Make no mistake. Every moment in Switzerland is a Kodak moment. A picture perfect country in every way, this land mass just two-thirds the size of Tasmania boasts some of the world’s most magnificent landscapes.
From majestic snowcapped mountains to glassy lakes and everything lush in between, Switzerland offers an unbeatable mix of experiences for the discerned traveller. And one such experience is train travel.
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a collection of eight different routes throughout the country, covering a total of 1,280km. One such route is the GoldenPass Line, which links Lucerne and Montreux in the most impressively scenic way. Here, we journey from Lucerne to Interlaken, then to Gstaad before finally ending in Montreux.
A charming storybook image of a typical lakeside Swiss city, Lucerne is home to possibly one of the most photographed bridges in the world. Built in 1333 the Chapel Bridge features more than 100 17th century paintings depicting patron saints and scenes from the town’s history.
Its cobbled street Old Town, where well preserved and beautifully decorated burgher’s houses surrounding little squares and fountains still stand, offers a fairy-tale like atmosphere in which one would just like to get lost.
It is also in Lucerne that one accesses Mounts Pilatus and Titlis, both of which make great side trips when a mountain fix is in order. While Mount Pilatus is much about a scenic ferry ride and then up the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, a ride up to Mount Titlis involves the Titlis Rotair, the world’s first revolving gondola ascending 3,020m above sea level.
A paradise for adventure and adrenaline seekers, Interlaken, the city between the lakes Brienz and Thun, is where some of the country’s most famous peaks can be found.
One such peak is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Jungfrau, Top of Europe, home to Europe’s highest railway station at 3,454m above sea level. Another peak is the Schilthorn, where the newly opened 007 Bond World and the 007 Walk of Fame are located. Then, there is Grindelwald First, where a visit is incomplete without zip-lining on the First Flyer and walking on the First Cliff Walk, a circular walk consisting of a suspended bridge, a cliff-side walkway and a vantage platform at a knee-trembling height.
A luxurious upscale resort town in the Bernese Oberland region known for its chalet villages, Gstaad is where prestige meets alpine authenticity. Well-known among many a royal guest and celebrity, the range of leisure amenities, sporting events, world-class hotels and shopping is second to none.
The first-class Alpine Wellness Centre made up of seven specialist spa & wellness hotels, along with a host of world class restaurants take spoiling the senses to the next level, one which many visitors return to experience each year.
For ski lovers, Glacier 3000 offers nearly year-round skiing, a bonus! The best way to explore the peaks in the region is via the cable car system.
The capital of the Vaud Riviera and home to the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival as well as one the country’s most famous Christmas markets, this picturesque town is also a hop, skip and a jump away from the equally hot spots of Vevey, where the Chaplin’s World is located and Lausanne, the charming university town where the Olympic Museum sits.
A short stroll along the lakeside esplanade of classy hotels and restaurants is a series of creative garden art, where items such as damaged cars, wheelbarrows, toilet bowls, bathtubs and broken chairs have been repurposed as garden décor.
Class and quirk is what makes Switzerland so incredibly special. Discover more of Switzerland and its great train journeys on myswitzerland.com.