Are you ready to experience breathtaking views and discover Switzerland’s stunning snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, picturesque villages, and awe-inspiring lakes? One of the best ways to explore these remarkable sights by taking a ride on one of the many scenic train rides in Switzerland. From short panoramic jaunts to long day trips—each with its own unique features—Switzerland offers some amazing railway experiences for all types of travelers.
In this guide we will highlight most exceptional scenic train rides in Switzerland that should not be missed during your travels in 2023! Read on to find out more about these memorable rail journeys.
How to choose Between the Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland
It’s hard to make a decision because there are so many options for scenic train rides in Switzerland. As locals, we completed many of these so read one to hear our tips and recommendations.
Glacier Express: Zermatt to St. Moritz
This is an 8-hour journey of epic proportions! Embark on the world’s slowest express train, the Glacier Express, for an unforgettable journey through the heart of Switzerland. The train goes from Zermatt to St Moritz through the stunning Swiss Alps and you’ll pass by various mountain peaks, gorge valleys, picturesque villages, and tunnels during your ride. Beginning in the enchanting town of St. Moritz, this panoramic train is designed with large panoramic windows to showcase the awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and mesmerizing landscapes.
As you traverse the UNESCO World Heritage site, be captivated by the panoramic views that surround you, all while enjoying the comfort of the well-appointed train. On the way, you’ll get a chance to take a cable car up to Europe’s highest railway station at 3,883m altitude at Gornergrat as well as stopping off at Brig for a quick photo opportunity of its iconic red roofs and church spires.
To top it off, you’ll also get to experience crossing the famous Landwasser Viaduct on your way from Chur to Tirano, an iconic structure that has become a symbol of Switzerland’s picturesque landscape.
The Glacier Express is a must-experience adventure for anyone visiting Switzerland, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate the country’s breathtaking scenery from the cozy confines of your seat.
How to Book Your Glacier Express Scenic Train Ride
Book your ticket easily online: Glacier Express Train Seat Reservation St.Moritz to Zermatt.
The Glacier Express is included in our Ultimate 5-Day Itinerary of Switzerland.
Jungfrau Railway: See the Top of Europe
Embark on an extraordinary journey aboard the Jungfrau Railway, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes you to the highest point, The Top of Europe, nestled in the heart of the magnificent Bernese Alps. This unforgettable adventure not only transports you to the awe-inspiring Jungfraujoch, home to the highest railway station in all of Europe, perched at a staggering 3,454 meters above sea level.
As you ride through breathtaking landscapes, you’ll marvel at the pristine beauty of snow-capped peaks, glacial valleys, and the majestic alpine scenery that envelops you. Kleine Scheidegg, situated at an impressive altitude, offers panoramic views of the towering Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks. The Jungfrau Railway provides an unparalleled opportunity to witness the stunning beauty of the Swiss Alps from a truly remarkable and unique vantage point, with both Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch leaving visitors in awe. This is definitely one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland!
How to Plan your visit to Jungfraujoch
Booking train tickets to Jungfraujoch is a breeze with SBB (Swiss Federal Railways). SBB offers a user-friendly website and app that allow you to conveniently reserve your tickets in advance.
Or you can choose one of these guided tours:
- Day Trip From Zurich: Day Trip to Jungfrau and Interlaken
- Or take a day trip to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe from Lucerne
Bernina Express: From Chur to Tirano
Experience the captivating beauty of the Bernina Express, a remarkable train journey that traverse the breathtaking landscapes between Switzerland and Northern Italy. This beautiful 4-hour scenic train ride takes you through the picturesque Swiss Alps, with breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, lush green fields and colorful villages along the way. It’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland!
The Bernina Express route takes you through the spectacular Bernina Pass, showcasing the region’s stunning alpine scenery, lush valleys, and picturesque villages. One of the highlights of this unforgettable adventure is crossing the iconic Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural marvel that offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding terrain.
As you explore the wonders of Northern Italy and beyond aboard the Bernina Express, you’ll be immersed in a world of natural beauty and unforgettable experiences that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
How to book the Bernina Express
Use the official website of the Rhaetian Railway, which operates the Bernina Express, or use their user-friendly mobile app. These platforms provide up-to-date information on schedules, availability, and ticket prices. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, as the Bernina Express is a popular route. Consider selecting a panoramic car for the best views during your journey.
Expert Tip: If you’re a non-EU citizen it’s highly advisable to travel with your passport as you will be crossing an EU Schengen boarder.
The Golden Pass Line
Embarking on the GoldenPass Line, you’re in for an unforgettable journey through the picturesque landscapes of Switzerland. With stunning views of the snow-capped Swiss Alps and charming towns along the way, the train ride is a must for anyone who wants to take one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland. And as the train makes its way from Montreux to Lucerne, don’t miss the opportunity to take in the breathtaking sights of the shores of Lake Geneva. With its crystal-clear waters and beautiful surroundings, the lake is a true gem and a great spot for a leisurely stroll or a boat ride.
The Golden Pass Line offers a range of seating options to cater to every traveler’s preferences and needs. There are three classes on the Golden Pass Line, Second class, First class, and Prestige class. The most luxurious option is the Prestige Class. This exclusive class provides passengers with an unparalleled level of comfort and service.
As you settle into the plush, spacious seats, you can enjoy panoramic views of the picturesque Swiss landscapes through large windows that extend from the floor to the ceiling. The Prestige Class offers a more intimate and private setting, creating a tranquil ambiance for a truly immersive experience.
See the Golden Pass Line website for tickets and further information.
Rigi Bhan: A Picturesque Cogwheel to Rigi Kulm
Embark on a remarkable journey aboard the Rigi Bahn, a historic cogwheel train that takes you to the majestic Rigi Kulm. With a rich history dating back to 1871, the Rigi Bahn is the first mountain railway in Europe and has been delighting visitors for over a century. As you climb the scenic slopes of Mount Rigi, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Swiss landscapes.
Arriving at Rigi Kulm, located at an impressive elevation of 1,798 meters above sea level, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of natural beauty. The cogwheel train’s unique design allows it to conquer the steep inclines with ease, providing a smooth and comfortable ascent. Whether you choose to visit in the summer or winter, Rigi Kulm offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and even paragliding, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who venture to this magnificent mountain peak.
How to plan your Rigi Bahn scenic train ride
To get to the starting point of the Rigi Bahn from Lucerne, you can take a special train called the Rigi Bahn from a nearby town called Arth Goldau. First, go to Lucerne train station and look for a train that goes to Arth Goldau. It’s a short ride from Lucerne. When you get to Arth Goldau, follow the signs and walk for about 10 minutes to reach another station called Vitznau. At Vitznau station, you can buy a ticket for the Rigi Bahn train. The Rigi Bahn is a special train that goes up a mountain called Mount Rigi. Once you have your ticket, hop on the Rigi Bahn and enjoy the amazing views as you go up the mountain.
Gotthard Panorama Express
The Gotthard Panorama Express is a scenic train journey that showcases the beauty of Central Switzerland and Lake Lucerne. This remarkable adventure takes you on a mesmerizing ride through the heart of Switzerland, offering panoramic views of breathtaking landscapes. The Gotthard Panorama Express combines a relaxing boat cruise across Lake Lucerne with a picturesque train ride, creating an unforgettable experience.
As you glide across the serene waters of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by towering mountains and charming lakeside towns, a sense of tranquility envelops you. Upon reaching the train, settle into the comfortable seats and prepare to be amazed as the train winds its way through tunnels and over bridges, revealing stunning vistas at every turn.
This scenic route, passing through the iconic Gotthard Pass, allows you to witness the impressive engineering marvels and natural wonders that Central Switzerland has to offer. Highlights include the Gotthard Pass, a narrow gorge at an altitude of 2,106 meters and the beautiful Ticino region where you’ll get stunning views of Mediterranean-style villages.
The Gotthard Panorama Express is a truly enchanting journey that showcases the best of Switzerland’s picturesque landscapes and leaves a lasting impression on every traveler.
How to plan your Gotthard Panorama Express scenic train ride
To book the Gotthard Panorama Express, you can visit the official website or use their convenient mobile app. Check the available dates, times, and ticket prices, and make sure to book in advance, especially during busy travel seasons. Follow the instructions on the website or app to select your desired route, make your payment, and receive your e-ticket. With your ticket in hand, you’re all set to embark on a scenic journey aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express, enjoying the stunning landscapes and panoramic views along the way.
Voralpen-Express: The Hidden Gems of St. gallen
Discover the hidden gems of Switzerland as you journey along the lesser-known route of the Voralpen-Express, connecting the vibrant city of St. Gallen to the enchanting landscapes of Central Switzerland. Step aboard this scenic train and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Swiss countryside. Relax in comfortable seats and gaze out through large windows that frame the picturesque vistas of rolling hills, serene lakes, and charming villages.
As the Voralpen-Express winds its way through the lesser-explored regions, you’ll have the opportunity to uncover the hidden treasures of St. Gallen and its surrounding areas. Delve into the city’s rich cultural heritage and explore its historic sites, such as the renowned Abbey Library. The Voralpen-Express offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience, allowing you to uncover the lesser-known wonders of Switzerland while reveling in the tranquil beauty that unfolds along the route.
How to book the Volrapen-Express Scenic Train ride
- Plan in Advance: Plan your trip and book your Voralpen-Express tickets in advance. This allows you to secure your preferred travel date and time, especially during peak seasons when the train may have high demand. Booking early ensures that you have a confirmed seat and can avoid last-minute availability issues.
- Use the Official Website or App: To book your Voralpen-Express tickets, it’s best to use the official website or mobile app. These platforms provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding schedules, ticket prices, and availability.
Centovalli Railway: Explore the Italian Alps
Embark on a picturesque journey through the captivating landscapes of Switzerland and Italy aboard the Domodossola-Locarno railway line, also known as the Centovalli Railway. This exceptional train ride takes you through the enchanting “Hundred Valleys” (Centovalli in Italian), showcasing a stunning mosaic of deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, and quaint villages perched on verdant hillsides.
The Centovalli Railway traverses a series of impressive bridges and viaducts, offering awe-inspiring views of the surrounding alpine scenery and the pristine beauty of this lesser-known region. As one of Switzerland’s most scenic train rides, the Domodossola-Locarno railway line promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking to explore the hidden gems of the Swiss and Italian Alps.
How to Plan your Centovalli Railway Scenic Train
To book a ticket for the Centovalli Railway, visit the official Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) website or use their mobile app. Search for a connection between Domodossola and Locarno, which are the two endpoints of the Centovalli route. Choose your desired travel date and time, and complete the booking process by following the on-screen instructions.
Mont Blanc Express
For those planning a trip to Switzerland, the Mont Blanc Express is an exceptional addition to your itinerary. This scenic train journey showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of the Swiss and French Alps, as it winds its way through picturesque valleys and steep mountain slopes. Starting from Martigny in Switzerland, the Mont Blanc Express transports you through charming alpine villages such as Chamonix, before reaching its final destination at the foot of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains, lush forests, and vibrant meadows, all from the comfort of panoramic train carriages. Don’t miss this unforgettable experience, which allows you to immerse yourself in the unparalleled natural splendor of the Mont Blanc region.
How to Plan Your Mont Blanc Express Scenic Train Ride
To secure your seat on the captivating Mont Blanc Express, head to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) website or download their user-friendly mobile app. Input Martigny and Chamonix as your departure and arrival points to discover the available connections for this mesmerizing journey. Once you’ve chosen the perfect travel date and time, simply follow the step-by-step instructions to finalize your reservation and embark on an unforgettable alpine adventure.
Experience the scenic Lavaux Express train ride, showcasing the breathtaking UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyards in Switzerland. Travel through picturesque slopes, terraced vineyards, and charming villages. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Learn about winemaking traditions and cultural heritage from knowledgeable guides. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this regional train journey and savor the essence of the Lavaux wine region.
How to Plan your Lavaux Express Scenic train ride
Reserving your spot on the delightful Lavaux Express train ride is a breeze. Start by visiting the Lavaux Express official website and browse through the available routes and schedules to choose the perfect journey for you. After selecting your preferred date and time, follow the on-screen booking instructions to complete your reservation, and prepare yourself for a captivating excursion through the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyards.
For those visiting Switzerland, the Gornergrat Bahn is an absolute must-do experience. This charming cog railway takes you on a captivating journey from the picturesque village of Zermatt to the majestic Gornergrat summit. As you ascend through the breathtaking alpine scenery, you’ll be treated to unparalleled views of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks.
On a personal note, this is our favorite of the list, as we had the pleasure of embarking on this unforgettable adventure back in 2019 with our 10-month-old daughter. The memories we created, and the pictures we captured during that trip will be cherished forever. The Gornergrat Bahn is not only an exceptional way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Swiss Alps but also a fantastic opportunity to create lifelong memories with your loved ones.
How to Plan Your Gornergrat Scenic Train Ride
You can visit the official Gornergrat Bahn website or use their mobile app to make your reservation. Check the available departure times and ticket prices for your desired travel date. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can enjoy a 50% discount on the Gornergrat train ticket.
make the most of your Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland
When traveling around Switzerland by train, here are some helpful tips to make your journey smooth and enjoyable. If you prefer a guaranteed seat, consider making a seat reservation, especially during peak travel seasons or for long-distance routes. While seat reservations are not mandatory for most trains, they provide peace of mind and ensure a comfortable journey. If you plan to explore multiple regions, the Swiss Travel Pass can be a cost-effective option.
This pass offers unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland. However, keep in mind that certain panoramic trains and some international trains may require an additional fee or reservation. It’s advisable to check the specific train’s requirements and consider any reservation fees, which are usually around a few Swiss Francs. By being aware of these details, you can make the most of your train travel experience in Switzerland while managing any extra costs effectively.
The Swiss Travel Pass is an all-in-one ticket that offers so many benefits for travelers exploring the beauty and charm of Switzerland. With this convenient pass, you’ll enjoy unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats across the country, making it easy to discover Switzerland’s stunning landscapes and picturesque towns at your own pace. In addition to hassle-free transportation, the Swiss Travel Pass grants you free access to over 500 museums, ensuring a rich cultural experience during your journey.
Another advantage of the pass is the discounted rates on mountain excursions, allowing you to admire the breathtaking alpine vistas without breaking the bank. Simplify your Swiss adventure with the Swiss Travel Pass, unlocking a world of convenience, value, and unforgettable experiences as you explore this magnificent country.
Dining options on Trains in Switzerland
Swiss trains offer an array of dining options to enhance your journey and cater to your culinary desires. On the Bernina Express, you can savor delicious Swiss specialties and international dishes in the onboard restaurant, while enjoying panoramic views of the stunning Alpine landscapes. The Glacier Express boasts exquisite dining experiences, with the Excellence Class offering gourmet meals served directly to your seat, paired with fine wines.
In the dining car, you can indulge in a variety of culinary delights, including regional delicacies and a wide selection of beverages. The GoldenPass Line also offers a delightful dining experience, where you can relish in the flavors of Swiss cuisine while admiring the picturesque scenery. Whether you choose to dine in the restaurant car or enjoy a meal at your seat, Swiss trains ensure that your taste buds are satisfied while you revel in the beauty of Switzerland passing by.
As you can see, there are so many scenic train rides in Switzerland. On these breathtaking journeys, you will be able to experience some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world from the comfort of your seat. After all is said and done, however, make sure to take time to enjoy the local culture—not just what’s outside your window!
Switzerland is known for its delicious cheeses and wines, as well as its luxurious chocolates. If you plan ahead with our tips on booking and correctly using your Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll also be able to save money while feasting like royalty along your scenic train ride. Bon voyage!