Basel to Lucerne Train: All You Need To Know 

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Lucerne is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland. The majority of first-time visitors choose Lucerne as their destination. The choice is excellent. A beautiful, easily accessible town with good tourist infrastructure and great information, Lucerne is sure to impress. 

Image of the Chapel Bridge by Sarah Lötscher from Pixabay

Logistical concerns come up inevitably. Particularly for those who want to travel by rail in Switzerland, there are several specifics concerning train travel. What is the best way to get from point A to point B? Does it offer scenic views? So on and so forth.

As one of the most populous and visited cities in Switzerland, people who are in Basel might consider visiting Lucerne by train. Traveling by train within Switzerland is an easy, comfortable, and impressive journey. So I would definitely recommend traveling by train between Basel and Lucerne.

This article will answer all your questions about the train journey from Basel to Lucerne. 

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card is available on This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

Getting tickets from RailEurope is definitely a convenient option if you’re traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. A global leader in train tickets and passes, RailEurope is headquartered in Paris, France. A Swiss Pass and a Half Fare Discount Card can also be obtained from RailEurope.


Using the Swiss Pass, you can travel on Swiss trains, buses, boats, and more. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

How To Get From Basel to Lucerne

Image of Lucerne taken by

It’s best to take the direct train from Basel to Lucerne. These two cities are connected by several trains (Eurocity, Interregio, Intercity).

If you are coming from Basel EuroAirport, you will first have to take the bus which will bring you to the Basel Train Station. From there, you can proceed to take the train to Lucerne.

There are direct trains from Basel to Lucerne. I highly recommend taking the direct train that leaves once per hour from either place.

You can also travel via Olten if you miss this direct train. However, it does take longer compared to taking the direct train.

How Long To Get From Basel to Lucerne

You can get from Basel to Lucerne by direct train in a little over an hour. If you are coming from the airport or you decide to go via Olten, it will take you around 1.5 hours.

RouteEstimated Travel Time (Fastest)
Basel – Lucerne1 hour 2 minutes
Basel – Olten – Lucerne1 hour 27 minutes
Basel EuroAirport – Basel – Lucerne1 hour 29 minutes

Is the Train From Basel to Lucerne Scenic?

Unfortunately, the Interregio train from Basel to Lucerne is not the most scenic train route. It is a fast, commuter train connecting major cities to each other.

Other Scenic Trains

In case you would like to check out other scenic trains, then there are more scenic trains recommended below. These are the Golden Pass Line, the Glacier Express, and the Bernina Express. Another interesting train is the Historical Train that goes from Davos to Filisur.

Image of Bernina Pass and Bernina Express by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Your other options in detail are the following:

  • Golden Pass – The Golden Pass departs from Lucerne. You would take a train from Basel to Lucerne, then change to Interlaken. This is sometimes referred to as the east end of this route. The Golden Pass has panorama coaches and is scenic.
  • Glacier Express – Glacier Express is a long journey that starts from Zermatt, home of Matterhorn. It then traverses 291 bridges and 91 tunnels before stopping in St. Moritz. Both Zermatt and St. Moritz are beautiful mountain resorts worthy of a longer stay. The Glacier Express passes by several idyllic mountain villages.
  • Bernina Express – Bernina Express is another train route that begins in Chur. Chur is the oldest alpine city in Switzerland and definitely worth visiting. This train route spans 196 bridges. It goes through 55 tunnels and passes 20 beautiful villages in Switzerland. For you to go on this scenic train, you will have to go from Lucerne to Chur first.
  • Historical Train Davos to Filisur – May through October, vintage carriages are pulled by the century-old crocodile locomotive from Davos Platz to Filisur. The train line covers a total length of 4,200 meters through 14 tunnels and 28 bridges. Its scenic highlights include the Wiesen Viaduct and the Zügen Gorge.

How Much Will the Train Ticket From Basel to Lucerne Cost?

As of the time of publishing the article, a single journey ticket from Basel to Lucerne costs the following:

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Basel – Lucerne34.0017.00
Basel EuroAirport – Lucerne40.0020.00

Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?

No, there is no need to reserve a spot on the train. But you can always add this option if that is your wish.

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