Basel / Bâle to Visp by train

How to take the rail journey from Basel to Visp where connections are available to Zermatt and the Saas ski resorts



From Basel SBB/Bâle CFF to Visp

Travel Information

Final Destination: Brig (the IC trains), Milano (the EC trains)

Connect at Visp for MGB trains to Zermatt.

All trains also call at: Thun and Spiez connect for Frutigen, Kandersteg and Zweissimen

To Saas-Fee and Saas-Grund:

Connect at Visp for the bus to Saas-Fee via Saas Grund, route 511 serves both resorts and departs from the forecourt outside the Sud (main) exit at Visp station.
Route 511 departs every 30 mins during the day and the connecting time between the arrival of the train and departure of the bus is usually around 15 mins, so it should be a stress-free transfer.
The bus journey to Saas-Grund takes 40 mins to Saas-Fee takes 52 mins; route 511 makes multiple stops in both resorts.

1 x direct train every other hour


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 Visp, be open to the possibility that Saver Day Passes are likely to be a cheaper option than booking return tickets.

Seat reservations:

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.

To Saas-Fee and Saas-Grund:

SBB will sell tickets for the end2end journey which includes the train to Visp and the bus on to Saas-Fee or Saas-Grund.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost

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

Happy rail *

Happy rail 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 - YesLandscape (Hills / Mountains)Lake views

Good to Know

These direct trains depart from Basel in even hours only.

Set off from Basel in odd hours and you will have to make a change of trains in Bern; though those connections with a change of train can be cheaper.

On most departures the train will be an IC train -  the double deck IC trains are used on this route, while the brand new LD/Twindexx trains should be gradually introduced to this route during 2022.

However, on some departures, an EC train heading to Milano replaces the IC train.
If possible avoid the EC trains as they're busier.

Journey description:

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.

The trains on this journey reverse direction at Bernso when boarding in Basel take a seat on the right hand side if you want to see these views of the Thunersee.

On departure from Thun station...

...and then on departure from Speiz station...

... though these videos were taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction, but they showcase how fine the views can be on a sunny day...

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.

Even on a grey day the view after Thun can be spectacular Even on a grey day the view after Thun can be spectacular
Between Thun and Spiez in better weather Between Thun and Spiez in better weather
A final view of the Thunersee leaving Spiez A final view of the Thunersee leaving Spiez
Approaching the Lotschberg Base Tunnel Approaching the Lotschberg Base Tunnel
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