Swiss Travel Pass 2022 review: Is it good value or not?

When it comes to city passes and travel cards, it’s usually fairly easy to figure out whether they would be worth it for you or not. For things like the Paris Pass or London Pass, they have a list of the most popular attractions and how much they cost, right there for you to see. The Swiss Travel Pass, however, is shrouded in mystery, or at least it was until I spent several days tracking down all of the prices and benefits.

A great many of the visitors and commenters on my popular page about where to go in Switzerland on a short visit are wondering whether the Swiss Travel Pass is a good deal. Embarrassingly, I’ve always had to answer that I found the pass too confusing to confidently advise people on. Now that has all changed, after literally days of research.

Note: This article was written in 2016 and has last been updated in May, 2022.

Disclosure: This is a reader-supported website and some of the links are affiliate links where a small commission is paid to help keep this site going, but the cost to visitors is the same. The Swiss Travel Pass seems quite expensive at first, so it felt like it might be hard to get your money’s worth out of it. As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to get good value, and it’ll be a good deal for many visitors.

New in 2022

The Swiss Travel Pass in now fully functioning again in 2022 and the country is ready for visitors. Interestingly enough, they have expanded service a bit and lowered many prices, especially for travelers 25 and under.

We will be updating some of the changes that are new in 2022 soon, but generally the program works the same as it did before.

>>>Buy the Swiss Travel Pass online

Is the Swiss Travel Pass a good deal? Here's the short version

If you plan on taking at least 2 of Switzerland’s famous scenic train rides within a 3 or 4-day period, a Swiss Travel Pass can easily pay for itself. If you take 3 or 4 scenic train rides, as well as use the pass on one or more of the famous cable cars such as Schilthorn (50% covered by the pass) or 25% off the mountain train up to Jungfraujoch, the pass is definitely worth it.

The bottom line is that the scenery, train journeys, and cable car rides in Switzerland are stunning and not found anywhere else in the world. They are also quite expensive if you pay for them one at a time. So no matter how you visit Switzerland, you are going to be paying quite a bit, or skipping the absolute best things that you’ve come there to see.

With good planning it’s quite easy to get great value out of a Swiss Travel Pass, but it might be a poor choice for those who don’t like to plan ahead. You can easily do a scenic train ride and a cable car in the same day, and still have time to do a scenic hike in the process.

The longer you'll be in Switzerland, the better deal a Swiss Travel Pass will be

Most people visiting Switzerland only stay for 3 or 4 days and in visits of that length you really have to compare the costs of the Pass to the costs of the things you’ll do. And for many of those people who aren’t do longer train rides, the Half Fare Card (discussed below) is the best choice. It’s easy to see that the per-day cost of the Swiss Travel Pass is pretty high until you get to the 8-day and 15-day versions. However, the per-day prices on those longer passes are actually very low considering the price of typical train rides and mountain attractions.

In other words, if you are staying 5 days or fewer, you have to do the math to determine your best option. But if you are spending even 6 or 7 days in Switzerland then the 8-day Pass is almost guaranteed to be a great deal and your best choice. Once you have a Swiss Travel Pass you’ll absolutely love the ability to just hop on any train (excellent trains, always on time) and most boats and cable cars without having to worry about the cost. The per-day cost of an 8-day Pass even if you only use 6 of those days is about CHF65, and Switzerland is filled with amazing train rides and boats and cable cars that can get you that much value before noon each day.

Schilthorn is 100% covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, but that ends in 2020

From 2018 through the end of 2019, the full cable car ride up to the Schilthorn observation deck and the Piz Gloria restaurant is/was 100% covered with a Swiss Travel Pass. The cost of the cable car ride is CHF112 (about US$112), but starting again in January, 2020 the Swiss Travel Pass will only get you a 50% discount, so it will be CHF56.

The two most dramatic viewpoints and most beloved activities in Switzerland are Schilthorn and the Jungfraujoch tourist train that goes up the mountain across the valley from Schilthorn. Jungfraujoch is still only a 25% discount off the CHF205 price for Swiss Travel Pass holders, so it’s still very expensive.

Both of those peak experiences are extraordinary and different from each other. Even so, compared to Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn is also faster and more comfortable on the way up and down. You can enjoy an excellent visit to Schilthorn in 4 hours or so (or a bit longer if you eat at the spinning Piz Gloria restaurant at the top), while a visit to Jungfraujoch requires closer to 6 hours.

NOTE: Schilthorn closes for maintenance for a week or two in late November most years.

Consider the Swiss Half-Fare Card instead

If you AREN’T going to be doing two or more of the long (and expensive) scenic train trips, you will get much better value out of the Swiss Half-Fare Card, which is explained a bit below.

Is a Swiss Travel Pass right for you?

Determining whether a Swiss Travel Pass is a good deal for you is simply a matter of figuring out which of the scenic rail and cable car journeys you plan on doing while in Switzerland, and seeing whether the price of the pass will cover the benefits. Below in this article you’ll see a long list of every one of the most expensive and most popular scenic journeys and cable cars, along with how much they cost without the pass, and how much you can save.

Most people only visit Switzerland for 5 or 6 days at most, so the 3-day and 4-day passes are the ones to focus on. But if you are staying for 8 days or more, those longer passes are almost certainly a great deal for you.

Long story short, if you plan on doing 2 of the more expensive scenic trains and the Jungfraujoch railway or the Schilthorn cable car, then the pass will save you money. Switzerland is expensive, but it’s worth it, and the travel pass can help make it a bit more affordable.

What the Swiss Travel Pass includes

  • Free rail travel on normal trains and most scenic trains
  • Discounted travel (about 50%) on popular tourist mountain trains
  • Discounted travel (about 50%) on popular tourist cable cars, although Schilthorn and Mt Rigi are 100% covered
  • Free travel on public transport in 75 towns and cities
  • Free entry to around 500 museums in Switzerland

The Swiss Travel Pass covers the fare on the most popular scenic and panoramic trains. You can choose a normal seat in a regular carriage for no additional cost, but there is a supplement of CHF8 to CHF49 for a reserved seat in one of the special panorama carriages on these routes.

Prices of the 2022 Swiss Travel Pass

1st Class

  • Adult 3-day Pass: CHF369
  • Youth (4 to 25) 3-day Pass: 260
  • Adult 4-day Pass: 447
  • Youth (4 to 25) 4-day Pass: 315
  • Adult 6-day Pass: 570
  • Youth (4 to 25) 6-day Pass: 402
  • Adult 8-day Pass: 617
  • Youth (4 to 25) 8-day Pass: 436
  • Adult 15-day Pass: 675
  • Youth (4 to 25) 15-day Pass: 479

2nd Class

  • Adult 3-day Pass: CHF232
  • Youth (4 to 25) 3-day Pass: 164
  • Adult 4-day Pass: 281
  • Youth (16 to 25) 4-day Pass: 199
  • Adult 6-day Pass: 359
  • Youth (16 to 25) 6-day Pass: 254
  • Adult 8-day Pass: 389
  • Youth (16 to 25) 8-day Pass: 374
  • Adult 15-day Pass: 429
  • Youth (16 to 25) 15-day Pass: 307

Swiss Travel Pass Flex

This version costs a bit more, but you don’t have to use the travel days consecutively. It’s a great option for anyone who won’t be taking longer train rides each day.

  • Adult 3 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): CHF424
  • Adult 3 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 267
  • Adult 4 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 514
  • Adult 4 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 323
  • Adult 6 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 610
  • Adult 6 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 384
  • Adult 8 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 649
  • Adult 8 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 409
  • Adult 15 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 706
  • Adult 15 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 449

Where to buy the Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Half-Fare Card – A better option for many visitors

Far less confusing than the Swiss Travel Pass, you can instead get a Swiss Half-Fare Card, and it will be a better deal for many travelers. The price is lower and it’s much easier to do the math, and the discounts are greater on some things as well.

  • Swiss Half-Fare Card for 30 days: Adults – CHF120 or US$122

What you get:

Those who buy the Swiss Half-Fare Card will get 50% discount on all trains, buses, and boats in Switzerland for up to 30 days, as well as 50% off all public transportation in 75 cities and towns.

>>>Buy the Swiss Half-Fare Card

Why the Half-Fare Card is a better deal for many

While the Swiss Travel Pass is a great deal for those doing many of the expensive scenic journeys and mountain sights within a few days, it’s not good value for those who are doing fewer of the expensive trips and/or those who are staying longer. Also, the Swiss Travel Pass only provides a 25% discount on the amazing Jungfraujoch Railway, which costs between CHF120 and CHF205 return depending on your starting point, while the Half-Fare Card provides a 50% discount.

The math is simple as well. You can just add up the cost of the trains, boats, and buses you’ll be taking while in Switzerland, and if the total is more than CHF240 or so, the Half-Fare Card will save you money.

Example itinerary:

  • Zurich to Interlaken train (2nd Class): CHF50
  • Schilthorn Cable Car: CHF112
  • Jungfraujoch railway from Interlaken: CHF205
  • Interlaken to Lucerne train (2nd Class): CHF33
  • Mt Rigi roundtrip from Lucerne: CHF84
  • Engelberg (near Lucerne) to Mt. Titlis Cable Car: CHF92
  • Lucerne to Zurich train (2nd Class): CHF25

Total per person: CHF601
Total with Half-Fare Card (including price of card): CHF420.50

It would be tough to do all of those things in 4 days, although it is possible. If you bought a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass here is how it adds up:

4-Day Swiss Travel Pass: CHF259
Supplements for Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, and Mt. Titlis: CHF203.25
Total cost: CHF462.25

Bottom line on the Swiss Half-Fare Card

Since the Half-Fare Card lasts 30 days and provides a larger discount on Jungfraujoch, it is better value for visitors who want to include that scenic top-of-Europe rail journey on their trip. The discounts also add up more quickly on Schilthorn (now fully included as of 2018) and Mt. Titlis trips, just to name two examples, and you don’t have to take many longer rail journeys to get value out of the Half-Fare Card.

New: Swiss Saver Day Pass (A one-day unlimited travel pass)

As if the Swiss travel situation wasn’t already complicated enough, in late 2017 the rail system introduced the Saver Day Pass, which is an unlimited travel pass (on regular trains) that must be purchased at least one day in advance and is cheaper the earlier you buy it, as far as one month out. This can be a great deal if you are only planning on traveling around Switzerland on the trains for 1 to 3 days and you aren’t planning on going up Schilthorn or Mt. Rigi, which are both free with a Swiss Travel Pass but still 50% off with a Saver Day Pass.

If you buy the Saver Day Pass at least 14 days in advance (and up to 30 days in advance) the 2018 cost is:

  • 2nd Class (with Half Fare Card): CHF39
  • 1st Class (with Half Fare Card): CHF66
  • 2nd Class (with no Half Fare Card): CHF52
  • 1st Class (with no Half Fare Card): CHF88

Once you research the normal cost of Swiss train fares you’ll see that the above prices are a very good deal for anyone riding more than 150 kilometers or so in a day. If you are just going, for example, from Zurich to Lucerne or Interlaken on a day, it’ll be cheaper to just buy that ticket individually. But if you are going from Geneva or Montreux to Interlaken or Lucerne then the Saver Day Pass will be much cheaper. Better still, you can use a Saver Day Pass to go from Interlaken to Geneva and back on the same day on the Goldenpass line and returning on the faster train through Bern, and it will still all be included for free.

If you don’t buy a Saver Day Pass at least 14 days in advance it’s more expensive, and if you only buy 1 to 3 days in advance it’s VERY expensive, so the key is to buy early. This is all confusing, but the Saver Day Pass should be a great option for many people only in Switzerland for one to three days.

Popular Swiss panorama scenic trains

The 5 train routes listed below are the best and most popular of Switzerland’s scenic train routes. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can ride for free in normal carriages or pay a small supplement for a reserved seat in one of the special Panorama carriages. If you are going to do one of these as a journey unto itself, the Panorama carriages are highly recommended, and worth the supplement.

  • Glacier Express
  • Route: Zermatt to St. Moritz
  • Train type: Panorama
  • Journey time: 8 hours 3 minutes
  • Distance: 291km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF298
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF170
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 13 to 33 for panorama carriage
  • Bernina Express
  • Route: Chur to Tirano and Lugano
  • Train type: Panorama and bus
  • Journey time: 4 hours 13 minutes and 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Distance: 148km and 90km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF138
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF88
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 10 to 14 for panorama carriage
  • GoldenPass Line
  • Route: Lucerne to Montreaux
  • Train type: Panorama
  • Journey time: 5 hours 8 minutes
  • Distance: 191 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF125
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF71
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 8 to 15 for panorama carriage
  • Gotthard Panorama Express (formerly Wilhelm Tell Express)
  • Route: Lugano or Locarno to Lucerne
  • Train type: Panorama and boat
  • Journey time: 5 hours 21 minutes
  • Distance: 182 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF197
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF115
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 39 to 49 for panorama carriage
  • Swiss Chocolate Train
  • Route: Montreux to Broc round trip
  • Train type: Panorama or First Class
  • Journey time: X hours X minutes
  • Distance: 82 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF89
  • 2nd Class fare: N/A
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 39

Popular Swiss scenic and theme trains

The scenic trains below are also extremely popular as sightseeing journeys rather than just as transportation, but can be used as both.

  • Jungfraujoch round trip
  • Route: Interlaken to Jungfraujoch
  • Train type: special mountain train
  • Journey time: 4 hours 41 minutes, round trip, plus time on top
  • Distance: 73 km
  • 1st Class fare: N/A
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF204.40
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 128 (so, a saving of CHF76.40)
  • Gornergrat Railway
  • Route: Gornergrat Railway
  • Train type: Cog railway
  • Journey time: 44 minutes return
  • Distance: 10 km
  • 1st Class fare: N/A
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF90
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 45
  • Rigi round trip
  • Route: Lucerne to Rigi
  • Train type: Cog railway
  • Journey time: 3 hours 25 minutes, plus time at the top
  • Distance: 58 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF84.40
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF74
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: None (this one is free with the pass)
  • Mt Rigi Excursion (one-way and walk down)
  • Route: Lucerne to Mt Rigi
  • Train type: cogwheel train and/or cable car
  • Journey time: 45 minutes up
  • 1st Class fare: N/A
  • 2nd Class fare: 50
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0
  • Lotschberg Mountain Route and Centrovalli
  • Route: Bern to Locarno
  • Train type: Narrow gauge
  • Journey time: 4 hours 40 minutes
  • Distance: 212 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF158
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF90
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 5
  • Jura round trip (Watchmaking Tour)
  • Route: Neuchatel through Jura
  • Train type: Regular
  • Journey time: 3 hours 0 minutes
  • Distance: 143 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF168
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF108
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0
  • Pre-Alpine Express
  • Route: St. Gallen to Lucerne
  • Train type: Regular
  • Journey time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Distance: 146 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF83
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF47
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0
  • Jura Foot Line
  • Route: Basel to Geneva
  • Train type: Regular
  • Journey time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Distance: 248 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF132
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF75
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0
  • Lavaux-Simplon-Centrovalli Line (Wine Route)
  • Route: Geneva to Brig to Locarno
  • Train type: Regular
  • Journey time: 5 hours 20 minutes
  • Distance: 317 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF132
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF75
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0
  • Three City Line
  • Route: Lucerne to Zurich to Chur
  • Train type: Regular
  • Journey time: 2 hours 1 minutes
  • Distance: 174 km
  • 1st Class fare: CHF69
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF59
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 0

Popular Switzerland cable car rides

These are the two most popular cable car rides to obvservation peaks in central Switzerland. The Swiss Travel Pass offers a 50% or more discount, but not the whole fare.

  • Schilthorn
  • Route: Stechelberg (Lauterbrunnen) to Schilthorn
  • Train type: cable car
  • Journey time: 1 hour
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF112
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 56
  • Engelberg to Mt. Titlis cable car
  • Route: Engelberg to Mt. Titlis
  • Train type: cable car
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF92
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 46

Popular general train line routes for tourists to Switzerland

The following train routes are the ones that most tourists to Switzerland will be using. They are all free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Note: In some cases, a Supersaver fare might be available, which can be a savings of up to 50% off the regular fare. However, they are for a fixed journey at an off-peak time, and they are non-changeable and non-refundable.

  • Basel to Zurich (for trips to or from Paris)
  • 1st Class fare: CHF58
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF33
  • Geneva to Zurich
  • 1st Class fare: CHF153
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF87
  • Bern to Zurich
  • 1st Class fare: CHF88
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF50
  • Zurich to Interlaken
  • 1st Class fare: CHF88
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF50
  • Zurich to Lucerne
  • 1st Class fare: CHF44
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF25
  • Bern to Interlaken
  • 1st Class fare: CHF49
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF28
  • Bern to Lucerne
  • 1st Class fare: CHF67
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF38
  • Interlaken to Zermatt
  • 1st Class fare: CHF142
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF81
  • Lucerne to Lugano
  • 1st Class fare: CHF105
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF60

The Swiss Travel Pass also includes free museum admission, but…

While it’s true that the Swiss Travel Pass includes free admission to around 500 museums all over Switzerland, it’s probably best to just ignore that when you are determining whether to buy a pass or not. Most of the included museums cost between CHF5 and CHF10 without the pass, although a few are closer to CHF20.

The problem is that the museums are only free on valid travel days, and almost no one would visit more than one or two museums with a Swiss Travel Pass. The trains and cable cars are so expensive that the pass gives very good value to cover those, so you don’t want to waste precious sightseeing time walking through a museum that only costs CHF10 anyway.

In other words, calculate the value of a Swiss Travel Pass on the travel savings only, and if you visit a museum here or there, then great. Most people are better off trying to squeeze in an additional train ride each day, and ignoring the museums. Switzerland is all about the outdoor scenery. As nice as the museums may be, they are not why you are there.

The pass includes free public transport in most Swiss cities

Similar to the free museum part of the offer, it’s best to ignore or minimize the value of free public transportation. It could be helpful in Zurich, but in most other Swiss tourist towns you won’t need much public transport. In fact, in Interlaken, each hotel or hostel guest automatically gets a card for free public transportation within the town (including between the two train stations).

So you might use a ride or two each day on public transport, but that won’t add up to much in terms of value of your Swiss Travel Pass.

Where to buy the Swiss Travel Pass

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All Comments

  1. SANEY says:

    Hello Roger,

    Thank you so much for this detailed explanation of Swiss Travel Pass. However, I am still little confused if I should get 6 days travel Pass or Half fare. I’m counting my starting Pass day from Aug 26th when I leave for Wengen since I don’t know if I will need the travel pass when I am in Zurich for those 2 days

    Our itinerary is as follows.
    We arrive Zurich on Aug 24th and stay 2 nights in Zurich.
    Aug 26th Zurich to Wegen. 4 nights in Wengen. During our stay in Wengen we plan to do Mount rigi, schilthorn. Day trip to Grindelwald, do short hikes in Jungfrau regoin. We most likely won’t do Jungfraujoch or any of the scenic trains.
    Aug 30th Wengen to Bern. 1 day in Bern
    Aug 31th Bern to Basel to catch a train to Paris
    Please advice If I should get Swiss travel pass or half fare ?

    Thank you so much

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Saney,

      That all sounds good. And there isn’t much you can do with a Swiss Travel Pass while just sightseeing in Zurich, so that is a good idea. Without adding it all up, I think the Half Fare Card is probably the best option, and of course it’ll be valid for 30 days so you can activate it even for your ride from Zurich Airport into the city.

      As mentioned before, the STP can be great value if you are doing multiple longer train rides, but it’s harder to get enough use out of it when just taking short train rides and boat rides and cable cars. The Half Fare Card is almost as valuable on Schilthorn, so it just won’t be worth the extra cost. There were a few years when the Pass fully covered Schilthorn, but now it basically just gets you half price on the segment that goes to the top.

      I’m sure it’ll be a great trip and the Half Fare Card will save you a lot of money for a much lower cost. Enjoy! -Roger