If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, you’ve probably stumbled across the Swiss Travel Pass once or twice. If not, don’t worry. There will be an introduction later on. But first things first...
One question that will inevitably pose itself to you as you try to figure out your transport options in Switzerland, is: Should I buy this thing or not?
As with every important question in life, it’s not as simple as Yes or No. And this one is no different. The fast and easy answer will have to be: It depends.
Wonderful, now what?
That’s exactly what I’m trying to help you with in this post. I’ll share my honest opinion with you and also hand you a tool that'll help you come to a decision. Now, in case you’re wondering what exactly the Swiss Travel Pass is, let’s take a closer look.
What is the Swiss Travel Pass?
The Swiss Travel Pass is basically an all-in-one, worry-free ticket that gives you access to (almost) every means of public transport in Switzerland. Which, as you will know after reading my public transport guide, is saying something.
You can use all the trains, buses and boats across the country for free. (Well, the Swiss Travel Pass isn’t exactly free. But you know what I mean.) Just take a look at this map to get an idea of all the places you can visit with this ticket. This also includes local transportation in cities, by the way. So trams, local buses, funiculars and so on.
In addition to that, you also get free admission to over 500 Swiss museums, free rides to the mountain tops of Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos and up to 50% off all other mountain railway tickets. (Yes, this includes Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn as well.)
Not to mention the luxury of not having to worry about tickets while jumping on any train, bus or boat.
The Swiss Travel Pass comes in a few different versions. You can buy it for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 consecutive or flexible days. You have up to one month to use the flexible travel days. And if you’re under 26 years old, you’ll get a 30% discount.
Now, let’s talk about money. Because all these special treats come at a price.
How much does the Swiss Travel Pass cost?
As you can imagine, such a wonderful, all-inclusive ticket isn’t cheap. But if you consider all that it unlocks for you and how much flexibility it gives you, it’s not so bad. The prices for the Swiss Travel Pass (STP) as of 2023 are as follows:
2nd Class Youth
1st Class Youth
2nd Class Youth
1st Class Youth
3 flexible days
4 flexible days
6 flexible days
8 flexible days
15 flexible days
If you’re interested in buying a Swiss Travel Pass, you can do so in just a few clicks through this link. Now that you know what this pass is and how much it costs, let’s get to the real question we're trying to answer here.
Should you buy a Swiss Travel Pass?
I promised you my honest opinion. So I’ll have to speak about my own experience here and what my take is on travel passes.
Personally, I love them. And wherever I go, I try to get my hands on a travel pass. If they’re my best option, that is. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
I’ve been to Japan four times. And apart from that one time when I stayed in the Osaka area for the whole time, I always bought the Japan Rail Pass. It was a no-brainer for me for many reasons. Here’s what I love about a good travel pass:
As you might have noticed, I’m an advocate for travel passes. But only if they fit into my plans. Which is very important to me as a budget-traveller. Just buying a travel pass out of laziness or fear of having to buy my own ticket is never an option for me. And it shouldn’t be for you either if you’re trying to watch your budget.
So what I like to do, and what I recommend you do as well, is the following:
Being a Swiss citizen and living in Switzerland, I’m not entitled to buy a Swiss Travel Pass. But the principle stays the same with every travel pass in the world. So to help you decide on whether or not it makes sense in your case, I’ve prepared a spreadsheet for you.
All you need to do is choose the number of days you’ll be using public transport and enter the journeys you want to take. The spreadsheet will then calculate the total transportation costs of your trip. All that’s left to do in the end is compare the result to the cost of the Swiss Travel Pass.
To find an answer to this question and to get started with your calculations, download your free Excel spreadsheet and knock yourself out.
My personal favourite things about the Swiss Travel Pass
To wrap this up, let me share with you some of my favourite parts about the Swiss Travel Pass:
I hope this post has helped you in the process of deciding whether or not you should buy a Swiss Travel Pass. Happy planning and good luck making your decision.
PS: If you need help with your itinerary, I might have something for you 😊