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ECHO Rails’ Guide to Swiss Travel Passes

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ECHO Rails’ Guide to Swiss Travel Passes

Are you planning holidays to Switzerland soon? This country of mountains and cheese is also famous for its near perfect public transport system. Even a short stay is a perfect opportunity to milk its benefits.

National railways offer a range of Swiss travel passes dedicated to guests from abroad. But the selection of the right pass and ticket can be daunting. That’s why we prepared a short guide to Swiss travel passes.

bernina express day trip

What kind of tickets and passes can I choose from?

Switzerland has several options for travel passes and combined tickets. Depending on the duration of your stay and your needs, you can choose between:

  • Swiss Travel Pass: formerly known as Swiss Pass, this travel pass offers unlimited connections countrywide. You can choose between tickets valid respectively for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 consecutive days.
  • Swiss Travel Pass Flex: similarly to basic Swiss Travel Pass, this travel pass offers unlimited connections in Switzerland for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 days. With this option you can freely select on which days you’d like to travel within one month.
  • Swiss Travel Pass Youth: with the same periods and area of validity, this pass offers 30% discount to everyone under 25.
  • Swiss Family Card: this allows children between ages 6 and 16 accompanied by at least one parent to travel for free. You can order it together with any of the Swiss Travel Passes.
  • Half Fare Card: it’s a great option if you’re staying in Switzerland for longer. With Half Fare Card you’re entitled to 50% off the original fares on trains, buses, cable cars, funiculars, boats and other means of public transport. 
  • RailAway: SBB offer countless options for day excursions. Combine your ski pass and train tickets for a day of fun in the snow. Explore the regional cultural attractions with a combined travel and admission tickets to Swiss cheese, chocolate or beer factories. 
  • Regional passes: local tourism offices offer passes that cover the most important connections in a given area. For instance, Jungfrau Travel Pass allows you to move freely Interlaken, Laurterbrunnen, Wengen and offers 50% off the Jungfrau Bahn ticket price. In combination with Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card, you can obtain Jungfrau Pass at a discounted price.

ECHO Rails’ recommendations:

  • Depending on your travel plans and preferences, we recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass or Travel Pass Flex. It covers most of the key connections in Switzerland. It also offers discounted prices on special mountain experiences. To us, it simply pays off.
  • Travel plans can change – and so does the Swiss Travel Pass. You can extend the validity of your pass for an extra few days at an appropriate fee.
  • Always carry your travel pass with you. You can install the SBB app and upload it there, show a PDF document or a print out. You will need to show the ticket regularly to the board personnel on all means of transport. 
how to travel in Switzerland by train

What is the area of validity of Swiss Travel Passes?

Swiss travel passes are valid countrywide for all public means of transport. Those include:

  • trains
  • buses
  • boats
  • cable cars

Swiss travel passes allow you to simply hop on any train any time and travel to your next destination.

While most of the standard city-city connections are fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, it’s not the case with many special sightseeing and tourist lines. 

In those cases the Swiss Travel Pass entitles you to 50% or 25% discount on tickets and admission fees. For instance, Pilatus cogwheel train is not covered by the pass but allows you to purchase tickets with 50% reduction.

The area of validity of Swiss travel passes and details on reductions can be found on this map.

panoramic trains in Switzerland

What are the advantages of Swiss travel passes?

Traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass brings you more benefits than unlimited travel across the country. You can also enjoy:

  • unlimited travel on panoramic trains such as Glacier Express, Goldenpass Line or Bernina Express (seat reservation or other surcharges may apply)
  • unlimited travel on public transport in 90 Swiss cities
  • free admission to over 500 museums
  • peak experiences on Rigi and Stoos
  • 50% discounts on mountain other regional leisure offers
  • and more.

ECHO Rails’ recommendations:

Museum Pass included in the Swiss Travel Pass enables you to see one of the best exhibitions in Switzerland free of charge. We have picked our favorites:

  • Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt
  • St. Gall Abbey Library
  • Swiss National Museum in Zurich
  •  Museum Of Transport in Lucerne (50% reduction)
  • Chillon Castle near Montreux
swiss mountains cogwheel trains

How do I book the Swiss Travel Pass?

You have several options to book a Swiss Travel Pass.

  • online: you can purchase your ticket online, for instance via Switzerland Travel Centre. Note that you will need to provide a valid ID.
  • at the counter: you can purchase your passes at every SBB station at the ticket counter, including Zurich or Geneva airport train stations.
  • at tourist offices in Zurich, Berne, Geneva and Lucerne.

Note that there are usually no discounts available for Swiss Travel Passes. 

best jungfrau hiking trails

Custom Switzerland Rail Tours With ECHO Rails

If you’re not sure which Swiss Travel Pass would suit you best or would like advice on your travel planning, we will be more than happy to help.

ECHO Rails travel services offer planning support for an unforgettable holiday by rail.

Whether you’re coming here for your honeymoon, a family holiday or a friend’s trip, let us help you turn a regular vacation into a trip of a lifetime.

Our insider knowledge and expertise make us stand out among other tour operators. Based in the lovely city of Lucerne, we have hands-on experience in travelling and guiding people in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

Simply call us, send us an email or fill out our “Design your tour” form. Once we get your request, we will proceed either with asking you for more details or proceeding directly with creating a custom itinerary. 

You can also choose one of our ready-made private rail tours and customize it to your liking. 

At ECHO Rails we go above and beyond to make private Switzerland rail tours unique. Let us show you Switzerland like you’ve never seen before and experience its authentic culture. 

Don’t wait, book custom Switzerland rail tour with us!

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