London to Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich or Basel from £78 one-way, £131 return...

The Matterhorn, Zermatt.  Take the train to Switzerland!

The Thames to the Matterhorn without flying...

Buy train tickets UK to Switzerland

   
 

 

Railbookers holidays to Swsitzerland by train

small bullet point  Holidays to Switzerland by train not plane

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

Leave London at lunchtime and reach Switzerland that evening, without setting foot on a plane.  Eurostar links London with Paris in 2h20 from £52 one-way or £78 return.  Have lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon, then take a TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris to Geneva (3h05), Lausanne (3h39), Bern, Basel (3h03) or Zurich (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.

COVID-19 update: See COVID-19 updates & travel information.  Eurostar is running a much-reduced London-Paris service.  Paris-Switzerland TGV-Lyria trains are running, with just a few service reductions.  Swiss domestic trains are running more or less normally.

Train times, fares & 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 & Cambridge to Switzerland via ferry from Harwich

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

small bullet point  Starting from other UK towns & cities

small bullet point  How to buy train tickets to Switzerland

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

International train travel to or from Switzerland

small bullet point  Trains to Switzerland from other European cities

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, Curve Card & VPN

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!

large bullet pointUseful country information

Train operator in Switzerland:

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

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

 

 

 

 

Swiss railpasses:

 

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 = 1.2 Swiss Francs, €1 = 1.08 Swiss Francs, approx.  Check exchange rates

Tourist information:

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

Hotels in Switzerland:

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

Page last updated:

10 November 2021. Train times valid from 13 Dec 2020 to 11 Dec 2021, subject to confirmation.


large bullet pointLondon to Basel, Zurich, Lucerne

London to Basel, Zurich & Lucerne, no airports, no flights...

Option 1, London to Basel or Zurich via Paris...

It's easy to travel from London to Basel or Zurich by train.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h20 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 Basel in 3h04 or Zurich in 4h03, also with cafe-bar and free WiFi.  Why not book an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon?

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London ► Basel & Zurich

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

 05:40*

07:55

09:22

10:24

13:31

20:01

07:55

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

 09:17*

11:17

12:47

13:47

16:47

23:17

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:47

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

10:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

 Zurich HB arrive:

14:26

16:26

  18:26**

20:26

22:26

11:26

16:26

18:26

20:26

22:26

14:26

18:26

20:26

22:26

11:26

Timetable inward

 Basel & Zurich ► London

 Lyria TGV:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zurich HB depart:

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

15:34

17:34

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

17:34

07:34

09:34

11:34

13:34

15:34

17:34

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

19:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

19:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

09:30

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

Notes...

* =  the 05:40 Eurostar from London to Paris usually doesn't run from late July to late August.

** = For Zurich, change in Basel.  The 14:22 from Paris only extends to Zurich on Saturdays & Sundays, on Mondays-Fridays you must change in Basel.

For Lucerne, change in Basel.  Hourly trains link Basel SBB & Lucerne in 1h17, check times at www.raileurope.com.

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

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...

Check these times & buy tickets online at www.raileurope.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?

 London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 Paris to Zurich

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £68

From £136

 Normal flexible fare:

£120

£240

£194

£388

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£65

£130

£116

£232

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£76

£152

£118

£236

 Child under 12 flexible fare

£64

£128

£112

£224

 Infant under 4:

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail or Eurail global pass pay £28 in 2nd class, £56 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class.  Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 Paris to Basel

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £59

From £118

 Normal flexible fare:

£110

£220

£171

£342

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£59

£118

£99

£198

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£59

£118

£107

£214

 Child under 12 flexible fare

£53

£106

£93

£186

 Infant under 4:

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail or Eurail global pass pay £28 in 2nd class, £56 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class.  Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

Basel to Lucerne costs around €29.60 each way, regular price.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guideHow to cross Paris by metro or taxi.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about TGV-Lyria.

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

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

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

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.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

1st class on the upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. 360º photo.

 

A TGV-Lyria for Geneva, 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 from anywhere in Britain to anywhere in Switzerland, here I'll explain the best options.  Booking online saves paying phone booking fees, and I recommend www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com as both Eurostar and TGV-Lyria can be booked in one place with .pdf print-your-own or show-on-smartphone mobile tickets.  You can also book by phone or get a train travel specialist to arrange a tailor-made trip although this will naturally cost more.

 

Buy train tickets to Switzerland header

  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 1, buy at www.raileurope.com...

Option 2, buy at www.thetrainline.com

Option 3, buy at eurostar.com + en.oui.sncf + sbb.ch

How to buy tickets by phone...

Let Railbookers arrange your trip...  Railbookers logo

Let Tailor Made Rail arrange your trip...

Escorted tours to Switzerland by train...

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Geneva

London to Geneva, without setting foot on a plane...

Option 1, London to Geneva via Paris...

It's easy to travel from London to Geneva by train.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h20 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 in 3h11, 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.  And why not book an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon?

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London Geneva

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

07:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

14:22

15:31   

20:01

06:18

09:22

11:31

13:31

15:31   

09:22

11:31

13:31

15:31 

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

10:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

17:47

18:47   

23:17

09:47

12:47

14:47

16:47

18:47   

12:47

14:47

16:47

18:47 

23:17

 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

19:18*

20:18**

06:17

12:18

14:18

16:18

18:18

20:18

14:18

16:18

18:18

20:18

06:17

 Geneva arrive:

15:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

22:21*

23:29**

09:29

15:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

23:29

17:29

19:29

21:29

23:29

09:29

Timetable inward

 Geneva ► London

 Lyria TGV to Paris...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Geneva depart:

06:29

08:29

10:29

12:29

14:29

16:29

18:29

06:29

08:29

10:29

14:29

06:29

08:29

10:29

12:29

16:29

18:29

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive:

09:42

11:42

13:42

15:52

17:42

19:42

21:42

09:42

11:42

13:42

17:42

09:42

11:42

13:42

15:52

19:42

21:42

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart:

11:13

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

11:13

13:13

15:13

19:13

11:43

13:13

15:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive:

12:46

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:46

22:39

08:32

12:46

14:39

16:39

20:46

13:09

14:39

16:39

20:46

22:39

08:32

Notes...

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

* = Only runs Monday-Thursday and some other dates.

** = Only runs on Fridays and some other dates.

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...

Check times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.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?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Geneva

 by Lyria TGV train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £51

From £102

 Normal flexible fare:

£96

£192

£155

£310

 Youth fare (12-26):

£48

£96

£79

£158

 Senior fare (over 60):

£55

£110

£93

£186

 Child under 12 flexible fare

£57

£114

£95

£190

 Infant under 4:

Free (if not occupying its own seat), £13 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail or Eurail global pass pay £23 in 2nd class, £49 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class. Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guideHow to cross Paris by metro or taxi.

Eurostar e320 at Paris Nord   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 arrived at Paris Nord...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier. Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about TGV-Lyria.

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 upper deck 2nd class seats

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.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

1st class on upper deck, used as Standard Premiere & Business Premier.  360º photo.

 

A 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   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 down onto the Haut-Bugey Line.  Just after a short tunnel the train crosses the spectacular Cize-Bolozon viaduct over the Ain gorge (above left), the major structure on the Haut-Bugey line.  Above right, in business première the fare includes food served at your seat with wine or other drinks...

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

 London ► Geneva

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

06:47

11:04

12:58

06:57

11:04

12:58

11:04

12:58

 Lille Europe arrive

09:26

13:26

15:30

09:26

13:26

15:30

13:26

15:30

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

11:03

14:01

17:01

11:03

14:01

17:01

14:01

17:01

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

14:00

17:00

20:00

14:00

17:00

20:00

17:00

20:00

 Change at Lyon onto a TER regional train...

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

14:38

18:34

20:38 

14:38

18:34

20:38 

18:34

20:38 

 Geneva arrive

15:35

20:35

22:34 

15:35

20:35

22:34 

20:35

22:34 

Timetable inward

 Geneva ► London

 TER regional train...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Geneva depart

05:14

07:14

11:30

13:30

05:14

07:14

11:30

13:30

07:14

11:30

13:30

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

07:22

09:32

13:26

15:22

07:22

09:32

13:26

15:22

09:32

13:26

15:22

 High-speed TGV...

 

   

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

08:29

11:00

14:00

17:00

08:29

11:00

14:00

17:00

11:00

14:00

17:00

 Lille Europe arrive

11:27

14:31

16:57

19:58

11:27

14:21

16:57

20:00

14:21

16:56

19:59

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

 Lille Europe depart

13:30

15:35

17:35

21:00

13:30

15:35

17:35

21:00

15:30

18:35

21:00

 London St Pancras arrive

14:05

16:05

18:06

21:33

14:05

16:05

18:06

21:33

16:05

19:03

21:33

Notes...

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

Always check train times for your specific dates using www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com, as the times shown here can vary.  Don't book any 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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Lille Europe station guide & tips on changing trains.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about TGVLyon Part Dieu station guide.

Boarding a TGV   TGV bar car

Boarding a TGV...

 

Cafe-bar... See sample TGV bar menu

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. 360 degree photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  360 degree 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 information 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


large bullet pointLondon to Bern

London to Bern via Paris

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 car selling drinks & snacks, free WiFi and power sockets at all seats.  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.

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London ► Bern

 Eurostar (30 min check-in):

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

  05:40*

07:55

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

07:55

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

  09:17*

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:47

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

10:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

13:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Basel SBB depart:

13:58

15:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

10:58

15:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

13:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

10:58

 Bern arrive:

14:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:56

11:56

16:56

18:56

20:56

22:56

14:56

18:56

20:56

22:56

11:56

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

* =  the 05:40 Eurostar from London to Paris doesn't run from late July to late August.

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...

Eurostar times can vary slightly so always double-check when booking.  Check these times & buy tickets online at www.raileurope.com.

Timetable inward

 Bern ► London  weekdays

 Half-hourly Swiss train...

Mondays to Fridays

 Bern depart:

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

15:04

17:04

 Basel SBB arrive:

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

16:01

18:01

 TGV-Lyria...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

19:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

 Bern ► London  weekends

 Half-hourly Swiss train...

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bern depart:

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

17:04

07:04

09:04

11:04

13:04

15:04

17:04

 Basel SBB arrive:

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

16:01

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

16:34

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

19:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep.

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

09:30

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar:

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Bern

 by TGV-Lyria train:

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £59

From £118

 Normal flexible fare:

£110

£220

£171

£342

 Youth fare (12-26):

£59

£118

£99

£198

 Senior fare (over 60):

£59

£118

£107

£214

 Child under 12 flexible fare

£53

£106

£93

£186

 Infant under 4:

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 with own seat (£20 in 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail or Eurail global pass pay £28 in 2nd class, £56 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class.  Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets:

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

Fares for journeys with a change in Basel:  See the London-Paris-Basel fares in the London to Basel section, and add the cost of a Swiss domestic ticket from Basel to Bern, CHF 40 (£30) each way 2nd class.  It works out cheaper to use the direct Paris-Bern train if you can!

How to buy tickets...

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

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

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

London to Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad via Paris

  The Golden Panoramic Express at Gstaad

Taking the train is a wonderful, stress-free and environmentally-friendly way to get from London to Lausanne & 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.  That's 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 onto the TGV with you, 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.

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

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London ► Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

06:18

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

09:47

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:47

 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

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

15:37

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

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

 Lausanne depart:

15:50

18:30

20:30

21:50

11:50

15:50

18:30

20:30

21:50

11:50

18:30

20:30

21:50

11:50

 Montreux arrive:

16:10

19:00

21:00

22:10

12:10

16:10

19:00

21:00

22:10

12:10

19:00

21:00

22:10

12:10

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

 Montreux depart:

16:50

19:50

21:48

-

12:50

16:50

19:50

21:48

-

12:50

19:50

21:48

-

12:50

 Gstaad arrive:

18:23

21:23

23:23

-

14:23

18:23

21:23

23:23

-

14:23

21:23

23:23

-

14:23

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

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 so always check exact times online.  Check these times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.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

 Gstaad, Montreux, Lausanne London

 

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Gstaad depart:

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

15:35

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

15:35

-

06:35

09:35

10:35

15:35

 Montreux arrive:

-

08:11

11:10

12:10

17:10

-

08:11

11:10

12:10

17:10

-

08:11

11:10

12:10

17:10

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

 Montreux depart:

06:31

08:57

11:31

12:57

17:27

06:31

08:57

11:31

12:57

17:28

06:31

08:57

11:31

12:57

17:28

 Lausanne arrive:

06:59

09:28

11:59

13:28

17:48

06:59

09:28

11:59

13:28

17:48

06:59

09:28

11:59

13:28

17:48

 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

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

20:04

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

07:13

13:13

15:13

19:13

19:13

08:13

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:46

08:32

14:39

16:39

20:46

20:46

09:30

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:46

08:32

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

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

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Lausanne

 by Lyria TGV train

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From just £26

From just £52

From £51

From £102

 Normal flexible fare:

£93

£186

£148

£256

 Youth fare (12-26):

£48

£96

£78

£156

 Senior fare (over 60):

£52

£104

£86

£172

 Child under 12 flexible fare

£55

£110

£91

£182

 Infant under 4:

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail, Eurail, etc. pay £13 in 2nd class, £46 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class. Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 3. Fares beyond Lausanne

 to anywhere in Switzerland:

Lausanne to Montreux is CHF 6.30 (£5) each way 2nd class.

Lausanne to Gstaad is CHF 33 (£25) each way 2nd class, CHF 58 (£44) 1st class.

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

How to buy tickets...

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Interlaken & region

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

 

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 3h 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, a chance to chill out by train not stress out by plane. 

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 car selling drinks & snacks, and you'll find power points for mobiles & laptops at all 1st class seats.  Take a bottle of wine with you, put your feet up and enjoy the ride!  TGV-Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss railways.  For the ferry alternatives, see here.

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

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

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London ► Interlaken & Grindelwald

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

  05:40*

07:55

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

07:55

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

  09:17*

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

11:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:47

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

10:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

12:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

07:22

14:22

16:22

18:22

08:22

 Basel SBB arrive:

13:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

15:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

10:26

17:26

19:26

21:26

11:26

 Change at Basel onto a Swiss train...

 Basel SBB depart:

13:58

15:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

10:58

15:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

10:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

11:58

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

15:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

00:00

12:58

17:58

19:58

21:58

00:00

12:58

19:58

21:58

00:00

13:58

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

 Interlaken Ost depart:

16:05

18:05

20:05

22:05

-

13:05

18:05

20:05

22:05

-

13:05

20:05

22:05

-

14:05

 Grindelwald arrive:

16:38

18:38

20:38

22:38

-

13:38

18:38

20:38

22:38

-

13:38

20:38

22:38

-

14:38

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

* =  05:40 Eurostar to Paris doesn't run from late July to late August.

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?

Train times may vary so always double-check for your date of travel.  Check these times & buy tickets online at www.raileurope.com.

Timetable inward

 Grindelwald & InterlakenLondon

 Narrow-gauge train:

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Grindelwald depart:

05:18

07:18

09:18

11:18

13:18

15:18

05:18

07:18

09:18

11:18

15:18

05:18

07:18

09:18

11:18

13:18

15:18

 Interlaken Ost arrive:

05:52

07:53

09:53

11:53

13:53

15:53

05:52

07:53

09:53

11:53

15:53

05:52

07:53

09:53

11:53

13:53

15:53

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

 Interlaken Ost depart:

05:58

08:00

10:00

12:00

14:00

16:00

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

16:00

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

14:00

16:00

 Basel SBB arrive:

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

16:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

18:01

08:01

10:01

12:01

14:01

16:01

18:01

 Change trains at Basel onto TGV-Lyria...

 Basel SBB depart:

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

18:34

08:34

10:34

12:34

14:34

16:34

18:34

 Paris Gare de Lyon arr:

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

19:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

21:38

11:38

13:38

15:38

17:38

19:38

21:38

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

 Paris Gare du Nord dep

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

08:13

13:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arr.

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

09:30

14:39

16:39

18:32

20:46

22:39

08:32

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

       by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Basel

      by Lyria TGV train

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £59

From £118

 Normal flexible fare:

£110

£220

£171

£342

 Youth fare (anyone 12-26):

£59

£118

£99

£198

 Senior fare (anyone over 60):

£59

£118

£107

£214

 Child (4 to 11):

£53

£106

£93

£186

 Child (0 to 3):

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 each way with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail or Eurail global pass pay £28 in 2nd class, £56 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class.  Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 
 3. Basel to Interlaken

Basel to Interlaken is CHF 60 (£45) each way in 2nd class.

Basel to Grindelwald CHF 71 (£54) each way in 2nd class. 

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

How to buy tickets...

Back to top


Book hotels at Booking.com


large bullet pointLondon to Brig & Zermatt

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

From the Thames to the Matterhorn by train...

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

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

Pictured right, the Matterhorn towers over Zermatt...

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Paris, trains are running almost normally, just a few service reductions.

Timetable outward

 London ► Brig & Zermatt

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart:

07:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

06:18

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

09:22

11:31

13:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive:

10:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

09:47

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

14:47

16:47

23:17

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart:

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:57

11:56

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:57

14:18

16:18

17:56

07:57

 Lausanne arrive:

15:37

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

15:37

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

18:15

20:15

21:37

11:37

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

 Lausanne depart:

15:50

18:50

20:50

21:50

11:50

15:50

18:50

20:50

21:50

11:50

18:50

20:50

21:50

11:50

 Visp arrive - change for Zermatt:

17:23

20:23

22:23

23:25

13:23

17:23

20:23

22:23

23:25

13:23

20:23

22:23

23:25

13:23

 Brig arrive:

17:32

20:32

22:32

23:38

13:32

17:32

20:32

22:32

23:38

13:32

20:32

22:32

23:38

13:32

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

 Visp depart:

17:41

21:08

22:41

-

13:41

17:41

21:08

22:41

-

13:41

21:08

23:29

23:29

13:41

 Zermatt arrive:

18:51

22:14

23:48

-

14:51

18:51

22:14

23:48

-

14:51

22:14

00:28

00:28

14:51

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

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?

Train times can vary so always check times for your date of travel online.  Check these times & buy tickets at www.raileurope.com.

Timetable inward

 Zermatt & Brig London

 Narrow gauge train to Visp...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Zermatt depart:

-

06:13

08:37

10:13

14:37

-

06:13

08:37

10:13

14:37

-

06:13

08:37

10:13

14:37

 Visp arrive:

-

07:22

09:46

11:22

15:46

-

07:22

09:46

11:22

15:46

-

07:22

09:46

11:22

15:46

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

 Brig depart:

05:24

07:26

09:57

11:26

15:57

05:24

07:26

09:57

11:26

15:57

05:24

07:26

09:57

11:26

15:57

 Visp depart:

05:32

07:35

10:06

11:35

16:06

05:32

07:35

10:06

11:35

16:06

05:32

07:35

10:06

11:35

16:06

 Lausanne arrive:

07:10

09:10

11:39

13:10

17:43

07:10

09:10

11:39

13:10

17:43

07:10

09:10

11:39

13:10

17:43

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

 Lausanne depart:

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

18:23

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

18:23

07:23

09:45

12:23

13:45

18:23

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

22:03

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

22:03

11:04

13:42

16:04

17:42

22:03

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

07:13

13:13

15:13

19:13

19:13

08:13

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

07:13

 London St Pancras arrive

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:46

08:32

14:39

16:39

20:46

20:46

09:30

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:46

08:32

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

     by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £115 one-way, £199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Lausanne

     by TGV-Lyria

2nd class

1st class

One way

Return

One way

Return

 Book-ahead fares:

From £26

From £52

From £51

From £102

 Normal flexible fare:

£93

£186

£148

£256

 Youth fare (12-26):

£48

£96

£78

£156

 Senior fare (over 60):

£52

£104

£86

£172

 Child under 12, flexible:

£55

£110

£91

£182

 Infant under 4:

Free if not occupying its own seat, £13 with own seat (£20 1st class).

 Railpass fare:

Holders of Interrail, Eurail, etc. pay £13 in 2nd class, £46 in 1st class.

 Person in wheelchair:

£33 one-way, £66 return, 1st class. Companion £33 each way.

 Dogs & pets (see here):

£18 each way.  Guide dogs free.

 

 3. Lausanne to Zermatt

Lausanne to Zermatt costs CHF 80 (£60) one-way, CHF 160 (£120) return.  You can check Swiss rail fares at www.sbb.ch.

How to buy tickets...

Let Railbookers arrange it as a package...

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Chur & the Engadin

Chur, Klosters, Davos & St Moritz...

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, Mondays-Saturdays

  • Step 1, travel from London to Paris by Eurostar, leaving London St Pancras at 07:55 Mondays-Saturdays, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord at 11:17.  By all means use the 07:01 Eurostar Monday-Friday or 06:18 Eurostar on Saturdays if you'd like more time to cross Paris.

    Eurostar is currently running a reduced service due to Covid-19, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date of travel at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com allowing at least 60 minutes in Paris between trains.

    Cross Paris by taxi or metro to the Gare de Lyon, it's just 2 stops on RER line D.

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria, leaving Paris Gare de Lyon at 12:22 & arriving in Zurich HB at 15:26.

    The double-deck TGV-Lyria travels at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) and has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • Step 3 for St Moritz, leave Zurich HB at 16:38 by InterCity & change at Chur onto the narrow-gauge Rhätische Bahn to St Moritz, arriving 20:00.

  • Step 3 for Klosters or Davos, leave Zurich HB at 16:38 by InterCity train and change at Landquart onto the narrow-gauge Rhätische Bahn to Klosters Platz arriving 18:26 and Davos Platz arriving 18:57.

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

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to Basel by TGV-Lyria, leaving Paris Gare de Lyon at 14:22 and arriving Basel SBB at 17:26. 

    The double-deck TGV-Lyria travels at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) and has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • Step 3 for St Moritz, leave Basel SBB at 18:38 by InterCity & change at Chur onto the narrow-gauge Rhätische Bahn to St Moritz, arriving 22:00.

  • Step 3 for Klosters or Davos, leave Basel SBB at 18:33 by InterCity train and change at Landquart onto the narrow-gauge Rhätische Bahn to Klosters Platz arriving 21:29 and Davos Platz arriving 21:58.

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

  • Step 1 from St Moritz, travel from St Moritz to Zurich by train, leaving St Moritz at 09:02 by narrow gauge Rhätische Bahn train, with a simple change at Chur onto the standard gauge Swiss Federal Railways InterCity train to Zurich, arriving Zurich HB at 12:22.

  • Step 1 from Davos or Klosters, leave Davos Platz at 10:02 or Klosters Platz at 10:31, changing from the narrow gauge Rhätische Bahn to the Swiss Federal Railways InterCity train at Landquart, arriving Zurich HB at 12:22.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Paris by TGV-Lyria, leaving Zurich HB at 13:34 and arriving Paris Gare de Lyon at 17:38.

    The double-deck TGV-Lyria travels at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) and has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Cross Paris by taxi or metro to the Gare du Nord.

  • Step 3, travel from Paris to London by Eurostar, normally leaving Paris Gare du Nord at 19:13 arriving London St Pancras at 20:46.

    Eurostar is currently running a reduced service due to Covid-19, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date of travel at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com allowing at least 90 minutes in Paris between trains.

St Moritz, Klosters, Davos, Chur ► London, daily except Saturdays

  • Step 1 from St Moritz, travel from St Moritz to Zurich by train, leaving St Moritz at 11:02 by narrow gauge Rhätische Bahn train, with a simple change at Chur onto the standard gauge Swiss Federal Railways InterCity train to Zurich, arriving Zurich HB at 14:22.

  • Step 1 from Davos or Klosters, leave Davos Platz at 12:02 or Klosters Platz at 12:31, changing from the narrow gauge Rhätische Bahn to the Swiss Federal Railways InterCity train at Landquart, arriving Zurich HB 14:22.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Paris by TGV-Lyria, leaving Zurich HB at 15:34 and arriving Paris Gare de Lyon at 19:38.

    The double-deck TGV-Lyria travels at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) and has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Cross Paris by taxi or metro to the Gare du Nord.

  • Step 3, travel from Paris to London by Eurostar, normally leaving Paris Gare du Nord at 21:13 daily except Saturdays arriving London St Pancras 22:39.

    Eurostar is currently running a reduced service due to Covid-19, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date of travel at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com allowing at least 90 minutes in Paris between trains.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Paris by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £115 one-way, £199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria starts at €29 each way in 2nd class, €79 each way in 1st class.  See the London to Basel & Zurich section for full details of London-Basel & London-Zurich fares.

  • Zurich to St Moritz costs CHF 75 (£57) one-way, CHF 150 (£114) return in 2nd class, check fares at www.sbb.ch.

How to buy tickets...

Let Railbookers arrange it as a package...

  • Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a holiday or short break to Switzerland 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. 

    UK residents call www.railbookers.co.uk on 0207 864 4600.  

    US residents call toll-free on 1-888-829-4775 or see website

    Canadian residents call toll-free on 1-855-882-2910 or see website

    Australian residents call toll-free on 1300 971 526 or see see website

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

Places to stay near St Moritz...

There's no shortage of hotels in St Moritz, just run a search at booking.com, anything with a review score over 8.0 will be great.  But for something really different and special, I recommend the amazing Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, opened in 1907 and perched on a 2,454m high mountain with spectacular views over the Engadin Valley.  It is easily the best view I have ever had over a hotel 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


large bullet pointLondon to Liechtenstein

Train & bus service in Liechtenstein...

  • Vaduz (the capital of Liechtenstein)  has no rail station, but buses link it with Buchs & Sargans stations in Switzerland every 30 minutes, and with Feldkirch station in Austria every hour.  You can check bus times for all these services at www.lba.li.

  • For travel between Swiss cities & Vaduz, catch a train to Sargans, then the bus to Vaduz-Post.  You can check times & fares at www.sbb.ch.

  • For travel between Austria & Vaduz, catch a train to Feldkirch, then the bus to Vaduz-Post.  You can check times & fares at www.oebb.at.

  • The main Zurich-Innsbruck railway cuts through Liechtenstein but the expresses don't stop at any of the four local stations within the principality.  Schaan-Vaduz is probably the most important of these stations, but it's served only by somewhat irregular Buchs-Feldkirch local trains.  You can check train times at www.sbb.ch but will need to look carefully for trains rather than buses - look for departures marked R or RE, not BUS.  Schaan-Vaduz Bahnhof is just 11 minutes by frequent bus from Vaduz itself.

London to Vaduz

  • Step 1, travel from London to Zurich by Eurostar & TGV-Lyria as shown above.

  • Step 2, take a regular Swiss domestic train from Zurich to Sargans, these run twice an hour, journey time 55-67 minutes, check times & prices at www.sbb.ch.  No reservation necessary, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on the next train.

  • Step 3, catch a bus from outside Sargans station to Vaduz Post Office, every 30 minutes, journey time 32 minutes, check times at www.lba.li.  No reservation necessary, buy a ticket from the driver, fare around CHF 7, children under 16 half price.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Switzerland via Brussels

Longer, but avoids crossing Paris...

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.

Important:  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid ones.  Eurostar is running a reduced service at the moment, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date of travel at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Beyond Brussels, trains are running almost normally.

London ► Basel

Basel ► London

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £115 one-way, £199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Basel or Zurich starts at €39.90 each way in 2nd class, €69.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Fares are dynamic like air fares, so for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busier times such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

How to buy tickets...

  • Buy tickets from London to Switzerland at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.

    Anyone from any country can use www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com, in plain English, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem.  There's a small booking fee.

    You print your own ticket, or you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and show the DB ticket on your laptop or smartphone.

  • When does booking open?

    Booking opens up to 180 days ahead, less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  More about when booking opens.

  • Booking tips...

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    It can help to specify Brussels as a via station if you want to see journeys with an easy same-station change in Brussels, rather than also seeing journeys via Paris.  At www.raileurope.com, click More options and enter Brussels (any station).

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Is it a through ticket?

    No, there are no through tickets from London any more, DB's Sparpreis London fares were discontinued in March 2020 www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com will seamlessly sell you a Eurostar ticket to Brussels plus an onward ticket from Brussels to anywhere in Switzerland.

  • One-way or round trip?

    On Eurostar, return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways.  On German & Swiss trains, returns are simply two one-ways.  So for a round trip you should book London to Switzerland & back as a return journey, or for more control over the booking, book London-Brussels as a return journey to benefit a Eurostar return fare, add to basket, then book Brussels to Switzerland one way, add to basket, then Switzerland to Brussels one-way, add to basket & check out.

    An 'open jaw' journey out from London to Zurich, back from Luzern to London, would be cheapest booked as London to Brussels & back, add to basket, Brussels to Zurich one-way, add to basket, Luzern to Brussels one-way, add to basket, and check out.  Easy when you know!

  • Seat reservations...

    A seat reservation on Eurostar is automatically included with every Eurostar ticket.  Seat reservations on ICE trains are optional, if you want a reserved seat it can be added during the booking process for small fee (no fee .  A reserved seat is a good idea, especially at busy periods, so I'd add one when prompted.

  • About the 20-minute connections between Eurostar & ICEs at Brussels Midi...

    The slick 20-minute connection in Brussels between Eurostar and an onward ICE, sometimes a little less than this, is usually a recognised connection which lots of people make.  It's not usually a problem, especially if you use the Brussels Midi short cut between platforms.

    Even though the system sells you separate tickets either side of Brussels, you are protected by the Railteam Promise/HOTNAT so if there's a delay and you miss the connection you will be allowed to travel on later onwards trains at no extra charge.

    The system is programmed to know which connections are acceptable and which are too tight - if you intend booking your Eurostar and ICE tickets separately (which I often do to check prices for Eurostar and onwards trains separately, and to retain more control over the booking) it's wise to run a London-Cologne enquiry first just to check that the system does indeed recognise that specific Eurostar as connecting with that specific onward ICE, on that specific date.

    Tip:  Nothing stops you booking an earlier Eurostar than the one which directly connects with your chosen onward ICE, if it has cheaper fares or if you want a more robust connection.  There are plenty of places for a meal, coffee or beer between trains in Brussels!

  • How to buy a connecting ticket from other UK towns & cities:  See the advice on special add-on tickets here.

Another way to buy tickets...

  • This is a little more work, but there's no booking fee.  Obviously, do a dry run on both sites first to check availability & prices.

    You should also check that your outward Eurostar & ICE are indeed a recognised connection by checking that they appear together when you run a London to Cologne enquiry at www.bahn.de, as explained in the paragraph about the 20-minute connections in Brussels in the previous section.

  • Step 2, book from Brussels to Basel, Zurich or anywhere in Switzerland at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  A round trip is ticketed as two one-ways, so feel free to book one way at a time if it's easier.

    I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    An advantage of booking direct with www.bahn.de is that you can select an exact seat on ICE trains from a seating plan.

    Tip:  With www.bahn.de you can add a stopover and still get the end-to-end cheap fare, it allows up to 2 stopovers within the 2-day ticket validity to be incorporated in your booking using the Add intermediate stops link.  You simply specify the duration of the stopover in hours & minutes in the hh:mm box.  Why not stop off in Cologne or Heidelberg?

How to buy tickets by phone...

  • To book by phone, call Deutsche Bahn's English-speaking telesales line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04 (lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturdays & Sundays UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings).  Click here for a list of agencies and more information on how to buy tickets.

Take the Rhine Valley scenic route...

  • Booking engines normally route you via the modern Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line as this is obviously fastest.  However, if you don't mind the extra hour, you can take the original, classic Rhine Valley line, snaking along the River Rhine past castles, vineyards and the famous Lorelei Rock.  Learn more about the classic Rhine Valley route here.

  • To book tickets via the Rhine Valley route, simply add Koblenz as a via station.  If using www.raileurope.com, click More options and enter Koblenz, leaving duration zero.  If using www.bahn.de, click Add intermediate stops and enter Koblenz as a via station, leaving duration zero.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Switzerland via Harwich

The comfortable ferry alternative...

You might prefer the idea of cruising overnight in a luxury 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.

Stena Line sell combined rail & sail tickets from London or any Greater Anglia Station to Any Dutch Station covering train, ferry & Dutch trains for one inclusive price.  You then book a ticket from Amsterdam or Utrecht to Switzerland at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

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 booking covers British train, the ferry, and Dutch train.

London, Cambridge & Harwich ► Switzerland

  • Day 1, travel from London to Utrecht on the overnight Stena Line Rail & Sail service.  You leave London's Liverpool Street station at 19:32 or Cambridge at 19:47 by train to Harwich International, arriving at Harwich around 21:00. 

    The station is right next to the ferry terminal and you walk off the train into the terminal, check in at the Stena Line desk and walk straight onto Stena Line's luxurious overnight superferry Stena Hollandica to Hoek van Holland.

    The ferry sails at 23:00 and arrives at Hoek van Holland at 08:00 Dutch time next morning.  You get on board the ferry around 9pm, have a late dinner in the restaurant and settle into your cabin.  All passengers travel in cosy private cabins with en suite toilet & shower & satellite TV.  Deluxe Comfort class or Captains class cabins are also available, and there's free WiFi in the lounges, restaurants & bars on 9 deck.  

    This is a fully-integrated train & ferry service with special Rail & Sail fares from London to Any Dutch Station which cover the train to Harwich, the ferry and onward train to anywhere in the Netherlands, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.  The same special fare from London is valid from any Abellio Greater Anglia station, for example Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich, Romford or Ilford.

  • Day 2, you arrive at Hoek van Holland in the morning.  The metro platform is right outside the ferry terminal, take a frequent metro train to Rotterdam Alexander and change onto the next available Dutch InterCity train to Utrecht.  Your Rail & Sail ticket from London to Any Dutch station covers both metro and onward train, no reservation is necessary, just hop on any train.  You arrive at Utrecht at or before 10:28.

  • Day 2:  Now take the 11:07 high-speed ICE train from Utrecht to Frankfurt, arriving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 14:31.  Change onto the 14:50 high-speed ICE train from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Basel SBB (arrive 17:47), Bern (arrive 18:56) or Interlaken (arrive 19:58).

    Change in Basel or Bern for destinations all over Switzerland.  Check times & prices from Utrecht to almost anywhere in Switzerland at www.bahn.de.

    Alternatively, you could spend the day in Amsterdam and take the new Nightjet sleeper train from Amsterdam Centraal to Basel SBB & Zurich HB overnight in an economical couchette or private sleeper.  This starts running from 13 December 2021, see here for details.

Switzerland  ► Harwich, Cambridge & London

  • Day 1, take daytime trains from Switzerland to Hoek van Holland.  Leave Basel SBB at 10:13 by high-speed ICE train to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf arriving at 13:08.  Change in Frankfurt onto the 13:27 high-speed ICE train from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Utrecht, arriving 17:01.

  • Now take a frequent Dutch intercity train from Utrecht to Rotterdam Alexander and change there onto the frequent metro to Hoek van Holland Haven.  Both train & metro are covered by your Rail & Sail ticket from Any Dutch Station to London.  At Hoek, the ferry terminal is right next to the station.  In suggesting this service from Switzerland I've allowed plenty of time to connect with the overnight ferry, so you could stop off in Utrecht or Rotterdam for dinner.  Just make sure you reach Hoek before 21:00, ferry check-in closes 45 minutes before sailing time.

  • Alternatively, you could leave Switzerland the previous evening on the new Nightjet sleeper train from Zurich HB & Basel SBB to Amsterdam Centraal overnight in an economical couchette or private sleeper, and spend the day exploring Amsterdam, see here for details.

  • Day 1, travel overnight from Hoek van Holland to London by train & ferry.  Check in at the Stena Line desk, then walk onto the luxurious superferry Stena Britannica and sail overnight to Harwich in a snug private cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV.  The ferry sails from Hoek at 22:00 and arrives at Harwich International at 06:30 next morning, UK time.  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

  • Day 2, take a train from Harwich to London Liverpool Street arriving around 08:54, or from Harwich to Cambridge arriving 09:42 (10:39 on Sundays).  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Any Dutch Station starts at £55 per person each way, plus the cost of a cabin.

    Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.

    The fare covers the train from London to Harwich, the ferry, and onward Dutch metro & trains from Hoek van Holland Haven to any station in the Netherlands including Utrecht, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details of fares and cabin types & prices.

  • Utrecht to stations in Switzerland starts at €37.90 each way in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, buy a Stena Line Rail & Sail ticket from London to Any Dutch Station as shown on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

  • Step 2, book your trains from Utrecht to Switzerland at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You can book to any destination station you like in Switzerland.  Booking opens up to 180 days ahead, less when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    If you prefer you can book by phone, call DB's English-speaking telesales line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04, lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 at weekends UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings.

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...

Captain's class cabin on Stena Line ferry   Stena Line ferry at Harwich

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema...

Metropolitan restaurant on Stena Line ferry   Cabin on Stena Line ferry

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan à la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo360º photo.

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 information about ICE trains.

ICE2 train, 2nd class   High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE3 at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf...

Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train   ICE3 train, 1st class

Lunch in the bistro.  See current month's menu.

 

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

Back to top


large bullet pointScotland & 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

  • Day 1, take an afternoon train from your local station to either Hull or Newcastle, whichever is most convenient for where you live.  Transfer to the ferry terminal.

  • Sail overnight by luxurious cruise ferry to Holland, with bars, restaurants & comfortable comfy cabins all with private toilet & shower, arriving next morning.  DFDS sail from Newcastle to IJmuiden (near Amsterdam), P&O sail from Hull to Rotterdam Europoort.

    Next morning, there's a bus transfer from the ferry terminal to the nearest main station:  P&O lay on a bus transfer from Rotterdam Europoort to Rotterdam Centraal.  DFDS have a bus transfer from IJmuiden to Amsterdam Centraal.

    For details of ferry timetables, station-port transfers, fares & how to buy tickets for travel via each of these ferry routes, see the UK-Netherlands page.

  • Day 2, travel by fast comfortable train from Rotterdam Centraal or Amsterdam Centraal to anywhere you like in Switzerland.  You can easily check train times & prices at the German Railways website www.bahn.de - just make sure you allow plenty of time, both to cover any likely delay to the ferry and for the bus transfers from ferry terminal to station.  I suggest booking trains leaving around midday.

    Alternatively, you could spend the day in Amsterdam and take the new Nightjet sleeper train from Amsterdam Centraal to Basel SBB & Zurich HB overnight in an economical couchette or private sleeper.  This starts running from 13 December 2021, see here for details.

Switzerland ► Amsterdam ► Scotland & the North

  • Day 1, take a Swiss train from anywhere in Switzerland to Rotterdam Centraal (for P&O to Hull) or to Amsterdam Centraal (for DFDS to Newcastle), you can check times & prices at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Just remember to allow plenty of time, meaning hours not minutes, for any likely delay to the train, for the bus transfer to the ferry terminal, and for the ferry check-in.

    Alternatively, you could leave Switzerland the previous evening on the new Nightjet sleeper train from Zurich HB & Basel SBB to Amsterdam Centraal in an economical couchette or private sleeper, and spend the day exploring Amsterdam, see here for details.

  • Day 1 early evening, transfer by DFDS bus from Amsterdam Centraal to IJmuiden (for the DFDS ferry to Newcastle) or by P&O bus from Rotterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Europoort for the P&O ferry to Hull.

  • Day 1 evening, sail overnight by luxurious cruise ferry from Rotterdam Europoort to Hull with P&O or from IJmuiden to Newcastle with DFDS, whichever UK port is most convenient for where you live, arriving next morning (day 2).  Transfer to the station and take a train home. 

    For full details of train & ferry times and how to buy tickets for each of these routes, see the UK-Netherlands page.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

  • To check train fares and buy train tickets to Hull or Newcastle, use www.raileurope.com (no booking fee for British domestic tickets) or any British train operator website.

  • To check ferry fares & book the ferry online, go to www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-Amsterdam), www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam).

  • To check train times & prices and to buy tickets from Rotterdam or Amsterdam to any station in Switzerland, use the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.

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 info about ICE trains.

ICE2 train, 2nd class   High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE3 at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf...

Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train   ICE3 train, 1st class

Lunch in the bistro.  See current month's menu.

 

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

Back to top


large bullet pointGuidebooks

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


large bullet pointEuropean 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 for £9.67 at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

Back to top


large bullet pointHotels in Switzerland

Personal recommendations...

  • In Zurich, for something special, look no further than the superb Hotel Schweizerhof, located right next to Zurich station.  One of my favourite hotels, they'll even send a uniformed commissionaire to meet you at the station and carry your bags across the road.

  • In the St Moritz-Pontresina area, try the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, an amazing place to stay perched on the top of a mountain, with clean simple and (for Switzerland) inexpensive rooms.  It's reached via the Muottas Muragl funicular railway from Punt Muragl station, between Pontresina & St Moritz.

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

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

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

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.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

www.tripadvisor.com is a good place to find independent travellers' reviews of the main hotels.  It also has the low-down on all the sights & attractions too.

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


large bullet pointHolidays to Switzerland by train

  Railbookers.com logo

0207 864 4600 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

  Rail Discoveries logo

01904 730 727

  Great Rail Journeys logo

01904 527120

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 offer custom-made individual holidays with departure on any date you like, whereas Rail Discoveries & Great Rail Journeys offer escorted tours with specific departure dates.

Railbookers for holidays & breaks to Switzerland by rail...

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 call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

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

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

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

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

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

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

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

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

Back to top


large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Confused.com 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 use an annual policy 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 flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

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

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

 Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct.

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

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  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 balance 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 app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending 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, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


Back to top

Back to home page