Majestic Mountains and Charming Towns Guide the Way on a Train Expedition through the European Alps

Majestic mountains and charming towns guide the way on this independent adventure. Ride classic trains on a journey to the “Top of Europe,” where you’ll see how Switzerland tames its mighty peaks.

From pristine glaciers to picturesque valleys, witness the awe-inspiring landscapes as you pass by impressive viaducts and tunnels.

Glacier Express

If you’re looking for an epic rail journey, the Glacier Express is one of the best in Europe. This luxury train winds through imposing mountain crags, traverses 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, and climbs to 6,670 feet across Oberalp Pass, the highest point of the route. It’s a remarkable engineering achievement, but it also provides breathtaking vistas and unparalleled comfort.

You can choose between standard or first class, both of which offer spacious, comfortable seats with large windows that provide the perfect spot to take in the view. Standard class is equipped with 2nd class carriages, while First class has more seating options in an air-cushioned 1st class panorama car that offers better leg room and additional space for luggage. Both classes feature dining cars with both set menu and a la carte food service.

The Glacier Express runs daily from Zermatt, a charming ski town that lies beneath the Matterhorn (the real-life version of the pyramidal peak decorating your Toblerone), to St. Moritz, a sophisticated resort town in the high Alpine valley. The train travels through the cantons of Valais, Uri, and Graubunden, passing secluded high alpine lakes and lush Alpine wildflower meadows.

Once the train reaches Oberwald, it enters the Furka Tunnel, which bypasses the steep mountain pass to Realp. The old pass railway had been closed in winter since 1925, but the new tunnel opened in 1982, and the Glacier Express now uses it to access the high peaks of the Urner Alps.

From here, you’ll pass through a series of spiral loops, which help you gain height and get choice views of the surrounding peaks. You’ll also pass through the Albula Tunnel, which leads you to the high Upper Engadine valley.

After the short tunnel ride to Jungfraujoch, you’ll see a stunning world of ice and snow from the panoramic windows on the Jungfrau Railway’s top-level viewing deck. This is the highest railway station in Europe, and it’s a fitting end to a thrilling train expedition through the European Alps.

Gornergrat Bahn

For a breathtaking mountain experience, the Gornergrat Railway is one of Switzerland’s finest and highest cogwheel train journeys. This train runs from the main Zermatt station up to Gornergrat’s summit at 3,089 meters (10,135 feet). The scenic route offers stunning panoramic views of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, and it is a popular destination for hiking and skiing (in winter) as well as sightseeing from the observation platform on the peak.

The journey up the Gornergrat is an adventure in itself, as you pass through a number of different vegetation zones from the beginning of the route. Initially, the trail winds through beautiful Swiss stone pine forests before climbing higher into the alpine landscape. As you climb further up the mountains, you will see rocky and icy terrain, as well as glaciers forming and melting. The first stop along the Gornergrat railway is Findelbach, where some of the most famous hiking trails in Zermatt begin. The next stop is Riffelalp, which is a great place to take a hike or do some ice climbing.

At the Gornergrat, visitors can enjoy a variety of restaurants and shops as well as breathtaking mountain vistas. There are also a number of hiking trails and guided tours to help you learn more about the surrounding peaks. This is a great way to get a more in-depth understanding of the surrounding peaks and their history.

While the Gornergrat is a stunning destination any time of year, it is particularly impressive during spring and summer. It is possible to see snow on the peaks until late August, and you can even ski down to the valley floor. The months of November and March are also wonderful times to visit, as the scenery is still amazing but you can avoid some of the crowds.

For a hassle-free experience, secure tickets to this memorable Swiss train ride ahead of time online or in person at the Zermatt station. Choose from a number of options, including tours that include tickets to Gornergrat and discounted rail passes. This allows you to save money on tickets and focus on the awe-inspiring views rather than worrying about booking your own transportation.

Bernina Express

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bernina Express is one of the most iconic train journeys in Europe. This four hour, 144km ride takes you past pristine alpine lakes, mountain villages, and endless snow-capped peaks on the Alps between Chur and Tirano in Switzerland and a little bit of Italy. With 55 tunnels and 196 bridges, this is one of the highest train routes in the world, so it’s no surprise that the landscapes along the way are nothing short of spectacular.

This route is managed by Rhaetian Railway and is a scenic railway line, meaning that the cars are designed for the best views and the ticket prices reflect this experience. However, it’s worth noting that you can get the same stunning views for a fraction of the price by simply taking a regional train. However, if you’re travelling with a Eurail, Interrail, or Swiss Travel Pass (and therefore are eligible for a discount) or just prefer easy, simple journeys and don’t mind paying a little bit more for convenience, then the Bernina Express is well worth it.

Bernina Express cars have large panoramic windows, making it difficult to miss the impressive scenery. While this is a great feature for soaking up the view, it’s not ideal for photographers as reflections are often an issue. To avoid this, consider sitting in the unreserved seats of the Allegra unit on the first-class section of the train (the front half). These seats have opening windows and are much less prone to reflections.

The Bernina Express runs all year round, but the peak season is summer when the mountains are a vibrant green and the small villages are filled with life. Then again, winter offers an entirely different experience, with icy glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and awe-inspiring Alpine panoramas.


While it’s possible to visit the magnificent Jungfraujoch mountain summit on your own, if you’re short on time or want someone else to take care of all of the details, consider booking a tour to Switzerland. These include train tickets, accommodation, guided tours, and transportation. The prices are generally more affordable than buying a rail pass, and some of them offer discounts on the ticket price.

The Jungfrau railway climbs to a lofty alpine plateau that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its highest point, the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe – offers a breath-taking panorama of snow-capped peaks, the neighboring countries, and the Aletsch Glacier.

Originally, the only way to reach this extraordinary mountain peak was by foot or horseback. In 1894 industrialist Adolf Guyer-Zeller received a concession for a railway line to the Jungfraujoch, and construction began soon after. The nine-kilometer Jungfraubahnline from Kleine Scheidegg to the summit of the Eiger and Monch was built using a tunnel through the mountains.

As you ride the cogwheel train up to Jungfraujoch, soak in the magnificent mountain scenery. Then once you get to the top, spend your time exploring the mountain’s summit attractions. At the Sphinx Observation Terrace you’ll enjoy the most breathtaking view of the surrounding glaciers and snow-capped peaks, and at the Ice Palace you’ll walk through tunnels carved into the glacier itself.

In summer, the hiking trails around Jungfraujoch are very popular and often quite crowded. If you’re a hiker, try to arrive early in the day to avoid the crowds.

You can also take the Eiger Express tricable gondola directly up to Jungfraujoch from Grindelwald station, but the train journey is much more scenic and is a great option for first-time visitors.

It’s best to buy your train ticket to the Jungfraujoch online in advance if you can. During the busy summer months, especially on beautiful weekend days, the trains can fill up and priority boarding is available for an additional fee to guarantee you’ll be able to board and access your chosen departure time.

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