A refining rail experience that provides travellers the best way to uncover the beauty of the small Alpine nation. The panoramic rail routes never fail to fascinate vacation visitors and you’ll find yourself breezing through your travels with an all-inclusive travel pass
Train travels have evolved over the years into dream destinations in its own right rather than just a form of transportation. In the past, travelling was all about speed – getting to the destination in the shortest amount of time. Now, discerning travellers are seeking relaxed and sustainable journeys. At the forefront of the world’s top train journeys, is Switzerland with its numerous rails passing through remarkable UNESCO World Heritage sites. With so much to see, the brilliant minds behind Switzerland Tourism and The Swiss Travel System Limited came up with the “Grand Train Tour of Switzerland” – one that provides the most exquisite landscapes combined in a unique travel experience.
The great train experience
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland covers eight different routes throughout the country, extending over 1,280 captivating kilometers, highlighting the most beautiful scenic routes across the country. The tour takes you through all of Switzerland’s four language regions – through attractive towns and villages, past glistening glaciers, lakes and rivers and over mountains. There are no particular start or end points, but Zurich – Switzerland’s largest and most metropolitan city, is often the chosen departure and destination point.
Stage 1: Zurich to St. Gallen: The route through Eastern Switzerland passes the renowned Rhine Falls and the city of Schaffhausen, with its landmark Munot fortress. Definitely find time to stop by the roaring Rhine Waterfalls and experience the impressive close-up of the natural spectacle from the Central Rock. Then comes Lake Constance, which also shares its shoreline with Germany and Austria and is the third largest lake in Central Europe. The first stage of the tour ends in St. Gallen, a 7th century old city famous for its Abbey precinct (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and collection of 170,000 historic books and hand-written manuscripts housed in an ancient Baroque-styled library.
Stage 2: St. Gallen to Lucerne: Discover Appenzell, a town steeped in centuries of traditions and culture of Switzerland. Here, you will be able to see and purchase many handcrafted items such as cowbells, traditional costumes and smoking pipes. The Pre-Alpine Express also offers fine views of the impressive Alpstein massif with the Santis summit and Churfirsten mountain range. Stop by Lucerne’s Glacier Garden, opened nearly 150 years ago, to view exhibits dating back to the Ice Age.
Stage 3: Lucerne to Montreux: The GoldenPass Line links eight lakes, three regions and two languages – all within one delightful day of exploration. The Luzern-Interlaken Express of the Zentralbahn first takes passengers over the Brunig Pass (1,008m) before descending via Meiringen to Brienz and Interlaken.
The Ballenberg Open-Air Museum is distinct to Switzerland, with its old farm creating a vivid impression of ancient rural life. Other attractions include some 250 farm animals in natural settings and displays of traditional arts and crafts.
Stage 4: Montreux to Zermatt: From Montreux it is only a short trip to Martigny – gateway to the Great St. Bernard and Forclaz Passes. From the shores of Lake Geneva, you will be whisked through Rhone Valley to Brig with its historic Stockalper Palace. Brig is located at the foot of the Simplon Pass and is an ideal point of departure for many attractive excursions. The train then continues through the Matter Valley before travellers catch sight of the world’s most photographed mountain – the mighty Matterhorn.