If you want to make the most of the clean, efficient Swiss transport system, then there are many ways to save money on train travel. The Saver Day Pass for Switzerland is just one of these.
Also known as the SBB Saver Day Pass, this one day ticket might be just what you need to explore this incredibly scenic country.
This guide to the Saver Day Pass from SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) shares all you need to know. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about whether the Swiss Saver Day Pass could be right for you.
Included here is information about what the pass covers, prices, when and where to buy, and validity, plus the pros and cons.
Whether you’re considering an SBB day pass for a panoramic train trip or a mountain excursion, or simply want a cheap way to get from A to B, read on to find out when a purchase makes perfect sense. We also cover how to use your Saver Day Pass.
Let’s begin by outlining what a Saver Day Pass is.
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What is the Saver Day Pass?
This Swiss one day pass allows you to travel throughout Switzerland for a single day on a single ticket. It can cost as little as CHF 29, if you have a Half Fare Travelcard, or CHF 52 if you don’t.
The Saver Day Pass allows travel within the SBB GA Travelcard validity area, which covers the vast majority of Switzerland.
This particular SBB travel pass covers travel by bus, boat, tram and postbus as well as by train. You can buy both first and second class versions of this Swiss train saver day pass.
What does the Saver Day Pass cover?
The best thing about the Saver Day Pass – apart from the low price – is that it covers all modes of public transport in Switzerland, not only trains.
Therefore, day pass holders can also travel by bus, boat or tram. Even postbus services and panoramic trains are included.
The general rule, according to SBB, is that any route providing access to a residential area is covered by their GA travelcard area. Transport that exists purely for tourist purposes is therefore excluded.
What doesn’t the Saver Day Pass cover?
Following the above SBB rule, then, means most mountain excursions are excluded from this pass. Travel to and from Mount Rigi and Stanserhorn, however, is covered.
When is the Saver Day Pass available?
Another general rule is that bigger discounts are available the earlier you buy your Swiss Saver Day Pass. It’s therefore important to know when you can purchase passes.
The window of opportunity opens at six months before the date of travel. You can buy these one day passes for Switzerland up until the day before travel, but not on the day of travel itself.
The availability of passes varies as only a set amount will be available in each price bracket.
Moreover, more passes tend to be available at cheaper rates when you buy further ahead of time. This gives you another reason to buy your Saver Day Pass as soon as you can.
Pros and Cons of the Saver Day Pass
5 Pros of the Saver Day Pass
Saver Day Pass prices start at CHF 29 for an entire day’s travel, if you have a Swiss Half Fare Card. Even without one, you can travel for a whole day from CHF 52. Check available prices for your date of travel here.
All public transport
SBB day passes are valid on boats, buses and trams as well as trains. Even postbuses and the famous Swiss panoramic trains are covered. Mountain transport to Stanserhorn and Mount Rigi is also included.
This one day pass is valid all day, and right up until 5 am the next morning. So a journey that ends up to five hours after midnight can be covered by the pass.
Choice of travel class
You can buy the Saver Day Pass for first or second class travel, as you prefer.
With or without a Half Fare Travelcard
It’s possible to purchase a Saver Day Pass whether you hold a Half Fare Travelcard or not, though different prices apply.
5 Cons of the Saver Day Pass
No mountain excursion discount
With the exception of Mount Rigi and Stanserhorn, the Saver Day Pass doesn’t cover mountain excursions in Switzerland. If you also hold a Half Fare Travelcard, you are entitled to a discounted price for the mountain excursion.
Dates are fixed
When buying a Saver Day Pass, you must nominate the travel date, meaning you’ll need to plan ahead. This may be tricky when you need to factor in other considerations like flights, accommodation, and excursions.
Advance booking required
If you want to secure the cheapest price, then you’ll have to book well ahead of time. Again this requires some forward planning regarding your Swiss itinerary. Passes can be bought up to the day before travel, but last-minute prices will be higher than fares paid six months ahead of travel.
Swiss Saver Day Passes are non-refundable, so if your plans do change then you won’t get a refund. You cannot amend the date of travel, either. Passes are also personal, and therefore cannot be transferred to someone else.
Passes sell out
As these Swiss travel passes offer such good value for money, they do sell out fast, which means it might be difficult to get your hands on one.
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What is the cost of the Saver Day Pass?
The Swiss Saver Day Pass price varies according to several factors. These include the availability of low fares, which vary depending when you buy the pass.
Different prices also apply to holders of Half Fare Cards, who pay less for a day pass.
Passes tend to cost less when bought well in advance, and are higher the closer you get to the travel date. The latest you can buy them is the day before departure.
Once the lowest fare for any given day sells out, passes become available at the next cheapest price. The following fares are therefore starting prices, meaning you could pay more than this, and sometimes significantly more, but not less.
- With Swiss Half Fare Travelcard: from CHF 29
- Without Swiss Half Fare Travelcard: from CHF 52
- With Swiss Half Fare Travelcard: from CHF 49
- Without Swiss Half Fare Travelcard: from CHF 88
You can purchase a Day Pass for Children for CHF 19 per day.
Alternatively, accompanied children can travel on all Swiss public transport for free if they have a Children’s Co-travelcard or a Junior Travelcard. This can make sense when you’ll be travelling for multiple days, as both these travel cards cost CHF 30 each and are valid for one year.
Where to buy the Saver Day Pass
You can buy your Saver Day Pass via this link. Remember – the further ahead you purchase, the cheaper the fare.
When is the Saver Day Pass valid?
The Saver Day Pass is valid for the date of travel specified when booking. It remains valid until 5 am the following day. Day Passes are valid for one day only.
How to use the Saver Day Pass
The Saver Day Pass is issued as a digital ticket so you can simply show yours to the conductor on request. If you prefer to have a paper copy or want back-up, you can print it out.
When does the Saver Day Pass make sense?
As the Saver Day Pass isn’t the only discounted way to travel by train in Switzerland, when does it make sense to purchase one or more of these?
Though it’s always worth doing your own calculations, based on your exact itinerary, here are some pointers.
With the Swiss Half Fare Travelcard
Cheaper rates are available to Swiss Half Fare Card holders who buy a Saver Day Pass. So when is it worth purchasing this 50% off card?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s worth purchasing a Half Fare Card when you’ll be buying six or more Saver Day Passes. The savings are then likely to outweigh the additional cost of the Half Fare Card.
When you’re planning to use mountain transport often, the Swiss Half Fare Card savings can also stack up quickly. This particularly applies to Jungfraujoch, when it’s usually worth buying both a Swiss Half Fare Card and an SBB Saver Day Pass.
Saver Day Pass vs Swiss Travel Pass
Instead of buying a Swiss Travel Pass, it may make sense to purchase multiple SBB Saver Day Passes. It largely depends on what you would pay for your Saver Day Passes, and what the equivalent cost of the Swiss Travel Pass would be.
Without a Half Fare Travelcard, each SBB Saver Day Pass costs between CHF 52 CHF and CHF 88. In general, it can be cheaper to buy Saver Day Passes for a shorter duration of between three and six days.
To determine if buying a number of Saver Day Passes is better value than buying a Swiss Travel Pass, first you will need to tally up the cost of any mountain excursions you plan to do (remembering that a 50% discount applies to most mountain excursions for Swiss Travel Pass holders) and add that to the cost of the Passes.
If the combined total of all your trips using your Saver Day Passes will cost less than the same itinerary using a Swiss Travel Pass for the same duration, then it’s worth buying the day passes instead. Check Swiss Travel Pass prices here.
As the Swiss Travel Pass can only be purchased for a minimum duration of three days, if you require tickets for just one or two days, you will need to buy Saver Day Passes or stand-alone tickets.
🇨🇭 We’ve compiled a list of regular and discounted prices for Switzerland’s most popular mountain excursions in our rail pass comparison calculator.
Example Saver Day Pass Trips
Your Swiss Saver Day Pass can take you all over Switzerland. Don’t forget that it covers other modes of transport, including boats, buses, postbuses and even panoramic trains. Here are some examples of how you could use the Saver Day Pass while travelling in Switzerland.
Intercity buses, trains and postbuses
You can travel between cities by bus, train or postbus when you have a Saver Day Pass.
Take the Glacier Express, or another panoramic train trip, in Switzerland. Do note, though, that a seat reservation is mandatory, and there is a fee for this.
Take a boat trip across Lake Biel, Lake Lucerne, or Lake Thun with your Swiss day pass. You can also travel by boat between Solothurn and Biel.
Take a day trip to Stanserhorn or Mount Rigi. Both of these are exceptions to the general rule excluding tourist transport.
Use a one day pass to access areas you might not have otherwise visited. Examples include the Riviera District in Ticino canton, and the Swiss National Park. The latter can be reached via postbus.
5 other Saver Day Pass FAQs
How does the Saver Day Pass work with mountain railways?
The Saver Day Pass gives you free travel on Swiss public transport services to Mount Rigi and Stanserhorn only. Otherwise, there are no discounts for holders of Saver Day Passes.
Despite this, you can still save money as your day pass can be used to travel as far as the nearest residential town or village.
For instance, if you are planning to visit Jungfraujoch Top of Europe, the Saver Day Pass will cover you as far as Grindelwald, Mürren, Wengen, or Lauterbrunnen.
You can then purchase a separate ticket for the journey to the summit.
The Saver Day Pass does not give you free travel, or a discount, on mountain railway services except to Mt. Rigi and Stanserhorn.
For comparison, the Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Travelcard do give holders discounts of up to 50% on Swiss mountain railway services.
🇨🇭 Read more: Understanding and using Swiss public transport
Is the Saver Day Pass valid on the Glacier Express?
To take a trip on the Glacier Express, you need any kind of ticket valid for the class of travel. This could be a single or return train ticket, or it could be a Swiss Travel Pass, an Interrail or Eurail Pass, or a Saver Day Pass.
You do also need a seat reservation for the Glacier Express, though, which is mandatory. This will secure your spot, and a fee is payable.
So in a nutshell, yes you can travel on the Glacier Express with a Saver Day Pass. You will need to pay for a seat reservation on top of the price of the Saver Day Pass.
Similar rules apply to travelling on other Swiss panoramic trains with a Saver Day Pass.
Does the Saver Day Pass include boats?
Yes, boat travel is included with the SBB Saver Day Pass. You can also travel by bus, tram and postbus, as well as trains.
Swiss panoramic trains are also covered, though in many cases a mandatory seat reservation will require payment of an additional fee.
What is an SBB Super Saver ticket?
An SBB Super Saver ticket differs from a Saver Day Pass. The former is valid for one specified journey, rather than the one day of unlimited travel permitted with the latter.
Super Saver tickets apply to specified timetabled trips between one point and another, and can save you up to 50% on regular fares.
Is the SBB Day Pass worth it?
For between one and six days of travel, Swiss SBB Day Passes can save you money.
With fares from CHF 29 for Half Fare Card holders or CHF 52 for those without, they can be a very cost-effective way of making a train, bus, boat or Postbus trip.
You can even use them on panoramic trains, though a paid seat reservation may be required.
Saver Day Pass | Final thoughts
If you want to take a trip by train, tram, bus or postbus in Switzerland, then a Saver Day Pass could save you money.
These passes are available up to six months before travel, and the sooner you buy, the cheaper they are. This means that some advance planning is required, though it is possible to buy them as late as the day before travel.
The cheap travel offered by an SBB Day Pass might also mean taking a trip you wouldn’t otherwise have made, allowing you to see even more of this beautiful country.
If you’re considering buying more than one of these day passes, then it’s important to compare costs to discover which might be right for you.
It’s also important to think about whether it’s worth buying a Half Fare Travelcard, to benefit from cheaper rates.
Ready to purchase your Saver Day Pass? Get yours here!
🇨🇭 Further reading: How to choose the best Swiss Rail Pass for your trip