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Getting Around Switzerland by Road and Rail

Transport Connections for the Winter Sports Resorts

Railways and Buses in Switzerland

Swiss Railways Train in CelerinaSwitzerland has the best transport infrastructure in the world, bar none. Every ski resort has timetabled public transport serving it, and it runs on time. Precisely.

Amazingly this well-oiled integration is accomplished across over 200 separate companies. I live in Switzerland and I do not expect buses to be a minute late, let alone trains, trams and cable cars. Having said that, it is worth getting to know your connections ahead of arriving at a destination. Usually they are straight-forward, but some of the larger stations, such as Bern, Luzern, Basel and Zürich can be confusing. Often there is only a few minutes between one connection and another - if you know where you are going it is usually easy, but if you linger you can easily miss your connection. The Rail Timetable on the left is provided by Swiss Railways but covers buses, gondolas, cable cars and even Shanks' pony - as well as rail lines, of course. it also provides information on platforms and station facilities.

Trains and buses are accustomed to people having ski and snowboard gear so there is always adequate stowage available. Usefully most stations and valley stations also have storage lockers so you don't need to cart your gear around the mountains if you are doing day trips. Swiss Railways also providev a service collect and deliver ski gear and other luggage direct to your destination from any location in Switzerland. See here for details. There is also a service which will collect luggage from any airport around the world and delivers your luggage to any railway station in Switzerland.

If you have not booked your transportation in Switzerland ahead of arriving from abroad, the Snow'n'Rail scheme offers excellent value, with a discount of around 20% on the combined cost of public transport and lift pass, and a discount on equipment hire from Intersport. Passes are available for one, two or six day breaks to most of the significant resorts, and the one and two day passes are available, in English, from the ticket machines in Swiss railway stations as well as from the ticket counters. Booking specific trains online can also give you discounts of up to 50% under the Supersaver scheme.

Driving in Switzerland

The roads in Switzerland are every bit as good as public transport. However you do need a carnet (40 SFr for one year) to go on the motorways, and should have Winter tyres fitted in Winter - although you are unlikely to need chains. For anyone familiar with driving in Europe, Switzerland has broadly similar driving regulations but with generally more punitive financial penalties for infringements. At night and weekends, traffic lights are often turned off and the rule that should be followed is to give way to traffic from the right. The exceptions are that you should always give way to trams, pedestrians and traffic that doesn't seem to know the rules.

If you are driving, remember many passes are closed in the winter and you may need to use a car transporter to get between valleys. These are drive-on, drive-off train services and are normally quite painless. Typically the Vereina car transporter from Klosters to the Engadine costs SFr37-42 for a car and runs every 30 minutes. Other car transporter services that operate in winter include the Oberalp Pass (Andermatt and Sedrun), Simplon Tunnel (Brig and Italy), Lotschberg Tunnel (Kandersteg and Goppenstein), Furka Base Tunnel (Oberwald and Realp) and Albula Tunnel (Thusis and Samedan).

Listed here are selected destination typical times and distances by road from major cities, sortable by clicking on the relevant column headings.

I have displayed by default the information below with particular relevance to people living or staying in the Basel area, or who use Euroairport as a gateway to enjoy Winter Sports in Switzerland and the Black Forest. For other starting points, however, just click on the location name below to pull up or hide details on transit times and other relevant details on getting to resorts by public transport - click on column heads to sort the table:

Selected resorts from Zurich by public transport

Selected resorts from Berne by public transport

Selected resorts from Lausanne by public transport

Selected resorts from Lugano by public transport

Selected resorts from Basel by public transport

Basel airport is 23 minutes by bus from the Basel SBB railway station, with several timetabled buses an hour.

ResortPiste(km)Least TimeLeast ChangesSnow'n'RailOne Day Price 1/2One Day Price 1/1
4 Vallées412    3 hrs 21 mins2Y128.80200.80
Adelboden210    2 hrs 35 mins2Y106.40163.20
Aeschi12    1 hr 52 mins1N
Airolo30    2 hrs 57 minsY87.20138.40
Aletsch Arena104    2 hrs 38 mins2Y119.20191.00
Alt St Johann60    3 hrs 20 mins3Y98.40151.20
Andermatt125    2 hrs 56 mins1Y94.40142.40
Anzère52    3 hrs 22 mins2N
Arolla47    3 hrs 53 mins2N
Arosa225    3 hrs 36 mins1Y108.00160.80
Beatenberg22    2 hrs 15 mins2N
Belalp60    2 hrs 39 mins2Y116.20187.60
Bettmeralp104    2 hrs 38 mins2Y119.20191.00
Braunwald32    2 hrs 37 mins1Y84.00129.60
Brig110    2 hrs 09 mins1N
Brigels75    3 hrs 29 mins2Y106.40168.00
Bruson40    3 hrs 21 mins2Y128.80200.80
Bumbach6    2 hrs 15 mins2N
Bürchen25    2 hrs 40 mins1Y105.80177.20
Cari20    4 hrs 07 mins1Y
Caux8    3 hrs 37 mins1N
Celerina163    4 hrs 20 mins1Y140.00217.60
Chamonix80    5 hrs2N
Champéry650    3 hrs 57 mins2N120.00191.20
Chandolin75    2 hrs 43 mins2Y126.80208.80
Charmey30    2 hrs 31 mins2N
Château-d'Oex30    3 hrs 11 mins2Y102.40155.20
Chur20    2 hrs 19 minsN
Corvatsch120    4 hrs 50 mins2Y140.00217.60
Corviglia160    4 hrs 20 mins1Y140.00217.60
Crans-Montana140    3 hrs 07 mins2Y130.40210.20
Davos300    3 hrs 22 mins1Y120.80184.00
Diavolezza35    4 hrs 50 mins3Y140.00217.60
Diemtigtal36    2 hrs 14 mins2N
Disentis60    3 hrs 38 mins1Y112.80182.40
Ebenalp9    3 hrs 05 mins2N
Engadine350    4 hrs 20 mins1Y140.00217.60
Engelberg82    1 hr 49 mins1Y93.40131.00
Feldberg55    1 hr 45 mins1N
Fiescheralp104    2 hrs 58 mins2Y119.20191.00
Filisur    3 hrs 29 mins1N
First50    2 hrs 38 mins1Y104.60158.60
Flims Laax Falera235    2 hrs 48 mins1Y124.80190.40
Flumserberg75    2 hrs 29 mins1Y95.80139.80
Frutigen29    1 hr 45 mins1Y106.40163.20
Glacier 300025    3 hrs 47 mins2Y116.80184.00
Goms5    3 hrs 07 mins2N
Grächen40    3 hrs 14 mins2Y
Grimentz72    3 hrs 43 mins3Y126.80208.80
Grimmialp10    2 hrs 29 mins2N
Grindelwald160    2 hrs 38 mins1Y104.60158.60
Grüsch-Danusa30    2 hrs 21 mins1N
Gstaad250    2 hrs 52 mins2Y102.40155.20
Hoch-Ybrig50    2 hrs 31 mins2Y88.80135.20
Interlaken    1 hrs 57 minsN
Klewenalp40    1 hr 53 mins2Y75.40110.00
Klosters300    2 hrs 52 mins1Y120.80184.00
Lausanne    2 hrs 15 minsN
Lenk i. S.210    3 hrs3Y106.40163.20
Lenzerheide225    3 hrs 06 mins1Y108.00160.80
Les Avants    3 hrs 17 mins3N
Les Diablerets100    3 hrs 47 mins2Y116.80184.00
Les Marécottes25    3 hrs 33 mins2N
Leukerbad52    3 hrs 16 mins4Y123.20202.20
Leysin100    3 hrs 48 mins3Y116.80184.00
Lötschental33    2 hrs 47 mins2Y104.40164.80
Lungern24    2 hrs 26 mins1N
Malbun23    2 hrs 52 mins2N
Marbach10    2 hrs 05 mins2N
Meiringen60    2 hrs 34 mins1Y85.60125.60
Melchsee-Frutt32    2 hrs 12 mins2Y78.20116.20
Moléson30    2 hrs 53 mins4N
Mürren54    2 hrs 14 mins1Y104.60158.60
Nara30    4 hrs 37 mins1Y
Nendaz412    3 hrs 21 mins2Y128.80200.80
Obersaxen120    3 hrs 22 mins2N
Obertoggenburg60    3 hrs 20 mins2Y98.40151.20
Ovronnaz30    3 hrs 40 mins3N
Pizol40    2 hrs 20 mins1Y91.20139.20
Pontresina35    4 hrs 50 mins3Y140.00217.60
Portes du Soleil650    3 hrs 57 mins2Y120.00191.20
Riederalp104    2 hrs 35 mins2Y119.20191.00
Rosswald26    3 hrs 11 mins2N
Rougemont62    3 hrs 05 mins2Y102.40155.20
Saanen86    3 hrs 01 min2Y102.40155.20
Saanenmöser85    2 hrs 19 mins1Y102.40155.20
Saas-Fee145    3 hrs 10 mins1Y137.00217.20
Saas-Grund35    2 hrs 44 mins1Y137.00217.20
Saastal145    3 hrs 10 mins1Y137.00217.20
San Bernardino40    4 hrs 44 mins1N
Sattel-Hochstuckli14    2 hrs 32 mins2Y68.80106.40
Savognin80    3 hrs 42 mins1N
Schönried109    2 hrs 19 mins1Y102.40155.20
Scuol80    3 hrs 43 mins1Y113.60183.20
Sedrun50    4 hrs 02 mins2Y94.40142.40
Sierre-Anniviers228    3 hrs 43 mins3Y126.80208.80
Silvaplana120    4 hrs 50 mins2Y140.00217.60
Siviez412    3 hrs 21 mins2Y128.80200.80
Sörenberg53    2 hrs 32 mins2Y83.20126.20
Splügen30    3 hrs 30 mins1Y112.80185.60
St Anton128    4 hrs 07 mins1N
St Moritz350    4 hrs 25 mins1Y140.00217.60
St. Stephan88    2 hrs 19 mins1Y102.40155.20
St-Cergue21    3 hrs 32 mins1N
St-Luc75    3 hrs 43 mins3Y126.80208.80
Stoos35    2 hrs 21 mins1Y81.20122.40
Thusis25    3 hrs 13 mins2N
Unterbäch20    2 hrs 15 mins1Y105.80177.20
Unterwasser60    3 hrs 20 mins2Y98.40151.20
Vals25    3 hrs 38 mins2Y110.40182.20
Verbier412    3 hrs 21 mins2Y128.80200.80
Vercorin35    2 hrs 51 mins2Y126.80208.80
Veysonnaz412    3 hrs 17 mins2N128.80200.80
Villars100    3 hrs 31 mins2Y116.80184.00
Wengen110    2 hrs 14 mins1Y104.60158.60
Wildhaus60    3 hrs 20 mins2Y98.40151.20
Zermatt350    3 hrs 24 mins1Y166.40261.60
Zinal72    3 hrs 43 mins3Y126.80208.80
Zweisimmen85    2 hrs 19 mins1Y102.40155.20

A final option on getting to the slopes is to use one of the many tour operators who run bus trips to and from selected resorts. Usually these operators advertise in the local papers and offer great value - for example Erich Saner runs day trips at weekends from various stops in the Basel area to places like Sorenberg, Gstaad Mountain Rides and Meiringen-Hasliberg for SFr 65 inclusive of lift pass. Many resorts also provide similar facilities, e.g. Lenk organises buses at the weekends and during the week from various locations including Olten and Berne (See here).

Brig Station