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A Guide to the Most Scenic Trains in Switzerland and Italy

By Railbookers Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 19:00 Read time: 5 minutes

It doesn't matter where you plan on traveling to in Switzerland or Italy, taking the train makes the journey just as memorable as the destination. With some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, you'll be spoilt for choice as you travel through these incredible landscapes; in many cases experiencing views that you just wouldn't see traveling any other way. Sit back, relax, and enjoy all that traveling by train in Switzerland and Italy has to offer. We've put together this overview of some of the most scenic and most popular Swiss and Italian routes you can experience with Railbookers.

Switzerland

Bernina Express

bernina express passing by snowy mountain

Every inch of the landscapes along the tracks of the narrow-gauge Bernina Express route contributes to making the journey a scenic dream. Indeed, this is one of the most picturesque train journeys in the whole world. Luckily the huge, panoramic windows mean you won’t have to miss one scenic second! The Bernina Express runs between St Moritz and Tirano crossing the Alps and offering breath-taking views. Ride over spectacular viaducts, through sheer rock gorges and switch-back tunnels, alongside mountain streams and glaciers. Be sure not to miss the impressive Landwasser Viaduct, which will appear on your right just before Filisur, an hour outside of St Moritz. The train climbs up the 2,253 meters high Bernina Pass and the entire trip is narrated and what's more, this whole area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trip on the Bernina Express should definitely be on your list for 2021! There's a wide selection to choose from including the Classic Glacier and Bernina Express or Lake Como and the Bernina Express

The Glacier Express

bernina express passing through tunnel and over bridge

One of Switzerland’s most scenic rail journeys, the Glacier Express’ reputation no doubt precedes it. Connecting Zermatt, nestled peacefully in the shadow of the Matterhorn, and resort-town-extraordinaire St Moritz, the train rolls at a remarkable 24 miles per hour, giving you ample time to soak up the views from the panoramic windows. This train is otherwise known as the slowest express train in the world, and winds its way over numerous high passes and meanders past many small Swiss lakes and villages. Being a passenger onboard the Glacier Express has always been a very special experience but if you're looking for something even more special then traveling in Excellence Class is something a little more extraordinary. In addition to being absolutely pampered throughout the full length of the Glacier Express Line with breath-taking, panoramic views from your guaranteed window seat, in Excellence Class you’ll also enjoy a personal concierge, luggage service, comfortable seating, in-depth knowledge of the route, a five-course menu including accompanying wines, and the Glacier Bar for an aperitif. Tempted by this iconic Swiss route? Here is a selection of holidays that include the Glacier Express: Classic Glacier and Bernina Express, Grand Glacier Express - Excellence Class, or Switzerland's Lakes and Mountains. 

GoldenPass Line

GoldenPass Train going around a bend

The famed GoldenPass line rises along the tracks above Lake Geneva and provides spectacular views over the Swiss Riviera. Travel through mountain tunnels and pass through the Alpine wonderlands of Chateaux d'Oex and Gstaad, climbing some 1,274 meters before Zweisimmen and then through the Simme Valley towards Interlaken. Once again, equipped with panoramic carriages, the train features sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes and you'll be spoilt for choice with what to photograph from your seat! A number of our holidays include a journey along the GoldenPass Line including Switzerland's Lakes and Mountains, Grand Golden Pass, and Mountain Peaks, and Scenic Switzerland from Zurich.

Italy

The Simplon Pass

view from the Simplon Pass

Traveling to Italy with Railbookers combines stunning scenery with iconic destinations and scenery does not come much more impressive than the Simplon Pass. You'll typically spend a night in Geneva en route from the UK to Italy which provides you with the opportunity to travel through the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps riding the rails through the Simplon Pass. This really is one of the most scenic routes in all of Europe. Relax whilst the train follows the shores of Lake Leman and across Swiss vineyards, with stunning views of the Alps in the background. This was the original route that the Venice Simplon-Orient Express used to take so you're in good company. After crossing into Italy, you'll head towards Milan but not without passing Lake Maggiore on the way. This is a scenic journey full of contrasts; cameras at the ready! A wide selection of our trips includes this route including Venice Via The Alps, Amalfi Coast Via The Alps, and Grand Venice, Florence, and Rome

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express transports riders back to the golden age of travel in grand style

The very definition of an iconic and luxury train journey, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express transports riders back to the golden age of travel in grand style, with opulent interiors, fine dining, and personalized service. What better way to reach Venice from London than an unforgettable journey on one of the world's great rail journeys, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express? Enjoy delicious food, great views, and a romantic overnight stay onboard. You'll wake up to views of the Swiss Alps from your private cabin whilst enjoying breakfast served by your steward before admiring the Italian Dolomites and the beauty of the Brenner Pass all before arriving in the magical city of Venice. This holiday has scenery in abundance, all whilst enjoying the height of luxury train travel. Looking to celebrate 2021 in style? Here are just a few of our most popular holidays to choose from that include this majestic journey. Travel on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Venice, Lake Como, Verona, or how about with the VSOE and the Bernina Express

The Cinque Terre Express

Cinque Terre is as every bit breathtaking as you’d imagine.

Cinque Terre is as every bit breathtaking as you’d imagine. No photos or postcards could do this place justice. Comprised of five distinct fishing villages—Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore—Cinque Terre is one of the most famous coastal landscapes not just in Europe, but in the world. And guess what? The best way to discover its beauty is by train! Start with the 20-minute train ride from La Spezia to Monterosso, the westernmost village known for its lemons, anchovies, and a beautiful little stretch of beach. After exploring the town, take the three-minute train ride to Vernazza, the steepest of the villages, and stroll along Via Roma, peeking into the little cafes that line the street. From Vernazza, travel to Manarola for a sunset dinner and unforgettable views before taking the short train ride back to La Spezia Explore this spectacular part of Italy with us, here are just of the holiday options available, perhaps Cinque Terre via the Alps or Classic Italy with Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera.

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