The famous Glacier Express is an ideal way to sit back and gaze at the dramatic landscape
In a recent blog I looked at the charms of the city of Basel, the Swiss city which shares a border with both France and Germany. I stated that Basel would make an excellent base for discovering other parts of Switzerland by rail. In fact the rail network in Switzerland is so well developed and so efficient that almost anywhere would make a good base for discovering the rest of the country!
The Swiss rail network is made up of a mixture of nationalised and private railways and they all operate a “Taktfahrplan” which means that trains all run at regular intervals. This makes journey planning a fairly straightforward task for the traveller and leads to good connections whenever a change of trains is required. From Basel it is easy to reach Zurich, the capital city Bern and the tourist towns of Lucerne and Interlaken. Many tourists however prefer to stay in the heart of the Bernese Oberland amongst the mountains and take trips on local mountain railways such as the Pilatus or the Brienzer Rothorn. Lucerne and Interlaken are excellent bases for trips on the famous Jungfrau railway or for a ride by train to Zermatt and onwards on Gornergrat mountain railway with its staggeringly beautiful views of the Matterhorn.
The town of Brig, nestled in the Rhone Valley, is also an ideal starting point for an excursion by rail to Zermatt or on the famous Glacier Express to sample some of Switzerland’s most dramatic mountain scenery. Brig can be reached very easily by rail from Geneva airport station in about three hours. The Glacier Express is surely one of the most famous railways in the world. It runs from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz in about seven hours. In one day you can take in untouched mountain landscapes, glamorous health resorts, deep gorges, delightful valleys, 91 tunnels and 291 impressive bridges! Travel is by modern panoramic carriages, so you can really appreciate the scenery as it passes by. The train climbs up to the Furka Pass before descending to the resort of Andermatt and then onwards via the scenic Oberalp Pass to Chur and onwards to either St Moritz or Davos.
Whichever rail trips you choose on any visit to Switzerland, the scenery is bound to have worked its magic, leaving you vowing to return as soon as possible.