Yes, there are planes and buses and cars (we’ll cover two of those in a minute), but we obviously have to talk about trains first, because that’s what we’re good at. A train from London to Switzerland isn’t as outlandish an idea as you may originally think, in fact, it's an awesome idea if you want to enjoy some of the best trains in Europe. Let’s start with getting from capital to capital.
Train from London to Zurich
The first part of this journey involves the Eurostar speeding under the English Channel, always a train treat. You’ll board at London St Pancras International and head for the city of lights (Paris) or for Brussels. The Eurostar from London to Paris is a two-hour journey, and London to Brussels is a similarly speedy trip.
From Paris, you’ll arrive at Paris Gare du Nord, but your journey over the border will require a transfer, and not at this station. But that just gives you the perfect excuse to experience the Paris Metro, maybe stop at a boulangerie for a croissant or two along the way, why not even spend a day here if you can, there’s plenty to do and a few easy French day trips you can treat yourself to as well. If you’re making a bee-line for Switzerland, though, you’ll be headed for Gare de Lyon, half a dozen stops and one line transfer away from Gare du Nord, and here is where the TGV Lyria train to Zurich awaits. These sleek trains are every bit as fabulous as the Eurostar you just left, with a maximum speed of 320 km/h, comfy seats and a restaurant car. Sit back and relax, the train from Paris to Zurich will take approximately six hours, passing plenty of fantastic scenery along the way.
If you opt for the Brussels route, your Eurostar train will call at Brussels Midi, which is very convenient as this is also where your train to Zurich will depart from, with a journey time of approximately seven hours on a TGV Lyria or Deutsche Bahn train. Both are high-speed models that offer a comfy perch from which to enjoy your rapid journey through Europe.
So, Zurich down, where next?
Train from London to St. Moritz
We mention this ever so elegant resort next because it gives you the perfect excuse to stop off in Zurich on the way for some cosmopolitan vibes before delving into one of Switzerland’s most famous offerings: skiing. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Moritz is one of the world’s leading skiing destinations, having hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and is arguably one of the most scenic as well, sitting in the Swiss Alps. The train from Zurich to St. Moritz is a four-hour trip into the heart of ski country.
London to Zermatt
Perhaps you want your train from London to Switzerland to head straight for the picturesque mountains, and in that case, we need to back step a little. You’ll still take the train from London to Paris, and you’ll still make your way to Gare de Lyon, but instead of boarding for Zurich, you’ll be heading for Lausanne. From here there are a few more changes involved, but we promise it’s worth it. From Lausanne, you’ll want to to take the train to Visp, a frequent service that will see you arrive in under two hours. Now you can really get into the Mountaineer spirit, as the train from Visp to Zermatt takes a spectacularly scenic route and once you step out of Zermatt station, just look up. There it stands, the Matterhorn, symbol of Switzerland and the perfect excuse to wrap your gums around some pyramid-shaped chocolate.
Train from London to Geneva
Another leading destination, taking the train to Geneva is also a simple and lovely journey and follows the same route up to Gare de Lyon, this time you’ll take a train to Geneva, and it will take you about three and a half hours. The journey is the perfect mix if you’re a train-lover like us because you’ll get to experience the high-speed run out of the city as well as the more leisurely pace as the train passes through countryside and into Switzerland, bliss!
London to Switzerland: drive there
Alright, trains down, let's talk about the alternative way to travel around Europe, car. The London to Switzerland drive has ‘awesome road trip’ written all over it, although it also involves 11 hours of driving time, so you should plan some stops along the way. Here’s how you do it.
Firstly, get yourself out of London! If you’re starting from central London or planning to pass through it, then we recommend a weekend start, for one, the traffic might be a bit better (just a bit), and secondly, you won’t get hit with a congestion charge which is levied on cars during the week. You’re headed to Folkstone, a relatively easy two-hour drive which rewards you with the very cool experience of the Eurotunnel shuttle. It’s like a train, but for your car (we’re sold) and will deliver you to Calais.
Now, you’ll have to be alert from here on in if you’re a native UK driver, say goodbye to left hand side driving, pretty much all of Europe drives on the right instead. The journey to Zurich will take you down central France, passing plenty worthy pit-stops along the way. Among them is Parc Naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges and there is no reason not to stop and take in the gorgeous scenery to help revive your road-weary senses. Not for the designated drivers, but a worthy celebration of your trip so far for everyone else, you’ll also pass through the Champagne region, the Caves Joseph Perrier are on your way to Zurich and make for a memorable visit through underground tunnels full of premium tipples. Pick a city, be it Reims, Nancy, Mulhouse or all three and add a few nights of French leisure to your Switzerland drive.
London to Switzerland bus
Yes, there’s yet another option and that’s by bus. A little slower than trains but greener than car, we think there’s plenty to enjoy about a European bus trip. From London to Switzerland you’ll follow a similar route to if you were driving yourself, with the added bonus of, well, not having to. The journey is a bit of a commitment at anything between 19 and 21 hours long, but it also offers one of the cheapest ways to travel to Switzerland. Unlike taking the train from London to Paris which requires a journey across the city, the majority of buses will have easy transfers from the same bus station in Paris and Brussels, the two most common stops, so you can easily shuffle from one to another in comfy bus slippers (you’ve never heard of bus slippers? Just us? Ok). Other possible stops include Amsterdam and the transfer times may not be as tight as they are for trains, which gives you the perfect excuse for a spot of city exploration as you await the next leg of your trip.
London buses depart from Victoria coach station, set right next to Victoria train and tube station, so it’s easy to reach from all over the city or even from other areas of the UK.
And there you have it, the where and how and why (chocolate) to take the train, or car, or bus to Switzerland, so, what are you waiting for? A European trip of a lifetime awaits!