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Swiss Card versus Half Fare Card

by George
(Wisconsin, USA)

I don't really understand the difference between the two options. The Swiss Card seems awfully expensive compared to the Half Fare Card.

I will arrive at Zurich Airport (and fly back home from there) and then travel to Villars-sur-Glâne the same day. I will spend most of my vacation in that area. What are my advantages if I purchase a Swiss Pass?


Hi George,

I am glad you ask this question. It can be a bit confusing to find out the best option.

Swiss Card:
The first and last trip of your journey from the Airport to your destination and back are included in the price (first or second class, depending on how you choose to travel). For all other train/bus/boat tickets you buy during your vacation, you receive a discount of 50%.

Half Fare Card:
With this card you receive a discount of 50% on each ticket you buy (valid one month).

To figure out what is right for you, following an example:

The prices for the Swiss Card (as of today) are:

- CHF 186.00 for Second Class
- CHF 261.00 for First Class

Normal round-trip Ticket
Normal ticket from Zürich Airport to Villars-sur-Glâne (as of today):

- CHF 122.00 for Second Class
- CHF 202.00 for First Class

So, a Swiss Card would cost CHF 64.00 (second class) more than a normal round-trip ticket and would only be worth buying if you consider more train trips during your vacation.


If you consider more train/bus/boat trips during your vacation, buying a Half Fare Card rather then a Swiss Card would be a slightly better option:

- CHF 61.00 half price round-trip ticket Second Class (Airport-Villars)
- CHF 110.00 Half Fare Card
Total CHF 171.00 (instead of CHF 186.00 for the Swiss Card).

Transfer Tickets
This would be an option if you only need a ticket between the Airport and your destination, although only a ticket in first class would be slightly less expensive than a normal round-trip ticket (can only be purchased before you leave home):

- CHF 130.00 Second Class
- CHF 197.00 First Class (normal fare CHF 202.00)

I hope that helps, and I wish you a wonderful vacation!

See also: Swiss Passes

Comments for Swiss Card versus Half Fare Card

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Thank you!
by: George

Thank you Fida for the clarification. You made it easy to decide which option is best for me. Although my friends have a car, we will take a few train and bus rides. I did check out the Swiss Passes but the Half Fare Card really seems to be the best option.

Just one more question: Do I have to purchase to card in advance?

Half Fare Card
by: Fida

Good to hear that I could be of help.

You can buy the Half Fare Card directly at the Rail Travel Center SBB at the airport, level G01 - it's very well marked - you can't miss it.

If you want to check the rail connections, see the SBB Timetable.

Safe travels,

To buy the Swiss Pass or not
by: Charissa


My bf and I will be headed to Zurich this June. We want this to be a relaxing 10 day trip and dont want, as best as possible, to have to cramp all the different scenic spots during that time.

I'm looking at the 6 day flexi Swiss Pass 2nd class option which sounds like a good idea but my friend who just got back from Europe says its cheaper to get individual tickets.

Please advise.


Swiss Pass or Half Fare Card
by: Fida

Hi Clarissa,

It really depends on how long your trips by train, boat and/or bus will be and how many mountain tops you will visit since most of the mountain transportation is not included in any pass. You do receive up to 50% discount with them though.

So, if you take predominately short train or boat trips and include a few mountain tops, then a Half Fare Card could be the better choice.

Swiss Passes offer also free admission to museums and all city transportation on the day of travel, while a Half Fare Card does not.

This example will help you figure out the best option for you!

Enjoy your Swiss Holiday!

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