Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Exclusive limited-time Fall offer: use promo code 19FALL18 to get $80 off bookings of $1040 or more, or 20FALL18 to get $130 off bookings of $1410 or more. Book by October 31, 2018. Condtions apply.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
This card provides savings up to 50% for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland.
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How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 28 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. How much luggage can I take on the train?
A. Technically, you’re not restricted in terms of luggage. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to carry your bags through the train station and onto the train. Once on board you’ll need to find a place to put your bag(s). Small and medium sized bags typically fit on racks located above the seats. Larger suitcases and such can be stored in luggage racks found near the train door entrance.
Be aware that you are responsible for your luggage. The railways assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
When traveling on a Eurostar, Thalys, or TGV train, you are limited to two large items per traveller (one large item per child on Eurostar trains), maximum 85cm (33 inches) in any one dimension, plus one small item of hand luggage.
Your bag(s) must be properly labeled with your first and last name. In general, it’s a good idea to keep luggage tags on your baggage for easy identification.
Q. How are sleeping compartments kept secure?
A. Overnight trains have conductors on duty throughout the duration of the train ride. In addition, sleeping compartments have locks on the doors that you control.
Q. Can I ensure that my traveling party will share a compartment on an overnight train?
A. Our booking system always attempts to book all travellers in the same compartment on overnight trains, as long as you submit your request for your entire traveling party at once.
Our ability to book all travellers in the same compartment ultimately depends on compartment availabilities on the train you’re booking. The earlier you make your reservations, the better the chance that everyone in your travel party will be in the same compartment.
If a compartment can’t be fully filled by the traveling party alone, some trains may need to separate you into gender-specific compartments. Therefore, if you are a traveling party of mixed gender – the way to ensure that you will be traveling together is to make sure that you book a compartment that you fill entirely.
Q. How do I book a train ticket on your site?
A. We have an easy-to-use booking form right on the homepage of our site. Simply enter your departure and arrival cities, the date you’d like to travel, approximate time of day, and number of passengers. If you have a rail pass, be sure to check the "I have a rail pass" box so that we can search the best fares for your journey.
Q. Do you offer maps of European train stations?
A. We do offer links to Google Maps for many European train stations. At this time we do not have specific layouts of any train station interiors in Europe.
Q. What do I do if no one comes to check my train ticket or rail pass?
A. It’s best to keep your travel documents (train ticket, rail pass, and/or reservation) out and ready to be checked by a conductor. If for any reason a conductor does not come by to check your train ticket or rail pass during your entire journey, no worries. Simply get off the train at your destination station and continue with your travel plans.
Please keep in mind that you will need a valid rail pass or train ticket to travel on board trains in Europe. If your pass or ticket were not looked at, it is an unusual occurrence.
Q. What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket?
A. A rail pass and a train ticket are two completely different types of travel documents.
A train ticket is valid for a single journey between two cities. Many tickets also include a reservation, which mean that they are valid only for a specific train, on a specific date and at a given time. To learn more about tickets, read our article: tickets explained.
A rail pass, on the other hand, is good for travel in an entire geographical area (1 country, 2 countries or more). With it you can take as many train trips as you want within that geographical area, for as many travel days as you purchased, within a set period of time (the pass validity period).
Q. Who should I contact with questions about my exchange or refund?
A. You can visit our Contact Us page to send us a message about exchanges and refunds.
In your message, please be sure to include the original booking number, your contact information, and which item(s) you’re requesting a refund for. If you’re requesting an exchange under the Rail Protection Plan™, note this in your email as well.
Q. What ways can a train ticket be issued? Paper? e tickets?
A. There are potentially three ways to receive European train tickets.
Paper tickets: the rail pass or train ticket is physically printed at the Rail Europe fulfillment center and shipped to you.
Print at home e-ticket: the train ticket may be issued as a PDF which may either be emailed to you directly, or retrieved via a web link that is communicated to you at the time of purchase, depending on the rail carrier. You must print the PDF from a computer printer on any regular paper prior to boarding the train. Some e-tickets are delivered with a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide this e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train.
Print at station e-ticket: you will receive an e-ticket confirmation code (also known as PNR or Passenger Name Record) on your confirmation email, as well as a link to detailed instructions for retrieving your ticket. Use this e-ticket code at a self-service kiosk located at the train station in Europe to print out your actual ticket, prior to boarding the train.
Print at home e-ticket and print at station e-ticket are “electronic” delivery methods requiring no physical shipment to you. This means we can issue you an e-ticket whether you’re still at home or already in Europe.
Please note that all three methods are not always offered for a given train ticket. In fact, many tickets only support one of these issuance methods.
Q. Can I change seats after the train departs?
A. You may check with the conductor once your train departs to see if there are any other available seating options.
Please note that you should stay in the same class of service as your ticket or you may incur a surcharge.
If you change seats and the seat you move to is reserved by another traveller, they will have priority.