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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.