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Guide to Home Exchange in Switzerland: Public Transport

by John Mensinger on April 19, 2011

Roughly half of all home exchanges involve a car. In large cities a car may be unnecessary or even an inconvenience. Driving in Switzerland is easy outside of a few city centers. Yet the country has an extensive and fully integrated transport system. If you want to try a home exchange vacation without a car Switzerland is a good choice. Switzerland is famous for its beautiful lakes. Several of them are served by comfortable excursion boats that usually are part of the public transport system.

You can buy a half price card that will give you 50% off all Swiss trains, local and long distance buses, trams, boats, and many ways to get up and down the mountain be it a rack railway, chair lift, or cable car. You can pay more for a Swiss Card that will give you unlimited use of the transportation system (you will have to pay 50 to 75% for most mountain lifts/trains and pay a supplement for certain mountain bus services.) They will throw in free admission to over 400 museums and free travel for your children under 16.

Paying full fare for boats, trains, and museums is expensive so the Swiss Card or half price card can save frequent travelers significant money. Transport is well integrated—train stations have bus and tram stops and may be next to the boat dock. Inter-city trains tend to serve stations on an hourly basis. Hiking guidebooks will tell you how to take the bus or train or cable car to the starting point of your excursion and the ending point.

If you want to focus on a smaller part of Switzerland the system works too. You can buy a day or week ticket good for all trains, buses, trams, boats, etc. in a tariff zone. (Your half price card will save you 50%). The A-Welle Tariff Union is an example; your ticket is good on all public transportation in the Canton of Aargau and certain surrounding areas. I had a relaxing day out using the A-Welle ticket to travel by train from Olten to the historic cities of Aarau and Baden. The tariff zone includes Waldshut in Germany. I couldn’t resist crossing the Rhine and visiting another country.



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