Featured image_interrail pass switzerland

Is The Interrail Pass Switzerland Any Good For Travelers?

Interrail Switzerland Pass Review
Conveniency & Easiness To Use
7.5
Value For Money
10
Perks & Benefits
7
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Pros
The most affordable prices for a rail pass with (nearly) unlimited use of all Swiss trains
The surcharge for a 1st class upgrade is very affordable
Valid on premium panoramic trains
Generous discounts for young adults & seniors
50% discount on boat trips to seven major Swiss lakes
Cons
Local public transportation in cities with buses & trams is not included
Complexe product, requires some planning for international trips
Available seats on popular trains can sell out quickly
8.2
The Interrail one-country pass is the product with the best ROI for train journeys within Switzerland.

If you are a loyal reader of our blog, you probably noticed that educating you regarding the best public transportation ticket for your trip is an important focus. Why? Simply because it is one of the most asked questions people have in our experience.

Today, the focus is on the Interrail Pass Switzerland. Is it any good or maybe even better than the Swiss Travel Pass? I will answer this question as detailed and objectively as possible, but here is also my short answer in case you are a busy bee:)

MY TAKE-IN SUMMARY: IS The Interrail Pass Switzerland a good deal?

If you plan to discover Switzerland by train, the Interrail Pass is my favorite rail pass. It generally comes at considerably cheaper prices and has benefits comparable to other rail passes. Seniors and young adults can even benefit from a discounted youth pass or a discounted senior pass. 

99% of trains in Switzerland are covered (night trains and international high-speed trains require an extra reservation), and the Interrail Switzerland pass is also valid on premium scenic train routes, e.g., Bernina Express or Glacier Express. Again, the only thing you need to think of is making reservations for the desired connection here. On all other trains, you can hop on and off as you wish. 

The downside is that the pass’s validity is strictly limited to the Swiss train network. Depending on the excursions and activities you plan, that’s something to consider, but I analyzed more than 30 sample itineraries, and even after considering this, it was the cheapest option in 25 cases. 

Is The Interrail Pass Valid In Switzerland?

Note

This site contains product affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more about our editorial guidelines here.

Area of validity Interrail Pass
Image source: Interrail (you can also download the validity map here.)

As already briefly touched on, interrail passes are valid on the SBB railway network for intercity trains, regional trains, and local trains, but you will need a separate ticket for buses, boats, mountain railways, etc. 

It is good to know that even though international high-speed trains usually require a mandatory seat reservation, that’s not the case if you use them for domestic routes only. What do I mean by that?

Take the Eurocity 7 train from Hamburg, Germany, to Interlaken, Switzerland. As you can see below, it operates without a seat reservation or surcharge on the Swiss rail network between Basel SBB and Interlaken. 

Interrail route planner between Basel SBB and Interlaken

You can always use their free rail planner app if you are unsure whether you need a mandatory reservation. 

Sorry to interrupt…

Is this article helpful?😎

On average, the research, writing, editing, and fact-checking of one article takes us 10-15 hours. Coffee makes us not only go faster, but we will also do our best to prioritize any article pitch YOU want to read about on our site.

Thank you for your support of our mission of creating the best expert-vetted travel guides while keeping our site banner ads free forever.

Who Can Purchase An Interrail Pass?

Experiencing Switzerland by train is fun, but not so fun is figuring out which train pass you are eligible for: Interrail or Eurail Pass. I know there is a lot of confusion about it, so let’s clear that up once and for all. 

  • The Interrail Pass is for you if you are a citizen or legal resident of a European country. This includes all countries of the European Union as well as Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Isle of Man, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
  • The Eurail Pass is the alternative for people from outside Europe. 

If you have dual citizenship, it all comes down to where you actually live. Always use the passport of the country your home residence is. For example, if you have an Italian and a Canadian Passport but live in Rome, Italy, you would need an interrail pass in this scenario. 

Discounted Interrail Passes

Traveling by train with a standard adult pass is already pretty awesome, but it gets even better. There are even more discounts for certain age groups. 

  • Children under four years of age are traveling utterly free of charge.
  • Children aged 4 to 11 can apply for free with a child pass. The child must be accompanied by at least one person with a valid pass. A maximum of 2 children per adult is allowed. 
  • A Youth pass is for travelers between 11 and 27 years old. Depending on the validity days, it is more than 50% cheaper than a regular pass. 
  • The greatest discounts are for senior passes available for travelers 60+. On an 8-day one-country, you currently pay only 263 Euros instead of 393 Euros. 
train tracks next to a body of water

One Country Pass VS Global Pass: What’s The Difference?

If Switzerland is the only country on your trip and you arrive by plane, a One-country pass is probably the best option for you. As the name indicates, it is valid only in one country of your choice. Since you are on this site, I would assume this is Switzerland;)

On the other hand, an interrail global pass is valid for public transport in 33 European countries, from Greece to Norway. This version, therefore, is very convenient for European trips. 

Like many other European kids, I extensively used an Interrail Global Pass to explore  Europe in my early twenties and then again on multiple business trips (as my goal is to avoid flights across Europe whenever possible. 

I would recommend considering an Interrail Global Pass if you visit multiple European countries on your trip or visit Switzerland with public transportation from Europe. However, the complexity of the product is a disadvantage of the Global Pass, which some travelers struggle with (but more on that later).

When Should You Consider Purchasing An Interrail Pass?

One of the most important questions is when it is time to buy a rail pass rather than buy your tickets individually. When you look at the price of the standard Swiss train tickets, the answer is pretty soon. 

Sure, if you are only in Switzerland for one day (which would be a shame, but how am I to judge you), you probably don’t need it unless you plan to travel extensively or take an extensive trip in the Swiss alps on that one day.

But for a standard 2-3 day itinerary with maybe 2-3 destinations such as Lucerne, Geneva, and Bern, for example, you are almost certainly better off when purchasing a Rail Pass. For longer trips, it is usually even more of a no-brainer.

But decide for yourself. I included the fares for standard tickets in 1st and 2nd class between some famous Swiss rail routes below so you can get an idea and a first calculation. 

Please note that all prices are in Swiss francs for a standard one-way ticket in 2024 without discount cards.

🚆Route
🎫Ticket Price 1st Class
🎫Ticket Price 2nd Class
Zurich – Interlaken West
125 CHF
73 CHF
Zurich – Zermatt
222 CHF
130 CHF
Zurich – Lucerne
46 CHF
27 CHF
Zurich – Basel 
62 CHF
36 CHF
Zurich – St. Moritz
136 CHF
80 CHF

Keep in mind that cheaper ticket options are also available if you pre-book, but they reduce your flexibility and are not always available, or the purchase process is complicated, so you want to carefully weigh your options. 

Pricing Structure Of The Interrail Pass

Interrail one country graphic

The very moderate prices are one of the main reasons why I personally think an Interrail Pass is even better than a Swiss Travel Pass. Let’s take a look at the exact pricing structure of each pass category below. 

Adult One-Country Pass Switzerland 

As you can see in the price overview below, the one-country pass is only available in the flex version. This means you choose the number of validity days based on your pass, but they don’t necessarily need to be consecutive.

 According to the terms and conditions, you must travel within 11 months after the purchase date and use all validity dates within one month after you choose to start your trip. 

Prices Interrail One-country pass adult in EUR

To help you compare it with other Swiss rail passes, I calculated the prices from Euros to Swiss Francs below based on the exchange course in May 2024. You can also use this currency converter to get 100% accurate data, but the big picture should not change. 

Interrail Pass Type
2nd Class
1st Class 
3-days adult pass 
163 CHF
207 CHF
4-days adult pass 
193 CHF
245 CHF
5-days adult pass
220 CHF
279 CHF
6-days adult pass 
244 CHF
310 CHF
8-days adult pass 
288 CHF
366 CHF

Now, let’s compare these prices with the Swiss equivalent, the Swiss Travel Pass. I will use the Swiss Travel Pass Flex prices to match the offer as closely as possible. 

Swiss Travel Pass Flex
2nd Class
1st Class
3-days adult pass
279 CHF
445 CHF
4-days adult pass
339 CHF
539 CHF
6-days adult pass
439 CHF
697 CHF
8-days adult pass
479 CHF
755 CHF

Youth One-Country Pass Switzerland 

Again, you are eligible for a discounted Youth Pass if you are between 12 and 27 years old. The complete pricing structure is as follows: 

Interrail One Country Pass Youth

Interrail Youth Pass Prices in CHF

Interrail Pass
2nd Class
1st Class
3-days youth pass
142 CHF
168 CHF
4-days youth pass
168 CHF
196 CHF
5-days youth pass
190 CHF
224 CHF
6-days youth pass
211 CHF
248 CHF
8-days youth pass
251 CHF
293 CHF

The Swiss Travel Pass also offers special prices for young adults, but you are only eligible until the magic border of your 25th birthday

Swiss Travel Pass
2nd Class
1st Class
3-days youth pass
197 CHF
314 CHF
4-days youth pass
240 CHF
379 CHF
6-days youth pass
287 CHF
454 CHF
8-days youth pass
311 CHF
492 CHF

Senior One-Country Pass Switzerland 

Last but not least, the Interrail senior discount for travelers 60 years or older is another stand-alone feature of the ticket. The difference can be a good 30%, as shown below. 

Here are the 2024 prices recalculated in Swiss francs: 

Interrail Pass
2nd Class
1st Class
3-days senior pass
147 CHF
187 CHF
4-days senior pass
174 CHF
220 CHF
5-days senior pass
198 CHF
252 CHF
6-days senior pass
219 CHF
279 CHF
8-days senior pass
259 CHF
330 CHF

The Swiss Travel Pass doesn’t offer any discounts for seniors, so if you are 60 or older and decide to purchase it, you must go with a regular adult pass. 

Global Interrail Adult Pass 

Prices for a global adult standard pass valid in 33 countries start at around 283 Euros or 280 CHF. There is a slight distinction in validity compared to a one-country pass. Passes with a shorter validity of up to 15 days are flexible, similar to the one-country pass. 

There are also passes with a validity between 15 days and three months for longer trips of up to three months. 

Interrail consecutive global pass

Here are the prices for the 2024 adult global passes in CHF: 

Interrail Pass
2nc Class
1st Class
4-days global adult pass 
279 CHF
354 CHF
5-days global adult pass
314 CHF
399 CHF
7-days global adult pass
376 CHF
478 CHF
10-days global adult pass
441 CHF
561 CHF
15-days global adult pass
546 CHF
693 CHF

Although the prices are higher than with the one-country pass, I can tell from personal experience that it is hard to find better prices for international train travel in Europe. The price range for international tickets is also extensive and can be between 50 Euros and 500 Euros, depending on the travel date, travel class, etc. 

Global Interrail Youth Pass 

Like the other passes, here is the Interrail Global Youth Pass price breakdown. 

Global Interrail Youth Pass Pricing

2024 Prices in CHF:

Interrail Pass
2nd Class
1st class
4-days global youth pass
209 CHF
265 CHF
5-days global youth pass
236 CHF
299 CHF
7-days global youth pass
282 CHF
358 CHF
10-days global youth pass
331 CHF
421 CHF
15-days global youth pass
410 CHF
520 CHF

Global Interrail Senior Pass 

Global Interrail Senior Pass

Global Interrail Senior Pass Prices 2024 in CHF

Interrail Pass
2nd Class
1st Class
3-days global senior pass
250 CHF
317 CHF
4-days global senior pass 
280 CHF
357 CHF
7-days senior global pass 
336 CHF
428 CHF
10-days senior global pass 
394 CHF
501 CHF
15-days senior global pass 
489 CHF
620 CHF

Pros & Cons of the Interrail Pass

Now, I want to list the most essential pros and cons of the Interrail Pass based on my own experience and conversations with hundreds of international visitors over the years. As a native Swiss, I cannot purchase a one-country pass for my home country, Switzerland, but I have used the ticket on international trips, as described earlier. 

Pros

  • The most affordable prices for a rail pass with (nearly) unlimited use of all Swiss trains 
  • The surcharge for 1st class upgrade is very affordable compared to the regular prices
  • Valid on premium panoramic trains (but a surcharge for seat reservations applies)
  • International Train travel is generally very affordable with the pass
  • Generous discounts for young adults & seniors 
  • 50% discount on boat trips to seven major Swiss lakes
  • 25-50% discount on ten selected mountain cable cars and mountain railways
  • Convenient mobile pass or paper pass available 

Cons

  • Local public transportation in cities with buses & trams is not included
  • Available seats on popular international trains and Swiss panoramic trains can sell out quickly, especially in peak-season
  • Complexe product requires some planning for international trips across Europe in the Global Pass version
Pro Tip on the use of local public transportation

Even though an interrail pass does not cover local public transportation in a city, there is often an easy workaround. The free guest cards that you will receive at different destinations when staying at a hotel often also work as tickets, valid for local buses and trains within the city.

What Other Travelers Say About The Interrail Pass

As mentioned, an Interrail is, without a doubt, the cheapest rail pass for traveling in Switzerland. Still, that’s not always the case for some other European countries, especially in Eastern Europe, where the general price level is lower. 

I found an interesting thread on Reddit, raising that question. 

Interrail Pass Reddit question

As another user then points out correctly, it all comes down to the time of booking, the travel date, the countries you plan to visit, etc. Sometimes, national or private railway companies run promotions with particularly low fares, but they are usually unavailable on popular travel dates and during the high season. 

Reddit answer to question

Unfortunately, since the global pass combines 33 European countries, the handling tends to be more complex and requires some planning. If you don’t want that, you can always go with the One-country Pass as an easy and simple alternative. 

Interrail rating

On Trustpilot, they rated it 3.5 out of five stars. Yet again, 99% of neutral or negative feedback is due to the complexity of the product on international trips, and it doesn’t affect the Interrail One-Country pass. 

Although I personally only had positive experiences traveling in Europe with the Interrail Pass, I still wanted to bring this to your attention so you can make your own informed decision; in my opinion, the Interrail Global Pass is a good product, although it requires some planning effort. 

Additional Perks & Benefits Of The Interrail Pass in Switzerland

But now, back in Switzerland, the Interrail Pass covers train travel and offers a few additional perks and discounts for pass holders. 

Aare Seeland mobil

In addition to the discounts on mountain railways, an Interrail Pass also makes you eligible for a 50% discount on boat tickets on these stunning Swiss lakes

  • Lake Constance Shipping Company
  • Bielersee Shipping Company
  • Lake Geneva Navigation Company
  • Lakes of Neuchâtel and Morat Navigation Company
  • Lake Lucerne Navigation Company
  • Lake Constance and Rhine Navigation Company
  • Lake Zurich Navigation Company

How To Purchase An Interrail Pass? 

Purchasing an Interrail Pass is almost as easy as one-two-three and literally took me no more than three minutes. 

1) Select your Pass

Depending on your travel plans, select the suitable travel Pass for you from the Interrail.eu website. I am using a 4-day Interrail Global Pass for my example. Once you added all required passes to your cart, click go to checkout. 

Interrail cart

2) Adjust the order details

After that, review your order and adjust your order details. You can choose your preferred delivery method (e-mail or paper version) here and also change the pass cancellation needs if required. Then click go to traveler details. 

Interrail order review

3) Sign up for an account or log in

If it’s your first time purchasing an Interrail Pass, you must make an account by opening your details, such as Name (as in your passport!), e-mail address, and password. 

Interrail account creation

4) Complete the Payment and receive your travel documents

The last step is simply completing the Payment with a credit card or via PayPal. You should receive a confirmation e-mail immediately after the purchase. 

Alternative Rail Passes In Switzerland

A few alternatives to an Interrail Pass are worth considering if you are not convinced yet. 

Swiss Travel Pass

The most obvious alternative would be the Swiss Travel Pass. It is the most comparable Swiss rail pass with comparable benefits and was invented by the Swiss tourism marketing organization. Although it is convenient, the pricing structure is slightly higher in general. Still, you also get free entrance to 500 museums and additional discounts on dozens of leisure activities and mountain excursions. 

Pros

  • Great for extensive travels
  • Highly convenient
  • Additional benefits like discounted entries for museums, mountain excursions, etc. 
  • Specifically designed for visitors
  • Easy & convenient to use 

Cons

  • Can get pricy for multiple people

Individual Tickets

Individual tickets cover everything from point-to-point tickets to day passes and safer tickets. Depending on how many tickets you estimate to purchase and the travel distance, you can combine them with a Swiss half-fare card or not. 

If you buy saver passes or tickets (limited availability) and combine them, you have the best chances for an unbeatable cheap trip. The downside is that it requires a lot of preparation and planning to pull it off. 

Pros

  • Great flexibility to combine all kinds of tickets
  • The cheapest ticket option available 
  • Easy to purchase online, at the train station, via app or SBB travel center

Cons

  • Requires a lot of preparation, planning & flexibility to take advantage of the best deals

Swiss Half-fare Card

The Swiss half-fare card offers a budget-friendly option, providing a 50% discount on trains, boats, buses, and mountain railways. Tailored for tourists, the monthly half-fare card is priced at just 120 CHF, offering excellent value. Easily buy it as a guest on the Swiss railway website and have it conveniently delivered to your email or phone.

Pros

  • 50% discount on public transport tickets in entire Switzerland
  • Often gives better discounts than the Swiss Travel Pass for mountain excursions 
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Still always require an additional ticket

Conclusion: Interrail Pass Is A Great Rail Pass For Switzerland

In conclusion, the Interrail Pass is a great solution for traveling within Switzerland and is generally considerably cheaper than other rail passes with similar benefits. The one-country pass for Switzerland is especially perfect for exploring Switzerland and is recommended by me. 

For international train trips across Europe as part of your trip to and from Switzerland, the Global Pass can be a great solution. However, it requires some planning and preparation to familiarize yourself with the slightly different requirements in each country. Alternatively, you can always purchase single international tickets on sites like trainline.com. 

Sorry to interrupt, but…

Did you enjoy reading this article?😎

On average, the research, writing, editing, and fact-checking of one article takes us 10-15 hours. Coffee makes us not only go faster, but we will also do our best to prioritize any article pitch YOU want to read about on our site.

Thank you for your support of our mission of creating the best expert-vetted travel guides while keeping our site banner ads free forever.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions.

The Interrail Pass Switzerland, also known as the Interrail one-country pass, is a rail pass that allows travelers to explore Switzerland by train, offering convenient and unlimited travel within a certain period. There are different options available, depending on your needs.

The Interrail Pass Switzerland covers travel within Switzerland only. If you plan to travel to other countries as well, the Interrail Global Pass is valid for train travel in 33 European countries (including Switzerland).

Absolutely! The Interrail Pass Switzerland also covers most premium panoramic routes, such as the Glacier Express or Bernina Express. Please note that you will require an additional reservation to ride on these trains, which is not included in the pass. Booking early is advisable, as trains can sell out in peak season quickly.

The Interrail Pass Switzerland can be easily purchased online through the official website or various ticket brokers such as trainline.com for example.

You can easily check train schedules, routes, and other rail traffic information on the SBB website or through the SBB mobile app.

Similar Posts