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 31 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. Are European trains "child friendly"?
A. Many European trains have baby changing facilities and/or family friendly play areas.
Intercités trains in France, some InterCity Swiss trains, InterCity Finnish trains and ICE trains in Germany offer play areas or dedicated compartments for families with children. The Austrian RailJet is even equipped with a movie theater especially for children.
Please note: If traveling on Eurostar, you should not travel in Premier class with children. This area is dedicated to and caters primarily to business travellers.
Q. How do I create a Rail Europe account?
A. You can simply click the ’Login’ button found on the top right-hand side of our homepage and select ’create an account’ to register on our site. If you are booking with us, you will also be presented with the option to register during checkout.
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. What happens if my train crosses an international border during the night?
A. If you travel in a sleeper compartment, you provide the train attendant with your reservation voucher, rail pass or train ticket, and passport as you board. They can then take care of everything with conductors and customs officials so you can sleep uninterrupted.
If you travel in a regular train that just happens to cross the border at night, customs and border control officers may come directly to you and ask for your passport.
Please note that there will be no passport control (day or night) when traveling between countries that signed the Schengen Agreement. Not all countries belonging to the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Britain). On the flip side, some countries that are not part of the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Switzerland).
Q. What do I do if no one comes to check my train ticket or rail pass?
A. It’s best to keep your travel documents (train ticket, rail pass, and/or reservation) out and ready to be checked by a conductor. If for any reason a conductor does not come by to check your train ticket or rail pass during your entire journey, no worries. Simply get off the train at your destination station and continue with your travel plans.
Please keep in mind that you will need a valid rail pass or train ticket to travel on board trains in Europe. If your pass or ticket were not looked at, it is an unusual occurrence.
Q. What should I do if I am downgraded due to equipment issues, or affected by a traffic disruption or a strike?
A. If your travel is affected by circumstances beyond your control, such as a strike or mechanical problems, the railroad will often put in place measures to compensate travellers.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a mechanical issue and alternate transportation has not been offered or you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used Due to Mechanical Issue” before the original train departure time.
Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
Please send the ticket to our Customer Relations department within 30-days from the train departure date so that they can process any applicable refund.
Q. My print at station e-ticket was lost or stolen after I printed it. Can I print it again?
A. Unfortunately, print at station e-tickets may only be printed once from the kiosk. In the event of a lost ticket, go to a ticket counter and ask if they can reprint it. If they are unable to, a new train ticket will have to be purchased.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™, you may be eligible for compensation.
Q. What is the 7:00 pm rule?
A. Overnight train journeys departing after 7:00pm and arriving after 4:00am without any change of train will count as one travel day. The date of arrival should be recorded on your rail pass.
Overnight train journeys departing after 7:00pm that arrive or involve a connection between midnight - 4am count as two travel days on your rail pass.
Q. Is dinner and/or breakfast included with my reservation on an overnight train?
A. When you travel on an overnight train meal inclusions vary depending on the train you are on, as well as what type of train ticket you have purchased. With the purchase of a Premier class ticket, you will generally get a meal on board the train. This meal is typically breakfast in the morning. Some trains will bring the meal to you in your compartment, while other trains will serve you breakfast in the restaurant car on board the train.
If you are not traveling in a First Class sleeping compartment, don’t worry, you won’t starve on board! Overnight trains all include a restaurant car, bar car or vending machine services containing hot/cold drinks and snacks. Most restaurant/bar cars are open until at least 1:00am. Additionally, you can purchase food before hopping on board the train and eat as you wish. Though not included with the price of your ticket, you can certainly find something to eat during the ride.
Q. How far in advance can I purchase a train ticket?
A. Train tickets can be purchased in a booking horizon of 30 to 180 days in advance of a journey. This booking horizon depends on the route and each rail carrier’s policy.
In order to take advantage of the best prices and availability, always book as far in advance as possible. It’s particularly important to book early during peak travel seasons to ensure you can travel on the date you wish.
Please note – when planning a journey you can always enter a date within 30 days of today to view general travel times and ticket fares.
Booking horizon by country (in advance of the date of travel):*
Austria - 90 days
Balkans - 60 days
Benelux (International) - 90 days
Croatia/Slovenia (International) - 90 days
Czech Republic (International) - 60 days
Denmark - 60 days
Finland - 60 days
France - 90 days
Germany - 180 days
Great Britain - 75 days
Hungary (International) - 90 days
Italy - 120 days
Montenegro/Serbia - 90 days
Norway - 90 days
Spain - 60 days
Sweden - 180 days
Switzerland - 90 days
Poland (Domestic) - 30 days
Poland (International) - 60 days
Romania (Domestic) - 30 days
Romania (International) - 90 days
Russia - 45 days
Booking horizons for the major train lines or carriers (in advance of the date of travel):*
Allegro - 60 days
ATOC Britain - 90 days
Berlin-Warsaw Express - 60 days
DB - 180 days
Eurostar - 180 days
France-Freiburg (Breisgau)TGV - 90 days
France-Germany High Speed - 90 days
France-Italy TGV - 90 days
France - Russia - 60 days
France-Spain High Speed - 119 days
Germany-Italy Day - 120 days
Hungarian Trains - 90 days
ICE - 180 days
Lusitania - 60 days
Lyria - 90 days
NTV Italo - 120 days
RENFE - 60 days
Romanian Night Trains - 90 days
Thalys - 90 days
Thello Night - 120 days
Tolstoy - 60 days
Trenitalia (Domestic) - 120 days
Trenitalia (International) - 120 days
*Subject to change.