In this section I'll be discussing common questions I see about transportation in Switzerland, and provide some possible options you can use for getting around.
What I get asked the most often about traveling is if it's important to rent a car. No!
Not once in the time I was there did I feel the need to have a car or miss having a car. I can think of some scenarios where having a car might be more convenient (long distance traveling, specific areas that a car has easier access to, more luggage, etc.), but you can get trains, buses, and boats almost anywhere.
My number one tip for traveling by public transit is to get the SBB Mobile App
This will let you buy tickets to show right on your phone
Give extremely accurate and up to date info on trains and buses
Provide easy to follow route options when choosing destinations
Do not take trains and buses as your main method of transportation without getting some kind of pass.
If you plan on doing a decent amount of traveling by train while in Switzerland, more so than going between two cities once or twice, I highly recommend getting some kind of pass to save money.
Swiss Travel Pass (Standard or Flex)
Half Fare Card (combining with SuperSaver Ticket)
Berner Oberland Regional Pass
There are other more specific options besides these which you can find on the SBB website, but in my experience these are probably the best options for travel just within Switzerland. Be on the lookout for random special offers on the SBB website though!
However, it sounds like it'd be a really good deal if you are in this specific area (this is also probably the area with the most stuff to see)
There are probably other regional passes if this one doesn't cover the locations you'll be visiting
When traveling in Switzerland I believe it's best to be flexible with your day trip options
The weather in Switzerland can be a bit unpredictable
Weather can greatly affect your enjoyment of outside activities and views
Switzerland is small and easy to travel around making long day trips easy
Therefore if it's raining where you want to go one day have a backup destination in mind to go to instead, and wait until the weather has improved!
Buses and Trains are generally self check areas
This means it's expected that you buy a ticket before getting on, and there's no one to show a ticket to when boarding
Occasionally people will come around to check tickets, but it's possible you won't be checked on a given ride
Traveling by transit in cities you will almost never be checked, often people just have the ticket pulled up on a phone ready to buy it if they see a ticket checker get on the bus, and even on longer train rides between cities sometimes you won't be checked
If you don't have a ticket when checked you won't be able to buy one, and you will have to pay a large fine
Trains are rarely ever late, the time listed for a train is when it's leaving so be punctual.
If you don't have a first class ticket make sure that you're seated in second class (look for the number two)