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[Answered] Is Swiss Travel Pass Worth it?

Apr 08, 2021
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[Answered] Is Swiss Travel Pass worth it?
In-depth analysis by Swiss Travel Expert

If you have already done your fair bit of research for Switzerland, you have now come across the words Swiss Travel Pass far too many times. So what is this and why are 90% of tourists opting for this famous pass?

So, is Swiss Travel Pass worth it?

Yes!

The Swiss Travel Pass is not just a piece of paper but rather your key to every door in Switzerland. This key of course doesn't come cheap, but the best things in the world come at a cost. Let's find out if opting for a Swiss Travel Pass is worth your dime.

1. It is not just a rail pass

Your Swiss Pass is valid on all public modes of transport in Switzerland i.e. buses, boats, trains and trams.

That means once you have the pass, you don't pay for any travel within this beautiful country.

What's more? There is no limit to the number of times you can travel within the set number of days chosen (3, 4, 8 or 15 days).

As if that wasn't enough, you get massive discounts on the mountain cable and trains so you never end up paying full price for these. Still not convinced? You have free entry to 500 museums in Switzerland. Most of the included museum entries cost between CHF5 and CHF10 without the pass, although a few are closer to CHF20.

All in all this is a great deal according to us. Continue reading if you're still not persuaded.

2. Free travel for your child under 16 years

If you're travelling with family and have children under 16 years, taking the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it as it ensures your children travel free on the public transport within Switzerland.

The children get their very own "Family Card" which is a zero value Swiss Pass issued to you when you book your paid adult Swiss Travel Pass.

Once you have a family card, your kids under 16 years also go free on 90% of the Mountain Excursions. This in itself is a super sweet deal for your family and you.

3. Discount for youth between 16 to 26 years

It's okay if your child missed the 16-year cut off for a free family pass.

The Swiss Pass offers a youth aged 16 to 26 years a 15% discount on the Adult Swiss Travel Pass. The other benefits though, are the same as an adult Swiss Travel Pass.

4. Flexi or Continuous Days Option

Why Swiss Travel Pass is worth it is because it doesn't tie you down to consecutive days travel.

Let's suppose you intend to travel outside your base in Switzerland only for 4 out of the 8 days, you can benefit from the Flexi Pass option.

This option is valid on 3, 4, 8 or 15 freely selectable days within one month rather than 3,4,8 or 15 consecutive days offered in a continuous pass.

The Flexi Swiss Travel Passholders can enjoy the same benefits as that of the consecutive passholders but only on the days of travel chosen.

Travellers who want the comfort of a car but also want the best deals on the mountains and other benefits of the pass should opt for the Flexi option. That way, they can use the pass on certain days and get the best deals on those days.

5. No need to stand in Lines for single-fare tickets thus saving your precious time

Once you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you can totally skip the long queues for single fare tickets.

Simply hop onto your preferred mode of transport (bus, boat, train or tram) and show your pass when asked by the Ticket Checker.

There is no hassle of scanning your pass through a machine before getting into the mode of transport chosen.

Although non-financial, this point is necessary to consider for tourists who travel in peak seasons.

6. Freebies on the Swiss Travel Pass

Certain mountains and famous attractions are completely free with the pass and it only increases the worth of Swiss Pass, which would otherwise attract a fee.

Mountains and attractions free with Swiss Travel Pass are:

1. Mt. Rigi in Lucerne which is also known as the Queen of Mountains
2. Mt Stanserhorn which has an open double decker cable car (The CabriO)
3. The Swiss Ballenberg Open Air museum,
4. La Maison du Gruyère (cheese factory),
5. Maison Cailler (chocolate factory) ,
6. Chillon Castle in Montreux.

7. Comparison with Individual Tickets

If the above benefits of Swiss Pass haven't convinced you, let's go through some numbers:-

It really does depend on your itinerary as to whether the Swiss Travel pass will ultimately be of value to you.

When comparing the Swiss Pass cost vs Self Drive vs Individual public transport tickets, you will have to calculate the per day cost of what you will spend on car rental, gas, parking, individual tickets, etc.

Once you do such a calculation, you will realize that the Swiss Travel Pass is definitely of value, 98% of the time. However, if you think you're in the 2%, we list down below examples for you.

2ND CLASS Continuous Swiss Travel Pass Prices*
CHF 232 for 3 days - CHF 77 per day per Adult
CHF 281 for 4 days - CHF 70 per day per Adult
CHF 418 for 8 days - CHF 52 per day per Adult
CHF 513 for 15 days - CHF 34 per day per Adult

*Consider that this covers public transport throughout Switzerland as well as huge discounts on mountain railways and cableways. Also 500 free museums.

2ND CLASS One way normal full price train fares to popular destinations in Switzerland per Adult:
Zürich -> Luzern - CHF 25
Luzern -> Interlaken - CHF 33
Zürich -> Chur - CHF 41
Zürich -> Lugano - CHF 65
Zürich -> Interlaken - CHF 70
Zürich -> St. Moritz - CHF 76
Interlaken -> Zermatt - CHF 83
Interlaken -> Geneva - CHF 88
Zürich -> Zermatt - CHF 125

8. The Comparison with one day itinerary

Let's consider the most basic of Switzerland itineraries;

Suppose you are a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years.

You decide to just stopover in Switzerland and stay in Zurich City for just 2 nights.

You intend to take a day trip to the famous Mt. Titlis in Lucerne with a lake cruise by evening and maybe a visit to the Rhine Falls and a few things to do in Zurich.

Let's take a look at how much you would spend with and without pass.

Without Pass :

Tickets Per Adult Per Child
Zuich Airport to Zurich City (Return fare for first & last day) CHF 13.60 CHF 6.80
Zurich City to Engelberg (Base Station of Mt. Titlis) Return journey CHF 76 CHF 38
Cruise on Lake Lucerne CHF 39 CHF 11
Mt. Titlis Cableway Fullfare Return CHF 96 CHF 48
Zurich City to RhineFalls Return CHF 27.80 CHF 13.9

Total Expenditure for 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years: CHF 740

Without Pass :

Tickets Per Adult Per Child
3 Days 2nd class Swiss Travel Pass
- Included in Pass at No additional charge:
a. Zuich Airport to Zurich City (Return fare for first & last day)
b. Zurich City to Engelberg (Base Station of Mt. Titlis) Return journey
c. Cruise on Lake Lucerne
d. Zurich City to RhineFalls Return
CHF 232 CHF 0
Mt Titlis Return Cableway Swiss Pass holder Fare CHF 60 CHF 0

Total Expenditure for 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years: CHF 584

You save a whole lot of money that you can spend on shopping instead!

When it comes to selecting the pass over individual tickets or a car, there are certain NO BRAINER situations where you should definitely opt for the pass.

9. Comparison with Swiss Travel Pass with Panoramic Trains

If your Switzerland tour package includes any of the below, you can opt for the travel pass without giving it much thought.

Panoramic Train Glacier Express
Route: Zermatt <->St. Moritz
2nd Class Full fare: CHF 152
Compulsory Reservation Supplement: Approx. CHF 33 to 43 per person.
If you're holding the Swiss Travel Pass, you only pay the Compulsory reservation supplement as your pass covers the full fare cost of the ticket.

Panoramic Train & Bus Bernina Express
Route: Chur <-> Lugano via Tirano
2nd Class Full fare: CHF 34 for bus segment & CHF 63 for the Train Segemnt
Compulsory Reservation Supplement: Approx. CHF 16 per person for bus segment & CHF 16 per person for train segment.
If you're holding the Swiss Travel Pass, you only pay the Compulsory reservation supplement as your pass covers the full fare cost of the ticket.

Panoramic Golden Pass Line
Route: Lucerne <-> Montreux
2nd Class fare: Approx. CHF 98
Reservation Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: CHF 8 to CHF 15 per person. (If holding a pass reservation is not compulsory but recommended). Again in this case, if holding a Swiss Pass, the full fare ticket price doesn't have to be paid.

Swiss Chocolate Train
Route: Montreux <-> Broc & Gruyeres
1st Class full fare: CHF 99
2nd Class fare: CHF 90
Supplement for Swiss Pass holders: CHF 55 to CHF 69 per person depending on class of pass.

Our Verdict:

Overall travelling within Switzerland is definitely more expensive than in other European countries, but the Swiss Travel Pass is one of its kind when it comes to benefits and value for money.

No other country offers a worthy pass that's valid on all modes of transport and so many non-transport benefits.

What better way than to experience a country like a local?

Don't miss out on one of the most punctual and efficient transport systems of the world.

It's a marvel how things run like clockwork!

Our Verdict is to opt for this one-of-a-kind pass and not be pennywise and pound foolish, after all you are going on a holiday to drain out your stress, not create the hassles that come with not having such an essential document.

The Swiss Travel pass is definitely worth every penny now more than ever as it comes in electronic format.

This rids you of your tensions of losing such an essential document while travelling.

There has never been an easier way to travel and once you experience Switzerland for what it really is, we are sure you'll not explore this country any other way.


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