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Our top favourite routes

Montreux - Zermatt

Montreux, the popular resort on the Lake of Geneva, is the starting point for a trip of contrasts.  First of all travelling beside the Lake of Geneva then past orchards and vineyards in Lower Valais towards Visp. In Visp it’s time to change to the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway where the track goes along Switzerland’s deepest valley up to the home of the Matterhorn - Zermatt.  Even as you alight from the train you can catch a glimpse of that most famous of all mountains, His Majesty, the Matterhorn! To get the very best view of this illustrious peak we recommend you to go on an excursion up to Gornergrat (see our excursion suggestions below).

Zermatt – St. Moritz with the Glacier Express

The "world’s slowest express train" has been chugging along the line between Zermatt and St. Moritz since 1930. It goes through 91 tunnels, over 291 bridges and viaducts and the highest point is an incredible 2,033 metres above sea level at the Oberalp pass. This train is the absolute classic among Swiss panoramic trains.

The trip is spectacular at any time of the year and from March 2019 it will be even better with the introduction of the new Excellence Class coaches. 

 

Excursion suggestions

If you want to see the Matterhorn’s best side then you really must make the trip up to Gornergrat.  You travel upwards with Europe’s highest, open-air cog-wheel train and it takes around 30 minutes to reach its destination - 3,089 metres above sea level - from Zermatt. It is open all year round and the train’s boarding platform is 50 metres away from Zermatt main railway station. From the viewing point you get an outstanding view of the world famous Matterhorn and below that, reflected in the Riffelsee lake, you can see its equally famous mirrored image. 

Great meals are served in Switzerland’s highest hotel – the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat - or in any of the various restaurants located alongside the railway track.

Our favourite trips

Check out our favourite trips and our excursion idea:

Grand Train Tour: Montreux - Zermatt

Our favourite trips:
Montreux - Zermatt
The well-loved resort on Lake Geneva is the departure point for this trip of contrasts.  First the train follows the banks of Lake Geneva, passing orchards and vineyards in Lower Valais as far as Visp.

Here passengers change to the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway and during the following hour go through Switzerland’s deepest valley to the Matterhorn village of Zermatt.  On arriving at the station you will catch a glimpse of the world’s most iconic mountain peak – the magnificent Matterhorn.

Come and experience the views over the mountain of mountains with an excursion to the Gornergrat (see the Excursion Ideas below).

Train MGBahn heads to Zermatt

Grand Train Tour: Zermatt – St. Moritz with the Glacier Express

The ‘world’s slowest express train’, the Glacier Express has been making the trip from Zermatt to St. Moritz since 1930.  The journey, which takes around 8 hours, goes through 91 tunnels, over 291 bridges and at the highest point it reaches 2,033 metres above sea level on the Oberalp Pass.  It is the absolute classic Swiss panorama journey.
The trip can be enjoyed at any time of year and from March 2019 it will be even more pleasurable when the new Excellence Class trains come into service.

SWITZERLAND - SUMMER

Grand Train Tour: St. Moritz - Lugano (Bernina Express / Palm Express)

Is there anyone who hasn't heard of the Bernina Express? It's nearly as well known as the glamorous mountain village of St. Moritz from which this very train will take you on a journey from the north to the south. The highest railway in the Alps which also happens to be the UNESCO World Heritage-designated combined Albula and Bernina line – between Thusis and Tirano in Italy – offers you stunning vistas and reaches its highest point on the towering Bernina Pass at the Ospizio Bernina station (2,253 metres a.s.l.). 

In summer, your journey will continue from Tirano to Lugano on the Bernina Express bus. You will travel through the picturesque Valtellina valley, passing by beautiful bays and fishing villages on Lake Como. 

In winter you will be travelling from St. Moritz to Lugano on board the Palm Express. The PostBus will take you through the Engadin valley, across the Maloja Pass and through the Val Bregaglia, and then further along Lake Como into Italy and back into Switzerland at Gandria on Lake Lugano. 

The routes of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Here's a small insight into the eight different routes comprising the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland:

Grand Train Tour: St. Moritz - Lugano (Bernina Express / Palm Express)

Is there anyone who hasn't heard of the Bernina Express? It's nearly as well known as the glamorous mountain village of St. Moritz from which this very train will take you on a journey from the north to the south. The highest railway in the Alps which also happens to be the UNESCO World Heritage-designated combined Albula and Bernina line – between Thusis and Tirano in Italy – offers you stunning vistas and reaches its highest point on the towering Bernina Pass at the Ospizio Bernina station (2,253 metres a.s.l.). 

In summer, your journey will continue from Tirano to Lugano on the Bernina Express bus. You will travel through the picturesque Valtellina valley, passing by beautiful bays and fishing villages on Lake Como. 

In winter you will be travelling from St. Moritz to Lugano on board the Palm Express. The PostBus will take you through the Engadin valley, across the Maloja Pass and through the Val Bregaglia, and then further along Lake Como into Italy and back into Switzerland at Gandria on Lake Lugano. 

Bernina Express im Oberengadin

Grand Train Tour: Lugano - Lucerne (Gotthard Panorama Express)

Combined train and boat enjoyment – that's precisely what the Gotthard Panorama Express offers you: discover the world-famous Gotthard line and its associated legends and tales, plus Uri canton's mighty Reuss valley in a first-class panoramic car. In Flüelen, your journey then continues on water across Lake Lucerne on a historic paddle steamer. You will be able to marvel at a host of historical places and sites including the Tell chapel, Rütli meadow and Schiller stone. Shortly before you arrive in Lucerne, you will be able to take in wonderful views of the Rigi, Bürgenstock, Titlis and Pilatus mountains.

Gotthard Panorama Express bei Flüelen, Zentralschweiz

Grand Train Tour: Luzern - Zurich

This leg of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland could also be termed the lakes route. You will be setting off from Lucerne, where you will be travelling alongside picturesque Lake Lucerne. Shortly after this, the next lake will already await you, namely the Rotsee near Ebikon. After travelling a short while in the absence of lakes, the first signs of Lake Zug will already be visible. Concluding this section is Lake Zurich with its beautiful vineyards, spruce villages and, of course, the city of Zurich. 

SBB-Zug, Rotsee, Luzern/ Schweiz

Grand Train Tour: Zurich - St. Gallen

You will be journeying through eastern Switzerland and past the famous Rhine Falls and the town of Schaffhausen, home to the Munot fortification. The train journey now continues in the direction of Lake Constance. Measured by surface area, it is the third largest lake in central Europe. You will travel along its shoreline until you reach St. Gallen. As the economic and cultural hub of eastern Switzerland, stopping off at this town which dates from the 7th century is most definitely worthwhile. A visit to the monastery complex, for example, with its Abbey Library in which over 170,000 books and manuscripts are stored, is recommended.

Bahn, Thurbo, GTW3n, 820b, Tourismus, TG, Untersee, Ermatingen-Mannenbach, 05.10.2011

Grand Train Tour: St. Gallen - Luzern (Voralpen-Express)

After you depart from St. Gallen on the Voralpen-Express (Pre-Alpine Express), you will continue through what is probably the most traditional region in Switzerland, the Appenzell. As the name of the train already suggests, this train's route will already allow you to marvel at the Alpstein massif with the Säntis and the Churfirsten mountain range, both preparing you for the Alps which lie ahead. Your journey continues via Rapperswil, the town of roses, and the Rothenthurm upland moors in the direction of Lucerne.

Ein Zug des Voralpenexpress rollt übers Sitterviadukt
St.Gallen/Ostschweiz

Grand Train Tour: Lucerne - Montreux (GoldenPass Line)

You will be completing this leg of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland on the modern premium Luzern-Interlaken Express panorama train operated by the Zentralbahn. The route firstly takes you across the Brünig Pass to Meiringen and then on to Brienz and Interlaken. Having arrived, you will transfer to one to the comfortable BLS trains which will whisk you along Lake Thun and through the Simmental valley to Zweisimmen. You will then continue your journey on board the renowned GoldenPass Panoramic. This train will take you through the holiday paradise of Gstaad, through the Pays d'Enhaut with the tranquil Château-d'Oex, and then on through the vineyards alongside Lake Geneva to Montreux.

Swiss Travel System: Goldenpass Line

Excursion idea

To get the very best sighting of the Matterhorn you really have to go up to the Gornergrat.  The cog-wheel train is the highest one in Europe that is open to the elements and the journey takes roughly 30 minutes from Zermatt to the 3,089 metre-high Gornergrat.  The Gornergrat  valley station is just 50 metres from Zermatt’s main station. Once up on the viewing platform you get the very best view of the famous Matterhorn and you can admire its reflection in the Riffelsee lake below.

For fine dining try the 3100 Kulm Hotel, Gornergrat  and the several other restaurants alongside the tracks.