Swiss Federal Railways SBB offers a range of passes to suit the travel requirements of most visitors. The Swiss Pass entitles the holder to unlimited travel for 4, 8 or 15, 22 days or one month of railway, boat and postal bus networks and on the municipal transport system of 40+ cities and towns. Prices range from a 4-day 2nd class pass at $160 to one month 1st class $535. They also offer 1st and 2nd class Saver passes (2 or more people traveling together – 15% discount), and 1st and 2nd class Youth passes. These passes also entitle the holders to a reduction of 25% on many mountain railways and aerial lifts.
The Swiss Flexipass is ideal for those wanting to walk or cycle from a few centers: choose any 3 days (or 4, 5, 6, 8) within 1 month and enjoy the same benefits as the Swiss Pass holder ($132 - $424).
The Swiss Card is valid for one month and provides a round-trip ticket from the border point or airport to any Swiss resort (each direction completed in one day). It gives the holder unlimited ½ fare trips on all other trains, bus and steamer services ($155 1st class, $110 2nd class). Swiss Transfer Ticket is good for the winter sports travelers who will be likely to obtain a ski pass covering local transport, but would not wish to go further afield. It costs $118 1st class, $76 2nd class.
The Swiss Family Card allows children under 16 to travel free with their parents (parents must have a pass). It is available for 20SF per child at Swiss train stations, but you can get it free when you bought an adult Swiss Pass, Swiss Card or Swiss Transfer Ticked outside Switzerland. Kids 6 – 15 not accompanied by parent are ½ of single adult fare.
The Half-Fare Travel Card , sold at Swiss train stations, gives you 50% off on all national and private trains, postal buses, lifts and steamers for 95SF a month.
We usually buy our train passes from Rick Steves through his
ricksteves.com Europe Through the Back Door.
In this case, you can also buy the Swiss passes directly from SBB
Of great value to travelers is the facility to send luggage from all staffed stations to any other station, where it will be kept until the appropriate numbered form is presented (about $10 apiece). We arrived to Zürich, sent our luggage to Lausanne (our hub in Switzerland), and had our peace of mind during the day.
On the return, your suitcases can be sent from one of 125 Fly-Rail stations to the airport at home.
Another facility for the return journey is the opportunity to rail passengers to check in up to 24 hours before take-off and reserve a seat long before other passengers. To obtain a boarding pass, you need to show your train ticket, airline ticket and passport. It works for some 20 stations including Basel, Bern, Davos, Fribourg, Geneva, Interlaken, Lausanne, Montreux and Zürich.