Swiss Travel Pass 2024 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 last updated in February, 2024.

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 2024

Prices increased an average of 5.9% from 2023 on the Swiss Travel Passes, but the Half Fare Card remains at CHF120, which is where it’s been for many years. Train fares in the country increased by similar percentages so the value is basically unchanged. There were no other notable changes to service or the included attractions and train routes.

>>>Buy the Swiss Travel Pass online

Are you 100% sure where you want to go in Switzerland? This should help

I’ve been to almost every corner of Europe and have spent a lot of time in Switzerland, so I can reveal that Switzerland is very unlike visiting almost any other country in the region. In any other country you will want to start out in the capital or largest city and then add in another place or two if you have time. But in Switzerland the big cities are strangely boring and the scenery everywhere else is magical.

Zurich and Geneva are pleasant but dull. The good news is that Switzerland is packed with amazing sights and none of them are the big cities. If you aren’t 100% locked in yet, please read the article below and I think you’ll enjoy it.

>>>Where to go in Switzerland in 2 to 10 days

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.

First class or second class? Good news for most people

In most of Europe the Second Class trains are reasonably comfortable but they can get crowded, especially if you travel during the morning or evening commute time between large cities such as Munich and Berlin. Second Class always has plenty of legroom and reasonably wide seats, so it’s mainly just the experience of guaranteeing that you’ll NOT be sat next to a full carriage of partying backpackers or screaming kids that makes First Class potentially worthwhile.

That said, Swiss Trains are literally the nicest in Europe and even the Second Class seats and carriages are nicer and roomier than trains in neighboring countries. The First Class seats are larger and nicer with only 3 across the cabin instead of 4, but honestly Second Class is perfectly comfortable for almost everyone.

Again, First Class on European trains like this is generally popular with business travelers where the company is paying and they need to get work done during the ride, and also senior citizens who don’t want to worry about a carriage full of backpackers. For most of the rest of us, Second Class is more than comfortable enough and the seat width and legroom compare to business-class airline seats. I’m a big and tall guy and I almost always travel in Second because it’s plenty comfortable enough and all the seats arrive at the same time anyway.

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 doing 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 6-day, 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 6-day or 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 (50% discount) and Jungfraujoch (25% discount) are cheaper with a Swiss Travel Pass

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 a 25% discount off the CHF224 price for Swiss Travel Pass holders. If it’s not confusing enough, the entire rail journey to the start of the Jungfrau train is covered by the pass, so prices appear to be a bit more than 25% cheaper.

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.

Mt Rigi, near Lucerne, is 100% covered by the Swiss Travel Pass

While most of the famous mountain excursions are only discounted 50% by the Swiss Travel Pass, the famous excursions to Mt Rigi, near Lucerne, are still 100% covered by the pass. This is one of the best mountaintop experiences in Switzerland and reaching the top involves a combination of cog railways and cable cars. There are multiple ways of reaching the mountain and all of them are fairly close to Lucerne. Most people prefer getting there by taking one of the frequent boats leaving from across from the railway station in Lucerne and then jumping off at one of the cog rail departure points. Needless to say, if you buy a Swiss Travel Pass, the Mt Rigi excursion should be a priority when you visit Lucerne.

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
  • 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 2024 Swiss Travel Pass

1st Class

  • Adult 3-day Pass: CHF389
  • Youth (4 to 25) 3-day Pass: 274
  • Adult 4-day Pass: 469
  • Youth (4 to 25) 4-day Pass: 330
  • Adult 6-day Pass: 602
  • Youth (4 to 25) 6-day Pass: 424
  • Adult 8-day Pass: 655
  • Youth (4 to 25) 8-day Pass: 469
  • Adult 15-day Pass: 723
  • Youth (4 to 25) 15-day Pass: 512

2nd Class

  • Adult 3-day Pass: CHF244
  • Youth (4 to 25) 3-day Pass: 172
  • Adult 4-day Pass: 295
  • Youth (16 to 25) 4-day Pass: 209
  • Adult 6-day Pass: 379
  • Youth (16 to 25) 6-day Pass: 268
  • Adult 8-day Pass: 419
  • Youth (16 to 25) 8-day Pass: 297
  • Adult 15-day Pass: 459
  • Youth (16 to 25) 15-day Pass: 328

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): CHF445
  • Adult 3 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 279
  • Adult 4 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 539
  • Adult 4 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 339
  • Adult 6 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 644
  • Adult 6 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 405
  • Adult 8 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 697
  • Adult 8 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 439
  • Adult 15 Flex days in 1 month (1st Class): 755
  • Adult 15 Flex days in 1 month (2nd Class): 472

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$129

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 CHF224 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 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.

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

As if the Swiss travel situation wasn’t already complicated enough, they also offer a 1-day version of a Swiss Travel Pass and it can be very cheap, but it’s also a bit complicated. They only sell these Saver Day Passes starting 60 days out (so you can buy a pass for May 1 starting on March 2 etc), and the prices goes up quickly the more of them they sell. If you buy them right away you can get them as cheaply as CHF29 (in 2nd Class) if you have a Half Fare Card, which is an amazing deal. But after they sell the first batch the price jumps up to CHF39 and then CHF49. In other words, if you want the cheapest price you should book exactly 60 days in advance, or generally as soon as possible.

If you buy the Saver Day Pass at least 21 days in advance (and up to 60 days in advance) the 2023 cost is:

  • 2nd Class (with Half Fare Card): CHF29
  • 1st Class (with Half Fare Card): CHF82
  • 2nd Class (with no Half Fare Card): CHF52
  • 1st Class (with no Half Fare Card): CHF97

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: CHF272
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF159
  • Compulsory seat reservation fee: CHF44 or 49
  • 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: CHF113
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF66
  • Compulsory seat reservation fee: CHF32
  • 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
  • Prestige Class fare: CHF131
  • 1st Class fare: CHF96
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF56
  • 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: CHF164
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF135
  • 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: CHF99
  • 2nd Class fare: 89
  • 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: CHF224
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 147 (so, a saving of CHF77)
  • 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
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF78
  • 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: 49
  • 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

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: CHF108
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 54
  • Engelberg to Mt. Titlis cable car
  • Route: Engelberg to Mt. Titlis
  • Train type: cable car
  • 2nd Class fare: CHF96
  • Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: 46

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. Edita Ong says:

    Should I get the Swiss Travel Pass online from one of the vendors (Get your Guide) or from the official sbb.ch ? The cost from the vendor is cheaper by around $30. Is “Get Your Guide” a reputalbe vendor for STP?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Edita,

      As long as all the fees are factored in, I’d go with the lowest price. Get Your Guide is a big seller of those things and they’ve been around at least 8 or 9 years and maybe longer so I’d trust them. The only thing that could happen is you get the passes in your shopping cart and suddenly so new tax or fee shows up and it’s the same price as the official one. But if it IS cheaper I’d do it. -Roger

  2. Jairo says:

    Hi Roger, I’m staying in Basel the whole month of September and I plan to travel south to the Alps for hiking and perhaps some tourist cities for sightseeing in the weekends only (4 weekends total, 8 days total). Maybe I’ll do one of the long scenic train trips but no more than 1-2 because I would rather spend my time in the mountains hiking. It seems like the half-fare card is a better deal compared to the travel pass for my situation. Would you agree? Thanks in advance!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Jairo,

      Yes, the Half Fare Card will save you a fortune every time you go anywhere. And you can also combine it with a Saver Day Pass if you want to take any longer journeys within Switzerland and especially for the mountaintop cable cars and trains etc. Those are cheap when combined with the Half Fare Card if you buy at least a few weeks out and they get more expensive as the date draws near. So you might plan a couple of big travel days to visit Lucerne and the Lauterbrunnen Valley and maybe Zermatt as well, and choose a date well in advance and buy a Saver Day Pass. That’s going to be a great month.

      My brother actually lives in Germany just over the border from Basel and I find Basel itself to be kind of boring, but the Swiss train system is amazing and if you plan well you’ll be able to see everything on your list at a reasonable price. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

      1. Jairo says:

        Hi Roger. I ended up buying the Swiss Half Fare Card valid for the entire month of September and a Saver Day Pass for Sunday Sep 24. I want to take advantage of the Day Pass by taking a longer or more spectacular journey on that Sunday. What do you recommend? I do need to be back in Basel on that Sunday night, but it can be late at night. I can also leave Basel on Saturday PM and stay overnight in a hotel at or near my Sunday journey destination, so I don’t waste any time.

  3. Matthew Cassar says:

    Hi there, we’ve tried to purchase the Swiss travel Card Half-fare via SBB and for some reason the online validation wasn’t passing, hence I couldn’t purchase the Half-fare card.

    I just stumbled on swiss-pass.ch, and I was wondering if this is a reputable site?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Matthew,

      Yes, swiss-pass.ch has been around for a long time and is one of the official pass sellers so you should be safe with them. Roger

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for the write up on the Swiss travel pass.
    Would like to check if you have any information on the Matterhorn – Glacier Paradise.
    When I buy the Swiss travel pass online, will I be able to get the hard copy version as well?

    Am intending to go to Matterhorn – Glacier Paradise.
    However, when am looking at the website to purchase the ticket, it is mentioned that to enjoy the discount, would require to carry the SwissPass card with you (mobile SwissPass is not possible).

    And is it better to buy the ticket in advance or to depend on the weather closer to the date?

    Any help is appreciated.
    Thanks
    cheers
    Rachel

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Rachel,

      This is an interesting question. I see on their website where it says “Please remember to carry the SwissPass card with you (mobile SwissPass is not possible).” My understanding is that the majority of Swiss Travel Passes sold these days are the mobile version and with those you can also choose a “print@home” option so you can print out a sheet of paper with a “physical” pass on it, but even that wouldn’t be a card. I imagine in Switzerland you can still buy the old style that actually come as a card, but it’s hard to imagine the Matterhorn people turning almost everyone else away. I’m not sure what to think although I would guess that the print at home version should work.

      I’d buy the Swiss Travel Pass itself as early as you are sure that you are going. But as far as those mountain attractions I’d wait to buy it until you are sure the weather is good enough at that moment. Fortunately, that’s pretty much how it works on all of them. Strangely enough, the Alps can be foggy or cloudy on top any day of the year so they advise you to get the forecast shortly before you go (usually they know the day before). I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

      1. Rachel says:

        Hi Roger,

        Thanks heaps for your response!
        Greatly appreciated.
        I reckon as well, will go with the mobile & also print out the hard copy.

        Another question. As am intending to go on the Golden Pass Panoramic train from Interlaken to Montreux, should I be pre-booking the seats for both journey :-
        1) Interlaken to Zweisimmen (Golden Pass Express)
        2) Zweisimmen to Montreux (Golden Pass Panoramic train)

        OR should I just pre-book for only the Panoramic train journey.

        Thanks once again for your help

        Cheers
        Rachel

  5. BIJU says:

    Hi Roger,
    Thanks for the informative content on Swiss Travel pass.
    I am traveling with my wife and daughter ( below 16 yeasts old) to Switzerland this week and plan to take a 8 day Swiss pass.
    My question is, when I buy Swiss pass online and get a digital version in my phone, do I need to carry ID proof ( passports) on train for any identification ?
    Regards
    Biju

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Biju,

      I believe technically you’d be required to carry ID as well as the pass on your phone because they want to make sure it’s the same person on the pass that is riding on the train. You might be able to get away with a different form of ID, although if the Swiss authorities aren’t familiar with it you might need the passport. Will they check it each time? Probably not, but if they did check it and the name and face didn’t match, there would be a fine and the pass might be canceled. The Swiss are pretty strict with things like this compared to some other countries, but again, it’s possible that they wouldn’t check at all. Best of luck. -Roger

  6. tara says:

    We are a family of 5 (4 adults and 1 child) staying 2 weeks in Switzerland. Zurich to Interlaken for 6 days, then to Zermatt for 3 days, and then to Vevey for 3 days, and then back to Zurich. We love to hike and will focus on doing lots of outdoor activities while visiting. What pass would you suggest for us? Thank you

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Tara,

      For a two week trip I’d definitely get the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass. It can be a close call on a two to four day visit, but since the longer passes are only a bit more expensive than the shorter ones, it’s an easy call. On a per-day basis the 15-day pass is only around CHF30 and you can save that much with just a short round-trip train ride. Most days you’ll use it for CHF100 or even more. And as I mention so often, once you have the full pass you’ll be able to thoroughly go through all of the included train rides, boat rides, and cable cars and you’ll find many really nice ones that are very much worth the time since they are “free.”

      And also order the Swiss Family Pass so the child can travel for free with an adult using the pass. The Family Pass is free and available from where you order the full pass. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  7. Lianne says:

    Comment*I have to say that this is probably the most informative article I have read and I have read loads lol I’m coming on aug 22nd for 4 nights and plan to do interlaken 3 days then last day Lucerne as closer to airport with trips on lake at interlaken , first at grindlewald smd trip to lauterbrunnen so I think il go for half fare as I don’t think the full pass would be worth it

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Lianne,

      Thank you and I think you are probably right about that. It obviously depends on how many included things you’d do while there and in many cases the Half Fare Card is the better option. -Roger

  8. Patrick says:

    Hi Roger, I will be staying in Hotel Stern Luzern. May I know from this hotel, how do I do a round trip to Mt Rigi? And how much will it be if I buy half price pass? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Patrick,

      It looks like the Hotel Stern is a fairly short walk from the Lucerne Train Station so you’ll start by walking there. You’ll be able to Google the rest. Sorry I don’t have time to organize this for you. -Roger

  9. irina says:

    Comment*Hi Roger, Thank you for your excellent article. We are (2 adults and 16 and 18 yrs old) arriving Zurich from Prague on June 10 at 6pm and travelling to Lucerne (we will use Lucerne as a home base for 5 days), going home on June 15. We are planning to visit Mt. Pilatus and Mt.Rigi, take a boat ride in Lucerne, go to Bern and Interlaken, maybe make a day to Zurich to visit chocolate factory, maybe take a Golden pass line train. I am so confused with passes. Do I need to buy 6 days pass ? Round trip from airport to apartment in lucerne is $300 for us already…

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Irina,

      Switzerland has by for the most confusing passes I’ve ever seen. Part of that is because the prices for everything are very high because most people are using Half Fare Cards one way or another. Residents buy an annual Half Fare Card and tourists can choose the 30-day version or a full Travel Pass, depending on how many things they’ll be doing. It’s hard to confidently recommend what you should buy without knowing the full list of things you’d do, but it does sound like a full pass might be the best option. It would fully cover all of your train rides as well as the boat ride and Mt Rigi.

      Based on your list I think I would lean towards getting the full pass for 6 days. The other option would have been getting a Half Fare Card for each person and then buying a couple Saver Day Passes for your busiest days, but if you are leaving in less than a week I think those things will be kind of expensive. So again, I think I’d do the full pass.

      As I mention on here quite a bit, having a full pass on a trip like this can be an amazing feeling. Since everything in Switzerland is so expensive, even with a Half Fare Card you get sticker shock when you inquire about train fares and such. When you have the pass you can just hop on board any train and most cable cars and boats as well. During the course of your trip you’ll come across things that look interesting and with a pass you’ll be able to just do them without worrying about the price. In other words, probably at least once a day you’ll be able to do something “for free” that you didn’t even know about before, because you’ve got the pass. I hope this helps. -Roger

  10. Nick says:

    Thank you for this write up Roger, very informative for the confusing pricing structure!
    My partner and I will be doing a short 4 nights/5 days in Grindelwald and im trying to see if a pass is worth it. Would love your opinion.

    We will travel to and from Geneva / Grindelwald at the begin and end of our visit and plan on hitting as many nearby peaks as possible. (Lauterbrunnen, etc.) What do you think? Thanks!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Nick,

      I’m glad it seemed helpful. My hunch is that a Half Fare Card could be your best option, but it really depends on just how many train rides and cable cars you’d take. In many cases the mountain trains and cable cars are only like CHF20 or 30 each, so with a Half Fare Card they are half of that, and you’d need a lot of those to pay for a full Swiss Travel Pass.

      You might also look into the Bernese Oberland Pass, which is similar to the Swiss Travel Pass but it only covers the greater Interlaken and Bern area. The Half Fare Card might also be worth it, but again, it all depends on how many train rides, boat rides, and cable cars you’d take in those days. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

      1. Nick says:

        Thanks for the quick reply! Definitely helpful. Ill do some cost calcs. Is there a database that lists all the cable car costs by chance?

        1. Roger Wade says:

          Nick,

          I’m not aware of a database like that and I wish it existed. Maybe that is something I’ll put together in the future? Hmmm… -Roger