Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Exclusive limited-time Fall offer: use promo code 5FALL18 to get €50 off bookings of €650 or more, or 6FALL18 to get €80 off bookings of €880 or more. Book by October 31, 2018. Condtions apply.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
This card provides savings up to 50% for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland.
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How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 28 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. What is the difference between a flexi pass and a consecutive/continuous pass?
A. A flexi pass is valid for a specific number of travel days to be used within the overall validity period of that rail pass. For example, 15 days of unlimited train travel to be used within a 2-month period. With this kind of rail pass, you can pick and choose any days (they don’t have to be consecutive) to travel within the rail pass’ validity period.
Continuous (or consecutive) rail passes such as the Eurail Global Pass, are valid for unlimited train travel during the whole duration of the pass’ validity period. In other words, with a 15-day Eurail Global Pass, you can travel for 15 consecutive days by train. Even if you don’t take the train each and every day, those days will be considered used.
Q. Are lockers and luggage storage services available at the train station?
A. Most major train stations have a left luggage facility offering either self-serve luggage lockers or staffed luggage facilities.
Keep in mind that there is a fee to store your luggage at a train station. Typically, stations will charge a flat rate to rent a luggage locker that you’re free to fill. For staffed luggage facilities, you may incur a “per bag” fee. In either case, the fee is usually under 10 Euros. If you do leave your bags, be sure to keep some money in your pockets for the luggage lockers.
Q. How much luggage can I take on an overnight train?
A. There are usually no restrictions on the amount of luggage that may be brought on an overnight train, but there is limited space in the compartment to store the luggage. A small luggage rack and any floor or bed space must be shared among all travellers occupying a sleeping compartment or couchette.
Q. I am taking a cruise while in Europe. How do I connect between the train station and port of call?
A. Traveling between a port and a train station is usually simple. Sometimes, getting between the two is an easy walk. And in other cases, it’s best to take a taxi, bus, or train.
Q. Are there restrooms on the train?
A. Yes! Restrooms can be found on all trains in Europe. Restrooms are easily accessible on all trains and are frequently marked with the letters WC (Water Closet). They’re usually found at the front or back of each train car and typically include a sink, toilet, and locking door.
Q. How can I tell whether or not I have a reserved seat on board?
A. To tell if you have a reservation, first see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open train ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, see if it also indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your train ticket includes a reservation.
Q. What should I do if the train is late?
A. It depends if you’re traveling with train tickets that include a reservation or with open tickets. If your train ticket includes a reservation, then it’s only valid for travel on the train for which it was issued. If the train is late, you’ll need to wait until it arrives.
If you’re traveling with open tickets you can decide to take another train, as long is it doesn’t require a reservation and travels the same route as the one for which your open ticket was issued.
Q. Is there a fee to take luggage on a train?
A. In general, there are no luggage fees when traveling by train, however, some rail carriers do restrict the amount of luggage a traveller is allowed to bring, and any additional luggage may be subject to local fees.
On Eurostar, you’re permitted to carry two large bags and one small piece of hand luggage. If you have more than this, an additional fee may be required locally.
Q. What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket?
A. A rail pass and a train ticket are two completely different types of travel documents.
A train ticket is valid for a single journey between two cities. Many tickets also include a reservation, which mean that they are valid only for a specific train, on a specific date and at a given time. To learn more about tickets, read our article: tickets explained.
A rail pass, on the other hand, is good for travel in an entire geographical area (1 country, 2 countries or more). With it you can take as many train trips as you want within that geographical area, for as many travel days as you purchased, within a set period of time (the pass validity period).
Q. Can I bring food and drinks on board?
A. Of course you can! Eating and drinking are permitted on all European trains.
You will also have the option to purchase food and drinks if the train you’re traveling on offers food services.