A railway pass is the perfect way to explore Switzerland by public transport. With the right ticket you save money, time and nerves and always have the right companion with you. We present you the 9 most important tourist passes.
To travel around Switzerland, there are numerous tourist passes and all-inclusive tickets that make your life much easier nd also save you money. On the one hand, there are passports that are valid throughout Switzerland. But there are also tickets that you can use for a specific region. No matter how long and where you travel, you will find the right tourist pass for your train journey.
Now, certain restrictions apply in some cases. There are passes that are only valid for Europeans, but not for Swiss. Then there are passes that only non-Europeans can buy. Others are valid for everyone who wants to buy it. To give you a good overview, below you will find the 9 most important tourist passes that will accompany you on your trip through Switzerland.
Probably the most famous and most common rail pass for vacationers in Switzerland is the Swiss Travel Pass. You can hardly get more all-round carefree package. It is not only a ticket for public transport in Switzerland, it also gives you access to museums and many other interesting discounts.
The following services are included in the Swiss Travel Pass:
The Swiss Travel Pass is available for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 consecutive days and is valid from the date you specify when you purchase it.
The Swiss Travel Pass is only available to people who do not have their primary residence in Switzerland. If you live in Switzerland, you can alternatively use one of the regional train passes.
You can buy the Swiss Travel Pass either online or directly at the ticket counter at any major train station in Switzerland. Various sales offices abroad also sell the pass. Please ask at your nearest train station or travel agency.
The Swiss Travel Pass is personal and non-transferable, so you must show a passport or identity card to purchase it.
The Swiss Travel Pass is by far the most comprehensive offer for a trip in Switzerland. It is therefore not cheap and if you want to watch your budget a bit, a purchase wants to be well considered. Here you will find a more detailed explanation of whether the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it.
If you are the kind of person who likes to take a day off in between, there is a wonderful, more flexible alternative to the Swiss Travel Pass.
As the name suggests, this pass is very similar to the Swiss Travel Pass. The only difference is its validity period. Otherwise, it also includes the following services on the days you use it:
The Swiss Travel Pass Flex is valid for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 days within one month. During this period, you can use it on days of your choice, which you must enter in the blank field in the Travel Pass on the day of travel. Outside of your travel days, the pass is invalid and you cannot show it for any other benefits or admissions.
The Swiss Travel Pass Flex is also only available to people who do not have their primary residence in Switzerland. If you live in Switzerland, you can alternatively use one of the regional tourist passes below.
You can buy the Swiss Travel Pass either online or at any major train station in Switzerland directly at the ticket counter. Various sales offices abroad also sell the pass. Please ask at your nearest train station or travel agency.
The Swiss Travel Pass Flex is personal and non-transferable, so you must show a passport or identity card to purchase it.
The Swiss Travel Pass Flex offers the same benefits as the Swiss Travel Pass with the difference of additional flexibility. If you are unsure whether a purchase makes sense for you, try to evaluate it based on the following points:
If all this is too much for you and you are ready to accept some performance losses for a cheaper pass, there is a rail pass known and recognized throughout Europe. You have probably heard of it.
The Interrail is a tourist pass that is especially popular with young individual travelers. However, there is no age limit for this rail pass, which can be purchased for 33 European countries.
The Interrail is divided into two types of passes. On the one hand, there is the One-Country Pass, which can be used only for a single country, while the Global Pass is valid for 33 European countries. The services of the Interrail in Switzerland are slightly less extensive than those of the Swiss Travel Pass. Since it is a rail pass, it is mainly valid on rail and includes the following offers:
Please note that you are not allowed to use the Interrail on buses or in streetcars.
You can buy the One-Country Pass for Switzerland for 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days. These travel days can be used flexibly during one month. You have to enter the date on the travel day.
The Global Pass has a much more comprehensive range. The shortest duration is 7 days and the longest pass is valid for three months. Up to 15 days, the travel days can be used flexibly within one to two months, while the pass is valid continuously and without interruption from 15 days.
The Interrail is only available to people who reside in Europe. However, you cannot buy an Interrail for the country you live in. However, in the case of the Global Pass, two journeys are included - the one from your home to the national border and the one back from the national border at the end of your journey.
You can either order the Interrail online or buy it at a train station or travel agency in your home. The Interrail is personal and non-transferable, so you must show a passport or identity card to buy it.
The Interrail is ideal for people who like to travel by train. The following list can help you make a decision:
Only you can answer whether the Interrail or the Swiss Travel Pass makes more sense for you based on your travel plans. If you have a rough idea of what your plans are, we recommend the following:
Calculate the difference between the Swiss Travel Pass and the Interrail for the required time and roughly estimate whether this difference is sufficient for possible bus, boat and gondola rides as well as for one or the other museum.
If you now feel discriminated against as a non-European and are already planning the next protest march in the back of your mind, we can reassure you. Of course, there is also an interesting offer for you.
The Eurail is the non-identical twin of the Interrail. It has more similarities than differences to Interrail and is also valid on the European rail network in 33 countries. Please note that you are not allowed to use the Eurail on buses or streetcars.
Unfortunately, there is no One-Country Pass for Switzerland. Thus, your only option for traveling by Eurail through Switzerland is to buy a Eurail Global Pass. Also, in the case of the Eurail Pass, the services are less extensive than those of the Swiss Travel Pass. Since it is a rail pass, it is mainly valid on rail and includes the following offers:
The Global Pass is available for different periods of time. Started at 4 flexible days and stopped at 3 months of unlimited travel.
You may have noticed that the Eurail website is only in English, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. This is because only non-Europeans can buy a Eurail Pass. And since neither German nor Danish is spoken outside Europe, the language selection is different from Interrail.
You can either order the Interrail online or buy it at a travel agency in your home. The Eurail is personal and non-transferable, so you must show your passport to buy it.
The Eurail is ideal for people who are planning a longer trip through Europe and like to travel by train. The following list can help you make a decision:
The Tellpass includes several tourist offers in Central Switzerland - that is around Lucerne and Lake Lucerne. If you are familiar with the legend of William Tell, you won't be surprised by this particular name. Otherwise, here comes a little refresher.
William Tell was the one who had to shoot an apple off his son Walter's head in Altdorf in the 13th century to escape the clutches of the devious bailiff Gessler.
With a crossbow, of course.
After the nerve-wracking but successful shot, Tell was nevertheless arrested and managed to escape Gessler during a strong storm on Lake Lucerne. It was a fight for life and death..
With the Tellpass, which has nothing in common with the good William except its home region, you have access to the following offers:
The Tellpass is available for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 consecutive days. The pass runs from its first day of validity and the travel days are not flexible over a longer period.
Good news: No matter how old you are, where you come from, what color hair you have, and whether you like fondue or not, you can buy the Tellpass. It is for every guest of Central Switzerland.
There are over 80 points of sale throughout Switzerland where you can get your personal and non-transferable Tellpass. It is also available in the online store, although in this case it can only be booked two weeks before the first day of validity.
The Tellpass is significantly cheaper than the Swiss Travel Pass and may be worth considering in the following cases:
The Jungfrau Pass is an offer for tourists who want to enjoy the region around Interlaken. There are two variants of this pass. With the Top of Europe Pass the trip up to the Jungfraujoch is completely covered, with the Jungfrau Travel Pass there is only a discount from the station Eigergletscher.
The following offers are included in the Jungfrau Pass:
The Jungfrau Pass is available for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 consecutive days. The pass runs from its first day of validity and the travel days are not flexible over a longer period.
Like the Tell Pass, the Jungfrau Pass is available to any guest in the region. Swiss or not.
The easiest place to buy the personal and non-transferable Jungfrau Travel Pass is with Swiss Activities. It is also available at most Swiss train stations and at the tourist offices in the Jungfrau region.
Whether the Jungfrau Travel Pass is worth it we have answered you in a separate article. The following points can help you decide:
If you are planning a vacation in the Bernese Oberland, this regional pass will most likely make your heart beat faster. It covers an incredibly large area that extends far beyond the canton of Bern. If you are staying for a longer period of time in the quadrangle between Lucerne, Bern, Saanen and Brig, you are in the catchment area of the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland.
The following offers are included in this pass:
The Bernese Oberland Regional Pass is available between April and October for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 10 consecutive days. The pass runs from its first day of validity and the travel days cannot be used flexibly over a longer period.
The Bernese Oberland Regional Pass is available to any guest in the region.
The easiest way to buy the personal and non-transferable Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is in the BLS online store. It is also available at most Swiss railroad stations and at the tourist offices in the region.
The Bernese Oberland Regional Pass offers a terrific selection of excursion destinations. It is slightly more expensive than the Jungfrau Travel Pass. But if you plan to go outside the Jungfrau region on a larger scale, the surcharge might be worth it.
However, I do not recommend combining the Jungfrau Travel Pass with the Swiss Travel Pass, as it makes little sense to have two all-round carefree packages in your pocket. The following points can help you decide whether the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland is something for you or not:
The Graubündenpass is valid throughout the canton of Grisons, with several subcategories. At first glance, it seems a bit complicated, but somehow we will pass through this thicket as well. The canton is divided into the zone north and the zone south. You have the choice whether you want to buy the pass for only one or both zones.
Included in the Graubündenpass are the following services:
The Graubündenpass Bike is available for one day at a time for either one or both zones. The regular Graubündenpass is available for two periods:
The travel days can be used flexibly during the total validity period.
The Graubündenpass is available to every guest in the canton of Graubünden.
The Graubündenpass is available at the following points of sale:
Although the Graubündenpass is a comparatively complicated construct, it is definitely an attractive proposition. It could be worthwhile for you if:
The last tourist pass takes us to western Switzerland, or rather to the beautiful Lake Geneva region. The Lake Geneva Alps Regional Pass is valid in the area between Zweisimmen, St. Maurice, Geneva and Yverdon-les-Bains. It includes a combination of free and reduced travel that we have not seen on any other tourist pass.
The following offers are included in this pass:
Included is also the trip with the Golden Pass train from Montreux to Zweisimmen. If you want to travel on the scenic train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken, you need an additional ticket. You can get this ticket for half price with the regional pass Lake Geneva-Alps. Unfortunately, this pass does not provide you with any other offers or discounted entries.
The Lake Geneva-Alps Regional Pass is available in two versions. One pass is valid for 5 days, where you enjoy free travel on the entire network on 2 days and a 50% reduction on the network on the remaining 3 days.
The second version is valid for 7 days. On 3 days you get free travel and on 4 days 50% reduction on the remaining tickets. The Lake Geneva Alps Regional Pass is available all year round, although certain mountain railroads and boats operate seasonally at reduced rates or not at all. Check the timetable on the SBB website or app before you start your journey.
The Lake Geneva-Alps Regional Pass is available to everyone.
The easiest way to buy the personal and non-transferable Regional Pass is in the online store. It is also available at the train stations and the boat landing stages in the Lake Geneva region.
The Lake Geneva-Alps Regional Pass covers quite a large area and gives you access to many wonderful destinations. Be it a trip on a paddle steamer on Lake Geneva, a train ride along the beautiful Lavaux vineyards or a trip on the Golden Pass train to the Bernese Oberland. The following points can help you decide whether the Lake Geneva-Alps Regional Pass is something for you or not:
We see a big plus in the Lake Geneva Alps Regional Pass in the fact that it is not fully valid on 5 or 7 consecutive days. This allows the rather low price and still you have the possibility to plan intensive and less intensive travel days without having bought the pass in vain on the quiet days.
For two to three days with larger excursions, such as with the Golden Pass to Zweisimmen or with the boat on Lake Geneva, the pass pays off very quickly.
By the way, if you need help choosing your itinerary in Switzerland, we will be happy to help you with our articles.