Swiss Travel Pass vs. the Half-Fare Card

Are you planning to go to Switzerland by prepare? Then very first thing: glorious choice! 🙂 Swiss trains are actually a singular expertise and a good way to see the nation (a lot simpler than renting a automotive for instance if you need our humble opinion). In Switzerland, the public transport community is completely developed and you’ll simply attain your vacation spot (typically even quicker than by street!)

The Swiss Pass and the half value card: presentation

swiss pass vs half fare

For overseas vacationers who resolve to go to Switzerland, the prepare is commonly cited as the greatest technique of transportation, and albeit,as a Swiss resident I’ll fortunately affirm that is appropriate! Afterwards, many are a bit afraid of the fairly prohibitive costs of our pricey little nation… I’m not going to inform you right here that touring in Switzerland is reasonable, however I’ll attempt to current you some choices to restrict the prices.

As far as trains are involved, there are primarily 2 options accessible to worldwide vacationers:

  • The half-fare card: Sold at 120 CHF for one month, it lets you profit from all the journeys with a 50% low cost. Very shortly amortized, it may actually be a superb choice!
  • The Swiss Travel Pass: A cross which was 100% designed for vacationers! With this treasured cross, you’ve gotten limitless entry to completely all public transport in the nation. The cross exists in a basic model (from 3 to fifteen consecutive days) or in a flex model (3 to fifteen days for use over a interval of 30 days).

train famille

Big bonus for households: With the Swiss Travel Pass or Half-Fare travelcard, kids as much as the age of 15 journey freed from cost! If the father or mother(s) take a Swiss Travel Pass or Half-Fare travelcard, you possibly can then choose up a Swiss Family Card freed from cost at the ticket workplace on arrival. With this cross, your kids as much as the age of 15 journey freed from cost so long as they’re accompanied by a father or mother with a legitimate cross or ticket!

Here are the costs of the Swiss Travel Pass 2023 (December 2022 costs):

2nd class 1st class
Swiss Travel Pass 3 days 232 CHF 369 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 3 days “Flex” 267 CHF 424 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 4 days 281 CHF 447 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 4 days “Flex” 323 CHF 514 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 6 days 359 CHF 570 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 6 days “Flex” 384 CHF 610 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 8 days 389 CHF 617 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 8 days “Flex” 409 CHF 649 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 15 days 429 CHF 675 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass 15 days “Flex” 449 CHF 706 CHF
Where to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass

To purchase your Swiss Travel Pass we encourage you to undergo the Getyourguide web site. Why? 2 causes… the first one being that it lets you assist us in our work on this weblog. By shopping for via Getyourguide you permit us to earn a small fee which contributes to permit us to give you these free, up to date and ad-free contents. All our contents have been written independently with out partnership with anybody.

Second level, and never the least. In addition to supporting us, shopping for through Getyourguide lets you pay the cross just a few CHF much less (sure, it’s cheaper than on the official web site) and you may cancel your buy without cost till 24 hours earlier than the journey (unexpected occasions, change of plans, and so on).

The Swiss journey cross is for you if…

Designed for overseas vacationers visiting Switzerland, the Swiss Travel Pass is the final strategy to get round the nation and luxuriate in many museums. The Swiss journey cross is dear, however it affords the enormous benefit of being a 100% hassle-free answer. Once you’ve gotten the cross in hand, you possibly can take any regional prepare, intercity, bus, postal bus, streetcar and even boat. The solely exception can be the few panoramic trains in Switzerland like the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express or the Gothard Express. The Swiss Travel cross is legitimate on these strains, however you’ll have to add the finances for the seat reservation (obligatory). If you need to learn extra about panoramic trains in Switzerland and which of them we advocate the most, try this weblog put up. Concerning the cable vehicles and gondolas, the Swiss Travel Pass works like a swiss GA, which implies that for the so-called public providers, your journeys might be freed from cost, but when it’s a personal firm you’ll have to pay a ticket. Having the Swiss Travel Pass will nevertheless provide you with entry to the “half price” fare.

The fairly giant finances related to the Swiss Travel Pass implies that to “amortize” it, it is advisable to plan to journey fairly a bit and/or go to a number of museums all through the nation. To show you how to think about the finances, I’ve created 3 examples of itineraries in Switzerland at the finish of the article and I evaluate the value relying on whether or not you’re taking the Swiss Travel Pass, the flex model, a half-fare card or in case you merely purchase your tickets at full value.

The museums included in the Swiss Travel Pass

There are about 500 museums included in the Swiss Travel Pass, so I gained’t make a whole listing right here 😉 But in case you are fascinated about the latter, you possibly can go and have a look at the full listing right here.

Here is a listing of the most well-known and standard museums in Switzerland which are included in the Swiss Travel Pass (with their commonplace entrance payment) so to get a primary impression of how a lot you’d save by having the cross:

musées suisse swiss travel pass
  • Musée Olympique de Lausanne, included, 20 CHF
  • Château de Chillon, included, 13,5 CHF
  • H.R Giger Museum, Gruyère, included, 12,5 CHF
  • Gruyère Castle, included, 12 CHF
  • Kunstmuseum, Bâle, included, 26 CHF
  • Paper museum, Bâle, included, 15 CHF
  • Art Museum, Zurich, included, 23 CHF
  • Transportation Museum, Lucerne,included, 32 CHF
  • Museum of ethnography, Genève, included, 12 CHF
  • International Museum of Watchmaking, la Chaux-de-Fonds, included, 15 CHF
  • Ballenberg, included, 32 CHF
  • Barryland, Martigny, included, 12 CHF
  • Fondation Gianadda, Martigny, included 18 CHF
  • and so on…

Just with these 13 museums (that are all actually nice), we already arrive at a invoice of greater than 240 CHF. I’m positive you gained’t do all of them, however let’s simply say that in case you’re planning on doing a few of them, it’s a good suggestion to depend these charges in your calculations to see if the Swiss Pass is price it for you.

The Swiss journey Pass Flex: what if the dearer cross might prevent cash?

This sentence could appear very paradoxical I grant you… however preserve studying, I promise you it’s true! 🙂 In truth, what it is advisable to know is that the Swiss Travel Pass was actually designed to make life simpler for vacationers and to keep away from you having to ask your self questions. Once you’ve gotten the Swiss Travel Pass in your pocket, you possibly can transfer round freely with out serious about costs or tickets, go to the overwhelming majority of museums in the nation and luxuriate in reductions with companion eating places and shops.

In quick, in case you don’t need to trouble and your finances is comparatively versatile, then sure, take the Swiss Travel Pass in your total keep.

Nevertheless, on a private foundation, I typically advocate to our readers who resolve to return and go to Switzerland to take the Flex cross in the event that they keep just one week. Why do I do that? For the easy purpose that in case you resolve to spend a complete day climbing, you’ll find yourself “burning” a day of Swiss Pass for a easy transport by postal bus or cable automotive…

It clearly depends upon your type of journey, however in case you don’t plan to maneuver each day over lengthy distances and/or go to many museums each day, it could be extra fascinating to take a shorter Flex cross. Let me clarify… Let’s say you resolve to return to Switzerland for 7-8 days. The basic Swiss Travel cross would price you 389 CHF (second class) or 617 CHF (first-class). But if throughout your week you solely plan to go to 2-3 locations (say Zurich, Zermatt and Davos to call 3 of the most well-known ones) then it could be potential to take the 3-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex (267 CHF in 2nd class or 424 CHF in 1st class). With the 3-day cross, you’ll use it for the days when you find yourself doing the lengthy distance distance travels and will embrace stops en route in different cities for museums. During the days in Zurich, Zermatt and Davos, you possibly can full the cross with the buy of particular person tickets to take a streetcar or a chairlift if wanted… It’s guess that you just gained’t spend the distinction simply to take 3 buses/trams or a gondola 😉

Note : The longer you keep, the much less advantageous it’s to take the Flex model. If you come for 15 days, it’s higher to take the basic!

The half-fare card is extra appropriate for you if…

The half-fare card prices 120 CHF and is legitimate for one month. This provide might be actually advantageous for you in case you are planning a visit in Switzerland that includes just a few lengthy journeys between locations after which a number of days on web site taking occasional regional transport (bus, streetcar, trains for just a few stops or boats) and so on.

bateau de la cgn

The different facet that will tip the stability in favor of the half value can be in case you are not fascinated about museums.

Last however not least: your anticipation! Because take care of the half-fare card might be to purchase day passes at CHF 29 (half-fare value) and to make use of them on the days of your large journeys. These playing cards are on sale 60 days earlier than the date of the journey. To get the greatest value, you should purchase them as quickly as potential.

The Half-Fare travelcard might be bought immediately from the official SBB web site (no cheaper value through Getyourguide)

But watch out, this methodology might be the most economical however it requires quite a lot of planning and anticipation and particularly it doesn’t permit any flexibility on the climate or an unexpected occasion in your journey (Supersaver day tickets are neither refundable nor exchangeable). To have all the data on how one can purchase the Supersaver tickets, go to this text.

Examples of itineraries and price comparability with Swiss Travel Pass vs. half-fare card

In order to decide on the greatest cross or subscription for you, my greatest recommendation can be to plan your itinerary in addition to potential (particularly the lengthy journeys) and to consider what number of days you’ll spend in every place. Once you’ve gotten this data, you possibly can go on the SBB web site and have a look at how a lot your totally different tickets would price (+ add any museums you wish to go to). From there, it will likely be simpler so that you can make an concept of the most tailored system.

Itinerary in Switzerland: Discover the most lovely cities in Switzerland in 7 days

In this primary state of affairs we are going to assume that you just need to go to the cities of Switzerland and luxuriate in some excursions. In this primary instance, we have now determined to not journey “too much”, that means that we keep in the a part of the plateau between Geneva and Zurich. The prepare journeys are all comparatively quick (max 3h for Zurich-Geneva):

8 jours suisse

Day 1: Geneva (metropolis tour, ethnographic museum)

Day 2: Lausanne (go to of the metropolis and Olympic museum + detour in the vineyards of Lavaux at the finish of the day (UNESCO)

Eiger et Mönch
au pied de l’Eiger, Mönch et Jungfrau

Day 3-4: Bern + Interlaken (previous city and prepare to Interlaken. On the second day you possibly can for instance go to Lauterbrunnen for climbing)

Day 5: Lucerne (go to of the metropolis and the bridge, transport museum)

Day 6: Basel (go to of the previous city and artwork museum)

Day 7: Zurich (previous city, artwork museum and boat journey on the lake)

Day 8: return to Geneva by prepare with a cease in Fribourg or Neuchâtel)

This very cultural itinerary is usually an instance of a case the place the query of taking a Swiss Travel cross mustn’t even come up… And but… the distances being comparatively quick, the benefit is especially on the museums. If you solely take the transport, the 1/2 fare choice wins… So it’s as much as you if you wish to embrace quite a lot of museums or not 😉

Swiss Travel Pass (8 days) Swiss Travel Pass Flex (3 days) half fare card (+120 CHF) + tickets No cross in any respect
Transports+ museums 389 CHF greater than 550 CHF about 400 CHF + bus/tram in the cities about 450 CHF + bus/tram in the cities
Transports solely 389 CHF 469 CHF 290 CHF (169 journey + 120 subscription) + bus/tram in the cities 338 CHF + bus/tram in the cities

Itineraries in Switzerland: A panoramic prepare tour

For this second instance, we are going to focus extra on the legendary trains of Switzerland 😉 Please observe that some trains like the Bernina Express or the Glacier Express require a seat reservation and/or a 1st class ticket along with the Swiss Travel Pass. In the calculations under, I’ve included the extra charges in all the choices under.

suisse panoramique

Day 1: Zurich-Lucerne-Interlaken

Day 2: Visit to Grindelwald after which GoldenPass from Interlaken to Montreux

vue sur montreux depuis sonchaux

Day 3: Train from Montreux to Zermatt, stroll in Zermatt

Day 4: From Zermatt to St.Moritz with the Glacier Express

Day 5: Hiking round St.Moritz

Day 6: From St.Moritz to Lugano with the Bernina Express

Day 7: Lugano to Lucerne with the Gotthard Panorama Express

Day 8: Mount Rigi and return to Zurich

Swiss Travel Pass 8 days (2nd class) Swiss Travel cross Flex half fare (+ 120 CHF) no cross
Transports 525.5 CHF 715,5 CHF 650 CHF 998 CHF

Note: the 8-day Swiss journey cross prices 389 CHF. For this itinerary the following dietary supplements should be added

  • 26 CHF (prepare) and 16 CHF (bus) for the Bernina Express
  • 49 CHF for the Glacier Express
  • CHF 29.5 for the Gotthard Express (improve to 1st class obligatory) + CHF 16.00 seat reservation payment

Routes in Switzerland: The most lovely views and hikes

For this third itinerary I made a decision to imagine that you just like climbing and that you just need to come to Switzerland to admire lovely views (on our weblog you will discover greater than 50 climbing concepts in Switzerland right here).

switzerland viewpoints

Day 1: From Geneva to Martigny with a detour via the Lavaux and the Rocher de Naye

Day 2: Train to Finhaut, hike to the Emosson dam. Then prepare to Sion

incroyable glacier d'Aletsch

Day 3: Go to Saas Grund to go climbing at the foot of the 4000m Valais. Alternative: Go hike close to the Aletsch glacier

Day 4: Train to Davos. Short hike in the environment

Day 5: Hike in Davos. At the finish of the day, prepare to Appenzell

Day 6: Hike to the prime of the Säntis through the Seealpsee. Descent in cabin and prepare to Schwyz.

Day 7: Hike to the Fronalpstock and take the Stoosbahn (steepest funicular in the world)

Day 8: Take the prepare to Mount Rigi after which take the prepare to Lucerne

mer de nuages pilatus

Day 9: Sightseeing in Lucerne and experience the Pilatus (by cable automotive)

Day 10: Hike to the Brienzer Rothorn.

Day 11: Heading to Grindelwald and climbing at First

Day 12: Train from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen and cease at the Kleine Scheidegg (elective ascent to the Jungfraujoch – surcharge of CHF 142 with the Swiss Travel cross or CHF 110 with the half-fare), See the commonplace charges)

Day 13: Day hike in Lauterbrunnen. See our climbing concepts in Lauterbrunnen

Day 14: Train to Kandersteg and hike to Lake Oeschinen.

Day 15: Head for Jaun to tour the Gastlosen (the small Dolomites of Switzerland) ;), return prepare to Geneva

Swiss Travel Pass 15 days (2nd class) Swiss Travel cross Flex (8 days) 1/2 fare (+ 120 CHF) No cross
Transports 528 CHF 760.7 CHF 680 CHF 1120 CHF
  • The above finances doesn’t embrace the complement for the Jungfraujoch.
  • The value of the Swiss Pass 15 days is 429 CHF, however we had so as to add a complement of 39 CHF for the Pilatus cable automotive (commonplace value with out swiss journey cross: 78 CHF) and 40.5 CHF complement for the Brienzer Rothorn (commonplace value: 81 CHF) and 19 CHF for the Säntis
  • For the Flex Pass, I counted that we used the Swiss Pass for the costliest days + buy of tickets the others.

Summary : What to decide on between the Swiss Travel Pass and the Half-Fare Card?

As you possibly can see in the itinerary simulations above, the Swiss Travel cross might be very advantageous. But after that, you will need to observe that it’s going to actually repay in case you plan to maneuver “often” and over comparatively lengthy distances (and see museums). If your objective is to go to 2-3 locations in Switzerland and keep a number of days every time, then it’s worthwhile to check the Travel Pass Flex choice to the particular person buy of tickets.

To be sincere, there are not any ready-made solutions to those questions. My greatest recommendation for you’ll be to consider your itinerary beforehand after which do some fare simulations on the web site (and if the complete of your prepare tickets exceeds 240 CHF, it will likely be advantageous to take the half-fare card for 120 CHF).

I personally discover the Swiss Travel cross to be product. Although costly, it can give you quite a lot of flexibility and after getting it in your pocket you gained’t want to consider taking any tram/bus/boat or commonplace prepare tickets (for the panoramic trains it’s higher to anticipate slightly bit as a result of the seat reservation might be obligatory).

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