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Help getting from Basel to Salzburg

My wife and I are first timer European travelers and will be arriving in Basel from a river cruise mid-morning in April and could use some newbie advise on how to get to Salzburg in a cost effective manner. I assume it is more cost effective to obtain tickets online ahead of time.

If by train what is the best way to get to the appropriate train station and also how do we book travel? Can we be get on-line tickets that can be printed out via the internet or just ticket reservation numbers? Either way do we have to validate our tickets/reservation numbers at the station.
Being new at this we'd like to allow a generous amount of time to make any train transfers that may be required..

Or would it just be better just to fly and, if so, which airline is most cost effective?

Any help would be appreciated.
Mike S.

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20309 posts

Your fastest rail connection is 6 1/2 hours with a single connection in Zurich. The rail system in Switzerland is such that your train will be once every 2 hours starting at 9:33 am (there are lots of other routes, this is just the simplest). You start at Basel SBB station, the main station in town, and about a half a mile from the Rhine docks. Not absolutely sure where your cruise docks in Basel, but it should be in that neighborhood. You could walk it in fifteen minutes if you did not have luggage, so take a taxi. You connect in Zurich main station to an Austrian Railjet train to Salzburg. If you buy an advance purchase nonrefundable ticket, it could be as low as 61 chf pp. The walk-up fare is 137 chf. I think after getting to Basel airport. which is a ways out of town, to Munich airport and then 2 hours on the train to Salzburg, this is the easiest and cheapest way to go.
You can buy on-line and print your tickets at home at Just let your credit card co know in advance of your purchase so they don't think somebody swiped your credit card and is buying train tickets in Switzerland. You will have seat reservation, so no need to validate. just show up on time on the platform and you'll be good to go.