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.
Exclusive limited-time Fall offer: use promo code 27FALL18 to get R900 off bookings of R11400 or more, or 28FALL18 to get R1400 off bookings of R15400 or more. Book by October 31, 2018. Condtions apply.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
This card provides savings up to 50% for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland.
WING SHAN Y
How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 28 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected 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.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. What if I’ve purchased a Twin/Saver pass and one of the travellers decides not to travel that day?
A. It’s perfectly fine, but the traveller who didn’t travel will still use a travel day on their pass.
If you’re all traveling on the same day, but split up and take different trains, those not carrying the pass will need to buy separate train tickets.
Q. Can I get off the train and get back on later using my train ticket?
A. In most cases, this is not possible. Train tickets that include a reservation are only valid for a single ride on the train for which the reservation was issued. While stepping off the train is possible if the train makes intermediary stops, you wouldn’t be allowed to resume your trip by boarding another train with the same ticket. Your train ticket is only valid on the train printed on it.
Open train tickets may be the exception. They can allow you to hop off and back on another train on a given route to continue your itinerary, as long as that new train doesn’t require or offer reservations. Special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it’s a good idea to confirm locally.
If you’re traveling with an open ticket and a reservation for your original train, you forfeit that reservation for the remaining part of your journey when you hop off. You may hop back on another train that doesn’t require a reservation, but you’d essentially be traveling with an open train ticket only and not have a reserved seat. Again, special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it is a good idea to confirm locally.
Q. Should I buy my seat reservations prior to arriving in Europe, or can I just get them at the station locally?
A. We recommend that you purchase your reservations as soon as possible, once you’ve determined which train journeys you’d like to take and what dates you’ll need them.
In most cases, rail carriers set aside a limited number of seats for stand-alone reservations. Once those seats have sold out, only regular full-fare tickets can be bought for the train. Because of the limited reservation-only inventory, these seats do in fact sell out, especially during peak travel seasons such as the holidays or summer. The cost difference between a stand-alone reservation and a full-priced ticket can amount to a hundred dollars or more. There’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to use your rail pass and having to buy a full priced ticket at significant cost. Therefore, we highly encourage you to lock down your reservation and make the most of your travel budget as soon as possible.
Also keep in mind that reservations can be purchased online from Rail Europe’s website and iPhone App. Many rail carriers do not sell stand-alone reservations through their website and in most cases, you will have to go in person to the rail station to buy your reservation when in Europe.
Q. Can I bring my pet on board?
A. Generally, cats and dogs are allowed on trains, though they may need to be contained in a pet carrier or wear a muzzle or leash. Pets are not allowed on some trains in Great Britain, Spain, Ireland, Norway, and Finland. Currently the only animals that are permitted to travel on Eurostar are guide dogs for the visually impaired.
Some trains require advance reservations for pets. Unfortunately, Rail Europe cannot make reservations for your pet. This will need to be done locally. In general, dogs normally travel at half the fare of a second class ticket, payable directly to the conductor.
Q. I placed a booking on your website but received a message saying my booking needs to be reviewed by a Travel Consultant. Why?
A. Sometimes, certain products within your booking are not available for confirmation at the time of booking and one of our Travel Consultants needs to manually confirm your booking. Once confirmed, we will contact you to advise it has been finalized and issued.
Q. If I bought my rail pass from another company, can I still book my seat reservations through Rail Europe?
A. Yes. You can book your reservation with Rail Europe regardless of where you purchased your rail pass.
Q. I'm looking to book a train on your site but I can't find it, why?
A. We know it can be frustrating when what you’re looking for is not displaying, let us help, as there could be several reasons for this happening.
1. It could be the case that it is too soon to book the train you wish to travel on. Typically, trains can be booked 3 months in advance. Of course, this can vary by carrier and time of year. Some trains have a longer booking horizon.
2. The train or fare you are looking for is not available. Depending on the time of year, time of day, or train you are looking for, it could be the case that there are no available seats for booking. If your travel dates are flexible, you can select an alternate travel dates to see if the train you are looking for displays.
3. Scheduled track work or maintenance could be scheduled for the day/time you are looking to travel. Carriers will close reservations for these scheduled dates, meaning they will not appear on our site to book.
4. Some trains are private lines or operated by carriers that do not allow other distributors to offer them. In these cases, tickets will need to be secured locally at the station.
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. Will the train cars be air conditioned/heated?
A. All European trains are fully heated and many are air-conditioned, as well.
Some regional trains servicing local villages for short distances may not have air-conditioning. In these situations, travellers are permitted to open the train windows.
Q. Does my train ticket include a seat reservation?
A. Rail Europe tickets include a reservation whenever possible. To tell if you have a reservation, see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, you should also see if it indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your ticket includes a reservation.
The only case where you may not have a reservation with your ticket is if you received an open ticket. With these tickets, you can simply hop on any non- reservable train that travels on the route for which you bought your ticket.