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Swiss Travel Pass

I will be purchasing a 8 day Swiss Travel Pass and using it from May 7th through May 14th. Am I able to purchase a ticket a few days ahead of time for the Gotthard Panorama Express train to use on the 7th or am I only able to purchase a ticket on the 7th when my pass starts? Any input is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
8889 posts

If you have a Swiss Pass, you don't need a ticket for trains, it is either/or. The Swiss Pass means you don't need to buy tickets.

What you do need for the Gotthard Panorama Express and the three other Scenic extra trains (but only for these 4 trains) is a reservation supplement, which gets you a reserved seat on a specific departure. You need this additional to your pass or a ticket.

You can buy the reservation before or after you buy your pass/ticket, or at the same time. It doesn't matter, as long as you have both when you get on the train.
Details and reservations here (click on "Purchase"): https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/panoramareisen/gotthard-panorama-express.html

You can buy your Swiss Pass now, online on the SBB website (here: https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests/swiss-travel-pass.html ), or when you get to Switzerland at any major station, including Zürich airport. Same price either way, your choice.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks, Chris, for your very informative reply. We really appreciate all your helpful information. We usually rent a car and don't use public transportation except in cities, so we are real neophytes with respect to train transportation and travel passes. Thanks so much for taking the time to sent your thoughtful response. This is the first time we have asked a question through this forum but read it often and have been a big fans of Rick Steves.
Happy travels!

Posted by
33310 posts

What other trains will you be using, ehardie13? To have 8 days in the Swiss mountains with access to all the great train lines is a holiday made in heaven. Can I go in your suitcase please?

One of my favourite routes is Luzern to Interlaken (for onwards travel up into the mountains) via the Zentralbahn train over Brünig Pass. Mountain lakes, Sherlock Holmes, Lake Lucerne, Lake Brienz, waterfalls and maybe in May, snow, all on a cog railway with panoramic cars on the normal hourly trains. What's not to love?

Posted by
3 posts

Hello Nigel,
Thank you for your reply. We always do "carry-on" so it, unfortunately, will be impossible for you to fit into our luggage. :-)

Right now our itinerary is starting off in Milan then train to Lake Como (Varenna), bus to Lugano, Gotthard Panorama Express train to Luzern then the train you mentioned to Interlaken then train to Lauterbrunnen then train to Bern, then finally train to Zurich Airport. We haven't spent any time in Switzerland since 1973 (driving our newly-purchased MGB/GT all through Europe). We can't wait to (finally!) return

Posted by
31 posts

Chris F, great information. Sorry to ehardie13 for interjecting into someone else's thread, but.......

Are the 4 that you mention: Golden Pass, Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and Gotthard? As I understand, we'll need to reserve seats on each of those in addition to having our Swiss Pass?

I've also considered the possibility of doing the same trips on local trains so that we can get on and off as we choose. Is this feasible?

Posted by
8889 posts

Are the 4 that you mention: Golden Pass, Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and Gotthard?

Yes, those are the 4 extra tourist trains that run on top of the normal hourly trains on those routes. Reservations are required/needed for panoramic coaches/recommended on those trains (it varies, I can't remember the details).

Info about 3 of the 4 is here: https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/panoramareisen.html
The Golden Pass route is not SBB, so not listed on their website, see here: http://www.goldenpassline.ch/en/

I've also considered the possibility of doing the same trips on local trains so that we can get on and off as we choose. Is this feasible?

Perfectly possible. As above, the 4 tourist trains are just "extras" on the same tracks.. The "normal" trains may make more stops, and/or you may need to change trains if you use the normal ones. The tourist trains make some intermediate stops, you do not have to go all the way end-to-end on them either.

Posted by
2 posts

Nigel: The train you mentioned named Zentralbahn. Is this different or the same as the Golden pass express from Luzern to Interlaken? It seems amazing but I can't figure out how to look at timetables and book it. I found some information, but it wasn't obvious how to proceed. Traveling from Zurich to interlaken in September. is it covered by the Swiss travel Pass?Thanks.

Posted by
8889 posts

The train you mentioned named Zentralbahn. Is this different or the same as the Golden pass express from Luzern to Interlaken?

Zentralbahn is the name of the railway company. The route is Luzern, via the Brünig Pass to Interlaken
This route, together with the route Interlaken - Zweisimmen - Montreux, is marketed as the "Golden Pass" route.

It seems amazing but I can't figure out how to look at timetables and book it.

Like all Swiss rail lines, this route has one train per hour. You can look up times for all Swiss railways on the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) website: https://www.sbb.ch/en
And you do not need to "book" it. If you have a Swiss Pass, or a ticket, you just get on any of the hourly trains.

Traveling from Zurich to interlaken in September. is it covered by the Swiss travel Pass?Thanks.

The quickest route from Zürich (airport or city) to Interlaken is via Bern. This is the route the SBB wesbite will show by default. If you want to go via the Brünig Pass, you need to add "via Luzern" when you are searching.

Yes, it is covered by the Swiss Pass. You can see that on the official Swiss Pass map here: https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/infotexte/uebersichtskarte-sts.pdf