Passing the Wallensee #2

Basel / Bâle to Chur by train

How to take a rail journey from Basel to Chur, where connections are available on to St Moritz and Arosa

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Routes

From Basel SBB/Bâle CFF to Chur

Travel Information

Final Destination: Chur

Connect at Chur for buses to the Laax-Flims-Falera ski resort - click the purple Chur station button to access more info.

Also connect at Chur into RhB trains on towards St Moritz and Arosa.

All trains also call at: Landquart

Connect at Landquart into RhB trains towards Klosters and Davos.

Up to three of the daily departures, those which are usually scheduled to leave Basel at 09:06 and 13:06 and 17:06, are by ICE4 trains that have travelled from Germany, they substitute for the usual IC trains in the hours in which they operate.

The brand new LD/Twindexx trains are also gradually being introduced on this route.

up to 15 x trains per day

Tickets

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.
The Supersaver tickets can also be more likely to still be available if you are happy to change trains.

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,

If you will be making a day trip to Chur from Basel, be open to the possibility that Saver Day Passes can be a cheaper option than booking return tickets.

Seat reservations:

Seat reservations are optional on both the Swiss IC and German ICE trains used on this route, 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.

If you have a rail pass and can't see a direct train on the departure screens at Basel SBB, take a train to Zurich and connect there for an onward train to Chur.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SBB *

SBB Guide

SBB is the main national rail operator in Switzerland, but tickets for journeys by the other significant operators including BLS and SOB can be be booked on the SBB website.

SBB also sells tickets for journeys to many destinations which involve a combination of SBB trains and services provided by the many independent operators who serve the Alpine resort towns.
However, if you will be making a long-distance return day trip, look out for he possibility of SaverDay passes being cheaper than tickets.

Though if you download the SBB app, booking tickets on SBB's mobile services can be simper than using the website.
Also watch out for the fact that booking international tickets can be comparatively quirky.

Trainline *

Trainline Guide

Happyrail *

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Omio *

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake viewsMountain views

Good to Know

These direct trains from Basel to Chur are an exception to the standard 'clock-face' timetable which, Swiss national rail operator SBB uses for most of its other IC express train routes.

In some hours there are two trains from Basel to Chur, in others there is just one and in a few hours there are none; they depart from Chur at 07 OR 33 mins past the hour.

So when looking up this journey on SBB, you'll also see other journey options, which involve a change of train in Zurich.
If the timings of these direct trains don't suit, then making the connection in Zurich is relatively straightforward.

Lake Zurich comes into view as soon as the train exits a long tunnel Lake Zurich comes into view as soon as the train exits a long tunnel
From the left there are great views over Lake Zurich for around 15 - 20 mins From the left there are great views over Lake Zurich for around 15 - 20 mins
The train travels right by the shore for much of this part of the journey The train travels right by the shore for much of this part of the journey
A final view of Lake Zurich A final view of Lake Zurich
The spectacular Wallensee can also be seen on the left The spectacular Wallensee can also be seen on the left
Leaving the Wallensee behind Leaving the Wallensee behind
Between Sargans and Landquart Between Sargans and Landquart

This is a wonderful journey and the highlights of this train ride occur after the train has departed from Zurich, where these trains will reverse direction.

From the left of the train (when facing the direction) of travel, there are fabulous views over Lake Zurich for more than 20 minutes.~

Then around 10 minutes after leaving Lake Zurich behind, an even more spectacular lake, the Wallensee can also be seen on the left, before the train arrives in Sargans.

Finally between Sargans and Chur there are distant views of the Alps from both sides of the train.

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