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Zurich to Biel Train: All You Need To Know

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Located on the border between the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, Biel/Bienne is a fascinating place to visit. This is the northernmost city in canton Bern and forms part of the Three Lakes region along with Murten and Neuchâtel. Together with La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, Biel/Bienne is one of the watchmaking centers in Switzerland. A number of watch companies have their headquarters in Biel/Bienne, including Swatch, Alpina, and Horage.

Image of Cité du Temps in Biel, Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

For visitors to Switzerland, Biel might not be the first place you would think of visiting in Switzerland. Nevertheless, watch fans might find it interesting.

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.

This article will answer all your questions about the train journey from Zurich to Biel.

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 Zurich to Biel

Image of Biel’s Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

How To Get From Zurich Airport to Biel

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.

A direct train (Intercity 5 train) runs between Zurich Airport and Biel/Bienne every hour as well.

How To Get From Zurich Train Station to Biel

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. 

If you want to get from Zurich to Biel, take the Intercity 5 train to Geneva Airport or take the Intercity 5 train to Lausanne. These trains will both stop at Biel/Bienne. Biel is served by two direct trains each hour.

How Long Is the Train Ride From Zurich to Biel?

The following table shows the train ride duration from Zurich to Biel and the other way around (updated December 2023):

RouteDuration (fastest)
Zurich – Biel/Bienne1 hour 9 minutes
Zurich Airport – Biel/Bienne (Direct)1 hour 25 minutes
Biel/Bienne – Zurich1 hour 13 minutes
Biel/Bienne – Zurich Airport (Direct)1 hour 26 minutes

Is the Train From Zurich to Biel Scenic?

Unfortunately, the Interregio train from Zurich to Biel is not the most scenic train route. These are fast commuter trains intended to get you from one city to another as quickly as possible.

In case you would like to check out other scenic trains, then there are more scenic trains recommended below. These are the Golden Pass Linethe Glacier Expressand 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 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. 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 Zurich to Biel Cost?

Here are the train ticket prices from Zurich to Biel (updated December 2023):

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Zurich – Biel/Bienne48.0024.00
Zurich Airport – Biel/Bienne53.0026.50

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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