The Swiss have long been proud of their railway system, and rightly so. The trains are almost always punctual, clean and tidy, and serve towns and villages across the country with an hourly service. This links in with an equally efficient postbus service to ensure that the whole country is covered by a superb public transport network.
Visitors to Switzerland are spoilt for choice when choosing a rail journey which takes in stunning scenery – there are so many to choose from. Many tourists fly in to Geneva, and it’s well worth spending a few days enjoying a short break in this United Nations city before setting out to explore the rest of the country. The train journey along the shores of Lake Geneva to the chic lakeside town of Montreux offers some stunning views of the high Alps across the lake, and closer views of the vine-clad slopes leading down to the lake. It’s worth stopping in Montreux to see the large bronze statue of Freddie Mercury by the lakeshore. The band Queen owned a recording studio in the town and Freddie appreciated the kindness and discretion of the townspeople of Montreux which became a haven for him, his second home and the setting for his final work.
The Glacier Express is the most well known of the Swiss scenic rail journeys and it runs between the prestigious resort of Zermatt at the foot of the famous Matterhorn in the southwest of Switzerland and the resorts of St. Moritz and Chur in Eastern Switzerland. The whole ride lasts about 8 hours and takes in a dramatic landscape carved by glaciers all along its route. Panorama coaches ensure that passengers have the opportunity to enjoy every one of the breathtaking sights en-route.
Another route which draws visitors by their thousands is the Bernina Express. This stunning rail journey takes travellers from St. Moritz over the BerninaPass (7,391ft / 2,253m) to the town of Tirano. The change in scenery from glaciers to palm trees is striking. From Tirano you can take a journey along LakeComo to Lugano. This attractive town offers Mediterranean flair and ambience. It’s worth allowing time to explore Lugano’s historic town centre, modern architecture and beautiful parks.
The list of scenic rail journeys carries on – rail travel really is the ideal way to travel between towns and cities right across Switzerland.