Swiss Travel Pass vs Swiss Half Fare Card

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6 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2018 - 3:33 AM

Swiss travel pass

I am visiting Switzerland for the first time. Myself and my husband are traveling with our 2-yr old son. My itinerary is:

Day1: From Zürich airport to Lucerne hotel

Round trip - From Lucerne to mt. Pilatus

Day2: Round trip - From lucerne to mt.Titlus

Day3: From Lucerne to Interlaken

Round trip -From Interlaken to trummelbach falls

Day4: Roundtrip- From Interlaken to Jungfraujoch

Day5: Interlaken to Florence

I am planning to travel the 2 nd week of May this year. For my itinerary which Pass will be more cost effective? Where would I find deals for the Pass? Is it possible to get good deals around that time of May month? Which option is better for all train rides, boats, cogwheel and cable cars.

1. 4-day Swiss travel pass

2. Half -fare card

3. Any other pass

5406 posts
Mar 7, 2018 - 5:35 AM in reply to Itzswiss

Hello Itzswiss,

A clearly mapped out itinerary is the basis for deciding which pass (if any) suits. Based on your itinerary you need to do the sums based on the cost of all your planned trips on trains, boats, cable cars etc. You can use the Swiss Train Timetable ( metable) to work out the fares for any trip. When you go to buy a ticket the fare you see on the right hand side of the page will normally be the half-fare price. Double it to get full fare. With A Swiss Travel Pass it is free provided it is shown as free on the Area of Validity map ( PDF downloadable from isstravelpass/validity).

You should read “How to choose the best travel pass” ( ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass).

A word on the Swiss Half Fare Card:

The Swiss Half Fare Card is not actually a card - it is just a piece of paper. You buy one for CHF120 and carry it with you. When you buy individual tickets you pay the half price fare (the one that normally shows up first in the timetable search anyway). The only place the SHFC comes into play is that when an inspector on a train asks to see your ticket and you show him a half-fare ticket then you have to also show him your SHFC to prove you are eligible for the half-fare ticket. So once you have shelled out your initial CHF120 you have to buy CHF240 worth of full fare (ie CHF120 at half price) tickets to break even. That is to say if you buy CHF240 full fare tickets at half price then you effectively save CHF120 which JUST cancels out your initial CHF120 outlay on the SHFC. Once you reach that point all the additional tickets you buy you really are saving 50%.

A 4-day Swiss Travel Pass costs CHF270 so it is only CHF30 more than the SHFC and you don't have to worry about buying tickets most of the time just hop on trains and go.

You will still need to buy tickets for Pilatus and Titlis at 50% discount. Jungfraujoch is only 25% discount beyond Wengen or Grindelwald but free up to those towns. With the SHFC you get a discount of 50% from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch.

As well as the Swiss Travel Pass ( isstravelpass) there are many regional passes ( gionalpasses) which can work depending on where you are based and how much travel you plan. The Tell Pass (just about everything around Lucerne is free) and the Bernese Oberland Pass for the Jungfrau region and as far as Brig on your way to Florence may work for you.

6 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2018 - 5:01 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you rock oyster for this detailed response. The Swiss travel pass sounds like a better one to break even my itinerary. I never knew this Timetable ( metable) provides a half fare price. I was under the impression that it’s the full price without any pass. This was a great tip.

I have few more questions as well.

1.If I am taking the 4-day Swiss travel pass, I’ll not be able to use it on day 5 so which pass is recommended for the travel from Interlaken to Florence?

Do I have to make reservations for mt. Titlus, mt Pilatus and Jungfraujoch to avoid the queues? Or does the pass have the privilege to skip the long queues?

Is reservations recommended for any other rides like cable cars or cogwheel trains?

And which kind of plan gives me a cost effective travel from Interlaken to florence? Is reservations recommended?

5406 posts
Mar 7, 2018 - 9:24 PM in reply to Itzswiss

Correct, the STP won’t help on Day 5. You could look at a Saver Day Pass ( edaytravelpass/details) to get you to Domodossola. But I’d reiterate “The Tell Pass (just about everything around Lucerne is free) and the Bernese Oberland Pass for the Jungfrau region and as far as Brig on your way to Florence may work for you.”. See gionalpasses.

From there you will need a separate ticket and reservation to get you to Florence. You can use the Swiss Timetable to work out routes and timings Interlaken to Florence plus see aintickets/italy.

You won’t need reservations on cable cars etc. May is not peak tourist season.

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