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Snow-capped mountains, green valleys and wooded deep blue mountain lakes make Switzerland a truly fantastic and scenic country for travelling by train. Some of the most beautiful stretches across Europe pass through this countryside, winding past gorgeous canyons and breathtaking mountain passes. The famous Rhaetian Railway is frequented by train fans from all over the world, and you could even ride in an open-air panoramic carriage through some of the most stunning landscapes Switzerland has to offer. Travelling by train is a great way to travel around the country as the rail network offers many great connections.
One of the most convenient and efficient ways to travel to and around Switzerland is by train. Trains in Switzerland guarantee that visitors will not only be able to quickly arrive at their destination, but also provide them with beautiful scenery to admire while they're travelling. Despite its size, Switzerland's train network is extensive and connects all the main cities, smaller towns and villages, as well as neighbouring countries. There are five main providers to choose from. There are two regional train types, the first is known as RegioExpress (RE) and connects the rural areas to the main cities of Switzerland, the other are the Regio trains (R) which have more frequent stops in certain urban areas. The InterCity (IC) and InterRegio (IR) trains connect the main cities in the country to each other, and the service's high-speed option is the InterCity Neigezug (ICN). The Panoramic trains allow passengers to enjoy the vast and beautiful landscape of the country, and two of the most common routes for these trains are provided by the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express. The high-speed trains offer international routes which connect Switzerland's main cities to neighboring countries, such as Germany, Italy, France, and Austria. Lastly, the night trains provide sleeping cars on routes that connect Switzerland with Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia. The most popular route in Switzerland goes from Bern to Zurich and Basel, though the Panoramic routes that go from St. Moritz to Zermatt are also commonly used for travel. Using the Omio app, travellers will be able to find the perfect train routes for their itinerary.
Although Switzerland is a small country, there are countless rail links between the large urban centres, small regional towns and international destinations. Train journeys connect and coordinate with railway companies from its neighbouring countries Germany, France and Italy. The busiest route is from Bern to Zurich and Basel, though another popular route includes the "Bernina Express" which journey through the Swiss Alps from St. Moritz to Zermatt in about eight hours and cross 291 bridges, 91 tunnel passes, and up to altitudes of 2000 metres.
The largest railway company in Switzerland is the national Swiss Federal Railways (or SBB in German, CFF in French, and FFS in Italian), with their trains traversing the country and making important routes abroad, such as the direct ICE connection between Berne and Berlin. The other popular Swiss train company, Rhaetian Railway, operates mainly in the area of Graubünden and into parts of northern Italy.
There are numerous international train types available in Switzerland, including TGV, ICE, Railjet (RJ) and City Night Line (CNL), which offer high-speed train routes to major cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, and France. The Swiss train network is made up of a variety of regional and intercity trains. InterCity and InterRegio trains provide fast train routes between major cities and many of the regional areas throughout Switzerland. Most Swiss trains here have air conditioning and usually offer food and drinks for purchase.
Travellers that wish to travel using trains in Switzerland might find it useful to get acquainted with the main train companies before they book their tickets for the trip. One of the main train companies in Switzerland is the national Swiss Federal Railways (also known as SBB/CFF/FFS). The company has trains that connect to all the main cities within Switzerland, as well as to neighboring countries. One of the most popular international routes the Swiss Federal Railways services is the ICE connection between Bern and Berlin. The other main train company that travellers should be aware of is the Rhaetian Railway. This company provides routes mainly within the area of Graubünden and northern Italy. Nonetheless, there are several more international train companies in Switzerland that travellers may use during their trip. These companies include TGV, ICE, Railjet (RJ) and City Night Line (CNL), and with routes providing high-speed trains to Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, and France.
travellers that wish to visit cities with trains in Switzerland, or to come from other countries in Europe, will find that Omio provides a useful and convenient tool for booking their tickets. Most of the international train routes that travellers use in Switzerland depart and arrive in Zurich. Moreover, the main international routes by train in Switzerland go from Zurich to Grach/Villach (EuroNight), Zurich to Hamburg (ICE/ÖBB Nightjet), Zurich to Vienna (RailJet/EuroNight), Zurich/Basel/Geneva to Paris (TGV Lyria), and Zurich/Bern/Geneva to Milan (EuroCity).
There are two important things to keep in mind while visiting Switzerland. Firstly, the language changes depending on the area, and secondly, the currency is not the Euro. In regards to language, travellers may encounter either French, Swiss-German, Italian, or Romansh. Though most people do speak English, so travellers do not have to worry. Concerning the currency, in Switzerland they use Swiss francs. Therefore, it might be ideal to stock up or exchange money before arriving in the country.
Switzerland's natural beauty can be explored particularly well by train. For example, the Glacier Express (known as the "slowest express train in the world") features particularly scenic routes. For approximately 7 hours you will travel in the Glacier Express' panoramic car from Zermatt to St. Moritz through untouched mountain landscapes, impressive bridges, and deep ravines.
Another Swiss train attraction is the Golden Pass— a combination of Swiss railway company routes including the Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn, the Zentralbahn, and the BLS Lötschbergbahn. The Golden Pass travels from Lucerne via Interlaken Ost to Montreux in just under 5 hours. The almost 200-kilometer route leads through lakes, pastures, vineyards, and the Grand Chalet— the largest wooden house in Switzerland.
For those who crave nostalgia, the GoldenPass Classic is particularly interesting. This train is designed in the style of Europe's Belle Epoque and guarantees a very special excursion.
Finally, a 9-kilometer route between Kleine Scheidegg— a pass in the Bernese Oberland— up to the Jungfraujoch (also known as "Top of Europe" located 3454 meters above sea level) offers magnificent mountain vistas. The so-called Jungfrauffahrt takes about an hour and passes through 2 Swiss mountains. This exceptional views can be observed the whole time through the train's windows.