Buy tickets for trains in Germany

Switzerland by train.  There's no check-in, you walk straight from the city centre into the station, glance at the indicator board to find your train & hop on, any time before departure...

Check Swiss train times & buy tickets at

For international trains to or from Switzerland, see here.


Swiss tickets & Swiss Passes explained...

Swiss trains run like clockwork, so they say...  And they pretty much do.  The whole of Switzerland is covered by a frequent, punctual and efficient integrated train network that's really easy to use.  In most cases you can just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.  Swiss Federal Railways (= SBB in German, CFF in French or FFS in Italian) runs most mainline trains, but there are many smaller private operators running local & regional routes.

Train travel within Switzerland...

  How to check train times & buy tickets

  Regular tickets, Supersaver tickets & Saver Day Pass

  Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Travel Pass Flex, Half Fare Card

  Map of the Swiss rail network - download PDF map

  What are Swiss trains like?

  Travel tips: Luggage, food & drink, bikes, dogs...

  Zurich HB station information

  Useful country information: Currency, dial code, etc

  Recommended guidebooks

  Custom-made tours of Switzerland by train

  Hotels & accommodation in Switzerland

Swiss scenic trains...

  Bernina Express - Switzerland's most scenic train?

  Glacier Express - Another great Swiss scenic train.

  Golden Pass route - Montreux-Interlaken-Lucerne

  Jungfraubahn - to the Top of Europe...

International trains to & from Switzerland...

  Train travel between the UK & Switzerland

  Trains from other European cities to Switzerland

  Trains from Switzerland to other European cities

  TGV-Lyria high-speed trains Paris - Switzerland

Train information on other pages...

  Train seat numbering plans

  Luggage on trainsLeft luggage at stations

  Eurail passes &  InterRail passes

  General European train travel information

  Taking bikes   Taking dogs

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:  All European train times:



Swiss railpasses:


Buy Swiss Travel Passes - See the advice here

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:




£1 = 1.26 Swiss Francs, $1 = 1.01 Swiss Francs  Check exchange rates

Tourist information:    Escorted tours to the Alps by train

Hotels in Switzerland:

Find hotels in Switzerland.   Reviews:  Backpacker hostels:

Page last updated:

5 June 2019.

Swiss train times, fares & tickets

Do you need to buy tickets in advance?

How to check train times & prices and buy tickets online...

Regular fares...

Supersaver fares...

Saver Day Pass...

Another possible way to save on Swiss train fares...

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Swiss Passes & Half Fare Cards


What are they & should you buy one?  If so, which one?  Let me explain...

Switzerland is one of the few remaining European countries where relatively expensive 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 or Bernina Express.  But I'm often asked if a pass makes sense, or to help people decide between a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare card.

The Swiss Transfer Ticket was discontinued in January 2019, incidentally - this used to give one round trip from point of entry to any destination within Switzerland.  However, ordinary tickets were usually a better bet.

(1)  Saver Day Pass:  Unlimited travel for one day...

(2)  Swiss Travel Pass & Swiss Travel Pass Flex:  Unlimited travel for a period of days...

(3)  The Swiss Half Fare cardHalf-price train travel in Switzerland for a month...

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What are Swiss trains like?

Classic Swiss InterCity (IC) or InterRegional (IR) trains ....

Classic Swiss InterCity train
Swiss InterCity train, 2nd class   Swiss InterCity train, 1st class

2nd class seats...


1st class seats.  What you see is all you get, nothing more.

Double-deck InterCity (IC) trains...

2nd class seats on double-deck Swiss InterCity train   Double-decker Swiss InterCity train

You'll find double-deck InterCity trains on various routes, with 1st & 2nd class sections on both upper & lower decks and a restaurant or cafe car.  I recommend an upper deck seat for the best views - the stairs are shallow and easy, even with luggage, and there are luggage stacks both upstairs and downstairs.  You'll find these double-deck trains on many IC routes including Zurich-Bern-Lausanne-Geneva, Zurich-Bern-Spiez-Brig, Zurich-Lucerne, Basel-Zurich-Chur.

Pendolino tilting InterCity (IC) trains...

Swiss pendolino (ICN) train   Seats on a Swiss ICN tilting train

These ICN Pendolino trains can tilt, enabling them to go round curves faster than normal trains.  They have cut journey times on several curvaceous Swiss InterCity routes.  Designed by Pininfarina, they feature a restaurant car and can reach 200km/h (125mph) although they don't often reach that speed in service.  You'll find these trains operating IC trains on these routes Geneva-Basel, Geneva-Zurich, Lausanne-Basel, Lausanne-Zurich, Basel-Lucerne-Lugano-Chiasso and Zurich-Lugano-Chiasso.

Swiss private operators...

Local train on the Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn   Local train on the Rhatische Bahn

Swiss local trains are run by SBB or a plethora of local private operators.  The trains come in all shapes & sizes, some old, some new.  Above left, a local train run by Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn (MGB) on the Brig-Zermatt line.  Above right, a train from St Moritz to Chur run by the Rhätische Bahn (RhB).  Expect the seats to look very similar to the classic SBB IC/IR train shown above.

Seat numbering plans: Click here...

You'll find seat numbering plans for European trains on the Train seat numbering page.

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Travel tips...

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Swiss scenic trains...

Bernina Express:  See the Bernina Express page

Glacier Express:  See the Glacier Express page

Jungfrau Bahn See the Jungfraubahn page

Golden Pass Line Montreux - Lucerne...

This is a mainly narrow-gauge route from Montreux to Lucerne via the well-known ski resort of Gstaad.  It's slower than using mainline trains between Montreux, but very scenic and marketed to tourists as the Golden Pass route.  It's actually three separate trains, all connecting with each other and each run by a different private operator:  Montreux to Zweisimmen by the Montreux-Oberland Bernois Railway (metre gauge), Zweisimmen to Interlaken on the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon (BLS) Railway (standard gauge) and Interlaken to Lucerne on the Brunig Railway operated by the Zentralbahn (metre gauge).  As with other tourist trains, reservation is necessary if you want to travel in the panoramic tourists cars on the key departures, but regular trains run frequently over the same route and these need no prior reservation.

The website for the joint service is  But I find it easier to find Montreux-Lucerne Golden Pass times using the journey planner at - just make sure you put 'Zweisimmen' in the via box, click 'advanced options' and put Interlaken Ost in the second via box before running the enquiry.  Then it will find journeys with 2 changes via this slower scenic Golden Pass route, rather than the faster mainline route.

Seats on a Golden Pass train   Golden Pass panoramic train

Panoramic car on the Montreux-Zweisimmen section of the Golden Pass route.

Gornergrat, Matterhorn, Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis, Schilthorn...

If you live in the UK, you can buy excursion tickets up these mountains here:

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Invest in a good guidebook, even in the age of the internet.  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!

Click the images to buy at

Lonely Planet Switzerland - buy online at   Rough Guide to Switzerland - buy online at   Click to buy - Lonely Planet Western Europe

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.

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Tours of Switzerland by train


Custom-made tours of Switzerland by train...

If you want to tour Switzerland by train, with all your train tickets and hotels sorted for you to your own specification, contact train tour specialists Railbookers and they'll create the best rail-based tour for you, hassle-free.  Unlike some overseas travel agents, they really do know all about train travel across Europe, and they know some excellent hotels, too.  They take good care of their clients and it's not surprising they get a lot of repeat business, so I have no hesitation in recommending them.

Tip:  Check out their 8-day Switzerland's Lakes & Mountains tour (link to their UK site) or Swiss Lakes & Mountains tour (link to their US & Canada site) which includes both the famously scenic Glacier Express and Bernina Express trains.  Also see their 5-day Classic Bernina Express & Glacier Express tour (link to their UK site) or Classic Bernina Express & Glacier Express tour (link to their US & Canada site) which also combine these two classic Alpine routes.

  UK call 020 3327 0761,

  US call free 1-888-829-4775,

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910,

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526,

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

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Find hotels anywhere in Switzerland


Favourite hotel search & price comparison: checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Personal recommendations...

Backpacker hostels:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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