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Geneva to Basel Train: All You Need To Know 

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Darla Uhl

Basel is one of the top cities to visit in Switzerland. Basel is Switzerland’s cultural capital, with over 40 museums, including the Kunstmuseum, the Fondation Beyeler, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Furthermore, it hosts Art Basel, an international art fair that draws artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts from Europe, the US, and Asia.  

Image of Basel and Rhine River by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Basel enjoys excellent weather throughout the year and has a vibrant lifestyle and contrasting cultures. Old and new are juxtaposed throughout Basel’s cosmopolitan landscape. It lies along the Rhine River.

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 Geneva to Basel? Does it offer scenic views? So on and so forth.

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

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. 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 (1-month validity) is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

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Getting tickets from RailEurope is convenient while traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.

You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:

  • Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
  • Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
  • Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU

How To Get From Geneva to Basel

Image of Geneva Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

To get from Geneva to Basel, you can take the following train connections:

  1. Take the Intercity train to Rorschach and get off in Biel/Bienne.
  2. In Biel/Bienne, change to the connecting Intercity train to Basel.

The train route from Geneva to Basel via Biel/Bienne is the fastest train connection. If you miss this connection, you can take the second-best option, which is to go via Bern.

  1. Take the Intercity train to St. Gallen and get off in Bern.
  2. In Bern, change to the connecting Intercity train to Basel.

Is There a Direct Train From Geneva to Basel?

Image of the Basel Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

There are direct no trains from Geneva and Geneva Airport to Basel. You will have to change to a connecting train either in Biel/Bienne or Bern.

How Long To Get From Geneva to Basel

The following table shows the train ride duration from Geneva to Basel (updated December 2023):

RouteEstimated Travel Time (Fastest)
Geneva Train Station (Genève) – Biel/Bienne – Basel2 hours 40 minutes
Geneva Train Station (Genève) – Bern – Basel2 hours 50 minutes
Geneva Airport (Genève-Aéroport) – Biel/Bienne – Basel2 hours 51 minutes
Geneva Airport (Genève-Aéroport) – Bern – Basel3 hours

Is the Train From Geneva to Basel Scenic?

The trains from Geneva to Basel are fast Intercity trains designed to bring passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible. If you would like to ride a scenic train, you can choose the Golden Pass, the Glacier Express, and the Bernina Express.

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 Express by TouringSwitzerland.com
Image of Bernina Express by TouringSwitzerland.com

Your other options in detail are the following:

  • Golden Pass – The Golden Pass departs from Lucerne. You would take a train from Geneva 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 is 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 Zurich or 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 Geneva to Basel Cost?

As of the time of publishing the article (updated December 2023), a single journey ticket from Geneva to Basel starts at CHF 40.00 if you have the Half-Fare card.

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Geneva Train Station (Genève) – Lucerne80.0040.00
Geneva Airport (Genève-Aéroport) – Lucerne84.0042.00

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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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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