To get the best travel value out of expensive Switzerland (if you are going to spend three or more days touring around), it is best to take advantage of the Swiss Travel Pass. The Eurail passes of Europe carry increasing restrictions and are limiting in Switzerland where buses and boats are a great way to get around in addition to trains.
Who can use it, what does it cost and what does it cover?
-The Swiss Pass is valid for tourists only, not for nationals.
-It is valid for trains, buses and boats in all of Switzerland.
-It also covers all forms of public transit in 75 towns and cities.
The starting point is a 3 day pass for an adult that goes for 218 USD. There is nothing to valid and no restrictions on which train, bus or boat one takes, only to buy a first or second class option, which obviously costs more for first class.
In a country where just the airport transfer will cost a hefty price this isn’t a bad deal. Also the fact of the matter is renting a car and gas prices are exorbent, so this can be a handy way to get around from start to finish.
Types of passes and various perks
There are other passes for 4, 8, or 15 consecutive days. Any youth or students under 26 get a 15% reduced fare on all tickets. It gives free access to over 490 museums, discounts in hotels, specialized mountain railways and particular events and excursions.
Quite often it is best not just to buy an all inclusive pass because it is convenient, but because it will truly be useful. If you do not see yourself spending much time in Switzerland or moving about that much, the pass won’t be worth it. However it can be a wonderful tool if you plan out your route ahead of time so as to maximize the potential of crossing lakes, moving around the Alps, and busing from one city to another. Half Fare, Flex and Family options are also available.
The Swiss Pass can be purchased right on the SBB.ch website.