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Our plan for getting around Switzerland is by its excellent (and expensive) public transport system. There are lots of very useful information on Swiss Travel System about the different rail passes and it seems that the 4-day Swiss Pass (272 CHF) fits our needs perfectly. Traveling in pair qualifies us for Swiss Saver Pass (15% off; 231 CHF).
I did a comparison between getting the Swiss Saver Pass and point-to-point tickets that we intend to take:-
That was almost 71 CHF or 25% savings and I hadn’t taken into consideration local transport.
Furthermore, the Swiss Saver Pass came with the following advantages:-
– Unlimited travel by rail, road and waterway
– Free travel on panorama routes
– Free travel on public transport in 75 towns and cities
– Free admission to more than 470 museums
– 50% discount off most mountain railways
– Children under age 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by at least one parent holding a Swiss Family Card
– Many bonus benefits
After being convinced that the Swiss Saver Pass was a good deal, I almost booked a pair of the passes through the above website. I got redirected to Rail Europe’s website and after selecting the required products, the final price given was 690 SGD for two of us (345 SGD each) which was substantially more than the quoted price of 231 CHF (~318 SGD).
I did more research and realized that unlike Eurail passes which need to be pre-purchased outside Europe, Swiss rail passes (except for Swiss Transfer Ticket) can be bought in Switzerland. We would buy ours on arrival at Zurich Airport.
Buying the ticket
We followed the signs to the Zurich Airport train station from the arrivals area.
The ticket office was located at Level -1 of the Airport Center.
The lady behind the counter probably had sold a million Swiss Passes and didn’t faze with my request for two 4-day Swiss Saver Passes. She simply asked for our passports and if we wanted First Class. Second class would do, thank you very much. She keyed in our passport details, checked with us if we wished to activate it the same day and handed us the tickets after we paid.
A map of Switzerland (which shows us the validity of the pass) and a pass holder were given as well.
The total transaction took us probably no more than five minutes and I saved almost 30 SGD per person as compared to buying the passes online from Rail Europe. Buying over the counter is definitely the best and cheapest way to get Swiss travel passes.