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Is this the world’s most scenic railway?

Welcome to The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – 1,280 kilometres of picture-perfect landscape through eleven lakes and five UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites.

Meadows of wildflowers, greener-than-green pastures dotted with cows and quaint chalets, snow-topped mountains, bubbling streams, and ancient castles, there’s no lovelier experience than sitting, gazing through oversized windows while your train clicks along the tracks through the Swiss countryside.

The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a tour that merges the most scenic train rides across Switzerland into one breathtaking route over eight stages from the majestic Matterhorn to Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge.

Roger Federer backing of The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

It’s a journey backed by one of the world’s tennis greats, Switzerland’s tourism ambassador, Roger Federer. Watch the video of him and international comedian Trevor Noah (who is also half-Swiss and half-South Africa, like Federer) on one of the more scenic routes, and you’ll see why you’d never want to get off.

Federer had earlier teamed up with other celebrities to promote his homeland. Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro have played a part in the promotion of the breathtaking landscape. And there’s no denying these celebrities undoubtedly help build awareness, but Switzerland’s landscape speaks for itself and now you can choose how you see it.

Tracking your way on The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

There is no prescribed direction or duration to do the grand train tour. You can hop on and off wherever you please. Whether at Zermatt or St. Moritz, in the Canton of Ticino or the Lavaux, at the Rhine Falls or Lake Lucerne. And you can experience the entire tour with only one single ticket – the Swiss Travel Pass.

Lucerne Grand Train Tour of Switzerland
Lucerne © Switzerland Tourism

On the Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Lugano journey, you’ll traverse from glaciers to palm trees: passing through the UNESCO World Heritage route of the Rhaetian Railway. To experience Switzerland’s coastal charm, hop on the St. Gallen to Zurich (via Schaffhausen) route, which cuts through delightful hilly terrain towards Lake Constance and runs 40 kilometres along its shoreline.

Combine rail with a boat cruise on the Lugano to Lucerne leg. Here, the Gotthard Panorama Express takes you from Mediterranean-style Ticino along the grand Gotthard Panorama Route, before transferring to a boat that glides over Lake Lucerne, surrounded by bucolic mountains.

Or try the new cog railway on Mount Pilatus, accessible from Lucerne. Opened in 1889, it’s the steepest cog railway in the world, climbing from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm, past blooming alpine meadows and striking rock formations. On the north side, a gondola cableway and an aerial cableway connect Kriens to Pilatus Kulm. With the new aerial cableway Dragon Ride, you’re practically flying up to Pilatus where you can soak up the views of Lucerne and its lake.

Explore Pilatus, Rigi, Stanserhorn and Titlis from Lucerne before boarding the Voralpen-Express. The train passes Lake Zurich, Rapperswil – the ‘city of roses’ – and the Sitter Viaduct. At 99 metres, it’s the highest railway bridge in Switzerland.

Salve for the soul

Regardless of where you go, or how many times you do it, Switzerland is a salve for the soul and it’s near impossible to tire of it. As Roger Federer says, ‘every time I see it again, I think it’s amazing’. And who would disagree?

Alp Gruem Bernina Express
Alp Gruem Bernina Express © Switzerland Tourism

Swiss Travel Pass – the All-in-one-Ticket The Swiss Travel

Pass all-in-one ticket from STS* is the key to the Swiss public transport network for visitors from abroad. With a single ticket, travellers can explore the whole of Switzerland by train, bus and boat over 3, 4, 6, 8 or 15 days. More specifically, this means unlimited travel by train, bus and boat in the area of validity, unlimited use of public transport in more than 90 towns and cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, included mountain excursions to the Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos, and much more. Further information on the Swiss Travel Pass can be found here:

This article was produced in partnership with Switzerland Tourism and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter.