Traveling with your nose in your smartphone? Casually flipping through the newspaper or solving a crossword? None of these things will happen on a Swiss train. But not the first one, but a unique one, traveling through unique routes.
By choosing a train, you can cover the distance from point A to point B - and that's it. You can also experience a fantastic adventure that you will never forget. That's what it will be like when you embark on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. If you dream of seeing the attractions of this country and like to explore actively, get a Swiss Travel Pass. You can buy a ticket for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. This will give you a big discount on roller coasters and admission to over 500 museums. You will be able to travel by bus, ship and train (including a panoramic one!). Today we will focus on the last option.
Experience the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland!
First, let's briefly explain what the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is. This is an amazing combination of 1,280 km of routes that can be covered by a panoramic train. They run through areas where you will hear 4 official European languages. You will see 5 places from the UNESCO World Heritage List and 11 large lakes. You can board the train at any time and go in any direction. It's up to you which station you join the rest of the travelers at, and when you decide to do so.
The Grand Train Tour consists of wonderful routes leading through beautiful areas. Do you want to see the waterfalls on the Rhine or Lake Lucerne? Visit St. Moritz, Zermatt, Canton Lavaux or Ticino? So buy the Swiss Travel Pass and start your great Swiss adventure.
From north to south through the Alps - the Bernina Express
The first route connects the north and south of Europe, passing areas on the UNESCO List along the way. You will cross it by train called Bernina Express. This is a luxurious vehicle of the Rhaetian Railway, which in first and second class has carriages with panoramic windows. When you sit down at one of them, you will lose track of time. Especially since the seats are very comfortable. You have access to free Wi-Fi and audioguide - a digital guide and map with an interactive route. There is no dining car on Bernina Express. You'll get a snack or drink in the minibar, but you'll have to wait until the train arrives in Tirano for dinner.
The route leads from the Swiss town of Chur/St. Moritz to Italian Tirano. In 4-4.5 hours the train covers 144 km. In summer, those interested can take a trip to Lugano, 90 km from Tirano. It takes 3 hours to reach the destination and participants take the Ekspres Bernina bus.
The trail is considered the steepest railway in the world and runs through the Alps. If you love mountains, you will be enchanted. If you are rather indifferent towards them, that will change after this trip. You will see not only spectacular mountain peaks, but also stately glaciers and palm trees. You will pass through a total of 196 cities and 55 tunnels. You will cross the famous Landwasser Viaduct, 65 meters high - the pearl of the UNESCO List. You will see the Morteratsch glacier and the Bernina massif seen from the Montebello bend. You will see three lakes: Lej Pitschen, Lej Nair and Lago Bianco, the Brusio circular viaduct and the historic station building with the Alp Grüm hotel and restaurant.
Remember to make a mandatory reservation. Applies to everyone, regardless of Swiss Travel Pass. Don't delay! The occupancy of the journeys is so high that it is wise to reserve a place even several months before the trip. Depending on the season, it costs 20-26 CHF.
The slowest express train in the world – Glacier Express
The second route is certainly not intended for fast driving enthusiasts. It is not without reason that the Glacier Express is called the slowest express train in the world. Its maximum speed is 40 km/h, but no passenger complains. It takes 8 hours to cover 291 km, but it's not about time. The route connects the two winter Alpine resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz. Glacier Express passes over 291 bridges and 91 tunnels. It passes picturesque valleys, deep gorges, lakes, glaciers and majestic mountains (including the Matterhorn). During your trip, you will see both pristine landscapes and popular towns.
Unlike its predecessor, you can eat a meal at Glacier Express (for a fee). This is understandable, considering the driving time. Dishes are delivered to passengers at their seats and can be ordered immediately when booking a seat. Exactly! You can do this up to 3 months in advance. Remember to pay extra for the Swiss Travel Pass. You can pay for the entire route or a selected section of the route, e.g. Brig – Zermatt – Brig. It depends on your visiting plans.
If you are spending your holiday in Switzerland, we encourage you to travel on the Glacier Express. It may be the slowest express train, but that's part of its charm. You will relax in luxurious conditions. And these views outside the giant windows... The Swiss Grand Canyon (Rhine Gorge), the Oberalp Pass with a height of 2,033 meters and the pride of the country, the Matterhorn, are just a few attractions waiting for you.
A route disliked by the Romans - the Gotthard Panoramic Express
Glacier Express and Bernina Express are not the only panoramic trains you can board with a Swiss Travel Pass. Although they undoubtedly shine on this list. If you visit Switzerland in the summer, you can get to know it better from the train and steamboat. From May to October, the Gotthard Panoramic Express runs from Lugano/Bellinzona to Flüelen. From Flüelen to Lucerne you will go by steamer. And if you feel like it, can you take this route in the opposite direction?
The trip takes 5.5 hours. If you get hungry during it, you can eat a snack or drink on the train and on the ship. On the train, your order will be delivered to your seat, while on the steamer, apart from something to snack on, you will also eat a hot meal. You can also buy souvenirs. Remember to pay extra for the ride.
The express follows a historical route already known to the ancient Romans. And they didn't like it - because of its difficult approaches or steepness, which is exactly what tourists love about it. You start your journey in Lugano or Bellinzona to reach the north through the 19th-century tunnel through the Alps. The train goes through numerous bends and tunnels, presenting breathtaking views. It's no different when you change to a steamboat. What will you see along the way? Flüelen, Lake Lucerne and the Tella Chapel visible above its waters, the Schillerstein natural monument and the Rütli meadow, considered the founding place of Switzerland. And this is only a fraction of the attractions.
For lovers of mountain lakes – Luzern-Interlaken Express
The next route is part of the GoldenPass panoramic line to Interlaken and then Montreux. The Luzern-Interlaken express takes tourists to Lucerne and Interlaken. These places are among the most popular in the entire country. If you have time and inclination, go on a journey from one to the other. In approximately 2 hours you will travel 98 km. Along the way, you will see 5 mountain lakes delighting with the purity of the water that flows into them from rivers and waterfalls.
For this route, booking a seat is not obligatory, but you can of course do so. If you would like to learn something about the points you pass, the free app will make it easier for you. You can use the "LiveGuide" on the Zentralbahn. Thanks to the application you will be able to track the train's movement in real time. Push notifications will not let you miss important information.
The aforementioned GoldenPass Panoramic connects German- and French-speaking regions. Driving it, you will relax, among others: view of green areas.
Camping at the end of the route
Choosing the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland gives you the opportunity to see the beauty of this country from a different perspective. You don't have to travel dozens of kilometers behind the wheel. Moreover, by boarding the train, you can see places that are inaccessible to cars. Well, you finally have to leave the wagon and rest. Then what? Among other things, you can stay at one of the many Swiss campsites . You have quite a large choice. For example, Camping Gravatscha is located approximately 5 km from the last (or first) Ekspres Bernina station. It is surrounded by a forest and a babbling stream nearby, so you can be sure of peace and quiet. It is approximately 3 km from the town of Samedan and the same distance from the Marguns-Corviglia ski area. You will find separate plots and bungalows there.
The article was created in cooperation with www.MojaSzwajcaria.pl