There are a multitude of travel passes you can obtain for your time in Switzerland. It’s all dependent on how long you’ll be visiting and what’s on your agenda. I’ll be offering a brief overview of the options for you. Swiss travel is incredibly efficient. It is on time to the second- you can literally set your watch by it. If the train schedule says the train leaves at 1003, it leaves at 1003 and not one minute sooner. Please bear in mind that there are no late trains and plan accordingly. Questions? Just ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.
Swiss Travel Pass: This covers consecutive days of travel. Your options? 3, 4, 8, or 15 days of consecutive travel. For first class, you can obtain 4 days of consecutive travel for (1st class/2nd class respectively) 412/259 CHF and 8 days of consecutive travel for (1st class/2nd class respectively) 376/596 CHF. For other pricing options for the Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Flex Pass, visit Swiss Travel Pass and Flex Pass Pricing.
Swiss Flex Pass: This pass is excellent for those of you who want spontaneity. With this pass, you have the freedom to stay in one particular place a bit longer if you want. Let’s say you really want to reach the summit of a particular mountain, but you’re concerned the weather won’t cooperate. That’s a legitimate concern in Switzerland, and unpredictable weather should be accounted for. The Swiss Flex Pass accounts for just that. You have the same number of days as the Swiss Travel pass- 3,4,8, or 15, and first or second class, however the days of travel don’t activate until you physically set foot on the train. You do pay a higher price, but for those who need flexibility, it’s important. For 4 days (1st class/2nd class respectively) you’ll pay 474/298 CHF, and for 8 days (1st class/2nd class) you’ll pay 667/420 CHF.
Youth Pass: Offered for those less than 26 years old! For a four day, second class ticket, you pay 221 CHF. See the above link (under Swiss Travel Pass) for more complete details.
A couple of points to remember (these are listed in more detail on the site link above):
1. You aren’t just paying for the train ticket. The above passes include train, boat, and bus.
2. The passes include mountain excursions to Pilatus, Rigi, and Schynige Platte, and offer substantial (usually 50%) discounts on other excursions such as Jungfrau.
3. The passes offer you free travel on the panorama trains once you pay for a seat reservation.
4. Want to buy a ticket? Check out Swiss Ticket Shop
Regional Tickets: There are regional tickets offered for Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva, and Northwestern Switzerland. If you want to explore those options, check out Regional Swiss Tickets
The Swiss Pass, Half-Fare Travel Card, GA Pass, and After 7 Passes are geared more towards locals and those staying long term (+ 6 months). If you want to explore those options, I can provide you with the link, just ask in the comment section.
*A WORD ON FIRST V. SECOND CLASS TRAVEL*
There isn’t a big difference. If you really want the ultimate experience in luxury, knock yourself out and drop a few hundred extra- the seats tend to be a bit bigger, quieter, and have more electrical outlets but the differences were slight in the Swiss trains. Switzerland was one place where we very often found electrical plugs even in second class trains. Also, it’s Switzerland. You don’t want to be plugged into electronics there anyhow, do you? (Correct answer: no). Here are some of the views from our various train rides: