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We all have ideas of what a country is like but, if we’re honest, it rarely goes beyond stereotypes. SBB and Omio invite you to explore the real Switzerland, from meeting the welcoming locals to uncovering breathtaking landscapes.
With SBB, discovering Switzerland’s secret side is a breeze. Swiss rail is one of the world’s best train networks (and most punctual), so you can reach every corner of Switzerland in comfort and ease, meaning you can spend more time exploring this Alpine country’s unique side.
Discover vistas sweeter than any chocolate, find out how time can stand still in the land of clocks, and understand why the sight of the Matterhorn leaves even the Swiss speechless (despite speaking four official languages).
Switzerland is more than cheese, cows and clocks, but you’ve got to see it for yourself!
Switzerland is one of those places which feels like it’s straight out of a fairy tale, a land of snow-capped mountains and verdant meadows, of crystal-clear lakes and magical alpine towns. It’s all this and more – and it’s linked together by some of the most efficient and seamless public transport infrastructure in the world. The backbone of this is SBB, the Swiss federal railway. Even better news? You can buy all your SBB tickets directly with Omio.
Finding the best tickets for your journey on SBB trains is easy with Omio. Just select the station you want to start your journey from, where you want to travel to, plus the dates and times which suit your needs. There are often advantages to being flexible with dates and times – consider travelling outside of commuter hours and avoiding weekends to get the cheapest tickets. Whatever you choose, all your tickets will be securely stored in your Omio account so you can use them when you need to without worrying about losing them.
What’s more, if you want to book multiple trips in one go or select connecting bus or tram services to destinations which aren’t on the SBB train network, Omio can provide all of this for a seamless travel experience.
As with most train networks, whether a train is direct or indirect is down to what route you are aiming to take. The Swiss train network is extensive and efficient, linking most parts of the country in just a few short hours, but not every journey can be counted on to be direct. Between major towns and cities you can usually count on a direct service, so for example if you’re travelling from Geneva to Lausanne, Zurich to Basel or Bern to Geneva you can take a single train to your destination. Routes to smaller or more remote destinations can mean you need to change trains as part of your journey – for instance from metropolitan Geneva to the ski resort town of Zermatt you may need to change once or even twice. Using Omio ensures you will always know the best route to take for your needs and changing trains on the SBB network is usually a comfortably efficient process.
SBB runs all the lines between Switzerland’s major cities – from Basel, Schaffhausen and Zürich in the north, Bern and Luzern, all the way down to Lugarno. It’s so good, in 2017 the European Railway Performance Index listed it as Europe’s safest, highest quality and most intensively used rail network. They have had plenty of practice – the first arrival in Berne for the freshly-created SBB was on new year’s day 1901, although its ‘birthday’ is st as 1st January 1902, the day the Swiss North East Railway became part of SBB, creating a truly national organisation.
SBB operates a wide variety of different trains, each tailored to a particular need or route. The Giruno is a fast single-decker passenger train which runs north-south and often crosses the border into Italy, terminating in Milan.
The LD double-decker is a long-distance regional train, running on most routes within Switzerland. It’s well-equipped for extended travel, featuring plenty of storage for luggage and bicycles, accessible toilets, baby-changing facilities, at-seat electrical sockets and mobile signal amplifiers to keep you charged up and in touch. The Inter City services also have restaurants, family coaches, business zones and quiet coaches to serve every possible eventuality.
Other trains in frequent service include the fast and comfortable Astoro fleet which extend out to Germany and Italy, ICN trains which connect Swiss cities at high speed, workhorse IR and IC2000 double-decker trains which serve many regional centres, as well as their single-deck Eurocity, Flirt, Mouette and Domino cousins.
In and around major metropolitan centres such as Zurich, commuter trains such as the DPZ, DTZ, GTW Seetal and Regio double-decker make shorter journeys between local stations.
SBB offers several main types of ticket, most of which can be purchases as either 1st or 2nd Class:
The SBB network is efficient and well-maintained, though as will all transport networks there are sometimes timetable changes. You can always find out about regularly scheduled services via Omio, as well as any changes to those services, on either our website or app.
Travelling Switzerland by train is the climate-friendly way to see the country in style. At present, 90% of the energy used to run SBB’s trains is generated by hydroelectric plants and the power used to run its infrastructure, including stations, offices and operations buildings is from 100% carbon-neutral sources. The company has stated its aim to source all its power from renewables by 2025.
Not only this but SBB also offers free drinking water at all its stations, meaning you can fill up your reusable drinking vessel free of charge, but fast food outlets at stations also have the Kooky system – reusable cups for beverages which you pay a small deposit for and, once used, can be returned to a drop-off box in the station and your deposit returned.
Switzerland is a magical place and travelling around it by train is a favourite of both tourists and locals. train travel in Switzerland. You can find some of the top destinations below.
Below we have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about Swiss train travel on SBB trains. For more information on specific topics concerning SBB please contact our customer care department that will be happy to help you out with any further enquiries about travel with SBB.
Not sure where to begin your SBB adventure? Check out these popular SBB destinations for travel details and nearby attractions: