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Swiss Rail Passes!?!?

MY 15 year old son and I are traveling to Switzerland in July. We arrive in Geneva in the 8th to visit friends. We will stay there for 3 days and explore the surrounding area. On the 11th we paln to take the train to Luzern, with a stop in Montreux to sight see. We will use Luzern as a base for 3 days and then move on to Interlaken on the 14th. Here we meet back up with our friends and tour this area. We will take the train back to Geneva on the 17th and leave for the states on the 18th.
The Swiss Rail pass for 8 days would cover most of the trip, the 10th to the 17th. A Swiss Family card would cover my son. Is this better than a Flex pass? The flex pass would give me half off on the 9th if I needed it, I think. Of course, the Swiss rail card is cheaper. The regular fare for just the train travel is approximatly $150. US. for one person. This does not include the side trips and public transport day to day. The other option is the Swiss half fare pass. Can you get the Family card with the Half Fare?
Would it be simpler to get the Flex or Swiss Rail pass so I don't have to think about the money all of the time. Help!! I have too many options.
Please advise and please be specific.
Thank you.

Posted by
769 posts

Judy - id go with a flexi pass personally if you think/know you may stay a few days in one town and not use the train that day. Also dont be afraid to pay cash for a small side trip if its much less than your average daily Pass card (divie cost/day). Short hops are cheap - while the regular fare for long trips (even at half off) can be expensive as you found out. The flex is nice so you dont feel presured to use/waste a consecutive day! Not sure on the combo-options with swiss card saver cards. I plan to use a swiss-card this summer as full rail pass is more than I may need for a few dats, or else id take a flexi! good luck!

Posted by
334 posts

We got a Swiss Saver Pass (for 2 of us) - not sure how that would compare to the Family Pass. We did not get a flex-pass, but chose the Swiss Pass instead. Since your first big train ride isn't until the 11th, an 8 day pass should work fine and get you back to Geneva on the 17th. We used the pass every day in Interlaken - you need it to get to Wengen or Murren (and discounts for higher). Even in Luzern you may want to take a side trip on the bus or train to Bern - plus it's good for boat trips on the lakes. This was our only experience having a pass, but we really liked the flexibility to get on a train, bus or boat and take a short trip if we wanted to on any given day.

Posted by
13045 posts


A lot depends on how much other traveling by train, lifts and boat you will be doing. And whether you would like to avoid buying tickets each time. The 8-day pass is $90 more than the basic 3-day Flex Pass, but that might be more than compensated by the savings on your additional trips. Even with the half-fare option of the Flex Pass, those can add up. And only two of your main travel days (Geneva to Luzern, and Interlaken back to Geneva) will make full use of the paid days on the Flex Pass. So--I think it's a choice between the 8-day "covers everything" pass, and half-fare card plus Family Card (which costs 20 SFr if you buy it there with your half-fare card). If you want pure convenience, and don't want to be thinking about money and buying tickets all the time, I'd say get the 8-day pass plus free Family Card for your son. (Note---if you use your credit card to buy those tickets in Switzerland, you may pay an extra 3% in foreign currency exchange fees). have fun!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone for responding! I think I am going to get the 8 day Swiss Rail pass with the family card. the trips we make in Geneva before the 11th will be short, and hope not too expensive. I plan to look at the cost of those before a final decision.
Thanks again.
P.S. Wouldn't it be great if we had all of these public transportaton options in all parts of the US?

Posted by
296 posts

Capital One credit cards do NOT charge 3% on international expenses.