London to Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich or Basel from £78

The Matterhorn, Zermatt.  Take the train to Switzerland!

Thames to the Matterhorn without flying

Buy train tickets UK to Switzerland

 

Book your hotels at Booking.com

 

Lunch in London, bedtime in Switzerland, by train!

Take Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h20, have lunch at the remarkable Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon, then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Geneva in 3h05, Lausanne in 3h39, Basel in 3h03 or Zurich in 4h03 from €29 each way.  It's more civilised, comfortable & environmentally-friendly than any flight, centre to centre with no baggage fees or airport taxes.  Infants go free & there's great scenery on the way.  This page explains the best routes, train times, fares & how to buy tickets.

small bullet point  London to Basel, Zurich & Lucerne

small bullet point  London to Geneva

small bullet point  London to Bern

small bullet point  London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

small bullet point  London to Interlaken

small bullet point  London to Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen

small bullet point  London to Brig, Zermatt & the Matterhorn

small bullet point  London to Chur, Klosters, Davos, St Moritz

small bullet point  London to Vaduz & Liechtenstein

small bullet point  London to Switzerland via Brussels - avoids Paris

small bullet point  London to Switzerland by ferry from Harwich

small bullet point  London to Switzerland by ferry from Portsmouth

small bullet point  UK to Switzerland by ferry from Hull or Newcastle

small bullet point  How to buy train tickets to Switzerland

small bullet point  Starting from other UK towns & cities

Train travel within Switzerland

small bullet point  Train travel in Switzerland - a beginner's guide

small bullet point  Swiss Travel Pass, Half Fare Card

small bullet point  Map of the Swiss rail network - download map

small bullet point  The Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz

small bullet point  The Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano & Milan

small bullet point  The Jungfraubahn to the Top of Europe

small bullet point  The Golden Pass - Montreux-Interlaken-Lucerne

small bullet point  Station guides: Geneva  Lausanne  Basel SBB  Zurich HB

International travel to/from Switzerland

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Switzerland

small bullet point  Trains from Switzerland to other European cities

Other useful information

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Quick guide to Zurich main station

small bullet point  Holidays & escorted tours to Switzerland by train

small bullet point  Hotels in Switzerland

small bullet point  How to cross Paris by metro or taxi

small bullet point  Luggage on trains &  Left luggage at stations

small bullet point  Taking your bike  

small bullet point  Taking your dog

small bullet point  Passengers with disabilities  

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data, VPN & other tips

Interactive map Click a destination or route
Route map, London to Switzerland by train  

A Eurostar at St Pancras International...

 

TGV-Lyria to Switzerland:  Relaxed and easy!

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.  All European train times: int.bahn.de

 

 

 

 

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:

 

+41

Currency:

£1 = 1.1 Swiss Francs, €1 = 0.97 Swiss Francs, approx.  Check exchange rates

Tourist information: 

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

Hotels:

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

Page last updated:

18 June 2024. Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


London to Basel, Zurich, Lucerne

Option 1, London to Basel or Zurich via Paris

Take Eurostar from London to Paris with cafe-bar & free WiFi.  Standard Premier & Business Premier fares include breakfast on departures before 11:00 and a meal with wine on later departures.  Change trains & stations in Paris by metro or taxi, then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Basel in only 3h04 or Zurich in 4h03, also with cafe-bar & free WiFi.  Why not book an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon?

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Basel & Zurich

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

11:31

13:31

20:01

07:31

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

08:01

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:19

14:48

16:48

23:18

10:48

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:87

11:20

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

12:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

15:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

 Zurich HB arrive:

16:26

20:26

22:26

11:26

16:26

18:26

20:26

22:26

14:26

16:26

18:26

20:26

22:26

11:26

Timetable inward 2024

 Basel & Zurich ► London

 Lyria TGV:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zurich HB depart:

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

18:34

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

18:34

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

18:34

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

19:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

19:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

19:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:38

13:40

15:38

17:38

22:42

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

22:42

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

22:42

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

14:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

14:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

13:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arrive

16:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

15:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

15:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

Notes for timetable

For Lucerne, change in Basel.  Hourly trains link Basel SBB & Lucerne in as little as 1h02, check times at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.

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

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards than the one shown.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!  See  suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What are the trains like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Paris in 2h20, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Standard Premier & Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guideHow to cross Paris by metro or taxi.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at Paris Nord.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria

All TGV-Lyria trains are now 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck TGV Duplex like the one shown below.  TGV-Lyria trains have 3 classes:  Standard class (2nd), standard premiere (1st class) and business premiere (1st class with hot meal & drinks included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at all seats in all classes.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.  More about TGV-LyriaParis Gare de Lyon station guideBasel SBB station guideZurich HB station guide.

TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Switzerland, at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV-Lyria TGV Duplex train at Paris Gare de Lyon. More about TGV-Lyria

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

Cafe-bar on upper deck car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

TGV Lyria first class, upper deck   A TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Switzerland

1st class on the upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. Larger photo.

 

A TGV-Lyria boarding at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

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 to Switzerland, here I'll explain the options.

Option 1, buy at Raileurope.com

  Buy train tickets to Switzerland at Raileurope.com
 

For hotels...

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

See my personal hotel recommendations in Zurich & in the St Moritz area.

 

Option 2, buy at Thetrainline.com

Option 3, buy at eurostar.com + sncf-connect.com + sbb.ch

Or use an Interrail pass

Or ask Byway to arrange it for you

Or ask Railbookers to arrange for you

Or ask Tailor Made Rail to arrange it

How to buy tickets by phone

Back to top


London to Geneva

Option 1, London to Geneva via Paris

Take Eurostar from London to Paris with cafe-bar & free WiFi.  Change trains & stations in Paris by metro or taxi, then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Geneva, also with cafe-bar and free WiFi.

For the first part of the journey, the Paris-Geneva TGVs use the TGV-Sud Est line at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  They then slow right down over classic lines through beautiful French mountain scenery for the rest of the run to Geneva, 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.  Why not book an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon?

Timetable outward 2024

 London Geneva

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

07:01

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

07:31

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

08:01

09:31

11:31

13:31

15:31 

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

10:19

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

10:48

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

11:20

12:50

14:48

16:48

18:50 

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart

12:18

14:18

16:18

18:18

08:18

12:18

14:18

16:18

18:18

10:18

12:18

14:18

16:18

18:18

20:18

06:18

 Geneva arrive:

15:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

11:29

15:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

13:29

15:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

23:29

09:29

Timetable inward 2024

 Geneva ► London

 Lyria TGV to Paris.

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Geneva depart:

06:29

08:24

10:29

12:29

14:29

18:24

06:29

08:24

10:29

12:29

14:29

18:24

08:24

10:29

12:29

14:29

18:24

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive:

09:42

11:42

13:42

15:42

17:42

21:42

09:42

11:42

13:42

15:42

17:42

21:42

11:42

13:42

15:42

17:42

21:42

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart:

12:12

14:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

12:12

14:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

13:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arrive:

13:30

16:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

13:30

15:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

15:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

Notes for timetable

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

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

Outwards from London, by all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar or a later morning TGV to Geneva.  Inwards to London, by all means choose an earlier TGV to Paris or later morning Eurostar to London.  Your call!  See suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What are the trains like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Paris in 2h20, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guideHow to cross Paris by metro or taxi.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at Paris Nord.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2.  Paris to Geneva by TGV-Lyria duplex

All TGV-Lyria trains are now 320km/h (199 mph) double-deck TGV Duplex like the one shown below.  TGV-Lyria trains have 3 classes:  Standard class (2nd), standard premiere (1st class) and business premiere (1st class with hot meal & drinks included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at all seats in all classes.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.  More about TGV-LyriaParis Gare de Lyon station guideGeneva station guide.

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV-Lyria euroduplex train to Geneva, at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 320 km/h double-deckers operate most Paris-Geneva & some Paris Basel-Zurich trains.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

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

Cafe-bar on upper deck car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.

 

2nd (standard) class on upper deck with a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

TGV Lyria first class, upper deck   A TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Switzerland

1st class on upper deck, used as Standard Premiere & Business Premier.  Larger photo.

 

TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 wide and easy stairs up to top deck.

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!

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

The TGV leaves the high-speed line and slows right down to join the Haut-Bugey Line.  Just after a short tunnel the train crosses the spectacular Cize-Bolozon viaduct over the Ain gorge (above), the major structure on the Haut-Bugey line.  The best view from the viaduct is on the left hand side of the train, pictured above.

Scenery along the Haut-Bugey line, seen from the Geneva to Paris train

For the last hour or so into Geneva, the train snakes through the hills on the wonderfully scenic Haut-Bugey line.

Scenery along the Haut-Bugey line, seen from the Geneva to Paris train

More scenery as the TGV from Paris to Geneva heads through the hills along the river valley between Bourg en Bresse & Bellegarde.  The best views are on the right hand side, so keep a good lookout, although you can't pick sides when booking.

Lake seen from the Paris to Geneva train

Nearing Switzerland, the train passes a lake, probably the Lac de Nantua.

Back to top

Option 2, London to Geneva via Lille & Lyon

This takes a bit longer than going via Paris, and usually costs a bit more.  But it avoids crossing Paris, with two easy same-station changes, at Lille and Lyon.  If you have heavy luggage, kids or mobility problems, it's a good option.

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Geneva

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

11:04

13:01

11:04

13:01

11:04

13:01

 Lille Europe arrive

13:27

15:27

13:27

15:27

13:27

15:27

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV

 Lille Europe depart

14:01

17:01

14:01

17:00

14:01

17:01

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

17:00

20:00

17:00

20:00

17:00

20:00

 Easy change at Lyon onto a TER regional train

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

17:38

20:38

18:38

20:38

17:38

20:38

 Geneva arrive

19:34

22:35

20:46

22:35

19:34

22:35

Timetable inward 2024

 Geneva ► London

 TER regional train

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Geneva depart

07:14

11:29

13:14

07:14

11:29

13:14

07:14

11:29

13:14

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

09:22

13:26

15:22

09:22

13:26

15:22

09:22

13:26

15:22

 High-speed TGV

 

   

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

11:00

14:00

15:59

11:00

14:00

17:00

11:00

14:00

15:59

 Lille Europe arrive

14:24

16:58

19:44

14:31

16:58

19:57

14:21

16:58

19:44

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute minimum check-in

 Lille Europe depart

15:30

18:35

21:35

15:30

18:35

21:00

16:35

18:35

21:35

 London St Pancras arrive

15:57

18:57

21:57

16:00

18:57

21:57

16:57

18:57

21:57

Notes for timetable

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

Times may vary, check for your dates using www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.  Don't buy Eurostar tickets until you have confirmed onward train times.  Eurostar doesn't run on 25 December.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What are the trains like?

1. London to Lille by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Lille in 1h22, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Lille Europe station guide & tips on changing trains.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Lille to Lyon by TGV

TGV or Train á Grande Vitesse is French Railways high-speed train, with 1st & 2nd class and a cafe-bar.  They come in various types, some single-deck, some double-deck TGV Duplex, you could get either on cross-France routes from Lille.  Most have power sockets at seats, most now have free WiFi.  The photos below show a single-deck TGV with the Christian Lacroix designer interior.  The direct TGVs from Lille by-pass Paris on a high-speed avoiding line via Charles de Gaulle Airport station.  More about TGVLyon Part Dieu station guide.

2nd class on a Paris-Milan TGV   TGV from Paris arrived at Luxembourg

2nd class with mix of unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats 2+2 across car width. Larger photo.

 

TGV arrived at Paris Gare de l'Est.

Cafe-bar on the Paris-Milan TGV   1st class on the Paris-Milan TGV

Cafe-bar selling tea, coffee, beer, wine, cold snacks & microwaved dishes.  Larger photo.

 

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

3. Lyon to Geneva by TER regional train

These run every couple of hours, no reservation necessary or possible, you sit where you like.  There's some nice scenery between Lyon & Geneva, too.  More about Lyon to Geneva TER trainsLyon Part Dieu station guide Geneva station guide.

2nd class seats on Geneva-Lyon TER train   Geneva-Lyon TER train at Geneva

2nd class seats on Lyon-Geneva TER.   Larger photo.

 

A TER to Lyon at Geneva.

Scenery from the train between Lyon and Geneva

Scenery from the Lyon to Geneva TER as it follows the River Rhône.  It follows the river for much of the way, mainly on the left hand side going Geneva to Lyon, right hand side Lyon to Geneva.

Back to top


London to Bern

Taking the train is the stress-free and environmentally-sound way from London to Bern.  Eurostar links London & Paris in 2h20 from £52 one-way or £78 return.  High speed TGV-Lyria trains link Paris with Basel in 3h04 from €29 each way - change in Basel for a Swiss intercity train to Bern taking 58 minutes.  TGV-Lyrias have standard class (2nd class), standard premiere (1st class) and business premiere (1st class with flexible fares and at-seat meal & wine included).  There's a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  You can find a seat numbering plan & other useful information at www.tgv-lyria.com.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.  What's it like on board a TGV-Lyria?For the ferry alternative, see here.

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Bern

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:12

11:31

13:31

20:01

06:31

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

08:01

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:19

14:48

16:48

23:18

09:48

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

11:20

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

12:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

15:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

 Change at Basel onto a half-hourly Swiss train

 Basel SBB depart:

15:56

19:56

21:56

10:56

15:56

17:56

19:56

21:56

13:56

15:56

17:56

19:56

21:56

10:56

 Bern arrive:

16:56

20:56

22:56

11:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:56

14:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:56

11:56

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

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!  See suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

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.

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

Timetable inward 2024

 Bern ► London

 Half-hourly Swiss train

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bern depart:

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

17:04

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

17:04

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

17:04

 Basel SBB arrive:

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

 TGV-Lyria

 

 

 

 

 

                   

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

14:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

14:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

13:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arrive

16:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

15:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

15:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:32

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Back to top


London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

Taking the train is an enjoyable and environmentally-friendly way to get from London to Lausanne & western Switzerland.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in just 2h20 from £52, then a high-speed TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Lausanne in only 3h40 from €29 each way.  City centre to city centre, no 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 300 km/h (186 mph) 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, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.  On TGV-Lyria, business première fares include a complimentary meal and wine served at your seat.  What's it like on a TGV-Lyria train?For the ferry alternative, see here.

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:12

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

06:31

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:19

12:50

14:48

15:48

23:18

09:48

12:50

14:48

15:48

23:18

12:50

14:48

15:50

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

 Lausanne arrive:

15:37

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

15:37

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

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

 Lausanne depart:

15:50

18:27

20:27

21:49

12:00

15:50

18:27

20:27

21:50

12:00

18:27

20:27

21:49

12:00

 Montreux arrive:

16:10

18:57

20:57

22:10

12:25

16:10

18:57

20:57

22:10

12:25

18:57

20:57

22:10

12:25

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

 Montreux depart:

16:50

19:50

21:49

22:49

12:50

16:50

19:50

21:49

22:49

12:50

19:50

21:49

22:49

12:50

 Gstaad arrive:

18:23

21:23

23:23

00:23

14:23

18:23

21:23

23:23

00:23

14:23

21:23

23:23

00:23

14:23

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

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!  See suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

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

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

The 14:18, 16:18 Paris-Lausanne TGVs & 09:45, 13:45 Lausanne-Paris TGVs run via Geneva, see the scenery photos in the Paris-Geneva section.

Timetable inward 2024

 Gstaad, Montreux, Lausanne London

 

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Gstaad depart:

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

13:35

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

13:35

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

13:35

 Montreux arrive:

-

08:10

11:10

12:10

15:10

-

08:10

11:10

12:10

15:10

-

08:10

11:10

12:10

15:10

 Change at Montreux for frequent InterCity trains to Lausanne

 Montreux depart:

06:33

08:48

11:28

12:48

15:33

06:33

08:48

11:28

12:48

15:33

06:33

08:48

11:28

12:48

15:33

 Lausanne arrive:

07:00

09:10

11:48

13:10

16:00

07:00

09:10

11:48

13:10

16:00

07:00

09:10

11:48

13:10

16:00

 Change at Lausanne for the Lyria TGV train to Paris

 Lausanne depart:

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:08

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

11:08

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

11:08

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

13:12

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

13:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

13:12

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arrive

14:30

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

14:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

14:30

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

Connections to Vevey, Montreux, Sion, Martigny

Lausanne is the ideal entry point for western Switzerland.  Frequent (at least half-hourly) trains link Lausanne station 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?

How to buy tickets

The train passes Lac Leman

Above, the train runs along the shores of Lake Léman between Lausanne & Montreux.  Taken from the train.

Back to top


London to Interlaken & region

It's easy to travel by train from the UK to Interlaken and the Jungfrau region.  Take Eurostar to Paris in only 2h20 from £52 one-way or £78 return, then a 300 km/h (186 mph) TGV-Lyria from Paris to Basel in just 3h05 from €29 each way.  Regular Swiss InterCity trains run from Basel through the mountains and along the lake shore to Interlaken Ost in 1h58.  No airports, no flights, the train ride is a chance to chill out.

TGV-Lyria trains have 3 classes, standard class (2nd class), standard première (1st class) & business première (1st class with a meal & wine served at your seat included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Take a bottle of wine, put your feet up and enjoy the ride!  TGV-Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss railways.  For the ferry alternatives, see here.

Interlaken is at the centre of the Jungfrau region, with narrow-gauge local trains into the mountains to ski resorts such as Grindelwald 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.

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Interlaken & Grindelwald

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

11:31

13:31

20:01

07:31

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

08:01

09:31

11:31

13:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:19

14:48

16:48

23:18

10:48

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

11:20

12:50

14:48

16:48

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

12:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

15:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

 Change at Basel onto a Swiss train

 Basel SBB depart:

15:56

19:56

21:56

10:56

15:56

17:56

19:56

21:56

13:56

15:56

17:56

19:56

21:56

10:56

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

17:58

21:59

00:00

12:58

17:58

19:58

21:59

00:00

15:58

17:58

19:59

21:59

00:00

12:58

 Change trains at Interlaken onto a connecting narrow-gauge train

 Interlaken Ost depart:

18:04

22:04

-

13:04

18:04

20:04

22:04

-

16:04

18:04

20:04

22:04

-

13:04

 Grindelwald arrive:

18:40

22:40

-

13:40

18:40

20:40

22:40

-

16:40

18:40

20:40

22:40

-

13:40

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

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!  See suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

Lauterbrunnen & Wengen::  Half-hourly local trains link Interlaken Ost with Lauterbrunnen, journey time 20 minutes.  Change at Lauterbrunnen for Wengen, total journey time from Interlaken to Wengen is 46 minutes.  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 have lunch in Paris at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon?

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

Timetable inward 2024

 Grindelwald & InterlakenLondon

 Narrow-gauge train:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Grindelwald depart:

05:17

07:17

09:17

11:17

15:17

05:17

07:17

09:17

11:17

15:17

05:17

07:17

09:17

11:17

15:17

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

05:54

07:54

09:54

11:54

15:54

05:54

07:54

09:54

11:54

15:54

05:54

07:54

09:54

11:54

15:54

 Change trains at Basel onto a Swiss InterCity train

 Interlaken Ost depart:

05:58

08:00

10:00

12:00

16:00

05:58

08:00

10:00

12:00

16:00

05:58

08:00

10:00

12:00

16:00

 Basel SBB arrive:

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

 Change trains at Basel onto TGV-Lyria

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arr:

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep

14:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

14:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

13:42

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arr.

16:00

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

15:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

15:00

17:30

19:30

21:30

08:30

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Back to top


London to Brig & Zermatt

Zermatt nestles at the foot of the imposing Matterhorn, at the head of the Mattertal valley.  It's a car-free resort which can only be reached by train.  Electric 'johnny cabs' act as taxis.

To reach Zermatt, hop on a Eurostar to Paris then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Lausanne.  Hourly Swiss trains link Lausanne with Visp, where you board the little narrow-gauge branch line up the valley to Zermatt.  For the ferry alternatives via Harwich, Hull or Newcastle, see here.

For the best views of the scenery on the local line southbound from Brig or Visp to Zermatt, find a seat on the left-hand side of the train.  This narrow gauge train ascends the Mattertal Valley via a series of 'steps'.  The train uses conventional adhesion on the level sections and rack-and-pinion to climb the steep sections.

Timetable outward 2024

 London ► Brig & Zermatt

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

06:31

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

09:31

11:31

12:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:19

12:50

14:48

15:48

23:18

09:48

12:50

14:48

15:50

23:18

12:50

14:48

15:50

23:18

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:56

 Lausanne arrive:

15:37

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

15:37

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

18:14

20:14

21:37

11:52

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

 Lausanne depart:

15:50

18:50

20:50

21:49

12:21

15:50

18:50

20:50

21:50

12:21

18:50

20:50

21:49

12:21

 Visp arrive - change for Zermatt:

17:23

20:23

22:23

23:23

13:53

17:23

20:23

22:23

23:25

13:53

20:23

22:23

23:25

13:53

 Brig arrive:

17:32

20:32

22:32

23:32

14:02

17:32

20:32

22:32

23:38

14:02

20:32

22:32

23:38

14:02

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

 Visp depart:

17:41

21:08

22:41

-

14:08

17:41

21:08

22:41

-

14:08

21:08

23:29

23:29

14:08

 Zermatt arrive:

18:51

22:14

23:48

-

15:14

18:51

22:14

23:48

-

15:14

22:14

00:28

00:28

15:14

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

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!  See suggested hotels in Paris near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon

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

Times may vary, check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.sncf-connect.com.

Timetable inward 2024

 Zermatt & Brig London

 Narrow gauge train to Visp

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zermatt depart:

06:13

08:13

10:13

12:13

06:13

08:37

10:13

12:13

06:13

08:37

10:13

12:13

 Visp arrive:

07:22

09:22

11:22

13:22

07:22

09:46

11:22

13:22

07:22

09:46

11:22

13:22

Change at Visp for the hourly InterCity train to Lausanne

 Brig depart:

07:26

09:57

11:26

13:57

07:26

09:57

11:26

13:57

07:26

09:57

11:26

13:57

 Visp depart:

07:35

10:06

11:35

14:06

07:35

10:06

11:35

14:06

07:35

10:06

11:35

14:06

 Lausanne arrive:

09:10

11:39

13:10

15:39

09:10

11:39

13:10

15:39

09:10

11:39

13:10

15:39

 Change at Lausanne for the TGV-Lyria train to Paris

 Lausanne depart:

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

16:23

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

16:12

19:12

20:12

08:12

16:12

18:12

20:12

07:12

 London St Pancras arrive

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

17:30

20:30

21:30

09:30

17:30

19:39

21:30

08:30

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Let Railbookers arrange it for you

Hotels in Zermatt

Electric taxis outside Zermatt station   Electric taxis outside Zermatt station

Electric taxis outside Zermatt station.

 

The Matterhorn at sunset.

Monte Rosa Hotel, Zermatt   Monte Rosa Hotel, Zermatt

Zermatt's famous Monte Rosa Hotel with plaque dedicated to Edward Whymper, see larger photo.

Back to top


London to Chur & the Engadin

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 - and 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.  To get there by train from the UK, simply use any of the London-Zurich options shown in the London to Zurich section above, then use www.sbb.ch to find connections to St Moritz.  Two good options are shown below.  For the ferry alternative, see here.

London ► Chur, Davos, Klosters, St Moritz, every day

London ► Chur, Davos, Klosters, St Moritz, every day

St Moritz, Klosters, Davos, Chur ► London, every day

St Moritz, Klosters, Davos, Chur ► London, every day

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Let Railbookers arrange it for you

Hotels in St Moritz

The Hotel Waldhaus am See is an easy 4 minutes walk from St Moritz railway station, see walking map.  It has friendly staff, a cosy, family-run atmosphere and the restaurant/breakfast room has a lovely view over the lake.  It's also about as affordable as hotels in St Moritz get.  Perfect!  Below, the view across the lake from the hotel, St Moritz station is visible on the right.

St Moritz lake

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl is a truly amazing hotel opened in 1907, perched on a 2,454m high mountain with spectacular views over the Engadin Valley, a short ride by train+funicular from St Moritz/Samedan/Pontresina.  I have never seen a more spectacular view out of any hotel window over breakfast

To reach the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, take a local train from St Moritz to Punt Muragl Staz, see Muottas Muragl train route map, or you can get off the Glacier Express at Samedan (the stop before St Moritz) and take a local train to Punt Muragl.  It's then a 250m walk from either of these unstaffed halts to the lower station of the funicular railway which climbs up the mountain to the Hotel Muottas Muragl.  To check train times, simply use the journey planner at www.sbb.ch and run an enquiry from anywhere in Switzerland to Muottas Muragl, that's the name of the upper station of the funicular right next to the hotel.

The Muottas Muragl Berghotel in winter

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl in winter.  The upper station of the funicular railway up the mountain from Punt Muragl station is adjacent to the hotel.  See Muottas Muragl train route map.

Back to top


London to Liechtenstein

London to Vaduz

Back to top


London to Switzerland via Brussels

Going via Brussels takes significantly longer than going via Paris as shown above, but it avoids having to change trains & stations in Paris by metro or taxi.  The changes of train at Brussels Midi & Cologne Hbf are straightforward same-station changes taking only take a couple of minutes getting off one train and onto another.  This might be important to you if you have lots of luggage, kids, or a mobility issue.

London ► Basel

Basel ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Take the Rhine Valley scenic route

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne & Cologne to Switzerland by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

Back to top


London to Switzerland by ferry from Harwich

You might prefer the idea of cruising overnight in a comfy en suite cabin on the Stena Line superferry (watch the video!), then taking a superb German ICE train to Switzerland next day, and this route is useful If you live in East Anglia, want to avoid the Channel Tunnel, if the French are on strike again, or if all the cheap Eurostar fares have sold out.  It's one of the routes shown in dark blue on the route map above.

Incidentally, I don't recommend Dover-Calais.  Although it's more direct, it's has no through ticketing and long walks or taxis are required between station & port in both Dover & Calais.  The Harwich-Hoek route has seamless train/ferry connections & one ticket covers the British train and the ferry.

London, Cambridge & Harwich ► Switzerland

Switzerland ► Harwich, Cambridge & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Holland by 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 superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  The journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video.

Stena Line ferry at Hoek van Holland

The Stena Britannica at boarding at Harwich, a floating hotel with private cabins, restaurant, bar, lounges, shop & kennels.

Standard outside cabin on Stena Line ferry   Stena Plus lounge on the ferry to Hoek van Holland

Above left, a standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photoAbove right, the Stena Plus lounge with complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee & snacks.

Bar on the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland   London to Amsterdam via the Stena Line ferry

Above left, the bar on 9 deck. Above right, a Captain's Class cabin with complimentary minibar, toilet & shower.

Step 2, from Holland across Germany to Switzerland by ICE high-speed train

At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and straight onto the station for the frequent metro train to Rotterdam Alexander.  Change at Rotterdam Alexander for a train to Utrecht Centraal.  Then take a superb German ICE train from Utrecht to Cologne and on to Switzerland.   More about ICE trains.

ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

Back to top


London to Switzerland via Portsmouth

This route is ideal if you live on the south coast.  It's also a good alternative to Eurostar from London if you want to avoid the Channel Tunnel or if Eurostar is expensive (for example, at short notice) - although the train/ferry/train transfers are much easier via Harwich & Hoek van Holland as stations & ferry terminals are integrated, on the Portsmouth-Caen route a taxi transfer is needed between train & ferry in Portsmouth, and a bus or taxi transfer in Caen.

Ferry arrival in Portsmouth at dawn

The luxurious Normandie at Portsmouth.

Back to top


Scotland & North to Switzerland

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, then taking a fast comfortable train to Switzerland.

Scotland & the North ► Amsterdam ► Switzerland

Switzerland ► Amsterdam ► Scotland & the North

Fares & how to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

1. Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O) by overnight cruise ferry

Both ferries have private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video.

 

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

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam at Rotterdam Europoort.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

2.  From Holland across Germany to Switzerland by ICE high-speed train

Take an ICE train from Amsterdam or Utrecht to Cologne or Frankfurt, then another ICE to Basel, Zurich with connections all over Switzerland.  There are power sockets at all seats, free WiFi and a bistro-restaurant serving drinks, snacks and meals.  More about ICE trains.

ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

Back to top


Guidebooks

Amazon logoDefinitely 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!

Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Lonely Planet Switzerland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Switzerland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   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.

Back to top


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 set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

Back to top


Hotels in Switzerland

Hotels in Paris near the station

Hotel Mercure at Paris Gare de Lyon

The Mercure Hotel entrance, next to the Gare de Lyon's famous clock tower.  Handy for early train departures!

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

AirBnB:  www.airbnb.com

www.airbnb.com began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay.  AirBnB is a platform which connects hosts with guests, so you can now book a room in people's homes, or an apartment, flat or house which people want to rent out.  It can be nicer than a hostel, cheaper than many hotels.

Hostelworld.com logoBackpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com

www.hostelworld.com:  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.

Back to top


Holidays to Switzerland by train

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 logoRailbookers, railbookers.co.uk

Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour or holiday for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  On their website you'll find a range of suggested tours & holidays which can be varied or customised to your own requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens to one part of the itinerary such as a strike or delay.  They get very positive reviews.  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.

UK flag  UK 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk.

US flag  US 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia 1300 971 526, see website

New Zealand flag  New Zealand 0800 000 554 or see website.

Tailor Made Raill logoTailor Made Rail, tailormaderail.com

Tailor Made Rail also offers packages from the UK to Switzerland by train which can be customised your own requirements, one-way or round trip, with any stopovers you want.  Or they can organise a trip entirely based on your own requirements, indeed they welcome complex itineraries!  As it's a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens on one part of the trip, for example, a national strike.  They're TTA-protected - like ATOL, but not only for agencies that sell air travel.

Call their dedicated seat61 phone line 020 3778 1461 and quote seat 61 when booking.  From outside the UK call +44 20 3778 1461.  Lines open 09:00-17:30 Monday-Friday.  Their website is www.tailormaderail.com/destinations/switzerland.

Back to top


Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


Back to top

Back to home page