Choosing Swiss Travel Card
Switzerland is one of the most expensive country to live. If you are traveling with public transportation you have the options of Travel Pass to purchase to help reducing the transportation cost. The most popular is Swiss Travel Pass which gives you unlimited access on the network of Swiss Travel System. The Swiss Travel Pass is sold for 3, 4, 8 and 15 days and allows a free entrance to over 480 museums and exhibitions.
There is also Swiss Travel Pass Flex which you can freely choose your traveling day for 3, 4, 8 or 15 non-consecutive days within a month.
The other alternative which we chose is Swiss Half Fare Card which allow you to travel throughout Switzerland at half price for one month. The Swiss Half Fare Card entitles the holder to purchase tickets for train, bus, boat, and a few mountain railways at half price.
All of these Travel Pass give you more benefit if you are traveling with children. When you buy any of these Travel Pass you are entitled to get Swiss Family Card which allow children from their 6th up to their 16th birthday travel free of charge if accompanied by at least one paying parent. Buy your travel pass here.
If you are wondering which offer more value between Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare, the answer really depend on where you are going and what activity you are going to do. You will have to do the math to decide which card gives you more saving. You also need to know how much discount each travel pass give for mountain excursion. For example Swiss Travel pass gives 25% discount for Jungfraujoch while Half Fare gives 50% discount. And with Swiss Family Pass, accompanying children under 16 yo are not paying.
Because we plan to to go to Jungfraujoch when we did our calculation, half fare card gives us more saving Vs The travel pass. The disadvantage of chosing the Half fare Pass is we have to purchase our tickets every time. However the self service ticket are available almost in every station so we rarely have to queue.
Traveling from Italy to Swiss by train
When purchasing train ticket to travel from Italy to Switzerland we need to know that we have to break the the journey into 2 legs and purchase the first leg from Italian Train Trenitalia and the second leg from Swiss Train website. Then there are various options on choosing the stop over:
- If you want to reduce the traveling time the best option is to travel via Euro-City Train which will have a stop over in Spiez. You can buy your ticket from either Trenitalia or Swiss Train website 3 months in advance.
- If you need to do Tax refund after all those shopping spree in Italy, you will need to use a slower intercity train and have a stop over in Domodossola station which has a Custom Officer at the Train Station to get your stamp. I wasn’t aware about the Tax refund as I mentioned in my earlier post so I have already booked Euro-City Train which traveled from Milan to Spiez.
Our Euro-city train was full as expected so you do need to book ahead to get seat for Euro-City Train, but it was chaotic as well because we happened to travel with a group of US high school trip to Europe. If you have watched movie Spiderman Far from Home you would understand this.
Train journey from Milan to Spiez only took 2.5 hour with such an amazing view which I enjoyed and only wished that these high school students were not too loud.
We boarded off the train in Spiez and walked to Migros Supermarket across the street for lunch and grocery shopping. Migros had a restaurant and their food price was pretty reasonable for Switzerland standard albeit it was much more expensive Vs Italy. We couldn’t find money exchange in the train station so we just withdrew Swiss Franc from ATM machine for in case we can’t use credit card.
Throughout our train in Switzerland the train platform is always family friendly. They either have elevated platform or elevator. And no stairs when you boarded the train as well. They have the special slide for wheelchair and stroller. From Spiez we continue with train to Grindelwald Grund where our airbnb is located. We had to change train twice in Interlaken OST and Grindelwald to arrive in Grund but the changes was so swift and we always get seat on the train.