One of the best ways to enjoy Switzerland’s beauty and diverse nature is riding the panoramic trains in Switzerland! Here’s recommendation of the most impressive ones:
The Gotthard Panorama Express
If you want more than just a train ride then the Gotthard Panarama Express is right for you! It all starts with a steamboat ride across the amazing Lake Lucerne to Fluelen where you are connected to the scenic train.
The train passes through the Reuss Valley and climbs the historic Gotthard railway tunnel which was built in 1882. Since then it has been regarded as an engineering marvel but has only recently been replaced by an even more impressive tunnel, which is now the longest in the world. The train then continues to Ticino, traveling through stunning villages on the way to Bellinzona or Lugano.
The Panoramic Bernina Express
One of the most impressive panoramic trains in Switzerland, with its huge convex windows designed for viewing the diverse landscapes that await you in the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland.
The Bernina Express covers part of the Rhaetian Railway(Rhb) and traverses the Alps, passing by majestic glaciers until you reach the shores of Lake Lugano, Switzerland’s Mediterranean-esque city with its palms trees, sitting just outside the Lake Como region.
The Bernina Express route follows the Albula and Bernina Lines (inaugurated in 1904 and 1910 respectively). No train ride in Switzerland is complete without bridges and tunnels, and this one takes you through 55 tunnels and across 196 bridges.
What makes this trip truly stand out, however, is its passage over the 65-meter-high, 130-meter-long Landwasser Viaduct, which is an iconic part of the Rhaetian Railway and has earned a UNESCO World Heritage status.
The viaduct was built in 1902 and is among the man-made historical masterpieces en route, which also include the Brusio circular viaduct used for dramatic height change.
At the highest point of the track (Ospizio Bernina — 2,250 metres above sea level), the scene is breathtaking. If you are lucky enough you can enjoy the sun shining upon the chilly turquoise lakes of Lago Bianco and Lej Nair.
The Golden Pass
This trip takes you from Lake Lucerne to the vineyards of Geneva, passing eight of Switzerland’s magnificent blue lakes, through six cantons and over three impressive mountain passes. The Golden Pass Line is also a great scenic option if you need to go from Zurich to Geneva but have a little more time on your hands.Although the trip involves switching trains several times, but it’s definitely worth it!The first part, starts from Lucerne, and takes you to Interlaken via several lakes, over the Brünig Pass, and around the Giessbach waterfalls.
The second leg from Interlaken goes towards Zweisimmen, passing along the magnificent Lake Thun, and on to another train switch into the valley towards Montreux.
This last leg of the trip offers amazing views of iconic Swiss chalets situated in the valleys with a picturesque backdrop of mountain peaks in the distance.
The Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is probably the best known of the Swiss scenic rail journeys. You can reach its starting point in Zermatt with a 2.5 hour regional rail trip from the end of the GoldenPass in Montreux. It’s quite a commitment, because the complete route takes over seven hours but it’s possible to join the trip anywhere in between.
Trains on the Glacier Express line travel daily between the towns of Zermatt and St. Moritz. It’s one of the most luxurious train rides in the world. It also brings you unmatched views of some of Switzerland’s most impressive scenery, whether it’s summer or winter.
It will take you past a huge variety of landscapes, through valleys full of mountains, along deep gorges, inside 91 tunnels, and across 291 bridges. There is good reason the train only travels 24 mph, and that is so that it can safely squeeze through passes and take sharp curves that often follow the mountain’s curves. As the name suggests, you’ll glimpse views of impressive glaciers. Although the route runs between two famous towns, you can break the long journey with an overnight stay at any town along the way.
The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
At 3,454m above sea level, the Jungfraujoch Station is the highest in all of Europe, worth of its nickname “Top of Europe”! The station is on the mountain which connects the Jungfrau and Monch peaks, two of the highest peaks in Switzerland. The trains going to Jungfraujoch depart from Kleine Scheidegg, which in turn, can be reached from either Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren or Grindelwald, all which are worth passing by! The most impressive part waits for you after Kleine Scheidegg, which is over 2,000m itself.
To reach the Jungfraujoch, the train has to pass through the impressive Eiger mountain. The tunnel was constructed in 1896 and took 16 years to complete. The train makes two short stops along the way at Eigerwand and Eismeer. At Eigerwand, you can get off the train quickly to look down the Eiger North Face (a sheer wall challenged by some crazy climbers) or at Eismeer where you can see an endless view the impressive glacier.Other than touring around the village, the main attraction at Jungfraujoch is the Ice Palace, first created in the 1930s, but now shows modern artistry carved into smooth walls of ice.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours one way.
Enjoy your trip!