This ski season, take advantage of the many rail routes from London to Switzerland and enjoy the sweeping beauty of the Swiss Alps by train.
Nothing quite compares to skiing in Switzerland. It's home to dramatic mountain scenery, picturesque villages, fantastic restaurants, and of course, world-class skiing, both cross-country and downhill. Skip airport queues, luggage fees and lengthy transfers that come with flying, and relish the relaxation of rail travel as you watch the scenery glide by towards your Swiss ski resort destination.
Take a train to one of Switzerland's rail hubs: Lausanne or Zurich are the best ones for skiers and also accessible by high-speed train from Paris and many more cities. From here you can link up with Switzerland's exemplary national and local railways which fan upwards and outwards into the Alps. Here are some of the most popular Swiss ski regions and how to access them by train.
London to Lausanne, via Paris
Travelling from London to Switzerland via Paris offers the most flexibility for UK winter sports fans. Eurostar services from London to Paris are frequent and fast. These trains depart every day of the week and there are plenty of connecting services to stations throughout Switzerland.
The journey by train from London to Lausanne can take as little as 7 hrs 20 mins. There are usually up to four departures from London to Paris every day which connect in time with direct high-speed train to Lausanne.
From Lausanne there are frequent onward connections, by direct Intercity trains to Aigle (30 mins), Martigny (50 mins), Visp (1 hr 32 mins) and Brig (1 hr 20 mins), allowing you to easily reach this region’s most popular resorts.
Once the TGV Lyria passes through Lausanne, it calls at Montreux, Aigle, Martigny, Sion, Siders, Leuk and Visp, before terminating in Brig. During the ski season, it leaves Paris on Saturday mornings, or Saturday afternoons if you’re returning back to Paris from Brig. The journey from Paris to Brig takes 6 hrs 11 mins or, if travelling from London to Brig by train, around 8 hrs 30 mins.
Davos is one of the most famous Swiss ski resorts in Switzerland with Klosters station just a 30 mins journey away. Known for high altitudes and diverse terrains, Davos-Klosters is one of the largest ski areas in the Alps. Take the train to Landquart and then onto to Klosters Platz (40 mins) or Davos Platz (1 hr 10 mins) or
The original Swiss ski resort, St.Moritz has welcomed winter tourists for over 150 years, and its glitzy reputation for hosting the rich and the famous means you might spot a celebrity or two speeding down the slopes.
Travel by train to Chur and pick up a local Rhaetian train (RhB) over the famous Albulapass to St.Moritz (2 hrs). Trains from Chur to St.Moritz run hourly. St.Moritz is also the starting point for two iconic rail journeys: thel Bernina rail route to Tirano in Italy and the Glacier Express to Zermatt.
A relative newcomer to the Swiss ski resort group, this region emerged when Arosa was joined with neighbouring Lenzerheide in early 2014. Despite its short history however, Arosa-Lenzerheide offers a wide range of slopes and is fast becoming one of Switzerland’s top ski destinations.
Tips for how to find cheap ski train tickets to Switzerland
Tickets get snapped up quickly during the ski season, particularly over Christmas and half-term (mid-February). This is compounded by many chalets offering Saturday-Saturday accommodation, which pushes the prices up further for Friday and weekend travel. Avoiding these busy periods, if possible, is a good way to save money on ski train tickets.
It also pays to travel at a less popular time of day. For example, the first Eurostar of the day from London to Paris is likely to be busy with skiers meeting onward connections to the Alps. But if you opt for a later train, you’ll find it less busy and tickets will likely be cheaper too.
Consider a late departure from London and stay overnight in Paris, continuing your journey the next day. The first departure from Paris to Switzerland is often cheaper than mid-morning trains. Or, you could also take the last train from Paris to Geneva and stay there overnight, completing your onward journey the following morning.
Image credits top top bottom: Zermatt iStock ©LeeYiuTung, Swiss Alps from Lake Geneva iStock ©Nicolas McComber, train on viaduct in Switzerland iStock ©Oleh_Slobodeniuk, Zermatt village iStock ©extravagantni
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