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How to Reach Switzerland

Travel Options

How to Reach Switzerland by Air

The sheer distance you need to cover for this journey makes air travel the most logical and convenient way to go to Switzerland. The good news is that a flight connection between the two countries is high on frequency and availability. You can find options from all major cities across India such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. 

Most flights to Switzerland have at least one layover, usually in European or Middle-Eastern cities like Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Milan, Dubai, Doha or London. This depends on the airline you choose, be it Emirates, Swiss Air, Air France, Etihad, Lufthansa, Air India or any other popular global airline. A handful of direct flights are available from Mumbai and New Delhi to Zurich. 

There are a few established airports across Switzerland:

  • Zurich Airport is the country’s largest and the one that receives the most international flights. It is located merely 12 km from downtown and is extremely well-connected to other parts of the country by air and rail. 
  • Geneva Airport is a smaller facility located close to the border with France and is in fact shared by the two countries. It services flights from within Europe and offers all on-ground transportation options. 
  • Basel Airport is shared between Switzerland, France and Germany, with most flights originating from in and around Europe. There is no rail service at the airport, but bus services and rental cars are present. 
  • Bern Airport is the capital city’s small-scale airport that has arrivals and departures from within Europe.  

Note that for entry into Switzerland, you need a Schengen Visa and a passport that has at least 3 months’ validity beyond your visit dates.

How to Reach Switzerland by Railways

One of the most scenic ways to arrive into Switzerland is by the brilliant European railway network. Shared borders with France, Austria, Italy, Germany and Liechtenstein make it a convenient journey, with trains coming in from all over the continent. 

Here are the best routes you can take: 

  • French-Swiss High-Speed Rail or TGV Lyria as it is called, which runs daily between France’s Paris, Nice, Dijon and the Swiss towns of Geneva, Basel, Lausanne, Bern and Zurich. 
  • Inter-City Express High-Speed Rail with Germany, connecting Zurich to Mannheim, Frankfurt, Berlin and Karlsruhe
  • Euro City Trains from Zurich to Munich, Milan, Stuttgart 
  • EuroNight (EN) & CityNightLine(CNL) night trains from major European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Rome, Barcelona and Belgrade into Zurich, Geneva or Basel. 

A Eurail Pass is perfect for tourists exploring more of the continent as it allows unlimited train travel across 31 countries.

How to Reach Switzerland by Road

Switzerland’s network of highways is as impressive as that of its railways, making it easily reachable by road from neighbouring countries.  The most popular routes you could take are between France and Geneva, and Germany to Zurich. Border checking is quite common, so do have all your documents on hand, if you choose to drive to Switzerland. Be cautious on the mountain roads as they can get quite precarious, especially with speedy on-coming vehicles.

The other option is to take a bus, with services such as Flixbus and Eurolines running between cities across 29 countries of Europe including Switzerland. The coaches are air-conditioned, spacious and include an on-board washroom.

Transportation in switzerland

How to Commute Within Switzerland

Air 
All of Switzerland’s airports run domestic flights by Swiss Air and a few budget airlines, so you can easily travel between cities or regions by air, although it is perhaps the most inconvenient of all options, given the size of the country and the superlative public transport systems in place. 

Train
The local trains run efficiently and punctually, with hourly, half hourly and quarter hourly departures depending on the route and frequency. And the sheer number of ticket discounts available at any given point, make the journey even sweeter. The Swiss Pass and Half-Fare Cards for visitors are popular options to ride at a reduced fair. 

When you’re at a station, this colour code will help you decipher the schedules with ease: 

  • The yellow sheet is for departures and white one is for arrivals
  • Trains marked in red are speed trains 
  • Trains marked in black are slow with more stops 

Tickets for longer journeys can be booked in advance online, saving you time on the day and making transfers convenient. 

Apart from these journeys, there are some incredible railway experiences that can be found nowhere else but in Switzerland — the mountain railways. These are steam engines running along some of the most breathtaking landscapes to some of the highest points on earth, including The Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Jungfrau Railway, Brienz Rothorn, the St. Gotthard Line and Mt. Rigi Cogwheel Railway.   

Hiking / Cycling
If you’ve always wanted to make sightseeing more adventurous, then Switzerland is your kind of place. There is over 60,000 km of hiking trails across the country that you can explore at your leisure. Go from town to village to hamlet to city, bit by bit, soaking in as much Swiss wonder as you can. The directions and signs along the way are very easy to follow.

Most cities offer bicycles for rent (possibly for free in the summer) with smooth roads that make peddling easy. There are even cycling tours you can sign up for that will take you to all the main attractions. Just be wary of vehicular traffic on the roads and stick to the side. 

Car 
Much like the Autobahns of Germany, Switzerland’s motorways are some of the most spectacular to drive on. However, it is imperative to only drive or be driven in a vehicle with a valid “vignette” or sticker. Rentals tend to come with it on so you won’t have to worry. If you are planning on driving yourself, be sure to follow all road rules especially the speed limit on the expressways. 

Castles, vineyards, glacial lakes, snowcapped Alpine peaks, quaint country sides (yes, cows with bells included), sparkling waterfalls, dense forests, bustling cities, multicultural communities and a unique Swiss state-of-mind that binds it all. Say hello, ciao or bonjour to the epic holiday that is Switzerland.

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