Basel is one of the top cities to visit in Switzerland. It is also a quick journey from Zurich. 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.
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 Zurich to Basel? Does it offer scenic views? So on and so forth.
This article will answer all your questions about the train journey from Zurich to Basel.
How To Get From Zurich to Basel
As a first step, you should know about this website: www.sbb.ch. If you wish to install the app on your phone, they have one as well. Using the website, you can simply type in your arrival and departure destinations. After that, it will guide you to where you need to be and when.
Coming from Zurich Airport
If you are coming from the Zurich Airport, take one of the next trains to the Zurich main station (Zurich HB). Several trains come every hour and stop in Zurich so just hop on the next train after buying a ticket from the ticketing office or one of the ticket machines.
Coming from Zurich Train Station
As soon as you reach the Zurich Train Station (Zurich HB), check the big blue display boards in the middle. You can find the train number and platform number on the station signs. Furthermore, the trains will be marked on the front and the sides with which route they are traveling.
To get to Basel from Zurich, you’ll have to take the Interregio train from Zurich (Zürich HB) to Basel.
How Long To Get From Zurich toBasel
It typically takes 54 to 74 minutes to travel by train from Zurich’s main train station to Basel, depending on which train you take.
The fastest trains are the following trains:
- Intercity trains (IC) to Basel
- Eurocity trains (EC) or ICE trains to Hamburg
- Eurocity trains (EC) or ICE trains to Frankfurt (Main)
- Intercity trains (IC) to Berlin
- Intercity trains (IC) to Amsterdam Centraal
- TGV to Paris Gare de Lyon
- Eurocity trains (EC) to Prague
The Inter-regional trains (IR) departing for Basel are slower due to multiple stops along the way. You have the option of choosing between IR 36 or IR 37. However, IR 36 is a faster option than IR 37.
Is the Train From Zurich to Basel Scenic?
The trains from Zurich to Basel do not have the most scenic train route. These are commuter trains designed to get passengers from one city to another quickly.
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.
Your other options in detail are the following:
- Golden Pass – The Golden Pass departs from Lucerne. You would take a train from Zurich 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 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 Zurich to Basel Cost?
As of the time of publishing the article (updated December 2023), a single journey ticket costs CHF 36.00 from Zurich to Basel. If you have a Half-fare card, it costs CHF 18.00.
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.