Scenic train routes in Switzerland will deliver breathtaking views and comfortable amenities from a modern network in an extraordinary experience.
Switzerland measures 348 by 220 kilometers but is one of the most visited countries in Europe. Since the landmass is easily manageable, the country has a modernized and exceptional transportation network. The country is associated with some of the most scenic locations in Europe, and with a comprehensive transport network, tourists often flock to Switzerland to enjoy local tourism and Swiss cuisine. Once there, you’ll find several scenic train routes in Switzerland that you must try while exploring the country.
Tip: See our post on How to Tour Europe by Train Using Eurail First Class Passes for guidance on train travel.
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1- Golden Pass Line
The Golden Pass Line connects the shores of Lake Geneva to the center of Switzerland. This spectacular journey will lead you past eight lakes through 6 different cantons, crossing three mountains and connecting two regions that speak different languages. It is a scenic and cultural route perfect for photographers.
Distance: 191 kilometers
Duration: 5 hours 8 minutes
You do not have to make any reservation to use the Golden Pass trains; however, the customer support team recommends that you should book a seat for the part between Zweisimmen and Montreux. It is important to note that you can interrupt your train journey to enjoy some of these places along the way. The best places to stop and deeply explore are Spies and Interlaken.
Other exciting places to explore during the Golden Pass Line:
Lucerne is where most people begin their journey; however, if you are going in the opposite direction, you can take some time to enjoy the view and spectacular views of Mount Pilatus and iconic lake Lucerne.
Interlaken and Lake Lungen
You can stop by Interlaken to immerse yourself in adventure and check out the local tourist attractions and hearty food. You can take a boat trip to Lake Brienz or a trip to the local villages in Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.
2- Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is famous as the world’s slowest express train, and arguably, the most scenic route in Switzerland. The train connects two popular mountain destinations, Zermatt and St. Moritz. The train will take you through 3 cantons, 91 tunnels, and 291 bridges.
Distance: 292 kilometers
Duration: 8 hours 3 minutes
The train usually runs once a day during the winter period and three times a day during the summer period. However, only two of the four trains complete the whole journey between Zermatt and St. Moritz. This train trip requires a reservation, and you must do it earlier to avoid late confusion. It is possible to travel between St. Moritz and Zermatt without paying the reservation fee. However, you will be required to downgrade from the fancy glacier trains to regular trains.
Some of the interesting places along the way include:
The mountain village of St. Moritz is a popular destination for adventurers around the world. It is surrounded by huge mountains and is close to St. Moritz lake. Whether you are into hiking, swimming or biking, St. Moritz is a place to be.
Rhine Gorge was formed as a result of a landslide ten thousand years ago. The Rhine Gorge is famous for hikers and bikers.
The village of Zermatt sits in front of Matterhorn, and it is the most famous mountain in Switzerland. The area provides a perfect opportunity for taking photos, hiking, and biking. Don’t forget to check the most iconic hiking trails in Zermatt before heading to this beautiful mountainous region.
3- Bernina Express
It is the most spectacular way across the Alps. The train will take you through the medieval city of Chur across the alps to the Italian side of the Alps. Between St. Moritz and Chur, the train follows the same route as the Glacier Expresses before climbing to the glaciers and heading to the palms of the Italian world. It passes through 196 bridges and 55 tunnels along the way. The trail ends in the city of Tirano, and it takes passengers to the famous Valtellina region past Como lake and back to Switzerland.
Duration: 4 hours 13 minutes
Distance: 156 kilometers
The Bernina Express runs from May through November. However, their schedule is quite complicated, and it is better if you can check with the local timetable to avoid any confusion. Besides, even if you have a travel pass, you will have to make a reservation. The reservation will cost you something around 14 CHF. If you want to pay less or avoid the reservation fees, then you will have to use regular trains. It is recommended that you should not interrupt your travel because you can enjoy the view without any interruption.
4- Voralpen Express
The Voralpen Express is a commute between Lucerne and St. Gallen; when compared to the rest, this ride encompasses some of the most beautiful sites along the way. The panoramic views are exceptional, and you can enjoy your journey to the city of your destination.
Duration: 2 hours 16 minutes
Distance: 125 kilometers
The train leaves St. Gallen and Lucerne every hour, and it is available all year round. Train lines are open all year round, which means that you don’t have to make a particular reservation. Besides, you can get along the way and visit any area that you want to visit. The city of St. Gallen offers many places that you can visit. You can stop to check out Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich.
5- Gotthard Panorama Express
One of the most historic train journeys in Switzerland because it takes you from Lucerne to Lugano. The first leg of the trip takes you from Lucerne to Fluellen, and you can then get to the Gotthard route, which is one of the sunny areas in Switzerland. The next part of the trip will take you through the longest tunnel in the world at 57 kilometers.
Duration: 2 hours 43 minutes
Distance: 38 kilometers on a steamboat and 183 kilometers on the train
The train usually leaves Tuesday through Sunday once a day. The tourist (or high) season usually begins from April, and it ends in November because of the prevailing weather conditions. You should always check the schedule to allow you to plan effectively. You will require a reservation although you can board regular trains to avoid this. It is recommended that you should make a first-class reservation for you to enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
Have you ever taken any of these scenic train routes in Switzerland? If so, which ones were your favorites and why?
Aurimas: I am a passionate hiker residing at the moment in Switzerland. I like to explore the hidden corners of the Swiss Alps, peaks and villages.