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Types of Swiss Travel Passes Explained (Guide to select right Swiss Travel Pass)

Updated: Oct 15, 2023


Swiss travel Pass

Switzerland is the ultimate tressure for Travellers who love spending time with nature. Switzerland has a diverse range of experiences to offer for its visitors; from Hiking through the scenic Alpine Meadows to Swimming in its calm turquoise blue lakes, everything is equally magical. Switzerland also hosts the world’s best scenic mountain train Journeys, Unique cogwheel Train experiences, Gondola rides through the clouds, amazing boat rides through the lakes, etc.

Switzerland has a unique travel system that connects some of the most challenging destinations ever accessible to visitors. Therefore, traveling through Switzerland comes with a heavy price. To make travel affordable in Switzerland, the Swiss government has created the Swiss Travel Pass system which enables its visitors to Roam freely in the country for a limited Period of time at fixed prices. The Swiss Travel Pass is a time- and money-saving option that has been around for a while. It is the Swiss equivalent of the Eurail Pass. The Swiss Travel Pass allows you to travel at your own pace, without worrying about booking tickets in advance or paying extra fees. All you need to do is show your pass and hop on any train or bus!


There are different types of Swiss Travel Passes available in Switzerland and this article covers everything you need to know about them. From details about When to buy, their

validity to information on how to buy one and which pass is best for you.


So Let's dive right in.


Things to know before choosing Swiss Pass:

Before going into further details, there are a few things you should know before making any decision on buying a Swiss Travel pass.


1. Make your Itinerary ready before buying any Travel pass in Switzerland

If you have your itinerary ready, then it will be easier to choose the right travel pass for the right duration. Swiss travel passes vary from the region; therefore, it is imperative to define the itinerary before selecting any travel pass.


2. Find out ticket prices of Point-to-point ticket

Based on your itinerary, find out point-to-point ticket prices from SBB website for all trips included in your itinerary. It will be useful to make a comparison of point-to-point ticket prices and different Swiss travel passes.


3. Be choosy about the Mountain excursions

Mountain trains and cableways are costly in Switzerland. There are different types of passes available that cover mountain excursions of the dedicated area. You will exhaust your pockets in mountain excursions if you do not select the right Travel pass in Switzerland. Therefore, you need to plan which mountain excursions you are going to visit before buying any Swiss travel pass.


Types of Swiss Travel Passes:

Following are the main travel passes available in Switzerland. We will go into further details one by one: -

1. Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Flex Pass:

The cable car ride included in Swiss travel Pass

The Swiss travel pass is the most popular travel pass in Switzerland. It covers the entire area of the country for unlimited train, bus, and boat travel including public transport in the cities. This pass is available for 3, 4, 8, and 15 days consecutively. However, if you need a pass for Non-consecutive days, then you can go for a “Swiss travel Flex pass”. It is slightly costlier than a Swiss travel pass but it comes with the advantage of Non-consecutive days of your choice. Swiss travel pass mainly includes the following: -

  • Unlimited train, bus, and boat travel including public transport in the cities.

  • The Swiss travel pass is Valid for Fixed and consecutive days. Also, a Swiss flex pass is available for non-consecutive days of your choice.

  • Free entrance to more than 500 Museums

  • Includes mountain excursions of Rigi, Stanserhorn, Stoos, Brunni, and Klewenalp.

  • Up to 50% discount on most of the mountain excursions.

  • Also includes scenic train journeys such as Bernina Express, Gotthard Panorama Express, Glacier Express, etc.

  • Discounts on other regional passes for holders of the Swiss Travel Pass

  • Click here to know details on the validity of a Swiss travel pass

When to buy a Swiss Travel Pass?


The Answer is quite clear, a Swiss Travel pass is worth buying if you are planning to explore a large area of Switzerland mostly by trains, buses, and boats. However, a Swiss travel pass may not be a great deal if you are also planning to visit the mountains excursions that are not fully included in the Swiss travel pass. Swiss travel pass allows you to avail discounts on most mountain excursions. However, there are other types of passes available at the same or less price which fully cover different mountain excursions. In the following section, we will see it in detail.


Where to buy a Swiss Travel Pass?

Swiss Travel Pass can be purchased online or at the tourist offices of the airport or at the ticket offices in the train station.



2. Swiss Half fare Card

Swiss Travel Pass system

Swiss half-fare card allows you to book trains, buses, and boats at a 50% reduction in price. If you are planning for a long duration in Switzerland, then a Swiss half-fare card can be a deal for you. The key inclusions of the Swiss half-fare card are the following: -

  • Unlimited tickets for buses, trains, boats, and public transport in cities with a 50% reduction in price.

  • Up to 50% discount on most mountain Excursions.

  • 50% discounts on other regional passes if clubbed with a Half fare card.

  • Click here for the detailed map for inclusions of the Swiss half-fare card.

  • Swiss half-fare card is valid for 1 month for tourists.


When to buy a Swiss half-fare card?

A Swiss halhalf-faref fare card costs around 120 CHF and is valid for 1 month. Therefore, if you are planning to stay in Switzerland for a longer period then this pass might save you a considerable amount of money. To find out if it’s worth buying a Swiss half-fare card, follow the instructions in the following steps:


Step 1: Check out the price of Point-to-Point tickets for your trip included in your Itinerary.


Step 2: Reduce the price by 50% (some Mountain excursions are available with a 25% discount with a Swiss half-fare card. Check here for detailed validity of the Swiss half-fare card) and add the price of Half fare card (i.e., CHF 120) in it to get the total amount.


Step 3: if you are holding a Half fare card, you are also offered discounts on other regional passes in Switzerland. Therefore, as per your Itinerary, check the prices of relevant regional passes of your use with the applicable discount (Around 35%) and add the price of the Half fare card (i.e., CHF 120) in it to get the total amount.


Step 3: Compare the prices of your overall journey considering step 1, step 2, and step 3 and go for the cheapest one. Usually, you will end up buying Half fare card.


Where to buy a Swiss half-fare card?


Swiss Half fare cards can be purchased online or at tourist offices at airports or at ticket booking offices at train stations.



3. Bernese Oberland Regional Pass:

Bernese Oberland Regional Pass. The type of Swiss travel Pass.

The Bernese Oberland Regional Pass is a Travel Pass dedicated to an entire area covering the Bernese Oberland region. This pass is a great deal for mountain lovers and hikers as it covers the majority of mountain excursions in the Bernese Oberland region. Some of the famous mountain excursions like Jungfraujoch Top and Schilthorn are available at discounted prices.


The key highlights of this pass are the following: -

  • Unlimited travel by trains, buses, and boats in the Bernese Oberland region.

  • Includes more than 25 cable cars and mountain railways. Some of the mountain excursions are available at discounted prices (such as Jungfraujoch top, Schilthorn, etc)

  • This pass is typically available for warmer days from April 1st till October 31st.

  • Available for 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 consecutive days

  • Discounts and benefits on many leisure activities and museums

  • 50% discounts on Holder of Swiss half fare card.

  • Click here for more on the area of validity of the Bernese Oberland Regional Pass

When to buy Bernese Oberland Regional Pass?

The answer is quite simple, as per your itinerary, if you are going to spend more time in the Bernese Oberland region then it’s always a great deal. The main advantage of this pass is you get free entry in around 25 cable cars and mountain trains which makes it worth buying. With Bernese Oberland pass, you can reach the closest point to Jungfraujoch called Eiger Glacier which is a starting point of some of the best hikes in Switzerland. Tickets to Jungraujoch top from Eiger Glacier are available at discounted prices for Holders of the Bernese Oberland Pass. This pass also covers mountain trains to Grindelwald First, Schynige Platte, Brienzer Rothorn, and many others.


Where to buy Bernese Oberland Regional Pass?

The Bernese Oberland regional pass can be purchased online or at tourist offices at airports or at ticket booking offices at train stations.



4. Tell Pass

Tell Pass Applicable in Lake Lucerne area. The type of Swiss travel Pass.

Tell pass is a travel pass dedicated to the central Switzerland Region centered in the city of Lucerne. Tell Pass is the best and cheaper option to explore central Switzerland and the surrounding mountains.


The main highlights of this pass are the following: -

  • Unlimited travel by Trains, boats, buses, and aerial cableway within the Lake Lucerne region.

  • 20% to 50% discounts on different activities offered by bonus partners including museums and different adventure activities.

  • Tell Pass is available for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 consecutive days.

  • Accompanying children can travel at a fixed price of 30 CHF.

  • Prices in winter are cheaper than in summer (summer tell pass is valid from April to October and winter tell pass is valid from November to March).

  • Click below for more on the area of validity of Tell pass during summer and winter seasons.


When to buy Tell Pass?


Tell Pass is worth buying if you are going to spend more time in the lake lucerne region since all modes of transport including mountain excursions in the region are fully covered with Tell Pass.

However, if your itinerary covers more parts of Switzerland and has limited mountain excursions in the Lucerne region then you may find Swiss travel pass a good deal since it includes some wonderful excursions in the Lucerne region (i.e. Rigi, Stanserhorn, Stoos, Brunni, and Klewenalp). It's all about comparing and finding the cheapest option. Your Itinerary plays an important role in selecting the right Pass.


Where to Buy Tell Pass?


Tell Pass can be purchased online or at tourist offices at airports or at ticket booking offices at train stations



5. Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps

Boat ride included in Lake Genova Regional Pass. The type of Swiss travel Pass

The regional pass of Lake Geneva is dedicated to the Genova region. It offers unlimited travel through buses, trains, boats, and mountain excursions.


The main highlights of the Lake Geneva-Alps regional pass are the following: -

  • Unlimited travel by Trains, boats, buses, and mountain excursions.

  • This pass is available for 5 and 7 days including the following: -

  1. 5 Days: Includes 2 days of unlimited travel + 50% Reduction of prices for the remaining 3 days

  2. 7 Days: Includes 3 days of unlimited travel + 50% Reduction of prices for the remaining 4 days

  • Price reduction for holders of Swiss travel pass

  • The offer is valid throughout the year.

  • Click here for more on the validity of Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps

When to buy Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps?

If you are going to spend more time in the Geneva region, then this pass will save a considerable amount of money for you. Additionally, if you are already holding a Swiss travel pass then you can also avail of discounted prices for this regional pass. Again, the key is your Itinerary. Compare the price and make a decision.


Where to Buy Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps?

You can buy this Regional Pass at the ticket office at the stations or at the landing stages. There are no options to purchase Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps online.


6. Jungfrau Travel Pass

Mountain train ride included in Top of Europe pass. The type of Swiss travel Pass

The Jungfrau Travel Pass is a travel pass dedicated to the Interlaken and Jungfraujoch area. Jungfrau Travel Pass is a replacement for the Top of Europe Pass which was valid in 2022. Top of Europe Pass has been discontinued from 2023. Jungfrau Travel Pass covers the majority of mountain Railways, trains, and buses in the Jungfrau area (means Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, etc.). The advantage of the Jungfrau travel pass is the reduced price to reach Jungraujoch top from Eigergletscher. The discounted price for the return journey is usually 63 CHF, but during peak season from June, July, and August months, the discounted price is 75 CHF for the return journey.


The main highlights of the Top of Europe Pass are the following: -

  • Unlimited travel by trains, buses, mountain trains, and cableways within the area of validity, except Jungraujoch Top and Schilthorn. Tickets to Jungraujoch Top from Eigergletscher are available at a reduced price and tickets to Schilthorn are available at a 25% discount on the regular price.

  • The pass is valid for 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 consecutive days.

  • Accompanying children can travel at a fixed price of 30 CHF.

  • The pass is valid within the area of Interlaken and Jungfraujoch. Click here for more on the area of validity for the Top of Europe Pass.

  • The Pass is available at a discounted price for holders of Swiss Travel pass and Swiss half fare card.

  • 10% discounts in Top of Europe shops in the region.

When to Buy Jungfrau Travel Pass?

If you are spending more time in the Jungfraujoch area and planning to visit Jungfraujoch top, then this pass could save you some Money. However, if your Itinerary also includes some mountain excursions which are not within the area of validity of the Jungfrau Travel Pass, then you can probably go for the Regional Pass of Bernese Oberland (which also covers the entire area of Jungfrau Travel Pass with the only exception of a less discount for Jungfraujoch top). Again, it depends on your Itinerary. Compare and go for the cheapest option.


Where to Buy Jungfrau Travel Pass?

Jungfrau Travel Pass can be purchased online or at tourist offices at airports or at ticket booking offices at train stations.



7. Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass

Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass is a new travel Pass introduced in 2023 that offers unlimited travel in the Jungfrau area including unlimited trips to Jungfraujoch Top. The Unlimited Jungfrau summer pass is the only travel pass available that includes unlimited trips to Jungfraujoch without any additional cost. Additionally, it also covers unlimited trips to Schilthorn.

Following are the main highlights of the Jungfrau Summer Pass:-

  • Unlimited travel by trains, buses, mountain trains, and cableways within the area of validity including Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn.

  • The pass is valid for the period from 07.04.2023 to 30.11.2023 for unlimited travel. Which means you can travel unlimited for more than 7 months.

  • The Pass is available at a fixed price of 499 CHF.

  • The discounted price for Holders of Swiss travel pass and Swiss half-fare card is 399 CHF.

  • Accompanying children can travel at a fixed price of 30 CHF.

  • The pass is valid within the area of Interlaken and Jungfraujoch. Click here for more on the area of validity for the Top of Europe Pass.

  • 10% discounts in Top of Europe shops in the region.

When to buy Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass?

Jungfrau area has a relatively higher potential for Hikers and nature lovers than any other place in Switzerland. If you are not in hurry and are ready to spend more than 7 days in the Jungfrau area, then the Unlimited Jungfrau summer pass is only a great deal for you. usually, this is not the case for everyone. If you are visiting the Jungfrau area for less than 7 days, then it is better to buy Jungfrau Travel Pass or Bernese Oberland Regional Pass (whichever is cheaper as per your itinerary).


Where to Buy Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass?

You can directly purchase your Jungfrau Summer Pass offline at the Jungfrau Railway ticket offices. There is a possibility to make transactions online, but the physical pass needs to be picked up from Jungfrau Railway ticket offices. You need to present the reference number of your online transaction to the ticket counter to collect your pass.



Other types of Passes in Switzerland with a shorter area of validity:

Train ride included in Matterhorn peak Pass. The type of Swiss travel Pass

In addition to the passes listed above, there are many different types of passes available in Switzerland that are limited to one city or with a very shorter area of validity. You can buy such passes if you are vising only one city and its surrounding area. Some of these limited area validity passes are the following: -


  1. Matterhorn Peak pass

  2. St. Moritz and Pontresina Card

  3. Arosa All-Inclusive card

  4. Appenzeller Holiday card

  5. Saastal Card

  6. Kandersteg MagicBlue Pass

  7. Chur Guest Card

  8. Ticino Ticket

  9. Montreux Riviera card

  10. Interlaken Guest Card

  11. Bern Ticket

  12. Lucerne Visitor card

  13. Geneva Transport card

  14. Basel card

  15. Zurich card

Takeaway

Choosing the right Swiss travel pass is easy. The first thing you need to do is “Make your Itinerary ready before selecting any travel pass”. Once your itinerary is ready then make a comparison with the different passes we have covered in this article and then finally go for the cheapest option you reach.


We hope that you liked this article and it will help you to plan your trip to Switzerland and select the right Swiss Travel Pass. Check out more related articles below.

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