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Switzerland By Train

Switzerland is high on the wish list of many Eurail travelers. You can explore Switzerland by rail with a Eurail Pass and travel through the snow-capped Alps, alongside beautiful mountain lakes and across rolling green hills. Switzerland's stunning nature and charming cities make this a country you don't want to miss!

Train types in Switzerland

Map with main train connections in Switzerland
Map with main train connections 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.

  • S-Bahn (suburban trains) is a network of trains that operate within most big cities. Your Eurail pass is valid for the S-bahn.

 

Travel tip:

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.

Night trains in and between Switzerland

International night trains

The following night trains connect Switzerland with Austria, Germany, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.

  • ÖBB Nightjet:
    Zurich – Basel - Berlin - Hamburg
    Zurich – Linz - Vienna

  • EuroNight:
    Zurich – Graz (Austria)
    Zurich – Vienna (Austria) – Budapest (Hungary)

  • D-train:
    Zurich – Villach (Austria) – Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Zagreb (Croatia) – Belgrade (Serbia)

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:

 

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:

Popular connections

Click here to download a more detailed map of the Swiss train network (2 MB)

 

View approximate train travel times between Switzerland's most popular cities using regional and high-speed trains:

To / From

High-speed train Regional train

Basel - Bern

57min

1hr 40min

Basel - Geneva

2hr 43min

5hr

Basel - Interlaken

2hr

4hr

Basel - Zurich

50min

1hr 50min

Basel - Lucerne

1hr

1hr 40min

Bern - Geneva

1hr 40min

2hr 30min

Bern - Interlaken

50min

1hr 10min

Geneva - Interlaken

2hr 40min

5hr 40min

Geneva - Zurich

2hr 44min

5hr

Zurich - Lugano

2hr 43min

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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 Berlin and Hamburg on the ÖBB Nightjet night train, or travel by day on ICE trains from Switzerland to German cities like Frankfurt.

Reservations

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:

  • Through our Reservation Service.

  • ​​Online through the SBB website​.

  • At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.

  • By phone through the SBB Contact Center.
    Phone number: +41 848 44 66 88
    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.

 

Find out more about reservations

Get your Pass for Switzerland

Global Pass

 

Be free to visit Switzerland along with the other 32 Eurail countries.


Standard prices from $ 191

Tips and tricks

Quick facts

  • Capital: Bern

  • Population: 8 million

  • Language: German, French, Italian

  • Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)

  • Dialing code:+41

Swiss hub stations

Switzerland's main hub stations are Basel SBBBernGenevaLausanneLuzern and Zürich HB. From these train stations it's possible to connect to trains to most of Switzerland's main cities.

Station facilities

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

  • Shops

  • Access for disabled passengers

Spelling of city names

On Swiss train timetables and at train stations in Switzerland, you'll usually find the local spelling of Swiss cities and stations.

 

Here is the local spelling of some popular Swiss cities:

  • Geneva = Genève

  • Lucerne = Luzern

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