Must-knows about normal Swiss travel tickets

  • Full-fare normal tickets are a good choice if you only make a few short trips. In other cases, a rail pass is better.
  • With a rail pass, you can get discounted point-to-point tickets. If your rail pass provides free traveling, you don’t need tickets at all.
  • A point-to-point ticket covers all modes of transport on your route: not only trains, but also buses and mountain transport.
  • Tickets are not the same as seat reservations. You rarely need reservations in Switzerland.

Whether or not to buy point-to-point tickets

Wait before you buy your tickets

Don’t buy point-to-point tickets as soon as you have travel plans for Switzerland. First decide on your itinerary and check if a rail pass saves money. If you’ll be using a rail pass that allows free traveling, you often don’t need tickets at all. And if your rail pass allows discounted traveling, you don’t have to get full-fare tickets.

When to get point-to-point-tickets instead of a rail pass

Normal tickets from A to B are fine if you make just a couple of cheap journeys on a limited number of days. Consider a day pass or a multiple-day rail pass if more traveling is involved.

How Swiss point-to-point tickets work

One ticket for all modes of transport

You can buy a regular Swiss point-to-point ticket for a single journey or a return journey. A ticket contains all modes of transport on your route. So if a bus or cable car is part of the route, this too will be covered by the point-to-point ticket.

For example:

  • You want to travel from Interlaken to the Schilthorn, and you want to do so via Stechelberg.
  • You buy a point-to-point ticket from Interlaken Ost to Schilthorn.
  • Your ticket covers the train ride from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, the bus ride from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg, and the cable car ride from Stechelberg to Mürren.

If only one mode of transport is available on your route, for example the train, you could call this an actual “train ticket”. Likewise, if you happen to make a trip by bus only, you could call your point-to-point ticket a “bus ticket”.

How to get discounted point-to-point-tickets

If you have a Swiss Half Fare Card, or another pass providing a 50% discount for your route, you can get tickets at half the normal rate. In addition, there can be cheaper Supersaver tickets for your route. They come with restrictions.

With a Swiss Travel Pass, you don’t need tickets for trains, buses, boats and city transport: just hop on and off as you like.

A ticket is not the same as a seat reservation

Point-to-point tickets do not include guaranteed seats. If you want that, you’ll have to arrange for additional reservations. But booking seats is rarely required in Switzerland. Find all details in our seat reservation guide.

Train tickets

Learn all about Swiss point-to-point tickets for train journeys: what they cost, where to get them, and how to use them.

Regional trains at Les Pléiades

Regular ticket

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Blue locomotive of the Rhaetian Railways in Samedan

Supersaver ticket

Supersaver tickets allow cheap train trips in Switzerland. Availability is limited. There are restrictions you need to know about before …

Bus tickets

You are mostly supposed to buy a point-to-point ticket before you board the bus. You can do so at a rail station or a larger bus station. Either use the ticketing machines or get your ticket from a manned desk. Buying your tickets online is possible too, for example through the Swiss timetable or any of the other resellers.

Some buses have an on-board ticketing machine. In such cases, the driver does not sell or even check tickets. Tickets will be checked randomly by other staff. Buses operating like this are labeled with a yellow icon in the shape of an eye. The system is called ‘Selbstkontrolle’ in German: ‘self-control’.

In rural areas without machines and ticket offices, you can buy a ticket from the driver.

If you have a rail pass that provides discounts, get a discounted instead of a full-fare ticket. If your rail pass provides free bus rides, you don’t need a ticket.

Swiss postbus on road in St. Moritz


Buses in Switzerland complement the rail network. There are national yellow Postbuses and many other local and regional buses.

Boat tickets

Point-to-point boat tickets can be purchased through the timetable or other online resellers. You can also get them at nearby rail stations or at the boat docks.

If you have a rail pass, it likely covers boats too. Some passes include free boat rides: in that case don’t need a ticket. Just board and show your pass if asked for by the personnel. Other passes offer a discount, so you need to purchase a discounted boat ticket.

Please find further details on each of our boat pages.

Boat trail and Swiss flag from catamaran boat near Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock

Boat trips

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Cable car and mountain train tickets

Tickets for many mountain rides, such as cogwheel trains, funiculars, and cable cars, can be bought online. Getting them in Switzerland is possible too. You can often do so at a nearby railway station. Tickets are available at the valley, mid- and top stations of mountain routes too.

If you have a rail pass, first check if you even need a ticket. Some rail passes include free mountain rides. Others may provide a discount.

Even if a mountain route is fully covered by rail pass, you may still need to get a free ticket. This is the case if you have to pass electronic access gates before boarding. Show your rail pass to get an access ticket.

Please find specifics on each of our mountain pages.

Restaurant and Cliff Walk at Grindelwald-First

Mountain trips

Swiss mountain tops are easy to access by cable cars, funiculars, and mountain trains. Use our mountain trip finder to …

Practical help: how to choose and where to buy

Scenic panorama train near Rothenbrunnen, Graubünden

Compare rail passes

Picking the best rail pass for your Switzerland trip isn’t always easy. Our guide and free downloads help you out. …
Info desk with queue at Zürich HB

Where to buy

There are many points of sale that offer Swiss rail passes and tickets. Learn which are best in your case, …

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Page author: ArnoI have visited Switzerland countless times since 1997. I've explored most of the country, but find myself staying in the Bernese Oberland and Graubünden most frequently. The alps and the rail network remain very impressive, even after all these years.