Eat on Switzerland’s mountaintops
Coffee, tea, snacks and lunch
There are many mountain restaurants in the Swiss Alps. Nearly each peak that can be reached by cable car, funicular, gondola or coghweel train has one.
Most mountaintop restaurants offer coffee, tea, sweets, snacks and extensive lunch dishes. Warm lunches are often available too. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the alpine scenery from the restaurant or outdoor terrace.
In many cases, the last ride down from a mountain is before dinnertime. This means you have to plan well if you want to have an actual dinner on a Swiss mountain. But there are options:
- A few mountains are accessible until late evening on many days during the summer season. Examples are Monte San Salvatore near Lugano and Harder Kulm near Interlaken.
- To some other mountains, there are special dinner rides on a limited amount of evenings. This goes for the Niesen in the Bernese Oberland for example.
- It’s often possible to spend the night in a mountaintop hotel. This allows you to admire the views during dinner and breakfast! Just a few examples are Pilatus near Lucerne and Männlichen in the Jungfrau Region.
Check our mountain pages for details and operation times.
Have meals on Swiss trains
Dining on board of regular trains
Dining on board of trains is pretty common in Switzerland. 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 a few 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. This is part of the GoldenPass route.
- 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. Reservations are recommended. In Excellence Class, a multi-course menu with regional dishes is served. Coffee, tea and an aperitif are included in the Excellence Class price.
- GoldenPass: 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. For the GoldenPass Express, culinary packages can be reserved in advance.
- 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 for the boat restaurant are recommended in high season.
- Lötschberg Mountain Railway: these are regional trains with bistro zones where you can buy snacks and drinks.
- Voralpen-Express: the Voralpen-Express ‘Traverso’ trains have two bistro zones with vending machines. You can buy hot and cold drinks and snacks.
Special culinary train rides and wagons
Some trains are entirely dedicated to gastronomy. These rides have on-board dining options:
- A fondue train runs between Bulle and Montbovon 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, and more. Reservation is required for such journeys.
- The SBB offers fondue, brunch and wine tasting rides in historical trains on selected dates.
- Book a fondue ride from Arth-Goldau to Rigi.
- Special nostalgic trains can be booked through the SBB for festivities and larger travel parties.
The rides below don’t have extensive on-board gastronomy, but they 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 one of its destinations.
- 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. 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 Bern or Lucerne to the Kambly Factory in Trubschachen. Vending machines with snacks are available on board.
Dine on Swiss boats
Most regular boats on Swiss lakes have a restaurant. Sometimes it’s located on the upper deck and accessible for holders of a 1st class ticket or rail pass only.
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. 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 great gastronomy options. Consult the timetables to see what’s available for your tour. Restaurants are indicated by a knife-and-fork icon in the pdf timetables. Boats operating in the early morning usually have a bistro with hot and cold snacks. Bistros are indicated by a wine glass icon. Themed culinary cruises are also available on both lakes: a fondue trip for example.
- Lake Geneva: catering is available on most boats. Many have upper-deck restaurants that are accessible to 1st class ticket holders. There are numerous special gourmet cruises too, such as lunch and fondue rides.
- Lake Lucerne: many boats have restaurants. We highly recommend a dining trip at this lake. The restaurants have menus with lots of choice. There’s also a fine selection of beers, wines and other drinks. You can have a complete multi-course dinner if you pick a long route, such as Flüelen-Lucerne. Consult the timetable and check the icons for your ride. 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 varying culinary themes: raclette, brunch, fajita or candlelight rides for example.
- 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.
- 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 and grill are just a few examples.
Have a meal in Swiss cable cars
Having a meal during a cable car ride is a spectacular experience. There are a few options:
- Have breakfast during the gondola ride to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise 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 a multi-course dinner and enjoy musical entertainment in the gondolas to Rinderberg near Gstaad.
Other websites of interest
- www.sbb.ch: dining car reservations