There are two options available when taking a journey by train from Bern to Brig:
the IC trains = Brig (or Domodossola)
the EC trains = Milano
All trains also call at Visp
Most of the trains used on this route are the double-deck type of Swiss IC trains and it can be worth heading to the upper deck to see the best of the views; sit on the left when boarding in Bern.
1 or 2 x trains per hour
There are typically two departures in odd hours; one of which can be an EC train heading to Italy
In even hours the one departure is a Swiss IC train.
The final departure of the day is usually just after 21:30.
Book early and save: Yes - If you book Supersaver tickets (more info is available on the SBB ticket guide below)
You may need to search through the departures to find them using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ buttons; the Supersaver tickets tend to sell out particularly quickly on this route.
Online bookings open: up to two months ahead of the travel date
Try and be flexible with your departure and arrival times, book as near to 60 days ahead as possible and don't be overly concerned whether you will be taking an IC or EC train (though on this route taking an indirect journey can be a money saver; and the IC trains tend to cheaper than the EC trains.
If you will be making a day trip to Brig from Basel, be open to the possibility that Saver Day Passes are likely to be a cheaper option than booking return tickets.
Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains; and for the journey by EC trains as it's wholly within Switzerland, so seats won't be automatically assigned when booking online.
You can book reservations online, AFTER you have booked a ticket, by using the SBB (Swiss national railways) seat reservation service OR request and pay for a reservation when booking at a station ticket office.
Travelling with a rail pass:
Rail pass users can jump on any train, without having to make reservations; though the EC trains are best avoided, as they tend to be busier.
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The trains which are typically scheduled to depart from Bern daily at 07:34; 11:34, 13:24 and 18:34 are the international EC trains which will be heading on to Milano.
But if you will be buying a ticket or using a rail pass, it doesn't matter which train service you will be travelling by; Swiss 'rules' apply to the journey if you won't be travelling beyond Brig, meaning that reservations are optional, even if you will be travelling on an EC service.
Though those discounted 'Supersaver' tickets are less likely to be available on the EC trains, as they tend to be busier.
Now that these trains use the Lotschberg Base Tunnel this journey is not as scenic as it once was.
But from the left of the train (when facing the direction of travel) there are views over the Thunersee between Thun and Speiz.
On departure from Thun station:
And then on departure from Speiz station:Though not only was that video captured on a different, more sunny, day - it was taken when travelling in the opposite direction. It's been included here to showcase, what you will see from the right on this part of the journey, when heading south!
Then after exiting the Lotschberg Base Tunnel, the train will travel through a steep valley for the final part of the journey on to Visp and Brig.
Final Destinations: Brig or Domodossola
If time is in your side, particularly if you want to see the best of Switzerland while using a travel pass, target these less obvious trains for a Bern to Brig journey
1 x train per hour
The final departure is typically before 19:40
Book early and save: No*
Online bookings open: 2 months ahead of the travel date
*SBB does not offer discounted 'Supersaver Tickets' for this route, so you won't save if you book online.
If you will be booking last minute at the station just before boarding, these trains will typically be cheaper than the IC or EC trains.
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At Frutigen this older route splits off from the route which takes the express trains towards the Lotschberg Base Tunnel. This route twists and turns through the mountain passes, through Kandersteg and on the older Lotschberg Tunnel, which is the highest point of the conventional Swiss rail network.
So what goes up must come back down, hence the sensational birds eye view across the valley, which can be seen on the right between the tunnel and the arrival in Brig railway station.
Though the video was taken when travelling in the opposite direction, so shows an ascent from Brig, but it showcases the sensational birds eye views.
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.