London to Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich or Basel from £55.50 one-way, £111 return...

The Matterhorn, Zermatt.  Take the train to Switzerland!

From the Thames to the Matterhorn, without setting foot on a plane...

   
 

Lunch in London, bedtime in Switzerland, by high-speed train!

Leave London at lunchtime and be in Switzerland the same evening, without setting foot on a plane.  Take a Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h20 from £34.50, then a high-speed TGV-Lyria from Paris to Geneva (3h05), Lausanne (3h39), Bern, Basel (3h03) or Zurich (4h03) with fares from just £21.  Or go first class from £60, more civilised, comfortable, enjoyable and environmentally-friendly than any flight.  High-speed trains run to & from city centres, with no baggage fees, no airport taxes, no seatbelt signs, no 2-hour check-ins, infants go free, and bring your own bottle of wine for the journey if you like (try doing that on Ryanair).  And there's great scenery on the way.  This page explains the best routes, train times, fares and how to buy tickets.

Train times, fares & how to buy tickets...

  London to Basel & Zurich

  London to Geneva - new route via Lille, in 6h18!

  London to Bern

  London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

  London to Interlaken, Grindelwald & the Jungfrau

  London to Brig, Zermatt & the Matterhorn

  London to Chur, Klosters, Davos, St Moritz & the Engadin region

  London to Vaduz & Liechtenstein

  London to Switzerland via Brussels - slower, but avoids crossing Paris

  London & East Anglia to Switzerland via Harwich-Hoek - the ferry alternative

  Scotland & the North to Switzerland by ferry from Hull or Newcastle

  Starting your journey from other UK towns & cities

  How to buy train tickets from the UK to Switzerland

  The Jungfraubahn mountain railway to the Top of Europe

  Swiss Passes & Swiss Transfer Tickets

  Trains to Switzerland from other European cities

  Trains from Switzerland to other European cities

Useful train travel information...

  Map of the Swiss rail network - download a PDF map

  Custom-made holidays & escorted tours to Switzerland by train

  Hotels & accommodation in Switzerland

  The Glacier Express scenic train from Zermatt to St Moritz

  The Bernina Express scenic train from Chur to Tirano for Milan

  How to cross Paris by metro, taxi or private transfer

  Luggage on trains   Left luggage facilities at stations   Send luggage in advance

  Taking your bike   Taking your dog   SBB first class lounge at Zurich

  Passengers with disabilities   General European train travel information

 Interactive mapClick a destination or route...

  A Eurostar at St Pancras International...

Eurostar London to Paris in 2h20...

TGV-Lyria to Switzerland:  Relaxed and easy!

TGV-Lyria Paris to Switzerland in 3 hours.

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operator in Switzerland:

SBB-CFF-FFS (Swiss Federal Railways) & many private operators.

For train times & fares within Switzerland see www.sbb.chMap of the Swiss rail network.  Eurostar times & fares: www.eurostar.com.  All European train times: www.bahn.de

 

 

 

 

Swiss railpasses:

 

Swiss railpass (UK agency)   Swiss railpass (US agency)

Swiss transfer ticket:

 

Swiss Transfer Ticket (one return trip from point of entry to any Swiss destination)

International railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+41

Currency:

£1 = approx 1.40 Swiss Francs  Check exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.myswitzerland.com    Escorted tours to the Alps by train

Hotels in Switzerland:

Find hotels in Switzerland.   Reviews:  www.tripadvisor.com  Backpacker hostels:  www.hostelbookers.com

Page last updated:

2 December 2014.  Train times valid 14 Dec 2014 to 13 June 2015.


London to Basel & Zurich

It's easy and affordable to travel from London to Basel or Zurich by train.  Take Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in just 2 hours 20 minutes, then a direct TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Basel in 3 hours 03 minutes or Zurich in 4 hours 03 minutes.  London to Basel or Zurich starts at £62 one-way, £115 return, city centre to city centre, no baggage fees, no check-in fees, no extra to pay to travel to and from airports, a journey for chilling out not stressing out.  The TGVs from Paris to Basel & Zurich are run by Lyria, a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.

The new Rhine-Rhone high-speed line opened in December 2011, cutting another half hour off journey times from Paris to Basel & Zurich, and in first class a cold light meal or snack and drinks are now included in the fare.  At the same time, Paris-Basel-Zurich TGVs switched to start from the Gare de Lyon instead of the Gare de l'Est, and are now routed via Dijon and Mulhouse instead of Strasbourg and Mulhouse.

Alternatively, you can travel from London to Basel or Zurich via Brussels & Cologne.  This takes longer, but avoids having to cross Paris and offers fares from just €59, see the Switzerland via Brussels section below.  If you'd prefer to take a ferry rather than Eurostar, see the route via the Harwich-Hoek overnight ferry.

 London ► Basel & Zurich

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

05:40

07:55

09:17

10:25

13:31

20:01*

08:01

09:17

12:01

13:31

20:01*

09:22

11:01

  14:01**

20:31*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

09:17

11:17

12:47

13:47

16:47

23:17*

11:17

12:47

15:17

16:47

23:17*

12:47

14:17

  17:17**

23:47*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV-Lyria train to Switzerland...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:23

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

07:23*

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

10:23*

14:23

16:23

18:23

07:23*

 Basel arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26*

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26*

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26*

 Zurich arrive:

14:26

16:26

18:35

20:26

22:26

11:26*

16:26

18:35

20:26

22:26

14:26*

18:35

20:26

22:26

11:26*

* = This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or a weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.

** = Until until 14 February 2015 and from from 2 to 28 March, you'll need to take the 13:31 Eurostar, arriving Paris 16:47.

How to read these timetables:  It's very simple, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

The SBB first class lounge at Zurich can be used by all first class international ticket holders.  Lounges in other cities.

Why not catch an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the famous Train Bleu restaurant on the main concourse?  It's an experience in itself...

 Basel & Zurich ► London

 Lyria TGV:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zurich depart:

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

15:34

17:27*

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

17:27*

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

15:34

17:27*

 Basel depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34*

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 min check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

09:30*

14:30

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

How much does it cost?

 London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 Paris to Zurich

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £21

From £42

From £70

From £140

 Normal flexible fare:

£105

£160

£176

£279

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£60

£120

£113

£226

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£71

£142

£115

£230

 Child (4 to 11):

£50

£100

£97

£194

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £9 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£89 one-way, £178 return, 1st class.  Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 Paris to Basel

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £21

From £42

From £60

From £120

 Normal flexible fare:

£95

£139

£154

£249

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£57

£114

£95

£190

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£60

£120

£105

£210

 Child (4 to 11):

£40

£80

£78

£156

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £8 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£77 one-way, £154 return, 1st class.  Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

How to buy tickets...

What are the trains like?

(1)  By Eurostar from London to Paris... See the Eurostar page for photos & information about Eurostar.

(2)  By single-deck TGV -Lyria from Paris to Switzerland:     Watch the video guide

Most Paris-Basel-Zurich TGV-Lyrias, a few Paris-Geneva TGV-Lyrias and all Paris-Lausanne, Paris-Bern & Paris-Interlaken TGV-Lyrias are single deck TGV-POS trains like the ones shown here, although a couple of Paris-Basel-Zurich TGV-Lyrias & most Paris-Geneva TGV-Lyrias are double-deck TGV Duplex as shown here.  The single-deck TGV-Lyrias feature interiors styled by designer Christian Lacroix, with 1st and 2nd class seats and a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  First class fares include a complimentary cold breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack according to time of day.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at all seats.  Incidentally, SNCF's in-house designer has never forgiven Christian Lacroix for breaking the unwritten 'rule' and using warm funky oranges and purples in 2nd class, cooler greys and lime green in 1st class, but see what you think!  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways, see the TGV-Lyria page for more information.

TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon   TGV bar car

A TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon.  There's no check-in, you just walk up to it & get on.

 

The cafe-bar, serving tea, coffee, beer, wine, hot & cold snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

What's the scenery like?

On the route from Paris to Basel & Zurich, the train soon leaves the historic Gare de Lyon behind and accelerates through the Parisian suburbs onto the high-speed line at up to 300km/h (186mph).  The train slows down to call at Dijon, the major city of the Burgundy region, with views over the city on the approach.  The train continues through the rolling hills of rural France, past pretty villages with picturesque churches onto the new Rhone-Rhine high-speed line where the train reaches 320km/h (199mph).  Calling at Mulhouse, the train continues on classic lines to enter Switzerland at Basel.

Scenery on the Paris-Zurich journey

How to buy tickets...

It's easy to buy train tickets from anywhere in Britain to anywhere in Switzerland, here I'll explain the best options.  Booking online saves paying phone booking fees, and I recommend www.loco2.com, although I'd also check eurostar.com as shown here.  You can also book by phone or in person, or get a train travel specialist to arrange a tailor-made trip.

 

 
 

For hotels...

Try my two favourite hotel sites...

(1) www.booking.com allows you to book your accommodation before train bookings open, at no risk with free cancellation.

(2) hotelscombined.com was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013:

Click for personal hotel recommendations in Zurich & in the St Moritz area.

 

Option 1:  Buy online at www.loco2.com...

Option 2:  Buy online at www.eurostar.com...

Option 3: Buy online at www.eurostar.com + www.capitainetrain.com + www.sbb.ch

Option 4, other ways to buy train tickets online...

Option 5, buy tickets by phone or in person...

Option 6, have your whole trip professionally arranged... 

Option 7, take an escorted tour to Switzerland by train...


London to Geneva

London to Geneva in 6h18, without setting foot on a plane...

The train is the scenic, stress-free and environmentally-sound way from London to Geneva.  The most frequent option - and usually the cheapest - is to take Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h20 from £34.50, then TGV-Lyria from Paris to Geneva in 3h09 from £21.  This is shown as Option 1 below.  But from 14 December 2014 there's an even easier option, running on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays, involving the 12:58 Eurostar to Lille, an easy same-station connection onto a direct TGV-Lyria from Lille to Geneva arriving 20:16.  London to Geneva in 6 hours 18 minutes, without flying.  Wow...  Take a look at option 2 below.

Option 1:  London to Geneva via Paris

Eurostar links London and Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes from £34.50 one-way or £69 return.  High speed TGV Lyria trains then link Paris with Geneva in just over 3 hours from £21 each way in 2nd class or £62 in 1st class.  For the first part of their journey, the Paris-Geneva TGVs use the TGV-Sud Est high speed line at up to 186 mph.  Then they slow right down over conventional lines through beautiful French mountain scenery for the remainder of their run to Switzerland, past pretty French villages, mountain forests, dramatic viaducts and scenic lakes, see photos of the journey below.  Sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy the scenic stress-free alternative to flying to Geneva.

 London Geneva

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

10:25

11:31

13:31

14:31

15:31**

20:01*

07:22

09:17

12:25

14:01

10:25

10:25

13:31

14:31

20:31*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:17

13:47

14:47

16:47

17:47

18:47**

23:17*

10:47

12:47

15:47

17:17

13:47

13:47

16:47

17:47

23:47*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV Lyria to Switzerland...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

12:11

15:11

16:11

18:11

19:11

20:11**

07:09*

12:11

15:11

18:11

19:11

15:11

16:11

18:11

19:11

07:07*

 Geneva arrive:

15:27

18:16

19:27

21:27

22:19

23:27**

10:16*

15:27

18:16

21:27

22:19

18:16

19:27

21:27

22:19

10:16*

 Geneva ► London

 Lyria TGV to Paris...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Geneva depart:

06:12

07:42

09:42

11:42

14:29

16:29***

 19:42*

06:12

07:42

09:42

13:42

09:42

13:42

16:29

 19:42*

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive:

09:27

10:49

12:49

14:49

17:49

19:49***

 22:49*

09:27

10:49

12:49

16:49

12:49

16:49

19:49

 22:49*

 Cross Paris by metro to Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 min check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord depart:

11:13

13:13

15:13

18:13

20:13

21:13

07:13*

11:13

13:13

15:13

19:13

15:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arrive:

12:30

14:39

16:39

19:39

21:39

22:39

08:32*

12:30

14:39

16:39

20:39

16:39

20:39

22:39

08:32*

* This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.  Always check times online for your specific date of travel as they can vary.

** Only runs on Fridays.

*** = Used to run every day.  In 2015, it seems to run on random dates.  Check times for your date online.

Why not catch an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the famous Train Bleu restaurant on the main concourse?  It's an experience in itself...

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Geneva

 by Lyria TGV train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £21

From £42

From £56

From £112

 Normal flexible fare:

£77

£125

£135

£199

 Youth fare (12-26):

£45

£90

£77

£154

 Senior fare (over 60):

£53

£106

£90

£180

 Child (4 to 11):

£39

£78

£75

£150

 Child (0 to 3):

Free (if not occupying its own seat), £12 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £9 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£68 one-way, £136 return, 1st class. Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

How to buy tickets...

What are the trains like?

(1)  By Eurostar from London to Paris: See the Eurostar page for photos & information on Eurostar, check-in & the journey.

(2)  By TGV Duplex from Paris to Geneva...    Watch the video guide

These impressive 320 km/h (200 mph) double-deck TGVs now operate most Paris-Geneva TGV-Lyria trains plus a couple of Paris-Basel-Zurich departures, although a few Paris-Geneva trains are still single-deck Christian Lacroix TGVs.  I recommend an upper deck seat for the best views of the scenery.  The stairs to the top deck are short, wide and easy, and there are luggage racks and toilets both upstairs and downstairs.  You walk through the train to the cafe-bar at the upper deck level. 

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 200 mph double-deckers operate most Paris-Geneva & some Paris Basel-Zurich trains.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

 

2nd class table for 4 on TGV Duplex upper deck...

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

What's the scenery like?

In 2010 they shaved another 15-20 minutes off the Paris-Geneva journey time by rebuilding the amazing 65km single-track Haut-Bugey line from Bourg en Bresse to Bellegarde.  This section of line dates from 1877-1882, but local traffic had declined and the line was partially closed in 1990.  However, a joint French-Swiss project gave it a new lease of life, rebuilt to mainline standards and reborn as a key link in the TGV network.  It shortens the distance between Paris & Geneva by 47km, trains previously had to detour south via Culoz.  The wonderful Haut-Bugey line takes Paris-Geneva TGVs at low speed through some great mountainous terrain, some of it inaccessible by road, through some 11 tunnels and over 80 bridges & viaducts including the spectacular Cize-Bolozon viaduct over the Ain gorge, a structure partly blown up by the French resistance in 1944 (it took 5 years to repair the damage after the war).  Relax and enjoy the journey!

Snaking through the mountains on the route between Geneva & Paris

For the first hour or so after leaving Geneva, the train snakes through the hills on the wonderfully scenic Haut-Bugey line - that's the rear of the train visible on the left...

Scenery along the Haut-Bugey line, seen from the Geneva to Paris train   More scenery in southeast France, seen from the Geneva to Paris train

More scenery, as the TGV from Geneva to Paris heads through the hills along the river valley from Geneva to Bellegarde and Bourg en Bresse.

 

The train passes a lake, probably the Lac de Nantua.  This was an overcast February day, it'll be spectacular in summer or autumn...

Crossing the Cize-Bolozon viaduct on the Haut-Bugey Line, on a Geneva to Paris train   Crossing the Cize-Bolozon viaduct on the Haut-Bugey Line, on a Geneva to Paris train

The TGV crosses the spectacular Cize-Bolozon viaduct over the Ain gorge, the major structure on the Haut-Bugey line.  At Macon, the train joins the high-speed line to Paris.

 

In 1st class, the fare now includes food served at your seat.  This is their afternoon snack.  Lunch or dinner with wine are served on lunchtime or evening departures.

Option 2:  London to Geneva via Lille - New, starting 14 December 2014

From 14 December 2014 TGV-Lyria will introduce a direct Lille-Geneva TGV, with Eurostar connection from London.  This will allow a connecting London-Geneva service in 6h18 with just one easy same-station change in Lille.  No need to change train and stations in Paris!  Ideal for those with heavy luggage, kids or mobility problems.

 London ► Geneva

 

 Geneva ► London

 By Eurostar...

Mon, Thurs

Sat, Sun

By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

Mon, Thurs,

Sat

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

12:58

 Geneva depart:

08:30

10:30

 Ebbsfleet depart:

13:15

 Lille Europe depart:

12:57

14:45

 Lille Europe arrive:

15:30

By Eurostar...

 

 

 By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

 

 Lille Europe depart:

13:30

15:30

 Lille Europe depart:

16:07

 Ebbsfleet arrive:

13:45

15:45

 Geneva arrive:

20:16

 London St Pancras arrive:

14:05

16:05

What's the journey like?

The Lille-Geneva train is a 186mph TGV-Lyria of the single-deck variety with 1st & 2nd class and a cafe-bar, see the TGV-Lyria page for photos of the train.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles and there are baby-changing facilities and wheelchair accessible toilets.  The train by-passes central Paris a few miles to the east, then it takes exactly the same route as the regular Paris-Geneva TGVs, using the Paris-Sud-Est high-speed line then slowing right down over the wonderful Haut-Bugey Line through wonderful scenery for the last hour into Geneva, see the photos of the journey above.

How much does it cost? 

How to buy tickets?


London to Bern

Option 1:  London to Bern via Paris

Taking the train is the stress-free and environmentally-sound way to go from London to Bern.  Eurostar links London and Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes from £34.50 one-way or £69 return.  A daily high speed TGV-Lyria train links Paris with Bern in just 4 hours 27 minutes from £21 (€25) each way, with many other departures available with a change in Basel.  TGV-Lyrias have 1st & 2nd class seats and a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at 1st class seats.  You can find a seat numbering plan & other useful information at www.tgv-lyria.com.  First class fares on TGV-Lyria include a complimentary cold breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack according to time of day.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.  What's it like on board a TGV-Lyria?.  Going via Paris is the fastest & most frequent option, but if you want to avoid crossing Paris, consider option 2 below.

 London ► Bern

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

05:40

07:55

09:17

10:25

13:31

20:01*

08:01

09:17

12:01

13:31

20:01*

09:22

11:01

14:01

20:31*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

09:17

11:17

12:47

13:47

16:47

23:17*

11:17

12:47

15:17

16:47

23:17*

12:47

14:17

17:17

23:47*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV-Lyria train to Switzerland...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:23

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

07:23*

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

10:23*

14:23

16:23

18:23

07:23*

 Basel SBB arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

|

10:26*

15:26

17:26

19:26

|

13:26*

17:26

19:26

|

10:26*

 Change at Basel onto a half-hourly Swiss train...

direct

 

 

 

 

direct

 

 

 

direct

 

 Basel SBB depart:

13:59

15:59

17:59

19:59

|

10:59

15:59

17:59

19:59

|

13:59

17:59

19:59

|

10:59

 Bern arrive:

14:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:50

11:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:50

14:56

18:56

20:56

22:50

11:56

How to read these timetables:  It's very simple, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

Direct = by direct TGV-Lyria from Paris to Bern.  This is the recommended option if it suits your plans, as it's cheapest & simplest.

* This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or a weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.

Why not catch an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the famous Train Bleu restaurant on the main concourse?  It's an experience in itself...

Eurostar times can vary slightly so always double-check when booking.

 Bern ► London

 Half-hourly Swiss train...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bern depart:

07:04

09:10

11:04

13:04

15:04

17:04*

07:04

09:10

11:04

13:04

17:04*

07:04

09:10

11:04

13:04

15:04

17:04*

 Basel SBB arrive:

07:59

|

11:59

13:59

15:59

17:59*

07:59

|

11:59

13:59

17:59*

07:59

|

11:59

13:59

15:59

17:59*

 TGV-Lyria...

 

direct

 

 

 

 

 

direct

 

 

 

 

direct

       

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

|

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

08:34

|

12:34

14:34

18:34*

08:34

|

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 min check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

09:30*

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Bern

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £21

From £42

From £62

From £124

 Normal flexible fare:

£78

£120

£130

£205

 Youth fare (12-26):

£52

£104

£89

£178

 Senior fare (over 60):

£55

£110

£95

£190

 Child (4 to 11):

£39

£78

£73

£146

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 with own seat (£20 in 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £9 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair

£65 one-way, £130 return, 1st class.  Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets:

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

Fares for journeys with a change in Basel:  See the London-Paris-Basel fares in the London to Basel section, and add the cost of a Swiss domestic ticket from Basel to Bern, CHF 39 (£25) each way 2nd class.  It works out cheaper to use the direct Paris-Bern train if you can!

How to buy tickets online...

  • To buy tickets online, by phone or in person, follow the instructions above.

  • For journeys involving a change in Lausanne, if no cheap fares show up for the Paris-Bern journey, trying asking the system for Paris-Lausanne, then buy a Lausanne-Bern ticket separately at the ticket office on arrival at Lausanne.  You can check Lausanne-Bern prices online at www.sbb.ch.  No reservation is necessary (or even possible!) for the domestic Swiss Lausanne-Bern section, so it's easy to buy this at the station in Lausanne.

Option 2:  London to Bern via Lille - New, starting 14 December 2014

From 14 December 2014 TGV-Lyria will introduce a direct Lille-Geneva TGV, with Eurostar connection from London to Lille and onwards connections from Geneva to Bern.  This will allow a London-Bern journey with two easy same-station changes and no need to cross Paris.  Ideal for those with heavy luggage, kids or mobility problems.

 London ► Bern

 

 Bern ► London

 By Eurostar...

Mon, Thurs

Sat, Sun

By Swiss domestic train...

Mon, Thurs,

Sat

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

12:58

 Bern depart:

06:04

08:04

 Ebbsfleet depart:

13:15

 Geneva arrive:

07:46

09:45

 Lille Europe arrive:

15:30

By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

 

 

 By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

 

 Geneva depart:

08:30

10:30

 Lille Europe depart:

16:07

 Lille Europe depart:

12:57

14:45

 Geneva arrive:

20:16

By Eurostar...

 

 

 By Swiss domestic train...

 

 Lille Europe depart:

13:30

15:30

 Geneva depart:

20:45

 Ebbsfleet arrive:

13:45

15:45

 Bern arrive:

22:26

 London St Pancras arrive:

14:05

16:05

What's the journey like?

  • The Lille-Geneva train is a 186mph TGV-Lyria of the single-deck variety with 1st & 2nd class and a cafe-bar, see the TGV-Lyria page for photos of the train.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles and there are baby-changing facilities and wheelchair accessible toilets.  The train by-passes central Paris a few miles to the east, then it takes exactly the same route as the regular Paris-Geneva TGVs, using the Paris-Sud-Est high-speed line then slowing right down over the wonderful Haut-Bugey Line through wonderful scenery for the last hour into Geneva, see the photos of the journey above.  Change in Geneva for trains to Bern running every half hour.

How much does it cost? 

  • London to Lille by Eurostar starts at £34.50 one-way or £69 return in 2nd class, £97 one-way or £195 return in 1st class.

  • Lille to Geneva by TGV-Lyria starts at £21 (€25) each way in 2nd class, £49 (€59) in 1st class.

  • Alternatively, you can buy through fares from London to Geneva from around £116 return at www.eurostar.com.

  • Geneva-Bern costs CHF49 (£32) each way any day, any train.

How to buy tickets?

  • You can buy tickets from London or most British rail stations to Bern as one transaction at www.loco2.com, or you can book from London to Geneva at www.eurostar.com and add a separate Swiss ticket from Geneva to Bern at www.sbb.ch (you print your own ticket - and as no reservation is necessary for Swiss trains and the price is fixed, you can buy this ticket at the station when you reach Geneva if you like).


London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

Option 1:  London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad via Paris

  The Golden Panoramic Express at Gstaad

Taking the train is a wonderful, stress-free and environmentally-friendly way to get from London to Lausanne or anywhere in Western Switzerland.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes from £34.50, then a high-speed TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Lausanne in only 3 hours 40 minutes, from £21 each way - or £62 in 1st class!  Remember that's city centre to city centre, no added baggage fees, no extra to pay to get to and from airports, and infants under 4 go free.  The TGV-Lyria travels at up to 186mph along the TGV-Sud-Est high-speed line, then branches off at lower speed through pretty hills around Dijon and across rural France into Switzerland.  Frequent Swiss trains, running like clockwork, link Lausanne with Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Martigny, & Sion.  Change at Montreux for the scenic Golden Pass route to Gstaad.  Take a bottle of wine onto the TGV with you, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.  On TGV-Lyria, first class fares include a complimentary cold breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack according to time of day.  What's it like on a TGV-Lyria train?.  Going via Paris is the fastest, most frequent and usually cheapest option, but if you want to avoid crossing Paris, consider option 2 below.

Pictured right:  Taking the train from London to Gstaad.  It's a very scenic train ride from Montreux to Gstaad, and some departures use panoramic coaches like these.

 London ► Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

10:25

13:31

20:01*

06:18

11:31

13:31

20:01*

09:22

10:25

13:31

20:01*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:17

13:47

16:47

23:17*

09:47

14:47

16:47

23:17*

12:47

13:47

16:47

23:17*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the Lyria TGV to Lausanne...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

11:58

15:58

17:57

08:02

11:58

15:58

17:57

08:02

13:58

15:58

17:57

08:02

 Lausanne arrive:

15:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

15:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

17:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

 Change at Lausanne for frequent Swiss domestic trains to Montreux, these run every 15-20 minutes...

 Lausanne depart:

15:45

19:45

21:46

11:45**

15:45

19:45

21:45

11:45

17:45

19:45

21:45

11:45

 Montreux arrive:

16:04

20:04

22:05

12:04**

16:04

20:04

22:04

12:04

18:04

20:04

22:04

12:04

 Quick & simple change at Montreux for the narrow gauge line to Gstaad...

 Montreux depart:

16:44

21:11

22:11

12:44

16:44

21:11

22:11

12:44

18:44

21:11

22:11

12:44

 Gstaad arrive:

18:09

22:32

23:37

14:09

18:09

22:32

23:37

14:09

20:14

22:32

23:37

14:09

How to read these timetables  It's simple, you read downwards, each column is a journey option you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

* This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or a weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.

** On Saturday mornings from 20 December 2014 to 28 March 2015, there's no need to change at Lausanne because the 08:02 TGV-Lyria from Paris runs direct to Montreux, Martigny, Visp & Brig.  It arrives Montreux at 12:13.

Why not book an earlier Eurostar and give yourself time for lunch in Paris at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon?

Times may vary slightly, so always check exact times when booking.

 Gstaad, Montreux, Lausanne London

 

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Gstaad depart:

-

05:45

09:37

15:37*

-

05:45

09:37

15:37*

-

05:45

09:37

15:37*

 Montreux arrive:

-

07:07

11:13

17:13*

-

07:07

11:13

17:13*

-

07:07

11:13

17:13*

 Change at Montreux for frequent InterCity trains to Lausanne...

 Montreux depart:

05:30

07:19

11:18

17:19*

05:30

07:19

11:24

17:19*

05:30

07:19

11:24

17:19*

 Lausanne arrive:

06:02

07:40

11:39

17:40*

06:02

07:40

11:40

17:40*

06:02

07:40

11:40

17:40*

 Change at Lausanne for the Lyria TGV train to Paris...

 Lausanne depart:

06:24

08:24

12:24

18:24*

06:24

08:24

12:24

18:24*

06:24

08:24

12:24

18:24*

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

10:03

12:03

16:03

22:03*

10:03

12:03

16:03

22:03*

10:03

12:03

16:03

22:03*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 min check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

13:13

15:13

18:13

07:13*

13:13

15:13

19:13

08:13*

13:13

15:13

18:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

19:39

08:32*

14:39

16:39

20:39

09:30*

14:39

16:39

19:39

08:32*

Connections to Vevey, Montreux, Sion, Martigny...

Lausanne is the ideal entry point for western Switzerland.  Frequent (at least half-hourly) trains link Lausanne with Vevey, Montreux (19 minutes), Sion, & Martigny.  Change at Montreux for the amazingly scenic narrow-gauge Golden Pass route to Gstaad & Zweisimmen.  The Golden Pass route from Montreux to Gstaad climbs spectacularly up the mountain out of Montreux, passing over the top to the valley behind.  You can check train times and fares from Lausanne to anywhere in Switzerland at www.sbb.ch.

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Lausanne

 by Lyria TGV train

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From just £21

From just £42

From £62

From £124

 Normal flexible fare:

£74

£112

£127

£189

 Youth fare (12-26):

£45

£90

£84

£168

 Senior fare (over 60):

£51

£102

£86

£172

 Child (4 to 11):

£37

£74

£72

£144

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £9 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£64 one-way, £128 return, 1st class. Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 3. Fares beyond Lausanne

 to anywhere in Switzerland:

Lausanne to Montreux is CHF 6.20 (£4) each way 2nd class.

Lausanne to Gstaad is CHF 32 (£22) each way 2nd class, CHF 56 (£38) 1st class.

You can check fares for any journey in Switzerland at www.sbb.ch.

For destinations further into Switzerland, a Swiss Transfer Ticket allows one return journey from your point of entry (in this case Lausanne) to any station in Switzerland, for CHF 135 (£92) return 2nd class, CHF 216 (£146) return 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

Option 2:  London to Lausanne, Montreux or Gstaad via LilleNew, starting 14 December 2014

From 14 December 2014 TGV-Lyria will introduce a direct Lille-Geneva TGV, with Eurostar connection from London and frequent onwards connections from Geneva to Lausanne or Montreux.  This will allow a London-Lausanne or London-Montreux journey with two easy same-station changes and no need to cross Paris.  Ideal for those with heavy luggage, kids or mobility problems.

 London ► Lausanne, Montreux

 

 Montreux, Lausanne ► London

 By Eurostar...

Mon, Thurs

Sat, Sun

By Swiss domestic train...

Mon, Thurs,

Sat

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

12:58

 Gstaad depart:

04:40

06:42

 Ebbsfleet depart:

13:15

 Montreux depart:

06:48

08:53

 Lille Europe arrive:

15:30

 Lausanne depart:

07:15

09:18

 By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

 

 Geneva arrive:

07:49

09:57

 Lille Europe depart:

16:07

By TGV-Lyria from 14 Dec...

 

 

 Geneva arrive:

20:16

 Geneva depart:

08:30

10:30

 By Swiss domestic train...

 

 Lille Europe depart:

12:57

14:45

 Geneva depart:

20:33

By Eurostar...

 

 

 Lausanne arrive:

21:12

 Lille Europe depart:

13:30

15:30

 Montreux arrive

21:39

 Ebbsfleet arrive:

13:45

15:45

 Gstaad arrive:

23:37

 London St Pancras arrive:

14:05

16:05

What's the journey like?

The Lille-Geneva train is a 186mph TGV-Lyria of the single-deck variety with 1st & 2nd class and a cafe-bar, see the TGV-Lyria page for photos of the train.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles and there are baby-changing facilities and wheelchair accessible toilets.  The train by-passes central Paris a few miles to the east, then it takes exactly the same route as the regular Paris-Geneva TGVs, using the Paris-Sud-Est high-speed line then slowing right down over the wonderful Haut-Bugey Line through wonderful scenery for the last hour into Geneva, see the photos of the journey above.  Change in Geneva for Swiss trains to Lausanne and Montreux running every 20-30 minutes, change at Montreux for hourly trains on the narrow gauge line from Montreux to Gstaad.

How much does it cost? 

How to buy tickets?


London to Interlaken & Jungfrau region

  Take the train from London to Interlaken & Grindelwald, no flying necessary!

 

It's so easy to travel by train from the UK to Interlaken and the Jungfrau region.  Take Eurostar to Paris in only 2 hours 20 minutes, then a 186 mph TGV-Lyria from Paris to Basel in just 3 hours.  Regular Swiss InterCity trains go from Basel through the mountain and along the lake shore to Interlaken Ost in 1 hour 58 minutes.  No airports, no flights, a chance to chill out by train not stress out by plane.  TGV-Lyria trains have 1st & 2nd class with a cafe-bar car selling drinks and snacks, and you'll find power points for mobiles & laptops at all 1st class seats.  Take a bottle of wine with you, put your feet up and enjoy the ride!  First class fares now include a complimentary cold breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack according to time of day.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.

Interlaken lies at the centre of the Jungfrau region, with narrow gauge local trains up into the mountains to skiing resorts such as Grindelwald nestling at the foot of the Eiger, and Lauterbrunnen, at the foot of the Jungfrau.  The famous Jungfraubahn rack railway climbs the Jungfrau to the Top of Europe from both Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

Pictured right:  Just arrived from London by train...  The local train to Grindelwald has reached the buffer stops at the end of the line from London St Pancras, no flying necessary.

 London ► Interlaken & Grindelwald

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

05:40

07:55

09:17

10:25

13:31

 20:01*

08:01

09:17

11:31

13:31

 20:01*

09:22

10:25

13:31

 20:31*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

09:17

11:17

12:47

13:47

16:47

 23:17*

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

 23:17*

12:47

13:47

16:47

 23:47*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV-Lyria train to Switzerland...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:23

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

 07:23*

12:23

14:23

16:23

18:23

 07:23*

14:23

16:23

18:23

 08:23*

 Basel arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

|

10:26*

15:26

17:26

19:26

|

10:26*

17:26

19:26

|

11:26*

 Change at Basel onto a Swiss train...

direct

 

direct

 

direct

 

 Basel depart:

13:59

15:59

17:59

19:59

|

10:59

15:59

17:59

19:59

|

10:59

17:59

19:59

|

11:59

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

15:57

17:57

19:57

21:57

23:53

12:57

17:57

19:57

21:56

23:53

12:57

19:57

21:56

23:53

13:57

 Change trains at Interlaken onto a connecting narrow-gauge train...

 Interlaken Ost depart:

16:05

18:05

20:05

22:05

-

13:05

18:05

20:05

22:05

-

13:05

20:05

22:05

-

14:05

 Grindelwald arrive:

16:39

18:39

20:35

22:35

-

13:39

18:35

20:35

22:35

-

13:39

20:35

22:35

-

14:39

How to read these timetables  It's simple, you read downwards, each column is a journey option you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

* This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.

Direct = By direct TGV-Lyria from Paris to Interlaken, no changes necessary. This will be the cheapest option, although it arrives too late for connections to Grindelwald, and there's no equivalent direct train in the return direction as Lyria have not been able to secure sensible train paths.

Lauterbrunnen & the Jungfraujoch:  Half-hourly local trains link Interlaken Ost with Grindelwald & Lauterbrunnen.  You can check times and fares using the journey planner at www.sbb.ch.   By train up the Jungfrau.

Why not book an earlier Eurostar and give yourself time for lunch in Paris at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon?

Train times may vary slightly, so always double-check for your own date of travel when booking.

 Grindelwald & InterlakenLondon

 Narrow-gauge train:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Grindelwald depart:

05:19

07:19

09:19

11:19

13:19

15:19*

05:19

07:19

09:19

11:19

15:19*

05:19

07:19

09:19

11:19

13:19

15:19*

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

05:50

07:54

09:54

11:54

13:54

15:54*

05:50

07:54

09:54

11:54

15:54*

05:50

07:54

09:54

11:54

13:54

15:54*

 Change trains at Basel onto a Swiss InterCity train...

 Interlaken Ost depart:

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

14:00

16:00*

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

16:00*

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

14:00

16:00*

 Basel arrive:

07:59

09:59

11:59

13:59

15:59

17:59*

07:59

09:59

11:59

13:59

17:59*

07:59

09:59

11:59

13:59

15:59

17:59*

 Change trains at Basel onto TGV-Lyria...

 Basel depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34*

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34*

 Paris Gare de Lyon arr:

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

21:37*

11:37

13:37

15:37

17:37

19:37

21:37*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 min check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord dep

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13*

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arr.

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

09:30*

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:39

22:39

08:32*

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

       by Eurostar

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Basel

      by Lyria TGV train

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £21

From £42

From £60

From £120

 Normal flexible fare:

£95

£139

£154

£249

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£57

£114

£95

£190

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£60

£120

£105

£210

 Child (4 to 11):

£40

£80

£78

£156

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £8 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£77 one-way, £154 return, 1st class.  Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 
 3. Basel to Interlaken

Basel-Interlaken is CHF 58 (£40) each way in 2nd class.

Basel to Grindelwald CHF 69 (£47) each way in 2nd class. 

You can check fares for any journey in Switzerland at www.sbb.ch.

A Swiss Transfer Ticket is an option for travel to Grindelwald.  It allows one return journey from your point of entry (in this case Basel) to anywhere in Switzerland for CHF 135 (£92) 2nd class, CHF 216 (£146) 1st class.

Fares for the direct Paris-Interlaken train start at £21 each way, the same as the Paris-Basel trains so it's usually the cheapest option.

How to buy tickets...


The Jungfrau Bahn:  11,333 feet above sea level, by train...

If you're staying in the Interlaken area, why not climb the North Face of the Eiger, traverse the Mönch and scale the Jungfrau to an altitude of over 11,000 feet?  By train, of course, on the famous Jungfraubahn.  Regular narrow-gauge trains link Interlaken Ost (567m or 1,860 feet above sea level) with the ski resorts of Lauterbrunnen & Grindelwald (1,034m or 3,393 feet).  Even smaller trains connect and climb from Grindelwald & Lauterbrunnen up to the interchange point for the Jungfraubahn at Kleine Scheidegg, 2,061m (6,762 feet) above sea level.  Completed in 1912, the Jungfraubahn rack railway climbs up the North Face of the Eiger, at first in the open air and then in a long tunnel inside the mountain.  The train stops at Eigerwand (2,865m or 9,400 feet) inside the Eiger's infamous North Face for 5 minutes, allowing you to get out and see the view from the tunnel's viewing window.  Rescue missions for climbers caught on the Eiger start from here.  The train continues up inside the Eiger and Mönch mountains, with another 5 minute stop at the Eismeer (Ice Sea) viewing point until it reaches Jungfraujoch, 3,454m or 11,333 feet above sea level, the highest railway station in Europe and billed as The Top of Europe.  The  Jungfraujoch complex nestles below the Jungfrau's summit.  At Jungfraujoch you'll find restaurants, coffee shop, Europe's highest post office, souvenir shops, the Sphinx observatory & observation deck, and 'ice palace' and an open air 'ice plateau'.

Climbing the Eiger & Jungfrau by Jungfraubahn!

Jungfraubahn:  Starting the climb from the interchange station at Kleine Scheidegg.  The first section is in the open, the train then enters a tunnel inside the Eiger's North Face for the rest of the climb.

  At the Jungfraujoch station

At Jungfraujoch station:  After crossing the Mönch onto the Jungfrau, the train arrives at the underground Jungfraujoch station inside the mountain, the 'Top of Europe'.

  View from the Jungfraujoch observation 'sphinx'.

The view from the Sphinx observation deck at Jungfraujoch.  This is the view towards Interlaken, with Kleine Scheidegg in the valley in the foreground.

 

A trip on the Jungfraubahn doesn't come cheap:  CHF 177 (£120) return per adult from Grindelwald or CHF 197 (£133) from Interlaken.  There's more information at the Jungfraubahn website, www.jungfraubahn.ch, including timetable, fares, webcams and weather reports.

UK residents can order tickets for a trip to Jungfraujoch at www.swisspasses.com/excursions/packages/jungfraujochint (starting in Interlaken) or  www.swisspasses.com/excursions/packages/jungfraujoch starting in Wengen.



London to Brig & Zermatt

  The Matterhorn, near Zermatt in Switzerland - easy to reach from London by train..!

From the Thames to the Matterhorn by train...

Zermatt lies nestled at the foot of the imposing Matterhorn, surrounded by mountains.  It's a car-free resort, which can only be reached by train.  Electric 'johnny cabs' shuttle hotel guests to hotels and act as taxis.  Here is the daily all-year-round train service. 

To reach Zermatt, simply hop on a Eurostar to Paris in 2h20 then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Lausanne in just 3h40.  Hourly Swiss trains link Lausanne with Visp, where you board the little narrow-gauge branch line up the Mattertal Valley to Zermatt.

Alternatively, from 14 December 2014 you can take a lunchtime Eurostar to Lille and make an easy same-station change onto a TGV-Lyria to Geneva, total journey time 6h18, arriving in time for dinner.  No need to cross Paris!  Stay overnight and take a Swiss domestic train to Zermatt next morning.  Runs Mon, Thurs, Sat & Sun all year round, click here for this option.

The branch line from Brig or Visp to Zermatt:  For the best views of the scenery between Visp and Zermatt, make sure you have a seat on the left-hand side of the train leaving Visp.  This narrow gauge train ascends the Mattertal Valley via a series of 'steps'.  The train uses conventional adhesion along the level sections, then rack-and-pinion to climb a series of steep sections.

Pictured right, the Matterhorn towers over Zermatt... 

 London ► Brig & Zermatt

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

10:25

13:31

20:01*

06:18

11:31

13:31

20:01*

09:22

10:25

13:31

20:01*

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:17

13:47

16:47

23:17*

09:47

14:47

16:47

23:17*

12:47

13:47

16:47

23:17*

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV-Lyria train to Lausanne...

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

11:57

15:57

17:57

08:02

11:57

15:57

17:57

08:02

13:57

15:57

17:57

08:02

 Lausanne arrive:

15:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

15:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

17:37

19:37

21:37

11:37

 Change at Lausanne for Swiss Inter-Regional trains to Visp & Brig, these run every half hour...

 Lausanne depart:

15:45

19:45

22:20

11:45**

15:45

19:45

22:20

11:45

17:45

19:45

22:20

11:45

 Visp arrive (change for Zermatt):

17:24

21:24

23:53

13:24**

17:24

21:24

23:53

13:24

19:24

21:24

23:53

13:24

 Brig arrive:

17:32

21:32

00:02

13:32**

17:32

21:32

00:02

13:32

19:32

21:32

00:02

13:32

 Change at Visp for the scenic narrow gauge train up the Mattertal Valley to Zermatt...

 Visp depart:

17:41

22:27

-

13:41

18:10

22:40

-

13:41

20:10

23:23

-

13:41

 Zermatt arrive:

18:50

23:36

-

14:50

19:13

23:44

-

14:50

21:13

00:25

-

14:50

How to read these timetables  It's simple, you read downwards, each column is a journey option you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

* This journey involves an overnight stop in Paris, a useful option for a business trip or weekend in Switzerland without flying.  Suggested hotels near the stations in Paris.  The Eurostar shown is a suggestion, by all means take an earlier evening train southbound or later morning one northbound.

** On Saturday mornings from 20 December 2014 to 28 March 2015, there's no need to change at Lausanne because the 08:02 TGV-Lyria from Paris runs direct to Visp (arrive 14:04) & Brig (arrive 14:18).

*** On Saturday afternoons from 20 December 2014 to 28 March 2015, the 18:24 TGV-Lyria from Lausanne will start from Brig (leaving 15:51) & Visp (leaving 16:02), so no need to change at Lausanne.

Why not book an earlier Eurostar and give yourself time for lunch in Paris at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon?

Train times can vary slightly, so always check times for your date of travel when booking.

 Zermatt & Brig London

 Narrow gauge train to Visp...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zermatt depart:

-

08:37

14:37

-

08:37

14:37

-

08:37

14:37

 Visp arrive:

-

09:45

15:45

-

09:45

15:45

-

09:45

15:45

Change at Visp for the hourly InterCity train to Lausanne...

 Brig depart:

06:01

09:58

15:58

05:58

09:58

  15:58***

05:58

09:58

15:58

 Visp depart:

06:09

10:06

16:06

06:06

10:06

  16:06***

06:06

10:06

16:06

 Lausanne arrive:

07:43

11:39

17:40

07:40

11:39

  17:40***

07:40

11:39

17:40

 Change at Lausanne for the TGV-Lyria train to Paris...

 Lausanne depart:

08:24

12:24

18:24

08:24

12:24

18:24

08:24

12:24

18:24

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

12:03

16:03

22:03

12:03

16:03

22:03

12:03

16:03

22:03

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar (30 minute check-in)

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

15:13

18:13

 07:13*

15:13

19:13

08:13*

15:13

18:13

07:13*

 London St Pancras arrive

16:39

19:39

 08:32*

16:39

20:39

09:30*

16:39

19:39

08:32*

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

     by Eurostar

 From £34.50 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £195 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Lausanne

     by TGV-Lyria

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From just £21

From just £42

From £62

From £124

 Normal flexible fare:

£74

£112

£127

£189

 Youth fare (12-26):

£45

£90

£84

£168

 Senior fare (over 60):

£51

£102

£86

£172

 Child (4 to 11):

£37

£74

£72

£144

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £12 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of InterRail, Eurail, etc. pay £9 in 2nd class, £23 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£64 one-way, £128 return, 1st class. Companion £32 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£17 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 3. Lausanne to Zermatt

Lausanne to Zermatt costs CHF 77 (£52) one-way, CHF 154 (£104) return, so it's better to buy a Swiss Transfer TicketThis allows one return journey from your point of entry (in this case Lausanne) to any station in Switzerland, for CHF 135 (£92) return 2nd class, CHF 216 (£146) return 1st class.  You can check Swiss rail fares at www.sbb.ch.

How to buy tickets...

Custom-made travel & hotel arrangements...

Alternatively:  London to Geneva in 6h18, overnight stop, on to Zermatt next day...


London to Chur, Davos, Klosters & St.Moritz

  Take the train to Switzerland:  The Muottas Muragl Berghotel, near St Moritz

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl (formerly the Muottas Muragl Berghotel):  A wonderful place to stay near St Moritz, reached by local train to Punt Muragl then funicular railway up the mountain to the hotel, perched at 2,456 metres overlooking the Engadin Valley...  Book this hotel online here...

To reach the hotel, simply use www.sbb.ch to search from Zurich or any station in Switzerland to a destination listed as 'Muottas Muragl'.  This will give you precise combined train+funicular times & prices.

The Muottas Muragl Berghotel & view over St Moritz valley

The area around St Moritz, Davos and Klosters has attracted visitors from the UK both for winter sports and summer holidays for over a century.  The journey by narrow-gauge train from Chur to St Moritz is one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, or indeed the world.  The convenient direct sleeper train from Paris to Landquart & Chur was sadly withdrawn with the opening of the TGV-Est high-speed line in June 2007, so here's how to get there overland using the new high-speed TGV trains.

Train times London ► Chur, Davos, Klosters, St Moritz

Train times St Moritz, Klosters, Davos, Chur ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Custom-made travel & hotel arrangements...


London to Liechtenstein

Train & bus service in Liechtenstein...

London to Vaduz


London to Switzerland via Brussels

London-Brussels-Cologne-Basel:  A longer journey, but avoids crossing Paris...

This route takes significantly longer than going via Paris as shown above, but it has two key advantages.  First of all, it avoids having to change trains and stations in Paris by metro or taxi.  On this route, the changes of train in Brussels and Cologne are both straightforward same-station changes taking only take a couple of minutes getting off one train and onto another.  This may be important to you if you have lots of luggage, kids, or a mobility issue.

...and in theory the cheapest way to Switzerland:  London to Basel from €59!

Secondly, if you book well in advance it's possible to find cheap fares from London to Basel Bad Bahnhof from just €59, making this route the cheapest way to Switzerland, if you're lucky enough to find the cheapest €59 price available (if not, the Paris route may be cheaper).  That's because German Railways (DB) offer London Spezial fares from London to anywhere in Germany starting from €59 each way 2nd class, €109 1st class, and you can buy these to Basel Bad Bahnhof (but NOT to Basel's main SBB station) because DB considers Basel Bad Bf as part of its own German network even though it's across the border in Switzerland, just one stop before Basel SBB.  You simply print out your own ticket.  You can then buy a separate onward ticket from Basel Bad Bf to Basel SBB or to Zurich and most other Swiss cities.  Incidentally, there are in fact two direct trains a day from Brussels to Basel via Luxembourg & Strasbourg, but with no cheap fares, no catering and low speeds I won't bother with those here.

London ► Basel from €59

Basel ► London from €59

About these London Spezial fares:  London Spezial fares vary in price from €59 upwards, and booking usually opens 92 days in advance.  You'll only find these London Spezial fares on journeys via DB's ICE trains between Brussels and Cologne, as opposed to Thalys trains, and you really need to look 2-3 months ahead to see the cheapest €59 price level.  You simply print out your own ticket.  If you cannot find any cheap tickets this way (or need to travel at short notice in the next few days), split the journey, booking London-Brussels at www.eurostar.com then booking Brussels-Basel Bad Bf at www.bahn.de.  Or look at some of the other option to Switzerland shown on this page.

Onward tickets from Basel Bad Bf to Basel SBB, Zurich, Bern, and so on:  Once you have bought a 'London Spezial' ticket from London to Basel Bad Bf you can use www.bahn.de again to buy an onward ticket on the same train from Basel Bad Bf to Basel SBB (for just over €4) or indeed onwards to Zurich and other destinations in Switzerland.  No need to get off at Basel Bad Bf, if you've bought the onward ticket just stay on until Basel SBB station.

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs are perhaps the classiest daytime trains in Europe...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  All ICE seats have power sockets.

An ICE at Brussels, change in Cologne for Switzerland.  More ICE info.

Travel tip 1:  Take the Couloir Sud short cut when changing trains from Eurostar onto an ICE at Brussels.  Diving down the Couloir sud escalator half way along the Eurostar platform makes changing trains much quicker than slowly following the crowds off the front end of the Eurostar platforms and going the long way round to the main concourse.

Travel tip 2, take the scenic Rhine Valley.  These days, the system normally routes you via the modern Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line.  However, if you don't mind taking an extra hour or two, simply click 'Add another stopover' and enter 'Koblenz' in a 'Via' box.  You'll now be routed via the original, slower Rhine Valley line, snaking along the River Rhine past castles, vineyards and the famous Lorelei Rock.

Travel tip 3:  If you want to stop overnight (or longer, up to 48 hours) in Brussels or Cologne, simply click 'Enter stopovers', type 'Brussels' or 'Cologne' in the 'Via' box and the number of hours stopover you'd like (up to 48:00 maximum) in the 'hh:mm stopover' box, then run the enquiry.  You can then find the cheap London Spezial fares from €59, but with a stopover included.  Bargain!

Travel tip 4:   In the outward direction, the connections in Brussels are a bit tight, although they are officially recognised.  If you DO miss a connection at any stage in the journey because of a late-running train, don't panic, simply get your ticket endorsed by the station staff.  Because you're travelling with a 'through ticket' you're entitled to travel onwards forward on the next available later train at no extra charge.


London & E. Anglia to Switzerland by train & ferry

  Boarding the Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland

London to Holland by Dutch Flyer train & ferry...  A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The new superferry Stena Hollandica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  See the Netherlands page for details and see the video...

  Captain's suite deluxe cabin on the Stena Line ferry 'Stena Hollandica'

Cosy cabins:  The overnight Harwich-Hoek ferry is a floating hotel.  All passengers travel in a cosy private cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV & free WiFi.  This is a Captain's Class cabin.

  ICE train to Switzerland at Frankfurt hauptbahnhof

Onwards to Switzerland by ICE high-speed train:  This is a superb 175 mph German ICE train at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof.

ICE train, 2nd class

2nd class seats on the ICE.  A bistro car serves meals on proper china.   Stay overnight in Switzerland, then on to Italy by EuroCity train...

The comfortable ferry alternative...

If you want to avoid the Channel Tunnel, for example if you suffer from claustrophobia or if problems are affecting the Eurostar service, you can travel by train & ferry instead, as shown here.  It's one of the routes shown in dark blue on the route map above.  This route is also handy if you live in East Anglia as you can travel direct to Harwich avoiding London, and it also avoids France, if the French are on strike again!  Indeed, you may simply like the idea of cruising overnight in a luxury en suite cabin on the Stena Line superferry, then travelling on by daytime train to Switzerland next morning - see the video!  If you need to travel at very short notice when cheap Eurostar tickets are unavailable, this rail & sail option may still be affordable. 

I don't recommend travelling via Dover & Calais because it's a pain in the neck, even though it may seem like the most direct route  Bus transfers are now required between station & port in both Dover & Calais, and you can no longer buy through tickets from London to Paris this way.  Instead, I recommend using the excellent integrated rail & sail service via Harwich & Hoek van Holland, because trains arrive right at the ferry terminal in both Harwich & Hoek, cheap through tickets are available from London to any Dutch station, and an overnight ferry with comfortable private cabins (all with toilet & shower) gets you to Holland in the morning in time for onward daytime trains to Switzerland.    Here's how to do it:

London, East Anglia & Harwich ► Switzerland

Switzerland  ► Harwich, East Anglia & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone:  Special booking form


Scotland & North of England to Switzerland

  DFDS Seaways ferry 'Princess of Norway' about to sail from Newcastle.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam...

  A Commodore Deluxe cabin on DFDS Seaways

A Commodore deluxe cabin with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

  A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, option 1 is to take a train up to London and travel from London to Switzerland as described above.  This may well be the quickest & easiest option.  Here's some advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.  If you live in Scotland, the Caledonian Sleepers will get you up to London in time for a morning Eurostar & afternoon TGV to Switzerland.

But consider option 2, by-passing London by taking a luxurious overnight cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam run by DFDS Seaways or a similar overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam run by P&O Ferries, spend next day exploring Amsterdam, then take the overnight City Night Line sleeper train to Basel or Zurich, with onward train connections to anywhere in Switzerland?

Scotland & the North ► Amsterdam ► Switzerland

Switzerland ► Amsterdam ► Scotland & the North

Fares & how to buy tickets...


SBB first class lounge at Zurich

Wait for your train in comfort...

If you have any first class international ticket you can use the SBB Lounge at Zurich HB before or after your journey.  It's located upstairs on the platform 3 side of the station, follow signs to SBB Lounge.  There are both stairs and a lift, although the lift is accessed through a different passageway from the main concourse.  The alpine vista lampshades are particularly good!

The lounge offers free WiFi and complimentary tea, coffee, snacks and soft drinks.

The lounge is open 06:00-21:00 every day including weekends.

Information on first class lounges in other European cities.

  SBB first class lounge at Zurich Hauptbahnhof

Swiss Passes & Swiss Transfer Tickets

Switzerland is one of the few remaining European countries where relatively high point-to-point rail fares and the lack of compulsory reservations & supplements makes railpasses both good value and convenient.  You can buy your passes online from the Switzerland Travel Centre, a subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways.  The Swiss Travel System people can also make the seat reservations necessary for the few panoramic sightseeing trains that require them, such as the Glacier Express.

The Swiss Transfer ticket:  Your transfer within Switzerland on arrival & departure...

The Swiss Pass & Swiss Flexi Pass:  Unlimited travel during your stay in Switzerland

 

 

 


Guidebooks

The Man in Seat 61 book - click to buy onlineClick to buy - Lonely Planet Western EuropeRough Guide to Switzerland - buy online at Amazon.co.ukLonely Planet Switzerland - buy online at Amazon.co.ukDefinitely take a good guidebook.  For the independent traveller, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and historical background. You won't regret buying one!  My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon.co.uk with shipping worldwide.

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.


The European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe/Maps--Atlases/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


Find hotels in Switzerland

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Personal recommendations...

Suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon... 

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelbookers.com...

Homestays: www.homestay.com...


Holidays to Switzerland by train...

  Railbookers.com

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-800-408-3280 (USA)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 002 034 (NZ)

 

01904 730 727

  Great Rail Journeys

01904 527120

 
 

020 7619 1080

Pls quote 'seat61'

If you want a holiday to Switzerland by train not plane, but want someone else to organise all the train tickets & hotels for you, several specialist companies do just that, for a holiday with no airport hassles and no long days in cramped coach seats on motorways.  Railbookers & Erail offer tailor-made individual holidays with departure on any date you like, whereas Rail Discoveries & Great Rail Journeys offer escorted tours with specific departure dates.

Railbookers for custom-made train holidays & breaks to Switzerland...

Railbookers can custom-make a flight-free holiday or short break to Switzerland for you, with train travel & hotels, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  For example, they can do a 2-night short break to Geneva or a 4-night trip including the famous Glacier Express and the equally amazing Bernina Express.  See the Railbookers Switzerland page for suggested itineraries & prices.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com

Call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 002 034 or see website.

Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727:  Escorted tours...

Rail Discoveries offers several train-based tours to Switzerland, with 3* hotels and travel from London by Eurostar and high-speed TGV.  For example, they offer an 8-day tour combining Mont Blanc with the amazing Glacier Express (see the Glacier Express page).  Check details & prices online at www.raildiscoveries.com, then book online or call 01904 730 727.

Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com, 01904 527120:  Escorted tours...

GRJ offers five-star inclusive tours to Switzerland, with 1st class train travel and 5* hotels.  Their most popular tour combines 1st class overland travel from London to Switzerland by Eurostar & high-speed TGV with a ride on the famous narrow-gauge Glacier Express, which runs right across Switzerland from St Moritz to Zermatt through spectacular scenery.  Tours depart regularly throughout much of the year.  Check the tour details & prices online, then call 01904 527120 to book or use their online booking form.

Erail, www.erail.co.uk, 020 7619 1080  (please quote 'Seat61.com' when you call)...

If you prefer to travel on your own unescorted with departure on any date you like, Erail offers tours to Switzerland by train from the UK such as a 7-day tour from London taking in the Glacier Express.


Send your luggage in advance

Ride the trains without heavy luggage... 

Send your suitcase ahead by Luggage Mule from around £30 each way.


Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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