A small mountainous country in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is usually associated with chocolate, banking, knives and watches. This is a place for the organised, the efficient, and the finer things in life. Yet when I arrive, something entirely different strikes me. From the fertile valleys of the north across the Alps to the Mediterranean south, the spectacular scenery really is something special.
There’s no better way to explore than by rail. Imagine sitting with a glass of wine, informative commentary on your headset and uninterrupted views as you glide through villages and valleys over mountain passes and blue lakes. Trust me, it’s even better than it sounds.
Switzerland is geographically small – at just 41,000sqkm, it could fit inside Australia 188 times. Yet, situated between France, Italy, Germany and Austria, it’s home to Swiss German, French and Italiannative speakers, distinct cultures and some of the tallest mountains in Europe.
You would be forgiven for thinking this might mean navigating the country is difficult, when in fact; Switzerland has one of the best public transport systems in the world. Despite more than 250 individual transport companies, the dense network of ferries, buses and trains connect seamlessly.
As one train pulls into the station, the connecting service will be waiting on the opposite side of the platform, or a ferry will be pulling into the dock 100m away. It’s completely stress free and, of course, efficient. The ticketing system is simple and cost-effective, too – just purchase a Swiss Travel Pass, which gives you access to the whole network – no individual tickets required.
Every train seems to have jaw-dropping views, however there are four trains in particular that are especially scenic: Bernina Express, Glacier Express, Gotthard Panorama and the Golden Pass line.
Described as the slowest express train in the world, the Glacier Express travels between St Moritz and Zermatt. The eight-hour journey seems to fly by and I’m glued to the window as the morning fog lifts and the alpine landscape changes.
This is one of Flight Centre's Top 50 Travel Experiences for 2020. Read the whole list here!
Swiss Travel Pass Flex, 8 Days, 1st Class
Choose your personal travel route from approximately 29,000 kilometers of train, (postal) bus or boat routes. Your personal choice includes the classic scenic routes, the public transport systems of 90 Swiss cities, 50% discount on most mountain-top trains & cable cars, free entry to selected mus...
Travel Dates: 1 November 2020 -