Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Swiss Half Fare Card
This card provides savings up to 50% off for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland
- 50% discount on most trains, buses and boats for one month
- Issued as a paper document
- Discounts off 1st and 2nd class travel
- Free Swiss Family Card: Children under 16 travel for free with a parent or legal guardian
WING SHAN Y
How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes can be booked for travel in one specific country or you can choose one of a few pre-selected country/region combinations. Extensive travel plans? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering train travel in 33 different countries - including Great Britain.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service selected, passenger type, and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
From our travel community
You may also be interested in
Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. I just landed in Europe. How do I get to the train station from the airport?
A. Whether you’re going straight to a train or to your hotel, you’ll generally find public transportation options from the airport to the center of town, where most train stations are located. Below is a list of airports that have rail connections (train or local subway/metro) to the main rail station:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
15 minute train trip to Amsterdam Central Station
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
20 minute train trip to Stockholm Central Station
30 minute train to Barcelona Sants Station
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport
Birmingham International Airport
12-15 minute train trip to Birmingham New Street Station
28 minute train trip to Brussels Zuid/Midi Station
15 minute train trip to Cologne Central Station
Copenhagen Kastrup Airport
14 minute train trip from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
Geneva Cointrin International Airport
7 minute train trip to the Geneva City Central Station
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
1 mile bus or taxi trip to Paisley Gilmour Station and then a 12-15 minute train trip to Glasgow
London Gatwick Airport
30 minute train trip to London Victoria Station
London Heathrow Airport
15 - 27 minute train trip to London Paddington Station
45 minute train trip to London St. Pancras Station
12 minute metro trip to Madrid Nuesvos Ministerios Metro Station
10 minute train trip to Malaga Torremolinos Station
Munich International Airport
41 - 46 minute train trip to Munich Main Train Station
Oslo Gardermoen Airport
19 - 22 minutes train trip to Oslo S Station
Paris Orly Airport
24 minutes train trip to Paris Austerlitz Station
Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport
30 minute train trip to Paris Gare du Nord Station
Porto – Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
7-10 minute metro trip to Porto City Center Station
Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
30 minute train trip to Rome Termini Station
47 minute train trip to London Liverpool Station
Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport
30 minute train trip to Stuttgart Central
10 - 14 minute train trip to Zurich Central Station
Many other European airports have buses to the central or main rail stations. There are typically a minimum of two departures per hour, and travel times can vary from 15 minutes – 55 minutes depending on the city (and of course traffic en-route to the city center).
You can always check directly with your arrival airport for specific information regarding transfers to the city center. Most airports have websites with information on where to go to find a train or bus connection to the downtown area.
In addition, we encourage you to visit our Train Station pages to view information about services at the station and what airport links are available, if any, for a particular city.
Q. Can I book a rail pass and a seat reservation at the same time?
A. Absolutely, and we encourage it. Once you’ve added the pass you want to your booking, you will be prompted to make seat reservations for trains you wish to travel on. Alternatively, you can visit the homepage and search schedules, just be sure to check the "I have a rail pass" box.
We always recommend buying your reservations before you depart for Europe because high speed and night trains often have a limited number of seats set aside for rail pass holders, and these seats tend to sell out. So the earlier you secure your reservation, the better.
Q. Will my luggage be safe, accessible, and in my line of sight throughout the duration of my trip?
A. Your luggage will either be safely above you in a luggage rack, or at the end of your train car. These are the designated locations for luggage storage. You will be able to access your bags as needed.
You are responsible for your luggage. The railways will assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
Be sure to have luggage tags with your name and contact information securely attached in case you leave anything behind.
Q. How do I use the bonuses that come with rail passes?
A. Rail Pass travel bonuses must be redeemed locally.
There are two types of bonuses. Free bonuses (such as a free airport transfer) require the use of a travel day on your pass. If all travel days have been used on your rail pass you will not be able to take advantage of any more free bonuses. Discount bonuses do not require you to use a travel day, but do require that your pass still be within its validity period. In other words, even if you’ve used up all your days on a pass, you can still claim discounted bonuses as long as the pass validity period has not expired.
The exception to this rule is the Swiss Travel Pass. Although a discounted bonus doesn’t require you to use a travel day on your Swiss Travel Pass, the pass must still be valid and you must not have used up all your travel days.
Q. What language is spoken at the train station and on the train?
A. Typically at the train station and on board the train the local language is spoken. Announcements at the station and on board the train will be made in the local language of the departure station.
Q. What constitutes a group?
A. Ten or more people traveling together constitutes a group.
Q. Why does my train ticket say “coach” if I bought a ticket in the First class or Premier Category?
A. Don’t worry – the word “coach” on the ticket is another word for train car. It doesn’t mean you’ll be traveling in “coach” class.
Q. Can I bring my bike on board?
A. In general, bicycles can be taken with you as carry-on luggage, free of charge on just about any national or international train- if you put it in a bike bag. In the bike bag, the wheels, pedals and handlebars must be removed.
In addition, many European trains allow bikes in a special bike compartment for free or a small fee. If there is a fee, it’s typically about 5-15 Euros per journey. Bikes are typically permitted on local & regional trains in most countries, at least outside peak travel hours.
Many inter-city trains also allow bikes, however not in Spain. And in France only a few French TGVs allow bikes that aren’t in a bike bag. Some TGV-Lyria trains between Paris & Switzerland also allow bikes. Paris-Madrid & Paris-Barcelona night trains only allow bikes if they’re in a bike bag and if you & your fellow travellers occupy the entire sleeper compartment. Overnight Thello sleeper trains & daytime TGV trains between Paris & Italy only allow bikes in a bike bag. Thalys trains between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam & Cologne only allow bikes in bike bags. Long-distance trains into Eastern Europe such as Cologne-Moscow, Bucharest-Istanbul or Budapest-Sofia only allow bikes in bike bags, primarily because these trains don’t have luggage compartments.
Lastly, some trains, primarily in the UK, will require advance reservations for bicycles. These reservations will need to be made locally at the station.
Q. How can I ensure that my traveling party is seated together?
A. In general, when you request fares and schedules for multiple travellers at once, we’ll always attempt to request that they be seated together. The best way to ensure this is to correctly indicate the number of travellers when you request your fares and schedules for your itinerary.
Occasionally, it might not be possible to seat everyone together based on availability at the time of booking, in which case the travellers will be seated in the closest available seats.
If the train you’ll be taking is non-reservable, all you have to do is board the train and sit in any available seat with the rest of your party.
Q. Can I get the address and phone number for the train station?
A. We offer specific train station information and maps with approximate locations of many of the most popular train stations in Europe.
In general, you’ll find that stations are centrally located and conveniently reached via public transportation and most airport-to-city links.