Is it worth getting the Swiss pass if not traveling on continuous days?

I've been reading up on Switzerland since will be traveling with a friend in the fall. Rick Steves recommended the Swiss pass so was looking into that. We will be there for about a week so looks like if we got that we would get the 8 day continuous pass ($420).

I need to figure out how much individual train tickets may cost, but our itinerary for trains would probably be Zurich-Bern, Bern-Interlaken, Interlaken-Lucern, Lucern-Zurich. (and it would not be very day) We are also thinking of dropping Bern or Lucern in order to have more time at one of the places, in which case it would be 3 train rides. With that, is it still worth it to get Swiss pass, or better off to get the train tickets separately?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 17, 2018 16:45
    Hi Meg,

    Travelers love the Swiss Travel Pass, because it covers more than just rail travel. In that sense, it is unique from the typical rail pass. While the main objective of a rail pass is to cover train travel, the Swiss Travel Pass is unique in that it also covers boats, city buses, and city transit networks in Switzerland. The Swiss Travel Pass also provides for the best possible discounts on mountain railways (including cable cars and funiculars) and allows for entry to over 490 museums around Switzerland.

    You can check costs for the Swiss Travel Pass here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/swiss-pass-5934.

    In Switzerland, it is generally the case that reservations are not necessary, so there is nothing else you'd need to purchase in addition to the Swiss Travel Pass for the trips you said you'll be doing.

    To determine your overall most economical option, you can compare the cost of the Swiss Travel Pass to that of the cumulative total of regular ticket costs for the trains you plan to take.

    You would check ticket costs and purchase tickets by searching a route under 'BOOK TRAIN TICKETS' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.

    Before you decide to drop one of these cities from your plans, just keep in mind that the rail travel between these cities is very quick, easy, and convenient. But I definitely get you wanting to have more time at each destination.

    Zurich to Bern

    Direct trains from Zurich to Bern depart every half-hour throughout the day and the ride takes just under 1 hour. On trains from Zurich to Bern, reservations are not necessary at all. Therefore, if you'll have the Swiss Travel Pass, then that would be all you'd need to board.

    Bern to Interlaken

    Direct trains from Bern to Interlaken also depart every half-hour throughout the day and the ride takes just under 1 hour. On trains from Bern to Interlaken, reservations are not necessary at all. Therefore, if you'll have the Swiss Travel Pass, then that would be all you'd need to board.

    Interlaken to Lucerne

    Trains from Interlaken to Lucerne run over one segment of the famed GoldenPass scenic line. Trains from Interlaken to Lucerne depart hourly throughout the day and the ride takes just under 2 hours in duration. On these trains, reservations are possible but not necessary. Therefore, if you'll have the Swiss Travel Pass, then that would be all you'd need to board. If you do want reservations for a train from Interlaken to Lucerne, you would purchase them by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says 'I have a rail pass', and then indicating that you'll be traveling with the 'Swiss Travel Pass'.

    Trains from Interlaken to Lucerne have panoramic windows for taking in all the surrounding scenery.

    Lucerne to Zurich

    Trains from Lucerne to Zurich depart every half-hour throughout the day and the ride only takes about 45-50 minutes. Trains from Lucerne to Zurich do not accept reservations. Therefore, if you'll have the Swiss Travel Pass, then that would be all you'd need to board.
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    • This is incredibly helpful. Thanks for your help Jeff!
    • Jeff (Official Rep) November 28, 2018 17:45
      UPDATE:

      In 2019, the Mount Schilthorn and Mount Stanserhorn excursions will no longer be fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. However, the Swiss Travel Pass will enable travelers to receive a 50% discount for these journeys.

      To book the discount on the Mount Schilthorn excursion, look for the ‘Swiss Travel Pass’ option of the pass for Mount Schilthorn here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-schithorn.

      To book the discount on the Mount Stanserhorn excursion, look for the ‘Swiss Travel Pass’ option of the pass for Mount Stanserhorn here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-stanserhorn.

      Both of the routes up Mount Rigi will still be fully covered by a Swiss Travel Pass in 2019.
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