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.
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 31 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 do I have my train ticket endorsed to indicate it was not used?
A. If you will not be taking the train and have a train ticket that includes a reservation, contact us by phone or go to the ticket window before the train departure and have your reserved seat released, as a courtesy to other travellers. Request that the cancelled train ticket also be stamped “Not Used".
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a strike, weather, or other issues, and alternate transportation has not been offered or if you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used” before the original train departure time.
Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
Q. I selected a ticket but when I went to place my booking, the price changed. I went back to search for train tickets and saw the same price listed again in the results. Why did this happen?
A. For most trains, the price quoted is based on “live” availability, however, for certain trains we cannot check fare availability at the time of quotation due to the technical limitations of the international rail distribution system. Therefore, we use a stored price to build your quote, based on previously confirmed fares for the trip you requested.
In rare cases, we find out that the fare used for quoting your trip is no longer available upon confirming your reservation. At that time, we receive a new price from the system based on that very moment’s availability.
Unfortunately, due to these same technical limitations, we are unable to update the stored price for a specific train, even if we find out at the time of confirmation that a fare is no longer available.
Rest assured that we’re working actively to ensure that all prices quoted to you are based on live availability and limit the usage of stored prices for quotation purposes.
Q. Are there discounts on train tickets?
A. Yes. Discounts are available for select train tickets. some rail carriers offer advance purchase discounts for those who like to book early. In addition, youth, child, and/or senior discounts are offered by some European rail carriers. When you begin your ticket search, be sure to enter in any applicable passenger data so that we can provide you with the best fares for your journey.
Q. Can I bring my pet on board?
A. Generally, cats and dogs are allowed on trains, though they may need to be contained in a pet carrier or wear a muzzle or leash. Pets are not allowed on some trains in Great Britain, Spain, Ireland, Norway, and Finland. Currently the only animals that are permitted to travel on Eurostar are guide dogs for the visually impaired.
Some trains require advance reservations for pets. Unfortunately, Rail Europe cannot make reservations for your pet. This will need to be done locally. In general, dogs normally travel at half the fare of a second class ticket, payable directly to the conductor.
Q. How do I create a Rail Europe account?
A. You can simply click the ’Login’ button found on the top right-hand side of our homepage and select ’create an account’ to register on our site. If you are booking with us, you will also be presented with the option to register during checkout.
Q. I have my train ticket. Do I also need to buy a reservation?
A. Rail Europe train tickets usually include a reservation whenever possible. In other words, if you’re taking a train that requires a reservation, one will already be included with your train ticket from us. If you’re boarding a train that offers reservations but doesn’t require them, tickets sold on our website will include one, if available, at the time of booking.
For certain trains that offer reservations but don’t require them, it is possible that we do not include a seat reservation with your train ticket. This may happen when we don’t have access to those reservations, which can only be purchased locally. Rest assured that even if this is the case, your Rail Europe train ticket will still allow you to board and sit at any unoccupied seat.
Q. Can I use more than one credit card to pay for my booking?
A. Yes. You can enter up to 10 different credit cards for a single purchase. At the time of payment, use the “Add additional card” button to display all credit card options. After entering each credit card’s information, you can modify the amount to be charged to each individual card. You’ll need to make sure that the total charged for all credit cards matches the total of your booking.
Q. What do I need to show to the conductor when traveling by train with a rail pass?
A. While traveling with a rail pass, you will need to show the conductor your pass. Be sure your pass is activated prior to boarding the train. For trains that require reservations, be sure to have your valid reservations ready to show the conductor, as well. Lastly, it is not uncommon for a conductor to request to see your passport, best to keep it handy.
Q. Are the fares offered on your website based on live availability?
A. Yes, in most cases. The fares displayed on our website are based on current seat availability at the time you requested the fares and schedules for your journey. our booking engine has a direct link to the inventory of many European rail carriers including SNCF, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Trenitalia, RENFE, the UK’s Association Of Train Operating Companies, and more.
There are some routes which we can only display a cached price at the time of quotation, based on generally available fares for those trains. Actual confirmation of space and fare occurs upon completion of your order. If there are any issues, you’ll be contacted.
Q. Can I sit in First class if I have a Second class rail pass?
A. In general, you cannot travel in first class with a second class rail pass.
In certain cases it may be possible to purchase an upgrade for your trip, you can visit the ticket window at your departure train station prior to boarding your train.