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Swiss Pass questions for 6 days in Switzerland

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6 posts
new member
Feb 9, 2016 - 8:08 AM

Hi All,

I am Dhrub. I am planning for Switzerland in May with my family. My tour plan is as follows.

Paris---.> Basel ---.> Zermatt---.> st. moritz( Glacier Exp)---.> luserne---.> zurich ---.> Back home.

I have few questions as i am planing to buy swiss travel pass.

1. For Glacier Exp I know i have to do seat reservation. But for the other can I just get into the trains with my swiss pass ? Do I need to buy any tickets prior ?

2. I'll be in Switzerland for 6 days, There is only 3,4,8 days pass available. Could anybody please suggest me best option for six days.

3. Does the price of the passes stays same all the time? In that case I'll buy them later. If the price goes high in summer, I'll buy them now. Please suggest when is the best time to buy as May is still 3 months away.

Thank you in advance.



16115 posts
expert &
Feb 9, 2016 - 9:01 AM

Hi Dhrub, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

1. It looks like you've been considering the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Pass no longer exists. The Swiss Travel Pass allows free access to all trains. Seat reservations are not included because that depends on your individual travel plans, but only a few trains in Switzerland require them. In your case it's just the Glacier Express. Please see myswissalps.com/ train/ reservations and myswissalps.com/ glacierexpress/ tickets.

2. There are many more passes than just the Swiss Travel Pass. Please see myswissalps.com/ train/ ticketspasses. In your case a 3 or 4-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi may work. It depends on the details of your itinerary. This page helps you out.

3. Prices vary by exchange rates and promotions. Please see myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/ wheretobuy and myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/ price.

Does this help you out?

7567 posts
Feb 9, 2016 - 10:25 AM in reply to iamdhruv

Hi Drubh -

<<"But for the other can I just get into the trains with my swiss pass ? Do I need to buy any tickets prior ?">>

As Arno said, you don't need reservations on almost all trains, the Glacier Express and special VIP seats on some other scenic trains being the exception. Take any seat. If you take an international train - for example, to Paris - you will need a reservation on the part outside Switzerland, so it is convenient to buy it for the entire journey.

You just get on any train and show your pass (or ticket) when the conductor asks for it. With the Swiss Travel Pass, that's all there is to it.

With various half-fare arrangements, you show your ticket and your half-fare discount pass or card. On those trips, you must buy a ticket before boarding the train. You can buy it at a ticket counter (ask for or you will asked about "half-fare." )

For city to city trips, it is also easy to buy tickets from the menu driven ticket machines, where, during the process at one point, you can select half-fare. Tickets on the trains are usually valid for the day that you buy them, so you can take any train. I recall that you can, or could in the past, buy them good for one month, as well. You can also buy them for another day. Look carefully at the ticket and the choices.

In most cases you can have the option buy a city to city ticket that also includes local transport at the destination city, although it can cost a bit extra.

What confuses me sometimes is that you may enter a "from-to"combination for a journey, but, in various regions, you may be given aregional ticket that covers all travel in the region.

www.sbb.ch/en/travelca rds-and-tickets/fare-networks.html

Itlooks just like a regular ticket usually and has the same time limits. That will not be the case for defined long distances such as Luzern to Wengen,but, might be as an example, for the region around Lake Luzern or Zürich. Often,within regions, it may be the only option.

The SBB web site offers a training video and various instructions:


In the cities:

In the cities, local tickets are often good only for one hour, but there are also are usually bewildering arrays of special local tickets and passes good for 24 hours, for more than one zone, for use after the 9AM rush hour, etc. There is a zone map somewhere near the ticket machine....For example, If you decide to go up to Uetliberg in Zürich for a walk, you will need a three zone ticket. Sometimes you can also buy a simple ticket from/to, but in many cases you may always be given a ticket good for any journey within the zone(s) for a set time.

If I am going to send a few days in and near a city - such as Luzern - and do not have Swiss Travel Pass I go to the ticket counter or the office of the local transport organization and ask. In Zürich, that is the ZVV (Zürich Verkehrs Verein, Zürich Transport Organization). The have an office under the main station in Shopville. Since I carry a long term (Swiss Resident) half-fare card, and do not use the Swiss Travel Pass, I do check with the local offices periodically.

I think that you can see why the Swiss Travel Pass is a good idea. To use the system effectively without it, even with a half-fare card of any type, becomes complex as soon as you get away from simple city to city to city travel.

Not only is it convenient to have a Swiss Travel Pass, but you avoid the inconvenience of figuring out the local options.

After 35 years visiting Switzerland, I still make the wrong choices at the ticket machines at tram stops in Zürich, especially when I am in a hurry because the tram is coming. Never mind that the trams run every 8 minutes during most of the day, ;-) I could take my time.

My usual mistake is to buy a full-fare as opposed to a half-fare ticket. Usually during my jet-lag days. Also, if I visit a friend partway up Uetliberg for a few hours at dinner time, but also want to travel around the city or the lake for the day, I have to chose zones and time validity at the ticket machine. I get it wrong and overpay by a few franks about 10 % of the time. Or a buy a single ticket for one hour, but then later buy another ticket good for the whole day, which would have included the trip I paid for separately.


6 posts
new member
Feb 9, 2016 - 9:33 PM

Hi Arno/ Slowpoke, Thanks a lot for your reply. These informations are really helpful. Thank you so much.. Regards Dhrub

7567 posts
Feb 9, 2016 - 9:51 PM in reply to iamdhruv

Hi Drub-

Glad you find it useful.

City to city travel with a half fare pass is not a problem. It is easy to get a half-fare ticket from a ticket counter or a ticket machine.

It is only when I start to work on options while using a ticket machine for travel inside a city or nearby that it becomes a puzzle. After I'm there for a few days, I get it figured out, but while I am away from Switzerland, I tend to forget the fine details.

Those complicated options are designed to help the average Swiss commuter or traveler get a good deal, and if you or I were to use it every day, it would become second nature.

Sort of like doing puzzles. If you get the right answer, you save a few or even 5 or 10 franks. ;-)

I consider it a challenge. If I don't work it out, I pay more, which is of course the whole point of the system. People who do not figure it out pay the price. ;-)

Or, I go to the counter and ask.



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