Combine scenic trips with culinary delights
Scenic trips by train, boat and mountain transportation are must-do's in Switzerland. So is enjoying Swiss cuisine, and you can combine both! Find out how to enjoy snacks and meals on board of trains, boats and even cable cars.
Dining on board of regular trains
Dining on board of trains is pretty common in Switzerland, and options are widely available. You can also have your own drinks and food, as long as you don’t cause inconvenience to other passengers. These are the catering options of some of major Swiss railway companies:
- SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, operating nation-wide): many IC (Intercity) and EC (Eurocity) trains run by the SBB have a restaurant or bistro on board. Seat reservations are optional. Often, you can have meals and snacks at your seat too. The menus include breakfast, beverages, lunch dishes, dinners and desserts.
- Die Zentralbahn (operating in Central Switzerland): travelers can order drinks, snacks, lunch and dinner at their seat in 2nd and 1st class, between Lucerne and Interlaken.
- BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon Bahn, operating in the Bernese Oberland, Central Switzerland and the Valais): the BLS mainly operates regional trains, in which there's no catering. It’s no problem to bring along your own food and drinks though;
- RhB (Rhaetian Railways, operating in Graubünden): there are railbars with snacks and sandwiches on regional trains. Dining is possible in panoramic trains and on many special gourmet rides (see below).
Dining on board of panoramic trains
Dining at your seat can add to the special experience of a panoramic Swiss train ride. These are the options:
- Bernina Express: there’s a minibar with snacks and drinks, that can be served at your seat.
- Centovalli Railway: on most trains, there’s a trolley from which you can buy drinks and snacks.
- Glacier Express: dishes and lunch menus are served at your seat in 1st and 2nd class class. Prior reservations are recommended. In Excellence Class, a 5-course menu with regional dishes is served, and coffee, tea and an aperitif are all included.
- Golden Pass: the trains between Lucerne and Interlaken are operated by the railway company Die Zentralbahn. You can use the bistro service to order drinks, snacks and meals. Between Zweisimmen and Montreux, the Montreux Oberland Bernois railways (MOB) are the operator. Gastronomy options on the Classic and Panoramic trains are limited.
- Voralpen-Express: the modern Voralpen-Express 'Traverso' trains feature two bistro zones with vending machines. You can buy hot and cold drinks and snacks.
- Gotthard Panorama Express: snacks and beverages are served at your seat during the train ride. During the boat ride, you can enjoy cold platters, warm lunch dishes, desserts and coffee/tea in the restaurant. Reservations are recommended for busier days.
Special culinary train rides and wagons
Some trains, train routes or wagons are entirely dedicated to gastronomy. These trains offer on-board dining options:
- A fondue train runs from Bulle in winter.
- Several gourmet rides and trains are operated by the RhB (the Rhaetian Railways). You can take a ride in the Gourmino wagon between Chur and St. Moritz, enjoy a 3-course dinner in the train to Arosa, taste whisky on the Whisky Gourmet Express, and more. Advance reservation is required for such journeys.
- Special nostalgic trains can be booked through the SBB for festivities and larger travel parties.
These rides don’t have extensive on-board gastronomy options, but do have culinary themes and destinations:
- The Chocolate Train from Montreux serves chocolate bread and coffee/tea between Montreux and Montbovon. The Maison Cailler chocolate factory in Broc is its destination.
- The Cheese Train from Montreux to Chateau d’Oex brings you to a cheese-making demonstration and a cheese fondue.
- The Lavaux Express is a tourist car ride through the Lavaux vineyards along Lake Geneva. You can buy wine and souvenirs during several stops made on the way, and free glasses are available to taste the products while you’re on the move.
- The Wine Train transports passengers from Vevey to Chexbres through the Lavaux vineyards along Lake Geneva.
- The Kambly Train is a direct regional train from either Bern or Lucerne to the Kambly Factory in Trubschachen. Vending machines with snacks are available on board.
Dining on board of boats
Most regular boats on Swiss lakes have a restaurant, that is often located on the upper deck and accessible for holders of a 1st class ticket or rail pass. You can enjoy coffee, tea, pastries, multi-course lunches or even complete dinners as you gently cross the lake. Choose a long route to enjoy a full meal, from entrée to dessert. Reservations are usually not required, but they're recommended on crowded days.
Apart from the restaurants on regular boats, many boat companies offer special culinary cruises. These always require advance reservations.
- Lake Brienz and Lake Thun: many boats crossing these lakes have an on-board restaurant with extensive gastronomy options, ranging from breakfast to (warm) lunch dishes. These restaurants are indicated by a knife-and-fork icon in the pdf timetables, to which you’ll find links here and here. A few other boats (usually the ones operating in the early morning) have bistro options with hot and cold snacks. Bistros are indicated by a wine glass icon in the pdf timetable. Many themed culinary cruises are also available on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. How about a fondue trip, a burger cruise or even a fajita cruise?
- Lake Geneva: catering is available on most boats. The upper-deck restaurants are accessible to 1st class ticket holders. There are numerous special gourmet cruises as well, including a brunch, lunch and dinner rides.
- Lake Lucerne: many boats have restaurants on the upper deck. We highly recommend a dining trip at this lake: the restaurants have extensive menus with lots of choice, including a fine selection of beers, wines and other drinks. You can enjoy a complete multi-course dinner if you pick a long route, such as Flüelen-Lucerne. If you consult the pdf timetable (find a link here), this is how to interpret the icons: a wineglass indicates an on-board bistro with beverages and warm and cold snacks; a knife-and-fork icon indicates a restaurant. Special cruises are available too, with lots of culinary themes: raclette, Thai food, fondue, grill and more.
- Lake Lugano: gastronomy options differ per ride. There’s no standard fleet with on-board restaurants, but there are designated lunch, brunch and dinner tours. Themed dinner cruises are available too.
- Lake Zurich: on-board catering is available on many regular boats, and you can choose from lots of culinary rides with varied themes. Cheese fondue, beer, barbecue, spaghetti, Indian food and hot stone grill are just a few examples.
Meal options in Swiss cable cars
Dining during a cable car ride is a spectacular experience! There are a few options:
- Have breakfast during the gondola ride to Klein Matterhorn near Zermatt, or enjoy a glass of wine in your VIP gondola. Find the options here.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner for two or three, or a sky dinner for a larger group, during several rides up and down between Pfingstegg and Grindelwald.
- Have dinner in the cable car between Weggis and Rigi Kaltbad.
- Have a multi-course dinner and enjoy musical entertainment in the gondolas to Rinderberg near Gstaad.