8 Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

Scenic Train Rides Switzerland Bernina

What is the best way to travel and explore an incredibly vast and beautiful country like Switzerland, you may wonder? There is no better way than traveling by train, especially when there are so many options and routes and every route worth exploring. Some of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland are very easy to incorporate into your itinerary planning.

Beyond their sharp punctuality, surplus scenic routes, and friendly service, the Swiss rail system provides you with an amazing experience and panoramic views that you can’t get enough of. Whether you’re looking for day trips from Basel or traversing Europe by train, the views will never let you down.

From sheer mountain peaks to dramatic waterfalls and verdant valleys, several trains are available to take you through an incredible journey considered undoubtedly the most scenic. So, here are some of the best eight train rides in Switzerland. 

1. The Golden Pass

The Golden Pass is one of the most popular among tourists. If you want to experience the Belle Epoque vintage carriages and the old-world glamour, then this is the train ride that gives you all.

The class Golden Pass line runs between Lucerne and Montreux. This tremendously scenic route runs in three different segments and offers sweeping views of a total of eight glistening lakes and snow-dusted mountain peaks.           

You may not want to even blink once the entire route, but the Montreux to Zweisimmen segment is highly recommended. You can take this route in the Belle Epoque heritage carriage designs, designed after an Orient Express from the 1930s, or choose the panoramic modern carriages instead.

2. The Bernina Express

The Bernina Express connects Chur to Poschiavo and Tirano in Italy. It does so by passing the Engadin Swiss Alps. This train with red carriages takes you through a montage of panoramic views and is rightfully considered one of the best scenic train rides in Switzerland.

Scenic train rides Switzerland

The Albula Line and the Bernina Line in 2008 were jointly named World Heritage Sites. This four-hour of spectacular journey crosses 55 tunnels and 196 bridges.        

It also goes through the Bernina pass at the above level of 7,391 feet. The segment from Chur to Pontresina is the first section, and this is the part that includes the famous and the dramatic Landwasser Viaduct.

This is a single curving track made of limestone and includes six huge arches. This train route is hence considered the best and is the most popular in Switzerland. 

3. The Glacier Express

Slowest Express Train in the World, but also the most scenic; this train connects Matterhorn to Zermatt and St. Moritz in the Alps. This train also passes through most of the same World Heritage Site like the Bernina express.

Scenic train ride Switzerland viaduct

The train takes pride in the equally mesmerizing views while including the Matter Valley and Matterhorn, the sparkling river Rhone and through the town of Visp displaying the massive rock walls.

It departs from Brig, and since both the trains offer similar routes but different Vistas, often visitors ride both Bernina and the Glacier during their time in the country.

4. Jungfrau Railway to Jungfrau Mountain

The Jungfrau railway takes its passengers to Europe’s highest railway station, which is 3,453 meters above sea level. The Jungfrau mountain sits between the Eiger and Monch mountains.

And the Jungfrau line runs through both the mountains, which exposes the travelers to incredible sights. Once the train reaches the top point, you can see as far up to Black Forest of France and Germany on a clear day. 

This ride allows you to take a walk on the glacier and visit the world’s highest chocolate shop. On your way down, the train crosses the Lauterbrunnen village, where you can enjoy gorgeous views of a waterfall. 

5. The Transalpine (from Austria to Switzerland)

This is probably one of the underrated train rides in Switzerland. The Transalpine route goes from Innsbruck and Zurich. And it will be fair to say it deserves more love and attention. 

This EuroCity Express, unlike the others in the list, is not marked to be a sightseeing experience. Nonetheless, it is one of those train rides that will take you across awe-inspiring sceneries and landscapes in Switzerland and Austria, and even Liechtenstein.

The scenery outside is gorgeous but what adds to the experience is the first-class car. The giant windows allow you the full view that you can soak in.

6. Cogwheel Railway to Mount Pilatus

The Cogwheel Railway to Mount Pilatus is the ‘Steepest Cogwheel Railway in the World.’ The train takes you on a 30-minutes journey which begins at the Alpnachstad. The train runs during the months between May and November.

scenic train rides Switzerland

If you want to reach the top during other times, you can take the cableway or the aerial gondola. On reaching the top, you can visit the historic Pilatus Kulm Hotel. You can enjoy refreshments at their restaurant, or you even walk around enjoying the stunning views. 

7. Gornergrat Cog Railway

A marvel of modern engineering, this train allows visitors to experience Switzerland’s most spectacular panoramic views. The train starts at 1,603 meters above sea level near Zermatt and travels up to 3,089 meters in 33 minutes.

scenic train rides Switzerland

You get the view of the iconic Matterhorn outline and the surrounding glaciers and peaks. You can enjoy a leisure stroll enjoying a sample fondue maybe, and so much more.

While taking the route back, you can enjoy several restaurants and small bars on the car-free roads of quaint villages.

8. Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht

Imagine traveling on a train among the most beautiful nature and its views, and now imagine traveling on an open train! All the fresh scents and smells, different sounds of nature overwhelming your senses.

This yellow beauty is a different experience in all. It is a different aesthetic and is for you if you have a different taste from the AC compartments and prefer the more natural winds. 

However, the Erlebniszug Rheinschlucht runs only during the summer, which makes sense but reduces the opportunity. 

What do you think of these top scenic train rides in Switzerland?

So here you have some of the best eight train rides in Switzerland. This list has something for everyone: modern luxury, vintage carriages, open-carriage trains, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.. All you need is to bring your camera and settle in for the ride!

How to plan your rail-based vacation

I work with rail partners all over the world to help secure your tickets up to 24 months in advance and to design itineraries that will thrill you. By working with me, you can rest assured your itinerary is perfectly customized to your wishlist and travel style. Head over to my train-travel planning services page or contact me to start the process.