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SwissPass versus Swiss Travel Pass: what's the difference?


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Must knows about the Swiss Travel Pass

  • The Swiss Travel Pass is the rail pass for tourists.
  • The Swiss Travel Pass was called "Swiss Pass" until 2014
  • The current "SwissPass" is a chip card and digital account for Swiss residents.
  • As a tourist, you don't need a "SwissPass" account. You also shouldn't add your rail pass to a SwissPass account in the SBB website or app.
SwissPass advertisement

A SwissPass advertisement around its introduction in August 2015. The SwissPass is for Swiss citizens. As a tourist, you need the Swiss Travel Pass.

Swiss Travel Pass versus SwissPass

The "SwissPass" is a chip card and digital account for Swiss citizens using public transport. As a tourist, you need the Swiss Travel Pass instead.

The Swiss Travel Pass was called "Swiss Pass" until 2014. That explains why some tourists still call the pass by its old name.

The Swiss Travel Pass for tourists

If you visit Switzerland as a tourist, it is the Swiss Travel Pass you need, or one of the other rail passes. The Swiss Travel Pass allows unlimited traveling throughout the entire country.

The SwissPass card: not required for tourists

This chip card for Swiss citizens was introduced in August 2015. It allows people to load their annual public transport subscriptions and various other products onto an electronic card. As a tourist you don't need this.

The SwissPass account: not required for tourists

Swiss residents can use a SwissPass account on the official timetable website and in the official timetable app.

As a tourist, you don't need a SwissPass account. Simply ignore it if you're asked for in the timetable. Just use your rail pass. If you need additional tickets, either regular or discounted, you can buy them without this account.

Adding rail passes to a SwissPass account: not required for tourists

Swiss residents can upload or link travel products to their SwissPass account.

As a tourist, you don't have to do that for the following reasons:

  • You don't need a SwissPass account to study the timetable, find ticket prices, buy rail passes or buy tickets. You can do all of that without an account and on any website you prefer. Find more tips on where to buy your passes here.
  • Most tourist passes can not be linked to a SwissPass account.
  • A few tourist passes can theoretically be linked to a SwissPass account, but that's a complex process: see here.
  • There are no advantages to having your pass linked to a SwissPass account.

We recommend to keep things simple:

  • Most rail passes come as digital products with QR codes. Simply store them as a PDF on your phone and/or print them. You can also add them to a digital wallet.
  • Show the QR code of your digital pass, either on your phone or printed, when asked for.
  • If you need additional tickets, you can get them without an account as explained here for full-fare tickets, and here for discounted tickets.

Swiss Travel Pass promotion: 30% discount
Available until 31 October 2022. Book 6 months ahead.
https://shop.switzerlandtravelcentre.com/swisstravelpass

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