There’s never been an easier or more comfortable way to travel around Switzerland than with Swiss Federal Railways, otherwise known as SBB. As a recent visitor to Switzerland, my itinerary included one stop, for a very short period of time. But, that one stop was not a major city or metropolitan area. The stop was Adelboden, a small village high-up in the Bernese Alps – roughly three hours from both Geneva and Zurich airports.
Having traveled from New York for eight hours to arrive in Switzerland, there was a fear that the three hour trek to this idyllic little town could be a bit laborious, tiring and inconvenient. After all, I was only going to be staying for three evenings before returning to New York.
Planning the trip was easy. I had heard wonderful things about the completely electric railway system in Switzerland, but never experienced it firsthand. I logged-on to their website and entered my starting point, which was Zurich Airport. I then entered an end point, which was a bus stop called “Adelboden Post”. I was going to have to take two trains and a bus to get to my final destination. Not fun. Or, so I thought.
After landing, I cleared customs and followed the well-marked airport signs to the Zurich Airport train station, located right in the terminal. This station was immaculate, easy to navigate and offered a plethora of shopping, restaurants and information booths for visitors. I had a Swiss Pass, which is a train pass allowing for travel around the country for a certain period, so there was no need to purchase tickets. However, had I needed to, there were kiosks and agent-staffed desks everywhere.
I visited an information booth where the attendant nicely printed my “itinerary”. The itinerary showed each leg of my journey – departure and arrival times, transfer times between trains and projected platforms from where the trains were expected to leave. Easy breezy. I boarded train one bound for the Swiss capital of Bern. Roughly 50 minutes in my comfortable business class seat, located in carriage 1, and I arrived in Bern. The ride was comfortable, with beautiful leather seats and plenty of storage for my luggage. Refreshments and bathrooms were available on board – which was very nice.
I transferred in Bern for my next train. This one was headed further into the mountains to a town called Frutigen. Another 50 minutes and I was arriving in Frutigen. This time, i answered a few emails and handled business on my laptop during the ride, looking-up often to marvel at the scenery. Now it was time to board a bus. I’m not a bus person. But, then again, I had never ridden a Swiss bus. I was pleasantly surprised to see a large, clean and comfortable bus waiting for its passengers, just a stone’s throw from my train’s platform.
I boarded the bus and traveled through the hilly roads to finally arrive in Adelboden just 20 minutes later. The entire journey was literally seamless – it could not have gone better. I now have no fear of traveling via train or bus the next time I’m in Switzerland. It was actually very enjoyable. I recommend anyone traveling throughout the country to utilize the SBB – you just can’t ask for a better way to move throughout this fantastic country.