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Switzerland’s fabulous scenic train trips put the Alps right in your lap

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By mixing some, or all, of the four main scenic train trips into your schedule, you will see the best of Switzerland’s stunningly beautiful high mountain vistas. These scenic routes take you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Alps. These are photo ops to the max so be sure to carry lots of film or digital photo storage.

The panorama cars on the scenic trains provide mountain-size windows for those whole mountain photos and the feeling of being right there in the great Alpine outdoors. Whether you’re traveling by train or car, book some of these routes as part of your trip.

There are four primary scenic train routes:

  • The Golden Pass:
    Lucern – Interlaken – Gstaad – Montreaux – Geneva
  • The Glacier Express:
    Zermatt – Brig – Andermatt – Chur – Davos / St-Moritz
  • The Bernina Express:
    Landquart – Davos – Bernina pass – Tirano
  • The William Tell Express:
    Lucern – Flüelen – St. Gotthard – Bellinzona – Lugano or Locarno

Trains and Cars
All four of these scenic trains offer the big windowed panorama cars. Bernina Express and Golden Pass use only panorama cars while the Glacier Express and William Tell Express offer both second-class standard cars and first-class panorama cars.

Switzerlands fabulous scenic train trips put the Alps right in your lap

The scenic routes are also used by local commuter trains operated by Swiss Rail. These are often less expensive than the scenic trains and, if you like wandering Swiss villages, often make more station stops along the way. Ride the local train, get off to sightsee, and catch the next train headed your way. You can ride both the regular trains and scenic trains in either direction.

Panorama vs. Standard Cars
The huge wrap-over-the-ceiling windows in the for-tourist panorama cars offer the widest field of vision you’ll get on any Swiss train. No matter where you sit the Swiss alps are right in your lap. You’ll have to shoot through the non-opening windows though so watch for glare in your camera lens. On sunny, days these cars with non-opening windows can get a little warm even with air conditioning . Dress accordingly.

If you’re booking the Golden Pass try to get the front row VIP seats. The engineer sits upstairs in a glass bubble so the front of the train is a big window looking straight down the track.

Standard cars on these routes are less expensive regular train cars. Although the windows are smaller they do open for glare free photos and fresh air if the car gets too warm and stuffy. Passengers on Glacier and William Tell panoramas wanting glare or spot-free pictures are welcome to move to one of the standard cars and open a window.