Switzerland is known for its spectacular scenery, particularly the mountains. The capital city of Berne boasts an incredibly well preserved old-town; while Geneva is the capital of arts and culture. Zurich is the gateway into the Alps and is often referred to as the “portal to the Alps”.
Should you need to travel from Paris to Switzerland, first you need to decide which city you want to get to (i.e. Zurich , if you want to spend time in the mountains). Otherwise, it’s a choice of how much time you have on your hands and what your budget is.
If you have a limited vacation time, then consider flying into either Zurich (from €40* per person, one way) or Geneva (from €33 per person, one way) and you’ll get from Paris to Switzerland is little over 1h.
Should you prefer the train, as you don’t need to worry about traveling to/from the airport and paying more money for the transfer, the choice is also between Zurich (€42, 4h 36 min) and Geneva (€39, 3h 25 min).
Contrary to what you might expect, taking the bus between Paris and Switzerland is not the cheapest solution. Not only the fares are more expensive than train fares but you’ll also be traveling for at least 8 h 15 min.
Flights from Paris to Switzerland
The major airports in Switzerland are located in Zurich, Geneva and Basel. Smaller airports can also be found in Lugano and Berne.
Zurich Airport (ZRH) is the largest international hub in Switzerland and hub for Edelweiss Air and Swiss International Air Lines. Direct flights from Paris are run by Air France (CDG), Swiss (CDG) and Vueling Airlines (ORY) and the flight time is 1h 15 min. The cheapest single fare (whether you fly in late fall or spring) is €40 and can be booked via Vueling Airlines.
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Geneva International Airport (GVA) is located 4 km from the city center and is hub for Darwin Airline, EasyJet Switzerland and Swiss International Air Lines. Direct flights from Paris are run by: Air France (CDG) and easyJet Switzerland (Orly). The flight time is 1h 5 min and the fares are between €33 and €39 per person, one way if you travel in fall or spring on easyJet.
Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL) is the only bi-national airport in the world. It is built on French soil, just 4 km from the city of Basel, Switzerland. Direct flights from Paris are run by Air France (both CDG and Orly). While direct flights start at €300 per person, one way, connecting flights are cheaper (from €110 per person, one way) but you’ll spend 8 h traveling.
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Trains from Paris to Switzerland
There are direct trains from Paris to the following Swiss cities:
- Zurich: trains arrive at Hauptbahnhof, the main train station and the travel time is 4 h 36 min. Single tickets start at €42 (US$57). Trains depart from Paris Est daily at 6:24 a.m.
- Geneva: trains depart Paris Gare de Lyon daily at 7:10 a.m, and 11:10 a.m. There are also trains which only run during the weekedays. The travel time is 3h 25 min and the single fare starts at €39 (US$53).
- Basel: trains depart Paris Est daily at 6:24a.m., 9 :56 a.m., 11:56 a.m. , 1:52 p.m., 5:56 p.m. and 9:51 p.m. (except on Wed). The travel time is 3h 31 min and fares start at €85.40 (£74.50).
Buses from Paris to Switzerland
There are the following direct buses from Paris to Switzerland, run by Eurolines :
- Zurich : buses depart from Paris Gallieni Porte Bagnolet and arrive at the bus station located right by the main train station. The travel time is 10 h 45 min and single tickets start at €62. There are departures on Wed, Thu, Fri and Sun at 10 a.m.
- Geneva: buses depart from Paris Gallieni Porte Bagnolet on Sun, Tue, Thu, Sat and Sun at 10:45 p.m. The travel time is 8 h 15 min and the single fare starts at €47.
- Basel (Bale, Fr.): buses depart from Paris Gallieni Porte Bagnolet on Wed, Fri and Sun at 10 p.m. The travel time is 9 h 30 min and the single fare starts at €56.
Driving from Paris to Switzerland
You can also rent a car and drive from Paris to Switzerland. Here is a list of the shortest routes from Paris to some of the large Swiss cities:
- Zurich: 600 km , 6h 30 min driving time
- Geneva: 514 km, 6 h driving time
- Basel: 508 km, 5h 46 min driving time
Here is the map showing the shortest route between Paris and Switzerland: Paris to Basel.
Note: *prices are valid at the time the article was written