6 best night train routes to and from Switzerland
Situated in the middle of Europe, Switzerland is a great place to base yourself if you want to travel across the continent by rail. Instead of flying out of Swiss airports, many people are ditching cabin classes for couchettes and sleeper cars.
Top night train routes to and from Switzerland
The night train network has expanded dramatically in recent years with the help of rail operators across Europe. The increasing awareness of how flying impacts the planet has convinced many people to choose the slower, but greener way to travel: public transport.
Switzerland has 11 overnight routes run by Nightjet or EuroNight. The extended network means that you can go to sleep in Zurich or Basel and wake up in one of Europe’s capitals. From Amsterdam and Berlin to Budapest and Vienna, here are the six best night train routes from Switzerland to destinations across Europe.
1. Zurich and Basel to Amsterdam
The newest route on the network, the night train between Zurich, Basel and Amsterdam makes it possible to visit the Dutch capital greenly and cheaply. The Netherlands has many wonderful historical sites and attractions to visit during your stay, and Amsterdam is well known for its party atmosphere and culture.
The night train departs Zurich and Basel every evening, taking 12 hours to reach the Netherlands. Along with the city itself, Amsterdam Central Station has services to many other Dutch cities like Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven.
2. Zurich and Basel to Berlin
Known for its exciting bohemian atmosphere, Berlin is a must-see destination. Departing from Zurich at 7:59pm and Basel at 9:12pm, the train reaches the German capital in 10 hours.
Visitors can sample some of the city's best historical sites, from the Berlin Wall to Museum Island. Germany's capital is also well known for its clubbing scene, with the city partying well into the early hours. From Berlin, travellers can continue on to one of the many other charming cities in the north and east of Germany like Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig and Dresden.
3. Zurich to Vienna
Perhaps the most well-known night train service in Switzerland, the connection between Zurich and Vienna has the train scythe through the Alps, connecting the largest Swiss city with arguably the cultural capital of Europe. The Nightjet service departs from Zurich at 9:40pm, arriving in Vienna in the early hours of the morning.
Among some of the best sites in Vienna are the art history museum, the Schönbrunn Palace and the historic city centre. With a regular night train service, you can visit Austria’s largest city without having to board a plane.
4. Zurich to Budapest
The night train from Zurich to Budapest is an adventure in itself. Starting in Zurich Main Station at 9:40pm, the trip takes almost 12 hours to complete, passing through eastern Switzerland before going non-stop to Hungary.
When in Budapest, there is nothing better than exploring the streets, seeing the sights, and sampling some great Hungarian food. For a spring or summer getaway by train, Budapest is a great choice.
5. Switzerland to Prague
Another top long-weekend destination, the Czech capital is only one sleep away from Zurich. The city of a hundred spires is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is a captivating destination for all ages. The destination is served by a night train from Zurich, departing Switzerland at 9:40pm.
Known for its architecture, museums and extensive shopping areas, Prague is a good fit for couples, families or individuals who want their annual dose of culture. For groups of friends, Prague is also well known for abundant nightlife and cheap beer.
6. Zurich to Zagreb
The longest journey on the list, 13 hours away from Zurich is Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The city is home to cathedrals, churches and quirky museums, most notably the Museum of Broken Relationships - dedicated to failed love affairs.
As well as having its own historical sites, it is also only two hours away from the Adriatic coast. For the climate-conscious who want their dose of sun, sea and sand, taking the night train to Zagreb can be an excellent first step. The train to Zagreb leaves Zurich at 8:40pm, arriving in Zagreb at 10:49am the next day.
Take in Europe at a slower pace
The night train services allow residents and citizens of Switzerland to see Europe at a slower pace. Along with more regular day services to Paris and Munich, the night trains are a great way to see Europe at a cheap environmental and monetary cost. For more information on all night train services from Switzerland, check out the official website.