The Glacier Express.
I’d heard about it over and over again: that it was beautiful. Grand. Comfortable. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
My own experience was a little different.
Don’t get me wrong. The views were pretty. The train, as with all Swiss trains, was clean and comfortable. And I’m happy that I got to spend a couple days walking around the St. Moritz area, whose landscapes are oh-so-different from the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
But what I discovered is that the Glacier Express is far from the prettiest train ride I’ve had in Switzerland. And the other rides, because they aren’t famous, were cheaper and less crowded.
Which is why I thought I thought I’d take a moment today for those of you who love European train rides and want to take trips that leave you breathless as the train turns each corner, to tell you about three of my personal favorite train rides:
1. Bern to Interlaken.
This ride is less than two hours long, starting out in charming Bern and quickly moving into the countryside where fields suddenly and breathtakingly turn into a giant alpine lake with a jagged mountain backdrop.
Sit on the left side of the train for the best views of Lake Thun and the mountains beyond it.
2. St. Moritz to Chur.
This is actually a piece of the Glacier Express route (in my opinion, the prettiest piece), but you can take the normal (read: more affordable) train and take in the valley without the crowds. From St. Mortiz to Chur is less than two hours, the train winds from one side of the valley to the other, and both sides of the train offer great views (so sit where you will).
3. Lauterbrunnen to Murren.
About half an hour by cable car and then train, this is my favorite train ride from the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Sit on the left side of the train for the best views of the region’s famous peaks across the valley.
Any favorite Swiss train rides of your own?
Special thanks to Switzerland Tourism, who provided me with my 2-week Swiss pass and made all this train travel possible. They didn’t ask me to spout sonnets about Switzerland, so all passionate Switzerland-loving and train-loving is my own.
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