Which rail passes for 1 month Switzerland trip?

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9 posts
new member
Jul 11, 2019 - 8:34 AM


My partner and I are travelling around Switzerland for the month of October 2019. We are confused as to the passes that we need to buy after reading all the feeds. Our travel route for 30 days in October is:

  • Zurich Kloten Airport to Zurich - 2 days;
  • Zurich to Bern - 2 days;
  • Bern to Lauterbrunnen - 2 days (1 day in Grindelwald & Wengen, 1 day in Jungfraujoch);
  • Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken - 2 days (1 day in Interlaken, 1 day in Thun);
  • Interlaken to Zermatt - 2 days (1 day Klein Matterhorn & Gornergrat, 1 day in Zermatt);
  • Zermatt to Montreux - 4 days (1 day in Montreux & Rochers de Naye, 1 day in Vevey, 2 days in Lausanne);
  • Montreux to Geneva - 3 days;
  • Geneva to Lucerne - 4 days (1 day in Lucerne, 1 day in Engelberg & Mt Titlis, 1 day in Lugano, 1 day in Mt Rigi & Lucerne);
  • Lucerne to Basel -2 days;
  • Basel to Zurich - 3 days (1 day in Zurich, 1 day in Liechtenstein, 1 day in Stein am Rhein & Rhine Falls;
  • Zurich to Chur to St Moritz to Celerina - 1 day;
  • Celerina to Scuol to Davos to Zurich - 2 days (1 day in Davos, 1 day in Zurich)

Correct us if we are wrong on the following:-

We will need the Swiss Travel Pass for a 8-day continuous travel (Day5 to Day 12) for CHF418 and the Swiss Travel Pass Flex for 15 days of selected travel on other days for CHF563. Both Passes will allow us to buy tickets for cable car, gondola, cogwheel trains and other mountain trains at 50% discount on regular fares for the 23 days. On the remaining 7 days that the 2 above passes are not valid, we will need the Half Fare Card to enjoy the discounted travel. So that means we have to buy the Half Fare Card for the 7 days as well. How much does that cost?

Alternatively, we can buy the Half Fare Travelcard for CHF185 (valid for 1 year) and the one-month Travel Pass for CHF420. The Half Fare Travelcard becomes a GA Travelcard for one month. This option costs a total of CHF605 which is cheaper than the earlier option if the benefits are the same.

What is your advice to us?

First - Buy the Swiss Travelcard at CHF185

6068 posts
expert &
Jul 11, 2019 - 10:52 AM

Hi Peterhui496!

How great that you get to explore Switzerland during the entire month of October! Your itinerary is a bit ambitious I'd say, but it does allow you to explore many of Switzerland's nicest towns and regions. In case you haven't found it yet, I recommend the official Swiss timetable to plan your trips: myswissalps.com/timeta ble.

As for rail passes: we explain about the options for a longer stay under "Alternatives if you stay longer than 15 days" at myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass/details. If I were you, I'd keep things simple and arrange for two continuous 15 day Swiss Travel Passes (so four in total for you and your partner). This allows free traveling and discounted mountain transportation for 30 days, with maximum flexibility and ease of use: myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass.

Alternatively you can look into the 1 month Swiss Half Fare Card, but this requires you to buy discounted tickets for each trip: myswissalps.com/swissh alffarecard. The combination of a yearly Half-fare Travelcard and an additional 1-month Travelcard (primarily geared to Swiss residents) might work as well, but note that its coverage still won't be as good as that of the Swiss Travel Pass, especially for mountain tops. So it may seem cheaper if you look at the purchase fare only, but whether it actually is should be carefully calculated based on a detailed list for your plans, including all (mountain) trips: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/chooserailpass.

Last modified on Jul 11, 2019 - 10:52 AM by Annika
7377 posts
Jul 11, 2019 - 10:54 AM in reply to Peterhui1946

Hello Peter and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Conventional wisdom says you should read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass), download the handy spreadsheet calculator and do the math.

However conventional wisdom doesn’t alway work.

I am planning a similar duration visit. I haven’t yet done the sums but my gut feeling is a Swiss Half Fare Card combined with judicious use of a 15-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex will be the best deal.

9 posts
new member
Jul 12, 2019 - 1:56 AM in reply to Annika

Thank you very much for your input, Annika. Using 2 15-day Swiss Travel Passes appears to be the easiest option with a lot of flexibility and convenience. We shall make a final decision after having completed the detailed itinerary. Thank you once again for all the valuable comments.

9 posts
new member
Jul 12, 2019 - 2:00 AM in reply to rockoyster

We will consider your suggestion after having completed the detailed itinerary. Thank you for your comments Rockoyster.

113 posts
active member
Jul 12, 2019 - 6:21 AM

Hi Peterhui1946,

We had 5 weeks in Switzerland May/June, and took two 15 day and one 4 day continuous full Swiss Travel Pass. For our last few days in Zurich we bought a transport ticket covering 3 zones which got us around the city on the trams, and out to the airport. We had a detailed itinerary and did the sums on the spreadsheet. From this it looked like the Half Fare Card would be the cheapest option, however we decided on the STP for it’s convenience of not having to buy tickets, and knowing our itinerary would be flexible depending on the weather. It worked out great, as we ended up going to places we hadn’t planned, both due to the weather, and just because we could as it didn’t cost any extra. Everywhere in Switzerland is reasonably close, so one rainy day we went from Wengen to Brienz, then decided to jump a train to Bern for dinner and a look around. Another cloudy day not good for the mountains around Luzern we ended up in Liechtenstein for the day, so can’t beat the full STP for convenience and flexibility.

Would recommend a trip up to Gruyeres from Montreux, beautiful scenery, lovely medieval castle and town, amazing museum with treasures from Tibet, Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and the cheese factory.

Have a great trip.

886 posts
top member
Jul 12, 2019 - 7:21 AM

I am inclined to agree with Rockoyster's suggestion of the "judicious use" of a 15 day flex pass (which can be used on any fifteen days in a full month, with no requirement that any of these days be consecutive) for CHF 563, together with a half-fare card, which is CHF 120.

If money is not a consideration/concern, then by all means just get two 15-day full STPs. As Rels has so eloquently put it above, it does give you total freedom of where you go and when you go, and you can change your plans in an instant (although you may be constrained by your accommodation reservations).

9 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2019 - 2:35 AM in reply to Rels

Hi Rels and Peterli,

Thanks for your valuable comments. Our night stops are more or less confirmed. Travelling from one end of the country to another just to escape bad weather may not suit us. Although, we can still switch plans from one day to another due to bad weather, we can do only so much. Maybe, we can visit more museums which is indoor during bad weather. In all cases, we all always hope for fine weather when travelling. We may instead consider Peterli's option of using the flex pass instead of STP as proposed by Rels. Anyway, thanks to both of you for your suggestions.

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