The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Stage 5: Zermatt to St. Moritz: The Glacier Express, the slowest express train in the world, attracts thousands of visitors annually and is probably one of the most popular train journeys in the world. From the Matterhorn village, the train heads first for the Goms region, and the holiday resort of Andermatt at the foot of the 2,044m Oberalp Pass. The Oberalp Pass is an attraction that never fails to fascinate its passengers with the special slanted drinking glasses, designed to defy gravity as the train travels up and down steep gradients.

glacier-express

Stage 6: St. Moritz to Lugano: Fashionable St. Mortiz has long been renowned for its glitz and glamour. But this Alpine resort is also distinguished for its Palm Express – connecting the cool north with the sunny south of the Alps. This route takes travellers through the enchanting Engadine, over the Maloja Pass and through the Bergell Valley, along the shoreline of Lake Como (Italy) and back into Switzerland along Lake Lugano.

bergell-valley-switzerland
Bergell Valley Landscape

Stage 7: Lugano to Lucerne: The Wilhelm Tell Express combines the best of travel by boat and train – and brings together two of the most beautiful regions of spectacular Switzerland, in the 1st class panorama railcar of the Swiss Federal Railways, travellers first discover the ancient Gotthard rail route with its many myths and legends and the rugged Reuss Valley. On arrival in Fluelen, passengers’ change to a stately steamship or a saloon motor vessel (winter seasons) for the Lake Lucerne cruises through some of the country’s most historic sights including Tell’s Chapel, the Rutli Meadow (founding site of Switzerland) and Schiller Stone. Shortly before reaching the city of Lucerne, famous and familiar mountain summits such as the Rigi, Bürgenstock, Titlis and Pilatus come into view.

tell's-chapel
Tell’s Chapel

Stage 8: Lucerne to Zurich: Lucerne is the departing point for the final stage of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. The rail route takes travellers along the shoreline of Lake Lucerne to the Rotsee Lake at Ebikon, an internationally acclaimed venue for the World Rowing Championship. A picturesque Lake Zug, 10th largest lake in the country, comes into view before the journey comes to a halt in Zurich. Away from the city, Lake Zurich’s pictorial villages and vineyards invite adventurers to linger longer.

swmming-at-lake-zug
Swimming at Lake Zug

Gotthard Base Tunnel

Wednesday, 1 June 2016 saw the opening of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, extending at an impressive 57km, bagging another world record for being the longest train tunnel in the world. This tunnel will bring Switzerland’s neighboring countries, regions and cities north and south of the Alps closer together. The flagship project for efficient and sustainable transportation on the north-south axis will permit high-speed travel through the Alps in only 17 minutes. After 17 years of grueling building work, constructor AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd will hand over the completed tunnel to the Swiss Federal Railways on time and it will be fully operational by 11 December 2016.

North Portal Erstfeld Gotthard Base Tunnel / Nordportal Erstfeld
Gotthard Base Tunnel Erstfeld North Portal

The opening of the Gotthard base tunnel brought new light to this tourist destination.
There is a lot to discover, whether by foot, bicycle, car and even horse-drawn carriages. Between activities, cultural and culinary highlights beckon. Marvel at nature’s exceptional treasures of giant crystals at Planggenstock, learn about the memorable Gotthard experiences at Swiss National Museum or simply take part in the multimedia exhibitions on mobility and energy at The world of Sasso San Gottardo. The Metro del Sasso takes visitors to the historic part of the fortification, which used to be top secret during World War ll. It was continuously enhanced during the era of Cold War and now holds an important trace of history deep within the mountain.

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