What does the Swiss Half Fare Card offer?
- You'll get a 50% discount on standard ticket fares for trains, buses, boats, and cableways in Switzerland.
- It works for 1st and 2nd class tickets.
- The card is valid for one month.
- Children travel along for free with the Swiss Family Card.
- For a day of unlimited traveling, you can buy an additional pass for one day.
Swiss Half Fare Card price (2024)
The Swiss Half Fare Card price is CHF 120 per adult.
- Swiss Family Card: children, stepchildren, and foster children from 6 up to and including 15 travel for free if accompanied by at least one parent with a Swiss Half Fare Card and a discounted ticket. You can get the Swiss Family Card free of charge while ordering a Swiss Half Fare Card. If a child is not accompanied by a parent, please find the options here.
- Children up to 5 travel along for free. They don't need a Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Family Card.
- There are no special fares for seniors or groups.
Where to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card
A list of trusted webshops can be found below. You will receive the Swiss Half Fare Card via e-mail. Keep it on your phone, or print it. There is nothing else you need to do.
Offered by Official SBB shop: switzerlandtravelcentre.com
- Official webshop of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), operated by Switzerland Travel Centre (STC)
- Instant delivery through e-mail in 5 minutes
- Free cancellation until 1 day before travel, if you choose the FLEX OPTION. No questions asked.
- Extra Support: MySwissAlps can answer most questions regarding your order as well.
Offered by Klook: www.klook.com
- Best price guarantee: Klook will refund double the difference if you find a lower price.
- Extra Support: if you book here, MySwissAlps can also assist if you have questions about your order.
Swiss Half Fare Card promotions
There are rarely any promotions for the Swiss Half Fare Card. But if there are, we'll list them here.
Get a 5% discount on the Swiss Half Fare Card with promo code: MSA-HO-5. Additionally, you'll receive a CHF 10 cashback. Free cancellation.
You need to be logged into the Headout website to qualify.
Discounted scenic trains with the Swiss Half Fare Card
|Bernina Express||Discount 50%:|
Seat reservations: no discount.
|Centovalli Railway||Discount 50%:|
Seat reservations: no discount.
|Chocolate Train||Discount 30%:|
|Glacier Express||Discount 50%:|
Seat reservations: no discount.
Seat reservations and surcharge for Prestige class in GoldenPass Express: no discount.
|Gotthard Panorama Express||Discount 50%:|
Seat reservations: no discount.
|Lötschberg Mountain Railway||Discount 50%:|
Seat reservations: no discount.
Discounted mountain day trips with the Swiss Half Fare Card
Betten to Bettmeralp (cableway): 50% discounted.
|Brienzer Rothorn||Discount 50%:|
Hammetschwand lift: no discount.
Locarno to Orselina (funicular): no discount.
|Glacier 3000||Discount 50%:|
Adventure activities: discount varies
|Harder Kulm||Discount 50%:|
|Matterhorn Glacier Paradise||Discount 50%:|
|Monte Brè||Discount 50%:|
|Monte Generoso||Discount 50%:|
|Monte San Salvatore||Discount 50%:|
|Monte Tamaro||Discount 50%:|
|Schynige Platte||Discount 50%:|
Other activities for Swiss Half Fare Card holders
|Boat Basel||No discount:|
|Boat Lake Brienz||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Geneva||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Lucerne||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Lugano||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Maggiore||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Thun||Discount 50%:|
|Boat Lake Zurich||Discount 50%:|
|Rhine Falls||No discount:|
To Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall and Neuhausen Rheinfall (train): 50% discount.
Popular discounted public transport routes
Examples of where you can go with your Swiss Half Fare Card.
|Austria to Switzerland||
|Basel to Zurich||
|France to Switzerland||
|Geneva to Zermatt||
|Germany to Switzerland||
|Interlaken to Zurich||
|Italy to Switzerland||
|Lauterbrunnen to Mürren||
|Lauterbrunnen to Wengen||
|Zurich to Zermatt||
Swiss Half Fare Card validity map
Download the map to see exactly where you can travel. The basic rules are:
- Tickets for trains and buses are discounted by 50%.
- Transport into the mountains (by cableway, funicular, cogwheel train, et cetera) is discounted by 50%.
- A discount of 50% applies to city transport (trams, buses). In rare cases, tickets for short routes are discounted by a lower percentage.
- Boat tickets are discounted by 50%, but exceptions may apply to special cruises such as dinner cruises.
- The Swiss Half Fare Card is valid in Switzerland only. A few rail and bus routes crossing the border allow discounted traveling too. Examples are EuroAirport (France) to Basel, Brig to Domodossola (Italy), Domodossola to Locarno (Italy: Centovalli line), and buses in Liechtenstein.
How the map works
- The route types are explained in the upper left corner of the map.
- Traveling with the Swiss Half Fare Card applies to all trains that operate on the indicated lines and that are listed in the timetables. The train type (InterCity, local, panoramic) and the operating company do not matter. So, the Bernina Express, Glacier Express, GoldenPass, and other scenic trains are discounted as well.
- Red dashed lines are tunnels. Discounted traveling applies there, just as for the solid red lines. Frutigen to Visp is an example of such a route.
- There are too many bus routes to fit on the map. In principle, all public bus services are discounted.
How does the Swiss Half Fare Card work?
With a Swiss Half Fare Card, you are entitled to buy tickets at half the regular fare. You don’t have to have proof that you own a Swiss Half Fare Card when you buy the ticket. This will be checked on board.
How to start using your digital Swiss Half Fare Card
- You will receive a PDF file. Keep that on your smartphone. The file contains a code that train staff can scan.
- You may also receive a link to add the card to a wallet app on your smartphone. You can use this instead of, or in addition to, the PDF file.
- The card is ready to use if it includes all information like the start date, passenger name, and birth date. Your passport number is not on the card. Your name may be truncated if it’s too long to fit on the pass, but that’s no problem.
- Optionally you can print backup copies of the card on A4- or letter-sized paper.
Period of validity
A Swiss Half Fare Card is valid for one month. You can choose any start date you like. It doesn’t have to be the first day of a month. For example: if validity starts on July 15, then August 14 is the last day you can use it.
Validity ends at 5:00 AM of the day following the last day. In the above example, validity ends on August 15, 5:00 AM.
How to get your discounted tickets
You need to arrange for a discounted ticket before you board. Tickets are available online, at staffed rail stations during opening hours, from the ticketing machines at the stations, or through the SBB app.
You don’t have to have proof that you own a Swiss Half Fare Card when you buy the ticket. This will be checked on board.
Every adult traveling on a discounted ticket needs his or her own Swiss Half Fare Card. The Swiss Half Fare Card can’t be shared.
Seat reservations for Swiss Half Fare Card holders
You don’t need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can board with your Swiss Half Fare Card plus a discounted ticket.
Exceptions are some international trains and some scenic trains, like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. If you need or want seat reservations, you have to arrange for them separately. Seat reservations are not included in the Swiss Half Fare Card.
On board the train, bus, or boat
Once you’re on board, you will need to present your Swiss Half Fare Card plus your ticket to the staff upon request. The controller may want to check your passport as well, to make sure you’re the owner of the presented card.
Why we (sometimes) use the Swiss Half Fare Card ourselves
We pick the Swiss Half Fare Card for about 10% of our Swiss holidays. Since we travel by public transport a lot, the Swiss Travel Pass is often better for us.
With the Swiss Half Fare Card, we spend more time on planning, both before and during our stay:
- About two months before departure, we decide if we need Saver Day Passes in addition to the Swiss Half Fare Cards. We buy those as early as we can.
- While in Switzerland, we map out our journey for the next day. We then buy discounted tickets the evening or morning before departure. We always check if Supersaver tickets are available.
We feel less flexible than with a Swiss Travel Pass. The additional tickets are date-specific, and sometimes time- or route-specific. So we can’t easily adjust our plans at the last minute. But this is worth it if the Swiss Half Fare Card is clearly the cheaper option.
The Swiss Half Fare Card is popular amongst tourists, although most prefer the Swiss Travel Pass. Please see the train pass buying statistics.
Swiss Half Fare Card frequently asked questions
How do know if the Swiss Half Fare Card is my best option?
The Swiss Half Fare Card is the right choice if you have planned just a few trips or relatively short trips. You’ll save money as the regular fare is more expensive. The Swiss Half Fare Card is also suitable for anyone who does not mind buying tickets for each trip.
For frequent and longer trips, and ticketless traveling, you’d better consider the Swiss Travel Pass.
Do I need a SwissPass to use the Swiss Half Fare Card?
No, the Swiss Half Fare Card is for tourists, while the SwissPass is a completely different product for Swiss residents.
We recommend keeping things simple: buy your Swiss Half Fare Card from any of the vendors listed on this page. They are geared toward tourists. The Swiss Half Fare Card is ready to use once the validity period starts. There is nothing else you need to do.
Do I need to add my Swiss Half Fare Card to the Swiss railways app?
No, you don’t need to add your card to any app. You can buy discounted tickets at any time without proving you own a Swiss Half Fare Card. Only when conductors ask for your ticket, you will have to show both your ticket and your Swiss Half Fare Card.
Is the Half-Fare Travelcard the same as Swiss Half Fare Card?
No, the 1-month Swiss Half Fare Card is for tourists, while the Half-Fare Travelcard is a similar product for Swiss residents. It’s valid for one year or longer.
We recommend getting the Swiss Half Fare Card. The validity period is a better fit for most tourist trips. And it’s much easier to purchase.
Please find details about the Half-Fare Travelcard here.
Who can buy the Swiss Half Fare Card?
The Swiss Half Fare Card can be purchased by anyone, except for residents of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
What if I’ll be traveling where the Swiss Half Fare Card is not valid?
You need a full-priced ticket for the part of the trip that is outside the area of validity of the Swiss Half Fare Card.
A trip that is not completely discounted by the Swiss Half Fare Card is common if you travel across country borders. You can check the map to see which part of your trip is discounted.
Example: you travel from Milan to Interlaken. As you can see on the map, Domodossola – Interlaken is covered by the Swiss Half Fare Card. So you need to buy a regular ticket Milan – Domodossola, and a discounted ticket Domodossola – Interlaken. You don’t need to get off the train in Domodossola. You have paid for the entire trip, so you can stay seated.
Does the Swiss Half Fare Card offer other discounts than travel?
You will get a discount on the travel portion of day trips. Museums are not included, nor discounted. You would need a Swiss Travel Pass for that.
There are tickets for events and other day trips, that include both transportation and admission. You will get a discount on the transportation portion. Essentially the Swiss Half Fare Card works much like the Half-Fare Travelcard for Swiss residents. That means that in most cases where the Half-Fare Travelcard entitles the owner to a discount, the Swiss Half Fare Card will provide that same discount.
What if I want a day of unlimited travel?
In that case, you can buy a Day Pass, which is a discounted day ticket for Swiss Half Fare Card holders. If you buy well in advance, the Saver Day Pass is usually cheaper than a Day Pass though. A Saver Day Pass too is discounted with a Swiss Half Fare Card.
If you have planned multiple longer trips, consider the Swiss Travel Pass instead.
Other websites of interest
- shop.switzerlandtravelcentre.com: official SBB tourist webshop
More about public transport and day trips
Other travel options to consider
Itineraries for your Swiss Half Fare Card
Find our suggestions for discounted trips across Switzerland.