Apr 24, 2011 - 6:31 AM
Hello Mary, and welcome! The Swiss timetable
will be of great help for planning such trips. It shows traveling times, changes of trains, stops along the way, and so on. Just fill out your departure station (Lauterbrunnen, for example - make sure that it's spelled correctly) and your arrival station (Chateau de Chillon), enter your preferred date and times of traveling, and several options will be displayed. Click 'Show all details' in the lower right corner for more information on each connection. As for your specific questions: you can get to Montreux, visit the castle and return the same day, but you would have to leave early as the quickest connections (via Spiez and Visp, or via Bern and Lausanne) take more than 3 hours for a single journey.
The most beautiful route, however, is the Golden Pass route via Zweisimmen and Gstaad. This connection takes 4 to 5 hours, so you could consider taking it only for either the outbound trip to Montreux or the return journey to Lauterbrunnen. The route can be traveled by regular train or by panoramic train. The panoramic train offers more luxurious seats and larger windows, which allow you to better enjoy the views along the way. Seat reservations
are required for Golden Pass panoramic trains. You can (and should) reserve your seats in advance, even if you don't have your Swiss Half Fare Card
yet. Seat reservations can be made separately from the actual tickets. So you could even buy your 50% reduction tickets right before boarding, as long as your seats are reserved.