Why every Australian must take this panoramic train trip
From the green Alpine pastures to the bold urban districts, there is a lot to see in Switzerland. Every corner of the mountainous Central European country packs a surprise that every traveller can appreciate.
Taking a train trip is a convenient way of getting around to see everything the nation has to offer. The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland combines eight different lines throughout the country, covering a total of 1,280 kilometres of travel across Swiss’s diverse highlights that you can explore with a single ticket.
Here are the reasons you should hop on the train to enjoy the best of Switzerland.
The train tour, which runs all-year round, is easily customisable – you can start at any point and go in whichever direction you’d like.
When in doubt, you can follow the popular suggestion to depart from Zurich, the country’s largest city and one of the most stylish European metropolises. Wherever you are beginning, the integrated train network makes it easy to go places.
Exploring the destinations off the train is also made easy, thanks to the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass. Besides train travel, the pass also gives you access to buses, boats and public transportation in most areas, as well as free admission to over 500 museums and discounts to excursions – you can pick and plan your itinerary as you please.
Prefer to sit back and have somebody else deal with the details? Go for the 9-day rail adventure package, which includes must-have experiences and overnight stays in some of the most famous Swiss cities and resorts with all the nitty-gritty taken care of.
Great destinations, spectacular sceneries
On the scenic rail journey, you can enjoy a variety of glorious landscapes in every route. If you’re starting from Zurich, take a day to stroll around – the global banking and finance centre is full of urban charms, with numerous museums and art galleries, as well as hip riverside bars.
From Zurich, there are two directions – you can go up north, passing Europe’s largest waterfall the Rhine Falls to arrive at the medieval old town of Schaffhausen. Then you can continue the journey through the Rhine river that stretches out to the beautiful Lake Constance, and find yourself at St Gallen, the gateway of the Alps, at the end of the line.
'Dragon Ride' between Fraekmuendegg and Pilatus with a spectacular view of Lake Lucerne. Credit: swiss-image.ch/Urs Wyss
Otherwise, you can take a trip down south to Lucerne, a city situated by the lakeside amid spectacular mountainous panorama, and continue from thereon to Interlaken, the gateway to the “Top of Europe” Jungfraujoch. Afterwards, the train follows the banks of Lake Thun before heading into the Simmental, where green Alpine pastures, flowering meadows and traditional villages can be seen from the train. From this point, you can expect the postcard view of Switzerland – alpine forests and mountain villages – until you get into a tunnel to emerge in the vineyards of the Lake Geneva region and arrive shortly in Montreux.
Following that, Zermatt is the next destination. The resort lies at the foot of the Matterhorn. Its touristic development is closely linked to what is most probably the world's most famous mountain. The village is all car-free, has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned.
Gornergrat Train Zermatt, Valais. Credit: swiss-image.ch/
Once you’re done and dusted, hop on the “slowest express train in the world”, the Glacier Express to St Moritz. Follow up with Bernina Express to enjoy one of the continent’s best scenic rail journeys through UNESCO-protected landscapes to the borders of Italy.
All in one tour
Whatever you are looking for in Helvetia, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland can get you there. Travelling independently and enjoying all the tourism highlights, from picturesque sceneries to cultural sites and urban centres, have become more convenient and seamless than ever.
Scroll through the gallery above to see more stunning images of Switzerland's Grand Train Tour.
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This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with Switzerland Tourism.