Summer Trial GA Travelcard: One Month of Using Trains, Buses, and Boats in Switzerland for €364 (1st Class for €461)

SBB Bahn Schweiz

In Switzerland there is again a nice offer for everyone who wants to explore the country by public transport during the summer months. With the trial subscription (Schnupper-GA) you can enjoy free travel for a month with the SBB and many other transport companies for CHF 355 (~€360). Incidentally, the trial GA travelcard is also available in 1st class for CHF 450 (~€457). People under 24 get a 20% discount on the fares, getting the second class GA Travelcard for as little as CHF 260 (~€264).

The offer has certain similarities to Interrail, but is much more attractive for Switzerland. In addition to numerous railways, you can also travel free of charge by ship, post bus and even some mountain railways. This is otherwise only available with passes such as the Swiss Travel Pass – which are significantly more expensive.

Summer GA Screenshot

A prerequisite for booking is a place of residence in Switzerland or one of the neighboring countries of Switzerland. You are only eligible if you hold residency in one of the following countries:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland

Buying the Trial GA Travelcard

The easiest way to purchase the pass is online on SBB’s website. There you can also complete the necessary SwissPass and complete the required ID check by uploading a photo ID.

If you are already in Switzerland, you can also buy it at the station: You’ll pay the price of CHF 355 (~€360) (2nd class) or CHF 450 (~€457) (1st class) at the counter. Generally, euros (with a worse exchange rate) and, of course, credit cards are also accepted. Photo ID must be presented upon purchase, e.g. your identity card. You will immediately receive the trial GA in paper form.

A third option is ordering it by telephone under +41 848 44 66 88, adding additional costs of 0.08 CHF per minute for the duration of the call.


The card can be purchased at a railway ticket office until July 30, 2024. The first day of validity can be freely selected in the period up to July 30. From this point on, the ticket is then valid for one month.

The following are the most important offer conditions:

  • Sales period: Until July 31, 2024
  • Travel period: 1 month from the start of validity (i.e. max. until August 31, 2024)
  • Available to residents of:
    • Germany
    • Austria
    • Switzerland
    • France
    • Italy
    • Liechtenstein
  • To use the Trial GA, you need to hold a SwissPass (basically an ID for train travel in Switzerland). It is free of charge and can be ordered in combination with the Trial GA.
  • The trial GA is non-transferrable and is only valid for the registered person

If you buy a year-round GA directly after the trial GA, you will receive a discount of CHF 130 (~€132) (2nd class) or CHF 225 (~€228) (1st class). For tourists from neighboring countries, however, this should not be attractive, because the 12-month GA travel card still costs a whopping CHF 3,995 (~€4,055).

Free Travel by Bus, Train & Boat – As Well As Select Mountain Railways

The trial GA is valid on all GA-Bereichsstrecken. These are the routes on which a regular GA travelcard entitles you to travel for free.

The list is too extensive for us to be able to list all the transport companies involved here. However, the SBB map offers a good starting point. The solid lines in red (train), yellow (bus), black (cable car) and blue (ships) are important there. On the dashed lines (many mountain and cable cars) there is only a 50% discount, even with a GA!

The most important means of transport are, of course, the SBB trains. Together with the post buses (buses in rural areas) you can reach almost every corner of Switzerland. In addition, the free use of the following providers, among others, is worth mentioning:

  • Private railways:
    • BLS
    • Rhätische Bahn
    • Zentralbahn
    • and many more
  • Shipping:
    • Genfersee
    • Thuner- und Brienzersee
    • Vierwaldstädtersee
    • Zürichsee
    • Bodensee
    • and many more
  • Cable cars:
    • Weggis – Rigi
    • Stans – Stanserhorn
    • Meiringen – Hasliberg
    • and others
  • Mountain railways:
    • Rochers-de-Naye
    • Rigi-Bahnen
    • BVB Bex – Col de Bretaye
    • WAB Lauterbrunnen – Wengen
    • and many more

Below are a few impressions of the routes that you can take for free with the trial GA:

Bernina Express and Glacier Express for a Surcharge

The rides in the observation cars of the famous Glacier Express and Bernina Express are particularly popular. In order to be able to use these, you need a paid reservation in addition to the trial GA. This costs a whopping CHF 49 (~€50) with the Glacier Express and CHF 26 (~€26) with the Bernina Express.

Glacier Express
Ride on the Glacier Express

You can get the reservation via the website of the Glacier Express or the Rhaetian Railway. Simply enter your desired route in the search mask. After selecting the route and passenger details, you then select that you have a GA travelcard:

GA Discount Bernina
The mere reservation costs you CHF 36 (~€37) with the Bernina Express.

Now the price is reduced to the pure reservation costs. You can then print out the reservation yourself. You can find the timetable for the Glacier Express here. For the Bernina Express, you’ll find it at the Rhaetian Railway.


If you don’t want to pay these surcharges, you can take the regional trains. These run on the same routes as the famous panoramic trains, but can be used without a reservation (and therefore without a surcharge). With the Bernina Express, you can also ride in the locomotive free of charge. You just have to do without the panoramic window.

The regional trains as an alternative have various advantages and disadvantages. The regional train does not have huge panoramic windows, and you have to change trains at least once. But the windows can be partially opened, the trains are not that crowded, and you can interrupt the journey along the route at will.

Alternative: SBB Saver Day Pass Starting at €54

The trial GA is particularly worthwhile if you are spending a week or longer in Switzerland and want to use public transport almost every day. Flexibility is crucial here: You buy the ticket and can use public transport as you wish from now on.

For shorter stays, it may also be worth taking a look at the SBB saver day pass. If you book the trip well in advance (usually about 1 month), such a day ticket costs only CHF 52 (~€53). These saver day tickets are then valid like the trial GA on all GA routes in the area. With the half-fare card, the saver day pass even starts at CHF 29 (~€29).

Cover Picture: CC0-Lizenz, Pixabay-User Andi_Graf

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