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Where to buy your rail pass or ticket


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Zurich airport train station

Zurich airport train station.

Buying online: the main advantages

Buying Swiss rail passes online saves time, ensures a digital back-up and can save money.

1. Save time

Buying online allows you to board your first train straight away, rather than spending time at a ticket office. This is especially useful if you arrive in Switzerland by train or plane.

2. Get a digital back-up

Many passes and tickets bought online can be stored on your cell phone or printed at home. So if your pass gets lost or damaged, you'll still have a digital back-up. This is not the case if you buy a paper rail pass at Swiss railway stations. Such paper passes can't be replaced.

3. Save money

Prices offered by online retailers may be lower than the official prices you'd pay in Switzerland. Prices vary per retailer, and also by exchange rates and promotions that may be available.

To do a quick check on pass prices, go to our page about that pass (start here). Then click 'Price'. For example: www.myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/price. To check ticket prices, please see www.myswissalps.com/timetable.

Availability: online and at staffed stations

Rail passes and tickets can be purchased from various websites. Nearly all passes and tickets are available online. Most, but not all, can be purchased at staffed rail stations too.

Buying at staffed Swiss rail stations

If you plan to buy at a rail station, be sure to check the opening hours of the service desk. Take into account that there might be a queue, especially at rail stations of airports and popular towns. Obviously this varies a lot by date, time and location.

When buying passes in Switzerland, you'll have to provide information for each traveler. This information must exactly match the data in the traveler's passport or other travel document. Buying can take a while, especially if you need passes for several people.

Prices, payment and currency

Swiss railways: "official" rail pass prices

Swiss rail passes are priced in Swiss francs when you buy them locally. These are the "official" prices.

The same prices are used in the online tourist webshop of the Swiss railways. You can pay in CHF, EUR, GBP and USD there.

For rail passes, we recommend the Swiss railways tourist webshop over the domestic SBB website or app. The domestic website and app are mostly meant for Swiss residents. Payment with foreign credit cards can occur. The online tourist webshop, and the other resellers we list at our rail pass pages, are better geared to tourists.

Other resellers: price differences and advantages

The Swiss railways also offer their rail passes and tickets through many other online resellers. These resellers' prices may either be lower or higher than the prices in Switzerland. Price variations are caused by exchange rates, whether or not the reseller offers additional discounts or services, and so on.

These resellers may sell to travelers from specific countries, have a helpdesk in the local language and offer local payment methods and payment in the local currency. That's convenient and it can save you money: you'll have less banking fees.

Retailers can also provide discounts and promotions. All of our rail pass pages have a section listing promotions, so you can quickly check what's available.

It's comparable to buying flight tickets. Such tickets have kind of a "base" price, but you can purchase them from many airlines and third-party resellers, and at varying fares.

Point-to-point tickets: fixed versus varying fares

Normal Swiss train tickets have fixed prices that change only once a year. But there are a few ticket types with varying fares and restrictive conditions. You can read about them here.

Delivery: digital and paper rail products

Almost all rail passes and tickets can be stored on your phone or printed at home, so there's no shipping fee. The digital products will be sent by e-mail, often instantaneously.

In rare cases, passes are physical documents that need to be shipped to you. However, this does not necessarily mean that you pay for shipping. Shipping is often free, or free from a minimum order amount. Even if shipping is not free, ordering online can still be cheaper than buying in Switzerland.

E-tickets and print at home options

Most Swiss rail passes and tickets are digital products, delivered by e-mail. This means that you don't have to wait for a shipment, nor do you have to visit a staffed ticket office once in Switzerland. You can immediately board your first train.

Train conductors can scan your digital pass directly from your cell phone. You may want to take along a printed version, in case your battery runs out.

Recommended purchase options and promotions

To make it easier to pick the best point of sale, we have listed the recommended purchase options in the 'Price' section of each pass/ticket page, e.g. at www.myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/price (all passes can be found here).

The retailers displayed there sell to your country of residence. Your country should be selected automatically, but you can change it if necessary.

If promotions are available, you'll find them in the 'Promotions' section of each pass/ticket page, e.g. at www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/promotions.

What else to consider

There's more to consider when choosing a reseller:

  • shipping fees. Most products are sent digitally, so shipping fees are mostly a thing of the past. If there is shipping fee for paper products, it may be waived from a certain order amount.
  • booking fees. Some retailers charge a fee per booking, per pass or per traveler. This isn't very common though.
  • banking fees. If you choose a retailer using a currency different from the one in your country, your bank may charge a fee. The final amount spent depends on the exchange rate of the day. This also applies if you buy your pass in Switzerland: even if you pick your own currency at the payment terminal, the exchange rate will not be in your favor. Tips about the cheapest way to pay can be found here.
  • promotions. Sometimes a specific reseller offers a promotion, whereas others don't. There can also be promotions for specific pass versions only. For example: there can be a discount only for a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass and not for the 3-, 6-, 8- and 15-day versions. If there are discounts, you'll find them in the "Promotions" sections of our pass pages. See an example here.

Point to point tickets: where and when to buy

Point to point tickets for traveling in Switzerland can be purchased online (this applies to standard tickets and cheaper ones if purchased well in advance), or at rail stations. There are staffed service desks at the larger stations. Check the opening hours in advance. All stations have ticketing machines too.

Tickets can be bought via the domestic SBB website and app, but there are more options that are well geared to travelers from abroad. You'll find them here for normal tickets, and here for discounted tickets.

Regular tickets do not sell out, except, in rare cases, for mountain trains on very popular days. The following products can sell out:

You're advised to order products that can sell out well in advance.

Save money by planning carefully

You may need multiple tickets and/or passes. We recommend to first complete your itinerary. Then pick a pass and buy all tickets, passes and seat reservations (if any) at once.

For example:

  • You may have planned to travel from Paris to Zurich by train, so you buy the ticket online.
  • However, if you later decide that you need a rail pass for your further travels in Switzerland, you could have saved money as the Swiss part of the journey Paris-Zurich is covered by that pass.

Buying the tickets and passes at once, from a single website, might be cheaper than two separate orders. But this doesn't have to be the case.

WHERE TO BUY YOUR SWISS TRAVEL PASS

Your country of residenceWrong country? Correct it in your account.
Rail product Sort order
  • Switzerland Travel Centre (STC) is the official tourist webshop of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).
  • Fast customer support.
  • Extra support: if you buy here, MySwissAlps can also help if you have questions about your order.
  • Very experienced team of train travel experts.
  • Offers everything for your Switzerland trip: from single tickets to complete train holidays.
  • Extra support: if you buy here, MySwissAlps can also help if you have questions about your order.
  • Tours, train tickets and attraction tickets for Switzerland and many other destinations.
  • Extra support: if you buy here, MySwissAlps can also help if you have questions about your order.
  • Rail travel experts for Switzerland and other countries.
  • Extra support: if you buy here, MySwissAlps can also help if you have questions about your order.
Promotion
  • PROMOTION: Rail pass group discount
    Minimum order value CHF 2500.
    Details
  • Discount for groups
  • The website sbb.ch is mostly aimed at Swiss residents.
  • Customer service can take a while to respond.
  • No extra support: MySwissAlps can't help with questions about your order.

  • You can buy rail passes at staffed Swiss rail stations. This is only possible during opening hours. These are different for each station.
  • You can buy train tickets for trips in Switzerland from staffed desks and from ticketing machines. The machines offer normal fares and most discounted fares.
  • You may have to wait in line, especially during rush hour, in popular towns and at airport train stations.
  • You can pay in Swiss francs. Often you can also pay in other currencies, but at a high exchange rate.
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