5 Local Tips for Train Travel in Switzerland

June 21, 2022

Switzerland is lucky enough to have one of the most extensive railway networks in Europe, with over 5,000 kilometres of railway lines - and we've gathered some insider tips that will help you get that seat on the train with some money to spare.

When you’re singularly unable to get driving permit, and your son throws up if he’s in a car for longer than 25 minutes, you are grateful for the outstanding public transport that Switzerland has to offer. Expensive much, you may ask? Especially for a family? Sure. But I learnt quickly, Switzerland rewards planning ahead! Literally all the travel that I’ve done within Switzerland, whether work commute or leisure travel, has been by trains, buses, and ferries. You’ll be amazed with the deals you can find, if you prep well.

Here are some ideas on getting the most bang for your buck and lowering your carbon footprint at the same time.

SBB Super Saver Tickets

I once bought a ticket to Geneva airport from Lausanne for Fr 5. Just had to book it a week in advance. With SBB super saver tickets, the sooner you book a ticket, the cheaper they are (sometimes up to 70% off). The catch? You must take only that particular train (there’s no flexibility here). Of course, should that train get cancelled or delayed, and you miss your connection, you’re allowed to take the next available connection.

Bonus tip: if you don’t see a discounted 2nd class ticket, check the 1st class ones. Under supersaver, many times, they may be available for almost the same price as 2nd class tickets.

Cartes journalières

All communes in Switzerland offer “daytravel” cards to their residents at a discounted price. This card allows you to travel anywhere within the country via any mode of public transport. You can even take the panoramic trains, just pay the seat reservation. It serves as a “demi tarif”for premium services, like going up to Glacier 3000.

Available at Lausanne Tourist Office for 49 chf, but beware they go like hotcakes so plan, plan, plan!

Junior Cards

Kids stop traveling for free on public transport when they turn 6. But you can get a “junior card” for 30 chf, which allows the child to travel free with either parent. Well worth it! Note: parents must obviously have a valid ticket or abonnement for the junior card to be valid.  

TL Summer Offer

Almost every summer during school holidays, Transport Lausanne offers you a ticket for 1 chf, if you’re traveling with someone who has a valid ticket. They hardly ever advertise it, and the ticket option is hidden deep in their vending machine options, but it does exist! There’s nothing better in life than strolling through the hills of Lausanne in summer, and when those feet can’t walk anymore, take the bus back home.

Bonus tip! Airport check in & luggage drop

Going for a long trip & got lots of luggage to take to the airport? Prohibitive parking costs? SBB can actually get our luggage from station A to B for you. Traveling Swiss? They’ll even check you in, and take your bags. You travel hassle free and can collect your bags directly at your destination! So, there you go! An ecofriendly, wallet friendly travel life.  And the best part – no limit on the number of glasses of bubbly you can drink to take a train!

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