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Is Switzerland the Ultimate Train Travel Destination? Find Out How You Can Explore Its Stunning Landscapes!
Switzerland is renowned for its punctual and polished trains that offer both convenience and breathtaking beauty. The country’s extensive rail network traverses its most remote corners, taking passengers through winding Alpine passes, along brilliantly blue lakes, and across valleys adorned with colorful wildflowers. For travelers looking to immerse themselves in these picturesque landscapes, the 800-mile Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a must-do experience. This series of train trips showcases 11 lakes, five UNESCO World Heritage sites, and four distinct cultural regions, combining city sophistication with alpine adventure in the most beautiful way.
One of the most luxurious train journeys in Switzerland is the Glacier Express. This eight-hour service runs from the charming mountain resort of Zermatt, known for its iconic Matterhorn peak, to the opulent town of St Moritz. Passing through the majestic high Alps, passengers are treated to views of dense forests, meandering rivers, colorful meadows, and towering glaciers. The train stops at various enchanting destinations along the way, including the castles of Brig and the peaks of Fiesch, where a cable car ride to the Aletsch Glacier is a must. Other notable stops include Disentis, famous for its eighth-century Benedictine monastery, Chur, Switzerland’s oldest town, and Thusis, the gateway to the dramatic Viamala Gorge. The Glacier Express crosses impressive viaducts like the six-arched Landwasser Viaduct and reaches its pinnacle at the 2,000-metre-high Oberalp Pass.
For a shorter yet equally picturesque journey, the GoldenPass Express is a great option. This three-hour train ride takes passengers from Interlaken, nestled deep in the Bernese Alps, to the captivating town of Montreux on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva. Along the way, travelers are treated to stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of Eiger, Mรถnch, and Jungfrau, picturesque valleys, and charming alpine villages like Zweisimmen and Gstaad. The journey includes passing by the blue waters of Lake Thun, vineyards, and medieval castles. A stop at Chรขteau-d’Oex allows for sightings of hot air balloons during the International Hot Air Balloon Festival. The GoldenPass Express offers an immersive experience, with the option to reserve Prestige Class for an elevated view and enhanced comfort.
Another iconic train journey in Switzerland is the Bernina Express, which links the oldest Swiss city, Chur, with Tirano in Italy. Covering a distance of 90 miles, this four-hour ride is an engineering marvel, passing through stunning alpine landscapes, crossing bridges, and navigating tunnels. The Bernina Express offers panoramic windows in every carriage, ensuring passengers don’t miss a single moment of the scenic beauty. Highlights of the journey include crossing the impressive Landwasser Viaduct, descending the 180-degree Montebello curve below the Morteratsch Glacier, and reaching the highest point of the route, the 2,300-meter-high Bernina Pass. The train then loops around the renowned Brusio Spiral Viaduct before descending into Lombardy, Italy. After reaching the final stop in Tirano, travelers can enjoy a gelato in one of the picturesque piazzas or savor traditional buckwheat pasta, pizzoccheri. Winter is an especially mesmerizing time to experience the Bernina Express, with snow-covered landscapes adding to the magical journey.
Switzerland’s well-connected rail network and the convenience of the Swiss Travel Pass make exploring the country by train a breeze. Whether you embark on the iconic Glacier Express, the picturesque GoldenPass Express, or the breathtaking Bernina Express, you’re in for an unforgettable journey through Switzerland’s stunning landscapes. So, if you’re seeking a train travel destination that combines convenience, luxury, and awe-inspiring views, Switzerland should definitely be at the top of your list.
Plan your trip to Switzerland by flying with SWISS direct to Zurich or Geneva from Heathrow, or by taking the Eurostar to Paris and connecting to a high-speed TGV train to Basel, Zurich, or Geneva. Reserving your seats for Switzerland’s panoramic rail routes is highly recommended for an optimal experience. For more information and details, visit myswitzerland.com.
Note: Subscriptions to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine are available in select countries only.

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By Maya Di Maria

Hello, I'm Maya, a 39-year-old Travel Agent. I specialize in creating unforgettable travel experiences for my clients. With my expertise and attention to detail, I ensure that every trip is tailored to meet their unique needs and preferences. Let's turn your travel dreams into reality!