Greentraveller's Guide to taking the train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, Switzerland.
Renowned for its quality of life and cultural offer, Zürich is a thriving international business centre and Switzerland’s dynamic largest city. With panoramic Alpine views from its lakeside position, Zürich offers a relaxed, healthy outdoor lifestyle combined with a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene (over 1,500 restaurants offer cuisine from around the world), and a vast number of museums and galleries. A university city with a history dating back before the Romans, Zürich is at once young and ancient – and it wears its past proudly in its architectural heritage. Whether you come for the culture, the lifestyle, or just for business, there is plenty to enjoy in the beating heart of Switzerland.
Journey Time: from 7 hours 25 minutes
Sample timetable: Depart London 11.31am, arrive Zürich 8.26pm
Transfer: Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon
Frequency of Departures: 16/day
Carbon emissions: 4.96kg (flight would be 123.19kg)*
Car hire at Zurich Hauptbahnhof Railway Station: Yes
What's the journey like?
You have to change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, which can take about half an hour on the Paris RER line (it's only two stops, though we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer - you have about an hour and a quarter to get the connection). See our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris. At Gare de Lyon, you board a TGV high speed train to 'Zurich Hauptbahnhof' station.
Stopover hotels to break the journey in Paris
If you want to break the journey and stay overnight to see a bit more of Paris while you're travelling through, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:
Miss your connection in Paris?
Don’t panic. Railteam’s ‘Hop on the Next Available Train’ service means that if you have missed your connection between high speed trains because of a delay on the preceding leg of your journey, you’ll automatically be put on the next available high-speed TGV train. NB Remember to get your ticket stamped by your Train Manager. Whenever you’re connecting, always remember to validate your onward train ticket at the machine on the platform before departing (these are often coloured yellow).
On arrival at Zürich station
Willkommen in Zürich! Zurich Hauptbahnhof is the city’s main point of arrival for mainline and international rail services, and is one of the world’s busiest railway stations. A hub of S-bahn, tram, bus, and trolley lines, it is well connected for travel across the rest of the city, and its central location at the northern tip of the old town puts the station within easy walking distance of much of central Zurich.
These hotels near the station get good reviews: Hotels near Zurich Hauptbahnhof station.
Despite being Switzerland’s largest city, Zürich remains a compact, manageable place and the central area is very walkable – your feet could be your best option for getting around. However, its (renowned) dense and comprehensive public transport system means that if you want or need to make a hop by bus, trolley, tram, or s-bahn (suburban rail), it’s definitely possible.
Zürich's trams, trolleybuses and buses are operated by VBZ (Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich), but whilst the S-bahn railway network is separately run, the same tickets, travelcards and fares apply across the city’s transport network – which is collectively known as ZVV. The ZVV website has a map of the Zürich area’s train network, with bus and boat connections, a detailed map of all transport in the city of Zürich and a useful Zürich public transport journey planner. If you’ll be using public transport a lot and intend to visit several of the city’s museums and attractions, it might be worth considering buying a Zürich Card for the duration of your stay – it offers unlimited travel as well as free entry into most museums, and a range of other offers and discounts.
You could also consider cycling in Zürich as a way of getting around: relatively compact and with good segregated bike lanes, the city has a bike sharing scheme called Züri Velo that allows you to borrow bikes for a small charge - you have to register with the scheme and then you can see in your customer account how much each ride cost and the amount that was debited from your credit card.
(Tickets provided by Trainline)