Travelling around Switzerland

Swiss train
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Updated 2018-08-17 13:46

No car in Switzerland? No problem! The country boasts a very developed transport network. You can choose from various modes of transport, whether you want to travel across the country or to the neighbouring countries of France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. Local transport, long-distance buses, railways, boats and planes, are all easily available.

Public transportation in Switzerland

Setting out to explore Switzerland by train can be a worthwhile experience. Swiss trains and subways, as well as regional and tourist trains connect literally every corner of the country ' as well as the neighbouring countries. You are allowed to bring your bicycle or pet on the train for a fee, whereas kids under six years old don't require a ticket. The large railway network is run by the Swiss Federal Railways and there is an iPhone app for purchasing tickets with a credit card.

Good to know:

If you plan on using the train system often, you should consider buying a half-fare card that offers a 50% discount on most train, buses and boat journeys, as well as discounts on some cable cars and special trains. If you opt for a family card, your children from 7 years old and upwards can travel for free as long as you accompany them. The card is available at all bus and train stations as well as post offices and will allow you to save considerably on travel fees. It also offers attractive travel packages to foreigners and frontier workers. If you commute every day, you should opt for a 'General Abonnement' card that gives you unlimited access to the entire Swiss transport network.

Apart from trains, buses are also a key part of Swiss transport. They are called 'postal buses' in Switzerland, from the days before the railway was invented when the coaches that brought post would also transport passengers through the Alps. These are usually painted yellow and are available in the whole country, to be boarded at bus stations or bus stops. Buses are very regular, and their timetable is carefully coordinated to match with connecting trains, creating a seamless web of transportation around the country. Buses are also comfortable and cost-effective. Night buses are also available in major Swiss cities on weekdays as well as during weekends, however, rates may be higher.

Tramway is also known to be one of the cheapest and most practical means of transport in Switzerland. In fact, most Swiss cities have a tramway network. Each company has between 3 and 13 urban lines.

Should you take a taxi?

Taxi is considered to be one of the most convenient means of transport ' and of course, the most expensive. In Switzerland in particular, taxi fares can go very high up: Zurich is known to charge the highest taxi fares in the world! If, despite that fact, you wish to take a taxi, you can wave them in the street or book them in advance (additional waiting fees may apply in that case). The travelling fees are based on the distance covered and you will also pay additional fees in case you have luggage or a child seat. Note that tips are not required in Switzerland.

Good to know:

Most taxi drivers speak English. Moreover, every taxi driver clearly shows his identity card in the vehicle for security reasons.

Travelling by boat or plane

You can also travel through Switzerland and to the neighbouring countries by boat. In fact, ferries and cruise ships are easily available for sightseeing or other trips. Ferry tickets can be purchased at the port or on board, but advance booking is advised for cruise ships. Rates are rather affordable, but additional charges apply for the transportation of vehicles.

Switzerland has, of course, several regional and international airports, as well as many airline companies connecting major Swiss cities with domestic flights. You can thus travel through the country by plane for your business or leisure trips., as rates are rather affordable especially during dry seasons.

Useful links:

Train timetables
Swiss Federal Railways
Post Bus
Swiss
Appenzeller Bahnen
TPG
Taxi Phone
Taxi 444

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