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new member
Aug 31, 2010 - 12:00 PM
My friend and i are going to Switzerland on sept 18 for 8 days. We're travelling from Vienna by train arriving in Zurich sept 18 in the afternoon. We plan to stay overnight in Lucern (been to Lucern 2x ).
We want to experience the scenic routes by train. Glacier Express, Golden Pass, and Bernina Express and sightseeing in between places. However we don't have a good idea where to go first and book reservations for hotels, plus how many night(s )should we spend in certain places. We have a 5days Euro Rail pass for 3 countries and plan to buy a swiss half card. On our way back to Vienna we plan going back to Zurich and get the night train. Things we want to do most is sightseeing. Please advise us. We're too excited but doesn't know where to start. Thank you.

496 posts
top member
Sep 1, 2010 - 1:29 PM

Hi Emily! An 8 day stay in Switzerland offers great opportunities for scenic train journeys. Glacier Express, Bernina Express and Golden Pass can perfectly be combined. An itinerary may look like this (assuming that you don't necessarily want to start with the overnight stay in Lucerne):

  • travel from Zurich to St. Moritz, via Chur over the Albula train line (with spectacular viaducts and loops);
  • spend a night or a couple of nights in St. Moritz or a nearby town. St. Moritz is quite popular and expensive. Other towns, such as Samedan, Bever or La Punt, offer excellent accomodation for better prices. If you spend a few nights in this area, you'll be able to get up to one of the stunning viewing points. Consider Muottas Muragl or Piz Nair, both giving a view of the Upper Engadine and its lakes;
  • travel to Tirano using the Bernina Express and get back to St. Moritz;
  • travel from St. Moritz to Zermatt using the Glacier Express and spend one or two nights in Zermatt, visiting one of the viewing points there. My personal favourite is the cog rail ride up to Gornergrat, from which (in good weather of course) you'll have a great view of the Matterhorn;
  • travel from Zermatt to Montreux and get on board of the Golden Pass to Interlaken;
  • travel from Interlaken to Lucerne over the Brünig Pass route via Meiringen;
  • spend your 2 nights in Lucerne and travel back to Zurich.

You should realize that this is quite a full travel scheme. That's fine if you want to see a lot of the country and make as many scenic train trips as possible, but if you're up for a more relaxing holiday, you may have to choose for only two train routes and resorts. Making choices is inevitable anyway. All regions are worth visiting, most towns are worth a long stay. You may want to take a look at the Bernese Oberland, Wallis and Graubünden sections, to try to find out which one appeals to you most, and adapt your itinerary and overnight stays to this preference. You can plan your trips with the Swiss timetable.

Some further tips on train travel: if you can use some of the free travel days of your Eurail pass in Switzerland as well (I don't know what your travel plans in the other countries are), then use them for the longest and most expensive trips. Prices can be found through the timetable as well, by selecting a connection and clicking 'Fare/Buy'. A Swiss Half Fare Card will offer discounts on the remaining days. For scenic trains, seat reservations have to be made in advance.

I hope this gets you started! Good luck on planning your trip and feel free to post further questions.


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