Monday, 15 September 2014

Top Railway Journeys in Switzerland

Switzerland is famed for its spectacular landscapes, and one way to discover these is by travelling on some of the country's celebrated train lines. After many years of organising removals to and from Switzerland, Hamiltons has a detailed knowledge of the whole region. Here we look at some of the most popular Swiss rail routes, which are not only a major draw for tourists, but also popular with residents.

Travelling by rail offers a unique close-up view of the Swiss mountains, lakes and scenery. Whether you are just embarking on removals to Switzerland or preparing to return home to the UK after spending time living and working here, travelling on these routes will give you memories to treasure. It's sometimes possible to dine on board, and on some trains drinks are even served in special tilted glasses to prevent them being spilt.

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Glacier Express: It's said to be the “world's slowest express” – but that just means more time to take in the scenery. The journey between Zermatt and St Moritz is not just the most famous rail route in Switzerland, but also one of the best known in all of Europe. Riding the whole 160-mile route will take more than seven hours, but it is also possible to choose just certain sections of the route. If you set out from Zermatt, you'll begin with breathtaking view of the Matterhorn, and end in St Moritz, with an optional extra journey to another famous ski resort, Davos. The full route takes you through endless mountains and gorges and over 291 bridges. 

Jungfrau Railway: If you want to visit the top of the Jungfrau but don't fancy the climb, the mountain's own railway will take you there. Completed just over a century ago, this cog railway will take you to the highest rail station in Europe, at an altitude of more than 3,450 metres. Most of the five-and-a-half-mile journey is via a long tunnel within the mountain, with two brief stops en route to let passengers see the ice and snow. At the top, there's an observation platform with amazing views of the surrounding mountains, as well as restaurants and a cave with a display of ice sculptures.

Bernina Express: Part of this famous route has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status because of its beautiful landscapes. Passengers travel by narrow-gauge train from historic Chur across the Alps and over the Italian border to the wine town of Tirano, taking in 196 bridges along the way. Panoramic windows on the train give great views of the gorges, glaciers and mountain streams, before you arrive amid the palm trees of Italy. During summer, after finishing your rail tour you can take a bus ride along the shores of Lake Como to Lugano.

Swiss Chocolate Train: As its name suggests, this route offers not only wonderful landscapes, but also delicious food. Setting off from Montreux, passengers can choose to travel in vintage 1915 Pullman “Belle époque” coaches. The journey takes you to Gruyère, with visits to the castle and a dairy where you can see how the famous cheese is made and try a sample. Also included in your ticket price is a trip to nearby Broc, with a tour of the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory and a chance to sample the wares. 

Golden Pass: This journey runs between Lucerne and Montreux, passing lakes and waterfalls, with two changes of train at Interlaken and Zweisimmen. You'll travel above the shores of Lake Geneva and through Alpine forests during your journey. The Golden Trains are luxurious, with meals and drinks available on board, while you gaze out of the windows at the spectacular scenery. It's possible to travel just part of the route if you prefer.

Wilhelm Tell Express: Passengers taking this scenic route, named after the Swiss national hero, won't just travel by train, but also by boat. The journey begins with a three hour journey in a steamboat on Lake Lucerne to Fluelen, where the train sets off. You can dine on the boat and then walk around the deck while it visits several lakeside villages. The rail journey goes through Swiss mountain scenery including the Reuss valley and Gotthard tunnel before arriving in Ticino, with a change of trains en route.

Furka Steam Railway: A ride on the cogwheel railway across the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps is a nostalgic treat for train buffs and families during the summer months. You can travel by steam train along the old Glacier Express route, between Gletsch and Oberwald. Run by volunteers, this heritage railway uses vintage carriages and locomotives and runs from June to October each year.

If you need to arrange removals to and from Switzerland, Hamiltons can provide you with an expert service from start to finish. We operate a weekly service to the country and can arrange to transport your goods in a dedicated container or using groupage if preferred. Get in touch for details of our shipping to Switzerland service.

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