The Swiss Rail Pass

Swiss Snow Train

Want to save money getting from the airport to the ski resort? The Swiss Travel System Rail Pass could be just the thing!

So you're thinking about skiing in Switzerland, but you want to look at how you get from the airport to the resort the easiest and cheapest way! Welcome to the Swiss Travel System!

Depending on how much you want to use trains or buses when you're in Switzerland, there's probably a Swiss Pass ticket to suit you. With most ski holidays, you get to the ski resort and then that's you for the week. You then leave to get back to the airport the quickest and simplest route possible.

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The Swiss Travel System

With the Swiss Pass, you get access to over 20,000km of routes across Switzerland. Whether you choose to get to your destination by rail, bus or boat, you need to do a bit of thinking about what you need to do and therefore which Swiss Pass you need to buy.

Step 1 - What Do I Want to Do?

Are you going to arrive at the airport and simply want to get from the airport to the resort and back again? Are you going to a resort where you want to visit neighbouring ski resorts to access more slopes? Are you going for 2 weeks and want to visit another ski resort on the middle weekend (e.g.. go from Saas-Fee to Zermatt for the day?). Once you know what you want to do, then you can look at the options for your Swiss Pass.

Step 2 - Understanding the Different Passes

There are a number of different options for discount tickets :

Swiss Pass; Swiss Card; Half Fare Card; or Transfer Ticket

Which one of these you need will depend on the following :

  • How many days will you spend on the train?
  • Will you travel every day (consecutive days) or spend time at a particular place between your travel days?
  • How many mountain rides will you include?
  • What Classic Scenic Train Routes are on your itinerary?
  • How far away is your final destination from your entry point (border or Airport)?

The better you pan out your trip the more value you get from your pass

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Jungfrau swiss rail

Step 3 - What About the Detail?

First off you may want to check the price for a direct ticket to and from the resort (it may or may not include a bus). If your ski resort is close to the airport, this may be cheaper than getting a Swiss Pass. You can check prices for individual tickets quite easily (use the SBB widget below).  Simply enter your arrival date at the airport, where you are going to and then  "Search Connection". You can choose first or second class, one way or return and then click "Fare/Buy".

If you are travelling as a family, then the Swiss Pass may well be a lot cheaper than individual tickets even if you are going to be close to the airport. The reason for this is that children between 6 and 15 years of age travel free with a "Family Card" (which is Free).  The Swiss Pass comes into it's own for families and can save you £200 or £300.

You may also want to check on the SBB website to see whether there are any current train offers that would suit your itinerary.

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Step 4 - Choosing Your Pass

First thing to note is that the Swiss Pass is only available to foreign tourists or those not living in Switzerland. You also need to purchase the ticket before you arrive in Switzerland.

Transfer Ticket

Go from the airport to your ski resort and back. Includes bus and rail travel (most popular ticket)

  • Valid for one month, but each trip has to be completed in one day on the most direct route.
  • Is valid, even if entry and departure not the same. e.g.. Arrive in Geneva, travel to resort, then leave via Zurich
  • Only valid from any Swiss border or Airport to your final destination and back.
  • Children between 6 and 15 years of age travel free with the "Family Card" with a parent
  • Can only be bought before you leave home. Check online from Swiss Railways Ticket Shop.
  • Price: CHF 141.00 (Second Class) and CHF 226.00 (First Class). (Check the price of a normal point-to-point return ticket before you buy).
  • + Buy Your Transfer Ticket Online

 

Swiss Pass

You will be moving around a lot from resort to resort during your stay.

    Unlimited travel throughout the Swiss Travel System network
    Free public transport in most cities and towns (trams and buses)
    All Classic Scenic Train Routes included (reserve seats)
    Free "Family Card" for 6 to 15 year old children (you can be 15 and 364 days old though) to travel free
    Prices for 4, 8, 15 or 22 consecutive days or 1 entire month.

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Swiss Card

You are staying in one place, but you may take a day excursion.

    Included in the price are free transfers in the chosen class from the border or airport to your final destination and back.
    Valid for one month between the first and last transfer day from the Swiss border to your destination and back.
    50% discount on unlimited tickets on trains, buses and boats between transfers.
    Each trip has to be completed within one day.
    Children between 6 and 15 years of age travel free with the Family Card with a parent
    Prices: CHF 195.00 (second class) and CHF 276.00 (first class)

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Postbus in mountains
 

Free Family Card

The Swiss Travel System also gives you free fares for 5 - 15 year olds, although you will need to get a Free Family Card. Once you have that card, children between the ages of 5 and 15 (one day shy of their 16th birthday) travel free with paying adults.

If you book online, you can request the card at the same time (add the request to the "Notes" section on the billing form). Once you receive, before you arrive in Switzerland to use the card, you must add the date of travel in order to validate the "Family Card" and therefore the free travel fares for the children.

 

Step 5 - Where to Buy

The easiest place to buy your card is online - right here!

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We are a nominated website for introducing you to the Swiss Travel System. You will be forwarded to their booking system and they will handle any payments.

** You cannot buy the passes once you arrive in Switzerland

By Will Smith

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