The RegioExpress Lötschberger route
The RegioExpress Lötschberger trains cross the Alps between north to south on this varied and scenic journey. They start in the capital town of Bern and travel to Brig in the Valais and Domodossola in Italy. Of course you can travel the other way around as well.
An overview of the train route
The RegioExpress Lötschberger trains start in the capital town of Bern, north of the Alps. They pass the shores of Lake Thun before heading for the actual Alps. The trains gain height after Frutigen, using viaducts, tunnels and spiral loops. The Lötschberg tunnel then bypasses the most challenging mountainous area. Shortly after reaching Goppenstein on the southern end of this tunnel, the trains descend into the Rhone valley and access Brig, after a 1h40 ride. The last section again includes a longer tunnel in the Simplon pass area, towards the Italian town of Domodossola.
Sections of the RegioExpress Lötschberger journey
The RegioExpress Lötschberger route can be divided into four main sections:
- Bern-Spiez. The trains start in Switzerland’s atmospheric capital town of Bern, which is certainly worth a visit. After leaving the city, you’ll head for Thun in the western part of the Bernese Oberland. If weather is clear, you can see the snow-capped Bernese Alps on your left during this part of the ride. Between the scenic lakeside towns of Thun and Spiez, you’ll have the shores of Lake Thun on your left side as well;
- Spiez-Goppenstein. The trains bend south after Spiez and enter the pretty Kander valley, passing the towns of Frutigen and Kandersteg. This is where the entrance to the long Lötschberg base tunnel can be found, but the RegioExpress trains don’t use it. Instead, they start to gain height after Frutigen, with the aid of spiral loops and viaducts. It’s an impressive piece of engineering, and beautiful views on both sides await you. The most challenging mountain range is bypassed with the Lötschberg tunnel between Kandersteg and Goppenstein. Car trains use this Kandersteg-Goppenstein tunnel too;
- Goppenstein-Brig. You’ll leave the Lötschberg tunnel near Goppenstein, which is at the southern side of the Alps. Another impressive mountain section gets you to Raron, where you’ll see the wide Rhone valley appear far below. A gradual descent over several high viaducts follows, with the Rhone valley at your right hand. Once you’ve reached the valley floor, you’re in Brig;
- Brig-Domodossola. The last part of this route continues into Italy. In order to get there, yet another alpine area has to be conquered: the Simplon pass. There’s a mountain road for cars and buses, but the trains use the straight Simplon tunnel to Iselle di Trasquera in Italy. Car trains use this tunnel as well. Shortly after, you’ll reach the destination: the town of Domodossola.
Views are good on both sides of the train. However, for the section Bern-Spiez we’d recommend sitting on the left for the best views of Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps. For the section Goppenstein-Brig we recommend the right side for views of the Rhone valley while descending.
Which section is best?
There are many towns along the route where you can hop on and off, choosing any part of the route that interests you most or that suits your plans. If we had to choose, we’d pick Spiez-Goppenstein-Brig as the highlight of this trip, as this is where you experience impressive railway engineering and great views of the mountains.
Combine the RegioExpress Lötschberger with other scenic train routes
You can extend your trip into a full day or even a multiple day scenic train journey. Please find some suggestions for round trips below:
- combination with the Golden Pass, option 1: in Bern, board the RegioExpress Lötschberger to Brig and switch for the regional train to Montreux. Board the Golden Pass train to Spiez or Interlaken, where you can take a train back to Bern. For even more variety, you could include a boat trip from Spiez or from Interlaken to Thun.
- combination with the Golden Pass, option 2: starting from Lucerne, board the Luzern-Interlaken Express that’s part of the Golden Pass route. Switch to regional trains to Spiez and get on the RegioExpress Lötschberger to Brig there. Once you’re in Brig, pick up the regional train to Montreux and board the Golden Pass train to Spiez/Interlaken, continue to Lucerne on the Golden Pass, or travel back via Bern and Entlebuch, passing the romantic Emmen valley.
- combination with the Centovalli line: travel the entire RegioExpress Lötschberger route from Bern to Domodossola in Italy. In Domodossola, get on the Centovalli train to Locarno. From Locarno you can either take a regular train back to Bern, or board the Gotthard Panorama Express to Lucerne.
- combination with parts of Glacier Express and Gotthard Panorama Express routes: ride the RegioExpress Lötschberger from Bern to Brig and then head for Andermatt. You can do so by regular trains or, if this happens to fit your schedule, by Glacier Express. Once in Andermatt, switch to the cogwheel train to Göschenen and pick up the Gotthard Panorama Expres route to Flüelen and Lucerne there. From Lucerne, you can get back to Bern.
Dates of operation
The trains operates all year. Tip: check the timetable before you start your trip.
Find train schedules for your trip. You can search for connections from and to all towns along the railway line. The RegioExpress Lötschberger trains are indicated by ‘RE’ (RegioExpress) in the timetable.
Plan your trip