SBB CFF FFS - SBB stands for ‘Swiss Federal Railways’, the national railway company of Switzerland – it’s also called CFF (Chemins de Fers Fédéraux Suisses) and FFS (Ferrovie Federali Svizzere) in France and Italy respectively. Not only does SBB cover the main train routes across Switzerland, it also connects some rail lines in Germany, Italy and France.
Connecting major Swiss cities like Geneva, Bern, Zurich and Basel as well as the country’s airports, SBB provides a modern and extensive rail network, making the train the best mode of transport to discover Switzerland and take in its breath-taking views between mountains, lakes and hills.
SBB provide different kinds of trains with modern design and technology:
- InterCity (IC) and InterCity Tilting Train (ICN) – These are long-distance high-speed trains that can reach up to 200 km/h and connect major cities. They usually provide a First and Second Class (where you can find a Family Area) and come with a restaurant car, as well as plenty of room for bikes and wheelchairs. Despite being equipped with all amenities for a long-distance journey, IC and ICN trains can be quite crowded at peak times as they’re often used by commuters.
- EuroCity (EC) – These are high-speed trains that can also reach speeds of up to 200 km/h. Used mainly on international routes, they offer the same onboard services as IC and ICN trains.
- InterRegio (IR) – These are long-distance double-decked trains connecting Swiss regions and stopping at only a few selected stations. They’re usually equipped with a restaurant car, air conditioning and space for bikes.
- RegioExpress (RE) – This is a regional train that stops at a few stations in a specific region. Most RE trains operate on shorter routes than IR trains.
- S-Bahn (S) – This type of train connects all stations in the urban areas of Aargau, Basel, Lausanne, Geneva, Lucerne, Schaffhausen, Zurich, Zug and Sion.
- Regio (R) – This is a regional train stopping at all stations in a specific urban area and covers all zones that are not served by S-Bahn.
Train types in Switzerland
There’s a wide range of high-speed and regional trains you can choose from, whether you’re travelling around Switzerland or cross-border.
Regional trains in Switzerland
SBB offer the following regional and Intercity services within the country:
- RegioExpress trains connect smaller towns with larger Swiss cities
- Regio trains only connect small towns with each other
- InterCity trains travel between major Swiss cities like Basel and Geneva
- InterRegio trains make more stops than InterCity trains and connect Zurich and Geneva with different cities across Switzerland
- S-Bahn is a network of suburban trains operating within the largest cities
High-speed trains in Switzerland
International high-speed trains
The following high-speed trains cover routes to and from Switzerland:
- ICE trains connect Switzerland to Germany and the Netherland at 300km/h
- Railjet trains connect Zurich with Vienna, Austria
- Eurocity trains connect Zurich, Basel and Geneva to Milan/Venice
- TGV Lyria trains connect Zurich, Basel and Geneva to Paris
Domestic high-speed trains
The Intercity Tilting Trains (ICN) are Switzerland’s domestic high-speed trains – they’re mainly used by commuters travelling from one major city to another.
Night trains in Switzerland
The following night trains cover the routes between Switzerland and its neighbouring countries, including Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Croatia.
- ÖBB Nightjet trains run between Zurich, Basel, Berlin and Hamburg, as well as Zurich, Linz and Vienna
- EuroNight trains connect Zurich to Graz (Austria), and Zurich to Vienna and Budapest
- D-train runs between Zurich, Villach (Austria), Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Zagreb (Croatia)
Scenic trains in Switzerland
Switzerland is well-known for its stunning scenery. The following scenic trains in Switzerland offer the most panoramic train routes:
- Bernina Express: Chur - Lugano via Tirano (Italy)
- Chocolate train: Montreux - Broc-Chocolat
- Centovalli Railway: Locarno (Switzerland) -Domodossola (italy)
- Golden Pass: Lucerne – Interlaken – Montreux
- Glacier Express: Davos/St. Moritz - Zermatt
- Gotthard Panorama Express: Lucerne - Domodossola (Italy)
If you’re travelling from Switzerland to Italy, France or Germany instead, there are several train companies you need to know about.
- International routes from Switzerland to France
- High-speed trains travelling at 320 km/h (198 mph)
Part of a collaboration between SNCF and SBB, TGV Lyria trains connect the Swiss cities of Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich to the French cities of Paris, Dijon and Marseille in no time at all.
Find out more about TGV Lyria trains.
- International routes from Switzerland to Italy
- Eurocity trains to Milan and Venice
The main train operator in Italy, Trenitalia provides 32 direct Eurocity services from Geneva, Basel and Zurich to Milan and Venice. Enjoy comfortable and quick cross-border train travel, perfect if you’re on a country-hopping holiday.
Find out more about Trenitalia.
- International routes from Switzerland to Germany
- High-speed trains travelling at 300km/h (186mph)
The German train company Deutsche Bahn offers over 40 daily Intercity (IC) and Intercity Express (ICE) services between Switzerland and Germany, connecting for example Lucerne to Munich, Interlaken to Hamburg or Bern to Frankfurt. Leave the car home and take the train from Switzerland to Germany.
Find out more about Deutsche Bahn.
- International routes from Switzerland to Austria
- High-speed trains travelling at 230km/h (143mph)
The Austrian railway company ÖBB provides high-speed Railjet trains, which connect Switzerland to Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck at speeds of up to 230km/h.
Find out more about ÖBB.
SBB ticket prices are based on the route, not the train type. For example, the price remains the same for the route from Zurich to Bern whether you take an InterCity or InterRegio train.