Switzerland train travel is a fantastic way to explore the country without spending a fortune. The country is well connected, meaning it's possible to visit big cities and tiny towns all without getting behind the wheel of a single vehicle or struggling with directions in an unfamiliar place. Along the way, you'll enjoy attentive service, amazing scenery, and the ease that comes with leaving the driving to the professionals.
The Switzerland rail pass, which is available to visitors rather than locals, is a smart way to travel by train. Instead of paying by ride, the pass allows travelers to pay by the day or purchase multi-day packages. The trains connect the airports, major cities, popular resorts, and places off the beaten path worth exploring from Geneva to the Swiss Alps and points in between. Visitors experience rail travel in Switzerland on their own terms, whether they purchase a month-long pass or plan a four-day excursion.Tickets can be purchased online as little as two days in advance or 120 days if you want to really plan ahead. Last-minute tickets are available from self-service kiosks at the rail stations. Sometimes the trains are full, so it makes sense to purchase tickets before the vacations start. Children also can travel free with their parents when a family card is purchased, and student discounts are available.
But the Switzerland rail pass is more than a train ticket—the comprehensive ticket allows access to other modes of transportation including trams and buses in nearly 40 different communities. Passengers also can find some discounts available for cable cars, buses, and mountain top trains operated by private companies. The included museum pass allows free entry to more than 400 different cultural institutions, which add a lot of value to any vacation packages.
With your Switzerland rail pass in hand, you can step aboard the train and start exploring. No matter what the season, the trains glide past some amazing scenery, including Alpine meadows, lush deep forests, meandering mountain streams, and towering mountain peaks. Whether the bulk of your vacation includes Switzerland train travel or you spend a few hours traveling by rail, you'll have the chance to travel in style and comfort.
After hopping aboard a train in Switzerland, you'll have access to every major region and all of the cantons. Several of the routes have become famous vacations in their own right. The Golden Pass, William Tell, and the Mont-Blanc Express are perhaps the best-known way to experience rail travel in Switzerland. The first train features ultra-modern trains designed for speed and passenger comfort. The 150-mile route includes Lucerne, Interlaken, and Lake Geneva. The William Tell Express connects Lucerne with the Italian-style Ticino with regular service between May and October. The journey begins with a three-hour scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne, before boarding the air-conditioned train for a trip through the Reuss Valley to sunny cities near the Italian border.
The Mont-Blanc route ventures into France from the charming village Martigny, alongside the grand glacier Mont Blanc, one of the highest mountain peaks in Europe.
Another option for Switzerland train travel also begins in Martigny; the Saint Bernard Express winds to Orsières. Here, passengers can hop aboard a bus to visit from where a scenic Champex-Lac or La Fouly. In the summer, you can make a trip Grand St. Bernard Pass, the place where the famous dogs took their name.
Rail travel in Switzerland doesn't have to end at the border. With the purchase of a Rail Europe Pass, you can visit several countries for one low price, with all the ease, attentive service, and value rail service provides. Like the Switerzland rail pass, tickets can be purchased at the station or online before you leave home.