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TRAIN TRAVEL

Travel: This interactive map shows direct trains from every Swiss city

This free interactive tool shows you how far you can travel from every Swiss city via direct train. How far can you get from where you live?

A train weaves its way through Albula, Bergün/Bravuogn, in Switzerland. Photo by Xavier von Erlach on Unsplash
A train weaves its way through Albula, Bergün/Bravuogn, in Switzerland. Photo by Xavier von Erlach on Unsplash

Demand for train travel has experienced a resurgence in recent years – a phenomenon that was accelerated by the pandemic. 

As a result, overnight lines – long cut or stopped due to air travel – have become more popular, for business commuters and holiday makers alike. 

EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Standard trips have also bounced back in popularity. 

The following tool, developed by German computer programmer Julius Tens, shows you how far you can get from each Swiss city. 

Travel: What compensation you are entitled to if your train is cancelled in Switzerland?

There are of course more direct connections from larger cities, but the map does illustrate how well connected Switzerland actually is. 

Simply enter the main train station of the city in which you live and you will be presented with a map of your options. 

Unfortunately, anyone wanting to emulate the orient express and head all the way to Istanbul will be unable to do so direct from Switzerland (other than expensive private options). 

You can access the tool here. 

Zurich

Zurich offers by far the most destinations of any Swiss city, which makes sense when you consider its size and its location. 

Connections to the east are particularly prevalent in Zurich, with direct trains to Prague, Budapest, as well as several cities in Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. 

Zurich

Basel

Basel might not be Switzerland’s largest city, but its central location means there are plenty of far away destinations on offer. 

RANKED: Where are Switzerland’s best and worst train stations?

You can travel as far as Amsterdam, while Paris, Berlin and Kiel are also available via a direct trip. In fact, it appears that there are more direct trains to German cities from Basel than from Zurich. 

Basel trains

Geneva

Geneva, with its western location, doesn’t offer as many trips north or east as Basel and Zurich. 

While you can get direct to Paris and Lyon, even getting to Germany direct is impossible from Geneva. 

MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer

There are however a number of Italian destinations you can get to from Geneva (but strangely not Italian-speaking Switzerland – for that you’ll have to change). 

Geneva

Lugano

Lugano doesn’t offer as many direct trains as the other Swiss cities. In fact, other than Switzerland, the only other places you can travel to direct area in Italy. 

Venice, Milan, Genoa and Verona are some of your options in Italy, while you can also travel to Zurich, Basel and a handful of other Swiss cities. 

To get to Geneva however, you’ll need to change trains. 

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TRAIN TRAVEL

REVEALED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Planning to travel by train across Europe but not sure where to start? Here are the best websites to help make it happen.

REVEALED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Travelling across Europe by train is quickly becoming the preferred mode of transport for many people – mostly due to environmental concerns.

For others though, making the switch from cars or planes to trains is not so simple.

With planes, there are well-known websites like Skyscanner and Expedia, which makes it easy to find cheap flights. As well good connections across the continent from most major airports.

Then there is the convenience of travelling by car, which can be hard to beat – especially for those living in more rural areas. 

So what are the options for trains? Are there websites like Skyscanner but for train travel? And where can you find cheap tickets or the best routes?

Here are the websites you need to know when planning a trip across Europe by train.

Seat 61

The Seat 61 website provides tips on how to travel comfortably and affordably by train, while aiming to help visitors to rediscover the “pleasure, romance  and adventure of the journey”.

It includes an introduction to train travel in Europe, as well as an extensive search feature to find trains by starting location.

For example, The Local searched for trains from Salzburg to Italy and found routes to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples, including on Nightjet sleeper trains.

The guide then describes the features of the Nightjet service, such as air conditioning, showers and room service all useful information for any newbies starting out with train travel.

Seat 61 is run by Mark Smith, a train enthusiast and former manager at the UK Department of Transport.

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Trainline

The Trainline is an international platform focused on train travel. The company is based in the UK but has extensive coverage of train travel in 45 countries across Europe.

The aim of the Trainline is find to the cheapest tickets for a selected route. Most of the time, this means booking in advance.

The site also highlights some great offers, such as €7 tickets between Barcelona and Madrid, and Paris to Amsterdam from €20.

As an added bonus, the search function on the Trainline is very user-friendly and allows people to search by location, as well as add extras such as railcards or return tickets.

The Trainline can be accessed via the website or app.

Rail Europe

Rail Europe is a leading distributor of European train tickets. The website covers 25,000 destinations and 11,000 routes across the continent.

The search function on Rail Europe works in a similar way to other websites and users can view tickets by destination to get the best price. It’s also possible to purchase railcards direct from Rail Europe.

Additionally, the site includes a useful overview of the latest ticket releases and sales, such as special offers on journeys between Paris and Geneva.

Users can pay for tickets in Euros, Sterling or Dollar (US, Canada and Australia) on the website or the app.

Rail Europe is headquartered in Paris but was founded in New York in 1932.

READ ALSO: Ryanair to raise flight ticket prices in Austria

Interrail

The Interrail Pass is a railcard that is available for residents in Europe. For people that live outside of Europe, they can purchase the Eurail Pass.

The passes are aimed at backpackers, or anyone spending time travelling across Europe.

The Interrail website has details about the different passes on offer under the umbrella of Interrail, like the Global Pass, One Country Pass and the German Rail Pass

For example, prices for the One Country Pass for Spain start at €182 for three days of travel within one month. Or you can pay €235 for five days of travel within one month.

Whereas the Global Pass starts at €251 for seven days of train travel in one month, but goes up to €677 for a three month unlimited travel ticket.

Interrail or Eurail Pass holders can buy tickets and make reservations via the desktop website or the Rail Planner app.

Omio

Omio is a travel platform where you can book train, bus and flight tickets. It has a free app to download or users can search and book on the website.

The Omio site has a dedicated section just for train travel. It even highlights 28 routes in Europe that are faster by train than plane – as well as the amount of carbon dioxide saved on the trip.

Examples are London to Brussels, which takes just two hours, or Frankfurt to Cologne in one hour.

There is also a handy FAQ section with information about booking train tickets in Europe, baggage conditions and travelling with pets.

At the time of writing, The Local found a ticket from Zurich to Vienna on Omio for €60 (when searching for dates two months in advance).

Do you have other suggestions for websites we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below or email [email protected]

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