Families with children aged 6 to 16 save big with the Swiss Junior Card or the Children’s Co-Travelcard that allows free travel on almost all trains, buses, trams, boats, and cable cars in Switzerland.
The Junior Travel Card (Junior-Karte / Carte Junior) is a fantastic savings offer for children traveling with parents on trains, buses, trams, boats, and cable cars in Switzerland. It cost only CHF30 per year! The Children’s Co-travelcard is a similar travel deal allowing a child to travel for free with any registered adult. The Grandchild travel card is no longer sold. The Junior Card is mostly associated with Swiss Railways (CFF / SBB) but is valid on almost all forms of public transportation in Switzerland including most municipal buses and trams with savings particularly big on cable cars and mountain railways.
The Junior Card and Children’s Co-travelcard are valid wherever the Half-Fare card is accepted – PDF map. Both cards are available to non-residents as well but note that the Junior Card is included for free on most international Swiss travel cards available to non-resident visitors only. The Junior Card is then referred to as the Swiss Family Card.
Save with the Junior and Children’s Co Travel Cards on Swiss Transportation Costs
The Junior Card is one of the best bargains and biggest savings deals for families traveling in Switzerland. It allows children aged 6 to 16 unlimited travel on most forms of public transportation in Switzerland, as long as they travel with a parent (with a valid ticket) named on the Junior Card.
The Children’s Co-travelcard (Kinder-Mitfahrtkarte / Carte Enfant Accompagné) is similar in scope but available for a child traveling with any registered adult. Each child-adult combination requires a separate card but there is no limit on the number of combinations. This card replaced the previous Grandchild Card that is no longer sold.
The Junior Card costs CHF30 and is valid for a year. Large families receive the third and further Junior Cards for free when buying the cards at the same time. Each Children’s Co-travelcard is also CHF30 per year.
The Junior Card is a fantastic bargain that pays for itself very quickly – a return ticket for a child from Geneva Airport to Montreux is for example CHF36. The Junior Card is also valid on all buses and trams in Geneva and Lausanne and on lake boats cruising on Lac Léman.
Note: at some cable cars, free travel is only granted if the travelers arrive on public transportation.
Buying the Junior Card for Family Savings on Swiss Railways
In contrast to previous practice, the Junior Travel Card is no longer a paper card but is added to the child’s Swiss Pass — a plastic credit card size card. The Swiss Pass itself is free but requires a visit with passports, proof of family relationship, and a recent photo to a Swiss railway station. The actual card is then mailed and only available ten days later in Switzerland (probably longer to foreign addresses). For children, it is not possible to obtain the Swiss Pass online, or in advance of travel to Switzerland.
→ See How to Get and Use the Swiss Pass Card for more details.
A temporary travel pass is usually available that may be used for up to two weeks. For foreign tourists, a 30-day paper Junior Travelcard is sold at the same CHF30 cost (still a bargain), or a free Swiss Family Card may be issued in addition to most other international travel offers such as the Swiss Travel Pass.
From 2022, the Junior Travelcard and Children’s Co-Travel cards are added to the child’s Swiss Pass — no separate pass is issued to the parents (or added to the adult Swiss Pass). If the registered adult has a Swiss Pass (plastic card of mobile app), the child’s pass may also be controlled by inspectors via the adult card.
The adult must be in possession of a valid ticket (and the Junior Card must be shown to ticket inspectors) or expect a double fine.
Family-Travel on Swiss Public Transportation
Children aged 6 to 16 traveling without a Junior Card generally pay half the adult fare – select the ½ button on vending machines. Bearers of Swiss Half-Fare Cards may buy cheap day tickets when traveling with children without Junior Tickets but in many cases buying a Children’s Co-travelcard will be cheaper.
Some double-decker Inter-City trains have special play areas for children on the second level of the first or last carriage of the train. (The lower level on these carriages provides probably the worst seats on any train in Switzerland.)
Youths between 16 and 25 may buy the Seven25 ticket that offers unlimited travel between 7 pm and 5 am.
More Tips for Saving on Swiss Transportation:
- Swiss Transportation Savings Deals (include information on dogs and bicycles too!)
- Trainline sells train and bus tickets for Switzerland and most of Europe. It is easy to use and often has very good deals for specific trains.
- How to Get and Use the Swiss Pass Card
- Swiss Railways English website for timetables and online tickets — note half-fare tickets are the default choice.
- Switzerland Transportation Map (PDF File showing where the discount deals are valid)
- Save with the Swiss Half-Fare Card on Public Transportation
- International Savings Passes on Swiss Transportation (including information on the Swiss Family Card and international Half-Fare Card)
- Families Save with the Cheap Junior Card on Swiss Public Transportation
- Using the Swiss Travel Pass and Flexi Swiss Travel Pass.
- Buying Swiss Travel Passes from Get Your Guide.
- Book holidays by train from Great Rail Journeys (UK).