A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, or in this case, a single train ride. The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland offers an extraordinary way to see the stunning vistas and unique landscapes of Switzerland, all from the comfort of a train car. This remarkable adventure combines the best of Switzerland’s scenic rail routes into one incredible round-trip journey, presenting breathtaking panoramic views of the Alps, serene lakes, charming towns, and vibrant cities. Here’s a comprehensive guide to this majestic tour.
Overview of the Grand Train Tour:
Spanning over 1,280 kilometers, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland seamlessly links Switzerland’s most enchanting panoramic routes into one impressive trip. Starting from any point, the tour can be completed in a minimum of four days, but ideally, it’s best savored over seven to eight days, allowing time for exploration and relaxation in various Swiss towns and cities.
- Zurich to Lucerne (via the Zurich Hauptbahnhof – Lucerne route):
Your journey kicks off from Zurich, a global center for banking and finance that boasts fascinating landmarks and a beautifully preserved old town. From here, board the direct train to Lucerne, a compact city known for its preserved medieval architecture and stunning lakeside setting. Spend the day exploring the Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument, and Old Town before setting off on the next leg of your journey.
- Lucerne to Interlaken (via the Lucerne-Interlaken Express):
Next, traverse the stunning Brunig Pass on the Lucerne-Interlaken Express. Along this journey, you’ll see captivating landscapes and the sparkling Lake Lungern. Once in Interlaken, indulge in outdoor activities such as hiking or paragliding, or explore nearby attractions like Harder Kulm or Jungfraujoch.
- Interlaken to Zweisimmen (via the Golden Pass Line):
This section of the trip offers panoramic views of sparkling lakes, traditional Swiss chalets, and charming vineyards. The Golden Pass Line also features classic vintage carriages and VIP seats that provide a more luxurious experience.
- Zweisimmen to Montreux (via the Golden Pass Line):
Continue on the Golden Pass Line to the French-speaking town of Montreux. Nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux boasts the stunning Chillon Castle and hosts the internationally renowned Montreux Jazz Festival.
- Montreux to Zermatt (via the regional train):
Leaving Montreux, the train ascends, passing through Visp and then on to the car-free alpine resort of Zermatt. This quaint town is your gateway to the mighty Matterhorn, one of the most iconic mountains in the world.
- Zermatt to St. Moritz (via the Glacier Express):
Regarded as the world’s slowest express train, the Glacier Express offers an eight-hour scenic journey across three high mountain passes, through 91 tunnels, and across 291 bridges. It culminates in the glamorous resort town of St. Moritz.
- St. Moritz to Lugano (via the Bernina Express):
This UNESCO World Heritage route stands out for its engineering brilliance and breathtaking views of glaciers. It winds down to the swaying palms of Lugano, a city in southern Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region.
- Lugano to Lucerne (via the Gotthard Panorama Express):
The last leg of the Grand Train Tour combines boat and train travel. Begin with a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne, then board the Gotthard Panorama Express that passes through the historical Gotthard tunnel, rolling on towards Lucerne.
- A Swiss Travel Pass is your key to unlimited travel on the Swiss Travel System network, covering boats, buses, trains, and even admission to over 500 museums nationwide.
- Given the extensive route, planning and booking accommodations ahead of time can ensure a more relaxed journey.
- Pack for variable weather conditions and comfortable walking shoes for exploring.
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland offers an adventure like no other – a feast for the senses that captures the very essence of this beautiful country. It’s more than just a mode of transportation; it’s a gateway to experiencing the heart and soul of Switzerland.
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