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 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. Can a reservation date on an overnight train be changed?
A. This is possible in some cases, but with the limited availability of overnight trains, please do it as soon as you can and at least 24-hours before the train’s departure. New reservations will be required when you reschedule. Make sure to check the fare rules for the reservation you’ve purchased so you’re aware of the exchange policies. If you’re already traveling in Europe and need to make a change, you may be subject to local service fees and/or upgrade charges.
Q. What should I do if a strike has been announced in the country I’m traveling to?
A. Typically, a strike only affects a few trains along certain routes. If a strike is called within a country, you may continue your travels if there are train services operating. If your train is affected by a strike, railway officials typically provide accommodations for either alternate train, or in some cases, bus transportation.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a strike, 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 Due to strike” 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.
This process will allow you to submit that train ticket/reservation for a refund. Please be sure that all refund requests are received by our Customer Relations department within 30-days of the train departure date.
Q. Do you offer e-tickets?
A. Yes, on certain rail lines. There are two types of e-tickets:
Print at home and Print at the Station
Let’s begin with Print at Home e-tickets, of which there are 3 different types.
The first type of e-tickets are those issued as a PDF’s which will be emailed to you and can be downloaded via a link contained in your Rail Europe email confirmation. You must print the PDF (using a printer) and bring your ticket with you to board the train.
The second type of e-tickets are those that are individually emailed to you. You must print the email (using a printer) and bring it with you to board the train – this is your train ticket. Each ticket will be in a separate email, so if you booked more than one ticket, please be sure you print all tickets that were emailed to you.
The last type of e-tickets are those which have a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide the e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train.
Next, Print at the station e-tickets!
You will receive a 6 or 8 alpha-numeric e-ticket confirmation code (also known as a PNR or Passenger Name Record) in your Rail Europe confirmation email, which you then enter into a self-service kiosk at the train station in Europe to print out your actual train ticket.
Use this e-ticket confirmation code at a self-service kiosk at the train station to retrieve your ticket. Not all rail lines offer these e-ticket options. Once you have selected a ticket on our website, you’ll be able to choose from its available methods of issuance at checkout.
Q. Can I bring food and drinks on board?
A. Of course you can! Eating and drinking are permitted on all European trains.
You will also have the option to purchase food and drinks if the train you’re traveling on offers food services.
Q. Do I need to do anything with my rail pass before boarding the train?
A. Yes. You will need to visit the ticket window at the train station before boarding your first train to activate your rail pass. A railroad official will enter the first and last day of validity on your rail pass and stamp your rail pass. You will have to show your passport, and the name on your rail pass will need to match it. Then, in case of a flexi-pass, for each day you use your rail pass you will need to enter the date in the designated travel calendar box on your rail pass. If you board a train and have not entered the date, when the conductor comes around to check your travel documents you may be subject to a fine and the payment of full fare ticket that will need to be paid in local currency directly to the conductor. Be sure to read all documentation that accompanies your rail pass prior to departure. The more you know about your rail pass, the more likely you are to avoid issues onboard the train.
Q. How do I connect between train stations in the same city?
A. There is often an easy connection by public transportation between train stations within the same city or town.
Q. How do I use the bonuses that come with rail passes?
A. Rail Pass travel bonuses must be redeemed locally.
There are two types of bonuses. Free bonuses (such as a free airport transfer) require the use of a travel day on your pass. If all travel days have been used on your rail pass you will not be able to take advantage of any more free bonuses. Discount bonuses do not require you to use a travel day, but do require that your pass still be within its validity period. In other words, even if you’ve used up all your days on a pass, you can still claim discounted bonuses as long as the pass validity period has not expired.
The exception to this rule is the Swiss Travel Pass. Although a discounted bonus doesn’t require you to use a travel day on your Swiss Travel Pass, the pass must still be valid and you must not have used up all your travel days.
Q. Is it possible to have travellers of different genders in the same sleeping compartment?
A. For gender specific compartments, men and women must be in separate sleeping compartments. However, if you reserve all beds within a compartment, you may mix genders.
Gender-specific compartments include private, double, triple, deluxe double, deluxe triple, and quad sleeping compartments. If your traveling party doesn’t fill the compartment, you will be divided by gender.
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.
Q. How can I ensure that my traveling party is seated together?
A. In general, when you request fares and schedules for multiple travellers at once, we’ll always attempt to request that they be seated together. The best way to ensure this is to correctly indicate the number of travellers when you request your fares and schedules for your itinerary.
Occasionally, it might not be possible to seat everyone together based on availability at the time of booking, in which case the travellers will be seated in the closest available seats.
If the train you’ll be taking is non-reservable, all you have to do is board the train and sit in any available seat with the rest of your party.