Families with children aged 6 to 16 can save big with the Junior Card and the Children’s Co-Travelcard that allow free travel on almost all trains, buses, trams, boats, and cable cars in Switzerland.
The Junior 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 travelcard 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.
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 cost 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.
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 arrived on public transportation.
Buying the Junior Card for Family Savings on Swiss Railways
The Junior Card can be bought from any manned train station in Switzerland. Some form of identification is necessary but no photos are required. The Junior Card is issued immediately and valid for twelve months.
The name of the child and the two parents are printed on the card. Parents can be interpreted fairly liberally and may be any two adults living at the same address. It is, for example, possible to add the name of a nanny rather than the name of the biological or legal parent of the child.
The parent must be in possession of a valid ticket (and the Junior Card must be shown to ticket inspectors) or expect a double fine.
The Grandchild Card is no longer sold but the Children’s Co-travelcard offers many of the same benefits.
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 can 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 26 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!)
- Omio sells train and bus tickets for Switzerland and most of Europe. It is easy to use and often have very good deals for specific trains.
- Swiss Railways English website for timetables and online tickets
- 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 Pass and Swiss Flexi Pass.
- Buying Swiss Travel Passes from RailEurope.
- Book holidays by train from Great Rail Journeys (UK).