Scenic train route from Interlaken to London

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Navthad
Navthad
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May 8, 2017 - 10:36 AM

Hi Forum

We are arriving in Zurich from Sydney in January 2018 and are staying for 3 nights, then from Zurich, we're travelling by train to Interlaken, where we plan to stay for 6 nights. We want to travel out of Interlaken during this time for day trips. We're then travelling from Interlaken to London and are keen to get some advice on the most scenic train route. We were thinking of doing it in one day, however now we've seen that there are so many different routes that we could take longer than one day. We'll be in Switzerland for 10 days, then we're travelling back from London to Zurich about 2 weeks later, just to catch the return flight and in Zurich for another 3 days.

As well as scenic routes, we'd also like tips on value for money. Any advice on what type of rail pass we should buy? where and When we should buy? would be very much appreciated!!

Summary

  • Zurich 3 Days (Travelling by Train to Interlaken)
  • Stay in Interlaken 7 Days
  • Travel from Interlaken to London - Scenic Train Route - Suggestions
  • Returning back to Zurich for 3 days

Thank you

Regards

Nav&Ellie

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May 9, 2017 - 2:42 AM in reply to Navthad

Hi Nav&Ellie, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> arriving in Zurich ... in January 2018 ... then from Zurich, we're travelling by train to Interlaken ... We're then travelling from Interlaken to London and are keen to get some advice on the most scenic train route. We were thinking of doing it in one day, however now we've seen that there are so many different routes that we could take longer than one day.

I have no personal experience of travelling London-Switzerland via France, but I've travelled from London to Zürich in one day on the following route:

London to Brussels (Eurostar) - Köln (Cologne) - Frankfurt - Zürich

Between Köln and Frankfurt, I travelled along the River Rhein scenic route. The best part is the sector between Koblenz and Bingen, which is all over in less than an hour: broad river, traditional villages, steep hills rising from the river, lots of castles perched on outcrops, vineyards (bare in winter of course).

However, despite its scenic value, it probably isn't worth increasing the length of your trip for the sake of a one-hour stretch. If you did decide to go that way, you have to force the timetable to produce that route by putting in one of the Rhein stations as a "via" e.g. Bacharach. Otherwise you will end up on the fast route, which avoids the river.

The rest of the route between London and Zürich left no lasting impression on me, except that a lot of it is flat. The route between Frankfurt and Zürich skirts the Black Forest, but you need to get off the main route for the best scenery.

I have attached a map of scenic rail routes in Europe, which I downloaded several years ago, possibly from the Eurail site. I can't find anything similar on the current site. (Swiss scenic routes are almost entirely missing from the map, so there must have been a separate map for them.) As you can see, they are all relatively short, and probably not easy to incorporate into a long-distance trip.

There is a book that might be useful: Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers by Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries. I had the 2011 edition of this book and found it very useful in finding scenic routes, but haven't seen the current edition. None of the recommended routes through France lend themselves well to a trip starting or ending in Switzerland though.

Alpenrose

Last modified on May 9, 2017 - 2:43 AM by Removed user
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Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
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May 9, 2017 - 4:14 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Alpenrose :)

Thanks for your suggestion and reply, we did look at those options and like you said there are only very few part which are scenic and obviously once you're on the Eurostar to london there is obviously nothing scenic :) However we found this website and below is the link

www.roadrailandsea.co. uk/holiday/+The+Golden +Pass+-+London+to+Interlaken+ by+train+via+Montreux/ 43

The route is called "The Golden Pass" and this one seems to be a scenic route, we could take this train from interlaken. The route is Interlaken - Montreux - Paris - London, the only thing is we don't know if anyone has travelled on this route and would like to hear from people who have.

Also in your experience which Swiss rail pass should we buy, given our itinerary in switzerland looks like this

  • 1st Leg - Zurich 3 Days (When we arrive and we will be travelling by Train to Interlaken)
  • 2nd Leg - Stay in Interlaken 7 Days and will visit other places such as Jungfrau etc
  • Travel from Interlaken to London
  • 3rd Leg - Returning back to Zurich for 3 days before we fly out

Will look forward to your reply and anymore suggestions you might have.

Thank you

Nav

Last modified on May 9, 2017 - 4:17 AM by Navthad
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May 9, 2017 - 4:58 AM in reply to Navthad

>> The route is called "The Golden Pass" and this one seems to be a scenic route, we could take this train from interlaken. The route is Interlaken - Montreux - Paris - London, the only thing is we don't know if anyone has travelled on this route and would like to hear from people who have.

Sorry, I misunderstood what you were looking for. I thought you meant routes outside Switzerland.

Yes, the Golden Pass route is a very popular route. I've done that trip about 4 times so far, and always enjoyed it. It is wholly within Switzerland, and from Interlaken you would be travelling south to Montreux, which isn't an obvious start for a trip to London ;D It also has a northern section, from Luzern to Interlaken via the Brünig Pass.

You could easily do that trip as a day trip from Interlaken, and spend a bit of time in Montreux before going back to Interlaken. Or if going back to London that way, a few days in Montreux en route would be a great idea.

There is more information here:

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

www.myswissalps.com/mo ntreux

>> Also in your experience which Swiss rail pass should we buy, given our itinerary in switzerland looks like this

•1st Leg - Zurich 3 Days (When we arrive and we will be travelling by Train to Interlaken)

•2nd Leg - Stay in Interlaken 7 Days and will visit other places such as Jungfrau etc

•Travel from Interlaken to London

So is that 11 travel days in Switzerland? A Swiss Travel Pass (2nd class) for 15 days would probably be best, as it is only CHF 82 more than an 8-day pass, and you would probably spend at least that on days 9, 10 and 11. There's only one way to be sure though, and that is to do your sums: adding up the fares for all the trips you would be making on those days.

>>•3rd Leg - Returning back to Zurich for 3 days before we fly out

If you are going to be doing day trips from Zürich, a 3-day Swiss Travel Pass might be suitable. If staying in Zürich, a 72-hour ZürichCARD might meet your needs.

Alpenrose

Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
new member
May 9, 2017 - 5:15 AM

Actually you did get it right :) I'm sorry i probably didn't explain it well :)

Our plan is to travel from Switzerland (Interlaken) to London, we would prefer the scenic routes, the problem is there are so many options, we could go via cologne then to brussels and catch the eurostar from brussels to london. That was our original plan but we didn't know if it would scenic or not.

If that is scenic enough with patches of just flat land train track then we don't mind :)

Below is the link :) If we choose to take this route..What kind of train pass would be best keeping in mind we will be staying in Switzerland :)

www.google.com.au/maps /dir/Interlaken,+Switz erland/London,+United+ Kingdom/@49.021675,-0.2317913,6z/am=t/data =!3m1!4b1!4m19!4m18!1m 5!1m1!1s0x1453996a3192 1a05:0x9c111af14c02be0 0!2m2!1d7.8632049!2d46 .6863481!1m5!1m1!1s0x4 7d8a00baf21de75:0x5296 3a5addd52a99!2m2!1d-0.1277583!2d51.5073509 !2m3!6e4!7e2!8j1494395 220!3e3!5i5?hl=en

I'm so sorry, i hope it is not too much of a trouble for you

Navthad
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May 9, 2017 - 5:33 AM in reply to Navthad

The route you linked to via Frankfurt, Köln and Brussels seems to skip the scenic section along the River Rhein, which is a secondary route, not a main route. I can't think of any section of the route you linked to that I would call "scenic", but much of it may well be pleasant enough. (My standards of "scenic" are very high since my trips to Switzerland ;D) Also, it is some years since I travelled that route.

What is the difference between the two route links you posted?

Sorry, I can't help with the best pass option. You will need to do your sums ;-) Some general comments though: the Swiss Travel Pass provides much better coverage than Eurail Passes in Switzerland. There is more information at the following links:

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass

Alpenrose

Last modified on May 9, 2017 - 5:43 AM by Removed user
Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
new member
May 9, 2017 - 5:55 AM in reply to Removed user

Thanks Alpenrose :) I do recognise that the link i sent through is not so scenic. I will figure this out and will buy the Swiss Pass 2nd class for Interlaken and surroundings, Zurich card for the duration in Zurich.

Appreciate your time :)

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May 9, 2017 - 6:50 AM in reply to Navthad

>> Appreciate your time

You're welcome!

>> I do recognise that the link i sent through is not so scenic. I will figure this out

Are you using the SBB (Swiss Railways) online timetable to plan your trip?

I suggest you use the SBB timetable to plan the trip to Frankfurt. Then use the DB (Deutsche Bahn) timetable to plan the trip Frankfurt to Brussel Zuid/Midi (Brussels Eurostar station) via Bacharach as an intermediate stop. That will take you along the Rhein. If you look at the intermediate stops in the timetable search results, you should see at least some of the following amongst them, which will confirm that your train is travelling along the Rhein:

Bingen(Rhein) Hbf

Bacharach

Oberwesel

Boppard Hbf

Koblenz Hbf

You may know this already, but make sure you use Frankfurt(Main)Hbf (Frankfurt am Main, main station) in the timetable, as there is another Frankfurt (Oder) over near the Polish border ;)

Here are the links you will need:

SBB (Swiss Railways) Timetable

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

DB (Deutsche Bahn/German Railways) Timetable

reiseauskunft.bahn.de/ bin/query2.exe/en?rt=1&

Alpenrose

Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
new member
May 9, 2017 - 7:10 AM in reply to Removed user

I did go through the SBB website and DB, i will look through the stations carefully and book the tickets. So from what you suggested i need to book tickets on SBB, DB and Eurostar websites.

The travel is January and i'm hoping i can book tickets as early as possible.

Nav

Annika
Annika
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May 9, 2017 - 7:20 AM in reply to Navthad

Hi Nav,

Note that you don't have to book tickets for your journeys in Switzerland, as your Swiss Travel Pass will cover most rides. Only special panoramic trains need additional reservations: http://www.myswissalps .com/train/reservation s.

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May 9, 2017 - 7:48 AM in reply to Navthad

>> So from what you suggested i need to book tickets on SBB, DB and Eurostar websites.

Actually, I have just remembered that Deutsche Bahn run services from Interlaken to destinations in Germany. I should have remembered that, as I travelled from Interlaken to the north of Germany with Deutsche Bahn only 4 months ago!! We had a Eurail Pass, but I booked our seat reservations though Deutsche Bahn, even though the trip started in Interlaken.

So if you are buying point-to-point tickets, you can probably get them through Deutsche Bahn, and they have advance purchase discounts if you buy as soon as bookings open. At the moment they are offering fares as low as 59,90 Euro for a trip from Interlaken Ost to Brussels (conditions attached), but bookings can only be made up until the beginning of November at present.

If you do one booking all the way through from Interlaken to Brussels, remember to put Bacharach in as an intermediate stop if you want to travel along the Rhein. It will be a very long day if you want to continue to London though. It might be worth stopping off somewhere in Germany.

Eurostar tickets have to be booked separately.

>> The travel is January and i'm hoping i can book tickets as early as possible.

There is a timetable change for European train services on 10 December 2017, and bookings for dates from then onwards will not open until about mid-October.

I'm not sure whether Eurostar trains are also affected.

Alpenrose

Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
new member
May 9, 2017 - 8:55 AM in reply to Annika

Thanks Annika :)

My needs are

  • Travel inside Zurich
  • Travel from Zurich to Interlaken by train
  • Travel from Interlaken to nearby places for example Zermatt, Jungfrau etc or any other interesting spots cause i will be using interlaken as a base
  • Travel from Interlaken to London
  • Back from London to Zurich for the last leg

Alpinerose has been assisting me quite a bit, happy to hear any suggestions

Nav

Navthad
Navthad
8 posts
new member
May 9, 2017 - 8:57 AM in reply to Removed user

Thanks Alpinerose :)

Thats a good suggestion, i'm checking those websites as i send this message. I got my spreadsheet ready as well :)

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