Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It? Comparing Swiss Train Discounts

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Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it?  How does it compare to a Swiss Half Fare Card (SBB Half Fare Card)?  Should we just buy individual tickets?

We never had any doubt that traveling by train with our toddlers was the way to go on our recent trip to Switzerland.  In preparing for our trip, we were not sure beforehand whether we should buy one of the versions of the Swiss Travel Pass, a half fare card or just buy individual tickets.

Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It?

Here is a breakdown of all of the journeys that we made during our 8 days in Switzerland (prices current as of August 2017) that were covered by our Swiss Travel Pass.  At the bottom I included a breakdown of what they would have cost if we had purchased individual tickets, as well as the cost on a SBB Half Fare Card.

Quick Summary

Buying individual fares would have been a little bit cheaper, but the convenience of the Swiss Travel Pass  (SBB Travel Pass) was more than worth the small extra cost.  We also likely would have done more moving around and used the pass MORE if we were not traveling with kids.

  • Total amount spent on 8 day Swiss Travel Pass/Person:  376 CHF
  • Total we would have spent on buying individual fares/person: 334 CHF
  • Total Amount we would have spent with a half fare card/person: 307 CHF

Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it for your trip? Here is a summary comparing Swiss train discounts with advice about which pass might be right for you!

For those who love the details, a full breakdown comparing the cost of all of our train journeys on each type of Swiss train discounts can be found at the bottom.

The Details 

The big question before or trip was “Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth It”?  Money wise, it appears that the best deal for us might have been the SBB Half Fare Card.  This conclusion does not take into account the amount of time one would have spent buying tickets for all of the trains and buses and boats that we took.

With the Swiss Travel Pass, for the most part you just hop on and show your pass.  No ticket needed.  The convenience of this, especially with kids, was worth the extra cost.  When I added it all up, I saw that we actually spent a little MORE money going with the Swiss Travel Pass (but REALLY not a big difference).

 

Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth It

 

The Swiss Travel Pass gives a 50% discount on mountain lifts and free admission to a TON of museums and other sites in Switzerland.  Because we travel with two kids, we move at a slower pace.  Folks traveling without kids will likely take better advantage of these other discounts.  We keep things simple when traveling with kids – only one big activity or trip per day.  No more stuffing as many things as possible  into our days.

If you were planning on doing a lot of mountain lifts (especially the expensive Jungfraujoch) this would likely make it so that the Swiss Travel Pass would give you a better deal.

One MIGHT save some money by carefully planning your itinerary to optimize the days on a Swiss Flexi Pass.  With kids,  this would mean stuffing too many activities into a limited number of days.  This type of pass just doesn’t make sense with toddlers.  Doing too many things each day = cranky kids.

We had planned on doing one more mountain lift and a couple of other things that would have been fully or partially covered by our pass during our last days and got rained out.   If we had added those things, we would have easily spent more money on individual tickets than with the Swiss Travel Pass that we bought.

 

Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth It

Are you still wondering “Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It”?  What questions do you have about Swiss train discounts?

Switzerland can be CRAZY expensive, but it is sooo worth it! This coupon book has 2 for 1 offers for many restaurants and attractions around the country. I wish we had known about this when we visited Switzerland…it would have saved us a TON of money!

 


Cost of an  8 day Swiss Travel Pass/Person: 

376 CHF


Individual Ticket Cost for all Train Travel during our 8 days in Switzerland:

  • Train from Swiss Border (Buchs) to Lucerne via Zurich: 28 CHF
  • Lucerne Lake Cruise to Vitznau and Cogwheel Train to/From Mount Rigi: Lake Cruise to Vitznau – 19 CHF, Cogwheel Cogwheel Train – 36 CHF, Train from Goldau to Lucerne – 6.60 CHF
  • Train from Lucerne to Interlaken: 30.50 CHF
  • Train From Interlaken to Stechelberg + Cable car to the top of Schilthorn: Train to Lauterbrunnen – 7.60 CHF RT, 105 regular fare (41 CHF with Swiss Pass, a savings of 64 CHF)
  • Train from Interlaken to Thun: 17.60 CHF RT
  • Train from Interlaken to Gimmelwald: 11.40 CHF RT
  • Interlaken Harder Kulm Cable Car: 16 CHF
  • Train From Interlaken to Zurich: 35 CHF
  • Zurich Lake Cruise: 13.80 CHF
  • Train From Zurich to Konstanz, Germany:  33 CHF RT
  • Transportation Card Zurich:  5.20 CHF x 3 days

Total of Buying Individual Fares: 

334.10 CHF


Swiss Half Fare Card (along with what individual tickets WOULD have cost with it for our trip):

120 CHF (valid for one month)

  • Train from Swiss Border (Buchs) to Lucerne via Zurich: 14 CHF
  • Lucerne Lake Cruise to Vitznau and Cogwheel Train to/From Mount Rigi: Lake Cruise to Vitznau – 9.50 CHF, Cogwheel Cogwheel Train – 18 CHF, Train from Goldau to Lucerne – 3.30 CHF
  • Train from Lucerne to Interlaken: 15.25 CHF
  • Train From Interlaken to Stechelberg + Cable car to the top of Schilthorn: Train to Lauterbrunnen – 3.80 CHF RT, 105 regular fare (52.50 CHF with Half Fare Card, a savings of 52.50 CHF)
  • Train from Interlaken to Thun: 8.80 CHF RT
  • Train from Interlaken to Gimmelwald: 5.70 CHF RT
  • Interlaken Harder Kulm Cable Car: 16 CHF
  • Train From Interlaken to Zurich: 17.50 CHF
  • Zurich Lake Cruise: 6.90 CHF
  • Train From Zurich to Konstanz, Germany:  16.50 CHF RT
  • Transportation Card Zurich:  Half fare card gives unspecified discounts on public buses.

What the approximate total cost would have been with Half Fare Card

307.75 CHF give or take


Have you traveled by train in Switzerland?  Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth it?  Which Swiss Train discounts did you find worked best for your vacation?

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Shanna Schultz

We are Shanna and Aaron + kiddos. We are a travel addicted family of four who love to escape at every possible opportunity. When we travel, we love to focus on creating meaningful travel experiences that help us all learn about the world together and bring us closer as a family. Shanna also writes about travel in the Midwestern part of the United States at her blog A Midwest Travel Companion

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  1. Thanks for sharing this useful and informative post with us, for those who are planning to visit Switzerland this is very helpful.

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