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Swiss Travel Pass or Flex Pass?

We will be traveling to Switzerland September 2021. We have plans to use Lauterbrunnen as our base and travel by train on various excursions while we are there for 2 weeks. We love the freedom of the Swiss Travel Pass and the ability it gives us to hop on and off most means of transportation for the 2 weeks we are there. We plan to hike some days and train travel the others.......which pass is best?

Posted by
341 posts

I’ll be interested to see the replies as I did a little research yesterday. The prices seem very high, especially the flex pass. What’s been your experience vs point to point tickets?

Posted by
884 posts

We have been to Switzerland twice but had a car. This trip will be all train so that is why I am interested in opinions of others that have done this......right now the Swiss Pass looks best to me.........

Posted by
497 posts

We buy the Eurail pass because we usually combine Switzerland with other countries. Then, we buy the Bernese Oberland pass for our time in the BO. This is what we’ve done again for this Fall. But if you are just going to Switzerland you may want to do a different configuration of passes.

Posted by
20319 posts

You really need to plot out your route and the cost of buying point-to-point tickets at www.sbb.ch/en. Remember to click through to see the real price as the first price you see will assume you have a Half Fare Card (note they say "from XX CHF"). If the full fare ticket amount per person is 240 CHF, the 1 month Half Fare Card costing 120 CHF per person will save you money.

The Swiss Travel Pass is expensive. If you still choose it, at least you will know how much extra you are paying for the convenience.

Posted by
27359 posts

There's also a half-price card that some people have found best for them.

I don't know of any shortcut here: You need to make a list of the trips you're sure you'll take and the ones you think you may take and price them all out. Then you can compare the total to the various card/pass options. Pay particular attention to trips involving high-mountain experiences. Some of those aren't fully covered (maybe not covered at all?) by the STP but may have better coverage with one of the others passes/cards.

Not too many folks go to the BO and stay put for 2 weeks, taking day-trips from their base. Your situation is different from what most others have dealt with, I think, so the best financial deal for you may not be what others have done.

Posted by
5019 posts

I believe the 15 day consecutive pass is only a little more than the 8-day flexible pass. I have been looking into the prices for my September 2021 Swiss trip. I will pay the higher price for the flexibility, especially if the weather causes us to adjust our schedule.
Safe travels and I hope all of our trips happen!

Posted by
2775 posts

I hope to go to Switzerland in Sept. and plan to use the 16-day Swiss Travel Pass. To me, the convenience is worth the expense. This will be my first trip to Europe so I have no experience with purchasing individual tickets. I guess it’s not too hard once you get the hang of it.

We plan to take advantage of transportation to and from Mt. Rigi and Stanserhorn being covered at 100% and Schilthorn at 50% with the pass. We’re also planning a boat ride on Lake Thun and a visit to the castles which is all covered at 100%. Museums are also covered.

I guess it just depends on what you plan to do. Will you be traveling enough and seeing things that the Pass covers?

I thought about the Flex pass, because we will be there longer than 16 days, but that seemed to be missing the convenience factor as you have to select the days you want to use it and print out tickets (or store them on your phone). So, we’ll buy individual tickets for our first couple days (which will be trips to Colmar and Strasbourg and not covered anyway) and use the Pass after that.

So, what do you value more? Convenience? Or cost?

Posted by
267 posts

And remember with the Swiss Pass you get free boat travel, some cable cars &
great discounts on others, museums & buses.

Posted by
122 posts

My sister and I will be there for a week in October. We are getting the half fare card. I looked at the STP but the days just don't suit our needs. If you get a half fare card you can also get half off point-to-point tickets. The day we leave Switzerland we are taking the TGV-Lyria out of Basel to Paris. We will also get a discount on those tickets with our half fare card.

Posted by
27359 posts

I thought the half-fare card only worked in Switzerland? I'd be very surprised if it confers a discount on the Basel-Paris trip.

Posted by
33131 posts

The day we leave Switzerland we are taking the TGV-Lyria out of Basel to Paris. We will also get a discount on those tickets with our half fare card.

That surprises me. I've never known that either the Swiss Travel Pass or the Half Fare Card are valid in any way beyond the Swiss border.

How is it working for you? That will provide a vital enhancement.

Posted by
33131 posts

thanks for that.... I notice it says up to 15%.

Posted by
336 posts

No simple answer... I created an Excel spreadsheet to compare each trip, full fare/half fare/Travel Pass. We ended up getting the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass. You really need to do alot of travelling to make it pay for itself. But there is also the convenience of hopping on most trains without having to buy a ticket. In 2019 we used it to travel from Zurich (1 night) to the Italian border via Lucerne (2 nights) and Murren (4 nights). We took a boat ride on Lake Lucerne, Mt Rigi, and Schilthorn twice (all 100% covered at that time). We broke even.

Posted by
5019 posts

The added benefit is the flexibility- not having to travel on a schedule, adjusting for bad weather, not having to buy tickets for one specific train route, not validating- just walk onto the the train/ boat, etc when you're ready to go.
Safe travels!

Posted by
33131 posts

The added benefit is the flexibility- not having to travel on a schedule, adjusting for bad weather, not having to buy tickets for one specific train route, not validating- just walk onto the the train/ boat, etc when you're ready to go.

But in Switzerland validating is not an issue like it would be for certain trains in France or Italy.

I don't understand about the not having to travel on a schedule. The trains always run to a schedule and it is the same schedule regardless if the manner to pay for the tickets is an app, the ticket window or a pass. Using the app you have ultimate flexibility - you can buy the train arriving in one or two minutes as you walk down the street or from the hotel room. If you don't want to go on that trip don't buy the ticket. Once you have a pass you own it and if you want to travel less than you planned you are still on the hook.

Adjusting for bad weather - see my previous answer.

Not having to buy tickets for one specific route - not an issue using the app - just get the one you are about to hop onto. Go out one route and back on another - no prob.

Am I missing a point?