Genève / Geneva to Zürich / Zurich by train

An easy and occasionally spectacular journey on smart trains, what's not to like!

The trains from Geneve to Zurich take different routes, so be guided by the price and timings which suit, each route has a similar journey time.

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Routes

From Genève/Geneva-Cornavin to Zürich HB / Zurich main station

Travel Information

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 towards Zurich.

These IC trains take two different routes from Geneve to Zurich; route IC 1 via Lausanne and Bern and route IC 5 via Neuchatel and Biel.

Both train services call at the station at Zurich Airport around 15 mins after they depart from the main station in the city; and the trains on the IC 1 route now also call at Zurich Oerlikon.

2 x trains per hour

Tickets

Online bookings open: up to 60 days ahead of the travel date

Book early and save: Yes

If you book Supersaver tickets, you may need to search through the departures to find these 'Supersaver' tickets using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ buttons.

The train service between Genéve and Zurich is split between:

1: Double deck IC trains that travel via Lausanne and Bern
2: Tilting ICN trains that travel via Biel (these trains are slightly faster)

So try and be flexible with your departure and arrival times and don't be overly concerned whether you will be taking an IC or ICN train; though the Supersaver tickets are much MORE likely to be available on the ICN trains.

If you will be making a day trip to Zurich from Geneve, be open to the possibility that Saver Day Passes may be a cheaper option than booking return tickets

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.

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

via Lausanne Bern:

The brand new LD/Twindexx trains are now operating on most departures.

via Biel

The tilting ICN trains are used on this route

Which route to choose?

It can be fun to travel to Zurich on one route and return on the other, between Lake Geneve and Olten the two routes are very different.

Though if you will be booking tickets in advance online, you save money if you can purchase Supersaver train tickets.
So be guided by price, rather than the route; the cheaper tickets tend to be more widely available on the trains via Biel.

Journey description:

via Bern

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 train ride is so fabulous that it merited a place on the list of the 15 Most Beautiful Swiss Train Journeys.

via Biel

From the right of the train (when facing the direction) of travel there are some wonderful views over the lakes after between Yverdon and Biel/Bienne; these videos were taken from trains travelling in the opposite direction

...before Neuchatel the lake which takes its name from the city...

over Lake Bienne after Neuchatel
.

The stunning view of Lake Geneva from the right on trains on route IC 1 The stunning view of Lake Geneva from the right on trains on route IC 1
The best of the views on the IC 1 route are when the train departs from Lausanne The best of the views on the IC 1 route are when the train departs from Lausanne
Sit on the right of the trains if you take the IC 1 route Sit on the right of the trains if you take the IC 1 route
The stunning views over Lad de Neuchatel that can be seen on route IC 5 The stunning views over Lad de Neuchatel that can be seen on route IC 5
The train heading through the vineyards south of Neuchatel The train heading through the vineyards south of Neuchatel
Shortly before arrival in  Neuchatel station look for the stunning view over the town Shortly before arrival in Neuchatel station look for the stunning view over the town
Looking over Lake Biel from the right on the IC 5 route Looking over Lake Biel from the right on the IC 5 route
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