Unbelievable mountain scenery, charming medieval cities and bright blue lakes - no wonder Switzerland is one of the most popular countries to explore by train. If you like to drift around, let the cities of Bern, Zurich, Lucerne and Geneva enchant you. If you're more of a thrill-seeker, nothing beats camping, skiing or hiking in the breathtaking Swiss countryside.
Travelling by train in Switzerland
Switzerland quick facts
Population: 8 million
Language: German, French, Italian
Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)
Dialing code: +41
Trains in Switzerland
Find out all you need to know about Switzerland’s rail network, different train types and reservation requirements.
More about trains in Switzerland
Places to visit
Not only is Switzerland a top ski and snowboard destination – think St. Moritz, Verbier and Zermatt – but it’s also a great place to enjoy many other outdoor activities within stunning surroundings. If you’re seeking adrenaline-fuelled madness go zorbing in Interlaken – climb the hill, step inside a man-made beach ball and roll on down! Or, try Switzerland’s longest Flying Fox at Monte Tamaro in the south. You’ll be tied to a harness and pulley and then sent careering at 60km/h along a 440-metre wire – only for the daring!
Interlaken has 2 main train stations: Interlaken Ost (nearest to the city centre) and Interlaken West. A number of companies offer zorbing around Interlaken. To reach Monte Tamaro take an aerial cable car from Alpe Foppa.
Bern: Charming little capital
Bern, not a typical capital city in terms of size and decibel levels, instead oozes provincial charm and calm. Pass by Einstein House (Einsteinhaus), once home to the father of modern physics, Albert Einstein, between 1903 and 1905. There’s also an interesting biography of the German-born mastermind and a presentation of his life’s work. Take some time to wander around the medieval centre of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and marvel at the 15th century architecture. The Clock Tower (Zytglogge) with its quirky puppet show popping out each hour, stands proudly among medieval terraced-buildings.
The Einstein House is a 15-minute walk from Bern’s main train station and the Clock Tower is just 10 minutes from there.
For the culturally curious
Visit Switzerland’s culture capital: Basel, with its wealth of cultural, historical and art attractions, plus a pleasant vibe. The city lies in the heart of Europe on both banks of the Rhine and is an important transport hub with good connections to the whole of Europe from its 3 train stations. Just 20 kilometres east of Basel in Augst, is Augusta Raurica – an ancient Roman archaeological site, containing an impressive Roman theatre and house, as well as a museum explaining the history of this Swiss gem.
Augusta Raurica is a 15-minute walk from the Kaiseraugst train station.
Paint the town red
Zurich has some of the most lively night spots in the country, with a great selection in the Old Town. Check out Kaufleuten – a buzzing bar and club – and choose from four bars, each with an individual style, and during warmer months the terrace is a great hang out. Also make sure you pass by Langstrasse – Zurich’s very own red light district, though keep your wits about you as crime levels are higher in this area. Lausanne is another city with a vibrant night scene and a varied selection of bars and clubs to keep you going into the early hours.
Kaufleuten is a 5-minute walk from Sihlstrasse tram stop (tram 2,5, 9 or 13).
Spoilt for choice
Majestically sparkling in the west, is Lake Geneva – Europe’s largest alpine lake. Wonderful places to experience Switzerland’s largest lake are from the cosmopolitan city of Geneva and on the opposite side of the lake in Montreux. Visit the spectacular Château de Chillon in Montreux, a well-preserved medieval castle elegantly perched on the edge of Lake Geneva. Another picture-perfect lake can be discovered in Lucerne. Take a boat trip around the crystal waters and admire the surrounding wooded slopes and soak up the Swiss serenity.
Château de Chillon is a 10-minute walk from Veytaux-Chillon train station. From Lucerne’s main train station it is a 10-minute walk to the quay where you can pick up a boat.
This carnival attracts over 15,000 costumed and masked participants, infiltrating the streets of Lucerne. Expect music, mayhem and partying on the streets.
Lucerne is a 1-hr train ride from Bern and Zurich. The festival takes place across the whole city, which can be reached via the main train station.
Montreux Jazz Festival
This festival is known around the world as one of the best places to hear the masters of rock and jazz. Just 1 hour outside of Geneva, the festival is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Free shuttle buses operate between the festival site and Montreux's train station.
Interrail passes for Switzerland
Most popular passes with Switzerland
Interrail Global Pass from € 170
The Interrail Global Pass is the flexible and budget-friendly way to get around up to 30 countries in Europe. Travel by train from one cool destination to the next. One day you're on a pub crawl through Amsterdam and the next you're white-water rafting in Interlaken, Switzerland.View Interrail Global Pass
Interrail Switzerland Pass from € 87
The Interrail Switzerland Pass is the best way to visit Switzwerland's highlights like Bern, Geneva or Basel.View Interrail Switzerland Pass
All Interrail passes with Switzerland
Here's a list of all Interrail passes for your travels through this country: