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
- 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.
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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 31 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. I’ve written the wrong date on my rail pass travel calendar box. What should I do?
A. If the wrong date is written in the travel calendar box, you will need to enter the correct date in the next travel calendar box. Unfortunately, once the date has been entered in the travel calendar box, it cannot be corrected and there’s no way to recover that travel day on the rail pass. Be very careful when filling out the date on your rail pass as mistakes cannot be corrected. An altered travel date could be viewed as an attempt of fraud and could lead to fines or other penalties.
Q. I am taking a cruise while in Europe. How do I connect between the train station and port of call?
A. Traveling between a port and a train station is usually simple. Sometimes, getting between the two is an easy walk. And in other cases, it’s best to take a taxi, bus, or train.
Q. What does the “Login with Facebook” button do?
A. The “Login with Facebook” button allows you to log in to the Rail Europe website with your Facebook login credentials, even if you have never registered to the Rail Europe website before.
Q. What types of sleeping compartments or accommodations are available on overnight trains?
A. There are Second class, First class, and on some overnight trains, Premier class accommodations.
In Second class, you can relax in a reclining seat, a ‘couchette’ that is a shared compartment with up to 6 beds, or a compartment with 3 to 4 beds.
In First class, you’ll share a more relaxing locking compartment with one or two beds and a wash basin in the compartment.
Lastly, on some trains, you can book a Premier class ticket for a great night of sleep with private, lockable accommodations for one or two, a private shower and toilet, and includes breakfast and on some trans, dinner.
Sleeping accommodations vary by train type and by route. Be sure to read the product details for the overnight train you’re interested in to see what that train offers in each class of service.
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 share my rail pass with others (family, friends, or charity)?
A. No. Rail passes are strictly personal and non-transferable. A rail pass is valid only upon presentation of a passport. Therefore the name(s) printed on the rail pass must match the traveller’s identification.
Q. Can I open the train windows?
A. If you’re traveling on a slower train you may have the option to open a window, depending on the age and configuration of the car. However, most modern rail cars are air-conditioned and you won’t have the option of opening the windows.
For safety reasons, high speed trains don’t offer the option of opening windows.
Q. Do restaurant cars cater to specific dietary needs like vegetarian, diabetic or kosher?
A. Some European trains do offer special menu items. You can check the menu card found on board the train when you get on. Please keep in mind that you are also permitted to bring food on to the train, so if you have a specific dietary condition that requires special food, you can purchase before getting on the train and avoid any disappointment if the train you are on does not cater to your specific needs.
On Eurostar a wide variety of meals can be arranged prior to your departure to Europe. They include vegetarian, kosher, halal, vegan, diabetic, low fat, low salt and gluten-free meals. For vegetarian meals, we require 24-hours notice in advance of travel. For all other meals we require 48-hours advance notice. If you need to arrange a special meal for your Eurostar journey, please contact us via our Contact Us page.
Q. My plans have changed and I won’t be able to use my rail pass. Can I get a refund?
A. You can submit your rail pass for a refund. Please be advised that there is a 15% penalty. Only unused and unvalidated (non-activated) rail passes can be refunded. The pass must be returned to Rail Europe, along with a brief letter mentioning the original reference number of the booking. It’s strongly recommended that you send these documents by some type of traceable mail for proof of delivery.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™ and your rail pass is covered, you’re eligible to receive a credit for its entire value. No fee or penalty will be applied, and you can use this credit towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years. Please read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ and for instructions on how to file a claim.
Please visit our Cancellation and Refunds page for more information.
Q. Can I exchange or refund my rail pass while in Europe?
A. Unused and unvalidated rail passes can be exchanged for an alternate rail pass of equal or greater value. A 7% administration fee, any price difference, and additional shipping fees would apply. Some promotional rail passes are non-exchangeable; please read the terms and conditions for these passes for more details. Exchanges and refunds for rail passes cannot be performed locally at the train station.
Please send us a message through the Contact Us page to begin the exchange process. To exchange a rail pass, we must receive your original unused and unvalidated rail pass no later than 3 days prior to your departure to Europe, issue a new rail pass, and ship it to you.
If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you placed your rail pass order, you are eligible to receive the full value of your original pass as a credit and use it towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years, with no fee or penalty incurred.