Travel by train in Switzerland
Visit Switzerland's most famous cities Bern, Basel, Geneva and Zurich by regional, high-speed or night train and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the train window along the way.
Find out more: What is Eurail?
Train types in Switzerland
There are a number of train types in Switzerland ready to transport you across the country, and to and from other European countries by day and night. Switzerland's national railway company is the SBB (Schweizerische BundesBahn). Use the Eurail train timetable or SBB timetable to check times for trains in Switzerland.
Regional trains in Switzerland
The main rail network in Switzerland is made up of the following regional and intercity trains:
- RegioExpress trains link regional destinations with larger Swiss cities.
- Regio trains connect local towns.
- InterCity trains link major Swiss cities like Basel and Geneva.
- InterRegio trains connect Zurich and Geneva with cities across the whole of Switzerland. These trains make more stops than InterCity trains.
There's an international regional train connection between Chiasso and Milan (Italy). This connection is a great option if you want to avoid reservation fees.
On the Eurail timetable RegioExpress trains are listed as "RE", and Regio trains as "R". InterCity trains are listed as "IC", and InterRegio trains as "IR". Regional and Intercity trains do not require seat reservations. Reservations are however recommended for Intercity trains during high season (May-September) and public holidays.
High-speed trains in Switzerland
International high-speed trains in Switzerland
These high-speed trains operate to and from Switzerland:
- ICE connects Switzerland to Germany and the Netherlands.
- RailJet connects Zurich with Vienna (Austria).
- EuroCity connects Zurich, Basel and Geneva to Milan (Italy).
- TGV connects Zurich, Basel and Geneva to Paris (France).
Domestic high-speed trains in Switzerland
Swiss domestic high-speed trains are called InterCity Neigezug (ICN). ICN trains transport passengers quickly and in comfort from one side of the country to the other.
On the Eurail timetable ICE trains are shown as 'ICE', Railjet as "RJ", Eurocity as "EC" and TGV as 'TGV'. Reservations are compulsory for EuroCity and TGV. For ICE, RailJet and domestic ICN trains, reservations are optional but we recommend making reservations during weekends and busy periods.
Night trains in and between Switzerland
International night trains
The following night trains connect Switzerland with Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Serbia and Denmark.
- City Night Line:
Zurich – Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Zurich – Berlin (Germany)
Zurich – Hamburg (Germany)
Zurich – Prague (Czech Republic)
Basel – Copenhagen (Denmark)
Zurich – Graz (Austria)
Zurich – Vienna (Austria) – Budapest (Hungary)
Zurich – Villach (Austria) – Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Zagreb (Croatia) – Belgrade (Serbia)
City Night Line appears as "CNL" on the Eurail timetable. EuroNight appears as "EN", InterCité de Nuit as "NZ" and D-trains as "D". You are required to book sleeping accommodation in advance.
Scenic train routes in Switzerland
Switzerland is famous for its beautiful scenic landscapes. The following scenic train routes offer special conditions for Eurail pass holders:
- Bernina Express: Chur – Lugano via Tirano (Italy)
- Chocolate train: Montreux – Broc-Chocolat
- Centovalli Railway: Locarno (Switzerland) – Domodossola (Italy)
- Golden Pass: Luzern – Interlaken – Montreux
- Glacier Express: Davos/St. Moritz – Zermatt
- Wilhelm Tell Express: Luzern – Domodossola (Italy)
Private railway companies in Switzerland
The Swiss railway network is operated not only by the SBB. There are a lot of private railway companies as well. Some of these companies are included in your Eurail pass while other companies offer discounted travel.
For more information on private railway companies:
- Private railway companies that are included in your Eurail pass
- Private railway companies that offer a discount
Reservations for Swiss trains
Reservations for SBB regional trains are not required. For InterCity and ICN trains reservations are not compulsory but we recommend you make a seat reservation during the busy summer period (May-September) and on public holidays. Reservations are required for night trains and international high-speed trains. Prices for night trains depend on the type of sleeping accommodation you choose.
How to make reservations for Swiss trains
You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:
- At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.
- By phone through the SBB call center.
Phone number: +41 900 300 300
Opening hours: 24/7
You will get a direct connection when calling this booking center. The Swiss SBB booking center can deliver your reservations to all European countries. Delivery costs are CHF8 (approx. €6.50). This call center may charge a booking fee. You can also pick up your reservations at main Swiss train stations. Just go to the ticket office with your order number.
For more information about reservations:
Switzerland rail passes
Eurail Switzerland Passes let you discover all of Switzerland's beautiful scenery and great cities like Geneva, Interlaken and Zurich.
Rail pass options for Switzerland
- Eurail Global Pass starting from US$501 – have the freedom to visit Switzerland and up to 23 other Eurail countries.
- Eurail Select Pass starting from US$318 – choose from a 3, 4 or 5 country pass that combines Switzerland with bordering countries.
- Regional Pass – focus on visiting Switzerland plus 1 other country. Here are your options:
Eurail Austria-Switzerland Pass starting from US$212 - get to know elegant Austrian cities like Salzburg and Vienna.
Eurail France-Switzerland Pass starting from US$223 - travel around famed French cities like Paris, Nice and Lyons.
Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass starting from US$236 - visit popular German cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg.
Example route in Switzerland
Experience the best of Switzerland on a single trip with a Eurail pass. You can follow the suggested route below using a:
Eurail France-Switzerland pass - choose 7 days in 2 months, starting from US$376
Geneva is one of Europe's most cosmopolitan cities with a mix of French and Swiss influences.
Golden Pass scenic route
The Golden Pass train whisks you along the glistening waters of Lake Geneva and through picturesque mountain towns like Gstaad and Interlaken in the heart of Switzerland.
Interlaken is a mountain paradise – pay a visit to the underground waterfalls or try one of the many outdoor activities like hiking, white-water rafting or skiing.
Lucerne is surrounded by breathtaking mountain sights and filled with medieval treasures.
Zurich is probably Switzerland's trendiest and most vibrant city and home to the hugely popular Street Parade.
Glacier Express scenic route
The Glacier Express weaves through beautiful valleys and shiny mountain lakes with stops along the way at luxurious spa towns – experience the best of Switzerland from just one train!
Brig is a wonderful holiday hideout – make sure to visit the beautiful Stockalper Palace and the open-air thermal baths.
Swiss rail passes also include a selection of extra pass benefits, including free and discounted boat crossings and scenic train rides.
Rail connections in Switzerland
Popular domestic train connections in Switzerland
View approximate train travel times between Switzerland's most popular cities using regional and high-speed trains:
|From||To||High-speed train||Regional train|
|Bern||Geneva||1hr 40min||2hr 30min|
|Geneva||Interlaken||2hr 40min||5hr 40min|
International train connections to and from Switzerland
We suggest the following routes to travel between Switzerland and other European countries:
- France – Switzerland
Travel to Paris on the TGV train from Zurich (4hr), Basel (3hr) or Geneva (3hr).
- Italy – Switzerland
Travel by EuroCity (EC) train directly to Milan from the Swiss cities of Bern (3hr), Geneva (4hr) and Zurich (3hr 30min).
- Austria – Switzerland
Take a RailJet train from Zurich to Vienna (7hr) or travel by night to Graz on EuroNight trains.
- Germany – Switzerland
Travel from Zurich to Hamburg or Berlin on the City Night Line night train, or travel by day on ICE trains from Switzerland to German cities like Frankfurt.
Train stations in Switzerland
Swiss hub stations
Switzerland's main hub stations are Basel SBB, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Luzern and Zürich HB. From these train stations it's possible to connect to trains to most of Switzerland's main cities.
Stations in Switzerland usually have excellent facilities, often including:
- Luggage lockers
- Foreign exchange desks
- Restaurants and cafés
- Tourist information offices
- ATM cash machines
- Elevators and escalators
- Access for disabled passengers
Extra benefits in Switzerland
With a Eurail pass valid in Switzerland, you'll get free and discounted boat travel on several Swiss lakes and rivers as an extra benefit.
Eurail pass holders also pay reduced prices on the following scenic train routes: