Basel / Bâle to Zürich / Zurich by train

How to take the rail journey from Basel to Zurich

Taking the train from Basel to Zurich is straightforward as it's a journey which doesn't have to be planned with care.
There are typically 4 or 5 x trains per hour travelling between the two cities, two or three express trains and two slightly slower InterRegio (IR) trains, which will be cheaper when booking tickets last minute at the station.

What does make this route unusual is the variety of trains used for the express (IC) services.
Because in addition to Swiss trains, TGV trains which have travelled to Switzerland from Paris and ICE trains heading to Zurich and beyond from Germany are also slotted into the timetable.

In effect they replace one of the Swiss trains in the hours in which they operate, so the national rail operator SBB applies the same conditions of travel to them, as it does to its IC trains.
Meaning that reservations are available, but optional and the type of train being used for a departure has no impact on the ticket price(s).



From Basel SBB/Bâle CFF to Zürich HB / Zurich main station

Travel Information

Final Destination: Zurich or Chur

If you want to take one of the fast non-stop trains from Basel to Zurich, it doesn't particularly matter which type of train you travel by, the ticketing terms and conditions are generally the same; as reservations aren't compulsory on the Lyria services when travelling between Basel and Zurich.
Though you're slightly more likely to see discounted Supersaver/Sparbilletter tickets available on the Swiss IC trains.

There are also additional IR services which have not been included in the frequency of **these express trains
They're around 20-25 mins slower than these express trains, but they're likely to be cheaper when booking last minute at the station.
One of these hourly IR trains provides the direct rail link from Basel to Zurich Fughafen/Airport.

1 - 2 x express trains per hour


Book early and save: Yes - If you book Supersaver tickets (more info is available on the SBB ticket guide below)

Online bookings open: up to two months ahead of the travel date

It’s worth targeting These IC trains when travelling from Zurich to Basel, as they're the fastest trains on which 'Supersaver' tickets are most likely to be available.
(They’re easier to spot on the SBB app).

Supersaver tickets are also available on IR trains between Basel and Zurich.
Those IR trains around 20 mins slower, though when the cheapest Supersaver tickets are sold out on these IC trains, they can be cheaper.
So they tend to be cheaper when booking tickets just prior to travel.

There are also ICE and TGV trains between Zurich and Basel, but 'Supersaver' tickets are less likely to be available for those trains

Seat reservations:

Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains, so seats won't be 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 a reservation when booking at a station ticket office.

Travelling with a rail pass:

Rail pass users can jump on any train, including the TGV or ICE trains, without having to make reservations

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.

On this journey

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