Top Swiss Railway Journeys, Scenic Mountain Rides,
Cable Car Excursions and Postal Bus Tours
Bernina Express in the Puschlav Valley
There's no better way to explore this country than by taking at least one of the top Swiss Railway Journeys and scenic mountain rides.
The Best Scenic Train Rides to see Switzerland
Switzerland is scenic no matter which way you turn. It doesn't really matter which train you board, you sure will be in for a scenic treat. However, there are a few trips that are leading through the most dramatic part of the country and therefore are considered
classic scenic train trips. Some of these trips offer additional comfort in panoramic or nostalgic train coaches.
Considered one of the best train trips in the world, this journey takes visitors through a UNESCO World Heritage landscape dotted with bridges and tunnels to Switzerland's most photographed mountain, the Matterhorn.
St. Moritz (Graubünden) to Zermatt (Valais)
Starting in Graubünden's capital Chur and leading through a UNESCO World Heritage landscape, over an alpine pass into the rugged Puschlav Valley to the sonny shores of Lake Lugano in the Ticino.
Chur to Tirano year-round; Tirano to Lugano May to Oct
Bernina Pullman Tour
Guided tour (one way or return) in historic Pullman coaches pulled by the legendary "Crocodile". Same route as the Bernina Express though starting and returning to Pontresina instead of Chur. Catering available but not included.
Pontresina to Tirano
The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) has many scenic trips to offer, and the Arosaline is one of them. Overcomes 1000m/3281ft in altitude in just one hour. Regular passenger train.
Chur to Arosa
Culinary Train "Gourmino"
This culinary safari offered by the Rhaetian Railway takes place in various regions in Graubünden. Dining on regional specialties while crossing bridges, running through tunnels, over viaducts and through green pastures, forests and pass by typical villages.
Starting in Chur / St. Moritz / Davos
Steam train rides through Graubünden
Get carried away by steam trains through Graubünden's diversified landscape - the Prättigau, Surselva and Landwassertal. Only on special dates
Circular tours from Landquart
Swiss Chocolate Train
First class comfort in "Belle Époque Pullman" vintage coaches. Runs from the sloped Lavaux vineyards to the lovely green Gruyère landscape. Sample cheese in Gruyères and then some chocolate for desert in Broc.
Return trip from Montreux; May to Oct on M/W/Th
Golden Pass Line
This trip will take you from the Swiss Riviera through the pre-alps via Zweisimmen (change of trains) to the sparkly lakes of the Bernese Highlands.
Montreux - Zweisimmen - Interlaken Ost
Golden Pass Classic
Dine and travel in style as one once travelled in the Belle Époque period, wine cellar and all. The Golden Pass Classic travels the same route as the normal Golden Pass line, albeit only to Zweisimmen (return or one way).
Montreux to Zweisimmen
Luzern - Interlaken Express (Golden Pass Line)
Although this is a short journey of only two hours, it is a very scenic one. The Golden Pass/Luzern-Interlaken Express travels along lakes, past pretty villages, through meadows and forests and over a small pass.
Interlaken Ost - Lucerne
A nostalgic steam boat brings passengers to Flüelen where the train will be boarded to the Ticino, along the Gotthard route to Bellinzona, where one has to change trains to either Lugano or Locarno. First class. Premium offer available.
Lucerne - Bellinzona; Year-round except Premium offer
The train is not called for nothing "Centovalli Express" (100 valleys). Fabulous scenery with waterfalls, rivers, bridges, cliffs and tunnels. This is a regular passenger train that connects Switzerland with Italy.
Locarno (Ticino) - Domodossola (Italy)
Furka Steam Railway
The Furka mountain route is a treat for steam train enthusiasts. A volunteer operated vintage locomotive and original carriages transports passenger up to the Furka pass - 2160m/7087ft. above sea level.
Realp - Oberwald. Between June and October
The Pre-Alpine Express takes visitors from Lake Constance to Lake Lucerne. Open landscape, Alpine scenery in a distance, past lakes and through farmland. This is a regular train that carries regular folks to work. Go ahead, mingle.
Romanshorn - Lucerne
Belle Époque Jura
A trip through the fascinating Franches-Montagnes in the Swiss Jura. Be prepared for an adventure. Cowboys do live in Switzerland. Barbecue included. Reservation mandatory
on the "Train à vapeur des Franches-Montagnes".
Glovelier to Saignelégier ; July to September
Double Red Arrow "Churchill"
What about brunch on a nostalgic journey in a historic train, the "Red Double Arrow" Churchill? Approx. three-hour round trips to different parts of Switzerland. Sundays between Jan and Nov. Special Santa Clause trip.
Zürich to Zürich
Mountain Train Rides
Climbing mountains the easy way. These scenic excursions can easily be combined with hiking - if that is what you like.
Lake Geneva Area
Riviera Belle Epoque Steam Train
This vintage steam train runs from Vevey via Blonay to Chamby. Magnificent views to the French Alps and the Swiss Riviera Region.
Vevey to Chamby every last Sunday each month between May and October
The cogwheel railway climbs up through meadows to the Marmot paradise and a botanical alpine garden. The rocky viewpoint at 2,042m/6699ft offers unforgettable panoramic views year-round.
Montreux to Rochers-de-Naye
Les Pléiades Cog Railway
The "Train des Etoiles" (star train) climbs the steep mountainside up to Les Pléiades. Breathtaking views and wonderful hikes or a meal in the Restaurant with chalet ambiance awaits you on top.
Vevey to Les Pléiades
Bernese Oberland and Haslital
Interlaken Ost - Harder Kulm
The short ride up from Interlaken Ost to Harder Kulm is worth every minute. The vantage platform affords visitors unrivalled views to Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as lakes Thun and Brienz.
Interlaken Ost to Harderkulm. June to October
Schynige Platte Railway
The historic cogwheel train saunters steeply uphill to views of the world-famous triumvirate Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as to the lakes Thun and Brinz. Impressive Alpine garden, superb hikes.
Wilderswil to Schynige Platte; Beginning of June to mid-October
If you are up for breathtaking views, this is it! The Niesen funicular climbs up a very steep mountainside to 2362m/7749ft. The panoramic view from the "Swiss Pyramid" goes way beyond the Swiss borders.
Mülenen to Niesen; End of April to beginning of November
Brienz Rothorn Bahn
The nostalgic rack and steam railway puffs and huffs you up to the Rothorn which offers a sublime panoramic view to Central Switzerland and the Bernese Alps.
Brienz - Rothorn; Between June to mid-October
An exhilarating ride on the steepest funicular is not for the faint. Going up is one thing but riding back down is quite a thrill. Hike to the Gelmer hut or beyond.
Handegg Gelmerbahn en route to Grimselpass. June to October.
For lovers of waterfalls and Sherlock Holmes, the nostalgic funicular takes visitors up to the Reichbach falls where Sherlock Holmes apparently fell to his death.
Meiringen by bus to Reichenbach Falls station or Aare gorge train and walk the last 15 minutes. May to October
This train is part of the public transport system. It takes visitors to the impressive Aare Gorge and close to the Reichenbach funicular in summer.
Meiringen to Inntertkirchen and back
Wengernalp and Jungfrau Railway
Both provide access to the imposing Bernese Alps. Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau close-up!
Wengneralp railway: Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald
Jungfrau Railway: Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch
Superb views from the "Queen of the Mountains" to the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the lakes in Central Switzerland.
Vitznau - Rigi Kulm cogwheel railway;
Goldau - Rigi Kulm cogwheel train; on Weekends between July and September also a nostalgic steam train
Pilatus Rack Railway
The world's steepest rack railway climbs to the top of Mount Pilatus where visitors are regaled with marvelous views. Possible as a roundtrip that includes a gondola ride the "other side down" to Kriens.
Alpnachstad - Pilatus, year-round except for maintenance End of Oct/beginning of Nov
This electrical cable funicular climbs though meadows up the mountain in only 8 minutes, unfolding idyllic lake and mountain views. Playground for children. Excellent hiking for the whole family.
Treib (boat landing) to Seelisberg
Stunning views all the way to the top. I'd say even best views to Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa Massif with Switzerland's highest mountain, the Dufourspitze at 4634m/15203ft and about 29 other peaks over 4000m/13123ft.
Zermatt to Gornergrat
The underground metro brings you up to an icy 3500m/11483ft, where the world's highest revolving restaurant on the Allalin glacier offers a glorious 360-degree view to Saas Fee's 4000m/13123ft glacial giants. Take the cable car up to Felskinn then the Allalin metro to the top.
Saas Fee to Allalin Glacier; year-round
Funicular Monte San Salvatore
San Salvatore might not be Switzerland's highest mountain (912m/2992ft), but the views sure belong to the best of the best. You'll see as far as the Savoy Alps, the Lombardic plain and of course wonderful views to Lugano and its lake.
Lugano Paradiso to San Salvatore; Mid-march to first Sunday in November
The world's steepest cable railway pulls visitors up to Lake Ritom, a dam from where walkers flock up into the mountains. Rumor has it though that some of them don't make it because the food and freshly made alpine cheese are just too delicious on Alp Piora.
Piotta to Lago Ritom
Madonna del Sasso Funicular
The historical funicular takes visitors up to the sanctuary on Monte Madonna del Sasso, a place of pilgrimage and excellent views over Lago Maggiore and surroundings.
Locarno to Madonna del Sasso
Canton Graubünden / Grisons
The renowned Parsenn ski area is probably best known for its legendary Parsenn Derby (downhill race). The cogwheel funicular was built with skiing in mind, but wander away from the moonlike space on Weissfluhjoch and onto beautiful hiking paths. It's free for guests who stay more than a night.
Davos Dorf to Weissfluhjoch; end of June to mid-Oct and mid-Nov to end of April
Zürich's house mountain Uetliberg is a short trip away from down town. The Uetlibergbahn (S 10 from Zürich's main train station) is Europe's second steepest adhesion railway. Fabulous views to Lake Zürich and mountains.
Zürich to Uetliberg
Cable Car Rides
There are countless cable car rides in Switzerland and it's impossible to list them all. They are a great way for hikers and non-hikers to reach the top without breaking into a sweat. If you don't want to hike and want to return back down with the gondola do check the time table. Oftentimes the last ride leaves at 4pm.
Following my top picks for summer adventures. If there's nothing mentioned, then they "fly" year-round up the mountains.
Year-round playground between Les Diablerets and Gstaad. Sensational views. Longest skiing season on a glacier in the Bernese Alps, running from late October through early May. Alpine Coaster in summer and scenic husky rides in winter.
Col du Pillon (near Gstaad) to Glacier 3000: Closed for maintenance in Oct
Grindelwald - Männlichen Cableway
Apparently one of the longest cable-car rides in the world. It sure is a very scenic one and once on top of Mt. Männlichen one is rewarded with breathtaking views. If hiking or skiing is not on your mind then you could continue with yet another cable way ride down to Wengen.
Grindelwald to Männlichen
Wengen - Männlichen Cable car
This trip is shorter than the one from Grindelwald. Männlichen offers unparalleled panoramic views and fabulous hikes with the mighty trio Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in sight. Hike, ski, take a return trip or continue to Grindelwald with another cable car ride.
Wengen to Männlichen; June to October
Grindelwald - First Cableway
This cable-car ride takes you to another exhilarating mountain top experience, the First Flyer, a zipline adventure. Hiking at its best or take a trotti ride down the mountain back to Grindelwald.
Grindelwald to First; closed mid-October to mid-December
Schilthorn and Piz Gloria
Head up from the valley of over 70 waterfalls to sublime 360 degree views. James Bond was here so why not you too? Have a champagne breakfast in the revolving restaurant on Piz Gloria while enjoying the best view to Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
From Stechelberg or Mürren to Schilthorn; closed end of April/beginning of May and mid Nov/beginning of Dec
Endless views from the top that don't stop at the Swiss border. If you are scared of heights and don't want to climb the last short part up to the peak you still can enjoy magnificent views on the panorama platform reached through a tunnel near the restaurant.
Erlenbach im Simmental to Stockhorn; end of April to beginning of Nov and mid-Nov to beginning of March Wed to Sun
For once not the cable car ride itself is an experience though the views are not to sneeze at either. A short and and easy walk from the top station will bring you to the gorgeous Oeschinen Lake, a UNESCO heritage site at the foot of Mt. Blüemlisalp.
Kandersteg to Oeschinenlake; mid-May to end of Oct and mid-Dec to end of March
Fabulous views to Bernese Alps and Lake Thun. Photo safaris. Ideal family getaway.
Beatenberg or Beatenbucht to Niederhorn; end of April until mid-December
Mount Titlis Revolving Cable Car
How about flying up a mountain in a revolving cable car? The last stretch up to Mount Titlis offers just that. No need to haggle for the best seat. It takes about 45 minutes and two changes of cable cars to reach to top of Mt. Titlis where one is rewarded with sublime views and all kinds of activities.
Engelberg to Mt. Titlis; closed for maintenance beginning to mid-November
Not only the ride in the open air cable car will take your breath away, the views are nothing short of stunning. The nostalgic cable railway will take you up to the station where the world's first double decker open air cable car will whisk you up the mountain.
Stans to Stanserhorn; daily mid-April to mid-November
You'll melt over views on Fronalpstock. Charilifts lead up to the top where you enjoy gorgeous views to Rütli, Rigi, Pilatus and the Alps. On good days you can see as far as Mt. Säntis in northeastern Switzerland.
Stoos to Fronalpstock; Daily from mid-May to beginning of November
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
The highest cable car whisks visitors up to the Matterhorn glacier paradise for some mind-blowing views over glaciers and snowy mountain peaks. A lift connects the glacier paradise with the Glacier Palace, a mystical and icy place right below.
Zermatt to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise; closed for maintenance beginning to mid-May
Ride the cable car up to Fiescheralp - a hot spot for paragliding - and continue up to Eggishorn (2027m/6650ft). The broad Aletsch glacier is streaming down around the Aletschhorn (4195m/13763ft) like a super highway. Hands down best views to the Aletsch Glacier.
Fiesch to Eggishorn; mid-June to end of Oct/beginning of Dec to mid-April
The family-friendly car-free hamlet, accessible only by cable car, is the stuff of Swiss Alpine dreams. If you've got the guts for heights, hike to the panoramic 124m/407ft-long Aletschji-Grünsee bridge across the terrifyingly untamed, 80m/262ft-deep Massa Gorge at the foot of the Aletsch Glacier.
Mörel to Riederalp
Bettmeralp is a car free village in the Valaisian Alps in the middle of the Aletsch Arena. A scenic ride on a cable car will bring you up to Bettmeralp on 2000m/6,500ft above sea level. Relaxation pure!
Betten to Bettmeralp
Chamonix Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix is not in Switzerland but easily accessible by bus or train from Geneva (and beyond).
The panoramic Mont-Blanc gondola lifts you up to the "Aiguille du Midi" that offers amazing views across the Alps. Chamonix itself is a lovely town to stay.
Chamonix to Plan d'Aiguille and then to Aiguille du Midi; closed mid-Dec until end of Jan
The highest mountain in the Alpstein massif in northeastern Switzerland is such a distinct peak that one can easily make it out from the Stuttgart (Germany) television tower. If visibility is good, you can see way beyond Switzerland's borders to Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy.
Schwägalp to Säntis; closed mid Jan to beginning of Feb
The gondola lifts visitors up to a famous forest church, a cave with a view, a mountain guest-house perched to a rock face and eye-popping views to the exceptional green Appenzell landscape, clear views to the rolling hills beyond as well as to the Alpstein massif.
Wasserauen to Ebenalp; closed April and Oct to mid-December
There are 13 cable cars alone around St. Moritz. Majestic views to the glacier world of Piz Palü and Piz Bernina are best from the seductive Diavolezza (3000m/9843ft) (She-Devil). Locals call it "Ballroom of the Alps" - don't bring high heels though. Moonlight nights are spellbinding.
Bernina (near Pontresina) to Diavolezza; closed mid-Nov to mid-Dec
The world's first double decker cable car takes visitors up to the Silvretta Arena, a hikers paradise in summer and one of the best ski areas. Visitors who stay more than a night receive free rides in summer. Duty-free shopping in Samnaun.
Samnaun to Silvretta Arena; closed beginning of May to mid-June and mid-Oct to end of Nov
Scenic Postal Bus Tours
These trips are done entirely on the yellow post bus.
This is a trip from Graubünden's cool mountain air to Ticino's Mediterranean climate. Following hairpin curves down from the Maloja pass and through the rugged Puschlav valley, along Lake Come to Lugano.
St. Moritz to Lugano; daily between June and October, rest of the year Sat - Mon
Four-Pass Tour in one Day
Magnificent postal bus ride over 4 Alpine passes in one day - including the "King of the Mountain Passes", the Gotthard. Dramatic views to mountains and into valleys. You pass beautiful villages with distinct features that change from region to region.
Meiringen - Grimsel - Nufenen - Gotthard - Susten - Meiringen; mid-June to beginning of Oct
Steepest Post Bus to Paradise
The steepest postal bus route drives through flower strewn meadows, along thundering waterfalls and over small bridges up to the foot of Blüemlisalp, a mighty mountain sitting high above the Kiental valley and Griesalp, where the ride through a postcard perfect landscape ends.
Reichenbach to Griesalp; Jund to Ocotber
Nostalgic Postal Coach Outings
Historic Journey on the Gotthard Postal Carriage
With the development of the almost impenetrable Schöllenen gorge around 1200, the Gotthard pass route became the most important transit route from North to South. Today, one can travel along the historic post route again the way early travellers crossed the pass - in a nostalgic carriage drawn by five horses.
Andermatt to Airolo
Historic Flüela stagecoach
Travel back in time with this elegant coach, drawn by six horses. This can be booked as a package, including food and admission to the museum or as simple one way or return trip.
Email for reservation
Davos Platz to Flüela Hospice; every Wednesday mid-July to early September
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