How to travel by bus and train in Switzerland

How to travel by bus and train in Switzerland

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Fulton
Fulton
12 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2018 - 1:54 AM

In August, I'm planning a 2 week trip to Switzerland: pretty much staying in the St Gallen area and then in Ticino and then back to St Gallen again. I have already purchased a Swiss Travel Pass for convenience sake. I like the thought of being able to hop on a bus/train, take off, and just go somewhere.

Once I get off the plane, I've heard the train to get to St Gallen is pretty easy to find? I will have one large piece of luggage with me. Do I take that on the train with me or does it get stowed somewhere else on the train?

Then from the train, I will need to use the inter-city bus system. I have a specific address that I need to go to, but which bus do I take? Where do I go to find this bus??

Also, traveling to different cantons might be on my agenda. I assume all buses will eventually take me to the main bus terminal to get onto a train. And the trains are listed by cities I assume. Once I've arrived at a different city, how will I know their bus schedule? Routes?

I have heard that the locals find it extremely easy to understand but foreigners confusing. I fear I'm one of them. My anxiety is quite high and I would like for my vacation to be a relaxing one. Getting from one place to another is one of my biggest fears.

Second, is it recommended to have Swiss francs when you arrive or exchange $$ at the airport?

My questions are a tall order but I'm thankful for any guidance given. Sincerely, thank you.

Lucas
Lucas
8941 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 19, 2018 - 7:21 AM in reply to Fulton

Hi Fulton,

Yes, the train station at Zurich airport is right below the airport and easy to reach. From there you can find trains to St. Gallen.

Use the timetable to find the departures that work for your arrival time. There are direct trains to St. Gallen that take less than an hour from the airport. You take the luggage on the train with you and place on luggage racks or above you / behind the seat if it fits.

You can enter the exact address in St. Gallen that you are going to on the timetable to find the bus connection from the St. Gallen train station.

The timetable gives you all details for the entire country.

You should have Swiss Francs on you for sure. I use the debit machine at the airport to take out some money but you can exchange as well if you wish.

I hope that helps. The timetable should give you all the details you need to get anywhere in the country. Let us know if you have more questions!

You can find the best options to buy your Swiss Travel Pass online here. It can be printed at home and brought with you so you just need to board the first train to St. Gallen (no need to wait in line at the rail office) and you have an electronic backup in case you lose it.

Also useful: www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/practical/howtotra vel

Last modified on Apr 20, 2018 - 11:04 AM by Arno
tanman
tanman
15 posts
new member
Apr 20, 2018 - 10:37 PM

In terms of figuring out trains and busses while you're on the go, a smartphone (with local data plan) with Google Maps and the SBB app is really helpful.

Fulton
Fulton
12 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2018 - 3:17 PM in reply to tanman

Where would I go to get a local plan?

Fulton
Fulton
12 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2018 - 3:18 PM in reply to Lucas

THANK YOU for this valuable information! Also, would it be better for me to get swiss francs at my local bank or at the airport?

Arno
Arno
11180 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 4:30 PM

Hi Fulton,

Your bank might be cheaper than the airport, but that's a guess. I usually take along only a small amount. In Switzerland I pay by debit card and cash I withdraw from ATMs with the debit card as well.

For SIM cards please see www.myswissalps.com/ simcard.

Last modified on Apr 21, 2018 - 4:30 PM by Arno
tanman
tanman
15 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2018 - 5:57 PM in reply to Fulton

If you're coming from within Europe, some European carriers include Switzerland in the europe-wide free roaming, so you can use your home data plan. If you're coming from the US, some T-mobile plans include international data. Otherwise, you can look at the sim card options in the link above or buy a prepaid SIM card when you get to Switzerland. Another option that I used, if you're going to be in Europe for 2 weeks, is the Orange Europe Holiday card that has 120 minutes of voice, 1000 text message and 10GB of data, valid for 14 days, for something like $50 US. Any of the sim card options will need an unlocked phone.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5013 posts
expert
Apr 21, 2018 - 6:37 PM in reply to Fulton

Hi Fulton.

Lucas' advice is right on the money.

If you want some more reassurance, use this map and enter the street address ans city name in the search function.

map.search.ch/?pos=748572,255232&z=64

Zoom in to the map a bit (to avoid too much data ) and under Points of Interest/Traffic, check the box for Traffic , then Buses.

If you are from a place where they speak British English, "tick" the box.

Bus stop icons will appear.

If you mouse over the stops nearest your destination, a station stop name will appear, which can be used in the timetable for precision data.

And, if you click on the icon, a brief near-time timetable for that stop will appear.

While you are in St Gall, you might enjoy my favorite 700 year old restaurant,

Weinstube zum Baümli.

www.weinstube-baeumli.ch/

Slowpoke

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