Train tickets in Switzerland

Overview

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Switzerland is world-renowned for its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse cultures. And, thanks to its striking scenery, punctual rail service and smart timetabling, exploring Switzerland by train is nothing short of exquisite.

The main national rail operator in Switzerland is the state-run Swiss Federal Railways (abbreviated to CFF, SBB and FFS in French, German and Italian respectively). The best way to get full usage out of the country’s public transport network of nearly 30,000km is by using a Swiss Travel Pass.

For international arrival or onward journey, trains and buses are available at border stations and airports. Connections are guaranteed in all places. Where no train service is available, the journey continues by bus, boat or even mountain railway. Hence, interchange is simple and easy to handle all throughout Switzerland.

Trains always leave at the same minute after each full hour. Main inter-city connections run at half-hour intervals. At major traffic hubs, trains arrive every full and half hour. Bus and boat connections are perfectly coordinated with these regular-interval timetables.

Trains in Switzerland

Train categories

  • InterCity (IC) trains connect larger cities without intermediate stops
  • InterRegio (IR) und RegioExpress (RE) trains connect the mediumsized centres in Switzerland. Regional trains serve all intermediate stations and also provide access to the smaller branches of the network
  • Major urban centres have their own suburban railway (S-Bahn) network. These trains specially marked with an “S” optimally serve the urban and suburban areas with a high-frequency timetable

1st class – comfortable travelling

Those who appreciate a bit of luxury travel 1st class. 1st class coaches provide additional amenities such as wider seats, more legroom and electrical power outlets. Furthermore, 1st class passengers benefit from quiet and business zones. Swiss boats also offer the choice between 1st and 2nd class. 1st class is usually located on the upper deck, which offers a magnificent view of the scenery

Seat reservation

  • In Switzerland, the majority of trains to not require seat reservation.
  • For panoramic trains with mandatory seat reservation, reservations should be made at the earliest convenience

No surcharge applies on national, InterCity or InterRegio trains within Switzerland. Panoramic trains such as Glacier Express and Bernina Express as well as some PostBus lines (Palm Express) are usually subject to surcharge and/or require seat reservation.

SBB onboard catering

On certain trains, guests enjoy SBB restaurants offering a choice of select dishes. There is an SBB bistro on the lower deck of most InterCity double-deck trains. SBB restaurants and SBB bistros are open from 06.30h to 21.00h. On some train connections, passengers benefit from at-the-seat service in 1st class.

On InterCity and EuroCity trains with an SBB restaurant, this service is offered daily from 07.00h to 18.30h on the following routes:

  • Zürich–Brig/Brig–Zürich
  • Zürich–Fribourg/Fribourg–Zürich
  • Switzerland–Italy/Italy–Switzerland
  • Switzerland–Munich/Munich–Switzerland

On InterCity connections without SBB restaurant or SBB bistro, only at-the-seat service is available in 1st class.

Quite zone and Business zone

For passengers who prefer to remain undisturbed during their journey, the quiet compartment in 1st class is the right place to go. Here travellers can read, work or simply relax without being interrupted by unwelcome noise. InterCity trains offer workspaces complete with power supply, optimised data transfer, amplifiers for mobile phone reception, and large work surfaces in 1st class.

What trains can you travel with in Switzerland?

  • Railjet
  • TGV
  • ICE
  • Bernina Express
  • Golden Pass
  • Glacier Express
  • Eurocity
  • InterRegio
  • Intercity (IC)
  • Nightjet
  • Regional Express
  • Regional trains
  • TER trains
  • Airport train stations

    Airport train stations in Switzerland

    Switzerland's four main airports are in Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Basel, all of which are easily connected by train. Getting from Zurich and Geneva airports to their respective city centres by train is particularly easy, as both airports have their own train stations.

    You can buy tickets from Zurich and Geneva airports to their city centres on our website, though it is worth knowing that if arriving into Geneva airport, you can claim a free Unireso public transport ticket for 80 mins from its issue time for public transport within the central Geneva area. There is a bus to the main train stations from Bern and Basel airports, which you can buy locally.

    See our detailed airport guides

  • Zürich Flughafen Airport
  • Child and youth passengers

    The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

    Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

    Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.