Interrail Bliss: A Guide to Switzerland’s Most Scenic Train Journeys

Switzerland, a land of soaring peaks and pristine lakes, is a haven for Interrail travelers seeking a symphony of natural beauty. Beyond the iconic cities, Switzerland’s scenic train routes unveil a mesmerising tapestry of landscapes. In this guide, we’ll delve into the top ten scenic train journeys tailor-made for the Interrail adventurer.

1. Glacier Express: A Slow Dance with the Alps

Setting Off from Zermatt

The Glacier Express, often dubbed the “slowest train in the world,” embarks on a six to eight-hour journey from Zermatt to St-Moritz. As you leave Zermatt, the Matterhorn graces the horizon, setting the stage for a breathtaking Alpine spectacle.

Alpine Extravaganza

Winding through 91 tunnels and crossing 291 bridges, the Glacier Express unfolds a panorama of glaciers, mountain villages, and viaducts. It’s a visual feast that demands your camera’s attention, ensuring memories of this journey stay with you forever.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail pass holders can use the Glacier Express as part of their pass, but need to make a seat reservation in order to travel.

2. Bernina Express: Europe’s Highest Rail Route

Chur to Tirano: A UNESCO Heritage Adventure

Departing from Chur, the Bernina Express climbs to 2,253 meters above sea level, making it Europe’s highest rail route. The four-hour journey to Tirano, Italy, is a UNESCO-listed adventure that spans the Swiss Alps.

Italian Sojourn

Tirano welcomes you with a charming Old Town, providing a perfect starting point to explore Italy further. The transition from Swiss landscapes to the Italian charm is a testament to the diverse beauty this journey offers.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail pass holders can travel without a seat reservation on the normal carriages, but if you want a panoramic train carriage you must book a seat reservation.

3. Jungfraujoch: A Journey to the Top of Europe

Interlaken to Jungfraujoch: Alpine Majesty

Starting in Interlaken, the Jungfraujoch journey ascends to 3,400 meters, culminating in Europe’s highest train station. The two-hour journey takes you through Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, offering panoramic views of valleys and mountain peaks.

Winter Wonderland at the Top

At Jungfraujoch, you step into a winter wonderland where snow blankets the landscape year-round. From skiing and snowboarding to glacier walks, this Alpine peak provides an array of activities. Don’t forget the indoor ice palace and the Lindt chocolate shop for a sweet touch to your adventure.

Interrail Pass Validity

The Jungfraubahn is a mountain train that operates on the route Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch.
Interrail Pass holders get a 25% discount on this route. For more information, visit the JB website.

4. Golden Pass: A Panoramic Feast

Lucerne to Montreux: Best of Switzerland in One Journey

For a comprehensive Swiss experience, the Golden Pass line takes you from Lucerne to Montreux. Divided into three legs, the journey showcases the diverse landscapes of Switzerland.

Elegance in Motion

The Belle Epoque-style train, running once a day, adds a touch of vintage elegance. Sipping champagne while passing idyllic vineyards, lakes, and Swiss chalets makes this journey a feast for the senses.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail Passes are valid on the entire Golden Pass journey. Seat reservations for groups are compulsory and for individuals highly recommended during peak season. Special supplements apply for the VIP seats and a reservation is also compulsory.

Photo by Neil Bates on Unsplash

5. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland: 1,280 Kilometres of Splendour

Zurich to Montreux: A Panoramic Odyssey

Merging eight scenic Swiss train rides into one 1,280-kilometre route, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a visual spectacle. From Zurich to Montreux, it covers major lakes and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Sights and Landmarks

Starting in Zurich and passing through St. Gallen and Lucerne, the journey includes the 99m-tall Sitter Viaduct. Window seats are a must for capturing the stunning views this tour unfolds.

Interrail Pass Validity

This train route is not included on the Interrail pass. You would need to purchase a point-to-point ticket for this journey, or purchase the Swiss Travel Pass.

6. Gornergrat Bahn: A Summit of Views

Zermatt to Gornergrat: Peaks and Wildlife

For a view at 4,478 meters above sea level, the Gornergrat Bahn from Zermatt is unparalleled. The 30-minute journey allows ample time to admire 29 peaks and encounter alpine wildlife like marmots and chamois.

Electric Elegance

Built in 1898, this fully electric cog railway is a testament to Swiss engineering. The short journey packs in a lifetime of panoramic memories.

Interrail Pass Validity

This route is not included on the Interrail pass. You will need to purchase a ticket directly from Gornergrat Bahn.

7. Gotthard Panorama Express: A Scenic Combination

Lucerne to Bellinzona: Boat Rides and Mountain Landscapes

This unique journey involves a boat ride and train trip, offering views of central Switzerland and Ticino’s mountain landscapes. From Lucerne to Flüelen by boat and Flüelen to Bellinzona by train, it’s a blend of Swiss beauty and culinary delights.

Culinary Scenery

Savour Swiss specialties on the train and boat, making the Gotthard Panorama Express a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail pass holders need to pay a surcharge (reservation fee and class difference) for the Gotthard Panorama Express. All seats on the panorama train are exclusively 1st class, meaning that 1st class pass holders only have to pay the reservation, while 2nd class pass holders also have to pay the class difference.

8. Luzern Interlaken Express: City to Mountain Connection

Lucerne to Interlaken: Panoramic Bliss

Connecting Lucerne and Interlaken, this scenic train winds toward the Brünig Pass. With large windows providing uninterrupted views, passengers can relax and revel in the changing panorama.

Gourmet Journey

Indulge in gourmet meals offered on board while absorbing the breathtaking scenery, including Alpine peaks, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail passes are valid on the Zentralbahn train taking you from Lucerne to Interlaken. Reservations aren’t compulsory but are recommended.

9. Mont Blanc Express: A Journey Across Borders

Martigny to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains: Nature Reserves and Alpine Villages

Operating for over a century, the Mont Blanc Express crosses from Switzerland to France. Passing through the Trient Valley, it unveils a succession of landscapes, including wild gorges, authentic alpine villages, and the majestic Mont Blanc.

Alpine Souvenirs

In Chamonix, take the cable car to Aiguille du Midi or the cogwheel train to the Mer de Glace for unforgettable memories of your Alpine adventure.

Interrail Pass Validity

The Interrail pass is valid for the whole journey.

10. Wengernalpbahn: Jungfrau Region Marvel

Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg: Alpine Magic

Connecting Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, the Wengernalpbahn journey offers views at 2,061 metres above sea level. Sit on the right side facing the direction of travel for the best views from Grindelwald station.

Jungfrau Views

Marvel at the best views of Jungfrau and the surrounding landscapes, making this journey a visual feast for nature enthusiasts.

Interrail Pass Validity

Interrail pass holders get a 25% discount on this route.

Switzerland’s most scenic scenic train journeys, a treasure trove for Interrailers, promise an intimate connection with the country’s breathtaking landscapes. From the slow dance of the Glacier Express to the panoramic odyssey of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, each journey is a chapter in your Alpine story. So, hop aboard, let the train weave its tales, and make your Interrail adventure in Switzerland an immersive experience like no other!