Switzerland by train
Traveling with your nose on your smartphone? Casually browsing the newspaper or solving a crossword puzzle? None of these things will happen on a Swiss train. But not the first and the unique ones, passing 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. This is what it will be like when you embark on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. If you dream about getting to know the attractions of this country and you like active sightseeing, get a Swiss Travel Pass. You can buy a ticket for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. Thanks to this, you will receive a large 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.
Meet the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland!
First, let's briefly explain what the Swiss Grand Train Tour is . It is an amazing combination of 1,280 km of routes that can be covered by the panoramic train. They run through areas where you will hear 4 official European languages. You will see 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 11 large lakes. You can get on the train at any time and go in any direction. It is up to you which station you join the rest of the travelers, and when you decide to do so.
The Grand Train Tour is a wonderfully routed route through beautiful landscapes. Would you like to see the Rhine Falls or Lake Lucerne? Visit St. Moritz, Zermatt, the Canton of Lavaux or Ticino? So get a Swiss Travel Pass and start your great Swiss adventure.
North to south through the Alps - Bernina Express
The first route connects the north and south of Europe, passing by areas from the UNESCO List. You will take the train called Bernina Express. It is a luxury vehicle of Rhaetian Railways, which in class I and II has cars with panoramic windows. When you sit down with one of them, you lose track of time. The more that the armchairs are very comfortable. You have access to free Wi-Fi and an audioguide - a digital guide and map with an interactive route. There is no dining car at the Bernina Express. You will get a snack or a drink in the minibar, but for lunch you have to wait until the train arrives in Tirano.
The route leads from the Swiss town of Chur / St. Moritz to the Italian Tirano. In 4-4.5 hours, the train covers 144 km. In summer, those interested can take a trip to Lugano, located 90 km from Tirano. It takes 3 hours to reach their destination, and participants take the Express Bernina bus.
The trail is considered to be the steepest railway line in the world that runs through the Alps. If you love the mountains, you will be mesmerized. If you are rather indifferent to them, it will change after this trip. You will see not only spectacular mountain peaks, but also stately glaciers and palm trees. You will pass a total of 196 cities and 55 tunnels. You will overcome the famous 65-meter-high Landwasser Viaduct - the pearl of the UNESCO List. You will see the Morteratsch glacier and the Bernina massif seen from the Montebello bend. You will see the three lakes Lej Pitschen, Lej Nair and Lago Bianco, the circular Viaduct Brusio and the historic station building with the hotel and restaurant Alp Grüm.
Remember about obligatory seat reservation. It applies to everyone, regardless of the Swiss Travel Pass. Do not hesitate with it! The occupancy rate is so high that it is wise to reserve a place even a few months before the trip. Depending on the season, it costs CHF 20-26.
The slowest express in the world - Glacier Express
The second route is certainly not intended for lovers of fast driving. It is not without reason that the Glacier Express is called the slowest express in the world. Its maximum speed is 40 km / h, but no passengers are complaining. It takes 8 hours to cover 291 km, but this is not the time here. The route connects the two winter alpine resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz. The Glacier Express passes 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 virgin landscapes and popular towns.
Unlike its predecessor, Glacier Express will have a meal (for a fee). It is understandable considering the driving time. Dishes are delivered to passengers in their seats, they can be ordered immediately when booking a seat. Exactly! You can do it 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, eg Brig - Zermatt - Brig. It depends on your sightseeing plans.
If you are spending your vacation in Switzerland, we encourage you to travel on the Glacier Express. It may be the slowest express train, but that's its charm. You will relax wonderfully in luxurious conditions. And those views behind giant windows ... The Swiss Grand Canyon (Rhine Gorge), the 2033-meter-high Oberalp Pass or the country's pride, the Matterhorn, are just a few of the attractions that await you.
A route disliked by the Romans - the Gotthard Panoramic Express
The Glacier Express and Bernina Express are not the only panoramic trains you can board with the Swiss Travel Pass. Though they undoubtedly shine on this list. If you visit Switzerland in summer, you can get to know it better from the deck of a train and a steamboat. The Gotthard Panoramic Express runs from May to October from Lugano / Bellinzona to Flüelen. You will travel from Flüelen to Lucerne by steamboat. And if you feel like it, can you complete this route in the opposite direction?
The tour takes 5.5 hours. If you get hungry during it, you can have a snack or a drink on the train and on the ship. On the train, they will deliver you your order to the place, while on the steamer, apart from something "to eat", you will eat a hot meal. You can also buy souvenirs. Remember about the surcharge for the ride.
The expressway follows a historic route that was already known to the ancient Romans. And they didn't like it - for difficult ascents or steep slopes, which is exactly what tourists love it for. You start your journey in Lugano or Bellinzona to travel north through the Alps through a 19th century tunnel. The train travels through numerous bends and tunnels, presenting breathtaking views. It is no different after changing to the steamer. What will you see along the way? Flüelen, Lake Lucerne and the Tella Chapel visible above its waters, the Schillerstein nature monument and the Rütli meadow, considered the site of the founding of Switzerland. And that's only a fraction of the attraction.
For lovers of mountain lakes - the Luzern-Interlaken Express
The next route is part of the GoldenPass panoramic line to Interlaken and then to Montreux. The Luzern-Interlaken express transports tourists to Lucerne and Interlaken. These places are among the most popular in the whole country. If you have the time and feel like it, go on a journey from one to the other. In about 2 hours, you will travel 98 km. Along the way, you will see 5 mountain lakes that delight with the purity of the water that flows into them from rivers and waterfalls.
A seat reservation is not compulsory for this tour, but you can of course make it. If you would like to learn something about the passing points, the free app will help you. You can use the "LiveGuide" on the Zentralbahn. Thanks to the application, you will be able to track the movement of the train in real time. Push notifications will not let you miss important information.
The aforementioned GoldenPass Panoramic connects the 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 chance to experience the beauty of this country from a different angle. You don't have to travel tens of kilometers behind the wheel. What's more, by getting on the train, you allow yourself to see places inaccessible to cars. Well, you have to finally leave the wagon and rest. Then what? Among other things, you can stay at one of the many Swiss campsites . You have a lot of choice. For example, Camping Gravatscha is located approx. 5 km from the last (or first) station of Ekspres Bernina. It is surrounded by a grove and a brook murmurs nearby, so you can be sure of peace and quiet. It is approximately 3 km from the town of Samedan and the same from the Marguns-Corviglia ski area. You will find separate plots and bungalows there.
The article was written in cooperation with www.MojaSzwajcaria.pl
A writer by profession, a passion of a cat. One day he will see what is behind the Urals - good to Vladivostok. So far, when he can, he enjoys the sun of the countries of southern Europe. And it's also fun;)