Train travel For Members

The night trains to take from Switzerland around Europe this summer

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
The night trains to take from Switzerland around Europe this summer
Your ride from Swiss cities to foreign lands. Goodnight. Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP

If you want to avoid overcrowded airports during the summer months, then travelling from Swiss to European cities by train is just the ticket.


You can take a train at any time of day, of course, but nighttime ones offer you an opportunity to save time — you travel while you are sleeping, and arrive at your destination in the morning.

Swiss national railway, SBB, offers 12 international night routes jointly with foreign companies, which means you can go far and wide to many places in continental Europe .

Travelling with Nightjet

Nightjet is the overnight train operated by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB).

They run every evening from Zürich and Basel central stations to Amsterdam, Berllin, Cologne, and Hamburg.

They also operate nightly from Zurich HB to Vienna and Graz.

All the trains depart from the Swiss cities in the evening and arrive at their destinations the following morning.

Travelling with EuroNight 

Just as Nightjet, this company is also owned by the ÖBB, which operates the lines partnership with the national railways of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

This means that a denser network of countries that are farther away than Germany and Austria are within your reach.

For instance, you can travel to Prague from both Zurich and Basel's central stations, as well as to Leipzig and Dresden.

From Zurich HB, you have trains to Budapest, Ljubljana, as well as Zagreb.

Exact timetables for all of these night trains can be seen on the SBB page here.


Are night trains comfortable?

Let’s just say you will probably not sleep as well as you do in your own bed at home, though on the other hand, the click-clack of the wheels on the rails may lull you to sleep.

Your degree of comfort depends mostly on the kind of compartment you are in (which means, basically, how much you are willing to spend on your ticket).

These are your options

If you book a sleeper cabin on a Nightjet train, for example, you can get an (almost) proper bed with sheets and a pillow, in addition to other amenities like your own private shower and toilet, as well as à la carte breakfast.

A bit lower in the sleeping car hierarchy are ‘couchettes’, which accomodate four to six people.

They are equipped with shared toilets, which may be fine if you are traveling with family, but less so with strangers.

Standard breakfast is also included in the price of your ticket.

Then there are ‘regular’ seating carriages, so you either sit up all night or try to sleet in a sitting position the best you can.

On EuroNight too, different comfort categories are available, with individual compartments more spacious and comfortable than couchettes and seating cars. 


How do you purchase tickets for night train out of Switzerland?

Like any tickets, within or out of Switzerland, you can buy them online on the SBB website or via your SBB app. 

Prices will depend obviously on what category of car you are booking, as well as whether you have an SBB /SwissPass discount travel card.

Keep in mind, however, that whatever type of discount you have (half-fare or general), it can only be used on the Swiss route network; it is not valid for travel in foreign countries.



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