If you’re planning on spending a few days or even a few weeks in the Lake Lucerne region (use this guide to choose your hotel), then it is well worthwhile considering purchasing a Tell Pass.
The Tell Pass is an all-inclusive travel pass which provides unlimited travel via train, bus, boat and cableway across the Lake Lucerne Region thereby avoiding the inconvenience of having to pay for transport as you go.
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This Lucerne visitor card also provides some great discounts across a range of attractions in the region.
The Tell Pass provides tourists with not only exceptional value but also makes getting to all the places to visit in Lucerne extremely convenient. It is ideal if you are a planning to spend a minimum of two days in Lucerne.
While the initial outlay for the Lucerne travel pass may appear expensive, once you add up the price of individual transport tickets you will need to purchase to get around to the various Lucerne things to do, you will see that you will easily save money with your pass.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about making bookings, carrying around multiple train tickets and even being concerned with missing a train or bus – because you can simply catch the next one!
In this article, I will provide a detailed overview of the Tell Pass, so you know the various options available, and you can determine whether this Swiss Tell Pass provides the best value for you.
I will also cover off on all the Tell Pass inclusions as well as the Tell Pass price.
Already know about the Tell Pass and ready to purchase? Click here to buy your Tell Pass.
What is the Lake Lucerne Region Tell Pass?
As mentioned above, the Tell Pass is an all-inclusive transport pass which provides unlimited transportation across a range of modes of transport in the Lake Lucerne Region.
Lucerne transport options included with the pass are trains, buses, boats and cable cars.
The Tell Pass is a consecutive day travel pass, meaning the pass must be used for the selected number of days one after the other without a break.
The passes come in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 day versions and are available for second class travel only. Should you wish to travel in 1st class (when available), you can simply purchase a Class Upgrade at the station prior to your journey.
Where is the Tell Pass Valid?
The Tell Pass is valid within the Lake Lucerne region which is in Central Switzerland. Given the changes in landscape during the winter, some forms of transport are not in operation, therefore, reducing the area the pass is valid.
This limitation is reflected in the price (see below) with the pass being much cheaper during the winter months.
What is the Tell Pass price?
The Tell Pass price varies depending upon whether you wish to purchase a Tell Pass Summer pass or a Tell Pass Winter pass, as well as the duration of your pass.
In the table below, I have listed the various passes and their price.
|Number of days||Summer||Winter|
|April to October||November to March|
|2||CHF 190||CHF 120||BUY NOW*|
|3||CHF 220||CHF 150||BUY NOW*|
|4||CHF 240||CHF 170||BUY NOW*|
|5||CHF 250||CHF 180||BUY NOW*|
|10||CHF 320||CHF 240||BUY NOW*|
The above prices are for adult passes. If you have a child travelling with you, the savings are even greater as children between the ages of 6-16 are charged a fixed rate of 30 CHF, regardless of whether they are travelling for 2 days or 10 days.
The Children’s Tell Pass must be purchased at the same time as the accompanying Adults’ Tell Pass.
No further discounts are available for holders of a Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass.
As an example to show you the savings to be made with the Tell Pass, if for instance you were to do the Golden Round trip from Lucerne to Pilatus (from 102.60 CHF) and the round trip to Mt Rigi (117 CHF), you would already save more than 100 CHF with a two day Winter Tell Pass. In Summer this saving is reduced to 29.60 CHF but a saving no less.
The more places you intend to visit during your stay in Central Switzerland, the bigger the savings to be had.
Where and how do I have to get my Tell Pass validated?
When you receive your Tell Pass, you are good to go, and there is nothing you need to do to activate the pass. You simply show the printed copy of your Tell Pass to the ticket inspector when requested.
How to use the Tell Pass?
The Tell Pass is so easy to use, all you need to do is jump on board the train, bus, boat or cable car and that’s it! No need to go anywhere to get the pass stamped, all you need to do is to show your Lucerne Tell Pass to the ticket inspectors when asked.
Where can I get a timetable?
Getting around Lucerne with public transport is fantastic, and it’s easy to get wherever you want in the region. To plan how to get to the various Lucerne, Switzerland points of interest, I recommend you use the SBB Mobile App.
This App will not only help you plan what mode of transport you need to take to reach the various Lucerne tourist attractions, but will also provide you with helpful information as to which platform you need to go to and provide real-time updates, so you’ll know whether your transport is going to be on time or late. (Note: In Switzerland, it is rarely ever late!)
What are the top Lake Lucerne Region destinations covered by the Tell Pass?
Whether you are visiting the Lake Lucerne Region in the summer or winter months, there are a stack of great places to explore.
From mountain peaks to blue lakes and breathtaking views, by holding the Tell Pass, you can reach all of these great things to do in Lucerne with ease.
It’s impossible to list all the fantastic places to see in Lucerne with your Tell Pass, but here are some destinations you don’t want to miss!
Perhaps one of the most popular day trips from Lucerne is to ride Europe’s oldest cogwheel railway to the top of Mt Rigi – the Queen of the Mountains.
Alternatively, you can go by boat – Lucerne to Weggis, and then take the aerial cableway from Weggis, or switch it up on the return journey.
Whether you take the cogwheel railway, or the cableway be sure to start your journey will a relaxing Lake Lucerne boat trip.
During the Summer months on Mt Rigi, you can explore the mountain via the 120 kilometres of paths and trails, all which offer stunning views of the alpine region, whilst in the Winter months you can participate in a range of sports including skiing, sledding, and snowshoe trails.
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 5.5 hours
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): CHF 117 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
Another one of the popular Lucerne day trips is to take the Golden Round Trip to Pilatus where you will travel by boat, cogwheel railway (the steepest in the world), aerial cableway (also known as the Dragon Ride) and bus.
At 2132 metres above sea level, Mt Pilatus offers a range of fantastic activities that change depending upon the season.
During the Summer months, you can enjoy hiking, Central Switzerland’s largest suspension rope park, and the toboggan run whilst in the winter months you can participate in a range of sports like skiing, sledding and snowshoeing.
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 5.5 hours
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): CHF 122 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
The Gotthard Panorama Express (Previously called the Wilhelm Tell Express)
Up until recently, this scenic route was called the Wilhelm Tell Express (William Tell Express in English). Now called the Gotthard Panorama Express, this 5.5-hour journey takes passengers from Lucerne all the way to Lugano. Tell Pass holders can travel as far as Goschenen for free.
Starting in Lucerne, take the almost 3-hour cruise across Lake Lucerne to the village of Fluelen. From here you then will take a 45-minute train journey to Goschenen where en route you will experience stunning snow-capped mountain scenery and impressive railway engineering.
Why not visit the Photo Car with open windows – perfect for taking photos?
You can then return from Goschenen to Lucerne by a regular train service via Erstfeld (journey time around 1 hour 40 minutes).
This service operates Tuesday to Sunday from mid-April to mid-October.
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 7 hours
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): CHF 74.20 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
After a 20-minute train ride from Lucerne, start the journey up the 1900 metre high peak with a ride on the 1893 vintage funicular train.
Mid-way, change to the exciting CabriO cable car which has a rooftop platform, the first in the world, and arrive at the top of Stanserhorn.
At the summit you can experience its many attractions including a revolving restaurant, geo-trail and a nature reserve.
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 4 hours
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): CHF 91.20 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
Catch a train from Lucerne to Engelberg (45 minutes) and then either walk (10 minutes) or catch a free shuttle bus to the TITLIS Valley Station. Here you’ll join the TITLIS Xpress cable car to Stand and then the TITLIS ROTAIR – the world’s first revolving cable car – up to Mt Titlis.
The journey from Engelberg takes around 30 minutes.
At 3020 metres, Mt Titlis experiences snow all year round and has no shortage of things to do once you reach the top.
Some of the highlights at Mt Titlis include the beautiful panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, the Titlis Cliff Wall – the highest suspension bridge in Europe, the Ice Flyer Chairlift, hiking trails and loads more.
TITLIS ROTAIR operates year round (closed for maintenance 4 – 15 November, 2019).
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 5 hours
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): CHF 128.80 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
If you’re finding it hard to choose between a visit to Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Rigi or Mt. Titlis, this article might be helpful.
Lake Lucerne Boat Trip
Taking a Lake Lucerne boat ride is a fantastic way to admire the region. There are a range of different Lake Lucerne boat tours available from short trips to longer ones that take up to 3 hours one way.
A great way to explore Lake Lucerne is to combine a Lake Lucerne boat tour with a day trip to one of the mountains such as Mt Rigi or Pilatus.
Recommended time allowed for excursion: Minimum 1 hour
- Regular adult ticket price (from Lucerne): from CHF 27 for one hour round trip cruise / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
GoldenPass Line (Luzern Interlaken Express)
One of Switzerland’s most popular Panoramic trains, the GoldenPass Line consists of three scenic journeys stretching from Lucerne to Montreux. The Luzern Interlaken Express makes up one section of the journey and is fully included with the Tell Pass.
The trip between Lucerne and Interlaken, which takes just under two hours, offers views of some of the most spectacular scenery in Switzerland with snow-capped peaks and sparkling lakes a feature.
Why not enjoy a full day excursion from Lucerne by travelling on the GoldenPass Line to Interlaken or disembark at Brienz and join the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn steam train? Both trips are fully covered with the Tell Pass.
- Regular adult price Lucerne to Interlaken and return: CHF 66 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
- Regular adult price Brienzer Rothorn Bahn: CHF 92 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
Other excursions that are free with the Tell Pass include:
Burgenstock Railway and Hammetschwand Lift
- Regular adult price CHF 84 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
After a leisurely boat ride across Lake Lucerne on the Burgenstock shuttle, connect with a funicular (Burgenstock Railway) for the final ascent to Burgenstock resort. Here, 500 metres above Lake Lucerne you can enjoy stunning panoramas of the lake and surrounding Alps.
There are nine restaurants and bars at Burgenstock, as well as hotels, shops and wellness centres so if you’re looking for an escape from the city below, this is a great choice.
Brienz Rothorn Bahn
- Regular adult price CHF 92 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
Certain the days of travelling on a steam-powered railway were gone? Not so! The Brienz Rothorn railway has been servicing customers since 1892, and it’s the only steam rack railway that runs daily (from early June to late October).
The glass-topped coaches make it easy to take in all the breathtaking views as you ascend to the Alpine lodge and restaurant at 2266 metres. There you can have lunch or dinner, and even stay the night if you’d like.
If you take the train to the mountain station, there’s a manageable hiking trail to Rothorn’s summit from which you can see 693 peaks on a clear day.
Lungern Turren Bahn
- Regular adult price CHF 33 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
This cable car will take you from the village of Lungern to Turren which lies 1562 feet above sea level. There you’ll find opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and butterfly-watching, along with gorgeous views from Schönbüel of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
There’s a restaurant at Turren with a lovely sun terrace (open in the warmer months). Parents will find a playground for their children, and the more adventurous travellers can enjoy mountain-biking.
If you happen to be in town when there’s a full moon, there are special ‘Full Moon Rides’ offered in the winter. As you can imagine, the view with the full moon as a backdrop is breathtaking.
Urmiberg Cable Car
- Regular adult price CHF 20 / Price with Tell Pass: FREE
Take this cable car from the lovely lakeside town of Brunnen up to 1135 metres above sea level at Urmiberg. From here you can set off on a number of hikes to explore the Rigi area and enjoy stunning views, and there are biking trails for those interested.
But if you’d rather just appreciate the sights, you can sit down at the restaurant or have a barbecue instead.
What are some of the attractions that offer discounts with the Tell Pass?
As mentioned above the Tell Pass Lucerne card also provides between 20-50% off entry to a range of attractions in the Lake Lucerne Region.
While it’s impossible to list all the fantastic places to go in Lucerne where you can receive a discount with your Tell Pass, I have listed a few attractions below.
Lucerne offers so much to see and do year round and the Tell Pass makes visiting all the major sites very affordable.
Lucerne City Tour
With your very own Lucerne travel guide, explore all the top tourist sites in the city of Lucerne during this 2-hour guided tour. Sights you will see during this walking tour include the Chapel Bridge with the octagonal water tower, the Jesuit Church, Musegg Wall and the KKL.
You will also learn about the city’s history through interesting facts and stories.
- Regular adult price: CHF 20 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 20% off the Lucerne City Tour.
Glasi Hergiswil (Hergiswil Glassworks)
One of the top things to do in Lucerne is to visit Switzerland’s last remaining glassworks where glass is still blown and shaped by hand. Here you can visit the award-winning “Formed by Fire” exhibition, watch glassmakers produce glass at the furnace, see the seven-metre tall marble run and see the only glass labyrinth in Switzerland.
- Regular adult price: CHF 7 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 20% off the entry into the Glasi Hergiswil.
Nature and Animal Park, Goldau
Spread over 42 hectares, at the Natur and Animal Park Goldau you can see over 100 native European species of animals. Animals that call this park home include deer, wolves, bears, lynxes, birds and many more.
During your visit to the park, you can see many feeding demonstrations as well as visit the area where deer and mouflons roam free and can be fed and petted.
- Regular adult price: CHF 20 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 20% off the entry in Summer and 50% off in Winter.
Come and visit the 300-year-old Höllgrotten caves with their fairytale-like stalactites, stalagmites and underground lakes. LED lighting allows visitors to experience the varying shapes and colours of the caves.
Be sure to download the audio guide on your phone before you commence your tour.
The Caves are open from 1 April to 31 October.
- Regular adult price: CHF 12 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 25% off the entry into Höllgrotten Baar.
Alpamare Water Park
Rain, hail, or shine – or even snow for that matter – the Alpamare Water Park is open 365 days a year no matter what the weather holds.
This water park has both indoor and outdoor pools and eleven different water slides as well as a spa, sauna and massage treatments on offer.
- Regular adult price: CHF 40.50 for 4-hour visit / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 25% off the entry into the Alpamare Water Park.
Swiss Chocolate Adventure
At the Swiss Chocolate Adventure (located at the Swiss Transport Museum), you can learn everything there is to know about how the famous Switzerland chocolate is made as you travel around in praline shaped buggies to a variety of different exhibits.
Along the way you learn about the discovery, origin, manufacture and transport of chocolate as well as see, hear, smell and taste. Of course, the best part is getting to taste test the chocolate!
- Regular adult ticket price: CHF 16 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 20% off the entry into the Swiss Chocolate Adventure.
Other discounts available to Tell Pass holders include:
Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden)
Regular adult price: CHF 15 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 20% off single admission prices.
Feel the Air Paragliding
CHF 20 discount on various tandem flights for Tell Pass holders.
Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum (more info here)
Regular adult price: CHF 32 / With the Tell Pass, you will receive 25% off admission prices.
Suggested 3-Day Lucerne Itinerary
Purchasing the Tell Pass can save you a considerable amount of money if you are spending a few days in Lucerne and the surrounding area as this suggested 3-day itinerary shows.
Day 1 – Lucerne Sights and Stanserhorn
Lucerne City guided tour – Regular price CHF20, with Tell Pass CHF 16
Swiss Chocolate Adventure – Regular price CHF 16, with Tell Pass CHF 13
Excursion to Stanserhorn – Regular price CHF 91.20, with Tell Pass FREE
Day 2 – Lake Lucerne Cruise and Mt. Rigi Excursion
Excursion to Mt. Rigi via boat, cogwheel train and cableway – Regular price CHF 117, with Tell Pass FREE
Day 3 – Interlaken and Brienz Rothorn Excursion
GoldenPass Line train (Luzern-Interlaken Express) to Interlaken and return – Regular price CHF 66 (2nd class), with Tell Pass FREE
Brienz Rothorn Bahn – Regular price CHF 96, with Tell Pass FREE
Regular price for above activities/excursions – CHF 402.20
Cost of 3-day Tell Pass* and discounted activities – CHF 239 (CHF 210 + CHF 16 + CHF 13)
YOU SAVE – CHF 163.20*
(*Applies to Summer Pass)
Tell Pass vs Swiss Pass vs Individual Tickets
The Swiss Travel Pass is, of course, another fantastic pass you can purchase to travel around Switzerland. If you plan on visiting other regions within Switzerland, then in most cases the Swiss Travel Pass is going to offer much better value for you.
However, if your trip is simply to explore the Lake Lucerne Region, the Tell Pass most likely will be the better option.
One thing is for sure though, either the Tell Pass or the Swiss Travel Pass will provide much better value than individual transport tickets. When it comes to purchasing individual tickets for Switzerland train trips, there are many variables that determine the price.
The main factor is when you book the tickets as well as the timing of the actual train travel. Booking last minute tickets tends to be the most expensive, which means you can’t be very flexible with your travel.
The benefit of having either the Tell Pass or the Swiss Travel Pass is that not only will you save money (which I can pretty much guarantee you will), but you can also be more flexible with your travel.
You could even simply turn up at the station and jump on a train – however, keep in mind that a seat may not always be available for you if you don’t make an advance booking.
Also remember that with the Tell Pass you also receive discounts at a range of attractions and with the Swiss Travel Pass, many attractions are fully included so that you will get free entry into a range of places as well.
You can compare the value of the Tell Pass and Swiss Travel Pass to see which is the best value for your itinerary by clicking here.
To determine whether the Tell Pass vs Swiss Pass vs individual tickets are best, I recommend you complete the following tasks:
- list out all the individual train, bus, boat and cable car trips in Switzerland you intend to take and using the SBB site find out how much it would cost for point to point tickets (just keep in mind that the cost of tickets tend to increase the closer to the time of travel);
- list out all the attractions you plan on visiting and look up the admission costs on the attraction’s websites (or refer to the prices listed above); and
- add up the totals from above and compare this total to the cost of the Tell Pass or Swiss Travel Pass options mentioned above.
If the cost of the individual transport tickets and attractions you plan on visiting are more than the passes, then you will benefit from purchasing a pass.
Where is the best place to buy a Tell Pass?
While you can buy your Tell Pass at over 80 sales outlets across Central Switzerland, to start using your pass as soon as you arrive in the Lake Lucerne Region, the best place to buy Tell pass is online.
CLICK HERE to purchase your Tell Pass and then, as soon as you arrive in Central Switzerland you can start taking advantage of all the benefits that come with the pass.
PLEASE NOTE: The Tell Pass is sent to customers in hard copy format by post. When ordering, please allow sufficient time for the Pass to reach you by Standard Delivery. Alternatively, you can collect your Tell Pass from Zurich Airport – in this case, please place your order at least 10 days before you wish to collect it.
All excursion prices quoted are regular return adult fares starting and finishing in Lucerne unless otherwise noted.
To read our full guide to Lucerne > click here.
[This article was originally published on my other website Holidays to Europe.]
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