Swiss Museum of Transport – Lucerne

Our family loves museums. We love them so much that we regularly spend our holidays in big cities, so that we could visit museums. Last year, as we only had one big holiday in Asia, and would spend the other school holidays inside la Suisse, we decided to try the Swiss Museum Pass.

We bought a family Museum Pass through the Swiss Train, directly at the station. As I was a holder of CFF Half-Card, we had a special price of chf 269 (instead of the normal price chf 288).

Now, a year later, our museum pass has expired. I am writing this post to let you know how we had used it and what we felt about it.

First, below is the list of museums that we managed to visit within one year, and the entrance fees that we would have to pay if we didn’t have the museum pass. In some visits I came only with my 2 kids, while in other visits my husband came along. The prices in black were for adults (only one price when I came solo), and green for my kids (according to their age at the time we used the pass)

  1. Espace des Inventions – Lausanne — 7 + 5 + 5 = 17 chf
  2. mudac – Lausanne — 10 + 10 + 0 + 0 = 20 chf
  3. Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz) – Lucerne– 32.5 (family price after 50% reduction)
  4. Zentrum Paul Klee – Bern — 20 + 7 + 0 = 27 chf
  5. Château de Morges & ses Museés – Morges — 10 + 10 + 3 + 0 = 23 chf
  6. Espace Jean Tinguely-Niki de Saint Phalle – Fribourg — 7 + 7 + 0 + 0 = 14 chf
  7. Basel Paper Mill – Basel — 15 + 15 + 9 + 9 = 48 chf
  8. Museum Tinguely – Basel — 18 + 18 + 0 + 0 = 36 chf
  9. Museé de la main – Lausanne — 9 + 9 + 5 + 0 = 23 chf
  10. Alimentarium – Vevey — 28 chf (family price)
  11. Swiss Museum of Games (Musée du jeu) – La Tour-de-Peilz — 9 + 9 + 3 + 0 = 21 chf
  12. The Olympic Museum – Lausanne — 40 chf (family price)
  13. Museum of Design (Museum für Gestaltung) – Zürich — 12 + 12 + 0 + 0 = 24 chf
  14. Mühlerama (Flour Museum) – Zürich — 9 + 9 + 5 + 0 = 23 chf
  15. Musée Sherlock Holmes – Lucens (VD) — 7 + 7 + 5 + 0 = 19 chf
  16. Le Nest – Vevey — 13.5 + 13.5 + 7.5 + 0 = 34.5 chf
  17. Musée du fer et du chemin de fer – Vallorbe — 27 chf (family price)
  18. Maison Cailler – Broc — 12 + 0 + 0 = 12 chf
  19. La maison du Gruyère – Gruyère — 12 chf (family price)
  20. Espace des Inventions – Lausanne — 7 + 5 + 5 = 17 chf

Total visits to museums = 20 (twice to Espace des Inventions)

Total fee that we would have paid without Museums Pass = chf 498

I feel satisfied that we could use the museum pass in one year to visit 20 museums for “free” (within the year we also visited Zoology Museum in Lausanne that is free for public). I do feel that having paid chf 269 for the pass, I was motivated to look up the information and arrange the trips, as a few of the museums we visited were located as far as Lucerne, Basel and Zurich. To be honest, without the pass I doubt we would go that often.

Looking at the entrance fee that we could have paid, it feels good to know that we paid chf 229 less than we should have paid if we didn’t have the museum pass.

If I roughly calculate the price of the pass with the total of (our) 75 heads that entered the museums, I get:

chf 269 ÷ 75 = chf 3.59 — the average cost was chf 3.59 / our family member / museum.

Again, this is a rough calculation — not entire correct as in many museums children go for free, but it gives the idea of how cheap it actually was to go with the museum pass.

Museum Tinguely – Basel

Now let’s talk the extra cost that comes with the museum visits. The extra cost for us was the transport, especially for those day trips to Lucerne, Basel and Zurich. We always use public transports, and for those long trips we used either the transport day passes from the commune or the seasonal ones offered by Coop. My rough calculation for our transport cost was approx. chf 350 for all the museum-only trips. I didn’t calculate transport cost for museum visits that were combined with everyday errands, and I have to note that husband had a Mobilis card for all zones in Vaud, I had a CFF Half-Card, daughter had Junior Card, and son went free as he was under 6.

Mühlerama – Flour Museum in Zurich

Other “extra” cost for the long trips was food. But as we were always on budget, we always did it the cheap way. Most of the time we buy bread, salad, and sandwiches from Coop or Migros then ate in a park or on the train (which was also our way to make the long day trips more efficient). Sometimes we went to the restaurants of Coop/Migros/Manor, as they were always cheaper than normal restaurants and have children’s menus for less than chf 7.

Again, roughly calculated, I believe we paid around chf 600 extra for transport and food in addition to the Museum Pass. Which comes to a total of chf 869 for 20 museum trips.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely. For us, at least.

It was good for us the parents to explore history/culture/arts/science/technology, most times in a setting that works for adults and children. I really have to praise the many Swiss museums we had visited for accommodating different age groups brilliantly. (There are more museums that we visited in the years before that were fantastic, see this thread for all museum post).

It was the most direct way to show them the wonders of things that they had only learned from the books. And it fascinated them — be it the size of a mammoth fossil, how a steam train works or how someone becomes fearful.

Musée de la Main CHUV-UNIL – Lausanne

As already mentioned above, having paid for the museum pass was a good driven force to really go to museums. We enjoyed the museum, and more. The trips with the Swiss family-friendly trains were always pleasant, the cheap lunch picnics in the park were fun, children played a lot even inside the museums, and of course we learned so much.

Espace des Inventions – Lausanne

So yes, if you like museums, the pass really worth its price. If you live in big cities it’s even better as you’ll have many museums at your doorstep. Even for us who live in a small town it worked, we just needed more organization.

But remember that the museum pass is not the only way to enjoy the museums for cheap. Many museums in Lausanne and other big cities are completely free. In Lausanne a few paid ones have free entry every first Saturday of the month. You just have to check their website or the Allonz-y booklet!