Travel to Switzerland | How to get to ski resorts in the Swiss Alps (2023)

The best-known of the Alpine-spanning countries,Switzerlandin the center of the westEuropa& shares boundariesDeutschlandNorth,Austriaeastward,Francein the West &Italyto the south. Sprawling across the entire mountainous southern half of the country, the two Swiss cantons of Valais (Wallis) and Graubünden (Grisons) offer an incredible variety of ski and snowboard destinations, all linked by the equally amazing Swiss railway system. The diversity of ski resorts in the Swiss Alps is expertly supported by the mix of languages ​​and cultures that make up the Switzerland puzzle.

Travel to Swiss ski resorts

Getting to any ski area in Switzerland is easy via one of the major international airportsGeneva (GVA)&Zurich (ZRH)🇧🇷 Unlike the smaller airport ofBasileia (BSL)(which can be useful for visitors of European or British origin), the larger airports in Geneva and Zurich accept flights from all over the world.

From all airports, the best rail system in the world offers direct access to ski resorts throughout Switzerland (see rail section below).

Flights to Switzerland

Switzerland is blessed with two of the best international airports in Europe –Geneva (GVA)&Zurich (ZRH)🇧🇷 Between the two, access to most Swiss ski resorts by road or rail is fairly easy. It may come as a surprise that the closest airport to skiing in the Swiss Alps is in Italy! On the outskirts of Milan, theMilan Malpensa International Airport (MXP)It is often used by powder hounds as a gateway to resorts in the Swiss cantons of Valais, Uri and Graubünden.Innsbruck (INN)can be used for some locations.

Search and bookFlights to Geneva, Zurich or Milan Malpensa airports.

GenevaValais (Aletsch Arena, Crans Montana, Grimentz Zinal, Portes du Soleil, Saas Fee, Verbier and Zermatt), Vaud (Leysin, Villars Gryon) and Bern (Grindelwald-Wengen, Gstaad, Jungfrau, Mürren-Schilthorn). In addition, Geneva is a major airport for many of France's major ski resorts (such as Chamonix and the Tarentaise Valley).

ZürichAirport is the best to get to the ski resorts in Obwalden (Engelberg), Uri (Andermatt), Bern (Grindelwald-Wengen, Gstaad, Jungfrau, Mürren-Schilthorn) and especially Graubünden (also known as Graubünden) (Arosa, Brigels, Davos- Klosters, Laax, Lenzerheide, Savognin & St. Moritz). Zurich Airport also provides access to the snowy Vorarlberg resorts of western Austria (such asdamuels,Silvretta Montafonand other).

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Mailand Malpensacomes into play in the Swiss ski area, thanks to the excellent rail connections from Milano Centrale to places like Brig (for the holiday resorts of the canton of Valais and Uri) and via Tirano to St. Moritz. Milan Malpensa road trips are equally efficient for some Swiss locations, with the added bonus that car hire in Italy is cheaper!

InnsbruckPerhaps a surprising airport choice, but if you're planning to head to south-eastern Switzerland (Grisons), some ski resorts are easier to access from Austria and Innsbruck Airport. These include Scuol, but also Corvatsch, Corviglia and Diavolezza Lagalb in St. Moritz.

Train travel in Switzerland

It would be a ski crime for anyone traveling in Switzerland not to use the best rail system in the world to get around. In addition to the breathtaking scenery from the train, many Swiss ski areas are (actually) directly accessible by train from the airport. Traveling by train in Switzerland is comfortable, reliable, safe and often cheap, especially for small groups or simple return journeys. Traveling by Swiss train is also a good optionPOW (Protect our winters), which makes it the recommended means of travel in Switzerland.

Search and bookTrain tickets in Switzerland.

Train stations are connected to all airports, which facilitate connections to the surrounding area. trains all the way toBriggoperate directly from Geneva Airport. Most trains from Zurich Airport to the ski resorts have to change trains at Zurich main station, but some go directly to the ski resorts. Likewise, from Milan Malpensa, trains to Switzerland depart from the Milano Centrale train station, which can be reached from the airport by the Malpensa Express train.

Through the valleys of the Upper Rhine and the Rhine in the cantons of Wallis (Valais) and Graubünden (Grisons), the Matterhorn-Gotthard line and the Rhaetian Railway connect a multitude of ski areas along the mountainous south via the transport hubs ofBrigg&Put on🇧🇷 Numerous well-known Swiss ski resorts have their own train stations within walking distance of the ski lifts. places likeZermatt,Die Rose,Andermatt Sedrun,Davos Klosters,disentis,school&Saint Moritzare great places to visit by train. The Glacier Express connects the entire journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz, offering the ultimate front-row seat to see the best of Switzerland from the comfort of a restaurant table! A typical Swiss ski holiday experience.

Between Brig and Andermatt lies the great family ski area ofAletsch-Arenawhich today has the best equal access to cable cars on the rails in the world. Two valley stations (Betten and Fiesch) have cable cars integrated into the train station for seamless transfers up the mountain.Kronplatzin Italy you may still take the chocolates with you likeNumber one, just because the cable car (gondola) gates are only 5m in front of the train exit, no stairs or elevators needed!

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The Golden Pass train, another icon of Swiss railways, part ofMontreux, with one to beautiful Gstaad. approachMontreux, The Giantgates of the sunSki area can be reached directly by trainChamperythroughAdler🇧🇷 Aigle train station is a real ski train hub. Just like in Champéry, old and new trains follow along the main road and over the mountainsthe solvent, Villars & Les Diablerets.

Further down the valley near Martigny, the Mont Blanc Express (a truly touching name) travels toChamonix ski resorts, plus a sneaky little Swiss (Les Marécottes). Alternatively, you can also take the St. Bernhard Express from MartignyVerbier- why not you? A little further and sunnyCrans Montanacan be reached by funicular near the train station inSerra(Sider).

If these ski areas aren't incentive enough to explore Switzerland by train, how about getting closer to the impressive?Jungfrau ski areawith the train overInterlaken🇧🇷 Train travel around the world is no more legendary than the journey fromInterlakenup the Lauterbrunnen valley to Wengen, Jungfrau and down to Grindelwald below the Eiger.

Still not convinced? How about the train too dramaticEngelbergnice wayLuzerne🇧🇷 A delicious combination that rivals virtually any global travel experience.

see theMap of the Swiss rail network.

Private transfers

The Powderhounds recommend taking the train and bus across Switzerland. However, if you can't stand public transport, are in a larger group of 3 or more, or just have some cash to burn, the quickest way to get from the airports to some Swiss ski resorts might be a private transfer. Click on the link to selectTransfer from Geneva Airport&Transfer from Zurich airport.

A useful way to reduce the cost of a private transfer is to take a train to a nearby major train station and be picked up by the provider for a direct transfer to your accommodation. Private transfers can be particularly efficient and economical for groups of 3 or more. Please note that some ski resorts are not accessible by private car/transfer and a train journey is mandatory, e.g. B. Zermatt.

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Find and book yoursPrivate transfer in Switzerland.

Bus transport in Switzerland

While not quite as legendary as the Swiss rail network, buses in Switzerland are nothing short of amazing. The extensive network of bus lines is seamlessly connected to the train system and enables cheap and efficient travel to the ski areas.

there NationalLetter box” is complemented by local bus companies, and between them it is possible to reach almost any place in the country. Timetables can be complex but are posted at all stops and online (Search here for timetables🇧🇷 Most buses show the route and next stops on the bus screens. Ask the driver if you have any questions. Bus tickets can be bought from the driver or online.

Longer bus routes to ski resorts usually have underfloor luggage storage and outdoor ski racks, making traveling with luggage easier. Local buses also have space for bulky luggage on board.

drive in switzerland

Driving to Swiss ski resorts is a useful and recommended option when you are going on a private ski trip / ski safari to different places in a group of 3 or more people. While most resorts are easily accessible via public transport, a car offers the ultimate in time efficiency.

Road driving conditions are very different in Switzerland. Motorways and lanes through the valleys are as good as anywhere in Europe. If the drive to the village or to the base of the ski area involves high passes and mountain roads, be prepared for challenging conditions. For example, most approaches to St. Moritz are made on high passes and should not be driven in snow storms. Watch out for oncoming traffic, especially buses and trucks on winding mountain roads. Winter tires are not mandatory in Switzerland, but must be fitted when driving in the mountains. Snow chains may be required in some locations.

As with much of Europe, fuel prices are high but distances are relatively short, limiting petrol/diesel use. Most ski areas in Switzerland are only 1½ to 2 hours drive from Geneva or Zurich.

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There are no tolls in Switzerland, but any car, motorcycle or trailer using the motorways requires a Swiss motorway vignette. The vignette costs CHF 40 (€37) once (2019 price) and is valid for the calendar year. Rental cars in Switzerland already have a vignette, but all other cars entering the country must purchase one. The motorway vignette can be purchased at most border posts, petrol stations, post offices, by telephone (+800 1002 0030) and online. Some road tunnels at international borders are subject to tolls, notably the Grand St Bernard Pass tunnel between Switzerland andAostatal🇧🇷 The price is almost blackmailable!

Due to winter closures or the lack of year-round access (!), vehicles have to be placed on trains at various locations in Switzerland. The most important include:

  • Between Andermatt and Sedrun over the Oberalp Pass.
  • From Kandersteg to Goppenstein - an important route under the mountains between the north and the south of the country.
  • Between Klosters (Davos) and Scuol via the Vereina tunnel.

Putting cars on a train is a great experience and nothing to worry about. Loading and unloading is continuous and efficient. Please note that this may cost a few CHF. Be ready!

Car Rental and Rental

All major airports and cities haveCar rentalaccessible. In terms of convenience, the best rental locations in Switzerland are the airports, but when proximity to the action matters, the regional cities of Brig & Chur are viable alternatives. Availability can be an issue during peak season over Christmas/New Year and into February.

When renting a car in Switzerland, all vehicles must come with snow tires (but they can't, so check!), but other countries (like Germany and Italy) may not automatically have this option. Please check before confirming a rental as snow tires are essential for safe travel across the country.

Search and bookRental cars Europe-wide.

Please note that when renting a car in Switzerland (e.g. at Zurich Airport) it is essential to read the fine print, as some providers require extortionate deposits of up to CHF 6000. While not the norm, it's always worth checking out for details. There is always an alternative supplier when prices seem high.

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If in doubt, contact us

If you have doubts about whether you want to move around in Switzerland,Contact Powderhoundsfor information about the best option!


How do you get to the Alps in Switzerland? ›

The easiest way to get into the Alps is by taking a flight until the nearest cities of Zurich, Bern, Basel, or Geneva and hire a car to get to the Alps. Train: Switzerland has an impeccable train network that is designed to let travellers sightsee.

What is the best way to travel to Switzerland? ›

The best way to travel to Switzerland from the U.S. is by taking a flight from one of these U.S. hubs into a major Swiss city like Zürich or Geneva. From there, you can take connecting flights to Bern, Davos, Zermatt, and Basel.

Where do you fly into for skiing in Switzerland? ›

Getting to any ski resort in Switzerland is easy via either of the major international airports at Geneva (GVA) & Zurich (ZRH). Unlike the smaller airport of Basel (BSL) (which can be useful for visitors from European or UK flight origins), the larger Geneva & Zurich airports accept flights from across the globe.

Can you ski the Swiss Alps as a beginner? ›

There are nursery slopes and kids areas for first-time skiers to learn near the village. Once you've mastered the beginner areas there is 111km of blue pistes to explore. The Swiss ski resort attracts just as many non-skiers as skiers, because of its easy access and the beautiful town.

How long is the Swiss Alps train ride? ›

' The 30-minute journey begins in Alpnachstad and has an average gradient of 35%. The Cogwheel Railway operates between May and November, while at other times the top can be reached via a spectacular aerial gondola and cableway.

What airport do you fly to for the Alps? ›

Getting to the Alps by Plane

In general, most people fly into Geneva Airport. It offers a large number of EasyJet and British Airways flights in and out daily, and provides easy access to most resorts in the French Alps. However other airports to look into are Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery.

Can US driver license drive in Switzerland? ›

You may drive in Switzerland with your valid U.S. license for up to one year after your arrival; then you must obtain a Swiss permit. Swiss licenses are only issued on the basis of valid U.S. licenses. Holders of expired U.S. licenses must take the Swiss driving test when applying for a Swiss license.

Do US citizens require a visa for Switzerland? ›

For US citizens, Switzerland is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Switzerland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.

How much money will I need for 4 days in Switzerland? ›

If you want to keep your expenses under control, be prepared to spend something between Sfr 200 to Sfr 250 per person per day. For budget travelers, the average daily cost to travel in Switzerland is 80-100 Swiss Francs.

What airlines fly direct to Switzerland? ›

Which airlines offer direct flights to Switzerland? SWISS, United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Delta and American Airlines all fly non-stop to Switzerland.

What is the cheapest month to fly to Switzerland? ›

High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly to Switzerland is March.

Which Swiss airport is closest to the Alps? ›

How to get to Swiss Alps. The nearest airport is Zürich, 125 miles from St Moritz.

At what age is it too late to learn to ski? ›

Just as health experts have been saying for years about exercise and fitness programs, ski industry experts say it's never too late to start, whether it's downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country schussing, or snowshoeing. And never too old to stick with it.

Is 40 too old to start skiing? ›

As far as we're concerned, you can learn to ski at any age, and wholly believe that you are never too old. We offer a range of lesson plans for those starting out skiing, including a fun taster session for all age groups. If you've made a promise to yourself that you will be learning to ski at 40, don't hesitate.

Is 55 too old to learn to ski? ›

It's never too late to learn to ski. Lessons are an absolute necessity if you are learning to ski at any age. A professional ski instructor will make learning to ski fun and help you to master the basics and stay safe. You'll enjoy yourself and look forward to a good time on the slopes.

How much is the train through the Swiss Alps? ›

An individual ticket ranges from 73 Swiss francs to 268 Swiss francs depending on how far you go and whether you're cool with second class or want to get fancy in first class. The seat reservation fee ranges from 29 Swiss francs to 420 Swiss francs.

Do you need to buy Swiss train tickets in advance? ›

Do you need to book in advance? No. Swiss domestic journeys don't need to be pre-booked, trains cannot 'sell out' and regular full-price tickets are available in unlimited numbers, valid on any train that day. For any Swiss domestic journey you can just turn up, buy a ticket at the station and hop on the next train.

Does Switzerland train have toilet? ›

SBB has over 3,300 toilets on its rail services.

How cheap can you travel to the Alps? ›

Table of Contents hide
Mar 9, 2018

What city is closest to the Swiss Alps? ›

The cities of Thun and Lucerne are on the southern fringe of the Swiss Plateau and are set against the Swiss Alps to the south. The lower hills and mountains in Switzerland that lie in the foothills of the Alps are called the Swiss Prealps.

Can you take a train through the Swiss Alps? ›

The Glacier Express train is the most famous train in the world and promotes itself as “the slowest express train in the world.” The train cuts through the Swiss Alps, providing passengers with some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

Is it hard for an American to drive in Switzerland? ›

Driving in Switzerland is similar to driving in many other European countries or North America with respect to the general rules of the road.

Can US citizens rent a car in Switzerland? ›

To rent a car in Switzerland, drivers need to be at least 18 and have held their license for a minimum of one year. Most domestic driver's licenses are accepted if printed in English, but otherwise, an International Driver's Permit (IDP) will be required.

Can you turn right on a red light in Switzerland? ›

Half of the 5,000 turn-on-red intersections that existed in 2002 were located in the former West Germany. In Switzerland, bicycles and small mopeds (Mofas) are allowed to turn right on certain red lights since 2021. One does not have to come to a complete stop, but must yield to crossing pedestrians and traffic.

How many days can a US citizen stay in Switzerland? ›

Keep track of your time in the Schengen area: You can travel up to 90 days visa free in Switzerland and the Schengen area.

What are the entry requirements for Switzerland for US citizens? ›

Country-Specific Information. There are currently no entry restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No proof of vaccination, recovery or testing is required for entry into Switzerland. To verify which rules apply to your own particular situation when entering Switzerland, consult the online «Travelcheck».

Can US citizens stay in Switzerland? ›

Entrance Requirements

A valid U.S. passport but no visa is required of a U.S. citizen entering Switzerland as a tourist for a period of three months maximum. Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least 3 months (90 days) after the date you intend to leave the Schengen area (including Switzerland).

Which city in Switzerland is close to Alps? ›


Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt is a rustic, traditional ski village that encompasses the authentic alpine lifestyle. It's a great destination for outdoor sports, especially in the winter. From winter hiking and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and ice skating.

How do you get into the Alps? ›

Coming to the Alps. The Alps are served by three major international airports. The TGV and TER trains connect you to the big cities in the region. Shuttles and coach busses help you reach the villages and resorts – or you can always come by car.

Is the Swiss Alps worth visiting? ›

The alpine countryside serves up quintessential postcard views worth visiting at any time of year: crystalline alpine lakes, ancient castles, and breathtaking mountain peaks in every direction. It is also in the Swiss Alps where you can discover much of Switzerland's culinary heritage.

Is there a train that goes through the Alps? ›

The Glacier Express train is the most famous train in the world and promotes itself as “the slowest express train in the world.” The train cuts through the Swiss Alps, providing passengers with some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

What is the best town to stay in Switzerland? ›

Our list of the 7 best Swiss towns to visit was hard to narrow down, but here are our choices.
  • Zürich. Zürich is Switzerland's financial capital, main university town, and largest city, with a charming old town (called Altstadt in German). ...
  • Lucerne. ...
  • Bern. ...
  • Interlaken. ...
  • Zermatt. ...
  • Montreux and Geneva. ...
  • Lausanne.
Feb 13, 2023

What airport is closest to the Swiss Alps? ›

How to get to Swiss Alps. The nearest airport is Zürich, 125 miles from St Moritz.

Which Alps are easiest to get to? ›

The French Alps are some of the most accessible. Boasting a number of airports within easy reaching distance, tourists are able to fly to the area from all over the world.

What is the best time to visit Alps? ›

The best time to visit the Alps is in summer, when the mountains are bursting with color, livestock are grazing on high alpine pastures, trails are clear of snow, mountain huts are open, and wildlife re-emerge from their winter slumber.

Is it worth driving to the Alps? ›

Having your own car in the Alps gives you a lot of flexibility; If you want to visit other ski resorts in the area, take a day off from skiing and indulge in other activities offered in the area, or nip down the valley to the supermarket to stock up on self-catering supplies, having your car gives you the choice and ...


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