Switzerland has one of the world’s best public transportation systems. Trains run like clockwork and its scenic driving routes are well mantained, so there is little trouble in getting around.
Public transportation in Switzerland
Public transportation in Switzerland consists of buses, trains and ships. The system is modern, comprehensive, integrated and punctual. Travellers can buy a monthly Swiss Half Fare card, which gives 50 percent discount off most trains, buses and ships. Expat families can also take advantage of the Swiss Family Card and Junior Travelcard.
Tickets can be bought online or at station ticket offices and automated machines. `
The Swiss railway network is extensive and consists of several kinds of trains:
- Regional (R) trains cover individual cities and their suburbs, but don’t travel to other cities
- Regional Express (RE) trains connect a canton’s major stations, but don’t make minor stops
- InterRegio (IR) trains travel through several cantons, stopping at larger towns
- InterCity (ICN) trains connect major cities and sometimes make a few stops along the way
- International train services connect Switzerland to France, Germany and Italy
Tickets can’t be purchased on board trains in Switzerland, so you will need to buy them beforehand at stations or the Swiss Federal Railway (SSB) website.
Busier routes have 15 to 30 minute intervals between trains and there’s at least one train an hour on others. Services on weekends may be less frequent.
Trains are widespread and faster than buses in Switzerland, so the bus network plays a smaller role in public transport.
Intercity bus services connect cities but the number of buses on each route varies and services might not be regular, so it's best to consult timetables.
Tickets can be purchased online or at major stations, and Swiss Half-Fare Cards are usually valid on long-distance buses.
Air travel in Switzerland
Domestic flights in Switzerland connect its largest cities but travelling by train can be more cost-effective and faster. The main Swiss airports are Geneva International Airport (Genève Aéroport), Zurich Kloten Airport, Bern Airport and Lugano Airport.