Getting to Switzerland from the UK

One of the easiest ways to get to Switzerland is by train. Despite mountains the Swiss rail network is extremely well developed and notably reliable. There are fast trains into Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Lausanne. From Italy you can travel fast to Lugano. From London (St Pancras) the fastest train route is to Geneva but the journey does take over 7 hours and involves a change in Paris where you need to go from Gare du Nord to either Gare de Lyon or Gare de L’Est. The trains from Paris which go to Lausanne from Gare de Lyon often go on to cities further into Switzerland such as Brig or Berne. The best way to look up times and other details is

Driving from the UK is a long way (about 900km) but is made much easier by the French autoroute system with its “peages” (motorways with toll charges). You can pay the toll charges in cash (Euros) or by credit card and the cost is equivalent to about £40 each way. The journey is extremely quick until you get to the Jura mountains where you have a choice of routes - a popular one being through Besancon and crossing the border at Vallorbe.

For the channel crossing you have a choice of Eurotunnel or a ferry. The tunnel costs anything between £39 and about £110. To get the lower rate you have to book a series of 10 tickets and avoid peak times. However, the ten crossings have to be used within 12 months but this is a strict deadline - Eurotunnel is quite inflexible about extensions to this 12 months even on compassionate grounds. Aside from these frequent traveller tickets, it pays to book ahead and you can get a two-way price of £100 even in the summer. Last minute tickets are at least twice as much at peak times. The key to reasonable priced tickets is planning and booking ahead.

The ferry is slower but quite comfortable. It is run by P&O and Sea France.

Flying is of course the quickest way to get to Switzerland from the UK and Ireland. There are over 50 flights each day from the UK from at least 10 different UK airports. The main full service airlines are British Airways and whilst there are the usual cheaper services, notably Easyjet which uses Geneva as its hub. The flight time from London is about one and a half hours but of course you have to add the time for getting to the airport, waiting time and time to clear customs and passport control.ueoa

Switzerland is land-locked but it is still possible to arrive by boat from France or Germany – across the lakes where the border runs along the middle of the lake (notably Lac Leman/Lake Geneva and Bodensee/Lake Constance).

Comments on this article

Sakti Prasad Satapathy 14 May, 2009

Can I send mail to your Org. for write some qoute.

Tariq Mughal 17 May, 2009

Excellently written and easy to understand. Covering all forms of travel in depth from U.K. to Switzerland.

michael casey 26 May, 2009

Pedestrian. Perhaps written by somebody who doesn't have English as a 1st language.

Daly Dee 21 June, 2009

Happy days

Paul 3 August, 2009

There are 7 boats sailing every day from the UK after 23:00 to France and the Netherlands where you have a connecting train to Switzerland. For example you can leave London at 19:35 and arrive in Zermatt at 23:44.

Jez smith 3 August, 2009

My company is a mail order company that has some customers in Switzerland. I am trying to find out what duty, and at what levels our goods would attract Duty.

We are a clothing company and our products are made all over the world and always despatched from the UK. I waould be gratefull for any information you may be able to give me

Many thanks

sindano Bernard 2 October, 2009

just my travel to suisse

kwok wing cheng 6 May, 2011

Dear MR or Madam,

my name is Kowk Wing Cheng booked flight E-ticket No:7242780414184. the 12/07/2011 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong flight 327 and the 17/08/2011 from Hong Kong to London Heathrow.
I would like know anything is correct for this travel.

Thank you
k W Cheng

Swissmark 5 June, 2011

Oh please....the Swiss train system is so's late nearly every other day, at least from Vaud to Geneva. It's not even that user-friendly. Even though the trains go to airports, there is little luggage space, and you have to climb into the trains up steps with your luggage.

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