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Getting Around in Switzerland

By Air

Switzerland does not have an abundance of airports, partly because of the alpine terrain and partly due to the Swiss peoples' own resistance to having planes disturb their peace and quiet. To compensate, Switzerland has one of Europe's best railway systems, linking every major city in the country. This is particularly advantageous for cities such as Bern, the capital; it relies almost exclusively on rail transport to Zurich, Geneva, and Basel for air connections to the rest of the world.

If you want to fly within Switzerland, or from Switzerland to one of about 30 regional cities in Austria, Italy, Germany, or France, Swiss (tel. 0848/85-2000;, a domestic airline, schedules flights from and to Basel and Amsterdam, Geneva and London, and Lugano and Geneva.

Main Airports

Zürich (ZRH) (Kloten) ( is 11km (7 miles) from the city (travel time – 20 minutes). To/from the airport: Trains run every 10 to 15 minutes from under Terminal B. Regional and night buses are available. Passengers arriving in Switzerland by air can purchase a special Fly-Rail Luggage ticket from their airport of departure which will enable them to have their luggage delivered directly to a Swiss railway station. With the Fly-Rail Baggage service, passengers leaving Switzerland can check their bags in at the railway station up to 24 hours before their flight. Taxis to the city are available (travel time – 15-30 minutes).

Geneva (GVA) ( is 5km (3 miles) north of the city. To/from the city: Taxis to the city are available. There is a regular train service to Geneva Cornavin Station (travel time – six minutes). The no. 10 bus runs from the airport to the city centre.

Bern (BRN) (Belp) is 9km (5.5 miles) southeast of the city (travel time – 20-30 minutes). To/from the airport: Bus services are available to Bern station. A rail service runs from Bern to Zürich Airport. Taxis are also available.

Basel (BSL) (Basel-Mulhouse) is 12km (7 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: A bus runs to Basle SBB Luftreisebüro. Taxis are also available.

By Rail

Rail transport is particularly well developed in Switzerland, with excellent services provided by Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) ( and many other operators. Use of the Swiss Pass is a superb way to view the scenery, although mainline services are geared to the needs of the hurried business traveller. Trains run at least hourly from the major centres and there is a country-wide timetable of regular services. There are dining cars on many trains, and snacks and refreshments are widely available. Independent railways, such as the Rhätische Bahn in the Grisons and the Berner-Oberland-Bahn, provide services in certain parts of the country. The SBB has introduced specialised cars for disabled people using wheelchairs. Facilities include a lift for wheelchairs, a specially adapted WC and radios adapted for people with hearing difficulties.

There are also a large number of mountain railways which are sometimes the only means of access to winter resorts. Some of these are attractions in their own right: the Gornergrat-Bahn in Zermatt is one of the oldest mountain railways and climbs to a height of over 3000m above sea level, offering a spectacular panorama of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains.

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