March 2, 2024

How long does it take to travel to these cities?

If you want to avoid flying, you can quickly take the train as an alternative. But how long do these trips across Europe actually take? Try yourself in this competition!Photo: Peter Fischli/Keystone

Traveling across Europe by train? This is acceptable! And all this conveniently and directly from the Swiss train station – with change you can go even further. But how long does it actually take? Give your rating here.

November 22, 2023, 10:26 amNovember 22, 2023, 12:53 pm

Leo Helfenberger
Leo Helfenberger

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SBB is considering establishing a direct train from Basel to London. Although traveling to the British capital by train is already reasonably easy, direct travel is always preferable. This trip should take five hours. But how long do train journeys to European cities actually take? Try the test here:


Many roads lead to Rome. That’s why we decided to go with the fastest and used the November SBB schedule. Only one of the journeys below involves a journey on a night train, all others are day trains. I listen!


Let’s start with some direct communication. For example, the city of love:


Accuracy: In fact, the trip to Paris is relatively easy from Zurich. According to SBB, the high-speed train ride takes only four hours.


Accuracy: Do you prefer it in Italian? Then we look at the university city of Bologna: the drive from Zurich takes six hours.


Accuracy: But would you rather go to the canals of Venice? All you have to do is plan more travel time: the flight takes six hours and ten minutes.

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Accuracy: Let’s look north, more precisely to the city of beer cellars. You can get to Munich from Zurich in just three hours and 30 minutes.


Accuracy: But there is more to the north! For example, the coastal city of Hamburg. You can reach it in ten hours and 15 minutes.


Accuracy: You can reach the Austrian capital a little faster than Zurich, in seven hours and 52 minutes.


Accuracy: And go further east! In ten hours and 40 minutes you will arrive in Budapest, Hungary.

Berlin (from Basel)

Accuracy: We want to shift the focus away from Zurich a little bit. There are also great direct connections to Europe from Basel, for example to Berlin. The flight takes seven hours and 40 minutes.

Amsterdam (from Basel)

Accuracy: Are Venice’s canals not enough for you? Then take a look at Amsterdam. You can get to the Netherlands from Basel SBB in just six hours and 46 minutes.

With one change

Well, you can actually change trains once on your trip to Europe. Here are some cities you can reach with just one change. But how long does the trip take?


Accuracy: Lunch in Paris and dinner in Brussels? This can be done without any major difficulties, as you can complete the journey in just six hours and eleven minutes.


Accuracy: As we travel through Paris, let’s take a closer look at France, for example Bordeaux. With a stop in Paris, you’ll get there in seven hours and 37 minutes.

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Accuracy: Let’s go to the sea. On this occasion we also visit some amazing churches. All this in just 11 hours and 51 minutes by train! You can also get to Barcelona via Paris.


Accuracy: You can reach Rome and the Vatican by Italian high-speed train via Milan. The flight from Zurich takes only eight hours and 39 minutes.


Accuracy: We dare to change direction again and head east. You can reach Prague via Dresden in ten hours and 32 minutes. Incidentally, this can also be done directly from Zurich (in 13 hours 59 minutes) by night train.


  • Air line: 1047 km

Accuracy: Too little from the East? Okay, let’s move on to Poland. You can get here from Zurich in 15 hours and 32 minutes. The journey takes you through Berlin.

Change trains several times

Do you love the rhythmic rumble so much that you want to take longer train journeys? Okay, let’s change trains more often. But how long does the trip actually take?


Accuracy: Did you like Amsterdam with all the bikes? Then Copenhagen a little further north might be something for you too. In 13 hours and 35 minutes you can reach the Danish capital via Frankfurt and Hamburg.


  • Air line: 1098 km

Accuracy: By train to Sicily? This really works. But it takes some time. Via Milan, Salerno (overnight) to Messina, finally arriving in Palermo from Zurich after 20 hours and 51 minutes. One or two stops lasting several days are probably a good idea.

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Madrid (from Basel)

  • As the crow flies: 1,247 kilometers

Accuracy: Even in Spain you can get further with a little change. You can reach Madrid from Basel via Mulhouse, Montpellier and Barcelona in twelve hours and 30 minutes.

Night trains from all over the world


Night trains from all over the world

Night trains from around the world: One designer has summarized all the night trains in one map. In this photo series, we take an insight into different night trains around the world. Let’s start with India:

“I hate people who don’t let others get off the train.”

Video: Watson

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