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Explore Switzerland Train Tours: Beyond the Glacier and Bernina Express

Switzerland, known for its breathtaking landscapes and precision in everything, especially its train services, offers a many beautiful train tours that promise an unforgettable experience. While the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express are the most famous ones of Swiss rail travel, there are equally mesmerizing alternatives that promise scenic beauty and unique experiences. Here's a guide to some of the best Swiss train rides that offer incredible views and a journey as splendid as the destinations themselves.

Chur to St. Moritz: A Scenic Shortcut

For those finding the Bernina Express a bit too long, complicated, or pricey, the journey with IR 38 (hourly service starting at 22 CHF - 28 CHF) from Chur to St. Moritz presents a perfect alternative. This route, accessible via the official Bernina Express or any other regular train, traverses the same tracks and offers the same breathtaking views at a fraction of the cost. Highlights include the iconic Landwasser Viaduct and the picturesque village of Bergun, finishing in the luxurious alpine resort of St. Moritz.

Landwasserviadukt
The famouse Landwasserviadukt

St. Gallen to Lucerne via Rapperswil-Jona: A Lake Lover's Dream

The route from St. Gallen to Lucerne, via Rapperswil-Jona,also called Voralpen Express is a must for those who love lakeside views. From train bridges to mountain views, this journey truly begins as you ride from St. Gallen along the Obersee towards Rapperswil. Crossing Lake Zurich over a dam, you’ll enter a high plain before skirting Lake Zug and arriving at Lake Lucerne. For the best views, grab a seat on the left side to be lakeside at both Lake Zurich and Lake Lucerne.

Zurich Obersee with view of the alps
Zurich Obersee with view of the alps

Lucerne to Interlaken: The Heart of Switzerland

The Luzern–Interlaken Express transforms the trip between these two cities into a breathtaking adventure. Part of the scenic GoldenPass Line, this train ride showcases five crystal-clear mountain lakes, steep rock faces, and the impressive Brünig Pass using cogwheel technology.

Lucerne to Montreux: The GoldenPass Route

Connecting Lucerne with Montreux, the GoldenPass route is a journey through six cantons filled with unparalleled views. From lakeside shores to the ascent of the Brünig Pass and the vineyards sloping down to Montreux, this trip is a natural beauty and Swiss engineering marvels. Whether you choose the GoldenPass Panoramic or the Belle Époque trains, the experience remains the same, with first-class seats recommended for the most serene views.

Vinyards near Montreux
Vineyards near Montreux with Lake Geneva in the background

Lugano to Lucerne or Zurich: The Gotthard Panorama Express

For a journey combining rail and water, the Gotthard Panorama Express from Lugano to Lucerne offers an unmatched experience. When booking this trip, ensure you choose the slower, scenic route through the old Gotthard Base Tunnel rather than the faster option that goes through the new 50 km tunnel. Starting in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, the journey takes you through the UNESCO-protected Bellinzona, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, and ends with a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. This route showcases Switzerland's iconic landscapes and offers a unique way to experience the beauty of the country by traversing both its serene lakes and majestic mountains.

Exploring More: Short but Spectacular Journeys

For those with less time or seeking shorter excursions, Switzerland offers a variety of spectacular train journeys that are brief yet incredibly scenic:

RE7 Lucerne to Berne:

This slow regional line offers a leisurely way to enjoy the countryside between two of Switzerland's iconic cities.

RE1 Bern to Brig

Depart at Kandersteg for a picturesque stop in the heart of the Swiss Alps.

S7 Langenthal to Lucerne

Traverse the picturesque landscapes between Langenthal and Lucerne, enjoying rural and mountainous vistas.

Appenzellerbahn

Explore the charming region of Appenzell with its rolling hills and traditional Swiss culture.

Scenic view of the Appenzell region
Scenic view of the Appenzell region

Ziegelbrücke-Walenstadt RE

A journey offering beautiful views of the Swiss landscape, especially the Walensee area.

Biel to La-Chaux-de-Fonds

Travel through the Jura mountains, experiencing the unique beauty of this less-traveled region.

Lausanne to Geneva through the Wine Fields at Lake Geneva:

Enjoy the stunning vineyard landscapes along Lake Geneva, making this journey a feast for the eyes and the soul.

Concluding the Journey

While Switzerland is renowned for its high-profile train tours like the Glacier and Bernina Express, these alternatives offer equally captivating experiences with the added advantage of exploring off-the-beaten-path landscapes. Each journey, whether it's the scenic shortcut from Chur to St. Moritz or the experience of the Gotthard Panorama Express, showcases the diverse beauty of Switzerland, making every train tour a must-do for visitors. With no shortage of panoramic views, cultural insights, and engineering

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