Destination Switzerland

Discover Switzerland by train: The ultimate guide

Before starting your reading, I prefer to warn you that English is not my mother tongue and there may be some mistakes! thank you for your understanding and enjoy your reading

You think about discovering Switzerland by train or public transport, but you don’t know how it works or have questions. Fortunately you are in the right place. In my post, I will explain you the transport system of my country and also explain you the advantages and disadvantages of traveling by train. 

The Swiss transport network is one on the densest of the world with thousands connections per day. You can live in very small village or in the largest city of the country. For sure you will have at least a train or bus near your home. Everywhere you will find a bus or train stop! When I talked about public transport, it included trains, bus, boats and some cable cars. 

In Switzerland you will find two main companies the BLS and the SBB. The last one is the national one and the biggest too. There are some other bus companies from each state. But all these transports work with the same pass. It’s good news!

So let start with the positive and less positive aspect of traveling by train in Switzerland!

This is the train station of bern in Switzerland.
Bern Train Station

Advantages of traveling by train:

Punctuality: 

I assure you it’s not a myth guys! The trains or bus are super punctual in Switzerland. As a daily passenger, most of the time, my trains are on time. They are rarely late more than 2 minutes and even at the peak times. In this case the train company will put an audio message to apologize for the delay! 

Frequency of connections:

The connections between two big cities are frequent and fast. For example, the journey form Geneva to Zürich takes 2 hours and 40 minutes and this train runs every half hour. Another example of a popular train is from Bern (the capital) to Zürich. There are 7 connections per hour. It’s a lot. And even on small connections, you will always find a train that suits you. 

The beauty of the landscapes:

If I only have to choose one advantage of travel by train, it would be the beauty of the scenery that the train goes through. The landscapes are so different and sometime you really think that you’re going through several countries in just one trip. My favourite one is the part between Lausanne and Fribourg. You have a breathtaking view of the mountains, the lake Geneva and also the vineyards. Even after 3 years of daily passage, the beauty of this region always surprises me!

image qui montre le Lavaux, un des endroits les plus de suisse en train. Magnifique endroit à revoir.
Lake Geneva

The available offer:

As I said above, the offer of public transport in Switzerland is one of the largest in the world. In one day you can take a boat trip on Lake of Thun during the morning. After this ride, you can take simply take a train to Lucerne, one of the most beautiful cities in my country. I strongly advice you to visit it.  Also, if you own a Swisspass or an annual pass, you can benefit from many discounts for some tourist activities! 

Disadvantages of traveling by train:

The price

Unfortunately, traveling by train has a cost, especially in Switzerland. But if you think about enjoying time and preserving the planet, the train is a good way to discover new places. To reduce costs, the SBB sells super-saving tickets, which are something 75% cheaper than the normal price. So if you can travel with those tickets, do not hesitate to take them!

The time 

Time is money! Some destinations, which are really in the hinterland or lost in the mountain, do not have very good connections. So if you plan to go to a small village or in the mountains, do not forget to add more time to reach your final destination and to check the connections. But be aware that if you take the car, it may be faster, but the journey to your destination will be less charming than if you took the train!

Which kind of ticket do you need?

If you come for a few days in Switzerland and you plan to do only 3 or 4 trips by train. I would say. It’s better to buy “super-saving tickets”, which are only available on the SBB app. Sometime these tickets are 75% cheaper than the normal price!

If instead you plan to travel a lot by train, I recommend buying the Swiss Travel Pass. This sesame allows you to take all public transport (train, bus or boat) without limit. There are several types of passes and all have different number of days of use. If you wish to have more information, I let you visit the website of the SBB.

If you live in Switzerland, you probably know the different train passes available. The general passes that allow you to travel in all over country and take all transportation. The half price pass, which allows you to pay only half of the regular ticket and the last is for the young people Gleich 7. This pass allows you to travel “free” between 7pm and 5 am. 

This Is the Swiss national pass for public transport.
Swiss Pass

Few advises: 

  • First, because you are on vacation, so we assume that you have time. Try to avoid transport during peak hours (between 6-9am and 5-7pm). You will be able to enjoy more your trip and of course have more space.
  • Download the SBB application that will allow you to see in real time all available connections and also to buy tickets you need with your credit card!
  • Last one, if you can, have a seat next the window. The views are amazing! Trust me!

Finally if you read carefully, you will notice that you don’t really need a car to enjoy your days in Switzerland. There are so many different ways to discover Switzerland and the country’s activities. 

You will find here other posts about Switzerland, but they are unfortunately in French. But this could be a good way to improve your French.


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