Project Description

Jackie recently journeyed through Switzerland by rail.  Here she tells us more about her fascinating trip.

Switzerland by Rail

My journey through Switzerland was entirely by rail.  This may sound daunting if it were in the UK and not for the faint hearted however in Switzerland, it was a pure and totally unexpected delight.

The Swiss rail system is deemed to be one of the most efficient networks in the world. Slick connections, modern stations, superbly comfortable  nd a never ending backdrop of lakes and mountains around every bend.

It is well worth buying a Rail Pass if you are thinking about a trip to Switzerland for business or pleasure. A First Class Swiss Travel Pass allows unlimited travel in a 4 day period and costs about £400. A second class pass is around £260.

We flew from Heathrow to Zurich with British Airways; the flight duration is about 1 hour 40 minutes. There is train station beneath the airport where the trains whisk you smoothly into Zurich Central in no time at all.

Heading to St. Moritz

Once out of the city we had our first glimpse of the spectacular scenery which would become the norm for the next few days.  There was a very easy change of train in Chur.  Here we boarded our final train that day to beautiful St Moritz, a very glamorous yet charming town and host to the the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. Here is also the starting point of the famous Glacier Express.

We spent the night at the wonderful Waldhaus Sils which is still run by the same family who opened the hotel in 1908.  The current owners were all there to meet us and beautifully turned out in typical Swiss attire.

The view across the mountains and forest and down to the lakes is stunning.  It was wonderful to wake up the next morning to find that several inches of snow had fallen during the night making the vista even more magical.

The Glacier Express

After a hearty breakfast we drove back down to the station to pick up the iconic Glacier Express.  The journey to Zermatt takes about 7 hours and traverses 291 bridges, passes through 91 tunnels and climbs to over 2000 metres.

A 3 course meal is served at your seat.  There is plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent scenery and take lots of photographs!  The last journey of the day took us to Interlaken where we stayed for the next 2 nights at the Hotel Carlton Europe.

This is a comfortable hotel in a great location; perfect for some shopping or a walk between lunch and dinner.


Interlaken is located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and nestled between the 3 towering peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.  On the first evening we walked across to the Harder Kulm Station to take the funicular up to the Panorama Restaurant, located at 1320 metres above sea level.  The journey up the mountain takes about 10 minutes and again, we were treated to some majestic scenery as the funicular made it’s steep ascent to the summit.

The next day we walked across to Interlaken Ost station to make the journey to Grindelwald where we picked up the new Eiger Express gondola.  This took us  to Eigergletscher where we boarded the Jungfrau Railway.  The Jungfrau Railway took us to 3454 metres above sea level; the top of Europe!  On the day we arrived we were greeted by a sign announcing that the temperature was -18C.  It is possible to walk out on to a platform to observe the beautiful untouched  snowscape.  This is a truly stunning experience – be sure to wear plenty of warm layers to counteract the extreme cold.

Interlaken to Lucerne

The following day we walked across to the cruise terminal from the Interlaken Hotel.  We boarded our boat and enjoyed lunch on board whilst cruising to Brienz where we disembarked and took the train to Lucerne.

Lucerne is wonderfully preserved mediaeval old town, probably Switzerland’s most beautiful city.  We stayed at Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora however there are plenty to choose from.  The beautiful and very contemporary Des Balances is a good choice – here we enjoyed some pre-dinner  aperitifs.

On our last morning we managed to fit in an excursion to the top of  Mount Rigi.  This journey entailed travelling by boat, cogwheel railway and train before making our way back to Zurich Airport for our evening flight home to London.  Mount Rigi is another beautiful mountain with stunning views of Lake Luzern and snow capped Alps.

Even if you are not a rail enthusiast, this trip will appeal to anyone who enjoys amazing scenery and is happy to leave the car at home and sit back and relax.  The only car journey we took throughout the entire trip was from the station to our first hotel in St Moritz and back to the station.

Photographic opportunities are absolutely non stop with a amazing shots around every bend.

Every single train we boarded was on time, clean, comfortable and looked after by a cheery guard.  In more rural areas, the locals jumped on and off trains in full ski attire holding their skis, ready to glide down the slopes that still had plenty of snow.

We found our fellow passengers very helpful, friendly and full of information about their lifestyle, food, not forgetting their delicious wine which they tend not to export and keep for themselves!

I can confirm beyond doubt that they have every reason to be so proud of their beautiful country.  This was a really wonderful journey.

Do get in touch with Jackie for further information.

March 2024