How to pay for your trips
The main options are:
Buy normal tickets for all your trips. This is usually not the cheapest way to travel.
Buy discounted tickets for all your trips, by getting a Swiss Half Fare Card.
Do not buy tickets at all, except for excursions, and travel as much as you like with a Swiss Travel Pass.
More passes and tickets can be found here.
How to find traveling times (advanced timetable)
Enter your departure location, the arrival location, the travel date (day.month.year) and travel time (24 hour format, so 5 PM is 17:00). You can optionally enter a via location if you prefer a specific route and not necessarily the quickest route.
The location name can be a train station, but also the name of a bus stop, boat dock or cable car station. You can also enter an address.
Click the button to find all travel options. The list of travel options presented by the timetable shows the departure time, the duration of the trip, and the number of changes.
Click on any connection to see more details, such as changes of trains and further information on each section of the journey. In many cases the timetable also shows the expected occupancy of trains.
Use these names for airports:
All trains can be found through the timetable, regardless whether they're operated by the SBB or another railway company.
How to find ticket prices (advanced timetable)
You can use the timetable to find the regular prices of tickets. That allows you to compare point to point tickets to pass prices.
Fill out tomorrow's date when looking for prices. Prices will be the same if you travel later, until next December. That's when the timetable and ticket prices change. There may be exceptions to this rule for a few (mountain) routes with varying seasonal prices, such as the trip to Jungfraujoch.
You'll often see "from" prices being displayed along with the travel options. Such lower fares only apply to holders of a discount pass, or they're fares for special types of tickets that come with restrictions. You need the standard ticket prices to compare your options. This is how to find the standard fares:
Click the displayed price for any of the listed connections. Choose to purchase as a guest.
Fill out passenger details and select "No discount" under "Discount cards".
Under "Choice of ticket", avoid special fares such as the Saver Day Pass and Supersaver tickets. Pick "Point-to-point Ticket" instead.
Mind the selection for single versus return journeys, and 2nd versus 1st class.
For most visits to Switzerland buying a pass is cheaper than buying separate tickets for each trip. You can calculate whether that's true for your plans as well.
Sometimes prices will not be displayed, or for part of the route only. That mostly happens in case of mountain trips with cable cars, funiculars, etc.
In such cases you can best visit the website of the transport company for that route to find prices there. Links can be found on each of our attraction pages. Prices for (parts of) routes that are operated by small companies in neighbouring countries may not be available either.
Further options (advanced timetable)
The timetable will show you the quickest way to get from point A to B, unless you force it to display a specific route by entering a via-location. Click "Change" if you don't see the option to specify a via station yet. Click "Advanced search" if you want to enter even more via locations. This comes in handy if you prefer a specific scenic route instead of the quickest route.
The advanced search also allows you to find connections with a preferred mode of transport (e.g. just boats, no trains).
Most trains do not require a seat reservation. Exceptions can be found in the advanced timetable. Such trains are marked as 'Mandatory place reservation' (you have to book a seat) or 'Place reservation possible' (you can book a seat, but it's not required).
The basic timetable will automatically offer seat reservations, if they are available for the route you selected.
Tight connection times
The timetable shows where you need to connect from one train to the other. Some connection times are as short as a few minutes. There is no need to worry about that.
The Swiss train system is designed for optimal travel times, which sometimes includes a quick connection. Trains will often arrive and depart from the same platform, and you will rarely be the only passenger switching trains.
The timetable only suggests connections that are doable. The connecting train may even wait for delayed arriving trains. Should you miss your train anyway, then there's always a next train.
A bit more slack can be useful if you connect to a train you have seat reservations or special tickets for: they're not valid for other trains. Use the "advanced search" to select a minimum amount of time to change trains.