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13 Magical Trains in Switzerland You Need to Ride ASAP

Last Updated: October 31, 2023

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switzerland scenic train tours

Having just returned from a whirlwind binge of Switzerland’s most scenic trains, I can say without an ounce of exaggeration that the Swiss train system is a true marvel of magic.

And beyond their surplus of scenic routes, razor-sharp punctuality and Care Bear-friendly service, the crowning jewel of the Swiss rail system is, in my opinion, its glittering roster of scenic, panoramic Swiss trains – a holy grail of sorts for those traversing Europe by rail.

As I’m sure you know, train travel in Europe is an oft glamourized mode of transport, a classy and elegant contrast to the stuffy conditions of air and bus travel.

Well, I’m happy to report that in Switzerland, all your swankiest train dreams do indeed come true.

As a Canadian who grew up far removed from train travel, I admit the concept always delighted me (thanks, Hogwarts Express!!), and now even after so many years of frequent rides, I’m still like a giddy sugar-high child on her own moving candy shop.

Take it from this fangirl then, European train travel doesn’t really get better than Switzerland.

So, are you keen to try some scenic Swiss train rides for yourself? Here are some of my top picks for train rides in Switzerland you simply cannot miss.

switzerland scenic train tours

Save this List of Amazing Swiss Train Rides for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

The Most Magical Swiss Train Rides You Need to Try

The following are all stunning Swiss train rides that I have personally done and consider extremely bucket list worthy, whether for the landscapes, the trains themselves or just the overall experience. So, without further ado, here are some trains in Switzerland that you definitely cannot miss!

Money saving tip: If you plan on doing many of these train rides in one trip, look into huge money savers like the Swiss Travel Pass , the Half Fare Travel Card or a Eurail Pass to potentially save hundreds of dollars. More on this below!

1. The Golden Pass (Classic)

This Switzerland scenic train is, without a doubt, my favourite.

While not as famous as big Swiss names like the Glacier or Bernina Express , if it’s a touch of old world glamour and Belle Époque elegance you’re looking for, then please, book yourself on the  Golden Pass Classic  as soon as humanly possible.

Golden Pass Classic Train in Switzerland

The entire GoldenPass line is a tremendously scenic line running between Lucerne and Montreux in three separate segments, offering sweeping views of snow-dusted peaks and eight glimmering lakes along the way.

While the entire route is well worth drooling over, the segment from Montreux to Zweisimmen in particular is one I’d highly recommend because a few times a day, you can do the route in the “MOB Belle Époque” which is modelled after a 1930s Orient Express style luxury train.

The most beautiful and scenic train rides in Europe! Don't miss this seriously epic rail travel bucket list on your next trip to Europe. #Europe #Trains #TrainTravel #BucketList

If you’re feeling especially swanky, splurge for 1st class, where you get to sit in plush green armchairs while taking in all the stunning scenery. I have to admit, this felt even swankier than that $7000 train ride I did in India!

Train views along the Golden Pass train in Switzerland

NOTE: The Golden Pass from Montreux to Zweisimmen ALSO has trains called the “MOB Panoramique” that do the same route, but with modern cars and not the classic ones. If you really want the experience I described above, make sure you are booking on the “MOB Belle Époque”.

Beautiful train view along the Golden Pass line in Switzerland

BONUS TIP: I did this scenic ride in November, and I got to witness golden autumn colours mixed in with all the snowy mountains, while enjoying the benefit of fewer crowds. I’d highly recommend this time of year for it! You can also stop off at some of the most magical Christmas markets in Switzerland along the way, including the beautiful lakeside Christmas Market in Montreux.

2. The Glacier Express

This famous Swiss Alps train ride is known as one of the most luxurious and best train rides in Europe, so it’s no wonder it’s made my list (read my honest review of the Glacier Express in 1st class! ).

End to end, it brings you between the swishy ski resorts of Zermatt and Saint Moritz, stopping in a variety of stops like Andermatt and Chur along the way.

From start to finish, you’re looking at a tortoise-like slow ride of about 8 hours, ensuring that it does indeed earn its title of “the slowest express train in the world”.

Glacier Express train in Switzerland

And while the Glacier Express is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea (again, it’s very very slow and takes up an entire day), I loved it for the experience.  

There’s nothing quite like a long scenic train ride to give you an ample dose of dreamy “I love the world” moments.

Imagine giant panoramic glass windows, plush, comfy chairs, and my personal favourite: table service with hot three course meals served straight to your seat.

After all, if you’re taking a train through Switzerland, why shouldn’t you be inhaling a giant chocolate pudding at the same time?

Lunch on board the Glacier Express - roast pork with cauliflower and spaetzle in a mushroom sauce!

It’s not just about the food of course. This wonderful train ride through the Swiss Alps will take you from snow-dusted mountains and terraced vineyards to rocky gorges and turquoise rivers.

This is definitely a bucket list trip that comes with a hefty price tag, but if you want to treat yourself to one of the best train trips in Switzerland, this is it. Just don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry 😉

Read my full guide to the Glacier Express for more info.

Glacier Express train views in Switzerland

3. The Bernina Express

Bar none, the Bernina Express is one of the most famous train trips in Switzerland, and I’m happy to report that it does indeed live up to all the hype and buzz!

This four hour ride between Chur and Tirano is one that brings you from the snowy mountaintops of Switzerland down to the warm, balmy Mediterranean views of Italy , passing by a constant barrage of unique landscapes along the way.

No doubt, if it’s excellent value you’re looking for, this is the train I’d recommend. read my full guide to the Bernina Express for more info.

Bernina Express Swizerland train views

Compared to other journeys (side-eying you, Glacier Express ), the Bernina Express is quite a short ride, but the diversity of landscapes you get to take in is breathtaking.

From ruined castles and fortresses to quaint alpine villages and famous viaducts, the Bernina Express is like a “best of” tour of Switzerland, all in a compact, time-friendly package.

Just to warn you though, your memory cards will all run out of space, and your phone will 1000% die from the sheer beauty of it all.

Going over the Landwasser Viaduct

NOTE: If you are a keen photographer, or prefer to avoid touristy crowds, I would actually recommend doing this ride using regional trains instead. More on this below!

Inside of the Bernina Express first class train

This Switzerland train ride has amazing views in winter too:

Snowy view over the Landwasser Viaduct

4. The Transalpin (from Austria to Switzerland)

It’s definitely not the most well known of all Swiss train rides, but I recently rode the Transalpin from Innsbruck to Zurich, and was blown away.

This EuroCity Express ride is one that isn’t marketed as being a scenic sightseeing experience, but is nonetheless one that brings you across some awe-inspiring landscapes in Austria, Switzerland and even the wonderful micro-nation of Liechtenstein .

The scenery you pass is gorgeous, but the starring feature for me is the panoramic 1st class car that they add to one journey a day, which allows you to soak in the views with giant windows  just like on the sightseeing trains mentioned above.

Transalpin scenic train ride in Austria and Switzerland

Seriously: it’s the glamour of the aforementioned express trains, but without the crowds!

Sunset over Walensee from the Transalpin scenic train

The best part is, taking this panoramic train at 3:48pm from Innsbruck in March meant I was able to watch sunset from the train, and let me tell you: watching the sky turn fiery pink over Walensee as we weaved through the impossibly green rolling hills of Austria, then Liechtenstein, then Switzerland was pure magic.

This is a lesser known Swiss panoramic train, and definitely a hidden gem that you should consider adding to your Switzerland train tour.

Transalpin train ride views in Switzerland

5. The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn

Alright, listing the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn is kinda cheating because the following route is technically a segment of the Glacier Express.

But since the Glacier Express is a million years long and not everyone has the luxury of spending a full 8 hours on a scenic train, I would recommend the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn from Visp to Zermatt as an excellent taste of the Glacier Express experience.

Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn 1st class train car

Not only do they have panorama cars just like on the Glacier Express, the rugged scenery here (I would argue) is one of the best parts of the entire GE journey.

Leaving from Visp, you pass by rocky mountains, terraced vineyards, turquoise rivers, and of course, as you approach Zermatt, snowy Alpine towns and even the famous Matterhorn if you pay attention! I didn’t, and managed to miss it, although thankfully I got some great views of it in town!

If you want to experience a panoramic train in Switzerland without paying a reservation fee (and without the accompanying crowds of the more popular scenic trains), then this is a great option.

Mattherhorn Gotthard Bahn scenic Swiss train

Other (Non-Tourist) Swiss Train Rides and Routes I Recommend

Train travel in Switzerland is next level, so naturally, the country has far more to offer than just the panoramic tourist trains mentioned above.

In fact, pick any random route in Switzerland and it’s bound to bring you somewhere pretty scenic.

That said, here are some of my top picks for train rides I’ve done that weren’t part of the panoramic express rides mentioned above, but are still pretty incredible (with the added bonus that they don’t feel at all touristy).

Passenger looking out window on a Swiss train

6. The Express routes above but on regional trains

So here’s a secret I’ll let you in on: all the “Express” trains mentioned above are so-named because they are built for sightseeing, and take you end to end with no stops… BUT regional trains travelling between those areas go past the exact same landscapes, often with fewer crowds, and the ability to open windows on certain trains.

So, while most Swiss train tours will bring you along one of the ‘Express’ trains, if you are an avid photographer, want to save money on the reservation fee, or would like to stop at different towns along the way, then I would recommend doing the Bernina Express and Glacier Express on regional trains instead.

I did this on my return leg from Tirano to Chur (AKA the Bernina Express route) and I loved the experience. I had a carriage all to myself, I could open the windows and overall, I was like a happy puppy sticking her head out a car window the entire time ! 10/10 would recommend.

NOTE: Download the SBB app to look up regional routes with ease. It’s one of the handiest Europe travel apps out there if you’re headed to Switzerland!

Bernina Express on regional trains view

7. From Interlaken to Thun

The clarity and colours of Lake Thun are seriously next-level, so if you can, enjoy the views from a train going from Interlaken to Thun.

I recently got to enjoy the view below while going from Interlaken to Spiez, and I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

Is water even legally allowed to be that blue? Was I trapped in an over-saturated anime?

These are the kinds of existential questions that you’ll find yourself asking on board this ride 😉

Amazing train views over Lake Thun in Switzerland

8. From Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen

One of the biggest treats of doing Switzerland by train is being able to slowly enjoy the fairytale-esque landscapes, and as far as colourful postcards go, it’s tough to beat the short ride from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen .

Rolling green hills, towering mountains and an endless parade of lush green trees await. The best part? The view riding into Lauterbrunnen, as the iconic Staubbach waterfall comes into view.

Fairytale Lauterbrunnen, just a short train away from Interlaken!

9. From Buchs to Zurich

I love that this Switzerland train ride takes you past two stunning Swiss lakes: my personal favourite, the impossibly turquoise Walensee, and of course the beautiful Lake Zurich.

This is a ride I’ve gotten to enjoy a few times, and it’s certainly one of my favourites.

Walensee in Switzerland

10. From Lausanne to Montreux

Alright, so this is another short ride, but it’s an unbelievably beautiful one that glides along the clear blue waters of Lake Geneva the entire time, with a foreground of lush green vineyards to boot.

If your goal is to experience one of the nicest and shortest train routes in Switzerland, I’d highly recommend this ride, especially when it starts to tilt and swerve into Lausanne (a city with an awesome Christmas marke t). Total bliss!

Swiss train ride from Montreux to Lausanne

Amazing Swiss Train Rides Still on My Bucket List

Last but not least, there are a handful of Switzerland scenic train rides that I still haven’t had a chance to do, but it feels weird to exclude them in a roundup of Switzerland’s best train rides, so here they are below:

11. Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht

Imagine riding along the Rhine Gorge in an OPEN TRAIN, with all the fresh smells and sounds of nature hitting your senses directly.

I caught a glimpse of this yellow beauty while on the Glacier Express and I just about lost my mind and demanded that they stop the train immediately so I could transfer.

Unfortunately, the Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht is only available in the summer (which I guess makes sense) but it’s nonetheless something I would love to try someday. Click here for more details (and photos!)

Of all the scenic train rides in Switzerland, there are very few that allow you to experience it all completely open-air, so definitely put this one on your list!

Rhine Gorge in Switzerland

12. The Cogwheel Train up Mount Pilatus

With a title like “the steepest cogwheel train in the world” you can expect the ride up to Mount Pilatus to be pretty special.

The steepest cogwheel train in the world, going up Mt Pilatus in Switzerland

Mount Pilatus is one of my favourite mountains in Europe, and because my visit a few years back was veeery poorly timed (snow delayed the opening of the cogwheel train by a week!), I missed the opportunity to ride this steep monster up to the top.

Nonetheless, my consolation prize was sweet enough: a scenic ride up by cable car, with access to incredible views the entire way up.

The next time I’m in the area, I’ll be sure to catch the Cogwheel train to the top instead, experiencing a nerve-rackingly steep ascent that I’m sure will make me cry a little….. but in a good way!

The stunning views from on top Mount Pilatus

13. Jungfraujoch

Last but not least, we have the legendary Jungfraujoch.

The train ride up to Jungfraujoch brings you to the highest train station in Europe, passing by endless snowy peaks along the way (if your views aren’t obscured by poor weather that is!).

Truthfully, I’ve resisted doing the Jungfraujoch thus far for two simple reasons: cost and uncertainty!

Train going up to the Jungfraujoch

At an eyewatering 200CHF for a regular roundtrip ticket, this is one trip that does NOT come cheap, certainly when bad weather might mean you don’t see anything at all once you reach the top.

Nonetheless, it’s a bucket list item for sure, and one that I’d be keen to test out sometime in the future, as I have heard great things about it. I did part of this journey (which for most, starts in Interlaken) from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen which was short and slow, but very nice.

Jungfraujoch in Switzerland

BONUS: The Gelmerbahn

No roundup of amazing Switzerland train journeys would be complete without this one, even though it’s brief and not quite a conventional train ride.

Nonetheless, the Gelmerbahn (AKA the Gelmer Funicular) is a truly epic ride that deserves a mention on this list.

This surprisingly thrilling ride is an open air funicular that whisks you up a steep mountain to a crystal clear turquoise lake.

Turquoise Gelmersee Lake in Switzerland

The incline is so steep, it was once the steepest of its kind in Europe, and moves 2m per second, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but definitely feels like it when you’re racing up a mountain.

You can take the Gelmerbahn up (which is what we did), down (which I hear is much scarier) or roundtrip. Either way, the unique experience, views, and lake up top all combine to make this one of the coolest Swiss “train” rides you can do!

Read my full Gelmerbahn guide for more tips.

Gelmerbahn Funicular in Switzerland

How to Buy Cheap Train Tickets in Switzerland?

Last but not least, I know what you’re all thinking after reading this post… how can you possibly afford all these Swiss scenic trains?

The tough truth is: enjoying Switzerland train travel is an expensive endeavour indeed, but I’ve been able to discover a variety of cost-saving hacks over the years that might be able to help you out!

TIP #1: Use a rail pass

One of the ways I’ve been able to explore Switzerland by rail SO cheaply is thanks to rail passes!

This is how I managed to scheme my way into only paying 30 euros for my 1st class tickets on the Glacier Express and Bernina Express!

Long story short, Eurail/Interrail passes allow you to waive the base ticket fee which means you only need to pay for a reservation. As such, I paid 306 euros for a Eurail global 10 day pass, (I got a free 1st class upgrade thanks to a sale they were running).

I then used 1 travel day on the Glacier Express, which evens out to only about 30 euros spent for this gorgeous ride (plus the 23 CHF reservation fee).

Still an incredible deal, and by far the cheapest way to do it. This is actually how I did all my recent train rides for a rock bottom price.

So, if you are travelling around Europe, getting a Eurail pass might be a good idea, because Switzerland is certainly where you get the best bang for your buck!

Need more info? Read my detailed Eurail pass review to see if it’s a good fit!

Eurail pass and cappuccino on board a Swiss train

TIP #2: Consider a Swiss Travel Pass

A Swiss Travel Pass is similar to the Eurail / Interrail passes except it gives you unlimited transportation on trains, buses, boats and free public transport + museums).

If you are travelling only around Switzerland, this might be a good option.

It is expensive though, so make sure to do the math and see if getting one would really be worth it.

If you only plan to do one Switzerland train journey, buying a point to point ticket will most likely be cheaper.  Click here for more info on the Swiss Travel Pass.

Comfy 1st class Swiss train carriage

TIP #3: Consider getting a discount card

The Half Fare Travelcard is a very popular card that you can buy which (true to its name) gets you half price tickets across Switzerland.

In 2020, this card is 120 CHF for one month.

This sounds like a lot, but it could be worth it if you are spending an extended amount of time in the country and plan to take multiple Switzerland train trips throughout your stay.

For what it’s worth, if you were to use this card for the Glacier Express alone, you’d already be breaking even so if you take more trains on top of that, then you’d definitely save a good amount of money.

I still think buying a rail pass would work out to be cheaper though in most cases. Click here to browse prices/options for the Half Fare Travelcard.

1st class Swiss train carriage on board the Glacier Express

TIP #4: Travel in the off-season

This tip is mostly just for the Glacier Express , but I’ll include it anyway.

While base ticket prices do not change, reservation fees for panoramic trains can change depending on whether you travel in the off, mid or peak season.

If you want to get the cheapest ride, go in the off-season which A) means guaranteed snow!! and B) half the price on a reservation.

Swiss train at sunset

Any more recommendations for scenic train rides in Switzerland?

I hope you enjoyed this post all about Switzerland train travel and the best Swiss railway journeys the country has to offer, assembled meticulously after many Swiss train trips of my own!

All that said, I’m always looking to add more Swiss trains to my list – especially hidden gems 😉

Let me know in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “13 Magical Trains in Switzerland You Need to Ride ASAP”

Wowww the Golden Pass train is SO BEAUTIFUL

Oh my goodness! I am dying to go to Switzerland and your post confirms why. How stunning!

I’ve always dreamed of riding an old-fashioned train through Switzerland, so I think the Glacier Express is for me! The photos you captured through the train windows were breathtaking.

Wow, these look amazing. Would love to do one of those one day. Nothing quite beats the snowy Swiss scenery.

First of all, I didn’t realize that Switzerland had so many trains, but this proves me wrong! Now I need to go try them all!!!

Other scenic lines: Brig – Kandersteg – Spiez (this line climbs high from Brig along a track right next to the side of the mountains before going through and around the mountains. Beautiful views. A second great ride is (Luzern)- Arth/Goldau – Erstfeld – Göschenen – Bellinzona on the old line via the spiral tunnels. At the town of Wassen, the line circles around the little village and you get to see the quaint church three times from different heights and angles. On the other side of the Gotthard tunnel, in the Italian speaking Swiss canton of Ticino, there are more of these spiral tunnels and great views as the train circles slowly down to the valley floor.

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/voralpen-express.html This is a stunning train ride on a sunny day, definitely one for the list.

What a great article really well researched. I particularly agree with your tip about travelling on the local trains over the titled ones. I would add three trips to do should you return. The Brunig railway, Interlaken to Luzern, Martigny to Chamonix, the Mnt Blanc Express. The three mountain railway lines out of Aigle, I guess that makes it five then!

Great write up! This should help a ton in the coming weeks when we visit Switzerland. Thanks for putting this together!

You’re very welcome. Enjoy Switzerland! 🙂

Thank you for the great write up! Makes it easier for me to decide which rail ride to take. My trip is a year away and I am looking forward to it

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switzerland scenic train tours

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The Gornergratbahn cog-wheel railway ascends from Zermatt to the Gornergrat with panoramic views of the Matterhorn and other 400-meter peaks.

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switzerland scenic train tours


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The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Imagine the spectacular alpine scenery through the panoramic "vista" windows that run from your elbow to the ceiling while you sit comfortably in your first-class Swiss rail seat. Your eyes gazing effortlessly on the beautiful Swiss Alp peaks, the sparkling lakes, lush flowered meadows, historic castles, the iconic profile of the Matterhorn, deep-cut glacial valleys, vineyards, gushing white water streams, magic mountains flanked by enormous glaciers. You'll enjoy this all in first class comfort. We will cap out with 14-15 guests on each tour. Be sure to check out our Scenic Alps by Rail FAQ  which also includes the activity level expected for this tour.   

Europe's Finest Rail System

The legendary trains of Switzerland are among the finest in the world and the Swiss have perfected making mountains accessible. Their ingenious network of trains, rack railways, trams, and funiculars easily puts you in the midst of the most spectacular glaciers in the Alps and the highest peaks in Europe.

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You will also get to ascend the Gornergrat above Zermatt to arrive at an alpine panorama, where you are surrounded by more 4,000-meter peaks than anywhere else in the Alps. Then you will get to ride through a tunnel in the Eiger to arrive at the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe.

All in First-Class Comfort

Enjoy the Swiss Alps in the comfort of your first-class rail car, and in the company of Swiss rail experts. You'll discover the scenery, history, and engineering that have made Switzerland's rail system the finest and most popular in the world. We do our best to book 1st class seat reservations but please note that at times due to availabilty it is possible to ride in 2nd class.

Glacier Express and Other Scenic Journeys

You'll ride on the most legendary of alpine railway journeys— The Glacier Express —and discover the charms of other scenic routes such as the Bernina Express and the GoldenPass Line.

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Overview Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Lucerne -- Mt. Pilatus

Day 2 – Through the Historic Heart of Switzerland on the Gotthard Route

Day 3 – Bernina Route - Lugano past northern Lake Como to St Moritz

Day 4 – Beautiful Swiss Alps, Lakes and Vistas

Day 5 – Mountains, Meadows, and Breathtaking Scenery on the Glacier Express

Day 6 – The Matterhorn and The Surrounding Majestic Highest Peaks in Europe -- Gornergrat Cogwheel train

Day 7 – Lake Geneva and the manicured Préalps - GoldenPass Rail

Day 8 – Picture-postcard Swiss Alps scenery on the GoldenPass Rail

Day 9 – Magnificent Mountains with Aletsch Glacier Experience -- Jungfraujoch

Day 10 – Depart Zurich for onward travel

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Trip Highlights

  • Ride the most legendary alpine railway journeys such as the Glacier Express, Bernina Express, the GoldenPass Line, and along the Gotthard route
  • Travel in first-class comfort in panoramic cars that are air-cushioned and air-conditioned, and on all of Switzerland top scenic rail journeys
  • Experience the legendary Glacier Express as it crosses 291 bridges and passes through 91 tunnels on an unforgettable journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt
  • Ascend snowy Jungfrau by cog railway to Europe’s highest railway station and overlooking the Alps’ longest glacier

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Alpine Lakes & Scenic Trains

About this tour.

Climb aboard legendary Alpine railways and set out on a journey across the captivating Alpine landscapes of Switzerland and Italy. Ride 2 legendary train routes – the Glacier Express and the Bernina Pass Train. Relax in some of Europe’s most stunning and exclusive resort villages, including Zermatt, St. Moritz and Lake Maggiore, Italy. Explore Lucerne, the "Swiss Paradise on the Lake.” Ascend Pilatus on a unique excursion along the steepest railway in the world, soaking in the scenery from 7,000 feet above sea level. These are the Alpine views you’ve been dreaming of.

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  • 5 Handpicked Accommodations

Included Highlights

  • Glacier Express Train
  • Lake Maggiore

Your Tour at a Glance

9 Breakfasts

2 - Moderate

Travel Style

Best time for travel, customize your tour.

Optional Excursions

Starting at $85.00

Activity Level

  • Level This Tour

For specific details about this tour's activity level and other info to know before you book your trip, click here.

Extension Style

Best time for travel alpine lakes & scenic trains featuring a cruise on lake maggiore and scenic trains in switzerland & italy.

While just about any month is great to visit Switzerland and Italy, there are a few prime times of the year for the Alpine Lakes & Scenic Trains tour. Here are some recommendations from our destination experts.

Spring: Fairly mild weather and fewer crowds make spring a great time to visit. Noting that very few hotels have air conditioning, the naturally cooler temperatures of spring can be the most comfortable.

Summer: Summer is a beautiful time of year to experience the region’s natural beauty and outdoor activities, even as popular sites and attractions draw crowds. It can get quite hot in the summer, so keep in mind there are very few hotels with air conditioning in the region. If the heat bothers you, you may prefer visiting in the spring or fall.

Fall: Fall is yet another great time to go on this tour. Although there are still crowds into mid-October, you’ll find the weather is wonderful.

Travel Styles

Highlights and inclusions.

Must-See Inclusions:

Enjoy stunning Alpine views on the Glacier Express train.

Soak up the mountain air with 2 nights in the Alpine village of Zermatt.

  • Explore the "Swiss Paradise on the Lake," Lucerne.

Cultural Experiences:

Cruise through Lago Maggiore and visit one of the beautiful Borromean Islands.

Stroll the lakeside boulevards of St. Moritz.

Journey through the Bernina Pass on one of the world’s most scenic railways.

Culinary Inclusions:

Sit down for dinner on the Isola dei Pescatori in Lago Maggiore.

Discover a sweeter side of Zurich on a locally guided history and chocolate tour.

Sample Italian specialties at a family owned shop.

  • Borromeo Palace
  • Choice on Tour: Villa Taranto or Pallanza Art Museum
  • Island Dinner
  • Bernina Express Train
  • Mount Pilatus

Book with Confidence

* With Insurance Purchased

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  • Traveling Well Safety
  • No booking fee, *no change fees
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Getting Prepared

Know before you go, travel tips, enhance your tour, upgrade your room.

Hotel Upgrade

Pre and Post Night Stay

Unique Experience

Cultural Experiences

Room Upgrade

Hotel-zacchera hotels.

During your stay at the Zacchera Hotels, you may choose to enjoy views of Lago Maggiore by upgrading your accommodations to a lake view room. Please inquire about this upgrade at time of booking.

*Total for all passengers

Enhance Your Trip

  • Tour Extensions

Hotel-Hotel Krone Unterstrass

Hotel-Hotel Astoria Lucerne

Journey to picture-perfect Orta, a scenic subalpine lake surrounded by ancient villages. During a guided tour, visit one of Italy’s Sacri Monti (UNESCO)—chapels built in a scenic location above the lake as pilgrimage sites for those who could not afford the journey to Jerusalem. Then enjoy a boat ride to San Giulio Island, a rocky island in the middle of the lake that provides impressive views of the surrounding shore. Take a walk around the island before returning to the mainland for time at leisure in the old town of Orta, replete of quaint cobblestoned lanes and local cafes.

Explore the "Swiss Paradise on the Lake," Lucerne.


Arrive earlier.

Pre Night: Hotel Krone Unterstrass From $210 per night


Hotel Krone Unterstrass

Zacchera hotels, hotel steffani, hotel astoria lucerne, stay longer.

Post Night: Hotel Astoria Lucerne From $260 per night

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The Glacier Express, one of Switzerland's premium panoramic trains

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland (Itinerary, Info and Map)

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland offers visitors to this incredibly beautiful country a unique way to see all the highlights. 

Although it’s called a Switzerland train tour, the Grand Tour is actually a self-guided trip that combines Switzerland’s most scenic train rides with all the key sights. 

The Swiss Grand Train Tour comprises eight different legs, covering 1,280 kilometres, and visitors can choose to take as few or many of these trips as they like to create a bespoke itinerary reflecting their interests.

In this way, individual train tours in Switzerland can be designed just as the visitor pleases.

Whilst all eight sections can be completed in eight days, if time permits, we recommend you take a little longer to complete the route.

This is because taking the tour in eight days means travelling every day, leaving you short of time for seeing the sights and enjoying some time in each destination. 

Ideally, a 14 day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is recommended for those who want to get the very best out of their trip through Switzerland. 

[ This post may contain compensated links. Please see my  disclosure policy  for more information. ]

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland map

The entire Grand Train Tour of Switzerland visits ten destinations, passes by eleven lakes, and incorporates journeys on all five premium panoramic trains.

Travellers wishing to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland can either make all their own rail and hotel arrangements, or they can book one of the Switzerland train tour packages that are based on the Grand Tour route.

We’ll cover both options in more detail below.

What's in this Article

Booking a Switzerland train tour package

The easiest way to plan your Grand Tour of Switzerland by train is to book a pre-designed Grand Train Tour package . There are a number of different packages available, ranging from 3 days / 2 nights up to 9 days / 8 nights.

These self-guided tours of Switzerland include all rail travel on your chosen route as well as accommodation. 

Travellers have the flexibility to amend the pre-designed itineraries to suit their own requirements.  Additional days can be added and excursions can be included at each destination.

Travellers can also choose the standard of accommodation and room type they prefer and choose between first class and second class train travel.

One of the most popular Switzerland train tours is the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – the Original.  This 8 day / 7 night itinerary includes rides on five of the most scenic trains Switzerland has to offer, making it the ideal way to tour Switzerland by train.

Seat reservations on the premium panoramic train rides in Switzerland are also included.

The ‘Original’ Grand Train Tour of Switzerland package can be easily extended if you have additional time and would like to spend more time in each destination. 

To make your Switzerland trip even easier, the tour can also be booked with luggage transport.

Simply leave your luggage in the hotel reception at the designated time each morning and it will be waiting for you at your destination hotel later the same day.

🇨🇭 Listen to our podcast episode about Swiss rail packages here .

GoldenPass Express train passing by a rural village in Switzerland

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland price

Having the option to customise the itinerary to your own requirements makes a Grand train tour of Switzerland hotel package very affordable.

Prices for a 3 day / 2 night ‘Stunning Waters’ Grand Tour start from just CHF 300 per adult, whilst the 8 day / 7 night Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – the Original package starts from CHF 1280 per adult.

> Click here to browse all 10 Grand Train Tour of Switzerland packages  

EXCLUSIVE BONUS OFFER Holidays to Switzerland readers can benefit from a 5% discount when they book one of Switzerland Travel Centre’s Grand Train Tour of Switzerland journeys . Simply quote the code HTSWISS in the Promo Code box when making your booking to qualify for the discount.  > Click here to browse the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland itineraries .

Planning a DIY Switzerland Grand Train Tour 

If you love the research side of planning your trips, and have the time to book each of the components of your Switzerland train itinerary separately, we recommend you consider buying a Swiss Travel Pass .

This all-in-one public transport ticket covers all of Switzerland by train, bus, boat and tram. With the Swiss Travel Pass there’s no need to purchase individual train tickets in Switzerland for each leg of the journey, as the pass allows you to hop on and off each train in Switzerland as you wish.

The Swiss Travel Pass incorporates all of the premium panoramic trains that run throughout the country, including the Luzern-Interlaken Express, Glacier Express, GoldenPass Line, Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express.  > Click here to buy your Swiss Travel Pass

(*Note: seat reservations – which are an additional cost – are compulsory for the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and GoldenPass Express Prestige Class, and are recommended for all premium panoramic trains.) 

Prefer to drive around Switzerland? Click here to see our 14-day itinerary of Switzerland by car.

Glacier Express crossing a bridge in winter

The Original Grand Tour of Switzerland by Train Itinerary

The original 8-day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland itinerary visits the most popular tourist destinations in the country and includes rides on the famous Glacier Express, Bernina Express, GoldenPass Line and Gotthard Panorama Express. (See our Transport section for detailed guides on each of the premium panoramic trains.)

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland 8-day itinerary

  • Day 1: start anywhere in Switzerland > Interlaken
  • Day 2: Interlaken > Montreux
  • Day 3: Montreux > Zermatt
  • Day 4: Zermatt > St. Moritz
  • Day 5: St. Moritz > Lugano
  • Day 6: Lugano > Lucerne
  • Day 7: Lucerne > St. Gallen
  • Day 8: St. Gallen > finish anywhere in Switzerland

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland Sectors

There is no official start and finish point as visitors can choose to commence their journey wherever is most convenient.  You can, of course, add additional overnight stays in your chosen locations to extend the duration of your Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.

As Zurich is the gateway to Switzerland for most visitors, we have used it as the start and end point for this itinerary and have provided a day-by-day itinerary so you can see just how much of the country you can cover.

Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken

Luzern Interlaken Express beside Lake Lungern

Premium Panoramic Trains used: Luzern-Interlaken Express

Distance/Journey time: 131km / 2h:45

Highlights of the journey:

After travelling from Zurich to Lucerne by a regular intercity train, passengers join the Luzern to Interlaken Express which connects two of Switzerland’s most desirable destinations.

En route, visitors pass glistening lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enjoy alpine vistas, as well as travelling over the Brunig Pass. 

This scenic train in Switzerland journeys into the breathtaking Jungfrau region, and forms the first part of the GoldenPass Line that travels on to Montreux.

What to do in Interlaken

There are plenty of activities to enjoy in and around Interlaken , such as rafting, paragliding and canyoning. For the best views over the city and lakes Brienz and Thun, a funicular ride to Harder Kulm is highly recommended. 

Visitors can also take trips to Schnyige Platte, the Jungfraujoch or Brienz Rothorn, or take a train ride to gorgeous Lauterbrunnen.

Where to stay in Interlaken

  • 3* Hotel Beausite > click here to check prices
  • 4* Carlton Vintage Adults Hotel > click here to check prices

There are more hotels in Interlaken to suit all budgets in this article.

Interlaken – Montreux

GoldenPass Line train near Schonried

Premium Panoramic Trains used: GoldenPass Express

Distance/Journey time: 120km / 3h:15

Highlights of the journey

As it departs Interlaken, the GoldenPass Express glides past Lake Thun before continuing to Zweisimmen in the Bernese Oberland, via the Simmen Valley. 

Along the way, this panoramic train in Switzerland passes a range of rivers, clear mountain lakes and waterfalls. Travellers can also see pastures where cattle graze and majestic castles. 

The glitzy resort village of Gstaad is an ideal place to stop off for a stroll and a meal, before reboarding for the final part of the journey.

The trip comes to an end when the train arrives in Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

What to do in Montreux

Popular activities in Montreux include lake cruises and visiting Chillon Castle, while some like to explore the nearby Lavaux vineyards. 

Other day trips from the city include the Alimentarium in Vevey, the world’s first museum dedicated solely to food, as well as excursions to Rochers de Naye, Geneva and Gruyeres. The latter is where the famous Swiss cheese originated. 

Where to stay in Montreux

  • 3* Hotel Splendid > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel Eden Palace Montreux > click here to check prices

Browse more of the best hotels in Montreux in this guide .

Montreux – Visp – Zermatt

A Swiss train travelling alongside a river

Distance/Journey time: 148km / 2h:30

This leg of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland takes visitors through the magnificent Rhone Valley. The destination is Zermatt , but before arriving in the home of the mighty Matterhorn visitors will pass through Visp. 

The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway then travels through the Nikolai Valley, climbing over 900 metres in altitude with the assistance of cogwheel technology.

What to do in Zermatt

Zermatt is famous for its car-free centre – as well as the majesty of the Matterhorn. There are spa springs and plenty of shopping to enjoy in the pretty resort of Zermatt. 

To see the Matterhorn more closely, visitors can take a cable car ride to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Alternatively, spending time on the Gornergratbahn is also popular. 

Hiking and skiing – which is available all year round – are also popular activities in Zermatt.

Where to stay in Zermatt

  • 3* Hotel Bristol Zermatt > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel Mirabeau & Spa > click here to check prices

Read more: Best hotels in Zermatt.

Zermatt – Chur – St. Moritz

Glacier Express premium panoramic train passing by an Alpine lake

Premium Panoramic Trains used: Glacier Express

Distance/Journey time: 291km / 7h:45

Train rides in Switzerland don’t come much more iconic – or scenic – than the Glacier Express . This is surely the most dramatic of all train journeys in Switzerland, not least because it’s the longest sector. 

En route, travellers can marvel at typically Swiss panoramas including deep ravines, pretty villages, vast forests, 91 tunnels, 291 bridges, and the breathtaking Landwasser Viaduct. 

The slowest express train in the world – as it is often known – also crosses the Oberalp Pass.

What to do in St. Moritz

St. Moritz is an elegant ski resort where visitors can take to the slopes in winter or hike in summer.  Trips and activities on the lake are also popular.

It’s also a great place to take in the fresh mountain air while admiring sweeping views over the Swiss landscape. St Moritz also has a leaning tower that’s well worth a visit. 

Where to stay in St. Moritz

  • 3* Hotel Waldhaus am See > click here to check prices
  • 4* Crystal Hotel St. Moritz > click here to check prices

St. Moritz – Tirano – Lugano

Bernina Express train in front of the Morteratsch Glacier

 Premium Panoramic Trains used: Bernina Express

Distance/Journey time: 183km / 6h:30

Travel by train in Switzerland between St. Moritz and Lugano, and the journey will take you from the ski slopes of St. Moritz to the palm trees of Lugano, via Tirano in Italy and the 2253 metre high Bernina Pass. 

The Rhaetian railway line, on which the Bernina Express runs, is one of only three in the world that have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Lakes, switchback tunnels, and even an alpine garden can also be glimpsed along the way. 

The Morteratsch Glacier is also a highlight. 

What to do in Lugano

Lugano is a pretty Italian-influenced resort with an interesting Old Town and an enviable lakeside position. With something of a Mediterranean air, Lugano has a lovely palm-lined promenade. 

Visitors can take a lake cruise, or sample some Italian-style Swiss dishes at the town’s fine selection of cafes and restaurants. Mountain excursions to Monte Brè or Monte San Salvatore are also popular. 

Where to stay in Lugano

  • 3* Continental Parkhotel > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel de la Paix > click here to check prices

Lugano – Flüelen – Lucerne

A train and paddle steamer at Fluelen on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Premium Panoramic Trains used:   Gotthard Panorama Express

Distance/Journey time: 182km / 5h:30

Train tours in Switzerland don’t come much more diverse than the sector between Lugano and Lucerne. As the train rolls through the scenic landscape, visitors pass through the famed Gotthard panoramic route, then the impressive Reuss Valley. 

At  Flüelen, travellers board a modern motor boat or historic paddle steamer to glide across the waters of Lake Lucerne before reaching the city of Lucerne.

What to do in Lucerne

Lucerne is a city very much at the heart of Swiss history, so there’s lots to see and do in Lucerne . Many visitors like to take a boat cruise across Lake Lucerne. 

As well as exploring the town on the shores of the lake, travellers can see Chapel Bridge or take a mountain excursion to Rigi, Titlis, Pilatus or Stanserhorn.

Where to stay in Lucerne

  • 3* Hotel des Alpes > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel Astoria > click here to check prices

Browse more accommodation options in our Lucerne Hotels Guide .

Lucerne – St. Gallen

Voralpen Express train in Switzerland

Distance/Journey time: 125km / 2h:15

The Voralpen Express (Pre-Alps Express) takes travellers past some of the mightiest mountains of the Swiss Alps – including the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. 

This panorama train in Switzerland begins at Lake Lucerne, passing gentle rolling green hills as well as majestic peaks en route. 

It also passes Rapperswil and the Rothenthurmer upland moors, before crossing Lake Zurich and the 99-metre high Sitter Viaduct before arriving in St. Gallen.

What to do in St. Gallen

The UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Abbey Library and District are a particular highlight of St. Gallen. Situated between Lake Constance and the Appenzeller region , St Gallen is a compact town that’s easy to explore on foot. 

The biggest draws include the open-air, art nouveau pool, the baroque cathedral and the library’s Rococo Hall.

Read our guide to things to do in St. Gallen here .

Where to stay in St. Gallen

  • 3* Sorell Hotel City Weissenstein > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel Walhalla > click here to check prices

St. Gallen – Schaffhausen – Zurich

A red Swiss train crossing a bridge

Distance/Journey time: 133km / 2h:30

Your train journey through Switzerland will reveal an interesting truth – the fact that this landlocked European nation has a real maritime heritage. Lake Constance in particular has played a leading role. 

The journey between St. Gallen and Zurich travels along the lake’s shore for 40 kilometres. After that, it traces the route of the Rhine past Schaffhausen, home of the Rhine Falls and Munot Fortress. The falls are the largest in Europe.

Should time allow, a side trip to the pretty medieval town of Stein am Rhein is highly recommended.

What to do in Zurich

Zurich is the financial and industrial hub of Switzerland, and as such is sometimes overlooked by visitors. However, it also boasts a fascinating Old Town – the Altstadt – that dates back to pre-medieval times. 

The Old Town is bisected by the Limmat River, and this has waterside promenades. The Rathaus dates back to the 1600s, and a stroll along Bahnhofstrasse – one of Europe’s most expensive shopping strips – is a must.

The city is built beside Lake Zurich which is popular for boat cruises and water sports. 

Where to stay in Zurich

  • 3* Hotel Adler > click here to check prices
  • 4* Hotel Schweizerhof Zurich > click here to check prices

Browse more of the best hotels in Zurich in this article .

Adding more days to your Grand Train Tour of Switzerland Itinerary

As mentioned above, the original Grand Train Tour of Switzerland route can be completed in eight days, however we suggest allowing more time in some destinations.

For a 12-day Switzerland by train itinerary, add additional nights in Interlaken, Zermatt, Lugano and Lucerne.  If you have 15 days available for your journey by train through Switzerland, stay two nights in each destination.

More Grand Tour of Switzerland by train itineraries

If you don’t have a full week available or don’t want to travel the entire Grand Train Tour route, you can choose to travel on the sectors that are of particular interest to you.

To make it easier to choose an alternative itinerary, a number of shorter Grand Train Tour package options are available.  Click on the tour name below for further details and see below for our bonus offer:

  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – The Original – 8 days / 7 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – The Classic – 7 days / 6 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Top Attractions – 5 days / 4 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Historic Tour – 6 days / 5 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Glaciers & Palm Trees – 4 days / 3 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Stunning Waters – 3 days / 2 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Hidden Treasures – 3 days / 2 nights

Travel all year round

No matter what time of year you plan to take your Switzerland holiday, you can enjoy your very own Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. 

The Swiss railways – and therefore the premium panoramic trains – operate year round* so even during the winter months it’s possible to enjoy these spectacular Swiss train journeys.

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland in winter takes in all the seasonal highlights of Switzerland, including pure white snow, frozen lakes and glaciers.  Click the tour names below for further details:

  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Winter Magic Tour – 7 days / 6 nights
  • Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Winter Edition – 9 days / 8 nights

*The Glacier Express does not operate between mid-October and around 9 December. There are no Bernina Express bus services in December and January.  The Gotthard Panorama Express only operates from mid-April until mid-October. Regular trains operate on the Glacier Express and Gotthard Panorama Express routes year round.

Don’t forget to quote the code HTSWISS in the Promo Code box when making your booking to qualify for a 5% discount on package holidays. 

No matter what season you travel, touring Switzerland by train makes for the most memorable of holidays.

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland App

Train at Alp Grum, Switzerland

Ready to plan your own Grand Train Tour of Switzerland? It is highly recommended that anyone undertaking this rail journey downloads the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland app.

The free app is available in seven languages, including English, German and Chinese. 

Using the app gives travellers access to exclusive offers via digital coupons and helps to make sure you get the best from all the key sights. 

The app will guide you as you make the journey, taking in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, lakes, alpine panoramas, glaciers and Swiss cities. Fun facts and top tips are given throughout, and you can tick off where you’ve been via the ‘been there’ function. 

You can also play by collecting rewards and stamps, which you can then share via social media. Those who become a ‘Master of Grand Train Tour of Switzerland’ will even receive a surprise reward at the end of the journey!

Final Thoughts about the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Following the suggested eight sectors of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a convenient way to see all the highlights the country has to offer – from north to south and east to west.

Should you not have time to cover the whole route, simply choose the sectors that connect the destinations you wish to visit and tailor your Swiss rail itinerary to suit.

Whether you prefer a DIY approach and want to purchase your Swiss Travel Pass or rail tickets and accommodation separately, or would rather book a package which includes transport and accommodation, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is the ideal way to explore this scenic country.

Get your 5% discount by quoting the code HTSWISS in the Promo Code box when making your booking with Switzerland Travel Centre . 

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland Podcast Episode

Click the green arrow below to learn more about the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.


The Bernina Express beside Lago Bianco in Switzerland

Carolyn Schönafinger

Carolyn Schönafinger is a frequent visitor to Switzerland, the country she fell in love with more than 30 years ago. She now visits Switzerland every year in her quest to explore every inch of the country. Carolyn is a certified Switzerland Travel Expert and she has achieved the Swiss Travel System Travel Expert diploma. She loves sharing her Switzerland travel expertise and helping others to plan their dream Swiss vacation on this website and the Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast. Read more

Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast - fun things to do in the Jungfrau Region with kids

Episode 62: Fun things to do in the Jungfrau Region with kids

Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast Episode 63 - Tips for planning your 2023 visit to Switzerland

Episode 63: Tips for planning your 2023 trip to Switzerland

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Welcome to Switzerland Travel Centre! You are welcome to contact us by e-mail or by phone on +44 207 420 4900 .

Entlang der Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Experience the most breathtaking panoramic rail routes in Switzerland on an unforgettable round trip, carefully planned and coordinated by one of our experienced Switzerland travel experts. Your travel package includes train tickets, seat reservations where necessary and comfortable hotel accommodation. The itinerary and duration of your trip can be customised, according to your preferences, to create a tailor-made dream journey through Switzerland’s Alpine scenery. 

GTToS Original_Map

Route Information

The full Grand Train Tour covers around 1,280 kilometres of rail routes and includes journeys on Switzerland’s most famous panoramic trains, such as the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express, the GoldenPass Express and the Gotthard Panorama Express. Travellers experience a wide variety of landscapes, including magical mountain scenery, stunning crystal-clear lakes, lively towns and idyllic villages.

Das Landwasserviadukt bei Filisur.

Route Highlights

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland showcases many of Switzerland’s highlights, including:

  • Legendary Panoramic Trains  such as the Glacier Express, “the slowest express train in the world”, offering breathtaking views of Alpine scenery, passing deep gorges and crossing impressive viaducts.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the route, including the Albula and Bernina lines of the Rhaetian Railway and the Abbey District in St. Gallen.
  • Switzerland’s most popular holiday resorts such as Zermatt with the majestic Matterhorn mountain, glamorous St. Moritz, the picturesque city of Lucerne and Interlaken, gateway to the Jungfrau Region.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Can i book my roundtrip in advance.

Yes and advance booking is highly recommended, especially for the busy summer season when demand is particularly high. Packages can be booked easily, online or via one of our travel experts.

What is the best time of year to take the trip?

This depends on your personal preferences. Each season offers something different:

  • Spring (April to May) : Ideal for nature lovers, as landscapes bloom and temperatures are pleasant. There may still be snow at higher altitudes. 
  • Summer (June to August) : The best time to enjoy the full splendour of the Swiss countryside, especially if intending to hike or cycle. The weather is warm and days are long however, this is also peak season for visitors. 
  • Autumn (September to November) : Great for photography enthusiasts, as colours change to magnificent seasonal shades while the weather remains mild.
  • Winter (December to February) : This season brings magical snowy landscapes and the opportunity to experience Switzerland’s winter sports resorts.

In general, spring and autumn mean pleasant weather, while summer is ideal for those that love sun and outdoor activities. Winter offers a unique opportunity to enjoy snow-covered Alpine landscapes.

Please note that it is only possible to complete the full Grand Train Tour of Switzerland from spring to autumn, due to the seasonal opening of the Gotthard Panorama Express route.

Can I travel with children?

Yes, trains in Switzerland are suitable for passengers of all ages, including families with children but please do note the following important points:

  • Tickets:  Children can benefit from reduced fares, depending on their age. Please contact our travel experts for more specific information about your booking. 
  • Entertainment and Activities:  Remember to bring something (books or games) to keep your children occupied. 
  • Snacks and Refreshments: The Glacier Express, Goldenpass Express and Gotthard Panorama Express boat all offer catering options but we, nevertheless, recommend that you bring plenty of snacks and drinks for your children.

Are the trains wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the trains are wheelchair accessible. Please contact one of our travel experts to organise your trip.

What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class?

The main differences between 1st and 2nd class are the seat arrangement and comfort. In 1st class, passengers enjoy larger, more comfortable seats with additional legroom and space for luggage. The seating arrangement is usually 2+1, meaning two seats to one side of the aisle and one on the other, offering more privacy. In 2nd class, there are usually two seats on either side of the aisle. Although 2nd class seats are still comfortable, they offer slightly less space and legroom than those in 1st class.

Our classic packages

Grand train tour of switzerland - the original.

Discover Switzerland on the 8-day “Grand Train Tour of Switzerland” in Europe’s most exciting panoramic trains. Marvel at the spectacular landscape during your trip and experience the cultural differences in this country with its 4 language regions.

Zentralbahn Grand Train Tour of Switzerland Keyvisual

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - The Classic

Take in the very best of Switzerland on this exciting 7-day itinerary. Travelling by rail throughout, marvel at the diversity of bustling cities and shimmering lakes; from snow-capped mountain peaks to palm-tree lined streets. With panoramic carriages, these trains and destinations truly offer something for everyone.

Die Albulastrecke entlang des Lago Biancos

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Top Attractions

Discover Switzerland's top attractions during a round trip to Lucerne, Interlaken, Montreux, Zermatt and Chur. Marvel at the unique Matterhorn, visit the Chapel Bridge and explore Lavaux.

GoldenPass Express

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Winter Magic Tour

Be inspired by glaciers, powder snow and frozen lakes! The winter edition of the "Grand Train Tour of Switzerland" takes you through beautiful landscapes and snow fun. Make this holiday your own with the option to add on mountain excursions and fun ski activities in famous resorts.

Bernina Express in Winter

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Grand train tour of switzerland - the classic with jungfraujoch.

Switzerland is celebrated for its superb scenery, as well as for the excellent tourist trains that allow visitors to make the most of this spellbinding county. Enjoy some of its many highlights on this 8-day tour, which includes many famous trains including the Glacier Express and even the Jungfrau Railway to the ‘Top of Europe’ – the highest railway station on the continent.

Auf der 8. tägigen Grand Train Tour of Switzerland erleben Sie die Kulturen Schätze und entdecken die Schweiz

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Winter Edition

Experience the wonder of Switzerland in winter on the 9 day "Grand Train Tour of Switzerland". Discover all the sights and landmarks Switzerland has to offer from the comfort of your seat. A holiday that combines the most beautiful panoramic train lines into one unique route.

Lucerne Interlaken Express on the Bruenig in Winter.

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Historic Tour

On this special edition of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, you'll enjoy Swiss hospitality at select Swiss Historic Hotels, each with its own unique story to tell. As you travel in the historic Belle Époque carriage of the GoldenPass Line, you will immerse yourself in another time.

GoldenPass Belle Epoque Lavaux Herbst

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Glaciers & Palm Trees

Travel on the Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express through the Swiss Alps to the palm trees from St. Moritz via the Bernina Pass to Tirano (Italy) and on to the Mediterranean Ticino and Lugano.

Palm Express Lugano im Tessin

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Stunning Waters

The journey begins in Lucerne. After a good night's sleep, the next day you take the Voralpen-Express to St. Gallen. On the third day you travel along Lake Constance to the largest waterfall in Switzerland, the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen.

Lucerne Kappelbruecke Header

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Hidden Treasures

Das Dampfschiff in Luzern ist für die Abfahrt bereit

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Der Bernina Express auf der Alp Grüm Richtung Poschiavo

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Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

On the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, panoramic trains take you to all the highlights and sights in Switzerland, year-round. Get in, lean back and enjoy – wherever you like.  

  • 1,280 kilometer
  • 11 large lakes
  • 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • 4 official languages

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Alternative section: St. Moritz – Lugano (by bus)

Switch to the bus and road

Interlaken – Zweisimmen – Montreux

A panoramic ride between two worlds.

Lugano – Flüelen – Luzern

The panoramic journey by train and boat.

Luzern – St. Gallen

Over gentle hills with a view of the Alps.

Montreux – Visp – Zermatt

Up the valley to the “mountain of mountains”.

St. Gallen – Schaffhausen – Zürich

The “maritime” side of Switzerland.

St. Moritz – Tirano – Lugano

From glaciers to palm trees.

Zermatt – St. Moritz

The slowest express train in the world.

Zürich – Luzern – Interlaken

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From Lucerne to Interlaken

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The 5 most popular scenic train rides in Switzerland


The Swiss are big on trains. I mean, Sheldon Cooper big.

Let me explain that.

Switzerland only measures 220 by 348 kilometres, which results in a very manageable landmass of roughly 41.000 square kilometres. That’s only half the size of Lake Superior in the US/Canada. Or 2.5 times the size of Beijing.

Like I said, pretty manageable. 

Yet, if you sum up all the railway tracks running across the country, you’ll end up with a total of over 5.200 kilometres . 

That’s a lot. 

That’s the distance from Vancouver to Halifax. Or from Ushuaia to São Paulo. Or from Cairns to Sydney. Return!

You get the idea. The Swiss are big on trains. 

So it comes as no surprise that, in a place that is often associated with amazing scenery, a handful of these 5.200-odd kilometres are quite appealing to the eye. 

In this post, I’ll introduce you to the five most scenic and popular train rides in Switzerland . Mountain railways excluded.

1. The Golden Pass Line

The Golden Pass Line connects the centre of Switzerland with the shores of Lake Geneva. This spectacular journey leads past eight lakes , rides through six different cantons (the Swiss version of states), crosses three mountain passes and connects two language regions with each other.

And it offers about an estimated gazillion photo opportunities.

6 hours 4 minutes

191 kilometres (119 miles)

Transfers :

Interlaken and Zweisimmen

Trains run eight times a day, all year round.

Travel passes:

Eurail , Interrail , Swiss Travel Pass (Flex) , Saver Day Pass

Reservation required:

No, you don't necessarily need a reservation to use the Golden Pass trains. However, the Golden Pass customer service recommend booking a seat for the segment between Zweisimmen and Montreux, as it can get pretty busy during high season. Costs are around 20 CHF to make a reservation. But technically, you can do the whole trip without reserving a seat. If you'd like to make a reservation, visit the Golden Pass Website .

Getting off along the way:

You can easily interrupt your journey between Lucerne and Montreux and explore what's inbetween. The best places to stop over are probably Interlaken and Spiez. If you don't have a reservation for the whole journey, get off along the way as often as you please. 


Lucerne is where most people start their Golden Pass journey. This beautiful city by the shores of Lake Lucerne is mostly known for the Kapellbrücke – a wooden footbridge leading across the River Reuss – spectacular views over Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus as well as the famous Lion’s Monument and the Glacier Garden.

View over Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus

The old town of Lucerne with the Kapellbrücke

Lake Lungern and Brünig Pass

On the way from Lucerne to Interlaken, you’ll pass by Lake Lungern. This picturesque lake lies in a valley and can best be seen if you grab a seat on the right side. Coming from Interlaken, the best lake views are on the left. 

After passing the lake, the train starts climbing up to Brünig Pass, which sits at 1.008 metres (3.307 feet) above sea level. After the pass and on your way down to Interlaken, you’ll be presented with stunning views over Lake Brienz and into the Bernese Alps.

Lake Lungern

Lake Brienz, coming down from Brünig Pass

Interlaken is the starting point to many an adventure and most visitors to Switzerland pass through it at some point. You’re really spoiled for choice here when it comes to things to do. 

Activities include a very expensive cruise up Jungfrau (Top of Europe), a boat ride on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun, a trip to the villages of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, an adrenaline-packed session of skydiving, paragliding, canyoning or just a good old hike in front of the famous Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountain trio.  


The Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau trio in the Bernese Alps

Lake Thun and Spiez

Lake Thun tends to take people’s breath away. Gazing out the window on your way to Spiez, you might understand everyone’s affections for this lake. Grab a seat on the right side for better views.

Built by the shores of Lake Thun, Spiez is a wonderful little town. A one-hour stopover gives you plenty of time to head down to the shores of Lake Thun, visit the castle, walk through the pretty town with its vineyards or even go for a quick dip in the lake.

Lake Thun in Spiez

Spiez Castle

Bernese Oberland

A big chunk of the Golden Pass Line takes you through the Bernese Oberland. This area is a dream for mountain-lovers and pretty much sums up what Switzerland is about. Lakes, mountains, lush meadows with grazing cows, glaciers, tons of hiking trails , wonderful landscapes and cute little villages.

In winter, the area turns into a haven for the snow-seeking crowd. Gstaad, the counterpart to St.Moritz in the Bernese Alps, is particularly popular.

Cruising through the beautiful Bernese Oberland

The Golden Pass Panorama Express train

Montreux marks the end, or the beginning, of the Golden Pass Line. This beautiful city by Lake Geneva is the gateway to many attractions in the area.

Whether you‘re visiting the Château de Chillon , the city of Vevey, the UNESCO World Heritage site of  Lavaux vineyards or just hanging out next to the Freddie Mercury statue in Montreux, this city will make it worth your while.

Throughout the year, several music, comedy and arts festivals take place. The Montreux Jazz Festival being the most popular one. 

The city of Montreux by Lake Geneva

Chateau de Chillon

2. Glacier Express

The Glacier Express - also known as the world’s slowest express train – is probably the best known scenic train ride in Switzerland. It connects the two highly popular mountain destinations of St.Moritz and Zermatt. 

What makes this journey so memorable are the fantastic views you get left, right and centre throughout the whole ride. The train takes you across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels, three cantons and two language regions.

8 hours 3 minutes

291 kilometres (181 miles)

Trains run once a day during winter and three times a day during summer. But only two out of the four summer trains complete the whole journey between St. Moritz and Zermatt.

Yes. Even if you have a travel pass, reservations are mandatory. Short distances cost between 29 and 39 CHF, while long distances range between 39 and 49 CHF. Depending on the season you travel in.

To add a reservation to your travel pass, head to the Glacier Express booking site . Follow the booking process all the way through to the end, select your pass just before checking out and the ticket price will be taken off your total.

Penny-pincher version :

It’s possible to travel between St. Moritz and Zermatt without paying a reservation fee. For this, you’ll need to downgrade from the fancy Glacier Express trains and use regular trains instead. 

Get on in St. Moritz and transfer in Reichenau-Tamins, Disentis/Mustér, Andermatt and Visp. You’d be surprised, but even though you’ll be changing trains all the time, it’ll only take you around 20 minutes longer to reach your destination. To put together your schedule, head to the SBB website .

These regular trains travel the exact same route as the Glacier Express does. The only thing you’ll be missing out on are the panorama windows. 

In addition to saving you the reservation fee, this option also l ets you travel more flexibly because trains run a lot more frequently.

Getting off along the way :

I don't recommend interrupting your Glacier Express journey as you need a reservation for this trip. However, if you really want to stop over, make sure you arrange your reservations accordingly. 

If you opt for the penny-pincher version, you can get off along the way as often and as long as you please.


The mountain village of St. Moritz is a highly popular holiday destination all year round. Surrounded by towering mountains and in close proximity to Lake St. Moritz and Lake Silvaplana , the area offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into biking, hiking , stand up paddling, swimming, windsurfing, skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing or just enjoying the views, you’ll find your heart’s desire.

The fancy mountain resort of St. Moritz

Lake St. Moritz

Albula Line (UNESCO)

Landwasser viaduct.

The Landwasser Viaduct between St. Moritz and Thusis is quite a masterpiece. This impressive construction is 142 metres (466 feet) long and 65 metres (213 feet) high. What makes it so unique is the fact that the viaduct leads straight into a tunnel.  

The impressive Landwasser Viaduct disappearing into a tunnel

The Albula Line between Preda and Bergün is going to make your head spin. Since the train loses lots of altitude in this segment, it spirals its way down across six viaducts and through three loop tunnels. If you pay attention, you’ll notice the train changing the side of the valley several times. 

Chur is the capital of the Canton of Grisons. Relatively small in size, it offers plenty of sights and a wonderful old town. It’s also the starting point to many a trip in the vicinity, like to the crystal clear Lake Gauma or the dramatic Rhine Gorge .

Chur is the capital city of the Canton of Grisons

Rhine Gorge

Also known as the „Swiss Grand Canyon“, the Rhine Gorge was formed during a massive landslide around 10.000 years ago. Carved out by the river over many centuries, the Rhine Gorge is now a popular destination for hikers, bikers and river-rafters. Coming from St. Moritz, you’ll get the best views of the canyon if you sit on the left.

The Rhine Gorge - also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon

Oberalp Pass

At 2.033 metres (6.670 feet) above sea level, the Oberalp Pass connects Disentis/Mustér in the Canton of Grisons with Andermatt in the Canton of Uri. This pass is the highest point of the Glacier Express.

The Glacier Express making its way across the Alps at Oberalp Pass

The village of Zermatt sits right in front of the Matterhorn , Switzerland’s most famous mountain. In case you don’t know what the Matterhorn looks like, have some Toblerone chocolate and study the packaging. 

The hiking, biking and photo opportunities in this area are seemingly endless. Riding up the Gornergrat with its mountain and glacier views will blow your socks off. And only 15 minutes from Zermatt lies Randa, the starting point to hiking across the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge . 

For more insider tips about what to do in Zermatt, read the  interview I did with my local friend Gabriela. 

The village of Zermatt

The Matterhorn, Switzerland's most famous mountain

3. Bernina Express

They say the most spectacular way to cross the Alps is on board the Bernina Express . 

And they might be right. 

This train takes you from the medieval city of Chur across the Alps and all the way into sunny Italy. Between Chur and St. Moritz, the Bernina Express covers the exact same route as the Glacier Express. 

After St. Moritz, it starts climbing up to glistening glaciers before heading down to the palms of Italy. It passes through 55 tunnels and crosses 196 bridges along the way.

The train ends in the Italian city of Tirano. From there, the Bernina Express Bus takes passengers through the famous Valtellina wine region past Lake Como and back into Switzerland.

4 hours 13 minutes (train from Chur to Tirano), 3 hours 10 minutes (bus from Tirano to Lugano)

156 kilometres (97 miles) on the train, 90 kilometres ( 56 miles) on the bus

The Bernina Express runs from May through November. Unfortunately, their schedule is too complicated to put in words. Please check their current timetable to put together your itinerary.

Yes. Even if you have a travel pass, reservations are mandatory. The seat reservation costs between 20 CHF and 26 CHF, depending on the season you travel in. Head to the Bernina Express booking site to make your reservation.

The same principle that works for the Glacier Express applies to the Bernina Express. To avoid paying the reservation fee , use regular trains. Get on in Chur and transfer in St. Moritz and Poschiavo. If you add the journey from Tirano to Lugano, you’ll need to transfer in Tirano and Monza as well.

However, if you travel onwards to Lugano, your Swiss Travel Passes won’t do you any good since this part is served by the Italian Railway . For detailed ticket information, consult the Trenitalia website. 

I don't recommend interrupting your Bernina Express journey as you need a reservation for this trip. However, if you really want to stop over, make sure you arrange your reservations accordingly. 


Between Chur and St. Moritz, the Bernina Express covers the exact same route as the Glacier Express. Please see above for a more detailed description of Chur, the Rhine Gorge, the Albula Line, the Landwasser Viaduct and St. Moritz.

Ospizio Bernina

At 2.535 metres (8.317 feet) above sea level, Ospizio Bernina is the highest point of the Bernina Line. It’s around here that you cross the language border between the Romansh-speaking Engadine and the Italian-speaking Poschiavo Valley. 

The Bernina Express at Ospizo Bernina

The Bernina Express making its way across the Alps


The Poschiavo Valley in the southern Alps is a fantastic place to go hiking or enjoy a walk along the lake. It’s where the Bernina Express crosses the Swiss-Italian border and takes you to Tirano, where you transfer to the Bernina Express Bus to Lugano.

Lago Bianco on the way to Valposchiavo

Lago di Poschiavo

Brusio Circular Viaduct

The circular viaduct in Brusio is another spectacular construction on the Bernina Line. In order to overcome the altitude in the narrow Poschiavo Valley, the train has to take a 360-degree turn.

The Bernina Express spiralling its way down to Valposchiavo in Brusio

Valtellina and Lake Como

On the way from Tirano to Lugano, you’ll ride through the stunning wine region of Valtellina. Before crossing the border back into Switzerland, you’ll be driving past Lake Como, the place where George Clooney and many other celebrities got married.

Berbenno in the Valtellina Valley

Menaggio by Lake Como

Lugano is the biggest city in the Canton of Ticino and the third biggest financial centre in Switzerland - right behind Zurich and Geneva. Its Mediterranean charm, the flowery parks and the stunning views from one of the many surrounding mountains make this city worth paying a visit. 

The nearby outdoor museum Swissminiatur in the village of Mendrisio is a replica of Switzerland in small. I used to love going there as a kid… I guess I owe most of my Swiss geography knowledge to that place.

Lake Lugano

The Swissminiatur in Mendrisio

4. Voralpen Express

The Voralpen Express, which literally translates to „pre-Alpine Express“, commutes between St.Gallen and Lucerne. In comparison to the other train rides in this post, the Voralpen Express is the least touristy one. 

It doesn’t come with fancy panorama windows and there’s no friendly voice pointing out what viaduct you just crossed. But that doesn’t make it any less worth riding.

2 hours 16 minutes

125 kilometres (78 miles)

The Voralpen Express leaves St. Gallen and Lucerne every hour, all year round.

Eurail , Interrail , Swiss Travel Pass (Flex), Saver Day Pass , Voralpen Express Ticket

Since the Voralpen Express is not a panoramic tourist train like the other ones and you therefore don't need a reservation, you can get off along the way as often and as long as you want. The place I'd recommend checking out for a while is Rapperswil.


The city of St. Gallen has a lot to offer. Places like the Abbey District, the recreational area of Drei Weieren and the free wildlife park of Peter & Paul make it easy to spend a few hours in this city. Head over to a more detailed guide of things to do in St. Gallen .

The cathedral in the Abbey District of St. Gallen

The recreational area of Drei Weieren

The Toggenburg area is nestled between two towering mountain ranges - the Alpstein and the Churfirsten. This part of Switzerland is incredibly pretty and might make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. At least that’s how my Australian friend described it when I took her on the Voralpen Express.

You’ll pass by green, rolling hills and traditional farmers’ houses as the train makes its way through the Appenzell and Toggenburg area towards Lake Zurich.

The Churfirsten mountain range in the Toggenburg

This little town by Lake Zurich is one of my favourite places in Switzerland. I lived here for three years while I was studying urban planning with Gabriela , Andrea , Tobi and Yannic . 

If you have enough time, I recommend getting off the train for an hour and exploring the beautiful „City of Roses". The impressive Rapperswil Castle, the charming promenade, Switzerland’s longest wooden bridge leading halfway across Lake Zurich and plenty of great spots with great views will make it worth your while.

The beautiful town of Rapperswil by Lake Zurich

Travelling between St. Gallen and Lucerne

Rothenthurmer Moor

Once the Voralpen Express is done climbing the hills behind Lake Zurich, it soon passes through the area of the Rothenthurmer Moor. This swampy landscape stretches across 10 kilometres (6 miles) between Biberbrugg and Rothenthurm and is the first moor to be protected in Switzerland.

Walking the moorland trail between Biberbrugg and Rothenthurm takes just over two hours and is very easy to complete. Another opportunity to break up the Voralpen Express journey…

Lakes Zurich, Zug and Lucerne

Between St. Gallen and Lucerne, the Voralpen Express passes by three Swiss lakes : Lake Zurich, Lake Zug and Lake Lucerne.

On the way from Arth Goldau to Immensee

Lucerne is either the starting or finishing point for people travelling the Voralpen Express. This vibrant city by the shores of Lake Lucerne is mostly known for the Kapellbrücke – a wooden footbridge leading across the River Reuss – spectacular views over Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus, the Swiss Museum of Transport as well as the Lion’s Monument and the Glacier Garden.

The Lion's Monument in Luzern

5. Gotthard Panorama Express

If you follow the motto „the journey is the reward“, you’re going to love travelling the historic Gotthard Line from Lucerne to Lugano.

For the first leg of your trip, you travel across the lake from Lucerne to Flüelen on board a steamboat. In Flüelen, the Gotthard Panorama Express train takes you through the historic Gotthard route all the way down to the sunny south on Switzerland. 

Before the world’s longest tunnel opened in 2016, travelling this route through the Gotthard massif was the normal way to get to the Canton of Ticino by train. Today, the 57 kilometres (35 miles) long Gotthard Basistunnel saves commuters lots of time by bolting through the Alps in less than 20 minutes. 

2 hours 43 minutes (boat from Lucerne to Flüelen), 2 hours 28 minutes (train from Flüelen to Lugano) 

38 kilometres (24 miles) on the steamboat, 183 kilometres (114 miles) on the train.

From Tuesday through Sunday, the Gotthard Panorama Express leaves once a day. Their season starts in April and ends in October. Check their current schedule here as the dates change every year.

Swiss Travel Pass (Flex), Saver Day Pass  

With a Eurail and Interrail Pass, you get 50% off the boat ride from Lucerne to Flüelen. The train ride from Flüelen to Lugano is included.

For up to date information on which pass or ticket covers what, visit the SBB website . 

Yes. The reservation fee costs 24 CHF. You can book your Gotthard Panorama Express ticket including seat reservation directly through Swiss Activities.

You can travel the Gotthard Panorama Line without making a reservation by, you might have guessed it, using regular trains. Even though the historical Gotthard line is no longer the primary way to connect the Ticino with the rest of Switzerland, it’s still in use.

Trains run hourly between Erstfeld and Bellinzona all year round. To put together your personal itinerary, consult the SBB website. 

I don't recommend interrupting your Gotthard Panorama Express journey as you need a reservation for this trip and you can only complete it in one go.

However, if you really want to stop over, make sure you arrange your reservations accordingly. There's an option to book this trip with an overnight stay.


Lucerne is either the starting or finishing point of people travelling the Gotthart Panorama Express. This beautiful city by the shores of Lake Lucerne is mostly known for the Kapellbrücke – a wooden footbridge built in 1356 – spectacular views over Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus as well as the Lion’s Monument and the Glacier Garden.

The famous Kappellbrücke in Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

On the ride across the stunning Lake Lucerne, you’ll pass by several places of importance in Swiss history. You’ll see the Rütliwiese, Switzerland's founding place, and you’ll also get a glimpse of the Tell’s Chapel. According to legend, our alleged national hero, William Tell, escaped the fangs of his enemy in this place by jumping off his boat. Read more about William Tell and the saga around his existence in this article .

Cruise across Lake Lucerne on a steamboat

The Tell's Chapel on the way to Flüelen

Baroque church of Wassen

This little church is iconic to the Gotthard line and every child in Switzerland knows about it. Well, if they’ve travelled to the Ticino by train before 2016, that is. 

This little church in the village of Wassen, commonly known as „Chileli vo Wasse“, sits on a hill and can be seen from three different angles on the way up to the former Gotthard tunnel. Since the train passes two turning loops in this area, it keeps riding past the Chileli from different sides, which is what makes this spot so well-known. 

There’s even a catchy song about the Chileli vo Wasse… That’s how popular it is.

You'll pass by the Chileli vo Wasse three times on your way to the Gotthard Tunnel

Bellinzona is the capital of the Ticino. It’s mainly famous for its three impressive castles Montebello, Castelgrande and Sasso Corbaro, which are part of the Swiss UNESCO World Heritage sites. They were built in the 15th century and make for an impressive, knight-like excursion. 

The Piazza Independenza in Bellinzona

One of the three castles in Bellinzona

The nearby outdoor museum of Swissminiatur in the village of Mendrisio is a replica of Switzerland in small.

View over Lugano

And here you have it.

Five amazingly scenic train rides in Switzerland summed up. Of course, there are plenty more great rides you can enjoy around here. Like for instance the mountain railways up Jungfrau , Pilatus or Gornergrat . Just to name a few.

If you’d like to share any additional train rides you've been on in Switzerland, please let me know in the comments below. 

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Hi Seraina,

This post on scenic train rides is very helpful. For the Golden Pass line you were able to specify which side of the train(left, right) we should sit for best views. Is it possible for you to specify which side we should sit for the best view for the remaining scenic train rides.

Thanks, Dhruw

Thanks for reaching out 🙂 Actually, if you do any of the other scenic rides (as in the full journey or a section that’s longer than an hour) it doesn’t really matter which side you pick. You will get fantastic views on both sides. I specifically mentioned the part between Lucerne and Interlaken because I love the views you get coming down from Brünig Pass. But generally speaking, you can’t go wrong. Whichever side you choose…

Enjoy your trip, Seraina

I am starting to plan my trip with my husband. We are from Sydney Australia. The 1st thing we must do is see our son’s art installation in Lens at the end of March. After, in July, we wish to go by rail to see Switzerland.’If we get rail passes is it possible to ge off at different places and board the train again to complete the route or are we to stay on the train for the full length. As I have not booked our flight yet as I do not know where we will land, as this depends on the trains. Thank you for your time.

Hello Helen

Thank you for your comment. I‘m happy to hear you‘re coming to Switzerland 🙂

As to your question, you can generally get on and off any train in Switzerland whenever, wherever and as often as you like with your travel pass.

The only exception is if you make a seat reservation on one of the scenic trains. Then you should probably stay on until the end. But if you don‘t reserve your seat, you‘re free to hop on and off throughout the journey.

Please note that some trains require you to make a reservation. But even then you could interrupt your journey along the way.

I hope this answers your question. If not, feel free to shoot me another message.

Hi, Thanks for the information. Its quite elaborate. I am travelling to Swiss in first month of July on a business visa. I have 5 days (2 weekends in first week and 3 weekends in last week) to spare time and explore the country. My friend shall join me and he comes all the way from France. So, he prefers to explore Geneva too in the first weekend as its near to the border. So, with 5 days in hand and the preferences are Geneva, Lucerne, one best ride among the above panoramic train rides and one or two peaks (among Titlis, Jungfraujoch, Stoos and Pilates), request you to please suggest some itinerary.

Hi Ravi, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, as I mentioned on my about and contact page, I don’t offer a personalised itinerary planning service. I’m sorry but I can’t help you with your questions. However, I did write an itinerary guide with a collection of possible 2-day itineraries. You can find it here . Maybe this will be helpful to you? Especially since you’re looking for things to do on a weekend. I hope you enjoy your time in Switzerland. Seraina

I just purchased the ebook you have written for travel in Switzerland. I must complement you for the extensive information in it and the practical nature of the book. Saved me tons of hours – I can directly choose the routes of my choice and hop onto the transport! I am visiting Swiss for 4 days and entering Geneva. Just wondering which two 2-day routes to choose for a nice mini vacation with my wife.

Thank you so much for your lovely comment. This made my day 🙂 I‘m so glad you find my ebook useful and thank you for your support. I hope you‘ll enjoy your time in Switzerland and find the right itinerary for you and your wife.

Happy planning, Seraina

Where to buy the Ebook?

Hi Rahul, thank you for your question. The ebooks are available under the itinerary section.

Thank you for such a detailed description of each route. I and my wife are travelling to Switzerland from 4th – 7th October, 2019. We want to experience the Glacier Express. But as it takes more than 8hrs we don’t want to travel the full way. We are planning to stay at Interlaken as we also want to visit Mt. Schilthorn, Grindelwald first, Glacier 3000 etc. We will have a 4 day swiss rail pass.

Can you suggest that which portion(s) of the Glacier Express I should select considering my preference is to see a lot of snow around. Also how early should I reserve my seat at Glacier express considering it is fall season.

Hello Anuran

Thanks for your comment. Your question actually isn’t an easy one to answer. But I’ll give it my best shot 🙂

Since you want to spend a fair amount of time in Interlaken and visit all these mountains you mentioned, you should get to see lots of snow there. As for the Glacier Express, this will take you a lot of time whichever part you leave out. The two starting points in St. Moritz and Zermatt are both a long way from Interlaken. If you’d like to cut off certain parts, I suggest you either leave out St. Moritz – Chur or Visp – Zermatt. Maybe even both. That way, you can make your way to either Chur or Visp to start your trip.

However, like I said, getting there from Interlaken will still take a while. What you could do, if you land in Zurich, is to go straight to Chur, spend a night there, take the Glacier Express the next day to Visp and go from Visp to Interlaken. This will still be a very long day with lots of train rides, but you will have seen some of the Glacier Express route. Since it’s October, I unfortunately can’t promise you a whole lot of snow along the way. But like I said, if you go up into the mountains, you should get a good amount of snow there.

As for the reservation, I can’t tell you how busy it will be in fall. For more information on that, I suggest you contact the Glacier Express customer service directly. They have more experience with their passenger numbers.

I hope this helped. Happy planning and enjoy your trip to Switzerland.

Hi Seraina, Thank you so much for such a prompt reply. Since there won’t me much snow in the Glacier Express route, now I am considering to do a small part or may be completely removing it from my itinerary.

I will be coming from Venice & land in Geneva on 3rd Oct – 9:30PM. My return flight to India is also from Geneva on 8th @12:40PM.

This is what I have thought of for 4th-7th Oct. (I will have a Swiss travel pass)

Day 1- Early morning train from Geneva to Lauterbrunnen (6AM-9:25AM). Will visit Schilthorn mountain (on the way will visit Gimmelwald, Mürren) till lunch. Post lunch will do paragliding @Interlaken. Night stay Interlaken.

Day 2 – Early morning train to Grindelwald. Visit Grindelwald First & do 2-3 activities, visit Klein Scheidegg if I have time. At 6:00PM travel to Zermatt (6PM – 8:14PM). Night stay @Zermatt.

Day 3 – In the morning visit Matterhorn (Glacier Paradise ride). Will come down to Brig by normal train. Catch the 2:10PM Glacier Express Train & travel to Chur (2:10PM – 6:24 PM). From Chur travel to Lucerne ( 7:16PM – 9:25PM). Night stay Lucerne.

Day 4 – Early morning visit to lake Lucerne, Chapel Bridge, Lion monument. Then travel to Rhine Falls. leave Rhine Falls by 4:30PM. From Neuhausen Rheinfall travel to Geneva (5:01 – 8:45). Night stay @Geneva.

In the above itinerary I am missing Glacier 3000. Which I can visit on day 4 but in that case I have to leave the Lucerne sightseeing & Rhine Falls. But as per your previous answer I have very small chance of seeing snow @Glacier 3000 which was my main aim.

Do you think the above itinerary is possible or is it too ambitious or hectic? We both are 30-31 yrs old & moderately fit.

All the travel mentioned here is by train. Timings are taken from http://www.sbb.ch/en Thank you very much for your help.

Wow, that’s quite a plan you’ve got here 🙂 I like it… And while it is very ambitious, I think you can do it. You’ve done your research with the trains as well, which is great. So I’d say go for it. You can always leave out certain things if you feel it’s too much but generally speaking, this sounds like a very good plan. And skipping Glacier3000 is probably a good idea because getting there takes a while, wherever you start from. You’d need a full day for that. So what you have planned now should work a lot better..

Have fun here in Switzerland. You’ll be arriving in Geneva right on my birthday by the way 😉

Thank you soooo much for your help. Your blog & comments have helped me a lot to plan my Switzerland itinerary. Can’t thank you enough 🙂

You‘re very welcome!

Had a question regarding train visit vs by road visit. I am flying to Munich and from there i am starting my trip to southern germany, western austria, and then i am moving towards swiss area. Can you find the same amount of scenic views by road or it’s better to take train? Since i have a rental vehicle i need to find a place to park it for few days while i ride a train. Can i do round trip in 1 day ? where is the best scenic views that i could get? Money is not an object. I only have 3 days in Swiss.

Hi Prashant

Thanks for your comment. Actually, since you already have a car, I wouldn’t suggest just parking that somewhere for three days and catch the train instead. You can also do scenic car rides in Switzerland. Personally, if I had to choose, I would always prefer the train but that’s just me. And like I said, if you do have a vehicle, it’s very easy to visit some beautiful spots as well. To plan your route, I suggest you visit the Grand Tour of Switzerland website. It’s a fantastic resource that’ll help you plan your roadtrip through Switzerland and past some stunning places.

I hope this helped. Enjoy your time here. Seraina

Hello Saraina, I will be in Switzerland next year for holidays with friends and we will fly from Venice. We are interested in the Golden Pass line. Can we travel in the opposite direction from Montreux to Lucerne? Thanks Vijay

Dear Vijay, thank you for your question. And yes, you can absolutely travel the Golden Pass Line from Montreux to Lucerne. It goes both ways… Enjoy the ride! It‘s a great one 🙂 Seraina

Hi Seraina, Thank you for your quick reply. Do we need a Eurail pass ? Otherwise, please send me the link for booking online and please advise on early booking. Thank you

Hi Vijay, you’re welcome 🙂 Yes, I’d suggest you buy a Eurail Pass for this trip as it covers the whole Golden Pass Line along with tons of other train rides in Switzerland. To book a travel pass, you can use this link that’ll take you straight to the Eurail website. Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means that I will get a small commission from Eurail for sending you towards them. This doesn’t cost you anything extra but it will help me keep running this website 🙂 So you would be doing me a huge favour by booking your pass through my link. Thought you should know… If you have any other questions about your trip, please don’t hesitate to ask…

Hi Seraina, If I buy the ’15 Days pass within 2 months’pass at a price of $ 560, can I use it without any additional cost for the Euro tunnel served by Eurostar and can I use the same pass in Europe for the routes operated by the partners? Regards

I just checked the Eurail website for you and it seems that you will need to pay extra and make a reservation for the Eurostar. Please go to the Eurail website and enter „Eurostar“ into the search field. You‘ll be taken to all the information you need to know about this journey. Regards, Seraina

HI, thank you so much for your detailed description. It really helps with planning our trip. We are travelling to Switzerland from 3rd Oct to 7th Oct 2019. And we have bought the 4day pass. I would like to know if you have any recommendations on how to travel from Lugano to St. Moritz. I was trying to book the Palm Express via Maloja Pass but it only seems to go from St. Moritz to Lugano direction. Would love to get a suggestion. Thanks so much. Looking forward to visiting this beautiful country.

Dear Neelam Thank you for your question. Actually, the best way to travel between St. Moritz and Lugano is by Bernina Express. However, the official Bernina Express including the bus between Tirano and Lugano only travels in one direction, starting in St. Moritz. But since you’re travelling the other way round, you can catch a regular bus from Lugano to Tirano and transfer to the Bernina Express train in Tirano. Please refer to the Bernina Express timetable ( here’s the direct link ) to find your connection. The best one I found for you leaves Lugano at 10:00 and arrives in St. Moritz at 16:11 with one transfer in Tirano. I hope this helps. Happy planning and enjoy your time in Switzerland Seraina

Hello Seraina, Firstly, commend you on the utmost diligence and detail-oriented original post; yet, equally, on your responses here.

Question: we live in Tuscany. After researching several alpine routes by train, I lend my brain to digest more of the logistics “Glassier Express.” As a package 3d/2n, In July.

1. It sounds like one can start from Zermatt or St.Moritz. Very few of the Trenitalia will go that route…if any! 2. According to your post, there might be an option of catching Tirannò train to St.Morttz, to peel off Bernina express. 3. What would you recommend: -which way of the Glassier Express to start? -and getting there from Italy by train? -less busses the better 😉

Thanks again. Looking forward to your expertly suggestion. Misha

Hello Misha, thank you for your questions. I will try my best to answer them for you:

1. Yes, you can start in Zermatt or St. Moritz and only Glacier Express goes that route. No other railway company does it. And it doesn’t matter which way you go. They’re both the same. 2. Yes, you can catch the Bernina Express train in Tirano to St. Moritz. It’s another scenic train route. 3. From Italy, I recommend going to Tirano, then Bernina Express to St. Moritz, then Glacier Express to Zermatt. Or you can go to Domodossola, then with the SBB train to Brig, from there with MGB to Zermatt and then with the Glacier Express to St. Moritz.

I hope this helps. Have a wonderful time in Switzerland! Seraina

Hi Seraina, Thanks for — as usual –, the most attentive-to-details response in answering my complicated question.

Lastly, I have a few refinements/questions to plan my [surprise wedding anniversary] trip to the utmost detailing as possible to capture the beauty of the Swiss Alps. Some points, as usual: 1. From the last time I've written to you, the 'die was cast' 😉 I've decided to do Bernina Express + Glassier Express starting from Lugano;

2. That said, I have all the logistics of staying in Lugano + St. Moritz + Zermatt [In that sequence], and getting on the bus in Lugano to transfer, eventually, the the train ride in St. Moritz, and on ….and on…and on…

3. Do you see any problems with that choice?;

4. What would be your suggestions for choice of seats [left/right] sides of the train: a. Bernina Express from Tirano, IT;? b. Glassier Express St. Moritz–Zermatt? you only outlined one excerpt [Coming from St. Moritz, you’ll get the best views of the canyon if you sit on the left.] c. Any other points of booking the seats in "the missing links" ? 🙂

Grazie in anticipo, Misha

Hi Misha, wow lots of questions. I’ll try to answer them as good as I can:

1. Good choice! 2. Again, good choice 😉 3. No, I don’t see any problems with that. If you’ve booked the bus from Lugano to Tirano and have your seat reservations for the trains, you will be great. 4a) I’ve never done the Bernina Express on the bus unfortunately. So I can’t tell you which side is better. But I’m sure you will have great views from both sides. 4b) It really depends and to be honest, it doesn’t matter too much on which side you sit because you will have fantastic views from both sides. We sat on the right coming from Zermatt to St. Moritz and really enjoyed our views. But they are great on both sides and there is not one good and one bad side. So whichever side you choose, it will be good. 4c) I don’t know what you mean by “the missing links”. Sorry.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip, Seraina

Loved the way you guided the others so here’s my question and it would be great If you could suggest me something. So I’m travelling with my parents to Switzerland between 4th Dec to 7th Dec 2019. My mother was really interested in the Bernini express but unfortunately, since we are staying in Lucerne, its a completely different route. Can you please suggest any of the other scenic train rides that you feel could be covered in one day?

Regards, Debduhita

Hello Debudhita

Lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your comment. Happy to help…

So since you are based in Lucerne, either the Voralpen Express or the Golden Pass Line will work. Both are beautiful but if you‘d like to do the whole thing in one day, the Voralpen Express will probably be less intense. You could also fit in a visit in St. Gallen or Zurich on your way back to Lucerne with that one.

Technically, you could do the Golden Pass in one day but that would be a looot of hours on the train. Especially because you have to travel back to Lucerne from Montreux. If you do fancy doing parts of the Golden Pass, I‘d suggest you only go to Spiez and travel back via Bern to Lucerne. Or even cut it short in Interlaken. You have plenty of options and are quite flexible. But if it was me, I personally wouldn‘t do the whole Golden Pass in one day.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip over here 🙂

This is an excellent guide for trains. Thumbs up!

Me and fiancé will be in Zurich on 18/Dec – 22/Dec. (23/Dec-27/Dec, will be spending Christmas with friends in Friedrichshafen Germany). We intend to visit Zurich and apart from that, jump onto one of these fantastic train rides from 18/Dec-22/Dec & 28/Dec-4/Jan. Ending up in Geneva will be good as we plan to head to Florence after that.

Would you have any suggestions?

Thanks a lot

Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you like my guide 🙂 Awesome to hear you’re coming to Switzerland this winter, too.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you any detailed suggestions as there are so many things you can do in Switzerland in the amount of time you have available. And putting together personalised itineraries would be very time consuming. This is why I am currently working on a series of itinerary guides . They all start in either Zurich or Geneva. I’m sure you could find some inspiration in there and the scenic train rides are also included in those chapters. I hope you can understand that I don’t have enough time to create personalised itineraries. Happy planning and have a fantastic time when you’re here.

Take care, Seraina

Are these routes roundtrip, or oneway?

Hi Tina, these routes are all oneway…

Thanks for this super helpful post. I will be going to Switzerland in mid-late April for about 7 days visiting Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Lausanne, Geneva. I have some specific questions for you:-

1. I have checked weather forecasts, but based on your experience, how cold will it be? Our group includes 4 senior citizens (60-70 years old).

2. I think the Golden Pass Line works well for the places I plan to visit. I see the rates in the range of ~$200-250 per person for these days. Does that sound right? I find it very expensive. Is there any other cheaper train that connects these cities?

Hello there 🙂 Thank you for your comment. I will try to answer your questions as accurately as I can.

1. This is a hard one as temperatures may vary. Especially in April. But generally speaking, I think temperatures during the day should range between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius in the places you mentioned. Please don’t hold me to it, though. We’ve had 0 degrees in April before and there’s a saying in Switzerland that goes: April does whatever April wants. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more precise answer.

2. Definitely don’t pay 250.- for the Golden Pass Line. That definitely is a bit much. If I were you, I’d try to either get a national day pass or a saver day pass for your travel days. Or, if you’re using public transport in Switzerland for more than just the Golden Pass Line, grab a Eurail/Interrail or Swiss Travel Pass. I talk about those option in more depth in this post.

I hope this helps. Happy planning and enjoy your time in Switzerland. Seraina

Your website and suggestions are great. Thank you for your hard work. I am planning to visit Switzerland with my wife for 4-5 days. We would like to see most of the country either by regular or scenic trains. We can arrive at Geneva or Zurich or Basel. Would like to know what would be the best scenic route we can take as we don’t mind arriving at one but returning from a different airport as long as we can make most of our trip. Will be good if we can start from one end and finish at the other. What would be your suggestion about tickets and from where shall we start and end? Shall we book the hotels in advance or book when we arrive in different cities? Thanks in advance for your help.

Dear Mas Thank you for your comment and your lovely compliment. It means a lot… Your question is a tricky one to answer, actually. Unfortunately, I can’t give personal advice on itineraries as that is very, very time consuming. I’m really sorry and hope you can understand. But since this is a question I get quite frequently, I created a series of itinerary guides to help people plan their trip to Switzerland. Think of them as pre-built itinerary suggestions that will give you ideas and inspiration to plan your trip and what to expect in Switzerland. The hotel question is up to you, really. If you’d like to play it save, maybe book ahead. That way, you can research the prices as well and make sure you have a bed to sleep in. Or, if you’re adventurous and like to stay flexible, just wing it as you go. But keep in mind that this might end up being more expensive without any research. I hope this helps. Happy planning and enjoy your time in Switzerland. Seraina

These five panoramic rides can be beautifully chained together. Say Zurich is your starting point, you take a regular train to St Gallen, then Voralpen, Gothaard, Bernina, Glaciers, regular train to Montreaux (or loop around to Chamonix, Geneve, Evian, Lausanne), Golden Pass and then regular train to Berne and on to Zurich. If you don’t want such a train intensive vacation you can add side trips to Constance Lake, Luzern, Interlaken, Vaduz, Ticino area / Milano or the aforementioned Lac Leman. Is this itinerary not popular? I wonder why it never gets mentioned in travel blogs.

That‘s a very interesting itinerary! A little crazy but for someone that loves trains, it’s perfect. Thank you for the suggestion. I will include this in my itinerary ebooks 🙂

Hello Seraina, You have amazing content. Thanks so much for sharing. Now I don’t feel as overwhelmed. Im planning a trip with my mom and aunt to Switzerland would love for it to be as relaxing as possible and enjoy the ride. I’m planning to start the journey at Lucerne. Definitely will do golden pass. This is for September. We are planning to do Lucerne to Montreux (reserved); stay in Montreux for 2 nights; take golden pass (not reserved) back to Lucerne this time would love to do stopovers and explore Lake Thun, Spiez, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. Will it be possible to do these stopovers on same day journey. For these towns, do we stop at Interlaken and take other trains? Can you please suggest routes to take? Perhaps should we stay one night in interlaken? The reason why we are going back to Lucerne my aunt lives in Italy. We are Lucerne to Milan (possibly a stop over to Lugano). Any guidance will be appreciated. Would love to make it as memorable to my mom and aunt. It will be my mom’s first trip to europe.

Dear Loraine

Thank you so much for your comment. I’m happy to hear you’re feeling less overwhelmed now 🙂 That’s the whole point of my blog and hearing from you motivates me to keep going…

As for your question, I definitely recommend breaking up your journey on your way back to Lucerne. Visiting Lake Thun, Spiez, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald while doing the whole Golden Pass Line in one day isn’t possible. You’ll have to transfer in Spiez and Interlaken anyway so you could take a break in Spiez and spend the night in Interlaken.

Not to push anything on you, but I created a couple of itinerary guides that give people visiting Switzerland for the first time an idea of what’s possible in a certain amount of time and how I recommend breaking up the journey. Maybe this could be helpful for your planning process as well.

I hope you’ll have a fantastic time in Switzerland. Happy planning and enjoy your trip.

All the best, Seraina

Your website’s content are very helpful thank you for sharing :). Me and my partner are planning to take a scenic route from Paris to Switzerland and we are planning to stay in Bern or Interlaken (not sure which one were supposed to pick as we are not familiar with the places) to explore the Bernese Oberland and Jungfraujoch region in 4days (is it possible for 4days?) and we are wondering how are we gonna get to do these if we are coming from Paris? Will you be able to shed some light to our trip? Thanks heaps in advance.

Thank you for your comment. I’m happy to hear you’re coming to Switzerland and of course I’ll try and answer your questions…

First up, if you’re planning on exploring the Bernese Oberland, I suggest you stay in Interlaken as that’s smack-bang in the middle of all those popular destinations. You can definitely find enough to do in four days. (Btw, I talk about this in more depth in my itinerary guides ) Or, alternatively, you could spend a night in Bern and then move on to Interlaken for another three nights. You’re very flexible there.

Since you’re coming from Paris, I’m assuming you’ll enter Switzerland by train in Basel? With our dense train network, it’s very easy to reach Bern or Interlaken from any train station in Switzerland. So even if you arrive in another city, you’ll make it to Bern/Interlaken within one or two hours.

I hope this helps and that you’ll have a fantastic trip, Seraina

Wow… a really great and well-described article I must say especially the places we can enjoy on the way while riding in train. Can you also provide a blog on Swiss Travel Pass as it is quite popular in Switzerland?

Thank you for your comment! Actually, I haven’t written a post solely on the Swiss Travel Passes. So for more information on those passes, I recommend you head over to the SBB website , where they provide lots of details on the Swiss Travel Passes. Hope this helps 🙂

Switzerland first class country in the world in all things perfect transportystem lovely people

Great information. I have 10 days in Switzerland. I am a photographer. Can the windows of the trains be opened to be able to photograph without glare while on the train? Also, I fly in & out of Zurich and am looking for an itinerary with the most scenic train path. I don't want to go to Lake Geneva or Bern area. I plan to stay 2 nights in Zermatt, 3-4 in Bernese Oberland, 1-2 in Lucerne but am flexible. I love quaint picturesque villages. How should I plan my train trips? Thanks

Thank you for your comment. I’m happy to hear you have 10 days in Switzerland. That’s a good amount of time and I’m sure you’ll get to cover a lot of ground.

As for your questions: I’d say 99% of all Swiss trains don’t let you open their windows anymore. It’s usually just the mountain railways that either don’t have windows at all or that let you pull them down. If you’re in luck, in the Canton of Grisons, you might catch a very old train of the Rhaetian Railway that still has windows you can open. But generally, this isn’t possible.

About the second question regarding your itinerary: I actually don’t offer a custom itinerary planning service as that is incredibly time demanding. If I make suggestions to you, I want them to fit your expectations and that would require some 1:1 time with you. I hope you can understand. But since I do get this question quite a lot, I’ve to put together a selection of itinerary guides for different time periods. In there, I go into more detail about what’s possible to visit in a certain amount of time in Switzerland, covering all areas of the country. Maybe you can find some inspiration in there? You’ll find the link right here .

I hope this helps and that you’ll have a wonderful time in Switzerland.

Seraina Wow!! What a wonderful website you’ve put together here. I’m so lucky I stumbled upon it. I will be surprising my wife in early September for 5 days for her 40th birthday. We are from Montreal. She loves mountains. I had no idea where to start and how to plan this trip but your website has given me much enthusiasm to do it! I will base this trip around a mountain train ride and this will determine more or less where I should land. I know they are all fantastic but is there one ride in particular that you can suggest which would give us the greatest view of mountains? Thanks so much! mike.

Thank you so much for your friendly and warm message. I’m happy to hear you’re coming to Switzerland. September is a great time of the year to visit I think. And yes, your question is indeed a very tricky one as Switzerland has over 8000 mountains in total 😉 So it’s hard to pick just one. But the Region around Thun, Interlaken and Brienz is fantastic in terms of mountain train rides with Brienzer Rothorn, Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, Niesen, Niederhorn, Stockhorn and so on. I don’t write much for this blog anymore since I now work over at Swiss Activities in the content team now. We put together loads of articles about anything concerning Switzerland. So if you’re interested, I recommend you head over there to check it out. One article that comes to my mind for you is this one on mountain peaks. Maybe this will help? Feel free to reach out to me again if you have any questions.

All the best and happy planning, Seraina

I love Switzerland i have been meny times if i had the money i would live there. can you please tell me a nice long train trip I can take from Geneva and get back to Geneva same day thank you. (god bless from mr chappell ).

Dear Edward, thank you for your comment. There are countless train rides you can take from Geneva in one day. If you don’t mind spending around 8 hours on the train, I would recommend you head to Zermatt. The ride along Lake Geneva is fantastic and the last stretch from Visp to Zermatt will be a part of the Glacier Express, one of the most famous scenic train rides. This journey takes around 4 hours each way and will definitely be a full day trip. Alternatively, you could just catch the train from Geneva to Montreux, hop on the passenger ship to Vevey, Lausanne or Chateau de Chillon and take the train back to Geneva in the evening. That way, you have more time along the way to explore. Hope this helps. All the best, Seraina

Personally I am fond of train journeys and when it comes to do in Switzerland, its like a heaven on the earth. Surrounded by high peak mountains, snows and white beauty of nature, the country has everything. Definitely going to experience it during my trip to Zurich.

If I arrive in Zurich how do I get to the point to take the Golden Pass line. If this is not practical which train ride can I do if I arrive in Zurich. Please advise. Thank you.

Dear Asoka, no problem. You can just catch the train to Lucerne and start the Golden Pass Line from there. Trains between Zurich and Lucerne run several times an hour and take between 50 and 75 minutes. All the best, Seraina

Thank you! What a great review of these scenic train rides. We get off a boat at 9:00am in Basel June 8th, 2023. Can you suggest the best way to complete as many of these as possible over the next four days. We will spend the evening of June 10th in Zurich.

Huge thanks for any guidance you can suggest!

Greg and Teresa Dragoo

Hi Greg and Teresa

Thank you for your questions, I’m happy to hear you’re coming to Switzerland. The best way to complete some of the scenic train rides would be to go from Basel straight to Lucerne, catch the Gotthard Panorama Express the next day (to Lugano) then the Bernina Express to St. Moritz and if you like the Glacier Express to Zermatt. This will be a crazy amount of sitting on the train. But if you want to complete several of the trains, this would be a good way to do it. Alternatively, you could also go directly to Montreux and get on the Golden Pass Line to Lucerne. Then again Gotthard Panorama to Lugano and Bernina Express to St. Moritz. I hope this helps. Enjoy your time over here! Seraina

Wow. If i go switzerland definitely i will go for a ride. I would love to do so

This is by far the best online guide to the main Swiss scenic routes and all places in between. I’m planning a Swiss rail tour and the info in this guide is making that itinerary very easy.

Thank you Danny! I’m really glad my article has been helpful for you and I hope you’ll have a wonderful time trying out those train rides. All the best!

Great information in every detail. Going to Europe in August. Just wondering what to do while there. Which of the 5 train ride would you recommend. The first sounded awesome?

Hey Anne, thank you for your comment 🙂 It’s hard to say which one I recommend because I think they’re all spectacular. But if I had to choose, it’d probably be the Glacier Express or the Gotthard Panorama Express. It really depends on your schedule and what you can fit in. You can’t go wrong with either of them, though 🙂

Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I'm visiting friends in Bern, and from there I would take a regular train to reach one of the senic trains one way. I also have friends in Black Forest that I'm going to visit so my question is, which of the two trains is closest to that area and also maybe spend a night in a little village on the way.

Ok so in this case, what you could do is go to Montreux by Lake Geneva, spend the night there and then catch the Golden Pass Line from Montreux the next morning. That one goes through Gstaad, Spiez, Interlaken to Lucerne. If you have time, you can do the whole journey in one day and finish in Lucerne. Or you can stop in Interlaken and spend some time there, Whatever your schedule looks like.

Alternativey, travel to Zermatt, spend the night there and catch the Glacier Express to St. Moritz. But then, you’ll be at the other side of the country in St. Moritz and I don’t know what your time budget is. Technically, you could then spend a night in St. Moritz and move on to the Black Forest the next day. Depending on how much time you have. But since Switzerland is quite small and public transport is good, it’s very easy to get to and from places.

Ohh..it all sounds so beautiful. I do like old villages and historic sites. Lucerne is probably most convenient if I wanna go to blk.forest. I'm actually on a month long vacation from Hawaii. I'm originally from Denmark where my trip starts from. After Blk.forest I'll be heading towards Montpelier to visit one more friend. I so appreciate your response and comments, you have definitely clarified my "what to do"❣️

Happy to help. Enjoy your trip. Sounds like an amazing one!

Hey Seraina,

This is an incredible post, so informative, and so meticulously presented. Really want to appreciate you for this. I also purchased your itineraries and that has been super helpful too. I love how you have helped others here and I was hoping you could share some suggestions for me too.

I have visited Switzerland before and have covered the cities and Jungfrau. So this trip is about visiting only the mountains. Here's what I plan to do:

-4 days in Switzerland-

Day 1: Geneva –> Chamonix, Mont Blanc –> Geneva Day 2: Geneva –> Montreux –> (Golden Pass Line) –> Interlaken Ost Day 3: Interlaken Ost –> Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Schilthorn –> Interlaken Ost –> Lucerne Day 4: Lucerne –> Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis –> Lucerne Day 5: Flight from Zurich

Do you think this is doable or too ambitious? And would you suggest any changes in this itinerary to make it more efficient?

Additionally, I am very confused with the travel passes. I will mostly be using regular trains / panoramic trains (where applicable) / cable cars (where applicable) for all these travels. Which travel pass would you suggest and would it cover all of the above points of interest?

Thank you very much.

Best, Pallabi

Hi Pallabi, wow thanks for your long comment.

I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful. As for your itinerary, I think it sounds amazing. And definitely doable the way you’re planning on doing it. Just a quick side note, though. You visit Schilthorn from Lauterbrunnen, not Grindelwald. So maybe do Lauterbrunnen, Schilthorn and then Grindelwald after. But other than that, it sounds perfect.

About the travel passes… Hm this is always a tricky one. The best pass for Switzerland is without a doubt the Swiss Travel Pass. But I don’t think in your case this is worth it. I quickly looked up the prices for all your tickets and I don’t recommend buying a travel pass at all. The cheapest version would be to buy a Swiss Half Fare Card for 120.- and get regular tickets for the trains as you go. With the mountain railways, you get the same discount with the Half Fare Card as with the Swiss Travel Pass. More or less.

You can jump on the SBB Website to find the prices and do the maths for yourself. But the result from my research is that getting the Swiss Half Fare Card and buying tickets as you go is the cheapest version.

Hope this helps and you have a wonderful time in Switzerland!

Hi , Thanks for this very useful and detailed article .planning a 6- days visit to Switzerland .is there a city or a village I can make as base camp to try all or most scenic train rides ? coming from the UK in July .Which city you recommend for me to stay ?

Hi, thank you for your question. If you’re looking for a place to do most of the scenic trains, it would be Lucerne as three out of five start there. You can technically do them in one day, but it’ll be a bit rushed. But it’s possible to start in Lucerne in the morning, do the ride and come back the same day.

Hi , What an informative piece , thank you so much . There are so many wonderful train journeys you can do . I am planning to travel in mid sec is that a good or bad time to travel ? Also can you suggest a 3/4 night round trip me and my son could do taking in as many journeys as possible ? Many thanks

Good to hear from you. Thank you for your message. I’m glad you’ve found my article helpful. As for your questions:

* Yes, September ist a good time to travel in Switzerland. Of course, I can’t tell if it’s going to be sunny all the time or if you get some rain. But generally speaking, September is a good time to travel as it’s the beginning of autumn. So not so hot anymore and not as crowded as July and August. * If you have 4 nights, you can combine a few of the scenic train rides. So you could go to Zermatt first and spend the night, do the Glacier Express to St. Moritz on day 2 and spend the second night in St. Moritz. Then take the Bernina Express to Lugano on day 3 and spend the third night there. Then take the Gotthard Panorama Express to Lucerne on your last day and spend the night in Lucerne. Like this, you’ll have covered three of the scenic train rides. Or start in St. Gallen, go to Lucerne on day 2, Golden Pass on day 3 to Montreux, head to Zermatt for the night and do Glacier Express to St. Moritz on day 4.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in Switzerland!

Hello, What is your recommendation for a scenic train rides from Geneva for a day trip?

Hi, from Geneva, I think your only option is to travel to Montreux and to parts of the Golden Pass Line (maybe until Spiez or Interlaken) and then catch the train via Bern back to Geneva. All the other trains aren’t really an option if you try to do them as a day trip from Geneva.

Inside the Travel Lab

The 10 Most Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

November 26, 2023

The best train rides in Switzerland cover image

All aboard for some of the best train rides in the world with this guide to the most scenic train rides in Switzerland.

Abigail King on the Glacier Express Switzerland

Why Travel By Train in Switzerland

Ah, travel by train in Switzerland. One of my favourite things to do, even if I’ve discovered it relatively late in life.

Forget the British experience of squashed and sweaty armpits, late schedules and nothing but a pot noodle to eat, served with scalding water if you’re lucky. 

Swiss trains exist on a whole different level. 

The travel network itself is clean, reliable and comfortable. And then, there are the special trains. The trains where the windows nearly merge with the roof so you can see the beauty all around. The trains that dash through glaciers and funnel through fjords. The routes that make up the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, if not the world.

But enough talking in vague terms. Let me share with you what I learned on the recent Great Swiss Train Chase about these routes: the most scenic train rides in Switzerland.

The Swiss Travel Pass

The first thing you need to know about when it comes to travel by train is the Swiss Travel Pass. I tested this out on a four day challenge earlier in the year, which was a blast.

The pass gives you unlimited travel on trains, boats and buses across the country and you can buy it for different periods of time. And in case you, like I, think you’re too old for all that luggage heave-ho any more, you can also pair your pass with a luggage service, so that you can explore and your luggage is simply picked up for you and transported to your new destination – right to the hotel, door to door.

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Finally, there is the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland , a route that takes in many of these gorgeous, scenic train rides. Travel on these panoramic trains is also included in the Swiss Travel Pass, although you do need to pay a reservation fee on top to guarantee your place.

Right, logistics aside, let’s talk scenic train routes!

Disclosure – my most recent journey to Switzerland was in partnership with Swiss Travel Systems and Switzerland Tourism. However, as ever, I kept the right to write what I like. I’ve also travelled by train in Switzerland many times before over the years. Finally, if you book or buy through any of the links on this page, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

The most scenic train routes in Switzerland cover image

The Most Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

Now, then. Sadly, I haven’t experienced each of these – yet. But I so enjoyed the trips I have, that this will function as a kind of bucket list for me over the next few decades. However, I did interview, research and casually ask around. And all put together, these are the recommended most scenic train routes in Switzerland. Let’s go…

Swiss countryside as seen from the Glacier Express train

Glacier Express

  • Route with Stops:  Zermatt, Brig, Andermatt, Disentis Mustér, Chur, Tiefencastel, Filisur, Samedan, St Moritz
  • Distance:  291 km
  • Ride Duration:  7.5 hours

Part of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, the Glacier Express paints a picturesque journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz, taking in some of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes. This train quite literally takes you on a journey to the clouds, reaching an altitude of approximately 2,033 metres at the Oberalp Pass before descending into the valleys. 

An interesting fact about this train is that it’s often dubbed as the world’s slowest express train, traversing the 291km route in a leisurely 7.5 hours. But it’s the perfect pace to take in all those views.  

  • The Matterhorn  – Keep an eye out for the unmistakable pyramid-shaped marvel of the Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in the Alps. You can catch the best view as the train leaves Zermatt.
  • Landwasser Viaduct  – As you approach Filisur, the train seems to ‘leap’ across this 65m high and 136m long icon of Swiss engineering. Nothing but a big void beneath you and the amazing nature that surrounds it.
  • Albula Line  – This stretch of track from Thusis to St. Moritz is a UNESCO World Heritage site, highly praised for the use of the landscape’s topography.   
  • Oberalp Pass  – This is the highest point in your journey, where you can capture a stunning sight of snow-capped mountains.  
  • Chur  – You can also cut short your journey at Chur if you don’t have time for the whole route. Chur (pronounced something like Koo-er) is the oldest town in Switzerland, with picture perfect charm. The settlement is more than 5,000 years old.

Tip:   For taking spectacular shots of snow-capped peaks without window reflections, check out this article on taking photos from a train .

Bernina Express, Switzerland

The Bernina Express

  • Route with Stops:  Chur, Filisur, St Moritz, Poschiavo, Tirano
  • Distance:  122 km
  • Ride Duration:  4 hours

Originating from the quaint city of Chur and snaking its way through Filisur, St. Moritz, picturesque Poschiavo, and eventually Tirano in Northern Italy, this train route travels a distance of 122km over 4 hours. 

Praised as one of the most scenic train rides globally, this particular route tops out at the Bernina Pass, reaching a staggering 2,253 meters above sea level. 

Take in the sublime panorama from your seat through the panoramic windows of the train. 

Be prepared: the train may be bustling during the summer months, so it’s wise to make a seat reservation well in advance.

  • Landwasser Viaduct  –This high limestone cliff curves into a mountain tunnel. 
  • Brusio Spiral Viaduct  – An architectural marvel designed to allow the train to descend gracefully while treating you to a 360-degree view of the surroundings.
  • Morteratsch Glacier  – Nothing is quite as ‘cool’ as the Morteratsch Glacier, the second-largest glacier in the Eastern Alps. 

Tip:   Grab a Swiss Travel Pass. It covers all Swiss trains, trams and boats making it an ideal way to explore Switzerland. You do need to pay for a reservation fee for some of the specialist trains, though . Find the full details here.

Also, consider investing in a Eurail pass to save on individual train tickets, particularly if you’re planning to explore multiple scenic Swiss train rides or travel between different countries.

Abigail King and Macca Sherifi on the Rigi Train in Switzerland

The Voralpen-Express

  • Route with Stops:  St Gallen, Wattwil, Rapperswil, Arth Goldau, Lucerne
  • Distance:  125 km
  • Ride Duration:  2 hours 15 minutes

The Voralpen-Express, making a 125 km artful bend from St Gallen to Lucerne, lavishes passengers with a seasoned blend of nature’s best: verdant hills, gentle valleys, azure lakes and quintessentially Swiss villages. The ride lasts something along the lines of two hours and fifteen minutes, the train gliding up to 90 metres above sea level in Arth Goldau before heading downwards. Did you know? This stretch is one of the steepest non-rack railways in Switzerland.

  • Arth-Goldau  – Located at the foot of Mt. Rigi, this stop provides the opportunity to take a detour to the ‘Queen of the Mountains’ via the oldest mountain railway in Europe.
  • St. Gallen  – The final stop, distinguished by its Abbey of Saint Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has one of the richest medieval libraries in the world.  

switzerland scenic train tours

The Gotthard Panorama Express

  • Route 1:  Lucerne(train), Flüelen, Lake Lucerne (boat), Lugano
  • Route 2:  Lugano(boat), Flüelen(train), Lucerne. 
  • Ride Duration:  182 km
  • Distance:  5.5 hours

Step aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express in Lucerne, a charming city in central Switzerland, and commence an enthralling 5.5-hour journey through some of the country’s most magnificent landscapes. The train climbs steep alpine gradients, with views of deep valleys and emerald panoramas from your large-window carriage. 

As a bonus, this train offers an optional boat ride section across Lake Lucerne, connecting charming small towns dappled on the lakeside.

  • Lake Lucerne  – Among the most stunning bodies of water in the country, Lake Lucerne offers views of quaint villages, steep mountainsides, and the imposing Rigi Kulm mountain in the background.   
  • Flaeselen  – As the train approaches Flaeselen, look for the panorama of crystal-clear lakes, lush green hills, and rustic chalets – a quintessential Swiss sight.  
  • Gotthard Tunnel  – This historic tunnel was once deemed impossible to exist and yet, here it is. The lights blink past rapidly as the train plunges into the darkness, only to emerge into broad daylight with a completely different landscape.
  • Church of Wassen  – As the train negotiates the mountain curves, you will spot the Church of Wassen from multiple perspectives. The distinctive baroque architecture amidst the surrounding greenery makes it a great spot for photos.

Tip:   The boat ride on Lake Lucerne supplements the beauty of this journey and is worth making the effort to arrange.

Mount Pilatus on a sunny day in Switzerland

Cogwheel Railway to Mount Pilatus

  • Route with Stops:  Alpnachstad, Mount Pilatus
  • Distance:  4.6 km
  • Ride Duration:  45 minutes

Virtually clinging to the face of Mount Pilatus, this train winds its way from Alpnachstad to the mountain’s summit. Travellers are treated to a blend of alpine meadows, steep rock faces, and a panoramic vista that serves as a perfect backdrop to this journey. Although it lasts just 45 minutes, the ride reaches an impressive height of 2,073 metres, offering the best views of the landscape below.   

  • Summit of Mount Pilatus  – The pinnacle of the journey, quite literally, is the top of Mount Pilatus. On reaching the peak, you’ll be treated to a stunning, panoramic view of 73 Alpine peaks. A treasure for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
  • The World’s Steepest Cogwheel Railway  – Navigating an incline of 48%, this is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, offering passengers an adrenaline rush coupled with incredible views.

Houses by Lake Brienz in Switzerland

The Golden Pass Line

  • Route with Stops:  Montreux, Zweisimmen, Interlaken, Lucerne
  • Distance:  191 km
  • Ride Duration:  5.5 hours

The Golden Pass Line traces a picturesque route across the heart of Switzerland, covering a distance of 191 km from Montreux to Lucerne in approximately 5.5 hours. As it scales the apex of the Brunig Pass, you will see stunning views of Lake Geneva and Lake Brienz, before descending into small towns with scenic Swiss charms.

While the panoramic train does tend to be crowded, the large windows in 1st class ensure you don’t miss out. It really comes recommended as one of the best scenic train rides Switzerland offers.

  • The Brunig Pass  – See the striking spectacle of Lake Brienz, an indigo jewel amidst the Bernese Oberland landscape. Soak in the views because it’s a sight worth seeing!
  • Lake Brienz  – One of the most beautiful train ride segments, the reflections of Swiss homes in the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz are supposed to be gorgeous.
  • The Chocolate Train  – This Belle Epoque train from Montreux to Broc-Chocolat is part of the Golden Pass Line and takes you to the fantastic chocolate factory in Broc-Chocolat. You will need to book it separately though.

Tip:   Opt for a visit in late October, when the autumnal colours of the Swiss Alps are at their most vivid.

Mont Blanc Express train in the mountains in Switzerland

The Mont Blanc Express

  • Route with Stops:  Martigny, Vernayaz, Salvan, Marécottes, Le Trétien, Finhaut, Le Châtelard, Chamonix
  • Distance:  38 km
  • Ride Duration:  90 minutes

Bringing you the best experiences within a relatively short distance, the Mont Blanc Express wonderfully captures the essence of Swiss train travel. It is indeed one of the most famous scenic train rides, connecting the dots in a spectacle of mountain passes right at the top of Europe. 

The 90-minute rail journey circumnavigates the contours of the mountains, weaving through deep gorges before ascending to panoramic scenic views.

  • The Trient Gorge  – A carved chasm handcrafted by Mother Nature herself, the gorge plunges to a depth of around 200 meters and is renowned for its unique, vertically ribbed cliffs. 
  • Emosson Dam  – Past green fields and curious rock formations, the train rumbles into Finhaut – where you uncover the Emosson Dam, a vivid juxtaposition of human endeavour against the backdrop of nature.  

City of Lucerne in Switzerland at sunset

The Luzern-Interlaken Express

  • Route with Stops:  Lucerne, Interlaken
  • Distance:  98 km
  • Ride Duration:  1 hour 50 minutes

The Luzern-Interlaken Express takes you on a breathtaking ride through Switzerland’s heartland, covering a distance of 98 km in just under two hours. Its path courses through forested wilderness, mighty mountain ranges, and idyllic lakesides, making each frame through the window a moving painting. The carriages are modern and comfortable with a dining car, offering travellers the added convenience of refreshments en route.

  • Lake Lucerne  – A truly calm and beautiful lake by the city with the same nature. 
  • The Brunig Pass  – The train climbs to 1,002 meters to give a great view of the terrain.
  • Giessbach Falls  – Look out for this silver ribbon cascade just after the Meiringen station.

Jungfrau Railway Switzerland

The Jungfrau Railway

  • Route with Stops:  Kleine Scheidegg, Eismeer Station, Jungfraujoch
  • Distance:  9.34 km
  • Ride Duration:  35 minutes

The Jungfrau Railway, a 9.34 km stretch is the experience of a lifetime, involving the highest railway station in Europe at Eismeer. This railway is a pot of gold for scenic landscapes involving glacier views, icy tunnels, and pristine, white snowy peaks. Vertiginously, it reaches 3454 meters, and from this point, one can glimpse a landscape akin to a fantastical snow globe before the descent begins.


  • The Eiger Glacier  – This is a monumental ice body with a spectacular white-blue aura. Don’t miss the cliff-face observatory; people say it’s like witnessing the heartbeat of the Alps.   
  • Eismeer Station  – Located within a tunnel inside the Eiger mountain, this is one of the highest railway stations in Europe. Its panoramic windows offer you a stunningly surreal vision of the frozen sea of glaciers.

Gornergrat Railway Switzerland

Gornergrat Railway

  • Route with Stops:  Zermatt, Findelbach, Riffelalp, Riffelboden, Riffelberg, Rotenboden, Gornergrat
  • Distance:  9.4 km 
  • Ride Duration:  33 minutes

Making its way through the heart of skiing country, the Gornergrat Railway is a marvel in itself. With Zermatt as its base station, this 9.4 km journey ascends to the dizzying height of 3,089 meters above sea level to Gornergrat, a feat that has earned it the accolade of being Europe’s highest open-air railway. Unsurprisingly, this is not a route for the faint of heart, but if you can find the courage, you will find one of the most scenic railway trips in Switzerland.   

  • Gornergrat Summit  – The 360° panoramic view showcases 29 peaks of the Swiss Alps, plus one of the world’s highest hotels and observatories.
  • The Riffelberg Station  – Offers a bird’s eye view of the Gorner Valley, a terrain that seems plucked straight out of a fairy tale, bookended by traditional chalets and soaring pine forests.

Impressive architecture in Santa Maria Maggiore, Switzerland

The Centovalli Railway

  • Route with Stops:  Locarno, Centovalli, Santa Maria Maggiore, Valle Vigezzo, Domodossola
  • Distance:  52 km
  • Ride Duration:  2 hours

The Centovalli Railway journey begins in Locarno, popular for its lakeside setting, and steadily winds its way through the ‘Hundred Valleys’ towards Domodossola in Italy. The journey, largely unchanged since its inception in 1923, is teeming with romantic drama – vertiginous panoramas, deep ravines and colourful villages. 

The highest point is reached around Santa Maria Maggiore, at a whopping 830m, before a placid descent towards the final valley. 

The train isn’t an exquisite luxury affair, but instead pays homage to the traditional, with a comfortably quaint charm. 

  • Intragna  – This picturesque village is perched on a strategically located hill at the confluence of two rivers, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
  • Santa Maria Maggiore  – Also known as the Painters’ Valley due to its long association with artists and natural beauty, this delightful destination is brimming with quaint houses and lovely squares and is surrounded by a stunning mountainous landscape.

Tip:   Even though it’s possible to complete the journey parts by hopping on local trains, stick with the panoramic Centovalli Express for the best scenic experience.

The best train rides in Switzerland cover image

Concluding Thoughts

So there we have it. From the picturesque Glacier Express to the dizzying heights of the Gornergrat Railway, these are the most scenic rain rides in Switzerland.

Efficient, comfortable and almost always on time, Swiss trains exist in a world of their own. Planning on travelling to Switzerland soon? Ditch the car and take advantage of the rail system instead. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

More on Switzerland

  • Everything you need to know about an  ebike holiday in Verbier
  • How to spend two days in Geneva
  • Your 24 hour itinerary for Geneva
  • Why you should spend summer in Switzerland
  • Is the Swiss Travel Pass worth it?
  • Aargau region
  • Basel region
  • Bern Region
  • Fribourg region
  • Geneva region

Graubünden region

  • Jura & Three-Lakes Region
  • Lake Geneva region

Lucerne Region - Lake Lucerne

  • Region Eastern Switzerland / Liechtenstein

Ticino region

  • Valais region
  • Zurich region
  • Avalanche course
  • Bungee jumping
  • Carriage rides
  • Chocolate factory
  • Competition
  • Cooking course
  • Creative workshop
  • Cross country skiing
  • Eating with locals
  • Escape Game
  • Escape Room
  • Exhibitions
  • Food & Drink
  • Ice climbing
  • Indoor amusement park
  • Lift tickets
  • Llama and alpaca trekking
  • Monster Scooter
  • Mountain bike
  • Mountain tour
  • Natural attractions
  • Night sledding
  • Paragliding
  • Photo course
  • SBB Day Pass
  • Scenic flight
  • Scenic train
  • Ski touring
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Stand up paddle
  • Summer tobogganing
  • Swiss Rail Passes
  • Trail running
  • Train ticket
  • Travel preparation
  • Via ferrata
  • Virtual Reality Games
  • Wakeboarding
  • private car tour
  • snowboard rental
  • virtual travel companion


Scenic train Switzerland - 7 Top Deals and Prices 2024

There are several world-famous panoramic trains in Switzerland, such as the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express and the Golden Pass Line. A panoramic train runs on routes that are particularly worth seeing. Whether beautiful landscapes, remarkable natural attractions or extraordinary buildings, the view is always very special. That's why a panoramic train has particularly large windows that allow a good view and great photos. In addition to the panoramic windows, a panoramic train often also offers elevated seats from which you can get an even better view of the surroundings.

Tickets and activities for Scenic train

Luzern Interlaken Ost

Lucerne - Interlaken Express Ticket and Reservation

Travel between Lucerne and Interlaken on the Zentralbahn and ride a section of the Golden Pass panoramic train. Enchanting views of four Swiss lakes and across the Alps await you.

Gotthard Panorama Express (Foto: KEYSTONE, Swiss Tavel System AG)

Gotthard Panorama Express Ticket from Lucerne or Lugano

The Gotthard Panorama Express is a beautiful panoramic journey between Lucerne and Lugano. Between Lucerne and Flüelen you travel by steam or Moro ship. Between Flüelen and Lugano the panorama train runs on the historic railroad line through the old Gotthard tunnel.


Voralpen Express Ticket from St. Gallen or Lucerne

The Voralpen Express runs every hour between Lucerne and St. Gallen. On the way, the view of Lake Lucerne, the Rigi, Lake Zurich and the striking Säntis is fascinating.

(Foto Swiss Travel System AG)

Golden Pass Line ticket from Lucerne or Montreux

The Golden Pass Line is a panoramic train that travels through particularly beautiful regions of Switzerland. You travel between Lucerne on Lake Lucerne and Montreux on Lake Geneva.


Centovalli train ticket between Domodossola and Locarno

With this ticket you travel on the Centovalli Railway. It runs between Domodossola and Locarno and connects the Simplon line with the Gotthard Railway.

Popular places in Switzerland for Scenic train

A small village in the Grisons surrounded by mountains

  • The 5 most beautiful scenic trains in Switzerland

We've already talked about the fact that Switzerland has a high affinity for trains as a means of transport in our article about public transport in Switzerland . But did you know that those over 5300 km of railway tracks serve more than just fast transportation from one place to another?

There are several railroad lines that you would love to travel several times in a row. Because that way you could take a closer look at the beautiful scenery that inevitably speeds past your windows. Be that the journey on the intercity train from Zurich to Chur , which passes mystical Lake Walensee. Or the route from Fribourg to Lausanne , where you get an incredible view over the Lavaux vineyards and Lake Geneva after the tunnel.

Train travel and beautiful views usually go hand in hand in Switzerland. If you're looking to embark on a train journey with a focus on these very views, there are some world-famous panoramic trains that will make your heart beat faster.

Swiss Activities Tips: Get he perfect support for planning your trip in the panorama train through Switzerland with the Train Tour App. Also, the panoramic trains are all covered by the Swiss Travel Pass and other railway passes for tourists .

Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is called the "slowest express train in the world" and lives up to this title. It covers a distance of 291 km between Zermatt and St. Moritz, passes 91 tunnels and crosses 291 bridges. It takes no less than eight hours to do so. This results in an average speed of 36 km/h, which is roughly equivalent to the speed that a leatherback turtle can cover under water.

The Glacier Express is operated by the two railroad companies Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn (MGB) and Rhätische Bahn (RhB). The MGB operates the section between Zermatt and Disentis, while the part between Disentis and St. Moritz is operated by the RhB.

So if you're making your way from St. Moritz to Zermatt on the Glacier Express, you'll have more than enough time at turtle speed to get your fill of the enchanting scenery. Check out this Glacier Express review for more information on this scenic ride.

  • Where does the Glacier Express route pass?

The Glacier Express commutes between St. Moritz in the Engadine and Zermatt, the mountain village at the foot of the Matterhorn. Shortly after its departure in St. Moritz, the Glacier Express travels along the winding Albula line.

On this railroad line, the train passes through six viaducts and three helical tunnels to overcome the altitude between the Albula Pass and Filisur. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage inventory in 2008. On this route, the train keeps changing the side of the valley and the direction. This does not make it easy to keep track of where you are. So keep a close look out the window.

This segment of the Glacier Express also includes the impressive Landwasser Viaduct, which leads directly from the bridge structure into a tunnel. The viaduct is 146 m long and 65 m high.

Next, the Glacier Express travels through the Rhine Gorge , also known as "Ruinaulta" or the "Swiss Grand Canyon" . If you start the journey in St. Moritz, here you have the best view of the Rhine Gorge on the left side of the train .

After a quick break in Chur, the capital of the canton of Grisons, the journey continues across the Oberalp Pass via Disentis/Mustér to Andermatt in the canton of Uri. Up here, the Glacier Express overcomes its highest point and passes Lake Oberalp, 2044 meters above sea level.

Afterwards, it's more or less all downhill and along the River Rhone to Brig in the canton of Valais . After Brig, the Glacier Express makes another change of direction and begins its final ascent to Zermatt. Here, the Matterhorn hopefully waits impatiently for you and does not hide behind the clouds.

  • Things to know about the Glacier Express
  • The Glacier Express runs three times daily in summer and twice daily in winter.
  • A seat reservation is mandatory for a ride on the Glacier Express. The cost depends on whether you're travelling in summer or winter and whether you're travelling the entire journey or only parts of it. The price for a seat reservation varies between CHF 29 and CHF 49. With the GA or Swiss Half Fare Card, you don't receive a discount on the reservation.
  • Several Rail Passes are accepted on the Glacier Express. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass , a Eurail, an Interrail or a day pass, you don't pay extra for the ticket and only need to buy a seat reservation. With the Swiss Half Fare Card you get a 50% discount on the ticket price.
  • Swiss Activities Tip : If you're interested in the journey, but not in a trip on the panoramic train, there are also "normal" trains running between Zermatt and St. Moritz. However, for this trip you have to change trains in Brig, Andermatt, Disentis/Mustér and Chur. The journey is only a little longer than with the Glacier Express. But you're not bound to the departures or the reservation obligation of the Glacier Express.
  • Service and gastronomy are very important on the Glacier Express. After all, the journey takes almost one full day, which won't go down well on an empty snomach. The easiest way is to order your meal when you get your seat reservation. However, the menu is also available for spontaneous requests.

Bernina Express

With its 55 tunnels and 196 bridges, which the Bernina Express panorama train crosses and traverses on the 156 km between Chur and Tirano, you could call it the little brother of the Glacier Express. In terms of speed, the two roughly balance each other out, as the Bernina Express also glides along the rails at leather turtle speed.

What's special about the Bernina Express is that it crosses the Swiss border and you have to change means of transportation in between. After about four hours, the panoramic train of the Rhaetian Railway reaches Tirano in Italy. From there, the Bernina Express bus covers the remaining 90 km to Lugano .

Due to the fact that the Bernina Express crosses the Alps, you will be able to marvel at glaciers on this trip in the beginning and be surrounded by palm trees only a few hours later. A more contrasting train ride in such a short time will be hard to find.

Learn more about the Bernina Express in our extensive review we wrote about this panoramic train.

  • Where does the Bernina Express route pass?

The Bernina Express begins its journey in Chur and then shares its route with the Glacier Express until St. Moritz. Thus, this panoramic train also passes through the Rhine Gorge, over the Landwasser Viaduct and along the confusing Albula line into the Engadine.

From St. Moritz, the train climbs steeply up to Ospizio Bernina, which at 2253 meters above sea level is the highest point on the Bernina Express route. On the way there you have a wonderful view of the Morteratsch glacier as well as the ice-cold and deep blue Lago Bianco.

After this steep climb, it's all downhill. Literally.

Heading towards Italy, the Bernina Express travels over various viaducts, through the fertile Val Poschiavo, past Lago di Poschiavo and, shortly before crossing the border into Italy, across another highlight.

The circular viaduct in Brusio allows the train to overcome the required height on a small area and demonstrates for a moment the effect of centrifugal force.

In Campocologno the train crosses the border to Italy and ends in Tirano, a small town in Lombardy. From here, the Bernina Express bus takes you back to Switzerland in Lugano during summer. It takes three hours to drive through the Mediterranean Valtellina and past Lago di Como.

  • Things to know about the Bernina Express
  • The timetable of the Bernina Express is not easy to understand at first glance. The rail segments are divided into two different routes. One runs from Chur to Tirano, while the other starts in St. Moritz and also ends in Tirano. The train that starts in Chur does not stop in St. Moritz, but goes directly to Ospizio Bernina via Pontresina.
  • The panoramic train between Chur and Tirano runs daily, while the one between St. Moritz and Tirano runs only between May and October. The bus between Tirano and Lugano also runs between May and October.
  • If you travel outside the operating hours of the Bernina Express bus, your only option is to travel back to St. Moritz or Chur, or to travel individually to Lugano using public transport in Italy.
  • A seat reservation is mandatory for the Bernina Express. The cost depends on the time of year you are travelling and whether you use the bus to Lugano or end your trip in Tirano. The price therefore varies quite a bit between CHF 10 and CHF 42 depending on the route and season. With the GA and the Swiss HalfFare Card you don't get a discount on the reservation.
  • Several rail passes are accepted on the Bernina Express. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, a Eurail, an Interrail or a day pass, you only have to buy a seat reservation. With the Swiss Half Fare Card you get a 50% discount on the ticket price.
  • Swiss Activities Tip : If you're interested in the route, but not in a ride on the panoramic train, there are also "normal" trains running between Chur, St. Moritz and Tirano. Coming from Chur you'll have to change trains in Samedan and Pontresina, while between Tirano and St. Moritz you have a direct train. The advantage is that the trains run hourly, which gives you more flexibility than waiting for the panoramic train. In addition, the obligation for a seat reservation is omitted.
  • Unlike the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express doen't have a dining car. However, there is a bistro on board where cold snacks and regional delicacies can be purchased. The lunch break is spent in Poschiavo or in Tirano, where you find several catering options.
  • Don't forget: You'll need a passport or identity card to cross the border into Italy.

Golden Pass Line

The Golden Pass Line is a panoramic train route consisting of three individual stages. The first stage - operated by Zentralbahn - runs between Lucerne and Interlaken . After that, the BLS regional train takes over to Zweisimmen, from where the Golden Pass Panoramic finishes the third section to Montreux. All in all, this scenic route covers 191 km in roughly six hours.

The Golden Pass Line connects the German-speaking part of Switzerland with the French-speaking part and passes some important Swiss lakes along the way. These include Lake Lucerne , Lake Brienz , Lake Thun and Lake Geneva . You can also catch a glimpse of the Giessbach Falls along the way next to Lake Brienz.

Since the Golden Pass Line cuts right through the middle of Switzerland, it's especially easy to integrate it into your Switzerland itinerary .

  • Where does the Golden Pass Line route pass?

Coming from the east, the Golden Pass Line starts in Lucerne. Before its ascent to the Brünig Pass at an altitude of just over 1000 meters, the train passes three smaller lakes: Lakes Alpnach, Sarner and Lungern. After crossing the Brünig Pass, it begins its descent towards Brienz and winds its way along Lake Brienz to Interlaken.

The views on this section are breathtaking. After Brienz, you can even catch a glimpse of the Giessbach Falls and the imposing Grand Hotel on the other side of the lake.

In Interlaken Ost, you'll need to transfer onto another train. This train changes the lakeside after Interlaken and travels along Lake Thun to Spiez. The subsequent journey through the Simmental invites you to slow down and dream. The train takes its dear time here and you can enjoy the narrow valley, the dark forests and the charming river.

After a flying change in Zweisimmen onto the Golden Pass Panoramic, the train continues uphill and through the Bernese Oberland to Gstaad. This ride offers another picture-perfect panorama. Green meadows, grazing cows, traditional wooden chalets and snowy peaks of the Alps in the background show you Switzerland as you imagined it.

On its final stretch to Montreux , the Golden Pass Line passes through the Vaud and Fribourg Alps and ultimately down through the vineyards to Lake Geneva. Here, an extremely contrasting journey comes to an end.

  • Things to know about the Golden Pass Line
  • Since 2022, it is no longer necessary to change trains in Zweisimmen every time. Certain trains travel directly from Interlaken to Montreux, while others still require a transfer in Zweisimmen with good connections.
  • Trains run once an hour all year round on all sections of the Golden Pass Line.
  • Seat reservations on the Golden Pass Line aren't mandatory. Between Lucerne and Interlaken as well as between Interlaken and Zweisimmen you will always find a seat. To be on the safe side, however, the Golden Pass Panoramic customer service recommends a reservation between Zweisimmen and Montreux. This can be bought at the counters of most major train stations in the region.
  • On the Zentralbahn between Lucerne and Interlaken, you can reserve a seat in the panoramic wagon if you don't want to travel on the "normal" car with "normal-sized" windows. You can either make a reservation at the ticket office in Lucerne, over the phone or online.
  • Several rail passes are accepted on the Golden Pass Line. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, a Eurail, an Interrail or a day pass, the entire journey is covered. With the Swiss Half Fare Card you get 50% reduction on the ticket price.
  • The service on the Golden Pass Line varies between the different train operators. On the Zentralbahn between Lucerne and Interlaken, meals and drinks can be purchased in the Bistro. On the trains between Interlaken and Montreux, there are no meal options for individual travellers. It's best to buy something for the road in Interlaken if you can't stand being without snacks for a few hours.

Gotthard Panorama Express

The Gotthard Panorama Express is, in a way, a historic remnant of Switzerland's impressive railroad history. In summer 2016, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest rail tunnel in the world, was inaugurated. It is 57 km long and shortens the journey to Ticino by 20%. Today, it's no longer necessary to travel via the traditional mountain route between Göschenen and Airolo. The faster route runs from Erstfeld directly to Bodio.

Until 2016, the mountain route was the only way to reach Ticino by train. Today, the traditional route is used by the Gotthard Panorama Express. This train takes its guests through the many helical tunnels and the Gotthard Tunnel, inaugurated in 1882, to the other side of the Alps. This panoramic journey between Lucerne and Lugano is combined with a steamboat-ride on Lake Lucerne and a train ride in the panoramic train through the old Gotthard tunnel.

  • Where does the route of the Gotthard Panorama Express pass?

The journey from north to south starts with a trip on the boat from Lucerne . On Lake Lucerne you will travel from Lucerne to Flüelen. This trip is served either by a historic paddle steamer or the modern motor ship "Diamant" . On the way you will pass breathtaking landscapes and historical places like the Tell's Chapel or the Rütli meadow.

In Flüelen the panorama train is waiting for you and continues the journey southwards to Lugano. It climbs over various helical tunnels up to Göschenen, where the old Gotthard tunnel leads to Airolo. The special thing about this stretch is the "Chileli vo Wasse" . The train passes this small chapel in Wassen three times.

To overcome the necessary altitude, the train makes some loops here and you have the opportunity on this section to view the cute chapel from different angles and altitudes. This " Chileli " is so famous among the Swiss population that the Swiss band " Lo & Leduc " even dedicated a song to it.

After crossing the original Gotthard tunnel, the descent follows through the Mediterranean Ticino countryside. You will pass the medieval castles of Bellinzona until you reach Lugano, where a southern flair with palm trees and Italian gelaterias awaits you.

  • Things to know about the Gotthard Panorama Express
  • The Gotthard Panorama Express operates between May and October from Tuesday to Sunday. It departs Lucerne at 11:12 a.m. and Lugano at 9:22 a.m., arriving at its destination 5:30 hours later.
  • If you travel outside this season or prefer a different departure time, you can take the "normal" train through the old Gotthard tunnel. This train runs once an hour between Locarno and Zurich, with the section between Bellinzona and Flüelen being relevant for you. The boats on Lake Lucerne also run all year round. However, in winter there is only one direct trip between Lucerne and Flüelen.
  • A seat reservation is mandatory on the train route with the Gotthard Panorama Express. Regardless of whether you have a GA, a Swiss Travel Pass or any other railway pass. The reservation costs 16.- CHF and can be purchased either online or at the counter at the train station.
  • On the Gotthard Panorama Express train you always travel in first class, while you have the choice between 1st or 2nd class on the boat. Several railway passes are accepted on the Gotthard Panorama Express. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass or a day pass, the whole journey is covered. With the Tellpass you also enjoy free travel between Lucerne and Flüelen. With the Swiss Half Fare Card you get a 50% reduction on the entire journey.
  • If you have an Interrail or Eurail ticket, you travel free of charge on the rail route (apart from the reservation surcharge), while you receive a 50% reduction on the boat ticket.
  • On the ship as well as on the trainm there's the option to buy food. It's not necessary to order your meal in advance. So you can decide spontaneously for a "cold Plättli Ticino style" or a warm lunch.

Voralpen Express

The Voralpen Express is not a panoramic train in the true sense like the other candidates in this article. It neither has oversized panorama windows, nor is it specially designed for tourists. But it's the most comfortable and attractive connection between St. Gallen and Lucerne with beautiful views.

Originally, the Voralpen Express used to serve the route between Romanshorn on Lake Constance and Lucerne. In 2019, however, it was shortened and has since ended or started in St. Gallen.

On the one hand, it is used as a commuter train, but is equally popular with day-trippers due to the varied and scenic route. The Voralpen Express takes "only" just under two and a half hours to cover the approximately 125 km. With an average speed of 55 km/h, this puts it in the same category as the kangaroo.

Goodbye leatherback turtle.

  • Where does the route of the Voralpen Express pass?

In the east, the Voralpen Express begins in the beautiful city of St. Gallen. Shortly after its start, it passes over the 99-meter-high Sitter Viaduct, the highest railroad viaduct in Switzerland. This is followed by another viaduct in Herisau, which scores with its unrestricted view over the Alpstein mountains. Afterwards, the train winds through green, hilly and typically eastern Swiss landscapes that pass by outside your window.

After two long tunnels through the Wasserfluh and the Ricken, the Voralpen Express arrives in Rapperswil on Lake Zurich . This pretty little town with its striking castle is located at the eastern end of the lake dam that leads across Lake Zurich to Pfäffikon. Along this dam is a wooden footbridge that forms part of the Camino de Santiago and is very popular for walking.

If you want to break up your trip, a short stay in Rapperswil followed by a quick walk along the footbridge to Pfäffikon might be a good idea. In Pfäffikon you can continue your journey on the Voralpen Express. From Pfäffikon the train climbs up the hill to Rothenthurm, where you'll pass the largest contiguous high moor area in Switzerland.

Afterwards, you'll be accompanied by more impressive views of the Alps. Soon Lake Zug and Lake Lucerne join the panorama. After a ride along the lake and one last stop at the Museum of Transport Lucerne you will arrive in the city of Lucerne.

  • Things to know about the Voralpen Express
  • The Voralpen Express departs once an hour from St. Gallen and Lucerne between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. You can breatk up your journey on the way as often as you like and always continue one hour later.
  • You don't need a seat reservation for the Voralpen Express. You have free choice of where you like to sit. Unless you travel during rush hour, which you should not do in Switzerland , you are almost guaranteed a seat.
  • The Voralpen Express has a bistro zone where you can stock up on snacks and drinks.
  • Several railway passes are accepted on the Voralpen Express. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, a Eurail, an Interrail or a day pass, the entire journey is covered. With the Swiss Half Fare Card you get a 50% discount.
  • Swiss Activities Tip: Since you're travelling on a "normal" train here, there are also Supersaver tickets available, which you can buy either on the SBB website or with the SBB app. The earlier you know your travel date, the better your chances of scoring a good deal.

Other panoramic train rides in Switzerland

Granted, these five panoramic trains rightly enjoy a high popularity. But when you consider the several thousand kilometers of railway tracks in Switzerland, there are countless other scenic sections. These may be less well known, but some of them are also very impressive. So, should you be looking for a slightly "more ordinary" and less exclusive route, here's a small selection to finish this article:

  • Regional train from Bern to Lucerne through the idyllic Emmental and the Entlebuch Biosphere
  • Regional train from Lausanne to Montreux, along Lake Geneva and the Lavaux vineyards
  • Regional train from Romanshorn to Schaffhausen, along Lake Constance and the River Rhine
  • Intercity train from Zurich to Chur, passing Lake Zurich and Lake Walen
  • Intercity train from Bern to Brig along Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps
  • Regional train from Chur to Arosa or Davos through the Grisons mountains
  • Regional train from St. Gallen to Wasserauen through the hilly landscape of Appenzell
  • Regional train from Solothurn to Moutier through the Jura landscapes This list could also be continued at will. But you probably understand what I'm talking about.

In a country with 5300 km of railway tracks, you'll find more than enough train rides with stunning views that'll make your heart beat faster. So buy your ticket, grab a window seat and press your nose against the glass.

  • Zurich to Chur: Take the express train past Lake Zurich and Lake Walen

The train first travels through the Zimmerberg Base Tunnel. Afterwards, the railroad line to Pfäffikon runs directly along the western shore of Lake Zurich . This means you can enjoy the lake on the left-hand side of the direction of travel. As soon as the train has passed the Ziegelbrücke stop, it passes a lake again. It is the Walensee , which you can also see clearly on the left as far as Walenstadt.

On the right, however, you have a direct view of the Glarus Alps. After Sargans you will see the Pizol in the foreground.

  • Trai ticket Zurich-Chur
  • Chur to Arosa: By regional train over the Langwieser Viaduct

The journey from Chur to Arosa takes an hour. After a leisurely ride through Chur , the train climbs high. The train climbs around 1000 meters in just 26 km. At the start, you can see the Dreibündenstein plateau with the Brambrüsch on the southern side. To the north is the Hochwang chain with the Hochwang at 2533 m above sea level as the highest point. You will see almost untouched nature all around. You quickly reach the mountain landscapes of Schanfigg. Schanfigg is the name of the elongated valley that leads directly to Arosa. The Langwieser Viaduct is a particular highlight of this ride. And it goes even higher: the train climbs up to 1739 m above sea level in Arosa and has thus covered 1155 meters in altitude since Chur. Now you have a view of the Weisshorn chain with the Weisshorn reaching 2653 m above sea level.

  • Train ticket Chur - Arosa
  • Chur to Davos: By regional train over the Landwasser Viaduct and the Wiesen Viaduct

The InterRegio takes one hour from Chur to Filisur. Then take the regional train for about half an hour to Davos. Near Filisur, the Rhaetian Railway crosses the world-famous Landwasser Viaduct, which is 65 m high and 142 m long and enters a tunnel in a tight curve above the Landwasser Valley. Another viaduct awaits you on the rest of the route, the Wiesen Viaduct. It may not be as famous, but it is almost 89 m high. Both viaducts are only about 3 km apart.

The mountains that you see from Chur on the left (northern) side belong to the Plessuralpen. The Lenzerhorn stands out clearly at 2906 m above sea level. Then you can see the Strelakette of the Plessuralpen on the same side. The Guggernellgrat at 2810 m above sea level is clearly visible.

The other side of the window (from Chur to the right or south) shows you the striking rock of Piz Mitgel southwest of Filisur, which reaches 3159 m above sea level. The slightly higher Piz Ela, at 3339 m above sea level, peeps out behind it. Further along the railroad line towards Davos , the Albula Alps reveal themselves in all their glory.

  • Train ticket Chur - Davos via Filisur
  • Chur to St. Moritz: By regional train along the world-famous Albula line

Between Chur and Filisur, the Rhaetian Railway follows the same route as the train journey to Davos. From Filisur, however, it heads south and, after the Landwasser Viaduct, also has several helical tunnels along the way. They are located between Bergün and Preda and also look very spectacular from below. In winter, a very popular toboggan run runs from Preda to Bergün.

From the right-hand side of the window, you can see the peaks of Piz Bial (3061 m above sea level) and Piz Ot (3247 m above sea level) of the Albula Alps quite clearly in the direction of St. Moritz . Later, Piz Nair (3030 m above sea level) comes into view. On its eastern slope you will find the popular St. Moritz ski area of Corviglia.

  • Train ticket Chur - St. Moritz
  • Between Bern and Lucerne through the Emmental valley

The Emmental lies in the hilly Bernese Plateau. The train runs from Bern via Langnau and also passes the Entlebuch, a huge biosphere that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To the west of Langnau (from Bern on the left-hand side of the journey) you can see the Blasenflue hill country, whose highest point is the Blasenflue at 1118 m above sea level. The train runs right through the middle of the 400 km² UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch Nature Park . Shortly before Lucerne, you will see the striking Pilatus on the right.

  • Train ticket Bern - Lucerne
  • Between Schaffhausen and Romanshorn: along the Rhine and Lake Constance

The train route between Schaffhausen and Romanshorn takes you through unique countryside and past a number of sights. Heading towards Romanshorn, you will see the Munot fortress towering high above the town right at the start of your journey in Schaffhausen. It has guarded the town of Schaffhausen since the 16th century. From the Feuerthalen train station, you have a more beautiful view on the left-hand side of the train. First you see the High Rhine, which you can see as far as the beautiful town of Stein am Rhein . After a brief look at the medieval houses on the other side of the Rhine, you will see the pilgrimage church of St. Otmar on a small island. The Lake Constance accompanies you on the left-hand side of the route for the rest of the way to Romanshorn. On the right-hand side, you will occasionally see vineyards.

  • Train ticket Schaffhausen - Romanshorn
  • Between St. Gallen and Wasserauen through the hilly landscape of Appenzell

This leisurely ride through the Appenzell countryside takes about an hour. As soon as you leave St. Gallen , a picture-book landscape begins on both sides of the train. Small villages with scattered buildings, interspersed with fields, meadows and forests. Heading towards Wasserauen, you will see the Hundwiler Höhi (1306 m above sea level), a popular vantage point, on the left. Later, on the other side, you can see the Alpstein massif in the distance. Its highest point is the summit of the Säntis (2502 m above sea level).

  • Train ticket St. Gallen - Wasserauen
  • Between Lausanne and Montreux through the UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux wine landscape

The train journey between Lausanne and Montreux is unique. You can't sit on the "wrong" side of the train. Heading towards Montreux, you have a view of the beautiful Lake Geneva with its ships and boats on the right-hand side. But it's not boring on the left-hand side either. Here you will discover the huge Lavaux wine-growing region. The growing area covers around 830 hectares and is spectacularly situated on terraces on Lake Geneva . It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. The vines here benefit from the reflection of the sun's rays that shine on Lake Geneva. Additional heat is stored in the stone walls around the vines.

  • Train ticket Lausanne - Montreux
  • Between Interlaken Ost and Zermatt: along Lake Thun and through the Bernese and Valais Alps

You change trains twice on the way from Interlaken Ost to Zermatt, but the stunning scenery is your reward. The first stretch from Interlaken Ost takes you to Spiez. All along the route, you have a direct view of Lake Thun to the right and a good view of the Jungfrau region to the left. Incidentally, this route is part of the Golden Pass Express.

On the rest of the journey from Spiez to Visp and on to Zermatt, you travel right through the Bernese and Valais Alps. Between Visp and Zermatt, you cover part of the Glacier Express route. So you can look forward to wonderful views. In Zermatt , the four-thousand-metre peaks with the Matterhorn and the Dufourspitze await you.

  • Train ticket Interlaken Ost - Zermatt
  • Between St. Moritz and Alp Grüm: take the regional train over the Bernina Pass

Take the regional train between St. Moritz and Alp Grüm. On this route you travel through the Engadine Alps over the Bernina Pass. The alpine pass runs at 2235 m above sea level. Alp Grüm emerged from a Maiensäss and is a small settlement with a restaurant at the station. The view from its panoramic terrace is particularly spectacular.

  • Train ticket St. Moritz - Alp Grüm
  • The Centovalli Railway between Locarno and Domodossola

The Centovalli Railway connects Ticino with Italy and thus extends the Gotthard Railway line to the Simplon line in Domodossola.

The leisurely narrow-gauge railroad takes you through the "100 valleys" of the Centovalli and the adjoining Valle Vigezzo. You will pass through a number of tunnels and cross 83 bridges and viaducts. All around you will see a sleepy and largely untouched landscape with the River Melezza and beautiful waterfalls. Small Settlements are scattered across the landscape. It is not until you reach Italy that the villages through which the little train passes become somewhat larger. And you will notice that there are many churches along the route. The ride on the little train is a special experience.

  • Train ticket Centovalli Railway

In a country with 5300 km of tracks, you will find one or two views on most train journeys that will make your heart beat faster. So buy a ticket, grab a window seat and press your nose against the window.

Table of contents

Top destinations.

  • Grindelwald
  • Lauterbrunnen
  • Brienzwiler
  • Château-d'Oex
  • Wildhaus - Alt. St. Johann

Top Activities

Top attractions.

  • Harder Kulm
  • First Cliff Walk
  • Jungfraujoch
  • Museum of Transport
  • Mount Titlis
  • Schynige Plate
  • Eiger Glacier
  • Lake Geneva
  • Grindelwald First
  • Chillon Castle
  • Lake Brienz

Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland (Views to Die For)

scenic train rides switzerland

Planning a trip through Switzerland by train and you want to know more about the many Swiss scenic trains? Then you’ve come to the right place because this detailed guide will tell you about the huge range of panoramic train rides available in this Alpine country! 

From St. Gallen to Lucerne, Lucerne to Lugano, and Lugano to Tirano, these panoramic trains can take you on a journey through the entire country. Combine a few different trips to create your own Grand Train Tour of Switzerland itinerary or stick to a classic one like the famous Glacier Express – either way, these scenic train rides in Switzerland are the best this country has to offer!

Table of Contents

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Grand Train Tour

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is one of the most popular scenic train rides in Switzerland. It starts from Zurich and allows you to explore the most visited destinations in the country. The tour is usually around two weeks long, and it includes combines several panoramic trains into one big train trip through Switzerland. 

The standard Grand Train Tour itinerar y begins and ends in Zurich, but there are many other versions of the journey so it’s easy to adjust it to fit your travel plans. You can make the journey longer or shorter, explore more or fewer places, and see as much of the country as you would like. 

Grand Tour of Switzerland by Train (Map)

The main reason why the train tour starts in Zurich is that the city has the busiest airport in the country. Most travelers who fly to Switzerland from overseas land in Zurich, which makes it the ideal starting point for a train tour of the country. But, it’s worth noting that you can do the tour from wherever you want, so if you get a better deal on plane tickets to Basel or Geneva, don’t miss out!

Related Reading

Grand train tour of switzerland: a detailed guide, glacier express.

Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is the most famous train in Switzerland. It is a panoramic train that connects Zermatt and St. Moritz. It’s the world’s slowest express train because this journey takes around 8 hours – the only reason it’s an “express” train is that it makes fewer stops than the local trains. 

The train crosses 291 bridges and passes through 91 tunnels, during this epic Switzerland train journey of 291 kilometers. It’s undoubtedly one of the most scenic Swiss train rides, but also one of the best luxury train rides in Switzerland. Tickets for the entire 291-kilometer journey start at 152 CHF for second-class tickets, and that’s without a seat reservation. The reservation is an extra 39 or 49 CHF depending on the season, plus you must pay for any meals you wish to eat on board. 

First-class tickets are around 100 CHF more expensive, while the experience of riding in the Excellence Class of the train will set you back around 470 CHF. It’s definitely a journey for those with deeper pockets, but worth the money because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will always remember. 

Gotthard Panorama Express

Gotthard Train

The Gotthard Panorama Express is a scenic journey from Arth/Lucerne to Lugano. It’s best to do this scenic journey in the summer when it includes a boat cruise on Lake Lucerne. Traveling by train only is possible from Arth to Lugano and vice versa. 

All seats on the train are first-class seats, so everyone gets the same treatment. Seat reservations are not obligatory, but there is an additional surcharge of 16 CHF that all passengers must pay. Also, you can still choose between first and second-class tickets. Second-class tickets are naturally a little more affordable, and you’re seated in second-class only on the Lake Lucerne boat cruise. 

The entire journey takes around 5.5 hours, and you’re treated to gorgeous panoramic views the entire time. It’s worth noting that the journey is a little shorter in the winter when it doesn’t include a boat cruise on the lake.

Bernina Express

Bernina Express on the Bernina Pass

The Bernina Express is one of the best scenic train rides in Switzerland. Transporting passengers from Switzerland to Italy and vice versa, this train takes you through some of the most impressive landscapes in the country. 

This panoramic train runs from Chur/St. Moritz to Tirano in Italy, connecting two very different regions and cultures. The Bernina Express train passes through incredibly beautiful scenery, and the best way to enjoy the views is to sit in a first-class train carriage, where the windows curve up to the roof. 

This is one of the pricier panoramic trains in Switzerland. Second-class tickets for a return trip between Tirano and Chur are 92 CHF; the price includes two (mandatory) seat reservations that are 20 CHF in each direction. If you’re traveling one way and maybe doing a shorter route, consider a first-class ticket, but stick to second-class if you’re on a tight budget. 

Rigi Cogwheel Railway

Rigi Cogwheel Train

Rigi Cogwheel Railway is a great option for a short and scenic train ride high above Lake Lucerne. There are multiple lines on this cogwheel railway, and they all take you from the villages at the foot of Mt. Rigi to the Rigi Kulm summit. Not only is Rigi a popular weekend getaway in summer for hikers, skiers and snowboarders also enjoy the pistes here in the winter.

That’s why the cogwheel train has an option of a daily ticket which allows you to board the train as many times as you like. The daily ticket costs as much as a return ticket from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm (72 CHF) without any discounts. 

The good news is that there are a bunch of discounts you can try to get for this route. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass or the SBB Day Pass, you can ride the train for free. Also, if you’re staying in the area and you have the Rigi Guest Card (provided by your accommodation), you get a 50% discount. In any case, here’s a list of all the discounts for the Rigi Cogwheel Railway. 

GoldenPass Line

golden pass train

The Golden Pass Line offers one of the most scenic train rides in the entire country. The trains travel between Montreux and Lucerne, stopping in Interlaken along the way. One of the great things about this train ride is that it connects the spectacular Lake Geneva with central Switzerland, allowing you to enjoy both regions during your visit..

There are three classes on the Golden Pass Line trains – 1st, 2nd, and Prestige. The Prestige class is the most luxurious option, with heated seats, huge panoramic windows , and a floor raised 40cm for the absolute best views. It’s also the priciest option out of the bunch, with a 35 CHF fee just for the seat reservation and an additional 93 CHF fee for the (one-way) ticket. 

The Prestige class is a luxurious way of experiencing one of the scenic train rides from Interlaken, but it’s not the only one. 2nd class tickets also include panoramic views, and they’re about 40 CHF cheaper. However, it’s worth noting that the difference between 1st and Prestige tickets is just 15 CHF, so you might as well go all out if you want to splurge on this train ride.  


jungfrau pass trains

Jungfraujoch is home to the highest railway station (and post office) in Europe. It’s a place you absolutely have to visit if you enjoy discovering unique attractions and landmarks, especially if you’re a fan of the panoramic train rides that lead to them. 

Top of Europe is the highlight of all trips to Jungfraujoch. The venue boasts a restaurant, shops, an ice palace, and a few other interesting attractions that will keep you busy while you’re there. Also, don’t miss out on the Sphinx observation deck, which offers incredible panoramic views of the 4000-meter peaks surrounding you, and the Aletsch Glacier below.

 It’s possible to travel to Jungfraujoch by train alone or combine it with a gondola. The train travels from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, where you switch trains and continue on to Jungfraujoch. The alternative is to ride the Eiger Express gondola from Grindelwald and then connect with the train from the top. This is a fairly new addition, and it’s currently the cheaper and faster way of reaching the Top of Europe.

Eiger Express Cable Car: All The Info In One Place

Brienzer rothorn.

Brienzer Rothorn Bahn

The Brienzer Rothorn Bahn is a unique opportunity to ride in a cogwheel steam train that’s more than a hundred years old. There are currently eight steam locomotives that run on this route, and they’ve all been in operation since 1892. 

Rothorn Kulm is the final stop on this train route, which is only accessible by train between June and October. Trains don’t run there in the winter months, so if you want the full Brienzer Rothorn Bahn experience, plan a summer visit. The trains run only on weekends, and a return ticket for a 2nd class seat will set you back around 50 CHF. 

It’s also possible to do shorter rides on this route, but you won’t get to soak up the incredible panoramic view of the 693 summits that surround the Rothorn. On top of that, it’s also worth noting that you’re not guaranteed a seat in an actual steam locomotive – in case of technical failures or unusually high demand, diesel locomotives can be used in place of steam-powered ones. 

Gornergrat Cog Railway

Gornergrat Railway Zermatt

Gornergrat is one of the popular day trip destinations from Zermatt because it is easily accessible by the cogwheel railway. The ride is about half an hour long, and you get to enjoy a fabulous view of the Matterhorn the entire time. When you arrive at the mountaintop village, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding glaciers and mountains. 

The only problem is that the train tickets are very expensive, especially for such a short ride. One-way tickets are 44 CHF and return trip tickets are 88 CHF, and those are prices during the off-season. The tickets are most expensive between June and August, going up to as much as 126 CHF for a return ticket from Zermatt to Gorgengratt. 

The good news is that they accept all sorts of discounts, so if you have any of the popular tourist cards, you most likely won’t pay full price for this experience. Also, Swiss Travel Pass holders get to ride on this train for free. 

Riding The Gornergrat Bahn: All The Info You Need To Know

Voralpen express.

The Voralpen Express is a panoramic train that takes you from St. Gallen in Eastern Switzerland to Lucerne in Central Switzerland. The journey is 125 kilometers long, and it usually takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to cover that distance. 

From one historic city to the next, this train ride is great for traveling the lesser-known routes in Switzerland. Sure, everyone and their mothers have heard of the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express by now, but the Voralpen Express has managed to stay under the radar for quite a while.

One-way tickets for a 2nd class seat on the Voralpen Express start at 48 CHF, but it’s pretty easy to get a discount. One thing I will point out is that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to purchase tickets for this specific train. Make sure that it’s indicated you’re traveling on the Voralpen Express on the ticket, otherwise you might end up paying for a ticket on a regular passenger train from Luzern to St. Gallen.  

Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht

Rhine Gorge Train

Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht is a panoramic train ride through the so-called Swiss Grand Canyon . This is more of a sarcastic nickname for the locals, so just refer to it as the Rhine Gorge if you don’t want to get any weird looks. 

This adventure train through the gorge runs on the weekends in the summer season, between June and late October. It boasts open observation cars that offer the best views of the area, as well as closed passenger cars. The train runs from Landquart to Ilanz with several stops in between and is a great way to explore the valley that is home to the start of the mighty Rhine river. 

Tickets for this scenic train ride are around 40 CHF if you want to depart from Chur and 26 CHF for departures from Flims. It’s important to note that Ruinaulta tickets allow you to get on and off the train as many times as you like during the day, so you’re free to go hiking in the area and explore as much of the gorge as you like. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to ride a panoramic train in switzerland.

Ticket prices are different for each of the panoramic trains, so a scenic train ride in Switzerland can cost from 20 CHF up to several hundred francs. It depends on whether you get first or second-class tickets, which station you board and get off the train at, and whether you travel in the high or low season. 

Is Glacier Express considered a luxury train?

Yes, the Glacier Express is considered a luxury train. Even a second-class seat sets you back some 200 CHF, but the train’s Excellence Class is truly the epitome of a luxury train ride in Switzerland. 

Is it possible to do both Glacier Express & Bernina Express in one day?

It’s possible if you get off the train in Chur and board the Bernina Express immediately after, but I don’t recommend this. This is like a speed run through Switzerland – sure, you’ll see a good chunk of the country, but you’ll be glued to your train seat for 10-12 hours without the ability to get out and explore. It’s best to plan at least two days for this journey, so you have enough time to rest and discover the attractions in the cities you stop in. 

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Pocket Wanderings

12 most scenic train rides in Switzerland 

Jungfraujoch train

In my opinion, travelling by train through Switzerland is the best way to experience the country’s breathtaking beauty. The most scenic train rides in Switzerland take you past snow-dusted mountain peaks, over vast viaducts and through charming Swiss towns and villages. 

From short train rides between towns to lengthy expeditions across the country, I love that there are countless opportunities to soak up the stunning landscapes of Switzerland from the comfort of a train. And comfy they are – I always find Swiss trains to be clean, comfortable and efficient. 

Some of the best train journeys in Switzerland are the panoramic trains, where large glass windows provide uninterrupted views of the epic scenery.

Witness majestic mountain vistas, rolling green hills and vivid blue lakes as you journey through the country.

I’ve visited Switzerland numerous times over the years and have been lucky to experience some of the most epic train journeys in the country.

In my guide to the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, I’ll share my pick of the best panoramic train journeys and most beautiful railway routes, along with the best ticket options and key points of interest on each train ride. 

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Glacier Express

Route: Zermatt – St Moritz

Distance: 291km

Time: 7.5 hours

Stops: Zermatt, Brig, Andermatt, Disentis Mustér, Chur, Tiefencastel, Filisur, Samedan, St Moritz

Tickets: Book here (seat reservation also needed)

Glacier Express Switzerland

Definitely up there as one of my all-time favourites, the Glacier Express is one of the most famous scenic train rides in Switzerland.

It is known as the “slowest express train in the world” because of its leisurely pace. This allows you to enjoy the stunning views of the Swiss Alps without whizzing along at lightning speed.

The route runs from Zermatt to St. Moritz, covering a distance of 291km in just under eight hours.

On the journey, you’ll encounter breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, deep valleys and picturesque villages.

I love that panoramic windows provide unobstructed views of the scenery. Some of the windows even open so you can get photos and videos without that annoying window glare. 

If you’re able to then I’d really recommend treating yourself to Excellence Class. This is truly a bucket list experience with a guaranteed window seat, five-course regional menu and exclusive use of the Glacier bar.

Jessie on Glacier Express

Key points of interest on the Glacier Express include:

  • The Matterhorn: The train passes by the iconic Matterhorn mountain, which is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Switzerland.
  • Oberalp Pass: The train reaches its highest point at Oberalp Pass, which is 2,033 metres above sea level. Here, passengers can see the Rhine River’s source and enjoy gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Landwasser Viaduct: The Glacier Express passes over the Landwasser Viaduct, which is one of the most famous landmarks on the Glacier Express route. The viaduct is 65 metres high and 136 metres long, offering stunning views of the valley below.

Insider travel tip: You need to book both a ticket and a seat reservation. If you already have the Swiss Travel Pass (which I’d highly recommend as it gives you unlimited travel on trains, buses and boats across Switzerland), then you’ll just need to pay for your seat reservation.

Remember that you don’t need to join for the entire route; personally, I travelled from Chur to Brig.

Discover my pick of the best hotels in Zermatt , my review of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof near St Moritz , or read my guide to visiting Chur .

Watch my vlog and honest experience of riding the Glacier Express:

2. Bernina Express

Route: Chur – Tirano

Distance: 122km

Time: 4 hours

Stops: Chur, Filisur, St Moritz, Poschiavo, Tirano

The Bernina Express is another world-famous scenic train ride that takes passengers through the Swiss Alps, offering breathtaking views of the landscape. The train route starts in Chur and ends in Tirano, Italy – and vice versa.

The journey takes approximately four hours and covers a distance of 122 km. It passes through 55 tunnels and crosses 196 bridges, including the famous Landwasser Viaduct.

Bernina Express Switzerland

Like the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express is known for its panoramic windows, providing uninterrupted views of the surrounding beauty.

I was pleased to discover that the Bernina Express is actually a bit cheaper than the Glacier Express (presumably as it takes half the time).

It is still breathtakingly beautiful and one of the most stunning train rides in Switzerland – if not the world. 

During the journey, you’ll pass through the Engadine Valley, which is known for its picturesque villages and sparkling lakes.

The train also climbs up to the Bernina Pass, which is the highest point on the journey at 2,253 metres above sea level.

Key points of interest on the Bernina Express journey include:

  • The Landwasser Viaduct: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most photographed landmarks in Switzerland (and I can see why!).
  • The Morteratsch Glacier: See the largest glacier in the Bernina Range from the train.
  • The Brusio Circular Viaduct: A spiral viaduct that allows the train to descend safely down the mountain.

Insider travel tip: As with the Glacier Express, you need to book both a ticket (unless covered by Swiss Travel Pass or Eurail Pass ) and a seat reservation.

Bear in mind that the Bernina Express doesn’t have the at-seat restaurant service that you get on the Glacier Express, but a trolley service offering refreshments is available.

I’d recommend bringing your own lunch and even a cheeky bottle of wine!

3. Golden Pass Line

Route: Montreux – Zweisimmen – Interlaken – Lucerne

Distance: 191km

Time: 5.5 hours

Stops: Montreux, Zweisimmen, Interlaken, Lucerne

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass (seat reservations not needed, apart from on the Belle Epoque train during peak times)

Another of my favourite train rides in Switzerland, the Golden Pass connects Lucerne and Montreux .

This scenic train ride takes passengers through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Switzerland, including the Bernese Oberland, the Simmen Valley, and the Pays d’Enhaut.

Golden Pass Line

The Golden Pass comprises three sections:

  • Lucerne to Interlaken
  • Interlaken to Zweisimmen
  • Zweisimmen to Montreux

As part of the Golden Pass Line, I’d recommend taking the Chocolate Train from Montreux to Broc-Chocolat on the Belle Epoque train.

Discover how chocolate is made in Broc and visit the cheese factory in Gruyères . It’s a slight detour but absolutely worth it!

Key points of interest along the Golden Pass Line include:

  • Lucerne: This picturesque city is located on the shores of Lake Lucerne and is known for its mediaeval architecture and stunning views of the Alps. Read my one-day Lucerne itinerary .
  • Interlaken: This resort town is situated between two lakes and is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and paragliding. Discover my pick of the best things to do in Interlaken and the top hotels in Interlaken .
  • Gstaad: This luxury ski resort town brings high-end shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well as its stunning mountain views.
  • Montreux: This charming town is located on the shores of Lake Geneva and is known for its mild climate, beautiful gardens, and historic Château de Chillon. Discover more of the best things to do in Montreux with my guide.

Insider travel tip: For the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg of the Golden Pass route, you can take the specialised Belle Epoque train.

The interiors offer similar vibes to the iconic Orient Express trains with their grand interiors. There are two Belle Epoque trains per day and I’d advise reserving a seat if travelling in peak season.

4. Gotthard Panorama Express

  • Lugano / Bellinzona – Flüelen by train
  • Flüelen – Lucerne by steamboat

Distance: 182km

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass (seat reservations also needed)

The Gotthard Panorama Express is a scenic train ride that takes you through the heart of Switzerland’s Alpine region.

Along the way, you will be greeted with breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and lush green valleys. 

The train route begins (or ends) in Lucerne, where you board a steamboat that takes you across Lake Lucerne to the town of Flüelen.

From there, you board the Gotthard Panorama Express train for the rest of the journey – or vice versa.

Gotthard Express

The train ride takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Switzerland, including the famous Gotthard Tunnel. The tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world and offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Throughout the journey, you’ll enjoy a variety of amenities, including comfortable seating, panoramic windows, and a dining car that serves delicious Swiss cuisine.

I love that the train also features audio guides which provide you with information about the history and culture of the region.

Key points of interest along the Gotthard Panorama Express include:

  • Gotthard Tunnel: The longest railway tunnel in the world at 57km. 
  • Wassen Church: Passengers pass the famous church three times on the Gotthard train, as a result of the spiralling tunnels on the route. 
  • Mount Rigi: Affectionately known as the ‘Queen of the Mountains’, located just south of Lake Lucerne.

Insider travel tip: You need to purchase seat reservations as well as a ticket or travel pass. Note that the Gotthard Panorama Express train only offers 1st class on the route between Flüelen and Lugano.

So if you have a 2nd class ticket (i.e. through the Swiss Travel Pass or Eurail Pass ), then you’ll need to purchase a class upgrade for this route.

5. Jungfrau Railway

Route: Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch

Distance: 9km

Time: 35 minutes

Stops: Kleine Scheidegg, Eismeer Station, Jungfraujoch

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass ( seat reservations needed in peak season)

The Jungfrau Railway is a cogwheel train that takes passengers to the highest railway station in Europe: the Jungfraujoch. It’s located at a dizzying altitude of 3,454 metres above sea level and known as the “top of Europe”.

The journey starts from the Kleine Scheidegg station in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland and takes just 35 minutes. If travelling from Interlaken , the journey takes about two hours.

Jungfraujoch train

As the train winds its way up through the Swiss Alps, you’ll be immersed in stunning panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and quaint alpine villages.

One of the highlights of the journey is the Eiger North Face, which is one of the most challenging and dangerous mountain faces in the world for climbers. 

At the top, there are a variety of things to do, including: 

  • Sphinx Observatory: One of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The observation deck is open to the public and is the second-highest in the world.
  • Ice Palace: I’d recommend exploring the impressive ice sculptures and learning more about the glacier’s history. 
  • Snow Fun Park: Here you can go skiing, snowboarding, sledging and even ziplining. It’s open from mid-May to mid-October but can be closed due to bad weather.

Good to know: The train stops at Eismeer Station on the way up, allowing you to take in the views from the observation deck.

6. Gornergrat Railway

Route: Zermatt – Gornergrat

Time: 33 minutes

Stops: Zermatt, Findelbach, Riffelalp, Riffelboden, Riffelberg, Rotenboden, Gornergrat

Tickets: Book here

The Gornergrat Railway is a cogwheel train that takes passengers from Zermatt to the Gornergrat summit, which is at an altitude of 3,089 metres.

It is one of the highest open-air railway lines in Europe and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, including the Matterhorn.

Gornergrat in Zermatt

The train ride takes approximately 33 minutes and covers a distance of just over 9km. It’s a real must when staying in Zermatt and it also serves as the main way for skiers and snowboarders to get to the slopes.

I loved getting this gorgeous train everyday when I stayed in Zermatt.

Key points of interest along the Gornergrat Railway include:

  • The Matterhorn: The train offers some of the best views of the Matterhorn, the iconic “Toblerone” mountain.
  • Riffelalp Resort: The train stops at Riffelalp, where you can find the historic luxury Riffelalp Hotel located at an altitude of 2,222 metres. Discover more of my favourite luxury hotels in Zermatt . 
  • ZOOOM Matterhorn: A multi-media experience complete with periscopes, immersive 3D cinema and virtual paraglider flights. 

Good to know: The Swiss Travel Pass doesn’t cover lift systems or the Gornergrat but it does get you a 50% discount on the Gornergrat Railway. 

7. Cogwheel Railway to Mount Pilatus

Route: Alpnachstad – Pilatus Kulm

Distance: 5km

Time: 30 minutes for ascent, 40 minutes for descent

Stops: Alpnachstad, Pilatus Kulm

Another of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland is the cogwheel railway to Mount Pilatus.

The train starts its journey from Alpnachstad and takes passengers to the top of Mount Pilatus, which is over 2,000 metres above sea level.

What makes this train ride unique is that it’s the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, with a gradient of up to 48%. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and offers epic views of the surrounding landscape.

Mt Pilatus cogwheel train

Passing through lush green forests, mountain streams, and rocky terrain, believe me when I say that the view from the train is breathtaking. You can even see the beautiful Lake Lucerne from above.

At the top of Mount Pilatus, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. There are several hiking trails, restaurants, and souvenir shops at the top.

Good to know: The cogwheel railway is easily accessible from Lucerne by public transport. You can get the train from Lucerne or a lake steamer that takes about an hour.

If you prefer, I’d recommend getting the cable car on the descent from Mount Pilatus, which takes you back to Lucerne (or vice versa).

8. Wengernalpbahn Railway

  • Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald
  • Kleine Scheidegg – Wengen – Lauterbrunnen

Distance: 19km


  • Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald: 24 minutes
  • Kleine Scheidegg – Lauterbrunnen: 42 minutes
  • Wengen – Lauterbrunnen: 12 minutes

Stops: Grindelwald, Grindelwald-Grund, Alpiglen, Kleine Scheidegg, Wengernalp, Allmend, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass (the Wengernalpbahn railway is included)

The Wengernalpbahn is a cog railway that runs from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen via Kleine Scheidegg, passing through the picturesque village of Wengen along the way.

Wengernalpbahn Railway

The journey offers unforgettable views of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks.

It’s also the world’s longest cogwheel railway, which I think makes it an unmissable train ride in Switzerland. 

Key points of interest along the Wengernalpbahn railway include:

  • Wengen: The car-free village of Wengen can only be reached by train or foot. It offers extraordinary views of the Lauterbrunnen valley and is a popular destination for hikers and skiers.
  • Grindelwald: The town of Grindelwald is known for its skiing and outdoor activities. It is also home to the famous Eiger mountain, which can be seen from the train.
  • Kleine Scheidegg station: Located at the foot of the Eiger, it is also the starting point for the Jungfraujoch railway. As mentioned above, this railway takes visitors to the “Top of Europe” at 3,454 metres above sea level.

Good to know: There is no direct service between Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, as you need to change at Kleine Scheidegg.

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9. Voralpen Express

Route: St Gallen – Lucerne

Distance: 125km

Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Stops: St Gallen, Wattwil, Rapperswil, Arth Goldau, Lucerne

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass  

The Voralpen Express is a scenic train ride that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Switzerland. It starts in St. Gallen and ends in Lucerne via a number of mesmerising sights. 

Rather than the dramatic landscapes seen on the Glacier and Bernina Express trains, the scenery here is more subtle in its beauty. Think rolling hills, pretty meadows and quaint villages. 

Voralpen Express

Key points of interest along the Voralpen Express include:

  • Abbey of St. Gallen: The train passes through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Abbey of St. Gallen, which is known for its stunning Baroque architecture.
  • Sitter Viaduct: A masterpiece of engineering that was constructed over 100 years ago. The highest railway bridge in Switzerland, I’m sure its impressive height will take your breath away. 
  • Lake Lucerne: As the train makes its way towards its end destination, it passes through the picturesque Lake Lucerne region, offering panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

The Voralpen Express is an ideal way to get from Eastern Switzerland to Central Switzerland and trains run hourly.

It has comfortable seating and a dining car, where you can enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the scenic views.

Good to know: The Voralpen Express is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass and the Eurail Pass . No seat reservation is necessary. 

10. Luzern-Interlaken Express

Route: Lucerne – Interlaken

Time: 2 hours 

Stops: Lucerne, Interlaken

Tickets: Swiss Travel Pass (seat reservation recommended)

The Luzern-Interlaken Express is a panoramic train ride that connects two of the most popular destinations in Switzerland.

Bound to be yet another unforgettable travel experience, passengers are treated to spectacular scenery. 

From the greens of the pastures to the blues of the lakes, I found myself constantly gasping on this train journey. Pass by sparkling streams, towering peaks and thundering waterfalls. 

View of Lungernersee

The train is equipped with panoramic windows for uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and valleys.

As with all Swiss trains, the seats are comfortable and there is ample legroom. Passengers can also enjoy free Wi-Fi on board.

Key points of interest along the Luzern-Interlaken Express include:

  • The Brünig Pass: The train passes through the Brünig Pass, which is located at an altitude of 1,008 metres and offers breathtaking views.
  • Lake Brienz: Known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery, you can see the lake from the panoramic windows of the train.
  • The Bernese Alps: Some of the most beautiful and iconic mountains in Switzerland. You can see the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks from the train.

Insider travel tip: For the best views, I’d advise sitting on the right hand side if you’re travelling from Lucerne to Interlaken.

11. Mont Blanc Express

Route: Martigny – Chamonix

Distance: 38km

Time: 90 minutes

Stops: Martigny, Vernayaz, Salvan, Marécottes, Le Trétien, Finhaut, Le Châtelard, Chamonix

The Mont Blanc Express takes passengers through the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps and into the popular resort of Chamonix in France.

This scenic train ride in Switzerland is known for its breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc mountain range and the beautiful landscapes that surround it.

Mont Blanc Express

The Mont Blanc Express begins its journey in Martigny, Switzerland, and travels through the picturesque towns of Salvan, Les Marécottes, and Finhaut before reaching its final destination in Chamonix, France.

On the Mont Blanc Express you can expect to see some of the most gorgeous scenery in Switzerland, including snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and lush green forests. 

Key points of interest along the Mont Blanc Express include:

  • Vernayaz: For access to the picturesque Trient gorges and the Pissevache waterfall.
  • Marécottes: You can find the highest zoo in Europe here! Plus, reach the La Creusaz ski area. 
  • Finhaut: The village of Finhaut is perched on the hills of the Trient valley. It’s a popular spot with hikers and cyclists, with its open and unspoiled spaces.

Good to know: Travel from Martigny to Chamonix is included in the Swiss Travel Pass , but not beyond Chamonix in France. As it’s a regional train, seat reservations are not possible. 

12. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

For the ultimate experience of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, the Grand Train Tour covers all the best train journeys in the country.

It’s a 1,280 km train journey that takes you through some of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, including many of those mentioned above.

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

This train tour covers such a vast area that you’ll encounter four official languages, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 11 large lakes – which I think sounds pretty spectacular!

The tour can be completed in four to eight days, depending on how much time you have and how much you want to see.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • The Glacier Express: This iconic train ride takes you through the heart of the Swiss Alps, passing through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges. The journey starts in Zermatt and ends in St. Moritz, taking around eight hours to complete.
  • The Bernina Express: This breathtaking train journey takes you from Chur to Tirano, passing through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rhaetian Railway. The journey takes around four hours and offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps, including the Morteratsch Glacier and the Bernina Pass.
  • The Golden Pass Line: Travel from Montreux to Lucerne, passing through the scenic Swiss countryside. The journey takes around five hours and offers beautiful panoramas of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains.
  • The Gotthard Panorama Express: This train ride takes you from Lucerne to Lugano, passing through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest railway tunnel in the world. The journey takes around five hours.

Good to know: There is no set route or direction – you can simply hop and hop off the different routes as you please.

The best way to do so is via the Swiss Travel Pass , which gives you access to the entire Grand Tour of Switzerland. You’ll just need to book seat reservations on the trains which need it.

Do let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the most scenic train rides in Switzerland!

Planning a trip to this beautiful country? Read my guide to the most beautiful towns in Switzerland to visit , seek out the best Swiss spa hotels , or discover my guides to Grindelwald , Gruyères and Zermatt . 

For more train travel inspiration this winter, unearth the best ski resorts by train from the UK – written by two experts in skiing and train travel.

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Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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Pocket Wanderings is a luxury travel and lifestyle brand run by London-based content creator, Jessie Moore. Here you’ll find a community of fellow wanderlusters and adventurers.

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Scenic Switzerland Train Tour with Glacier Express, Daily Departure

  • Self-Guided
  • Personalized
  • Christmas & New Year

Places You’ll See


  • Introduction
  • Day 1 Individual Arrival in Zurich; One-hour Train Journey to Lucerne
  • Day 2 The Golden Round Trip in Mt. Pilatus
  • Day 3 Scenic Rail Adventure to Interlaken via the Iconic Golden Pass Line
  • Day 4 Excursion to Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe; Visit Grindelwald on the Return
  • Day 5 Train Trip from Interlaken to the Mountain Resort - Zermatt
  • Day 6 Adventure to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
  • Day 7 Hop on the Famous Glacier Express Train Crossing the Swiss Alps to St. Moritz
  • Day 8 Individual Departure from St. Moritz to Zurich

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  • Additional Services

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Reviews About This Operator

  • Tour Operator Agate Travel 4.9
  • Chung · 5th January 2024 The planning was great and easy to follow. We had great time. I do hope I could get the itinerary earlier so we can... Show more
  • William · 27th September 2023 Beautiful scenery. Hotel proximity to train stations was generally good. 3 star rooms varied greatly, from very good... Show more
  • Lacey · 6th September 2023 In our spare time, the tour guide was warm to tell us some free scenic spots worth visiting. She was also very kind... Show more Review collected by Agate Travel

Dates & Availability


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  • Wednesday 17 Apr, 2024 Wednesday 24 Apr, 2024 English Sharing a twin room €4,663 Confirm Dates
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  • Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.
  • For any tour departing before 18th June 2024 a full payment is necessary. For tours departing after 18th June 2024, a minimum payment of 30% is required to confirm your booking with Agate Travel. The final payment will be automatically charged to your credit card on the designated due date. The final payment of the remaining balance is required at least 65 days prior to the departure date of your tour. TourRadar never charges you a booking fee and will charge you in the stated currency.
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Magic Switzerland

Scenic Trains

A ride through the Swiss Alps and other gorgeous regions of our country on one of Switzerland’s famous scenic trains is highly recommended for every Swiss vacation!

Switzerland began to develop in the world of railroads during the 18th century, when this method of transportation became popular in Europe. A fascinating journey of innovation, engineering and industrial progress has shaped the way of traveling for the Swiss, and all those who visit this small Alpine country. Throughout the years, many companies have emerged to build what is today, one of the most efficient railway systems in the world.

The concept of scenic trains in Switzerland evolved over time, and it was primarily driven by the country's stunning natural landscapes and a desire to attract tourists. Switzerland's picturesque mountains, lakes, and valleys provided a perfect backdrop for creating unforgettable rail journeys.

Here is an overview of the most popular scenic trains in Switzerland:

Bernina Express From Chur to Tirano, the Bernina Express passes over UNESCO-protected railways featuring several viaducts, alongside raging mountain torrents and ancient glaciers. The scenic train with panoramic windows climbs over an altitude of 2,434m before descending into Tirano, Italy. From Tirano, you continue your journey with the Bernina Express bus. During this magical journey, the contrast between the eternal snow and the picturesque palm trees is well appreciated.

Glacier Express This magnificent scenic train takes passengers on a memorable journey throughout the country from eastern to western Switzerland or vice versa. Also referred as the slowest express train in the world, the Glacier Express connects two major resorts: Zermatt and St. Moritz. The train’s slower pace allows passengers to fully immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty. For this and many other reasons, the Glacier Express remains as one of Switzerland’s most iconic and beloved tourist attractions.

Gotthard Panorama Express (former Wilhelm Tell Express) The perfect combination of boat and train travel. You will board a historic paddle steamer boat that cruises across Lake Lucerne until you reach the small town of Flüelen, where you transfer to the comfortable Gotthard Panorama Express train. The train ride is equally mesmerizing as it takes you through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest railway tunnel in the world!

GoldenPass Express The scenic GoldenPass Express train runs along 2  lakes and 2 mountain passes. The route begins in Montreux and passes through the resort of Gstaad before entering the heart of the Swiss Alps until reaching Interlaken. Travelers have the choice to travel in Prestige and First class, where local and international delicacies are served.

Luzern-Interlaken Express The Luzern-Interlaken Express links two of the most popular touristic destinations. Right in the the heart of Switzerland, the two-hour route offers impressive landscapes of the Swiss alps, turquoise lakes and vivid meadows. A short, but impressive panoramic route that you will not forget!

Chocolate Train This culinary journey is a delightful experience that allows you to explore the Swiss countryside by train and bus, while enjoying some of Switzerland’s most famous delicacies: chocolate and cheese! The Chocolate Train runs along a beautiful railway line offering romantic views of Lake Geneva, sun-kissed vineyards and the Swiss Alps, followed by a bus ride through the harmonious Swiss countryside.

Palm Express (Postal Bus) There are different routes connecting the world-class resort of St. Moritz with the sunny region down to Lugano, a lakeside city bordering Italy. However, one of the least frequented routes is with the Palm Express Bus, a spectacular journey from the glaciers to the palm trees that many are missing out on!

Voralpen Express This regional train travels from Lucerne in central Switzerland to St. Gallen in the northeast, passing through towns like Arth-Goldau and Rapperswil. The Voralpen Express offers passengers stunning views of Lake Zurich, Lake Lucerne, and the surrounding countryside. A perfect combination of culture and nature!

Centovalli Railway The Centovalli Railway connects Locarno with Domodossola in Italy. Centovalli means “A thousand valleys” and offers pristine views of valleys with gushing waterfalls, vineyards, and chestnut trees growing on the foot of the mountains. This scenic train through the Centovalli Valley is a meter-gauge train and does not require a seat reservation. In Domodossola travelers connect with trains to either Brig or Milan.

Scenic Train Map

Scenic Routes_thumb

Rail Tours incl. Scenic Trains

Greatest Rail Adventure Grand Train Tour of CH Jungfraujoch Grand Train Tour of CH Classic Scenic Rail Adventure Highlights of Switzerland Glacier & Bernina Express Best of Switzerland GoldenPass Tour Grand Train Tour

switzerland scenic train tours

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switzerland scenic train tours

5 Day Switzerland Train Tour

Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt, Matterhorn and Gornergrat

details & pricing

Testimonials, tour overview.

From $3,670 | Private Semi-Guided Rail Tour | Pick Your Own Dates

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Our 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour focuses on some of the most stunning landscapes in Switzerland. During this exciting 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour, you will visit St. Moritz, Zermatt and ride the famous Glacier Express. Enjoy the best of the Swiss Alps during a semi-guided rail tour. 

On this tour, you’ll travel to St. Mortiz, at the heart of the Engadine mountains, where winter tourism was born, and experience a ride on the iconic Glacier Express to Zermatt.

Here you will ride on the famous Gornergrat train cogwheel train and enjoy spectacular views of the iconic Matterhorn. Our tour is designed to showcase Switzerland’s world-class public transportation system, allowing you to relax and soak up the beauty of the Alps.

This 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour is available year-round, except from the middle of October to the beginning of December.

  • Meet & Greet at the Zurich Airport
  • Full Day Guided hike in St. Moritz
  • Full Day Guided Hike in Zermatt
  • First Class Swiss Pass
  • Four nighs at 3* and 4* hotels including breakfast
  • Iconic Matterhorn at a hand's reach
  • Flexible itinerary
  • Dedicated helpline

Switzerland private rail tour 5 days

Featured Swiss Railways

  • Glacier Express
  • Gornergrat Cogwheel Train

Book the Swiss Alps rail tour today!

5-day switzerland train tour itinerary.

On this 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour you will visit two famous Swiss mountain resorts, St. Moritz and Zermatt, and ride on two legendary Swiss lines: Glacier Express and Gornergrat cogwheel railway.

Explore the essence of the Swiss Alps in just five days with this immersive experience.

zurich airport meet and greet

One of our ECHO Rails Guides will pick you up right after customs at the Zurich Airport (alternate pick-up location might be available).

Your guide will give you all the information and details you need for your journey and escort you to the train station at the Zurich Airport. You will  board the train and enjoy a 3 ½ hour relaxed train ride to the world famous resort town St. Moritz.

best day hikes from St. Moritz

Your local ECHO Rails Guide will pick you up at your hotel at 9 am. 

Today you will enjoy a relatively flat and leisurely hike boasting panoramic views of the surrounding Bernina Alps, St.Moritz, Engadin Valley and the lakes.

In summer, you can enjoy an exciting funicular ride up to Muottas Muragl, a vantage point above the Engadine valley. If the funicular is closed, your guide will suggest alternatives such as a ride up to Diavolezza glacier, a hike around Pontresina village or similar.

Hike along the sunny side of the Alps and find out why the Engine Vally has been attracting generations of hikers and nature lovers. 

Along the way, your local guide will explain the Rumantsch culture in Graubünden, artistic St. Moritz “Graffiti” architecture, and the town’s history as the world’s first winter tourism resort, as well as its current status of one of the world’s most beloved mountain resorts.

Meals included: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hauser Hotel (or comparable lodging).

switzerland rail tour 3 days

Get ready for an unforgettable experience as today you embark on a journey on the world-renowned Glacier Express. This slow express train is a masterpiece of engineering, taking you on a scenic ride through the heart of the Alps for approximately eight hours. During the ride, you’ll pass through 91 tunnels and cross 291 bridges.

Important : Glacier Express connections are suspended for the maintenance works between 13 October and 7 December, 2024. You can still travel on the route o Glacier Express but it might not be as convenient as with the dedicated panoramic train. 

With amenities such as power outlets, and free Wi-Fi, each seat is designed for your comfort and convenience. Moreover, the train features a newly built information system that allows you to track your location on the map, along with an audio guide, to learn about the incredible sights you’ll see along the way.

As you travel West up through the Rhine gorge, you’ll have the opportunity to see the Albula tunnel, Landwasser viaduct, and Switzerland’s Grand Canyon. The train will ascend 1000m / 3000 ft from Disentis to Oberalp, where you can enjoy a delicious meal in one of the few dining cars that still serve hot food.

In the evening, you will arrive in Zermatt, where you can relax and unwind in the spa area of your hotel. You’ll also have some time to explore the car-free, picturesque town of Zermatt. Be sure to go out enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant – we’ll provide some suggestions.

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch on the Glacier Express.

Accommodation: Hotel La Ginabelle (or comparable lodging).

travel with glacier express

Your private ECHO Rails Guide will pick you up at your hotel at 9 am.

Today, you will experience breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and the Alps in an excursion that combines a cogwheel train ride with an easy-to-moderate day hike of your choice.

You’ll ride Europe’s second highest railway and the highest open-air railway on the continent, the Gornergrat cogwheel train, climbing up to 10,134 feet (3089 meters) and offering incredible views of the Matterhorn along the way.

You walk up to the 360-degree platform area providing a panoramic view of 29 alpine peaks higher than 13,123 feet (4000 meters), including the world-famous Matterhorn. Depending on the season and your preference, your guide will lead you on a 1-2 hour guided hike along sign-posted trails of an alpine nature reserve featuring awe-inspiring views of the Matterhorn mirrored in pristine alpine lakes.

Along the way, you’ll learn about the origins of Zermatt and the people of the canton of Valais (French) or Wallis (German). In the evening, your guide will bid you farewell after giving you all the information you need to travel back to Zurich the next day.

Meals included:  Breakfast.

gornergrat cogwheel train

After breakfast you depart to your own destination.

Our guide will provide all the information so you safely get to your final destination.

We bid you a farewell and wish you safe travels.

Meals included: Breakfast

things to do in zermatt

Details and pricing

switzerland scenic train tours

Adult Standard:  US $3,670 per person based on 2 people in a double/twin room

Single Supplement:  100$/night

10% deposit secures the booking – balance due 90 days before the departure date

  • ECHO Rails Guide Meet & Greet at the Zurich airport
  • 6 Day Swiss Travel Pass First Class
  • 2 nights Zermatt in a 4* Hotel
  • 2 nights St.Moritz in a 3* Hotel
  • Extensive Swiss breakfasts buffets daily
  • Guided Full Day Tour in St.Moritz including Muottas Muragl
  • First Class Glacier Express with lunch
  • Guided Full Day Tour including Gornergrat Rail
  • Detailed Itinerary sent you 30 days before arrival
  • Dedicated Helpline from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Lunches and dinners (except lunch on Glacier Express)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Items for personal use

See our Cancellation Policy for more details.

Visa, Maestro, and Mastercard are commonly accepted in Switzerland. American Express is less popular and many businesses don’t accept it. The country is becoming more and more cashless with contactless and mobile payments (Google and Apple Pay). Still, it’s useful to have some cash on you while travelling. All banks provide currency exchange services at a favorable rate.

Reasonable Fitness Required

This is a private tour and the excursions can be adapted to your abilities and wishes.

However, this tour is based solely on public transportation. This means you will be walking up and down train platform stairs or ramps to make the connection platform changes. These connection times can range from 7 to 15 minutes and are usually close to another, so a regular walk pace is all that’s needed.

  • Click on any of the “Book now” buttons on the page.
  • You will be redirected to our dedicated booking platform.
  • Choose a desired date for your trip and add number of participants. Select departure time, if applicable.
  • Fill out the form with all travellers’ details and click “Confirm booking”.
  • Once we receive your booking request you will be sent an email with payment instructions from our partner Flywire.
  • Follow the instructions in the email.
  • Once the payment is processed, your booking is confirmed.

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Switzerland office, +41 (0) 77 991 87 99.

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  • Swiss Commercial Register: CHE-443.905.414

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switzerland scenic train tours

How to Get Around Switzerland: A Guide to Swiss Transportation

Wondering how to get around Switzerland? This guide will help you learn how to use the public transportation system and how to get around by car.

Don’t have time to read a bunch of reviews and blog posts? Here are our top picks for visiting Switzerland:

Wanderlust switzerland guide.

Need a quick day-by-day, open-and-go itinerary for Switzerland? Get my guide and let me do the work for you!

Our favorite Hotels in Switzerland

  • Zurich : Baur Au Lac
  • Lucerne : Burgenstock Alpine Hotel & Spa
  • Zermatt: The Omnia
  • Interlaken : Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel
  • Bern : Hotel Schweiserhof
  • Geneva : Swiss Luxury Apartments
  • Montreaux : Eurotel Montreaux

Getting Around Switzerland

  • Unlimited Train Rides : Swiss Pass
  • Renting a Car : Cheap Rental Cars or Expedia Cars

Our favorite activities and tours in Switzerland

  • Paragliding
  • Lindt Chocolate Tour
  • Lake Lucerne Cruise

How do I get around Switzerland?

There are many ways to get around Switzerland , the two main ways are using public transportation and renting a car. I’ll highlight the best way to get to each destination below. This Switzerland itinerary can easily be used with either a car or by train.

If you choose to get a rental car in Switzerland, I always recommend using this site to compare rates and cars.

If you choose to use public transportation in Switzerland, I recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass to maximize your time and save you money. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited train rides on most lines, free or discounted gondola rides, and discounts to many attractions though Switzerland.

I find that it’s especially worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass if you are planning to visit Zermatt because the expensive Gornergratt train is quite expensive, and it’s half off with the pass. If you’re comfortable riding trains and buses, I think it’s the best way to travel in Switzerland.

Where do I purchase my Swiss Travel Pass?

You can purchase your Swiss Travel Pass here . Just select the correct number of days for your Switzerland itinerary and check out. The pass begins on your selected date and runs continuously. The Swiss Travel Pass comes in. 3, 4, 6, 8, and 15 day increments.

Swiss Half Fare Card

If you’re unsure of your dates or the amount of time your Switzerland itinerary will be, it might be a good idea to purchase a Swiss Half Fare Card instead. This pass is good for one month and will offer 50% off most trains. There seems to be less of a discount on shorter journeys. I prefer to purchase the more expensive Swiss Travel Pass just for ease of use while I am in the country. But the Swiss Half Fare Card may be a better option if you are only planning on taking several long and expensive rail journeys. You can purchase the Swiss Half Fare Card here .

Renting a Car in Switzerland

If you want a little more freedom during your trip, you may want to consider renting a car in Switzerland . You’ll have the ability to reach some more off-the-beaten-path places that trains can’t reach. Driving in Switzerland is easy, especially if you’re from the US because they drive on the right side of the road. 

Download the SBB App for Switzerland Transportation

SBB App – Public transportation in Switzerland is shockingly punctual, clean, fast, and efficient. The SBB app will tell you when and where to get your trains and buses to take you where you want to go. This is the most important app you’ll need in Switzerland if you’re only traveling by public transportation.

I hope this guide to Switzerland transportation will help you get around the country with ease. Be sure to check out the most beautiful places in Switzerland and our Switzerland Itinerary.

There are lots of pros and cons to renting a car in Switzerland and using public transportation. Here’s a good list

Here is a list of pros and cons for traveling Switzerland by train vs. by rental car:

Traveling by Train in Switzerland

  • More scenic views out the window
  • Can relax and enjoy the ride
  • No need to focus on driving/navigation
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Arrive directly in city centers
  • Less flexibility with schedule/stops
  • Can be more expensive
  • Limited luggage space
  • More flexibility with schedule and route
  • Can stop wherever you want
  • Usually cheaper than train
  • More privacy
  • Can carry more luggage
  • Less scenic views
  • Have to focus on driving
  • More planning required for navigation
  • Have to find and pay for parking
  • More environmental impact

I hope this helps you plan your trip to Switzerland!

The post How to Get Around Switzerland: A Guide to Swiss Transportation appeared first on Wanderlust Crew .

Wondering how to get around Switzerland? This guide will help you learn how to use the public transportation system and how to get around by car. How do I get around Switzerland? There are many ways to get around Switzerland, the two main ways are using public transportation and renting a car. I’ll highlight the [...]


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    Overview Itinerary. Day 1 - Arrive in Lucerne -- Mt. Pilatus. Day 2 - Through the Historic Heart of Switzerland on the Gotthard Route. Day 3 - Bernina Route - Lugano past northern Lake Como to St Moritz. Day 4 - Beautiful Swiss Alps, Lakes and Vistas. Day 5 - Mountains, Meadows, and Breathtaking Scenery on the Glacier Express.

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    Alpine Lakes & Scenic Trains. featuring a cruise on Lake Maggiore and scenic trains in Switzerland & Italy. View Dates Book Now. Request A Quote. 11 DAYS. $3,399 pp*. Save up to 15%. *Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy, tour inclusions and available options may vary based on departure date.

  8. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland (Itinerary, Info and Map)

    Although it's called a Switzerland train tour, the Grand Tour is actually a self-guided trip that combines Switzerland's most scenic train rides with all the key sights. The Swiss Grand Train Tour comprises eight different legs, covering 1,280 kilometres, and visitors can choose to take as few or many of these trips as they like to create a ...

  9. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

    Grand Train Tour of Switzerland - Winter Edition. from £ 1520. Experience the wonder of Switzerland in winter on the 9 day "Grand Train Tour of Switzerland". Discover all the sights and landmarks Switzerland has to offer from the comfort of your seat. A holiday that combines the most beautiful panoramic train lines into one unique route.

  10. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

    Lungern, Lucerne-Interlaken Express at Lake Lungernsee. On the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, panoramic trains take you to all the highlights and sights in Switzerland, year-round. Get in, lean back and enjoy - wherever you like. Grand Train Tour.

  11. Our guide to the most scenic trains in Switzerland

    5. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland merges the eight most scenic Swiss train rides into one breath-taking route of 1,280km. Discover all sights and landmarks Switzerland has to offer from the comfort of your train seat, including 11 major Swiss lakes and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  12. Scenic Switzerland by Train

    Earn from 4,609 Qantas Points pp~. FROM. AUD. $4,609.00 pp*. Dates & Prices. This Scenic Switzerland by Train tour is the perfect way to see Switzerland's breathtaking mountains, charming mountain resorts, fascinating old towns, and beautiful lakes—all while you relax aboard Switzerland's famous trains. You'll overnight in Zurich ...

  13. The 5 most popular scenic train rides in Switzerland

    1. The Golden Pass Line. The Golden Pass Line connects the centre of Switzerland with the shores of Lake Geneva. This spectacular journey leads past eight lakes, rides through six different cantons (the Swiss version of states), crosses three mountain passes and connects two language regions with each other.

  14. The 10 Most Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

    Route 2: Lugano (boat), Flüelen (train), Lucerne. Ride Duration: 182 km. Distance: 5.5 hours. Step aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express in Lucerne, a charming city in central Switzerland, and commence an enthralling 5.5-hour journey through some of the country's most magnificent landscapes.

  15. Scenic train Switzerland

    5.0(1Rating) There are several world-famous panoramic trains in Switzerland, such as the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express and the Golden Pass Line. A panoramic train runs on routes that are particularly worth seeing. Whether beautiful landscapes, remarkable natural attractions or extraordinary buildings, the view is always very special.

  16. Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland (Views to Die For)

    The Bernina Express is one of the best scenic train rides in Switzerland. Transporting passengers from Switzerland to Italy and vice versa, this train takes you through some of the most impressive landscapes in the country. This panoramic train runs from Chur/St. Moritz to Tirano in Italy, connecting two very different regions and cultures.

  17. Best Train Tours & Packages in Switzerland

    Experience the breathtaking beauty of Switzerland on a train vacation with Railbookers. Travel through the snow-capped mountains, picturesque villages, and stunning lakes, all while enjoying the comfort and convenience of train travel. Choose from a variety of itineraries and activities, from scenic gondola rides to hiking adventures. Book your Swiss train vacation today and create memories ...

  18. 12 Most Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland (2024)

    It's a 1,280 km train journey that takes you through some of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland, including many of those mentioned above. This train tour covers such a vast area that you'll encounter four official languages, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 11 large lakes - which I think sounds pretty spectacular!

  19. Scenic Switzerland Train Tour with Glacier Express, Daily Departure

    With the Explorer tour Scenic Switzerland Train Tour with Glacier Express, Daily Departure, you have a 8 days tour package taking you through Zurich, Switzerland and 6 other destinations in Switzerland. Scenic Switzerland Train Tour with Glacier Express, Daily Departure includes accommodation in a hotel as well as meals, transport and more.

  20. Scenic Train Through Swiss Alps

    Glacier Express. This magnificent scenic train takes passengers on a memorable journey throughout the country from eastern to western Switzerland or vice versa. Also referred as the slowest express train in the world, the Glacier Express connects two major resorts: Zermatt and St. Moritz. The train's slower pace allows passengers to fully ...

  21. 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour

    From $3,670 | Private Semi-Guided Rail Tour | Pick Your Own Dates. Our 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour focuses on some of the most stunning landscapes in Switzerland. During this exciting 5-Day Switzerland Train Tour, you will visit St. Moritz, Zermatt and ride the famous Glacier Express. Enjoy the best of the Swiss Alps during a semi-guided rail ...

  22. 5 of the Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

    Here, we feature 5 of the best, so come along for the ride! 1. The Bernina Express. Connecting Chur to Poschiavo in Switzerland, and to Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps, the Bernina Express features breathtaking views from its panoramic, red carriages. The two main lines on the Bernina Express route - the Bernina line and the ...

  23. How to Get Around Switzerland: A Guide to Swiss Transportation

    Our favorite activities and tours in Switzerland ... Here is a list of pros and cons for traveling Switzerland by train vs. by rental car: Traveling by Train in Switzerland. Pros: More scenic ...