To check train times & fares within Switzerland, use the Swiss Railways website www.sbb.ch.

This page explains how to buy train tickets from Swiss cities to other European cities at the cheapest prices, buying online direct from the operators, usually with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets.  On the other hand, if you'd rather someone sorted out your whole trip for you, see here.

I want to travel from Switzerland to...

Click here for journeys starting in another city.

Train information is current for 2016.

SBB first class lounge at Zurich

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...



Buying tickets for journeys within Switzerland:  See the train travel in Switzerland page...
Swiss Passes, Half Fare Cards & Swiss Transfer tickets:  See the train travel in Switzerland page...

Switzerland to London from €59...

Switzerland to Paris by TGV from €25...
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.


Switzerland to Lyon, Avignon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice or anywhere in France from €25...

Switzerland to Brussels & Bruges from €39...

Option 1, by ICE high-speed trains via Cologne:  Switzerland to Brussels in as little as 6h22 from €39 - the easiest route...

Option 2, by high-speed trains via Paris - cheap & fast, but involves crossing Paris.  E.g. Geneva to Brussels in as little as 5h41...

Option 3, by direct Basel-Brussels EuroCity trains in 6h30.  This option is no longer available, as these trains were discontinued from 3 April 2016.


Switzerland to Luxembourg...

Switzerland to Amsterdam from €39...

Option 1, by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Sleeping-car room - Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   4-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   6-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train  

A sleeping-car as used on the Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most civilised option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

 

Couchettes:  For sole occupancy for 4 people, simply book 5 tickets in a 5-berth compartment.

 

5-berth couchettes:  All City Night Line couchettes are now in 5-berth compartments...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car as used on the Zurich-Amsterdam City Night Line sleeper train Pegasus.

More pictures & information about this train...

Option 2, by daytime trains...

High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne ICE3 second class ICE3 first class

An ICE3 as used between Frankfurt & Amsterdam.  More ICE information.

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs is one of the most comfortable trains in Europe...

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


Switzerland to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome & Italy from €9...

Option 1, take a EuroCity train through the Alps from Switzerland to Milan, then a high-speed train to Florence, Rome, Naples or Venice - the fast way...

ETR610 EuroCity train from Switzerland at Milan Centrale   2nd class seats on an ETR610 EuroCity train to Italy

ETR610 train now used on all EuroCity trains between Switzerland & Milan.

 

2nd class seats on the stylish ETR610 EuroCity train...

The restaurant car on an ETR610 EuroCity train   Meal on a Swiss EuroCity train between Switzerland & Milan

The restaurant car on an ETR610...

 

Dinner in the diner...

Pretty church & vineyards seen from a Zurich to Milan train   Pretty church & vineyards seen from a Zurich to Milan train

The regular Zurich to Milan trains take the Gotthard main line through the Swiss Alps, past pretty Swiss villages & vineyards...

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train   Lunch in the Swiss-run restaurant car of the 11:25 Milan to Basel

Zurich-Milan trains pass the Zugersee, Vierwaldstattersee & Lake Lugano, all in Switzerland.  Geneva-Milan trains skirt Lake Leman, and both Geneva-Milan & Basel-Milan trains pass Lake Maggiore in Italy.  Above left, Lake Maggiore is seen from the restaurant car of the 11:25 Milan to Basel over an excellent lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent Swiss red wine...

Pretty church & vineyards seen from a Zurich to Milan train   Restaurant car of a tilting 'Pendolino' train from Geneva to Milan.

The Gotthard Pass!  In the depths of winter it's a winter wonderland with crags and cliffs and snow-capped mountains.  The train passes through the Gotthard Tunnel, 15 km (9 miles) long and opened in 1882.  Passing through the tunnel takes just 7 or 8 minutes, reaching the highest point of the line at 1,151 metres (3,776 feet) above sea level.

Option 2, the ultimate scenic route:  Switzerland to Milan via the slow but amazing Bernina route...

First class seats   Bernina Express panormaic cars

Bernina Express 1st class seats...

 

the Bernina Express uses panoramic carriages...

The train descends from the Bernina Pass

The Bernina Express descends from the Bernina Pass...


Switzerland to Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne & Germany from €39...

Option 1, by time-effective City Night Line sleeper train... 

Option 2, by daytime train...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

ICE2 at Berlin.  More info about ICE


Switzerland to Munich from €39...
Train from Zurich to Munich   Restaurant car on a Zurich to Munich train

EuroCity train from Zurich to Munich, boarding at Zurich HB.

 

Restaurant car:  Treat yourself to a beer!

1st class seats   Scenery from the train

1st class.  Photos courtesy Discoverbyrail.com.

 

Scenery from the train between Zurich & Munich...


Switzerland to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €29...

Option 1, by time-effective overnight sleeper train...

   

A double-deck sleeping-car...

 

2-berth sleeper.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Option 2, by daytime Railjet trains through the scenic Arlberg Pass...

The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

Railjets are ÖBB's (Austrian Railways) premier trains...  More photos, video & information about Railjets.

 

Economy class on RailJet, in open saloons with picture windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

Soon after leaving Zurich, the Railjet is running alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...

Train into Austria: Mountain scenery   Mountain scenery near Buchs

Watch out for hilltop castles - this is Sargans castle, seen from the train...

 

The train cuts across Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through Schaan-Liechtenstein station...

The mountains keep on coming...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In Railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

The view of the Fortress Hohensalzburg as the Railjet crosses the River Salzach & approaches Salzburg station....

Watch the video:  Zurich to Austria through the Arlberg Pass...


Switzerland to Barcelona & Spain from €59...

Switzerland to Barcelona in an afternoon & evening by direct TGV high-speed train!

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 link Paris with Barcelona.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

 

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

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 at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.


Switzerland to Lisbon & Portugal...
En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet   Trainhotel at Madrid

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

...return from the cafe-bar to find the beds made up...

 

Gran Clase sleepers have a toilet & shower...

 

The trainhotel from Madrid to Lisbon is an articulated Spanish Talgo train.  Seen here at Madrid Chamartin station.


Switzerland to Copenhagen from €59...

Option 1, by daytime trains...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class Copenhagen-Cologne ICE on the Rodby-Puttgarten ferry

ICE 2nd class.

ICE 1st class with leather seats.

The ICE on board the ferry.

Option 2, using the Zurich-Hamburg sleeper - the time-effective option!

Sleeping-car room - Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   4-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   6-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train  

A sleeping-car as used on the Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most civilised option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

 

Couchettes:  For sole occupancy for 4 people, simply book 5 tickets in a 5-berth compartment.

 

5-berth couchettes:  All City Night Line couchettes are now in 5-berth compartments...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car as used on the Zurich-Hamburg City Night Line sleeper train.

More pictures & information about this train...


Switzerland to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö from €59...

Option 1, Switzerland to Copenhagen by day trains in a single day from €58.  Onwards to Stockholm next day...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class Copenhagen-Cologne ICE on the Rodby-Puttgarten ferry

ICE 2nd class seats.

ICE 1st class with leather seats.

The ICE on board the ferry.

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station 2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

A 125 mph SJ 2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station....

 

2nd class seating on the SJ 2000.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

 

Self-service buffet car on the SJ 2000 to Stockholm.

More information about SJ2000

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Hamburg.  Switzerland-Copenhagen from €68, Switzerland-Stockholm from €78...

Option 3, using the Zurich-Hamburg sleeper - the time-effective option!

Sleeping-car room - Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   4-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   6-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train  

A sleeping-car as used on the Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most civilised option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

 

Couchettes:  For sole occupancy for 4 people, simply book 5 tickets in a 5-berth compartment.

 

5-berth couchettes:  All City Night Line couchettes are now in 5-berth compartments.

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car as used on the Zurich-Hamburg City Night Line sleeper train.

More pictures & information about this train...


Switzerland to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Switzerland to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line cruise ferry - the most comfortable way to Oslo...

Option 2, via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...


Switzerland to Helsinki & Finland...

Switzerland to Prague from €60...

Option 1 until 10 December 2016:  By direct City Night Line sleeper train from Switzerland to Prague...

Option 1 from 11 December 2016:  By direct EuroNight sleeper train from Switzerland to Prague...

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   Standard sleeper compartment, washstand   Comfortline sleeper corridor
Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.   The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.   Economy sleeper compartments have a washstand with hot water, fresh towels, drinking water & soap.   Just like a hotel corridor...  The corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car...

Option 2, by daytime trains via Munich...

Option 3, by daytime trains via Dresden...


Switzerland to Bratislava...
The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, about to leave from Vienna Hauptbahnhof. 

Tip:  Behind the locomotive there's usually a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!


Switzerland to Budapest & Hungary...

Option 1, by direct daytime Railjet train from Zurich to Budapest thought the scenic Arlberg Pass... 

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

Soon after leaving Zurich, the Railjet runs alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In Railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

The mountains keep on coming...

Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.

Economy class on RailJet, in open saloons, all with power sockets.

 

"The RailJet has landed..."  A Railjet arrived at Budapest's beautiful Keleti station.

Option 2, by direct sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest... 

The sleeper train to Budapest   Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Munich to Budapest

Hungarian sleeping-car to Budapest...

 

2-berth sleeper...

6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   Couchette car on the Kalman Imre to Budapest

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car...


Switzerland to Ljubljana & Slovenia, Zagreb & Croatia...

Option 1, by direct sleeper train from Switzerland to Croatia...

Option 2 by daytime trains...


Switzerland to Dubrovnik & Split
Ancona to Split ferries in Split Harbour   Deluxe cabin onm Ancona to Split ferry

Blue Line & Jadrolinija ferries in Split Harbour...  Above right, a deluxe cabin on the Blue Line ferry, which comes complete with an en suite jacuzzi...  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

 


Switzerland to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

Option 1, via Zagreb...

Option 2, via Budapest... 


Switzerland to Bucharest & Romania...

Switzerland to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland from €49...

Option 1, by daytime trains in a single day...

Option 2, by sleeper to Berlin then daytime train to Warsaw...


Switzerland to Lviv, Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, via Budapest...

The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

The Budapest-Kiev train... Courtesy of Alessandro

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.

Option 2, via Warsaw...

The Kiev Express has modernised Ukrainian sleeping-cars with 2-berth & 3-berth compartments.  All bedding is supplied, and washrooms and toilets are at the end of the corridor.  Berths convert to seats for daytime use.  A smartly-uniformed Ukrainian railways sleeper attendant travels with each car.  Photos courtesy of www.railbookers.com

The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

Boarding in Warsaw...

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.


Switzerland to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

The Polonez from Warsaw to Moscow uses Russian air-conditioned sleeping-cars, pictured below, with compartments which can be used as 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth (shown below right), with a shower & toilets at the end of the corridor.  See panorama photo inside one of the new Russian sleepers.

A modern Russian sleeping-car of the sort used on the Polonez   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

Switzerland to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

Option 1, by train to Italy then ferry...

A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

Option 2, by train all the way via Belgrade...


Switzerland to Istanbul & Turkey...

 


Railbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, the people to talk to are Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk.

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.


Find hotels in Switzerland & other countries

 

◄◄ 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.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

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

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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 a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly 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.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

 


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