The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland combines the most beautiful panoramic routes to create a unique travel experience. On 365 days a year, it brings you to the highlights of public transport on approximately 1,200 kilometres. The entire tour can be done with a Swiss Travel Pass.
Switzerland's most beautiful routes
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland includes 8 routes. Travellers can start their trip at any point along the route. Each section promises magnificent views and interesting getaway destinations.
If you start off from Zurich, the route will take you from Lake Zurich to St. Gallen, onwards to Lucerne with the Voralpen-Express and then to Interlaken and Montreux on the GoldenPass Line. From Lake Geneva, you head off towards Martigny, Brig and Zermatt, where the Glacier Express towards Chur and St. Moritz awaits you. At this glamorous health resort, travellers have two options on how to continue their trip to Lugano: during the summer with the Bernina Express and the Bernina Express Bus, during the winter with the Palm Express (PostAuto). The Wilhelm Tell Express then takes you to Lucerne and from there back to Zurich.
Stops along the Grand Train Tour: Our excursion tips
If you want to do the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, we recommend you get a Swiss Travel Pass for 4 or 8 days (depending on how much time you have).
From Zurich to St. Gallen
The train ride through Eastern Switzerland takes you past the famous Rhine Falls and the City of Schaffhausen. Soon, you will be able to see Lake Constance. You follow its shoreline until you reach St. Gallen. There, you may want to consider visiting the Abbey District with the Abbey Library which holds more than 170,000 books and documents.
After St. Gallen, the Voralpen-Express crosses the gateway to Appenzell. Here, the Säntis and the Churfirsten mountain range as precursors of the Alps rise into the sky. Passing Rapperswil, the town or roses, you continue on to Lucerne, the metropolis on the lake with the same name.
From Lucerne to Montreux (GoldenPass Line)
On the Lucerne-Interlaken Express, you first cross the Brünig Pass at 1,008 metres, heading towards Meiringen and then onwards to Brienz and Interlaken. After changing to one of the comfortable BLS trains, the trip takes you along Lake Thun through the Simmental to Zweisimmen. Here, the GoldenPass Panoramic will be waiting to take you on the last leg of your trip. It passes the glamorous holiday resort of Gstaad and continues to the vineyards along Lake Geneva before reaching Montreux.
From Montreux to Zermatt
From Lake Geneva, it is only a stone's throw to Martigny. You continue onwards through the Rhȏne valley to Brig with its famous Stockalper Palace. The train takes you through the Nikolai Valley, Switzerland's steepest canyon. After a short while, you get a view of the Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world.
From Zermatt to St. Moritz (Glacier Express)
Zermatt is the point of departure and destination for one of the most famous trains in the world: the Glacier Express. From the Matterhorn, the train heads towards idyllic Goms and the holiday town of Andermatt at the foot of the 2,044 metre-high Oberalp Pass. On the other side, a magnificent view of the Benedictine Monestary Disentis awaits you, as well as the Rhine Gorge and the Albula line operated by the Rhaetian Railway - part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
From St. Moritz to Lugano (Bernina Express/Palm Express)
The mountain town of St. Moritz has always been the epitome of glamour. Its celebrities also include the Bernina Express, which takes passengers on a trip from the North to the South of Europe - along one of the highest railway lines in the Alps. The UNESCO World Heritage route between Thusis and Tirano offers fantastic views, culminating in the 2,253 metre-high Bernina Pass.
During the summertime, you continue your trip with the Bernina Express Bus from Tirano to Lugano - through the picturesque Veltlin and following the shoreline of Lake Como. If you are travelling from St. Moritz to Lugano during the winter months, you will be taking the Palm Express. This yellow PostAuto takes you through the Engadine, over the Maloja Pass and through Val Bregaglia along Lake Como to Lugano.
From Lugano to Lucerne (Wilhelm Tell Express)
The Wilhelm Tell Express combines your rail experience with a pleasurable boat ride. In SBB's 1st class observation car, travellers can discover the world-famous Gotthard route. In Flüelen, you board a historic paddle steamer and enjoy a trip across Lake Lucerne. On the way, you pass historical sites in William Tell's home region, while enjoying wonderful views.
From Lucerne to Zurich
Lucerne is the starting point for the last leg of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. The lake route takes you from Lake Lucerne along the Rotsee near Ebikon. After a short while, Lake Zug, the tenth largest water body in Switzerland, comes into sight. The final stretch of the trip takes you past Lake Zurich with its vineyards and cosy little villages to the City of Zurich.