HTEKLOOK; No expiry date for offer.)

Should you choose to have your Swiss Travel Pass (purchased via this link) delivered by post, you’ll receive a travel gift set containing a tote bag, neck pillow and more, worth up to USD39. (Terms and conditions: One gift per order, gifts may vary depending on availability.)


Delivery of the Swiss Travel Pass

If you have ordered your Swiss Travel Pass using our link, you’ll receive your pass as follows.

For E-ticket orders and Swiss Family Card orders, passes will be sent via email as a PDF attachment.  PDFs can be saved to your mobile device to present to ticket conductors onboard the trains. It is recommended that you print a copy of your passes on A4 paper and carry these as a backup.

*As of 1 January, 2020, the Swiss Travel Pass Flex will be available as an E-ticket.

Delivery of hard-copy (physical) Swiss Passes usually takes between three and five business days but delivery times can vary.  If you don’t receive your parcel within this timeframe, you should contact Klook immediately.

Like to know more about using the Swiss Rail System? Read my full guide here.

How to Use the Swiss Travel Pass

Once you receive your Swiss Pass, it is ready to use from the commencement date you specified during purchase.  There is no need to validate your Swiss Travel Pass or present it to a ticket office at a Swiss railway station prior to travel.

Simply board the train you wish to travel on, sit in any unreserved seat in the correct Class (ie. First Class or Second Class) and present your pass to the conductor on request.  The conductor may wish to view your passport to confirm you are the passenger nominated on the pass.

Image: (C) Swiss Travel / Daniel Ammann

Swiss Travel Pass FAQs

What is a travel day?

Each calendar day represents a ‘travel day’ when using the Swiss Travel Pass. Travel days are not calculated on a 24-hour basis. 

For example, whether you begin using your pass at 9am on May 1 or 4pm on May 1, this is still counted as one day or travel.  Therefore, if you will arrive in Switzerland later in the day, you may wish to nominate May 2 as the start date for your pass.

The exception to the calendar day rule is on the final day of validity of the pass.  In this instance, the Swiss Travel Pass will end at 5am on the day following the final day of validity.  If your pass commenced on May 1, a 3-day pass would then expire at 5am on May 4.

I have a Half Fare Card – how do I make seat reservations online?

On the SBB.ch website or SBB app, enter the sector and date you wish to travel then click ‘Search for connection’.

Choose the train service you would like to travel on, then complete the passenger information (names and date of birth). 

In the dropdown box titled ‘Discount cards’, tick the box next to Half Fare Travelcard. All your fares will now be calculated at the half fare rate.

Refer to the image below to locate the check box for the Half Fare Travelcard.


Swiss Travel Pass Summary

Switzerland is the mountainous hub of Europe, with so much to explore throughout the country. 

Travel through the famously beautiful mountain ranges with scenic rail lines and cable cars. Visit charming alpine villages and medieval cities. Hop on buses in the inner cities and stop at museums – all with a single ticket. 

Switzerland has revolutionised easy travel with the Swiss Travel Pass offering visitors an economical and convenient way to see the country.

With this comprehensive guide to the Swiss Travel Pass, we hope you’ve found the best pass for you and your travel plans. BUY YOUR SWISS TRAVEL PASS NOW!

Image: (C) Swiss Travel / Daniel Ammann

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