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The Best Train Rides in Switzerland

SWITZERLAND`S MOST SCENIC TRAIN RIDES

The Swiss rail network is known for being one of the most extensive railway networks in Europe. This beautiful country is home to some of the most scenic train routes in the world and traveling by train offers an array of views passing by pristine lakes, valleys, and mountains.

Not only are the views breathtaking, but train travel is also a great way to experience Swiss culture and history. In fact, today, Swiss residents are some of the most avid train travelers in the world, clocking up over 2,000 km per year on average!

The country quickly embraced the railway when it first arrived on the scene in the mid-19th century and is now forecasted to grow 15% to 30% between 2000 and 2030. With such a well-developed and growing railway network of electric and steam loc trains, it’s easy to see why train travel is a go-to mode of travel in Switzerland!

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TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TRAIN RIDES IN SWITZERLAND

Before picking the most scenic train rides for yourself, here is some important information on costs, etc. As a regular Switzerland visitor (who has also spent a countless amount of time on trains), I highly, highly recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass.

The Swiss Travel Pass is for non-Swiss and non-Liechtenstein people only. So, people living in Switzerland cannot use a Swiss Travel Pass. But international visitors should really consider getting a Swiss Travel Pass.

It allows you to use all kinds of public transportation once you buy the pass without any extra costs. This means you can use trains and buses without having to worry about more costs.  There are just very few exceptions where you need to buy an extra ticket/pay a reservation fee.

  • It allows you to use most trains and buses without any extra costs.
  • You can also do boat cruises without additional costs.
  • It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice).

The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high. It pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. 

For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland).  I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.

For this post, I will always mention whether the particular train ride is is included in the Swiss Travel Pass or not.

15 of the Best Train Rides in Switzerland

Without further ado, here are the best train rides in Switzerland.

The Glacier Express

  • Start and End Points: Zermatt, Switzerland to St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 8 hours
  • The Glacier Express is free with a Swiss Travel Pass. But you have to make a compulsory reservation in advance (approx. 37€ in low season, 47€ in high season). Without a Swiss Travel Pass, tickets start at approx. 135€, plus the compulsory reservation fee.
  • Children under 6 travel for free, and children from 6 to 16 pay half price plus the full reservation fee. 

The Glacier Express is one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland. It starts in Zermatt and ends in St. Moritz, covering a distance of 291 kilometers in just around eight hours.

Glacier Express in Switzerland 1 class
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During that time, passengers can expect to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the Swiss Alps, including lakes and snow-capped mountains. And thanks to the large windows, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to take it all in.

The Rhine Gorge in Graubünden - one of the most scenic routes
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Glacier Express in October
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Some of the most anticipated views of the Glacier Express include the Rhine Gorge, which is one of the deepest gorges in Europe, and the section between Thusis and Preda, which passes through gorges and viaducts – all nestled amongst stunning scenery.

The Glacier Express is definitely one of the best ways to see Switzerland’s natural beauty and it is not surprising that it is one of the most famous train rides in the world. Check out my more detailed post on the Glacier Express here.

KEEP IN MIND: The Glacier Express hibernates at the end of October for about six weeks.

Best time: I love every season, maybe April and May a bit less since it neither is not really green nor do you have foil foliage or snow.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass BUT you need to pay the reservation fee which is up to about 50 CHF during the high season. Alternatively, you can take local trains. You have to change trains a couple of times but you can also get out at any stop without losing your reservation. 

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The Bernina Express

  • Start and End Points: Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy
  • Duration:  ≈ 4 hours

The Bernina Express is a train that goes from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano in Italy, covering around 100 kilometers over the course of four hours. Together with the Glacier Express, it might be some of the most famous train rides in Switzerland. 

Glacier Express, Landwasserviadukt bei Filius, Graubünden / Picture Credit: Swiss Travel Pass AG
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Swiss Travel Pass AG

The journey is exceptionally beautiful from Thusis to Preda. I would say that this part is one of my top 3. But there is more to come – from Pontresina to Alp Grütsch, the train passes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Switzerland, passing the stunning Lago Blanco which is a beauty at any time of the year.

Alp Grüm Bernina Express with Arzo Travels
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Alp Grüm
Bernina Express with Arzo Travels, Mortaratsch Glacier
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Mortaratsch Glacier

Local Bernina Train
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The landscape is a mix of snow-capped mountains, impressive glaciers (including Mortaratsch Glacier) green valleys, and sparkling lakes with some major highlights worth noting:

  • The Landwasser Viaduct: a massive stone bridge that spans the Landwasser River. It’s one of the most iconic features of the Bernina Express, and it’s definitely worth a photo op.
  • The Brusio Spiral Viaduct: a series of spiraling tracks that help the train navigate a sharp turn in the landscape. It’s an engineering marvel, and it’s one of the most unique features of the Bernina Express.

There are also several tunnels and bridges that add to the excitement of the journey making the Bernina Express a train ride a must for any Swiss traveler.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass BUT you need to pay the reservation fee which is up to about 26 CHF during the high season. Alternatively, you can take local trains which run the exact route – but have a couple of more stops -and where you can get out at any stop.

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Filisur to Davos

  • Start and End Points: Filisur, Switzerland to Davos, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 25 minutes

Filisur to Davos is a 25-minute picturesque train ride that takes you through some of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes. The journey begins in Filisur and travels through the rugged, yet beautiful Zügen Gorge and then over the famous Wiesen Viaduct.

Davos to Filisur train ride
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This 200-meter-long bridge spans a deep valley and is one of the most photographed landmarks in Switzerland. From there, the train winds its way through tunnels, past glaciers before arriving in Davos.

Davos to Filiur train ride in winter
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Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to Switzerland, the train ride from Filisur to Davos is not to be missed. TIP: If you have time, continue your journey all the way to Tiefencastel, so you pass the famous Landwasser Viadukt as well and see more of the gorgeous scenery along the way.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Luzern – Interlaken Express

  • Start and End Points: Luzern, Switzerland to Interlaken, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 2 hours

The Luzern – Interlaken Express is a train that runs between the cities of Luzern and Interlaken. The journey takes approximately two hours, and passengers can expect to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland.

Luzern Interlaken Express window view
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The train passes lakes, mountains, and forests, and there are several stops along the way where passengers can get off and explore. The best part about the Luzern Interlaken Express is that it allows passengers to see some of the prettiest lakes like Lake Lungern, Lake Lucerne. or Lake Brienz.

Best things to do at Lake Brienz, Interlaken
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Whether you’re a Swiss resident or a tourist, the Luzern Interlaken Express is an enjoyable way to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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 Grütschalp to Mürren

  • Start and End Points: Grütschalp to Mürren
  • Duration:  ≈ 14 minutes

The train ride from Grütschalp to Mürren is absolutely stunning – at any time of the year. The journey takes about 20 minutes, during which time you’ll be treated to amazing views of the snow-capped Alps.

Hiking from Grütschalp to Murren
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The best part is that you can open the windows and have even better views of the surroundings – so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the way, you’ll pass great views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains (as a whole also known as the Swiss Skyline).

View from train to Mürren
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When you reach Mürren, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas – it’s truly an unforgettable experience. 

Check out my Mürren post – here is what to do and see in this adorable mountain village.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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Geneva to Montreux

  • Start and End Points: Geneva to Montreux
  • Duration:  ≈ 1.5 hours

The train ride from Geneva to Montreux is part of the scenic Lauvaux railway line. The journey takes around an hour and a half, and it is especially beautiful in the summer and fall when the vineyards are in full bloom.

Vineyards of Montreux
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The train winds its way through stunning countryside, passes pretty villages, and classic Swiss chalets. There are several stops along the way, including Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux. From Geneva, the train follows the shores of Lake Geneva before heading into the heart of the Alps.

Vineyards along Lake Geneva a top thing to do in Lausanne
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The views are simply breathtaking, and it’s easy to see why this part of Switzerland is such a popular tourist destination.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the train ride from Geneva to Montreux is sure to be a highlight of your trip. 

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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Brienzer Rothorn

  • Start and End Points: Brienz, Switzerland to Rothorn Kulm Summit, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 1 hour

The Brienzer Rothorn is a summit at 2,350 meters above sea level. You can get up with the Brinezer Rothorn steam locomotive which is one of the most gorgeous and unique train rides in the world.

View from Brienzer Rothorn
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The duration of the Brienzer Rothorn ride is around one hour, and it takes passengers from Brienz village at the shores of Lake Brienz up to the summit of the Brienzer Rothorn mountain. Along the way, passengers are treated to stunning views of the lake, as well as the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Brienzer Rothorn with view on Lake Brienz
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The best aspects about the Brienzer Rothorn are its spectacular scenery. Up at Brienzer Rothorn, you can just soak in the views or start some incredible hikes. Check out my guide for the trip to Brienzer Rothorn.

PRICES: 50% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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Mount Rigi

  • Start and End Points: Vitznau to Mount Rigi Summit
  • Duration:  ≈ 1 hour

The Mount Rigi train ride is a must-do when in Switzerland. The journey takes around an hour and passes some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The train leaves from Vitznau station, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, and heads up to the summit of Mount Rigi, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests.

Getting up Mount Rigi - a must-do activity in Lucerne
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There are a few stops along the way, so passengers can hop off and explore before making their way back down. The Mount Rigi train ride is especially great for the sunset ride down, as the setting sun casts a warm glow over the landscape.

What to do in the winter at Mount Rigi_
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But it’s also great at any time of the year, so be sure to add it to your list of things to do when in Switzerland.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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Lauterbrunnen to Wengen and then to Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch

  • Start and End Points: Lauterbrunnen and then to Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg and then to Jungfraujoch
  • Duration:  ≈ About 2 hours 

The train ride from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen (where you have stunning views of gorgeous Lauterbrunnen valley) to Kleine Scheidegg and then to Jungfraujoch is one of the most scenic and impressive railway journeys in the world.

View from train to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen valley
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The journey takes approximately two hours and you have to change trains in Kleine Scheidegg, and again at Eigergletscher but you are treated to breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps throughout. The route passes by several notable landmarks, such as the Eiger North Wall before reaching the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe.

Jungfraubahn from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg
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The train ride is an unforgettable experience and perfect for any time of the year. 

PRICES: From Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, it is free with a Swiss Travel Pass, then you get a 25% discount. Free to Kleine Scheidegg with a Jungfrau Pass.

 Centovalli

  • Start and End Points: Domodossola, Switzerland to Locarno, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 2 hours

The Centovalli railway is a totally different experience to any other train journey in Switzerland – and the only train ride I have included for you which is in the Italian-speaking part of Ticino.

Window views in Centovalli Railway
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The trip takes you across rocky gorges, charming small villages, and beautiful waterfalls. The line winds its way through the picturesque Centovalli region, past forests, vineyards, and half-timbered houses.

And because it’s mostly single track, you really get a sense of traveling through the Swiss countryside. The best time to ride the Centovalli railway is in autumn when the leaves are turning and there’s a chance of seeing some snow-capped peaks in the distance. But whatever time of year you visit, this is definitely a journey worth taking.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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 Gornergrat

  • Start and End Points: Zermatt to Gornergrat
  • Duration:  ≈ 30 minutes

The Gornergrat Railway is a mountain railway that takes passengers from Zermatt to Gornergrat, one of the highest mountain peaks in Switzerland easily accessible by rail.

Gornergrat at the top
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The journey takes about half an hour, and passengers can expect to see some of the most spectacular scenery in the Swiss Alps. The Gornergrat Railway passes through forests, meadows, and glaciers, and provides stunning views of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and the ice fields of the Gorner Glacier.

The best aspects of the Gornergrat Railway are its convenient location and its panoramic views. Landmarks such as the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa are visible from the train, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

PRICES: 50% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass.

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Montreux to Roche de Naye

  • Start and End Points: Montreux, Switzerland to Rochers-de-Naye, Switzerland
  • Duration:  ≈ 1 hour

With its stunning mountain scenery and picturesque towns, the Montreux to Roche de Naye railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland.

Roche de Naye train ride
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The train journey takes about an hour, and passengers can enjoy panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps as they wind their way up to the summit of Roche de Naye. 

Scenic train rides in Switzerland, Roche de Nayers
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The best time to take the train is in spring or summer when the flowers are in bloom and the weather is warm. But fall is also an amazing time to enjoy this train ride because of the stunning fall foliage. However, even in winter, the journey is worth taking for the spectacular snow-capped views.

Either way, it’s an unforgettable experience that should not be missed on a trip to Switzerland.

PRICES: Free with a Swiss Travel Pass from Montreux to Haut-de-Caux, then a 50% discount from Haut-de-Caux to Rochers-de-Naye.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Train Journeys in Switzerland

If you’re looking for an amazing train ride through some of the most picturesque scenery in the world, look no further than Switzerland! With routes that pass by pristine lakes, valleys, and mountains, you’re sure to fall in love with train travel just as many Swiss residents have.

Don’t miss out on this incredible experience– book your ticket today!

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