The mighty mountains blanketed with snow, the harmony of lake waters, the euphoric nightlife and the hallucinating landscapes of Switzerland invite millions of tourists around the year. To add to the beauty of the already picturesque country, the Swiss Travel System has a master trick up its sleeve, called the Swiss Travel Pass, that never fails to allure its international visitors.
1. What is the Swiss Travel Pass?
Switzerland goes a step beyond its European counterparts and offers visitors with a Swiss Travel Pass, which encompasses all the main modes of public transport. This not only includes the railway network, but also buses, boats, tramways and so on. The Pass is strictly for foreign visitors, the benefits of which cannot be availed by residents of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
2. What are the types of Swiss Travel Passes?
With the intricate network of 27,000 kilometres covered by the Swiss Transport System, the Travel Passes are categorised to cater to different strata of travelers.
- Swiss Travel Pass Flex – The flex pass entitles you to an unlimited travel on any of the Swiss public transport system for a period of 3, 4, 8, or 15 days of your choice within 1 month. This pass is a perfect match for those who prefer to take short breaks to explore the country at their leisure.
- Swiss Travel Pass Consecutive – The consecutive pass is designed for fast-paced travellers who wish to make the most of their limited period in Switzerland, by offering them an unlimited travel on the Swiss public transport system for a period of 3, 4, 8, or 15 consecutive days.
- Swiss Half Fare Card – The half card is a boon for those who choose not to purchase a pass that restricts their travel to a specific number of days. The half fare card, as the name suggests, enables travellers to purchase an unlimited number of tickets at a discount of 50%. The validity of this card is 1 month.
- Swiss Transfer Ticket – A unique concept, the Swiss Travel Ticket is a return ticket from any of the borders or airports of Switzerland to the destination of your choice. This ticket serves best for those who would like to spend their time only in one location. The validity of this ticket is 1 month.
- Combi – You are further benefitted with the privilege of a half fare clubbed with your Flex Pass or Transfer Ticket, the validity of which is for 1 month. For further details, take a look at http://www.swissrailways.com/.
3. Where can I buy a Swiss Travel Pass?
The easiest way to purchase your pass is by doing so online. If you are confused about the kind of pass that would suit your needs the best, you may visit www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/tickets/ticketfinder-en.html. All you have to do is punch in your basic travel details and the website will generate a suitable type of pass for you.
Once you know what you want, all you have to do is log on to www.swissrailways.com or www.swiss-pass.ch and buy your selected pass.
You need your pass prior to departure; hence you may print it at home or request for the pass to be shipped to your doorstep, with delivery and shipping charges as applicable.
Contrarily, you may also purchase your pass at any Swiss station and hop on to a train, bus, boat or tram.
It must be noted that Swiss Transfer Tickets cannot be purchased in Switzerland. They have to be bought online beforehand.
4. Do I need to make a reservation?
The boon of travelling domestically in Switzerland is that reservations are not required. As long as your pass is valid and you have entered the day and date of your travel correctly on the pass, you’re good to go. Find any vacant seat and its yours.
Reservations are essential if you’re travelling on any of the scenic or special trains, such as: The Bernina Express, The Glacier Express, etc. International and overnight trains also require a mandatory reservation. The reservation charges are over and above the cost of the ticket. You may make your reservation on the respective websites of these special trains.
5. What is the price of the Swiss Travel Pass?
The Swiss Travel Pass is comparatively more economical, given the several offers and benefits that come along with it. Passes are available in 1st class and 2nd class.
To give you a basic range of rates, an adult 2nd class Flex Pass for a minimum of 3 days, costs CHF 240, whereas a 1st class pass for 15 days comes up to CHF 775.
For an average adult, a 2nd class Consecutive Pass of 3 days would cost up to CHF 210 and a 1st class Consecutive Pass of 15 days would round up to about CHF 700.
You may visit www.swiss-pass.ch/ to get a better understanding of the fares.
6. What are the price benefits offered by the Swiss Travel Pass?
Other than the Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi and Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi, there are a bunch of offers that make your time in the Land of Alps not only fulfilling, but also pocket-friendly. Here’s why:
- Swiss Family Card – The Free Swiss Family Card is sure to enhance your family vacation manifold. Under this card, children below the age of 16 can travel for free, as long as they are accompanied by at least one parent, who holds a Swiss Travel ticket. Infants below the age of 6 can travel for free, without the need for a Family Card.
- Child Discount – For all the children below the age of 16 travelling alone are eligible for a 50% discount on all the tickets that fall under the Swiss Travel System.
- Travel Bonuses – The Swiss Travel Pass enables its holders with a free access to over 450 museums within the country. The pass can also be used to avail discounted rates on mountain railways, cable cars, etc. It must be noted that utilising any of these bonuses is equivalent to a travel day on your pass.
7. What are the amenities provided on Swiss trains?
- The Swiss trains are known for their comfort, reliability and clockwork punctuality. In terms of 1st class and 2nd class, there isn’t much of a difference other than the quality of seats and legroom. Hence, it is recommended that you opt for a 2nd class pass if your budget is tight. For those who wish to travel with fewer people around or are on a work trip, the 1st class might fit the bill for you.
- Though internet connection on-board is not available a majority of times, Swiss trains offer free wi-fi connectivity at the larger stations within the country.
- Additionally, the Swiss trains are extremely pet-friendly and let you travel with you pet for half of the 2nd class fare. For longer distances, the Swiss railway also offers a Dog Day card which proves to be more economical.
- With a Swiss Bike Card, you can also carry your bike on-board with you on most Swiss trains.
8. What is the baggage allowance on Swiss Trains?
Swiss trains have no restrictions on baggage when it comes to weight and size. In case of heavier luggage, you can store it in the luggage compartment at the entrance of the train. For the rest of your bags, feel free to use the overhead storage.
You may also take advantage of the Express Luggage service available at 30 select stations in Switzerland, that will transport your bags for you, for a nominal fee. You may also request for a door-to-door luggage service that will deliver your belongings to your place of accommodation. If you’re on a day trip, you can travel light by using the luggage lockers at the railway station.