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Switzerland Travel Guide

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Switzerland TravelSwitzerland guide / Getting around Switzerland
 

Getting around Switzerland

If you are concerned about how you will get from place to place in Switzerland, put your mind at ease. This country has one of the best, if not the best transportation infrastructure in the world
If you are concerned about how you will get from place to place in Switzerland, put your mind at ease. This country has one of the best, if not the best transportation infrastructure in the world. The Swiss transportation system includes everything from cable cars to funiculars, to lake steamers to trains, and all are run meticulously.

International flights arrive at Zurich-Kloten and Geneva-Cointrin airports. While Bern, Basel, and Lugarno have international flights, they do so on a much smaller scale.

Chances are excellent that you will use trains to get around Switzerland because they are perhaps the most convenient and most popular transportation choice, they're clean, affordable, and punctual. There are more than 5,000 kilometers in the public transportation network in Switzerland, so despite the high mountains and difficult terrain, you are not likely to have trouble getting around in Switzerland. Bigger cities like Zurich and Geneva have train stations at the airports, and you can go from one to the other in less than four hours. There are often direct connections by train to places like St. Moritz and Zermatt, as well as to major scenic attractions.

A Swiss Transfer Ticket gives you return travel from the border or an airport to your destination and is valid for one month. A Swiss Card has the features of the Swiss Transfer Ticket, plus the option of traveling for an entire month by train, boat, or bus at half price. Some mountain railways also offer discounts with a Swiss Card. The Swiss Pass gives you unrestricted travel not only by rail, but also by lake steamers and postal buses for 4 days, 8 days, 15 days, 22 days, or for a full month. Public trams and buses in 36 cities will give you discounts on fares on mountain railways and cable cars. A Swiss Pass also gets you free into more than 400 museums. The Swiss Flexi Pass allows unrestricted travel on the Swiss travel network on 3 to 8 days of your choice within a one month period. You also get the same extras as the Swiss Pass.

In Switzerland, trains almost always depart on time and the rail timetables are closely enmeshed with the timetables of the post bus system, which serves smaller valleys and villages.

Switzerland also has plenty of scenic trains through the heart of the Alps. The Glacier Express goes from Zermatt to Brig to Andermatt to Chur to Davos / St. Moritz and back in 7.5 hours and runs year round. In summer there are 4 daily trains, and in winter there is one daily train. The Bernina Express runs north-south through the Alpine crossing that goes from Chur to Lugano and has stunning views where you'll see everything from glaciers to palm trees! This tour takes 7 hours and runs year round, with a bus from Tirano to Lugano runs once daily from May to September. The William Tell Express takes you from German-speaking Lucerne to Italian-speaking Lugano or Locarno, with lunch included on the boat ride from Lucerne to Fluelen. It takes 5.5 hours and runs twice daily both directions from May to October.

The Golden Pass Line links the central part of Switzerland to Lake Geneva. The route runs Lucerne to Interlaken to Zweisimmen to Montreux and back. Reservations are recommended for the Zweisimmen to Montreux and back. This train runs several times a day year round. And finally, it may sound like a dream come true, but the Chocolate Train takes you through the vineyards around Montreux and Gruyeres to Broc, where the chocolate factory is situated between the Alps and Lake Gruyeres. It takes 8 hours and runs June to October Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Scenic trains to incur a reservation fee on your Swiss Railpass.

If you choose to get around by car, there are car rental agencies in most mid to large sized towns, and there are also rental desks at the airports. The roads in Switzerland are well maintained, have clear signage, and are so scenic that it is sometimes hard to concentrate on the road. There are plenty of highways leading into, across, and out of any major town in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the maximum speed is 120 kph (74 mph) on highways, 80 kph on main roads, and 50 kph in cities.

If you need to cross one of the larger lakes, you can take a lake steamer. Swiss rail passes are usually valid on lake steamer routes. It is also convenient and easy to hire a bicycle from rail stations. They can be returned at any other rail station with a rental office. One great way to get to Switzerland if you have time is to by boat all the way from Amsterdam by way of the Rhine. There are also lake steamer ferries from Germany across Lake Constance, from France by Lake Geneva, and from Italy by way of Lake Maggiore.

Transportation infrastructure in Switzerland is among the best in the world, making it easy for as many people as possible to conveniently find their way from anywhere to anywhere within the country.

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