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Train situation

I can’t seem to wrap my head around the different train tickets. I was thinking of just making hotel reservations at the cities we want to go and then deal with the train tickets when we arrive in Zurich. From what I have read there is an office at the Zurich airport that will help you with the different train options. My husband and I are in our 70’s, and we like to make our own plans. Have never done a tour, but sometimes I think we should start. Any feedback would be appreciated. TIA

Posted by
4919 posts

We can't help until we know which train routes you plan to use. There's an SBB office in the Zurich train station, which is adjacent to the airport.
Safe travels!

Posted by
2200 posts

Yes, the train office at the Zurich airport is VERY helpful (at least the person I dealt with was). Have no fear - trust them!

Posted by
3144 posts

Bonnie, what are your plans now? Last fall you we talking about spending 5 nights in Grindelwald and doing day trips from there. If that is still the case , you should look into the Berner Oberland Pass, especially is you want to ride lifts like the gondola up to Mannlichen or Eigergletscher. Then you would not need to buy tickets or even plan ahead. You just go get on the train or boat it lift ( within the validity zone) and show it to the conductor.

Then all you need to buy at Zurich airport is tickets from there to Bern or Lucerne where the Pass takes over.

Posted by
103 posts

We plan on going to Lucern right from Zurich Airport.
2 nights in Lucerne
4 nights in Grindelwald
2 nights in Zermatt
We have an extra 2 days that we haven’t planned. We are trying to decide whether to fly home out of Geneva or go back up to Zurich and fly home

Posted by
32228 posts


As I recall, the Zürich airport has two rail ticket offices, one for trains within Switzerland and one for tickets to other countries.

Using Swiss trains is very easy, and you shouldn't have any problems. If you're travelling with a smartphone or whatever, you can buy tickets online on the sbb/ch website. I find it easy to buy tickets locally at the stations.

Taking one of the Rick Steves Switzerland tours would be a great idea, as you'll not only get an exceptional look at the history, foods and culture of Switzerland, but you'll also learn valuable travel skills for getting around the country on your own.

Posted by
1831 posts

The easiest option is to probably just get the Half Fare Card. 120,- up front, and then all tickets are halved, also those on mountain railways and cable cars. So that quickly pays itself back. (That is the way it works here. This is to encourage regular use of public transit).

And the railway station ticket office at the airport will be able to help you with that. There are indeed places you can buy tickets. There are ticket windows facing the concourse, but there is also a separate travel centre.
The ticket windows are for simple tickets and the travel centre is for more complex requests. Go to the travel centre.

It has however been a while, and it is possible that the ticket windows are gone. They are disappearing everywhere, as most people buy their tickets using their phones nowadays. SBB is even reducing the humber of ticket vending machines. But al major stations have a travel centre, and they are happy to help you.

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you for all your help! I will wait until I get to Zürich airport and use the train center. What app do I need to download for using the train tickets.

Thank you!

Posted by
32994 posts

The SBB app, same folks as the website, and they run the trains too

Posted by
4919 posts

One advantage of buying the passes in advance is having a digital copy, in the event of loss of a paper copy. Unless things have changed in the last few years, and the in- country SBB offices cannot give you a digital copy of your STP or Half-Fare Pass?
Have a great trip!

Posted by
50 posts

The SBB app allows you to add payment methods to do all your purchases from your phone. The other option that could be more expensive but stress free is the Swiss Travel Pass. You will still need to use the SBB app. Google maps seemed to be pretty accurate. I used both to get a second opinion for platforms.

There are several private travel planning resources that seemed reasonable priced and can provide custom itineraries based on your interests. YouTube videos will give some ideas and see the planners.

The options are so vast you can lose sight of the best thing Switzerland has to offer - Relaxation and stress relief.