Travel by Train
The punctuality of Swiss public transport remains one of the wonders of the modern world. Train services nearly always depart on time, and rail timetables are well integrated with those of the postbus system, which operates on routes not covered by rail, serving remote villages and valleys. Trains, lake steamers, postal buses and city transportation lines in Switzerland are all synchronized for easy connections, making it one of the densest transportation networks in the world. There is no other form of transportation that brings you closer to the charm of Switzerland, both affordable and easy. Trains are synonymous with the spirit of going places, and nowhere is this more true than in Switzerland. Travel in style!
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Train Ticket Options:
Swiss Transfer Ticket:
The Swiss Transfer Ticket is valid for your journey from the Swiss border or one of Switzerland’s airports to your destination and back. This ticket is valid for one month and is the ideal solution if only staying for a brief period (and not moving around), or for winter holidays. Each trip needs to be completed by the end of the day and has to be as direct as possible. Children from 6 to 15 years travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent.
The Swiss Card includes the same transfers as the Swiss Transfer Ticket (from the border or airport to one's destination and back), plus it also offers a 50% discount on all trips effected by train, boat, (postal) bus and most mountain trains and cable cars between the 1st and 2nd transfer day. The Swiss Card has a maximum validity of 1 month. However, once the included return has been used, it is not valid any longer. The first and last trip must be completed by the end of the day. Each trip has to be as direct as possible. The Swiss Card is a good idea if staying in one region the entire time and just going on local rides. Children from 6 to 15 years travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent.
Choose your personal travel route from approximately 20,000 kilometers of train (including scenic trains), (postal) bus or boat routes ! The Swiss Pass entitles you to unlimited travel on the Swiss public transportation network for 4, 8, 15 or 22 consecutive days or an entire month. Also included are public trams and buses in 41 towns and cities in Switzerland as well as a 50% discount on most mountain railways and cable cars. To top it off, the Swiss Pass entitles to free entries to approx. 400 museums, and to other interesting discounts. Children from 6 to 15 years travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent.
Swiss Flexi Pass:
This Swiss Flexi Pass offers the same benefits as the Swiss Pass - unlimited travel by train (including scenic trains), (postal) bus or boat routes - but allows to freely choose the traveling days (3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 days within a month. On the selected days the Swiss Flexi Pass also is valid for the free admission to museums and the other discounts; on the days between the first and the last validated day, the Swiss Flexi Pass offers a 50% discount on train, (postal) bus and boat rides, as well as on most mountain rides. Children from 6 to 15 years travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent.
Swiss Half Fare Card:
The Swiss Half Fare Card gets you a 50% discount on trains, buses, boats and most mountain trains and cable-cars for one month. It is ideal for shorter trips and excursions, in particular if these include mountain trains and cable cars. Children from 6 to 15 years travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent.
The Family Card is issued at no cost to parents who wish to take along their children under the age of 16. Please note that at least one parent has to travel with the child/ren in order to allow for the free rides.
Click here for a List with Prices of all Swiss Rail Passes
Book A Train:
Swiss Rail Passes are easily booked online: Click here to purchase your ticket with STS (Swiss Travel System). The train tickets will be sent to your address.
Travelers from Great Britain and Ireland, please click here to purchase your Swiss Rail Passes. The tickets will be sent to your address by the Swiss Travel Centre office in London.
Regional Rail Pass:
Switzerland's most popular tourism regions such as the Bernese Oberland, the Lake Geneva Alps, the Valais, Graubunden and Central Switzerland offer regional rail passes to discover the attractions of the region. Ask upon arrival at the local tourist office (and/or the railway station). Holders of a Swiss Rail Pass (incl. Transfer Ticket) are entitled to a regional rail pass at a reduced price.
A highlight of any Swiss trip must be the scenic routes which show our beautiful country from its best side. Enjoy the sights from the panoramic windows of a train, a boat deck or one of the yellow Postbuses, and get to know Switzerland’s natural beauty in a spectacular and convenient manner.
The Glacier Express connects Switzerland's world-famous mountain resorts of St. Moritz, Davos and Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn. A panoramic trip through the Alpine heartland of Switzerland, and a memorable way of traveling from the eastern to the western Swiss Alps (or vice versa) passing over 291 bridges and with great views of snow capped peaks, mountain forests and raging streams. The Glacier Express offers comfortable panorama wagons on its 4 trains daily during summer months, and 1 train daily in winter. There's a surcharge and seat reservation is mandatory; lunch reservation recommended.
Route: St. Moritz / Davos - Chur - Andermatt - Brig - Zermatt and vice versa. The journey time is approx. 8 hours.
The Bernina Express is the north-south Alpine crossing from/to Chur, Switzerland to/from Tirano, Italy by scenic train, and by scenic bus to/from Lugano, Switzerland. This route offers breathtaking views as you travel from ice-age glaciers to palm trees. From the Engadine the train will take you from 1,800 m (5,450 ft) to the Bernina Pass at 2,253 m (6,830 ft) above sea level at an incline sometimes as steep as 7% without the use of cog wheels, which is unique in Europe. The impressive ride over deep valleys and across stone viaducts ends in Tirano at a mere 429 m (1,300 ft) above sea level. The Bernina Express train runs all year, but the bus runs from May to mid October only ! There's one train daily; seat reservation is mandatory. Be sure to have valid entry documents for Italy since you will leave and re-enter Switzerland.
Route: Chur - Filisur - Albula Pass - St. Moritz - Pontresina - Poschiavo - Tirano - Lugano and vice versa. The journey time is 7 hours.
William Tell Express:
Fast is certainly what this "Express" is not - but it makes up for it by being first class. The William Tell Express links the German-speaking northern Switzerland with the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland south of the Alps. The William Tell Express includes a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne on board of a historic paddlewheel steamer and the ride by train through the St. Gotthard Tunnel. This scenic route is served from May to October only with 2 trains daily in both directions. There's a surcharge to the Swiss Pass in 1st class. A 1st class ticket or pass is required to board the Wilhelm Tell Express. Reservation is mandatory (supplement is at extra cost) and includes a lunch on the boat, reserved seats in train and boat, and a souvenir.
Route: Lucerne - Fluelen by boat, then by train of the St. Gotthard Railway through the St. Gotthard Tunnel to Lugano/Locarno (change in Bellinzona for Lugano). The journey time is 5 1/2 hours.
Golden Pass Line:
The Golden Pass links the Lake Geneva region with Central Switzerland via the Bernese Oberland. Two languages, three worlds, six lakes - that’s the Golden Pass. In Montreux, palm trees and southern ambience still prevail along the "Swiss Riviera", then through vineyards and gardens on to green pastures with grazing cows and cozy chalets, above them snow-capped peaks of the Bernese Alps. Down the Simmental Valley and along the crystal clear lakes of Thun and Brienz via Interlaken and up again onto the Brünig Pass, and from there down to Central Switzerland along Lake Lucerne to Lucerne. The Golden Pass runs all year with several trains daily (more frequently during summer). Seat reservations are optional, but we recommend to reserve seats on the Montreux-Zweisimmen portion. Consider getting a VIP seat in the panorama wagon front row - a very special riding experience (limited availability).
Route: Montreux - Gstaad - Zweisimmen - Interlaken - Lucerne and vice versa. The journey time is approx. 6 hours for the whole trip (or 1 1/2 hours Montreux - Zweisimmen).
The Chocolate Train package includes coffee and croissant on the train, bus transfers, a tour of the Gruyères castle, and the visits of the cheese and chocolate factories including shows and tasting. Enjoy stunning views of the vineyards above Lake Geneva and travel in 1st class in panoramic coaches, or in the “Belle Epoque Pullman” deluxe carriages just as in 1915. Visit the picturesque Gruyères village with its medieval castle and discover how Gruyere cheese is made. Then, at Broc where the famous Swiss chocolate is made a tour is offered together with a film and a tasting at the Cailler Chocolate Factory. The Chocolate Train runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from May to October and every day in July and August; reservations are mandatory.
Route: Montreux - Gruyere - Broc - Montreux. The journey time is approx. 8 hours.
The Palm Express is a scenic bus ride from/to St. Moritz to/from Lugano. Contrasts are ever fascinating and a journey with the Palm Express is full of wonders: snowy peaks, lofty larch forests, limpid mountain lakes of the Upper Engadine, bizarre rock tops of the Bergell, characteristic Bergell villages surrounded by chestnut forrests, the towns of Chiavenna and Menaggio, and the subtropic climate along Lake Como in Italy and Lake Lugano in the Ticino, Switzerland's portion south of the Alps. During highs season (Christmas/ New Year and June - October), ther's one bus daily in each direction; during the rest of the year, the Palm Express runs just on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (one bus in each direction). There's a surcharge and seat reservation is mandatory.
Route: St. Moritz - Maloja Pass - Chiavenna, Italy - Lugano and vice versa. The journey time is approx. 4 hours.
Many of the "regular" Swiss trains are along scenic routes; e.g. the Centovalli train from Locarno through the narrow Centovalli Valley to Domodossola in Italy, or the BLS RegioExpress Loetschberger from Bern to the Valais via Thun and Kandersteg, or the Pre-Alpine Express from Lucerne to Romanshorn (on Lake Constance) via St. Gallen. If not in a hurry, consider gettig on regional trains rather than fast, direct trains and you will be rewarded with scenic views of Swiss landscapes.
Depending on the number of days and nights you intend spending in Switzerland, you will be able to enjoy all or just some of the above mentioned scenic rides. We provide for some ideas about what's feasible within a certain period allowing you to plan your tour of Switzerland on your own.
>> see sample itineraries
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Swiss Federal Railways Timetable & Map:
For train schedules, please check www.sbb.ch/en/timetable.html
or complete the form below.
>> see the Swiss Federal Railways Network Map