Switzerland is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year. Its breathtaking natural scenery, friendly people and world-renowned cultural attractions are unparallel, providing something for everyone. For Singaporeans planning a trip to Switzerland, one of the best ways to travel around the country is by using the Swiss Travel Pass, helping you to save money and see more attractions.
I recently did a 10-day winter trip in Switzerland, traveling from Zurich to Interlaken to Jungfrau Top of Europe to Murren to Engelberg and back to Zurich, using just the Swiss Travel Pass.
It may seem daunting to haul heavy winter luggage across public transportation points, but the Swiss public transport system is super accessible, timely and easy to navigate around, with a dedicated SBB mobile app that the locals use as well, with precision to the minute on arrival times. To use the app, simply swipe to connect your departure and arrival points on the touch timetable and start the relevant timetable search. You can store the destinations you use most often or even. your hotel postal addresses in a tile with personal images to create your very own touch timetable.
Other than cost-savings, traveling around via public transport also allows you to have a closer experience of how the locals travel around, soaking in the sights and sounds, meeting people and experiencing things along the way instead of rushing from one point to another in private transport.
What is the Swiss Travel Pass?
The Swiss Travel Pass is a comprehensive travel pass that allows visitors to travel around Switzerland using the country’s extensive public transportation system. The pass is available for purchase in various durations, ranging from three to fifteen days, and can be used on trains, buses, boats, cable cars and even some mountain railways. Prices start from around $330+ for the three days pass up to around $900+ for the fifteen days pass.
You can choose to customise the usage of the pass on consecutive days or flexible days, depending on your own travel itinerary. The pass also provides free entry to over 500 museums and attractions in Switzerland, making it an excellent choice if you are looking to explore the country’s rich cultural offerings.
Zurich > Interlaken > Jungfrau > Murren > Engelberg > Zurich
Upon arrival in Zurich from Singapore, you can use it to travel on the city’s extensive public transportation network, including trams, buses, and trains. This makes it easy to explore all the city’s top attractions, such as the historic Old Town, the Zurich Opera House, and the Swiss National Museum.
You can also take a scenic train ride from Zurich to the nearby mountain resort of Engelberg, which is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. This mountain resort is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding during the winter months, and the Swiss Travel Pass can help you get there.
Interlaken is another destination where the Swiss Travel Pass can save you money. With the pass, you can take the scenic train ride to the top of the Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe.
From Interlaken, I made a day trip to Jungfrau, taking a train to Grindelwald Terminal to transfer to cable cars to get up to Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe.
Jungfraujoch is a must-see attraction for any visitor to Switzerland, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps. For K-drama fans, it is also the filming location for the hit series, Crash Landing on You.
The Swiss Travel Pass also gives you access to the mountain railways in Grindelwald, Wengen, and Murren, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Speaking of Murren, it’s a beautiful mountain village that’s easily accessible with the Swiss Travel Pass and my favourite destination throughout my 10-day trip. You can take a cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Murren and explore the village’s charming streets and picturesque scenery. With a population of fewer than 400 people, everyone knows everyone in Mürren and the villagers are super friendly and hospitable. I met a Singaporean living there by the way – I will be sharing more about him in an upcoming travel review on Mürren.
From Murren, you can also take a cable car to the Schilthorn, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding Alps and is included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
Be sure to check out Piz Gloria and enjoy a James Bond 007-themed brunch. Back in the 1960s, the Schilthorn was the main filming location for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The revolving summit restaurant served as the headquarters of James Bond’s arch-nemesis Blofeld and was called “Piz Gloria” – a name it has kept to the present day.
Benefits of using the Swiss Travel Pass
1. Unlimited Travel
One of the most significant advantages of using the Swiss Travel Pass is the unlimited travel it provides. Pass holders can use the pass to travel as much as you want on the country’s public transportation system, including cable cars, trains, buses, and boats. This means that you can explore different parts of Switzerland without worrying about the cost of transportation.
If you are visiting the more remote and mountainous region, the Swiss Travel Pass makes a lot of sense as you would require a lot of commuting. I lost count of the number of cable car rides I took throughout my 10-day trip, commuting from one peak to another, not to mention all the scenic train rides!
Traveling via public transport in Switzerland is a sustainable and great world to explore the country:
Another advantage of the Swiss Travel Pass is its convenience.
You can simply present your pass to the conductor or driver when inspected on any mode of public transportation, and they’re good to go. This eliminates the need to purchase individual tickets or worry about carrying the correct change for public transportation.
In Switzerland, while you do not need to present tickets to get on public transport, random checks are conducted by conductors to ensure you have paid your fares. With the Swiss Travel Pass, simply flash your pass on your mobile or the printed QR on a piece of paper and that is it.
3. Cost Savings
The Swiss Travel Pass can also provide significant cost savings.
The pass covers the cost of transportation for the timed duration you opted for, so you don’t need to pay for individual train, cable car, bus, or boat tickets. I counted that I took an average of around two cable car rides a day, two train rides and two bus rides. This will work out to a much heftier traveling cost if I did not purchase the Swiss Travel Pass, but purchased tickets individually, not to mention the hassle.
In addition, you have the flexibility to use your pass on consecutive days or just on days when you have heavy commuting based on your own travel itinerary.
4. Family Friendly
To facilitate for family travelers, for children from their 6th up to their 16th birthday, if they are accompanied by at least one parent holding a Swiss Travel System ticket, they get to travel free of charge with the complimentary Swiss Family Card!
For children under 6 years of age, they get to travel completely free of charge.
For a small family of two adults and two kids under 16, simply purchase two Swiss Travel Passes and the other two will get to travel for free.
5. Scenic Routes
Switzerland is known for its scenic train journeys, and the Swiss Travel Pass provides access to some of the country’s most breathtaking routes. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you get unlimited travel on premium panoramic trains. Note however that seat reservation fees and/or surcharges apply as these trains may be in higher demand.
When traveling to Engelberg, I rode on one of the panoramic trains and the view was stunningly gorgeous:
6. Convenience for Singaporeans
For Singaporeans, the Swiss Travel Pass can be particularly beneficial. The pass is available for purchase online via online travel agents like KKDay and Klook. The pass is available in the form of an e-ticket which you download and store in your mobile prior to traveling.
This eliminates the need to purchase the pass on arrival in Switzerland, which can save time and hassle.
7. Free entry to Museums and Attractions
As mentioned earlier, the Swiss Travel Pass provides free entry to over 500 museums and attractions in Switzerland. This includes popular attractions such as the Swiss National Museum, the Chillon Castle, and the Alpamare Water Park. This can save you a significant amount of money on admission fees.