The railway climbs up away from Lake Geneva

Genève / Geneva to Bern by train

A rail journey that is simple and surprisingly fabulous

Take a right hand seat on the upper deck (when available) and you can make the most of one of Switzerland's most thrilling rail experiences.

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Routes

From Genève/Geneva-Cornavin to Bern

Travel Information

All trains also call at: Fribourg

Final Destination:
Luzern (the IR trains on IR route 15)
St Gallen (the IC trains on IC route 1)

The train service between Geneve and Bern is split between IC trains heading to St Gallen via Zurich and IR trains heading to Luzern.
Both train services operate hourly and the timetable is arranged so that trains leave Geneve for Bern every 30 mins.

However, a recent change is that the IR trains are now around 10 mins slower than the IC trains, as they have had additional station calls inserted into their regular timetables.

Also if you want to have a meal in a restaurant car on the train, you will need to target the IC trains.

The brand new LD/Twindexx trains should now be operating on most of the IC departures.

2 x trains per hour

Tickets

Online bookings open: 60 days ahead of the travel date

Book early and save: Yes

If you book Supersaver tickets - see our Swiss Tickets guide for advice on how to book these tickets.

You may need to search through the departures to find these 'Supersaver' tickets using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ buttons; though these tickets tend to sell out particularly quickly on this route; if you'll be booking only a couple of days ahead, you'll be more likely to find them available on the IR 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 for journeys by these IC trains, 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.

Seat reservations aren’t available on the IR trains.

Travelling with a rail pass:

Rail pass users can jump on any train, without having to make reservations.

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

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.

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.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake views

Good to Know

These trains commence their journeys at Geneve-Aeroport station; it takes the trains around 5 mins to travel from there to the main station in Geneve before they then head off to Bern.

The railway climbs up away from Lake Geneva The railway climbs up away from Lake Geneva
When the weather is right you can see across Lake Geneva When the weather is right you can see across Lake Geneva
Nearing the summit of the ascent on a greyer day Nearing the summit of the ascent on a greyer day
The sun sets over the Swiss countryside The sun sets over the Swiss countryside
Sit on the right for the best views on a Geneve to Bern journey Sit on the right for the best views on a Geneve to Bern journey

This journey showcases the fact that you don't have to travel on one of the scenic Swiss mountain railways, in order to see a spectacular vista from a Swiss train.

From the right of the train (when facing the direction) of travel there are some incredible views over Lake Geneva when the train departs from Lausanne.
It's worth travelling on the upper deck in order to see these views at their best.

This part of the journey is so fabulous that it merited a place on the list of the 15 Most Beautiful Swiss Train Journeys.

For the final part of the journey, the trains will then pass through a pleasing landscape, with mountains on the horizon.

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