With an excellent rail network and public transportation, Switzerland is a country which is easy to visit. The Swiss Half Fare Card offers a 50% discount for one month of travel.
Exclusive limited-time Spring offer: use promo code 1SPRING19 to get AU$80 off bookings of AU$1040 or more, or 2SPRING19 to get AU$120 off bookings of AU$1400 or more. Offer ends 23 April 2019.
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
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, buses and boats.
- 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. Will a National Rail Strike affect my train travel?
A. A national strike impacting rail services could affect train travel for locals and visitors alike. Typically, during a rail strike there will be a reduced number of trains operating which could lead to more passengers on board trains that are running, changes in schedules, or even alternate modes of transportation (such as buses) to transport passengers to their destinations.
In the event of a strike, Rail Europe will provide as much information as possible to assist those who may be impacted. If a strike has been announced, you can always submit inquiries to Rail Europe through the Contact Us page or, if you’re already in Europe during a strike, go directly to a railway station and ask the local railway official for assistance.
Q. Do the prices quoted on the website include all fees and taxes?
A. Fares quoted in our booking engine do not include fees. Depending on the booking delivery method you choose some fees may apply, like a delivery fee, and a processing fee. All fees will be visible to you during checkout. Rail Europe does not collect sale tax on products sold on our sites.
Q. Do trains offer facilities for handicapped passengers?
A. The ability to exchange or refund a train ticket while you’re in Europe depends on whether you have a paper or e-ticket, as well as the specific conditions for the fare you booked.
If you have an e-ticket that you bought on our website, you can perform the refund online, according to the conditions of your train ticket. Please visit our Cancellation and Refund page to begin.
If you purchased a paper ticket, you must perform the exchange locally at the train station. Go to the ticket window and a railway representative will be able to assist you with the exchange procedure.
Please keep in mind that exchanges on train tickets are only permitted for the same city pair or route originally booked.
If your ticket is non-exchangeable, a new train ticket must be purchased.
To obtain a refund for a paper ticket/reservation, a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used” 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.
You must mail us the original unused ticket for the refund to be processed. When you’ve returned from Europe, mail us back your train ticket. Please visit the Contact Us page on this site for further details.
If you didn’t purchase your train ticket online or are unable to initiate the refund online, please contact us using our Contact Us page for assistance. In most cases, for a refund to transpire, the associated reservation must be released before the train departure.
Q. Can I use my rail pass on any train within its area of coverage?
A. In general, yes, but there are some exceptions and a few rules to keep in mind.
First, be mindful that some trains (such as high speed, scenic, and night trains) require rail pass holders to purchase reservations at an additional cost.
For international train journeys, be sure that your rail pass covers the country of departure, country of arrival, and any countries through which your train will travel.
Lastly, some private rail lines in certain countries don’t offer reservations for rail pass holders and don’t accept rail passes. In these cases, you can purchase a train ticket locally for the desired journey.
Q. How can I exchange my Trenitalia ticket?
A. Exchanges can be made in accordance with the conditions of your ticket. If permitted, exchanges can only be processed in Italy at a self-service kiosk at the train station. Simply select the "Print & Change" option and then enter the e-ticket confirmation code (PNR) and the Booking Change Code. Both of these codes can be found on your Print at Home ticket. Changes can also be made at a ticket window at the station.
Q. What ways can a train ticket be issued? Paper? e tickets?
A. There are potentially three ways to receive European train tickets.
Paper tickets: the rail pass or train ticket is physically printed at the Rail Europe fulfillment center and shipped to you.
Print at home e-ticket: the train ticket may be issued as a PDF which may either be emailed to you directly, or retrieved via a web link that is communicated to you at the time of purchase, depending on the rail carrier. You must print the PDF from a computer printer on any regular paper prior to boarding the train. Some e-tickets are delivered with a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide this e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train.
Print at station e-ticket: you will receive an e-ticket confirmation code (also known as PNR or Passenger Name Record) on your confirmation email, as well as a link to detailed instructions for retrieving your ticket. Use this e-ticket code at a self-service kiosk located at the train station in Europe to print out your actual ticket, prior to boarding the train.
Print at home e-ticket and print at station e-ticket are “electronic” delivery methods requiring no physical shipment to you. This means we can issue you an e-ticket whether you’re still at home or already in Europe.
Please note that all three methods are not always offered for a given train ticket. In fact, many tickets only support one of these issuance methods.
Q. How do I contact you while I’m in Europe?
A. If you need to contact us while you’re in Europe, you can send us a message by visiting our Contact Us Page.
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. Can I get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?
A. No. Partially used rail passes cannot be refunded. Only unused rail passes that have not been activated are eligible for a refund within the allowed time frame.
Q. Can I sit in Second class if I have a First class rail pass?
A. Yes you can, provided there is an available seat. If you are traveling on a train that requires reservations, you can reserve your seat in Second class with a First class rail pass (subject to availability). Please note that there will be no refund given for the difference in fare.