Switzerland Insider

Switzerland Insider

If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, you’re in for a treat! Switzerland has one of the best and most scenic train systems in the world. To help you get the most out of your journey, I’ve put together the top 10 train travel hacks that only Swiss locals know.

Swiss train travel hacks

Hack 1: Ride the Panoramic Routes on Regular Trains

Did you know that the famous Bernina Express and Glacier Express operate on regular train tracks? You don’t have to book the entire scenic journey to experience these breathtaking routes. Instead, you can hop on standard trains that travel along parts of these routes. This way, you can enjoy the stunning scenery without the extra cost. You can either cover a short segment or plan to switch trains along the way. This hack lets you soak in the views without committing to the whole length of the journey. It’s a great way to experience some of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes on a budget.

More on the Glacier Express and Bernina Express

Hack 2: No Seat Reservation Needed

Swiss locals usually don’t reserve seats on trains, except for special scenic trains like the Bernina and Glacier Express, where it is mandatory. This flexibility allows them to hop on and off regular trains as they please. You can adopt the same approach for a more spontaneous travel experience. Regular trains are frequent and reliable, so you can easily explore different destinations without the hassle of reservations. This makes it easy to adjust your plans on the fly and take advantage of unexpected opportunities during your trip. Also, if you are really in need of a seat, the Swiss will either make space for you or you can kindly ask them and they will do so. Enjoy this freedom of exploring Switzerland by train like a local!

Seat Reservations on SBB Trains (SBB)

Hack 3: Get a Swiss Half Fare Card for Tourists

One of the best ways to save money on Swiss train travel is by getting a Swiss Half Fare Card for tourists. This card lets you buy tickets at half price for trains, buses, and even boats. Locals love the savings, and now you can too! The card is valid for a month, making it perfect for those planning to travel extensively across Switzerland. With the Swiss Half Fare Card, you can make your travel much more affordable, whether you’re taking short trips or longer journeys. It’s a must-have for budget-conscious travelers looking to explore Switzerland.


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Hack 4: Saver Day Pass for Unlimited Travel

For a great deal on unlimited travel, consider getting a Saver Day Pass. This pass allows you to travel all day on the Swiss Travel System network, including trains, buses, and boats, at a reduced rate. It’s especially useful if you plan to cover a lot of ground in a single day. You can purchase the Saver Day Pass in advance, and the earlier you buy it, the cheaper it is. This pass is a fantastic way to explore multiple destinations without worrying about individual ticket costs, making your Swiss adventure both affordable and flexible. My recommendation is that you check the regular ticket price first and bear in mind it has to lie in the future, as on the day of travel this pass does not exist. Also, you can purchase it with you Swiss Half Fare Card for Tourists to start saving money!

Saver Day Pass (SBB)

Hack 5: Swiss Family Card for Traveling with Kids

If you’re traveling with children, the Swiss Family Card is a fantastic way to save money. This card allows children under 16 to travel for free when accompanied by at least one parent with a valid ticket. It’s available with the purchase of a Swiss Travel Pass or a Swiss Half Fare Card, making family travel more affordable and convenient. With the Family Card, you can explore Switzerland’s beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and vibrant cities without worrying about additional transportation costs for your kids.

More on the Swiss Family Card SBB)

Hack 6: Kids Areas and Silent Zones

On larger Swiss trains, you’ll find designated kids’ areas where children can play and stay entertained during the trip. These areas are designed like a playground. Also there is enough space for the kids to walk around.

For travelers who prefer a quiet environment, many larger trains also offer silent zones. These are designated carriages where noise is kept to a minimum, providing a calm and serene atmosphere for reading, working, or simply relaxing.

Swiss Trains with Children (SBB)

Quiet Zones on Swiss Trains (SBB)



Hack 7: Off-Peak Travel

Traveling during off-peak hours can make your journey much more comfortable and enjoyable. Swiss locals know that early mornings and late evenings are usually less crowded, so they often travel during these times to avoid the rush. Additionally, using apps like the SBB Mobile app or their website can help you check train schedules in real-time and find the best times to travel. These apps can also show you which trains have more available seats and less congestion. On top of that, during off-peak you can purchase Supersaver Tickets! These tickets are for specific trains on specific times. Don’t mistake them for the Saver Day Pass though, which is valid for the entire day.

Supersaver Tickets (SBB)

Hack 8: Utilize Lockers at Train Stations

Swiss train stations are equipped with convenient lockers where you can store your luggage. This is especially useful if you have a few hours before your next train or if you want to explore a city without dragging your bags around. The lockers come in various sizes and are reasonably priced. By using these lockers, you can enjoy your time sightseeing without the hassle of carrying your luggage. It’s a handy tip that locals often use to make their travels more comfortable.

Lockers at Swiss Train Stations

Hack 9: Skip Sightseeing Cruises for Regular Boat Cruises

You don’t need to book expensive sightseeing cruises to enjoy Switzerland’s stunning lakes. Instead, opt for regular boat cruises that operate on a schedule. These boats cover similar beautiful routes and offer incredible views, just like the pricier tourist cruises. Plus, many of these scheduled cruises include special rides like sunset cruises at no additional cost beyond the normal ticket price. Also the Swiss Travel Pass, if you intend to buy one, is valid on regular boat cruises!

Lake Lucerne CruisesLake Geneva CruisesLake Zurich CruisesLake Brienz Cruises

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Hack 10: Take Advantage of Guest Cards and Their Benefits

Many Swiss hotels and other accommodation providers offer official guest cards that come with fantastic benefits for travelers. These cards often provide free or discounted local transportation, making it easy to explore the area without spending extra on tickets. Additionally, guest cards can include discounts on entry to local attractions, museums, and sometimes even restaurants and shops. For example, the Lucerne Visitor Card gives you free travel on public transportation within Lucerne and discounts on mountain excursions like Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. Always ask your hotel if they provide a guest card, as it can significantly enhance your travel experience while saving you money.

2 examples of guest cards:

Visitor Card Lucerne

Jungfrau Region Guest Card

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and/ or believe will add value to travelers to Switzerland. Thank you for your support!

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