Zürich / Zurich to Frankfurt by train

How to take the rail journey from Zurich to Frankfurt (Main)

The German national rail operator DB provides a similar level of service to the cities of northern Switzerland as it does to many destinations in Germany, hence the latest type of the super-smart ICE trains are now used on this route.
Though only a small percentage of this journey is on a high speed line.



From Zürich HB / Zurich main station to Frankfurt Main Hbf

Travel Information

These trains will depart from the street level platforms/tracks at Zurich HB - gleis 3 - 18.

There is an additional IC train that departs from Zurich an hour after the final ICE train (it is attached to the overnight train heading to Berlin).
Avoid it if you can as it is 50 mins slower and usually costs the same price as these ICE trains.

Final Destination:
Until March 30th: Hamburg or Kiel
From April 1st: Berlin

All trains also call at: Basel Bad Bf, Freiburg and Karlsruhe

Until March 30th
Mon -Sat = 7 x trains per day
Sunday= 6 x trains

April 1st - June 10th
4 x trains per day

June 11th - December 9th
5 x trains per day

Additional connections will be available by changing trains at Basel SBB


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

On the DB booking site look for journeys that have:

  • 0 in the Chg. column
  • ICE (and only ICE) in the Products column.

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.
Use the earlier/later buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

Seat reservations

Reservations are recommended for this journey; book a 1st class ticket on DB Bahn and your seat will be assigned, but not in 2nd class.
They can also be booked separately at a later date on the DB website.

Using rail passes

For rail pass users reservations are optional, but if you do choose to reserve (recommended) book the reservation online on DB Bahn and avoid the booking fees you would be charged at the station in Switzerland.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €19.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.
Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Two types of ticket have recently been made available;

  1. Cheaper 'Young' tickets which can only be booked by those aged 15-26 on the travel date.
  2. Flexi Plus tickets, which are now the most expensive type of ticket, but they're the only type of 2nd class tickets which DO include a seat reservation.
Trainline from €19.90

Trainline Guide

Save A Train from €19.90

Save A Train Guide

Happy rail from €19.90

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.

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