The best offers for guests
When all the travel routes have been worked out, all the plans have been drawn up, all the goals have been set and all the dates have been checked, it is time for the most important step: buying a ticket, where it all starts.
Even after I had travelled around half the world, visited places without Wi-Fi or the Internet, where the feeling of absolute freedom bewildered me, I never found any kind of universal ticket that would let me be (even temporarily) an «insider», as I travelled through a country.
However, Switzerland is an exception. The travel card, which is the most famous and popular among tourists and travellers from all countries, is called the Swiss Travel Pass.
NOT JUST A TICKET
The odds are 100 to 1 that anyone who has ever tried using this convenient and economical ticket (both equally important in high-income Switzerland), will admit that there is no other alternative. All great things are simple. The Swiss Travel Pass allows unlimited possibilities for travel on all types of public transport in the Swiss Travel System for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. This travel system has been officially proclaimed as one of the best in the world. This magic ticket gives its bearer an unlimited number of journeys on buses, trains or ships that follow the country’s water routes. The ticket allows a guest, tourist or a traveller access to the whole system of public transport in 75 Swiss cities, 50% off most mountain trains and cable cars and several panoramic routes. One can spend the whole day travelling around the country, changing from one train to another or from train to ship, daydreaming, looking out of the window at the eternal scenery of the valleys and the Alps, or stopping off at stations just to breathe in the air of an unknown Swiss canton. Or to listen to the rhythmic jingle of bells hung around the necks of cows, which live happy and free in the Alpine pastures. Breakfast in Zurich, a lazy lunch on the shores of Lake Geneva, an exquisite dinner in Lausanne and a gourmet evening meal in Tichino are rewards for the distances you’ve travelled. There are also 470 museums open to those who have a Swiss Travel Passport.
One of the most popular types of travel in Switzerland is travelling on trains with romantic names which go through the country’s most famous mountains and passages. The most popular routes are the Glacier Express to the glaciers of Zermatt, the Bernina Express to fashionable St. Moritz, the Golden Pass Line from the shores of Lake Geneva to the snowy peaks, and the Wilhelm Tell to Italian-speaking Lugano.
And, of course, the Chocolate Express. This route starts in a place that is significant to all fans of authentic Montreux music, and passes Alpine mountains and Ancient Roman viaducts to arrive in Gruyere (and the cheese factory) and then it finishes in the little town of Broc, which has one of the oldest chocolate factories. It is a chocolate-musical-cheese cantata; interesting, beautiful, delicious and very Swiss.
THE RIGHT DECISION
But if you want to travel like the natives, at a leisurely pace, eating local chocolates and drinking local wine and not trying to travel as far as you can in one day, then the Swiss Travel Pass Flex would be a great alternative to the Swiss Travel Pass. These tickets let you choose your own travel days. You can travel for any 3, 4, 8 or 15 days in one month. Passengers should specify the dates on the ticket. The benefits are the same as with the Swiss Travel Pass. But if you have to hit the road quickly you must do it using the Swiss Half Fare Card Combi in order to get a 50% discount before the chosen date.
BUSINESS CLASS AND AN OFFICE IN A CARRIAGE
Of course, Switzerland is a country of business. And sometimes a couple of hours of travel can be the only available time to prepare for an important meeting or to have a rest. For this, businessmen can make use of the first class car services and a real office on wheels that allows them to do their paperwork in peace and quiet, or mull over an upcoming business trip with their colleagues. Their attention may be distracted by taking lunch in the train’s restaurant or by looking at the scenery through the window.
People under 26 can buy a Swiss Travel Youth Pass with a 15% discount on travel. This document gives them the same advantages and dicounts as its elder brother, the Swiss Travel Pass. The Half Fare Card gives a 50% discount on all tickets for other forms of transportation. The Swiss Half Fare Card Combi runs in combination with the Swiss Transfer Ticket or the Swiss Travel Pass Flex and gives a 50% discount on travel in between selected dates.
The Swiss Transfer Ticket allows passengers to get from the Swiss border or Swiss airport to their destination and back again. This ticket is a perfect solution, particularly when you need to get to a ski resort in winter or a lake resort in summer. Each journey should finish by the end of the day, and it should be as direct (without changing trains) as possible. It is important to bear in mind that you cannot buy this ticket in Switzerland. It can be purchased in another country from authorised agents of the Swiss Travel System.
FOR THE FAMILY
The Swiss Travel System Family Card is issued free of charge for parents who want to travel with children under sixteen. They may take several children.
RICH IS HE WHO SAVES MONEY WISELY
The Swiss would not be the Swiss if they had not promoted their ingenious travel card. It is now possible to save money even if for whatever reason you did not buy the Swiss Travel Pass but went on an expensive journey by railway. When buying the Swiss Travel Pass you should show the ticket that you purchased before, and they will return the difference (the discount) in cash.
You can buy the ticket in your own country or upon arrival in Switzerland at the following railway stations: Basel, Brig, Buchs (SG), Ciass, Geneva, Geneva Airport, Koblentz, Konstanz, Schaffhausen, Sankt Margrethen, Tirana, Zurich Airport and Zurich central station.
But this «magic ticket» for carefree travel and visits to museums is only available to people who do not live in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein permanently. You must show your passport when buying a Swiss Travel System product. These strict laws are a centuriesold tradition in Swiss hospitality: guests get nothing but the best.