Is Swiss Travel Pass Worth it? Experience (2024)

Is Swiss Travel Pass Worth it

Swiss Travel Pass – Who has never dreamed of taking a train trip through Switzerland? Are you packed and want to know if the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it? In this post I will explain how the Swiss Travel Pass works, an unlimited public transport pass in Switzerland. And I will help you evaluate whether it makes sense to buy it for your trip to Switzerland.

The first time I went to Switzerland, I bought my tickets on one of those super cheap deals, and as I had a few days to spare in Europe, I thought: why not?!

Two weeks before the trip, one of those coincidences in life happened, and Gustavo found out that he would have to present a project in Switzerland on exactly the same days that I would be there, I changed all my plans to travel alone across the country and we went together to a couple’s trip and work at the same time.

We arrived in Geneva on a Saturday afternoon and on Sunday we would have to cross the country towards Basel, where Gustavo’s meetings would take place. While he went to work, I took the opportunity to visit other cities. When planning my itinerary I decided to buy a Swiss Travel Pass , as I did the calculations and saw that it was worth it.

Here I will show you how to assess whether the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it for your trip.

What’s it like to travel around Switzerland by train?

Switzerland is a small country, but its rail system is vast and efficient, connecting cities and towns across the country. This means you can explore multiple destinations in a single trip, without worrying about car rentals or complicated itineraries.

On a train journey through Switzerland, punctuality is a guarantee. This means you can plan your itinerary with ease, without worrying about delays. And the best of all? Each leg of the journey offers a new and incredible landscape for you to admire. From the majestic alpine mountains and their snow-capped peaks to the green valleys and crystal-clear lakes. The charming Swiss villages are a highlight in themselves, I fell in love.

Swiss trains are modern and comfortable, with ample seating and amenities such as onboard Wi-Fi (on many trains). And the train stations are true convenience centers, with shops, restaurants and luggage services.

Another advantage is that in Switzerland, the distances between the main cities are short, which makes day trips comfortable and practical. For example, from Lucerne to Bern or from Geneva to Montreux, you will spend much less time traveling by train and more time enjoying each destination. The country was made to be explored by train.

How the Swiss Travel Pass works

The Swiss Travel Pass is a ticket that gives free access to public transport throughout Switzerland. It covers trains, subways, buses and boats. You can use it for both intra-city and intercity transportation.

The cost of the Swiss Travel Pass varies depending on the number of days and the class chosen. You can purchase for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 consecutive days, in first or second class. Young people  under 25 should buy the  Swiss Travel Pass Youth , which costs 30% cheaper than the Swiss Pass Travel.

Swiss Travel Pass Flex: what’s the difference?

The Swiss Travel Pass Flex has the same benefits as the Swiss Travel Pass, the difference is that it is not a consecutive pass, that is, you choose the number of days you want to use 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 days, and you have period of one month to use .

It costs a little more, but the advantage is that if you don’t use it on a day during your trip, that day isn’t wasted. For example: Bern is a small city and you can get to know it all just by walking. With the Swiss Travel Pass Flex, you don’t miss that day.

It is also common for hotels in some Swiss cities, Bern is one of them, to give you a pass for unlimited train or electric cable car travel in the region. So, when using the Swiss Travel Pass Flex you don’t miss that day.

Swiss Pass Travel Benefits

In my opinion, the two main benefits are: being able to take as many public transport as I want , as the quantity is unlimited ; and also not having to worry about an itinerary tied to the X timetable that I bought the train ticket, as in Switzerland there are hourly trains to the main cities, so I can easily adapt my itinerary.

Here is a list of other really cool benefits:

  • Free travel on premium panoramic trains (on Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Gotthard Panorama Express and Palm Express trains – seat reservation and/or fee required .)
  • Free use of public transport in more than 90 cities.
  • Free entry to more than 500 museums.
  • Includes mountain excursions to Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos.
  • Up to 50% discount on various other mountain excursions.
  • Up to 30% discount on SBB RailAway offers.
  • Children and young people (6 years to 16 years) accompanied by at least one adult with a valid Swiss Travel Pass travel free of charge with the Swiss Family Card .

How to calculate whether the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it?

The first step is to define how many travel days your itinerary in Switzerland has . Then look at the cities you want to visit, the number of trains you will use to travel these stretches and the panoramic train trip you want to take.

Now go to the official SBB website (Switzerland’s national railway system) and see the prices for single train tickets. Check that you have chosen second class tickets (cheaper) and without any discount (the discount field is for residents of the country). Did you do the math? Now let’s move on to the second part.

How much does the Swiss Travel Pass cost?

After doing the math on how much you will spend buying individual tickets, now is the time to compare it with the amount you would spend when purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass.

I considered the values ​​for a consecutive pass of 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 days, in the second class. Prices researched in February 2024 and valid until December 2024 ; prices are in Swiss Francs.

DaysAdults over 25 years oldYoung people aged 16 to 24
3CHF 244.00CHF 172.00
4CHF 295.00CHF 209.00
6CHF 379.00CHF 268.00
8CHF 419.00CHF 297.00
15CHF 459.00CHF 328.00

As you can conclude, buying the Swiss Travel Pass is much more advantageous than buying individual tickets. In addition to saving on transport, you also have access to several free attractions and many discounts.

When is it not worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass?

There are two options where it might not be worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass, do the math and analyze:

  1. Those who choose to rent a car will not use the country’s public transport in general. My suggestion is to analyze whether it is worth renting the car, as in addition to renting being more expensive, there are also fuel and parking costs.
    • The following must also be included in the accounts: single tickets for museums, cable cars and panoramic train travel.
  2. You will stay in just one region of Switzerland, which has free unlimited regional transport passes. It is common for hotels to hand out the pass at check-in so that their guests can enjoy the city. In my post What it’s like to stay at the Hotel Alpenblick in Bern, Switzerland , I talked about this.

What is the difference between first class and second class on trains in Switzerland?

There are few differences between first and second class on trains in Switzerland. The first class has:

  • Greater space for luggage;
  • The seats are wider and more comfortable;
  • A more exclusive trip;

In high season, the second class of trains with more popular routes can be very crowded and you will have to make the journey standing up. An alternative is to reserve a seat on these sections — reservation is not mandatory, but it guarantees the seat and if you are traveling with other people, it also guarantees that you will sit together.

Reservations can be made directly on the SBB website or at the ticket counters at the train station.

Where to buy the Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass can be purchased online and you can buy it through the partnership that Ideias na Mala has with the website Get Your Guide, we have already purchased several tours from it, so you can trust!

By purchasing through our link, you help pay for our work and there is no additional cost for doing so. We are commissioned for bookings made through our website.

Buy your Swiss Travel Pass here

Important Notes

  • The pass is personal and non-transferable. When you make the purchase, you will be asked for the name of the person who will use it and only that person can use the pass.
  • To purchase the  Swiss Family Card,  simply add it when purchasing the Swiss Pass Travel and enjoy the benefits. Children under 16 travel free accompanied by an adult. And children under 6 years old travel free of charge , with no pass required.
  • For children between 6 and 16 years old to travel alone, it is necessary to purchase a pass for which they have a 50% discount.

Buy the Swiss Travel Pass Flex here

How to use the Swiss Travel Pass

After confirming your purchase, you will receive a digital ticket by email within 24 hours. You can save the ticket on your cell phone or print it, it’s up to you. There are no turnstiles on Swiss trains, the clerks pass by the train and ask you to present your ticket.

In the case of the Swiss Travel Pass, inspectors may also ask you to show your passport, this is because the pass is for the exclusive use of foreigners and is not permitted for local residents. After the first use, the pass will be activated.

Important tip: the pass is activated by day and not by time. This means that if you activate it in the late afternoon, that day has already counted as day 1. You enter the start date at the time of purchase.

The pass has unlimited travel, within the selected period, throughout the country and this is one of its biggest advantages, as you can embark and disembark at any location or city, without worrying about schedules. Your itinerary becomes much more flexible.

Swiss Travel Pass Flex activation

The Swiss Travel Pass Flex is valid for one month, counting from the chosen initial activation date. For each day of travel, you must activate at least 24 hours in advance. Activation is done through the official website for pass activation

How to reserve seats on panoramic trains

To take the panoramic routes using the pass, you must reserve a seat. To make a reservation, simply go to the website of the panoramic train you want to take and choose the option to reserve a seat with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Scenic trains charge a seat reservation fee. In the post Gotthard Panorama Express: the panoramic journey between Lugano and Lucerne , I told you a little about my trip, the seat reservation and the amount charged.

Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it?

Very. If you intend to stay 3 days or more in Switzerland, move between cities, see tourist attractions and want to take a scenic train route, the Swiss Pass Travel will help you save a few Swiss francs. Furthermore, it will make your itinerary much more flexible and practical, as you are free to use public transport unlimitedly, you do not need change to pay for transport and you are not tied to a specific timetable.

Switzerland is an expensive country, especially for us Brazilians, so the possibility of saving Swiss francs is great

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