Swiss Travel Pass 2023 – Facts and Review by a Frequent User


“The journey is the reward.“  This quote is true in the case of Switzerland. The country is just stunningly beautiful AND getting around via public transportation (especially with a Swiss Travel Pass) is super easy. Seeing some of the amazing places doesn’t take much effort. Just sit down and relax – it is time for some great (window) views.

Riding a train is more than an inevitable evil to get from destination to destination – actually, it is a fun thing to do and absolutely one highlight of a Switzerland trip. Rides that “whisk you through lovely towns and villages, over breathtaking mountains and past glaciers, pristine lakes, and rivers” are not a fake created image, but reality.

Today, I am reviewing the Swiss Travel Pass. I have used a pass many times – the last time on my trip in March/April 2023, so just recently.

And what should I say? I am in love with Swiss Travel Passes – here is why, how to use a Swiss Travel Pass, where to buy it, and everything else you need to know for your trip.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

The Rhine Gorge in Graubünden - one of the most scenic routes
The Rhine Gorge in Graubünden – one of the most scenic routes

Here is what you need to know about – this Swiss Travel Pass Review includes the following questions:

  • What is a Swiss Travel Pass?
  • Who can buy a Swiss Travel Pass?
  • What is included in the Swiss Travel Pass?
  • Different Swiss Travel Passes (length and flexibility)
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Road Trip Vs Trail Travel
  • and is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it?

Swiss Travel Pass - all you need to know

This post provides you with all of the necessary information I gathered from my own Switzerland trips. Facts and my personal opinions make it easier to decide on what kind of Swiss Travel Pass you need.


The Swiss Travel Pass is a travel pass for non-Swiss and non-Liechtenstein people only. So, people living in Switzerland cannot use a Swiss Travel Pass. The pass allows you to use public transportation once you buy the pass without any extra costs, this includes trains, buses, and trams as well as most boats on the many Swiss lakes. Also, a few mountain excursions are included as well as 500 museums and more.

 There are just very few exceptions where you need to buy an extra ticket/pay a reservation fee if you use certain trains/buses.


You have unlimited use of 26,000 km of the public transport network in Switzerland – which includes the use of trains, regular buses and Postautos (buses that operate in the mountains), boats, and even some mountain railways.

Postal bus at the Furkapass in Valais. View of the Grimselpass and the Finsteraarhorn (4274 m) in the distance. Picture Credit: Swiss Travel Pass AG
Postal bus at the Furkapass in Valais. Picture Credit: Swiss Travel System AG

With your Swiss Travel Pass, you can also use the world-famous panorama trains of the Grand Train Tour in Switzerland (more on that later on). However, there might be a reservation fee for some panorama trains (like the Glacier Express or the Bernina Express), or a surcharge on some boat cruises.

Believe me, I use public transportation extensively during my time in Switzerland – even when I road trip, I often leave my car and rather use public transportation because it is much easier. Without having to worry about tickets, I just hop on and off from one train to another: from buses to boats, trams, and even some mountain railways.

Gotthard Panorama Express
Gotthard Panorama Express


I recall I had to pay for an extra ticket twice even though I had a Swiss Travel Pass. Once, when I used the yellow bus to get from Rosenlaui to Goße Scheidegg – which was at a discounted rate of about 7 CHF – one way) and once for another yellow bus ride in Flims. This ticket also cost me about 7 CHF (return), but it was a place that you most likely will not even visit. I cannot even remember the name, so I would say 99,9% of the visitors will not need to pay extra for any public transportation.


So, let´s talk about the amazing mountain excursions that are included in the Swiss Travel Pass!

In 2023, there are three mountain railways included in the STP:

  1. Mount Rigi (near Lucerne)
  2. Stanserhorn (near Lucerne)
  3. Stoos (also near Lucerne)

This means you do not have to pay any extra fees for getting up these mountains with a cable car/funicular. And mountain excursions are quite expensive in Switzerland, so a Swiss Pass can save you tons of money. You should take advantage of it because getting up mountains is one of the best things to do in Switzerland.

Mount Rigi with the Swiss Travel Pass
Mount Rigi with the Swiss Travel Pass


The Swiss Pass can help you save money because you get a lot of discounts on many (popular) activities.

Mountain railways are not cheap in Switzerland. This probably does not come as a surprise. So, it is great to hear that you get a 25-50% discount on most of the cable cars/mountain railways/funiculars.

ℹ️ The only time, my Swiss Travel Pass did not give me a discount on cable car rides was in the Engadine Valley (the area of St. Moritz) and in the Grimselwelt region (Triftbahn, Reichenbach Falls Bahn or Gelmerbahn).

ℹ️ I used my STP to get a 50% discount several times – this included my trip to Ebenalp (to see the world-famous mountain guesthouse Aescher) and the cable car ride at Oeschinensee (Lake Oeschinen) or the amazing Schilthorn trip.

ℹ️ You can save tons of money if you use the pass for more expensive funiculars, e.g. 40 CHF when going up the Brienzer Rothorn, which, by the way, has been one of the absolute highlights of my numerous Switzerland trips or Gornergrat in Zermatt.

ℹ️ You can save 25% when buying the quite expensive Jungfraujoch ticket.

ℹ️ Even some museums offer discounts – like the SwissMinitiaure near Lugano that give you a 30% discount with a pass (you can buy the discounted tickets only on the spot). 

ℹ️ AND, as if that was not enough, you´ll also get a 50% discount for the “Lost and Found” service. I admit that I wish I’d not had to find out, but I did because I (again) forgot something on the train. Luckily, it was found, and when I picked it up, I only paid 9€ instead of 18€ – how cool is that?


Besides traveling for free, you can also take advantage of visiting about 500 museums, castles, etc. in Switzerland without any extra admission.

The Swiss Travel Pass covers the same museums as the Museum Pass and this will help you save money. So always, always ask if the entrance fee is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass before you actually buy any ticket.

Thun, most beautiful town in Interlaken
@View from Thun Castle, free with a Swiss Travel Pass


I cannot name all 500 + museums,s so I just add some of the most popular ones that you can visit for free.

  • Thun Castle in Thun
  • Chillon Castle in Montreux
  • Olympic Museum in Lausanne
  • Ballenberg Open-Air Museum near Interlaken
  • Matterhorn Museum/Zermatlantis in Zermatt
  • Abbey Library of Saint Gall in St. Gallen
  • Bahnmuseum Albula
  • FIFA Museum in Zurich
  • National Museum in Zurich
  • Glacier Garden in Lucerne
  • Castle of Gruyères in Gruyères

Ticket prices vary but are often around 10-15 CHF and more, so it can add up. Unfortunately, there is no official list on the website of the Swiss Travel Pass. 


There is one Swiss Travel Pass, but there are different options.

You have several decisions to make:

ℹ️ First, you have to decide on the validity/length of your Swiss Travel Pass: You can choose between 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days.

ℹ️ Then, this also comes with the decision of whether you want to have your pass either as “consecutive days” or with “flexible days”. In case, you opt for the latter one, you have to use the pass within 30 days.

ℹ️ You also have to decide whether you want to get a pass for the 1st or 2nd class.

ℹ️ I have had both types – a Swiss Travel Pass flex and a continuous Swiss Travel Pass. The flexi pass is great if you stay for a longer period (let´s say 10 days and longer) and want to use the pass just for a few days in between (let´s say 4 days). 

Other than that, a 15-day – consecutive – ticket is about as expensive as a flexible 8-day pass. You can check prices for the consecutive/ continuous passes as well as for Flexi tickets here.


The price for the Swiss Travel Pass differs and depends on the class (1st or 2nd class available), the length of validation, and if you get a consecutive or flexible ticket.

ℹ️ Prices start from about 225 CH for 3 days – a 15-day pass costs about 430 CHF. These prices are for 2nd class and tickets for consecutive days.

ℹ️ Youth travelers (under the age of 26) get a 15% discount on the regular prices.

ℹ️ If accompanied by one parent with a valid Swiss Travel Pass, children between 6-16 years, travel for free. Otherwise, they pay 50% of the regular price.

ℹ️ Dogs could travel for free if they are small and are carried in bags. Otherwise, they need a children‘s ticket.

ℹ️ Kids and dogs can always travel first-class with their 2nd class ticket, as long as they are accompanying a person who has a 1st class ticket.

➡️ For more information on prices click here. I prefer buying the tickets via GetYourGuide to the official website of the Swiss Travel Pass, as you have a better cancellation policy. The prices are the same but you cannot cancel easily if something happens and you need a refund.

Dogs are allowed on Swiss Trains
Dogs are allowed on Swiss Trains


1st class sounds really fancy. But is the 1st class worth it when buying a Swiss Travel Pass?

Panorama Trains in Switzerland - this was taken inside a Gotthard Panorama Express
Panorama Trains in Switzerland – this was taken inside a Gotthard Panorama Express


A first-class ticket comes with some perks but is it worth paying almost double the price? Here are my thoughts:

ℹ️ I loved the fact that the compartments were quite empty. I rarely had to worry about seating. 

ℹ️ The seats are a bit more comfortable and you have more space. However, for me personally, this is not a main criterion.

ℹ️ I really appreciate that most trains had sockets next (under/above) to the seats, so I could charge my phone, etc. In the second class, sockets are not that common.

ℹ️ With a first-class ticket, you´ll also get access to the first-class sections of the boats. This is pretty cool because normally, it is the upper deck with fewer people and better views.

ℹ️ On buses and trams, there is just one class. Sometimes, they were quite crowded and I did not have the benefits of a first-class ticket.


So, should you buy a second-class ticket?

ℹ️ Of course, the main advantage (and probably only one) is the price. The price difference is huge.

ℹ️ The price for a 6-day pass (2nd class) is around 360 CHF – the 6-day Swiss Travel Pass for the 1st class is around 570 CHF. You can check out more prices here.

ℹ️ Overall, the second class in Switzerland´s public transport is fine. Space is not that generous and it is normally busier, but it should not be crowded and you should always find seats. If you don’t travel at the busiest times, you should have no problem finding seats. It is also clean and….totally fine.

I bought tickets for both classes. Both are fine – and I cannot make a final judgment. It really depends on your financial situation.  If a couple of hundred $ is a lot of money for you, get a second-class ticket. If you do not have to watch your budget closely, get a first-class pass.


There are several options to get them. Either buy them at the spot, on the official website or on sites like GetYourGuide 

GetYourGuide is my site to go to when it comes to booking activities or buying tickets. It is a great website that I trust 100%.  Also, there is a generous cancellation fee that will allow you to cancel the pass, if something comes up. Always double-check the cancellation policy, but normally it is always offered. See prices here. 

Hello Switzerland - what can I do with a Swiss Travel Pass


If you buy your ticket online via this link, you will have a digital pass you can use. Make sure, your mobile phone is always charged for the digital pass. You get a QR code that you can either save on your phone, or even take a screenshot and present it.

I highly recommend printing your Swiss Pass as well – just to be on the safe side in case your phone does not work/your phone battery dies or whatever can happen with technology.

You might also have to present your ID – so always have that with you, too.

Review of the Swiss Travel Pass

As it has probably already become apparent, I have become a great fan of trail travel in Switzerland and especially of the Swiss Travel Pass. However, I had some highlights I would like to share and sum up, and I have even found some flaws.

TIP: I mostly decided very, very spontaneously which places to visit and so I was a regular visitor of this SBB homepage to check out timetables – and could always rely on correct information. It is the official Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) website. It makes sense to download their app for free.

Alternatively, Google Maps also provided me with up-to-date information and the best train connections.


Switzerland has an official train route it recommends called the Grand Train Tour which has the most picturesque train rides you can ask for. You can use your Swiss Travel Pass to ride on all those trains, but might need a compulsory reservation that comes with a fee (more on that later).

ℹ️ The Grand Train Tour basically gets you from northern Switzerland to the southern and also to the southeastern part as well. It mostly included train rides, but also some boat and bus tours.

ℹ️ If you do all of the tours, you should plan some days for it and, ideally, it would be 15 days but 7 days would be fine, too. Since I know this might not be possible for all visitors, I have summed up my personal highlights from my Grand Train Tour.

Once in a while, you´ll pass some ugly buildings and even uglier graffiti on walls, and you also might think – at times – Switzerland is the biggest industrial country in the world. But most of the time, the window views are pretty stunning. And if you have more time in Switzerland, you should do all the train rides on the Grand Train Tour.

If you need to budget your time, I suggest several train rides in Switzerland. By the way, getting from one place to another via Bern is often the quickest, but not the most photogenic, way.

Zurich to Lucerne

Zurich and Lucerne are some of the main stops for visitors – so I have great news for you. The train ride from Zurich to Lucerne is a nice way to start or end the train trip. You´ll have great window views of Lake Zurich, Lake Zug, and Lake Lucerne. 

Window View Zurich - Lucerne - Arzo Travels

TIP: Do a boat tour on Lake Zurich. If you do the full boat tour, get out in Rapperswil, which is a very cute town, and have a quick pit stop before heading back to Zurich.

If you are in Lucerne take advantage of the amazing mountain trip which is included in the Swiss Travel Pass: Mount Rigi. A boat tour on Lake Lucerne should also be on your list – but more about that later on.

Luzern – Interlaken Express

Another favorite train ride is from Lucerne to Interlaken East with the Express train. You do not need reservations here, even though it is a panorama train. Officially, it is part of the GoldenPass Line, but you‘ll need to change in Interlaken East if you want to continue your journey to Montreux.

I loved this journey, in particular, because of all the stunning lakes you pass. You´ll have great window views of the gorgeous, gorgeous Lake Thun and Lake Brienz (two of the most gorgeous lakes in Switzerland) but will also pass less-known lakes like Lake Lungern or Lake Sarnen. 

Luzern Interlaken Express window view

Unfortunately, you cannot open the windows, and taking beautiful pictures was a challenge and I failed badly. Interlaken is one of my most favorite places in Switzerland. There is so much to do – it is almost ridiculous. Stay a few days in Interlaken and take advantage of your STP by taking a boat cruise on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Also, do some mountain excursions where you get a nice discount with your Swiss Travel Pass.

Interlaken to Montreux – GoldenPass Line

Continue your journey with the GoldenPass Line (reservations are needed for some parts of the journey) from Interlaken to Montreux. Though there are vineyards in many parts of Switzerland, heading to Montreux from Zweisimmen gives you the best view of the vast vineyards, making this area even more special.

Approaching Montreux with the GoldenPassLine
Approaching Montreux with the GoldenPassLine

You will also pass some areas like Zweisimmen and Gstaad – these are beautiful green and lush places (at least during the summer months) but were not my favorite. However, this train will get you to Lake Geneva.

If you want to spend some time at Lake Geneva, Montreux is a great place to do so. I will probably never get over the fact of how clean that water is. After all, Lake Geneva is one of the biggest lakes in Europe – of course, I recommend hopping on a boat, as it is included in the STP. You can also use your STP to visit Chateau de Chillion for free and use public transportation to get to Chexbres to discover the vineyards.

Boat Tour on Lake Geneva with the Swiss Travel Pass
Boat Tour on Lake Geneva with the Swiss Travel Pass

You can also visit Lausanne (by boat or train from Montreux) and visit the Olympic Museum without any extra costs and explore this beautiful city. 

Glacier Panorama Express

The  Glacier Panorama Express is probably the most famous train as it is the slowest express train in the world. It takes about 8 hours to get from Zermatt to St. Moritz (about 300 km). 

The huge panorama windows and the very new-looking, and well-designed Glacier Express is quite impressive. My favorite part of the Glacier Express – in case you do not want to do all of it, was from Brig to Chur. That part is amazing! Stunning! Gorgeous!

You will pass lakes, rivers, and of course mountains. Then there are all the special bridges – the viaducts! It is just an experience by itself.

Riding along the Rhine Gorge is like a train dream come true, so do not miss out on this. The Bernina Express Route is one of the most beautiful train routes in the world (probably my absolute highlight was this route) – all the way. However, you can also take local trains (where you can even open windows).

Rhine Gorge from above - Can you spot the train from there?

To be honest, the alternative train ride is not bad either. You have to change trains though as there is no direct train route. However, you are more flexible because you can get out at certain places and enjoy the stunning places along the places.

Also, the reservation fee for the Glacier Express is quite high – in the summer season, it is about 40€! And if you get out at some stops and want to take the next train, you will lose your reservation. You would have to make another reservation. Also, the Glacier Express hibernates from the end of October for about 6 weeks.

Glacier Express in Graubünden, Switzerland: Picture Credit: Swiss Travel Pass AG
Glacier Express: Picture Credit: Swiss Travel System AG

Bernina Express

The Bernina Express is probably my all-time favorite train ride. It starts/ends in Chur, passes Morteratsch Glacier, Ospizio Bernina, Alp Grüm, Poschiavo, and then stops in Tirana, Italy

The canton of Graubünden (Grison) is one of the most beautiful ones – and probably my favorite area when it comes to trail riding. This is for two reasons: Graubünden is, at least it seems to me, the greenest part of green Switzerland, and you´ll get the best window views.  

Bernina Express with Arzo Travels Lago Blanco
Lago Blanco

The big modern Bernina Express comes with big panorama windows. Again, it is included in the Swiss Travel Pass but you will need to pay for a reservation which is about 30€. Yes, bummer.

While the Bernina Express only works with reservations, you should know that one compartment always works as a regular train. So, you can always get onto that compartment. But that compartment does not come with panorama windows. But seriously, that would not bother me.

Alternatively, take the local trains that need no reservations and where you can hop off/on at any train station.  Also, the regular trains run more frequently.

Alp Grüm Bernina Express with Arzo Travels
Alp Grüm

If you get the chance, somehow try to catch the oldest trains of the Rhaetische Bahn. I know, we all love modernity but if you are into photography, you´ll appreciate the fact that you can open the windows quite widely – something I have not seen to this extent from the other train companies.

You can start your trip in Chur and get all the way to Italy (still covered by your Swiss Travel Pass). This way, you will also pass the highest regular train station in the world (Ospizio Bernina), Lago Blanco, Morteratsch Glacier, and the Poschiavo before you arrive in Tirano. Oh, what a train ride it is!

Bernina Express with Arzo Travels, Mortaratsch Glacier
Mortaratsch Glacier

In the summer months, there is a bus that will take you to Lugano which is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and a must-see place. Alternatively, you can stay in pretty Poschiavo. It is the capital of Valposchiavo and one of Switzerland´s best-kept secrets. To find out more about this gorgeous train ride, check out my guide on the Bernina Express.

Gotthard Panorama Express

My three favorite train rides were mentioned above – but if you made it all the way to Lugano, then you can just head to Bellinzona which is close by, and do another panorama tour.

The ride with the Gotthard Panorama Express is another great experience. I got from Bellinzona in the south to Flüelen near Lucerne. A reservation for the Gotthard Panorama Express is needed though.

TIP: There is a compartment in the middle of the train where you can open the windows to take great pictures. 

Photo Compartment in the Gotthard Panorama Express Train - 2.Class in Swiss Trains
Photo Compartment in the Gotthard Panorama Express Train – 2. class in Swiss Trains

In Flüelen, you get off and hop on a paddle steamer – this boat trip to Lucerne on Lake Lucerne might be another highlight. We talked about all the things to do in Lucerne before.

Steam Paddler in Flüelen - part of the Grand Train Tour


Yes, overall a Swiss Travel Pass is worth it. Of course, it depends on the duration of your stay, the places you plan to visit, and the activities you have on your Switzerland itinerary.

I do think, a Swiss Travel Pass is pretty perfect. But not perfect. What are my complaints?

  1. I wished that each train had a photographer´s compartment – where windows could be opened.
  2. I also missed the fact that the trains, even some first-class compartments – did not all have any WiFi onboard. Though I mostly looked out of the window or took, rather on my phone, it would be something that would make train riding even better.
  3. I do believe that all seats – whether first or second class – should have sockets, I mean it is 2023!
  4. Also, what happened in 2022 quite often were the trains that ran late. Yes, trains were regularly late in Switzerland. Sometimes it was just a minute or 5 minutes – but prior trains were basically never late. In 2022, I even missed a connection train due to unpunctual trains. And many times, I was rushing to catch my connecting train. Yes, it is no big deal and I would still say, trains are quite on time – but public transportation is not what it used to be. So, I hope the SBB just gave itself some slack in 2021 because of Corona and all that!


I would not say that trail travel is THE ultimate and only way to discover Switzerland. But rail travel in Switzerland is definitely an amazing way! So, I can wholeheartedly recommend getting around via public transportation. If you stay in Switzerland for a few days and are curious to see several places a Swiss Travel Pass quickly pays off. If you decide on a Switzerland road trip, make sure to check out my guide.

I am already looking forward to going on my next “Swiss Travel Pass Experience.” I will keep buying the pass.


I seriously love the Swiss Travel Pass. If you travel within Switzerland, then a Swiss Pass might be one of the smartest investments. If you are ready to discover more than one part of Switzerland and also enjoy boat cruises/mountain excursions and/or museums, then the STP will be a great choice for any of you.

The price seems a bit high at the beginning but once I found out what was included, it seemed more reasonable and after having used it extensively, I think it is definitely a good investment and worth every penny.

If you plan to hike and stay in one city only, an STP might not be worth it and if you are traveling within Europe a Eurail Pass would be a great option.

All You Need to Know About the Swiss Travel Pass

Safe Travels, Arzo

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