Warning to Visitors

Some of the information below may be out of date as a result of changing timetables and services. Please double check the accuracy of all information before travelling.

The booking forms should be up to date however, so if tickets for a particular service are available, then the service should be operational.

Hamburg - Zurich (InterCity Express Train)


The Journey

The journey takes around eight hours either way, and can be made on either a night or day service. This page deals only with the day-time InterCity Express service. For the City Night Line sleeper service, please see Hamburg - Zurich (City Night Line).

Inter City Express (ICE) Trains

The Inter City Express (also known as InterCityExpress or ICE) train service is a network of high speed rail routes operating with Germany and its neighbouring countries. 

The distinctive trains, painted in pale grey and red are easily recognised and well respected for their quality and speed. As a result, the price of tickets for ICE services is generally higher than normal trains. 

ICE Sprinter Trains

ICE Sprinter services offer business passengers the opportunity to travel on faster (fewer stops) services in the morning and evening peak hours. They generally depart at around 6am and 6pm. Reservations on these services is mandatory.

Sprinter services operate on the following routes:

  • Berlin - Frankfurt;
  • Hamburg - Cologne; and
  • Hamburg - Frankfurt.

ICE services offer the choice of first and second class accommodation. All carriages are air-conditioned and offer a variety of high-tech facilities for passengers. 

When booking your ticket, you should be given the option to book a window or aisle seat, as well as face-to-face or row seating with a seat-back or fixed table.

Most seats have a headphone jack available for listening to on-board radio programmes. Some first and second class seats (depending on train age and route in question) offer passengers an individual video screen for viewing movies and other information. Passengers may choose between three radio stations, offering classical music, jazz, rock/pop and a children's channel.

On most trains, electrical sockets are available at every seat, and an electronic display above the seats indicates whether they are reserved (and if so, between which destinations). ICE trains offer passengers enhanced mobile phone reception (except in designated quiet carriages).

First class passengers receive at-seat service and free newspapers. On the ICE Sprinter service, first class passengers also receive free drinks and an at-seat meal (breakfast or dinner).

Food & Drink

ICE trains all offer a restaurant car and/or self-service cafe on-board. The Bordbistro and Bordrestaurant offer different dishes depending on the time of day, and the menu often offers regional dishes and specialities. At-seat service is available for first class passengers, and a snack/beverage at-seat service is also available for second class passengers.

Disabled Passengers

All ICE trains offer special facilities for disabled passengers.

Other Services

Taxis and porters can be pre-booked for your arrival by members of the on-board service crew. Public phone booths and luggage lockers (locakable in return for a small deposit) are available on each train.


There are four or five services in either direction on the direct InterCity Express service between Hamburg and Zurich, departing every two hours. If you don't mind changing trains, there are a variety of other services that can be taken, most of which involve a change at Basel.

Connecting services are also available to/from St Moritz, Amsterdam, Berlin and Cologne.

StationFirst LastStationFirst Last
Hamburg Hbf08.24then every
two hours
14.24Zurich HB06.00then every 
two hours 
Hannover Hbf09.4115.41Basel SBB07.0418.12
Frankfurt Hbf12.0518.05Basel Bad Bf07.1318.22
Mannheim Hbf12.4418.44Freiburg Hbf07.4918.57
Karsruhe Hbf13.0819.08Karsruhe Hbf08.5120.00
Freiburg Hbf14.1120.11Mannheim Hbf09.1420.22
Basel Bad Bf14.4720.47Frankfurt Hbf09.5221.08
Basel SBB15.0721.07Hannover Hbf12.1700.02*
Zurich HB16.0022.00Hamburg Hbf13.2501.37*

* Not on Sundays


For the full journey between Zurich and Hamburg, adult fares are as follows.

Saver single fares from €39
Standard single fares from €149

The best (and cheapest) way to buy tickets is through the DB website, or the SBB website.

Seat reservations are available for a €4 fee, but are not required.

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