If you are visiting Switzerland in winter one of the best way to experience the surreal locations of Switzerland is the Golden Pass Train. You can enjoy the views without the chill of the freezing breeze and without having to trudge through the layers of snow. The best time to visit Switzerland is summer no doubt when the sky is clear and bright and every corner overflows with colorful blossoms. But we believe Switzerland tourist attractions offer a vivid vista every season. The views are equally stunning in winter and in fall when leaves turn crisp golden.
When we landed in Switzerland it was the last day of December. It had snowed heavily. We couldn’t just wait to start exploring the fairytale land of Switzerland. The scenic vistas of Swiss Alps from our flight window had left us spellbound.
We were a bit skeptical too as our daughter was just 6-months-old and it was going to be her first snow. We were so elated that we could not wait till summer to explore the beauty of this paradise on earth. We were looking for best and safe options when we learned about the Golden Pass Train ride.
Golden Pass Train
The scenic route winds through the picturesque landscapes of Switzerland dotted with pretty wooden chalets, snow-capped mountains, sloping hills of pine forests dusted with snow, shimmering lakes and the hazy overcast skies. The Golden Pass Train route runs between the resort town of Montreux and the charming city of Lucerne.
‘Panoramic’ and ‘Classic’ are the two trains that you can experience on the route from Montreux to Zweisimmen. Though the regular trains also run on this route, Panoramic and Classic trains are specifically designed to make the Golden Pass experience richer.
The ‘Panoramic’ trains have large windows offering a perfect unobstructed panoramic view as the name suggests, throughout the journey. The coaches and the windows on the Golden Pass Classic trains have a vintage feel. Both the ‘Panoramic’ and ‘Classic’ trains have a bar and food coaches available which aren’t available on the regular trains.
One has to switch to the regular trains from Zweisimmen to Interlaken. The Luzern-Interlaken Express run between Interlaken and Lucerne, the trains have large panoramic windows.
Montreux to Zweisimmen – ‘Panoramic’ and ‘Classic’ Trains
Zweisimmen to Interlaken – Regular Trains
Interlaken to Lucerne – Luzern-Interlaken Express with Panoramic Windows.
Our Journey Starts…..
We were based in Geneva, we started early morning from Geneva to Montreux, where the Golden Pass route train would commence. We had a Swiss day pass which is issued to the Swiss residents but the Eurailpasses and Swiss Rail Passes work fine as well all through the entire route of Golden Pass. The views on the way to Montreux were as always mesmerizing with the stunning snow-covered Lavaux vineyard terraces sloping into perpetual blue Lake Geneva and the thatched roofs of the chalets painted white with snow.
We boarded a Golden Pass Panoramic train from Montreux. The vistas from the train windows were so entrancing that it was as if a multi-dimensional movie was being played on the screen.
The Panoramic train ride was an amazing experience. We wanted to experience the Classic train ride as well which we chose for the rest of the journey. The Classic train was an hour behind the Panoramic train schedule so we thought to get down at Gstaad and utilize the time gap to explore Gstaad.
Gstaad is one of the most beautiful Swiss town and a favorite resort of many celebrities including Bollywood. The little charming town of Gstaad is a calm town lined with lovely wooden chalets with a backdrop of towering snow mountains. The beautiful wooden chalets housed restaurants, luxury hotels, and boutique shops.
Gstaad is a popular base to visit the mountain of Glacier 3000 which is 30 minutes bus ride from Gstaad. The mountain offers panoramic views of the Alps. The mountain of Glacier 3000 also offers numerous snow activities like skiing and husky sledding and the Tissot Cliff Walk.
The fresh pristine air of Gstaad had already drifted Chhavi into a deep slumber.
As we did not much time and we did not want to miss our train we enjoyed a quick stroll around Gstaad and returned to the station.
We boarded the Classic train to continue our journey to Zweisimmen which was around 30 min from Gstaad.
The vintage feel of the Golden Pass Classic trains made us feel as if we were riding back in time.
A remarkable experience indeed with more of the picturesque landscapes.
As the train leaves Interlaken Ost the beautiful Lake Brienz was ubiquitous. As the color of the lake changes from turquoise to emerald we cannot but gawk in awe.
The landscapes now had more of the greenery with a gentle sunny glow over the verdant meadows and rolling green hills.
The train also passes through the Hasley Valley which was a reminiscence of our day trip to the wonderful Aare Gorge and Reichenbach Falls.
Geneva to Lucerne takes around 3 hours of a train journey on the normal route and around 6 hours on the Golden Pass route. We reached Lucerne late afternoon. We explored the top Lucerne attractions which are at a walkable distance from the train station and boarded a train back to Geneva. The Golden Pass had us travel not only through the diverse landscape of Switzerland but also through the diverse population from the French-speaking region of Montreux to German-speaking region of Zweisimmen.
After the Golden Pass train experience from Montreux to Lucerne, you will still have a half day which you can utilize to explore the best of a city. So you can either explore Lucerne or Interlaken or if you are traveling from Lucerne to Montreux then you can spend time exploring Montreux and its neighboring town of Vevey.
The Golden Pass train journey is one of our favorite trips to take in the Swiss winters. It was an incredible experience where the journey was no less a destination. It is also a great way to experience wonderful Switzerland if you are traveling with a baby and do not want to head into the freezing cold outside.
Read our experiences in our post tips for traveling with a baby.
Have you taken a ride through the GoldenPass route in Switzerland and experienced the wonderment?
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