Luxury Train Travel in Switzerland
Switzerland’s nature is often overlooked, but it is a picturesque hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered.
One of the best and most iconic ways to explore this Alpine country is by train - in Switzerland, travellers can ride through breathtaking mountainous scenery and over iconic bridges in complete luxury.
With so many luxury train journeys to choose from, it is easy to become overwhelmed by choice. To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve put together this expert guide on luxury train travel in Switzerland.
Gstaad & the Golden Pass
Gstaad is a decidedly quintessentially Swiss village, located near Alpine passes in one of Switzerland’s most beautiful regions. In winter, this Alpine village is blanketed in snow, whilst summer brings with it lush meadows and uninterrupted sunshine. Fresh mountain air, sky high peaks and verdant alpine landscapes have attracted many a high-profile guest to Gstaad throughout the years, and it is easy to see why. Visitors can spend their time here discovering 300 kilometres of hiking trails, relaxing in winding cable cars or perusing boutiques, art galleries and shops.
After a day filled with adventure, travellers can do as the Swiss do by stopping for coffee or aperitifs in a chalet-style gourmet restaurant. There are also plenty of other things to get stuck into in Gstaad, such as learning the traditional Swiss art of cheesemaking or taking a cable car upwards to hike the impressive Jungfraujoch glacier. From Gstaad, board the Golden Pass train towards Montreux, enjoying a scenic journey through breathtaking alpine scenery. Leaving the German speaking part of Switzerland behind, the train winds its way down through narrow valleys and passes the romantic Lake Geneva. Fitted with panoramic windows, the Golden Pass offers sweeping views across Switzerland’s verdant rolling hills and snow-capped mountains.
Gornergrat railway & fairytale Zermatt
Zermatt, overlooked by the dramatic mountain peak of the Matterhorn, is a fairytale village in every sense of the word. Wooden shutters adorn windows in picturesque pine lodges that stretch up the side of the valley, making Zermatt feel as though it has been lost in time. Combustion engines are banned here, so horse-drawn carriages and swarms of bicycles are the a la mode transportation in town.
For one of the finest views in Switzerland, board the Gornergrat railway. Gornergrat is the highest open-air railway in Europe, offering sweeping views over scenic Zermatt. At the Riffelberg stop, passengers are rewarded with a good view of the infamous Matterhorn, as well as lesser known Monte Rosa and its glacier. Add to this unique train journey by taking two successive cable cars up towards Hohtälli and Stockhorn for breathtaking panoramas over the Alpine countryside. Travellers who don’t suffer from vertigo can find more thrilling panoramas on a narrow mountain path between Gornergrat and Hohtälli.
The Glacier Express
The charming Glacier Express winds through Andermatt before crossing the famous Landwasser Viaduct to St Moritz. The first half of the journey, from Zermatt to Andermatt, crosses hundreds of bridges and passes through dozens of tunnels in just under four hours. In Andermatt, you’ll find narrow streets lined with traditional chalets, as well as the Devil’s Bridge, an architectural wonder that spans the vertiginous Schöllenen Gorge.
As you travel east from Andermatt towards St Moritz, the Glacier Express’ route becomes increasingly scenic. On a journey that takes five hours, passengers travel through verdant rolling hills and over the awe-inspiring Landwasser Viaduct. A stay in the lakeside town of St. Moritz is a fitting end to this picturesque journey. Here, breathtaking forests are blanketed in snow and dramatic peaks pierce cobalt blue skies. Attracting royalty and esteemed guests for over 150 years, St. Moritz knows how to please holidaymakers looking for luxury.
The Bernina Express & Ticino
One of the most popular ways to see the Alps is by taking the Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano. This UNESCO World Heritage Site route links together regions with different languages and cultures, allowing travellers to discover different sides to Switzerland. The southern province of Tirano is a great base from which to explore the nearby Italianate region of Ticino.
Sharing more of its border with Italy than with Switzerland, Ticino only has one official language: Italian. Forest covered mountains surround two transfrontier lakes and the Ticino river, whose deep blue waters are fringed by colourful towns and snow-capped peaks. Nature enthusiasts won’t find it hard to keep themselves occupied here; hiking over 4000 km of trails, wild swimming in the Valle Verzasca, boating and mountain biking are all excellent ways to discover the rustic villages here.