Train travel is a popular pastime in Western Europe and Switzerland’s ruggedly beautiful scenery provides the perfect backdrop for railway journey. A major transportation hub, Interlaken’s rail networks serve almost all of the country’s major cities- Basel, Zurich, Bern and Lucerne are all reachable by train – but for the most jaw-dropping views, take a trip on one of these acclaimed routes.
Dating back to 1893, the Schynige Platte cogwheel railway runs the 7km ascent from Wilderswil, just outside of Interlaken. Regular trains traverse the hair-raisingly steep 7km track, climbing to a mountaintop height of 1,936m and offering some incredible views over the alpine slopes below.
A one-stop route through central Switzerland’s principle sights, the renowned Golden Pass railway runs all the way from historic Lucerne, across the Brünig pass into Interlaken. Carrying on west from Interlaken, the ‘Panoramic-Express’ affords wonderful views of the shimmering Lake Thun, the luxury chalets of Gstaad and the spectacular Simmen Valley before descending through the terraced vineyards to the shimmering lake of Montreux.
Perhaps the country’s most popular railway route, the Jungfrau Express (Jungfraujoch) starts out at Interlaken, taking one of two mountain routes – Wengen or Grindlewald – before ascending via a high-altitude rack railway to Europe’s highest train station at the 3,454m summit of Jungfrau. Featuring forested alcoves, tunnels cut through the mountain and the final climb on a narrow gauge railway line up to (Europe’s highest train station). It’s a pricey trip, but with scenery this spectacular, it’s well worth the splurge.