Scenic and fastest routes between Swiss towns

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3 posts
new member
Oct 12, 2018 - 7:45 AM


My family and I will be travelling

- from Zurich HB to Zermatt in early morning on 23 Dec 18, stay 1 night in Zermat (23 Dec) to see the Gornergrat

- from Zermatt to Interlaken on 24 Dec 18 afternoon. We will be based in Interlaken on 25th and 26th Dec. On 25th Dec, we will visit Bernese Oberland (Schiltorn) and on 26th Dec, do a day trip to Berne

- on 27th Dec, we will travel to Lucerne and stay 2 nights (27th and 28th Dec)

Can you advise

- which is the fastest and most scenic route , ie specific trains to take to travel between Zurich, Zermatt, Interlaken and Lucerne

- I have heard so much about Glacier express but I don't think my itinerary allows time for it? is there another route/train whjch we can take which is just as scenic as the Glacier Express?

-Any other advice on my itinerary ?

Thank you for your advice!

10496 posts
top member
Oct 12, 2018 - 3:53 PM in reply to Holidayqueen

Hi Holidayqueen and welcome to MySwissAlps!

For the quickest route options you can use the Swiss railways timetable to search for connections between towns and mountains. It always gives the quickest routing be default. metable

  1. From Zurich to Zermatt (and/or Zermatt to Interlaken) search for routes going via Kandersteg to avoid a long tunnel and get much nicer scenery
  2. Take a direct train between Interlaken and Lucerne - it follows part of the Golden Pass route: ldenpass/gettingthere
  3. You'll do part of the Glacier Express route (Brig to Zermatt - acierexpress/gettingth ere) but otherwise no, your itinerary doesn't allow for the full trip to St. Moritz (8 hours). I'm sure the above routes will give you enjoyable scenery. I think all routes around Switzerland are quite scenic. you just won't be on a "panoramic" train on those routes but the windows are still quite big on Swiss trains.
  4. Do note Bern and all towns will be virtually closed from 12pm on Dec 24 to Dec. 27 so mountain trips, like your plans to Schilthorn are the best ideas.
3 posts
new member
Oct 13, 2018 - 7:55 AM

Thank you for your advice, Lucas

I noted that via Kandersteg (instead of the direct shorter route), the incremental time is as follows :

- Zurich to Zermatt (1 hr)

- Zermatt to Interlaken (1.5 to 2 hrs)

If I need to choose 1 of the above routes via Kandersteg, do you recommend the Zurich - Zermatt , or Zermatt -Interlaken route? Are they just as scenic?

Would it make a difference if our destination is Interlaken OST or Interlaken West station?

Will Interlaken be closed from 24 to 27 Dec just like Bern? Besides ski and mountain resorts, are there any towns which will be open during this period?

If we are interested in winter or other sports activities, eg paragliding, will they be open from 24 to 27 Dec? is it better to do these at Interlaken or Bernese Oberland like Lauterbrunnen?

Thank you!

10496 posts
top member
Oct 13, 2018 - 8:24 AM in reply to Holidayqueen

If you travel via Kandersteg than the route and scenery is exactly the same once you reach Interlaken from Zurich. So you can take the fast way to Zermatt on the way from Zurich if you want. Then take the longer route on the way back to Interlaken (or do the route via Kandersteg in both directions if you like).

Interlaken Ost and West stations are about 2 minutes apart by train.

Well towns aren't closed per se, just the businesses (outside a few shops in the train stations perhaps and hotel restaurants). This will be the case in all Swiss towns.

Dec 27 everything should open up again - but some smaller shops may close until Jan 2. Paragliding and other activities probably aren't open for business on Dec. 25 or 26 but you could inquire with them to see.

We have a few recommendations on the Jungfrau region activity page here: ngfrauregion/activitie s

3 posts
new member
Oct 15, 2018 - 4:29 AM

Thank you so much, Lucas! You have been so helpful!

I am grateful for this website and this forum :)

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