Skip to content

Zurich to St. Gallen Train: All You Need to Know

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Darla

An attractive city in northeastern Switzerland, St. Gallen is home to the Abbey of St. Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Interested in visiting this city from Zurich and wondering how to get there? Then this article is for you. You will find all the information you need about travelling by train from Zurich to St. Gallen in this article.

Image of St. Gallen by TouringSwitzerland.com

St. Gallen is a hidden gem that might surprise visitors to Switzerland. With its old town and picturesque cloister, St. Gallen is a beautiful, laid-back city. 

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 St. Gallen. 

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.

728*90

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 St. Gallen

Zurich Train Station
Image of the Zurich Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you come to the train station, you may notice a large digital clock. The Binary Clock at St. Gallen Train Station is an interesting light installation by Norbert Möslang.

How To Get From Zurich Airport to St. Gallen

The easiest way from Zurich Airport to St. Gallen is to take the direct train. You have the following options (updated December 2023):

TrainDuration
Eurocity to Münich47 minutes
Intercity 5 to Rorschach49 minutes
Intercity 1 to St. Gallen59 minutes
Intercity 13 to St. Gallen59 minutes
Direct Trains from Zurich Airport to St. Gallen

How To Get From Zurich to St. Gallen

The easiest way from Zurich to St. Gallen is to take the direct train. You have the following options options (updated December 2023):

TrainDuration
Eurocity to Münich57 minutes
Intercity 5 to Rorschach59 minutes
Intercity 1 to St. Gallen1 hour 13 minutes
Intercity 13 to St. Gallen1 hour 13 minutes
Direct Trains from Zurich to St. Gallen

How To Get From Zurich to St. Gallen By Scenic Train

Image of St. Gallen Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

To travel on the scenic train, you will have to take the regional train from Zurich to Rapperswil and then take the Panorama Express from there. The Panorama Express trains are also known as Voralpen-Express trains.

Here is the route that you will have to use to take the Zurich to St. Gallen Scenic Train:

  1. Take the S5 train from Zurich to Rapperswil SG.
  2. In Rapperswil SG, take the Voralpen-Express to St. Gallen.

How Long Is the Train Ride From Zurich to St. Gallen?

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

RouteDuration (Fastest)
Zurich Airport – St. Gallen47 minutes
Zurich – St. Gallen57 minutes
Zurich – Rapperswil SG – St. Gallen (Scenic Train)1 hour 57 minutes
St. Gallen – Zurich Airport48 minutes
St. Gallen – Zurich59 minutes
St. Gallen – Rapperswil SG – Zurich (Scenic Train)1 hour 46 minutes

Is the Train From Zurich to St. Gallen Scenic?

Normally, intercity trains aren’t very scenic. Guests are brought from one city to another as quickly as possible.

In contrast, if you travel via Rapperswil, you can catch the Voralpen-Express train, which takes you along the lakeshore of Lake Zurich until Schmerikon and through the landscapes of Toggenburg and Appenzell before reaching St. Gallen.

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 St. Gallen Cost?

Here are the train ticket prices from Zurich to St. Gallen (updated December 2023):

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Zurich Airport – St. Gallen30.0015.00
Zurich – St. Gallen32.0016.00
Zurich – Rapperswil SG – St. Gallen (Scenic Train)42.0020.50

If you are passing through St. Gallen and its surroundings, then I recommend the following train ticket purchase:

  • An OSTWIND ticket if you have the half-fare card
  • The Swiss Travel Pass if you do not have the half-fare card

If you do have the half-fare card and will stick to the eastern region of Switzerland, the OSTWIND might work out cheaper. Especially if you leave past 9 o’clock and use the 9 o’clock OSTWIND ticket, it will only cost you CHF 20 per day.

The OSTWIND fare network association will integrate 31 public transportation companies in the cantons of St. Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell AR, Appenzell IR, Glarus, Schaffhausen, March District in the canton of Schwyz and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

In all of OSTWIND’s network areas, there is the same simple fare system. With public transport tickets, you may also get at least 10% off or added value for many leisure activities in the region.

Both tickets will give you unlimited access to SBB trains and public buses, as well as discounted mountain travel in nearby Appenzell. 


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.

* Disclosure: By clicking on our affiliate links, you may support TouringSwitzerland.com while incurring no additional costs. We appreciate your support!


Related Posts: St. Gallen

Darla 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.

error: Content is protected !!