Discover the Magic of the Alps on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Train windows are magic. Watching the world pass you by from the comfort of a train is the best way to travel. It’s classical, eco-friendly, and refined. And the views are unbeatable. Those train windows become magical portals to the rest of the world. And in Switzerland, the views through the train window are downright breathtaking.

There are few train journeys more iconic than the alpine rails of Switzerland. Passing alongside some of the world’s most famous mountain peaks, including the Matterhorn, these routes are filled with dramatic views of gorges, peaks, and river valleys. The journey itself is the ride of a lifetime, but there’s so much to experience in the stops along the way. This is why Switzerland has introduced the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, which combines many of the regional train networks to showcase the very best of the Swiss Alps. If you’re looking to finally cross the Alps off your bucket list, there’s no better way to journey than on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.

What is the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland?

The Treno Gottardo passing through Amsteg. (© Switzerland Tourism / SOB Thomas Kessler)

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is not a single route, but rather a combination of the very best scenic train routes in Switzerland. It includes not only train routes that connect you from major urban centres and resort towns, but also panoramic train journeys, including the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express.

On the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, you enjoy views of some of the world’s most famous mountain peaks and stop off in trendy resort towns and timeless villages that capture the appeal of the Swiss Alps. It’s an all-encompassing, customizable journey that combines multiple regions, different languages, and unique cultural encounters into one seamless travel experience.

Where does the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland visit?

Zermatt is blessed with views of the Matterhorn, the Swiss Alps’ most famous peak. (© Switzerland Tourism / Fotograf)

There’s no one set itinerary on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. Rather, you set the time and the key stops and let the experts do the rest to customize your ideal trip across the nation. That said, there are some key towns that are included in most train routes. The longest route of the Grand Train Tour includes stops in the largest city, Zurich, iconic lake towns including Lucerne, Interlaken, and Lugano, and the resort towns of Zermatt, Brig, Chur, and St. Moritz. Not only does the route highlight the historical highlights of these towns, such as the famous wooden Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, but also natural landmarks such as the Matterhorn. Don’t forget about all the food and drink opportunities in these towns, as well as onboard the refined trains themselves. If you love chocolate and cheese, you’re going to enjoy the flavours of Switzerland as much as the sights.

What can you do on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland?

The Glacier Express crossing the Landwasser Viaduct. (© Switzerland Tourism / Glacier Express / Stefan Schlumpf)

If you visit in winter, skiing is an absolute must. There are many ski resorts near the towns of Interlaken, Zermatt, and St. Moritz, and you can arrange for a few extra days on a trip to allow for plenty of time to ski. Even if you don’t want to ski, the winter landscape makes for some beautiful views, most notably in Zermatt. The resort town lies at the foot of the Matterhorn, the most famous mountain in the Alps with its distinctive pyramid shape. You can head up to some viewpoints above Zermatt for the best views of the mountain. If you want to explore the Top of Europe, connect from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch, where you can enjoy the highest views of Europe and unbeatable sights of mountains such as Eiger and Jungfrau.

The train journey itself is undoubtedly a highlight as well, especially on scenic routes such as the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express, the GoldenPass, and the Gotthard Panorama Express. The Glacier Express is an eight-hour route that takes you from Zermatt to St. Moritz, passing by towering cliff faces, alongside viaducts, and through tunnels to display the Swiss Alps in all their glory. The Bernina Express is the steepest rail track in the world and passes from Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland, into the town of Tirano in Lombardy, Italy. It reaches a height of 7,391 ft / 2,253 m at the Bernina Pass, making it one of the highest and most impressive panoramic journeys in the world. The GoldenPass connects you from Lake Lucerne to Lake Geneva while enjoying unbeatable panoramic views. The Gotthard Panorama Express curves around tight bends and through massive alpine tunnels to connect you from Lucerne to Lugano.

When is the best time to go on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland?

Views of the Matterhorn from the train. (© Switzerland Tourism / Andre Meier)

Switzerland is a country with distinctive seasons that showcase the natural landscape in a variety of beautiful ways. It’s an all-year-round destination. That said, the shoulder season has a special appeal in Switzerland. For one, it has fewer crowds at mountain lookouts and more rooms available in tourist spots. The pricing is more affordable, and while it’s not as warm as in the summer, the beautiful colours in spring and fall make up for it. Switzerland is also beautiful in the height of winter when you can enjoy Christmas markets and other seasonal treats in the resort towns and alpine getaways, but the prices are higher. It’s best to travel in the shoulder seasons to get the best combination of favourable weather and pricing.

Whether you visit in winter in order to ski, spring to hike the mountainside near Grindelwald, summer to picnic along the shores of Lake Geneva, or fall to watch the changing colours through the windows of the train, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland offers a convenient and stunning way to experience the best of the Swiss Alps.

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Aren Bergstrom
Aren Bergstrom

Globetrotting Editor - You might say that Aren was destined to become a Globetrotter after his family took him to Germany two times before he was four. If that wasn’t enough, a term spent in Sweden as a young teenager and a trek across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand confirmed that destiny. An independent writer, director, and film critic, Aren has travelled across Asia, Europe, and South America. His favourite travel experience was visiting the major cities of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, but his love for food, drink, and film will take him anywhere that boasts great art and culture.

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