Armed with a Swiss Travel Pass Steve Collins was fortunate to ride on some of Switzerland’s best train journeys.
Switzerland is a country that has truly embraced rail travel, building 5,200 kilometres of track. Some of those routes are true engineering feats which conquer steep gradients, tunnel through mountains, cross deep valleys, avoid avalanches, and traverse some truly magnificent scenery.
The Swiss Travel Pass allowed Steve to travel on trains, trams, buses and ferries in addition to allowing him to gain entry into about 500 museums. As public transport is very popular in Switzerland, also fast, efficient, comfortable and almost always on time the Pass is probably the most important purchase you can make prior to visiting Switzerland.
Steve first travelled on the Golden Pass route, starting in Luzern and travelling to Interlaken Ost. This train passes two lakes Sarnersee and the Lungernsee, before starting the climb to Brünig Pass which has an altitude of 1008 m. The train then descends into the Hasli Valley and passes Lake Brienz to Interlaken. From Interlaken he boarded a bus for a diversion to Grindelwald, a stunningly-beautiful village near Mt. Eiger.
After a break in Grindelwald, Steve caught the train back to Interlaken and continued his Golden Pass journey to Montreux. After passing through the Simmer Valley the rain climbs again to Saanenmöser, at 1279 m, the highest point of the trip. The train exits a tunnel near Les Avants. From there, Montreux is just 3 km as the crow flies, but there are still 578 metres left to descend. Cogwheel track and many curves are required to complete the last 20 minutes of the journey, with wonderful views of Lake Geneva along the way.
In Montreux, the Swiss Travel Pass came in handy for local transport on buses, trains and a boat ride on Lake Geneva.