Few countries can match Switzerland when it comes to traveling by rail. The network works like clockwork and includes epic high-altitude journeys such as the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz and the Bernina Express across the Alps to Italy, as well as numerous routes that connect its beautiful cities and kiss it. sparkling lakes.
Furthermore, traveling to Switzerland by train is relatively simple, with London to Zurich, Geneva and Basel taking about seven hours. Once you factor in the time it takes to travel through two airports to get to your final destination, it’s not that long of a flight.
While the glory of Swiss railways has been questioned, this week the Rhaetian Railway, which operates the Bernina Express, set the world record for the longest passenger train (pictured above). Consisting of 100 carriages and four engines, it spanned 1.91 km and proved that the record could be big and beautiful.
If you’re feeling the urge to travel across the country by rail, here are five of the best options without flying.
After taking the Eurostar at 8:01 a.m. and dashing across Paris to Gare de Lyon, you can be on the shores of Lake Geneva at 3:29 p.m., leaving plenty of time to explore the atmospheric Old Town and find somewhere to eat dinner. Geneva is a gastronomic nirvana, but you’ll find bistros serving a menu-du-jour for £15. Our guide to the best hotels can accommodate you.
Trains follow the northern shores of Lake Geneva to Lausanne, another medieval gem known for its nightlife. Behind it is Vévey, a luxury resort approved by Charlie Chaplin, whose former Villa Manoir de Bann is now the centerpiece of Chaplin’s world and a museum dedicated to his life and legacy.
Finally, visit Montreux, famous for its summer jazz festival. The impressively preserved nearby Château de Chillon has drawn visitors since Lord Byron carved his name into the prison walls and composed his poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
A must-do trip from Montreux, one of Switzerland’s miniature trains, is to the beautiful walled town of Gruyères. Of course, you can eat cheese, but you can also visit the museum dedicated to the avant-garde artist HRGiger, who created the unique world of the movie Alien. The haunting and macabre exhibition of exoskeleton furniture, dramatic paintings, and alien erotic images is strangely in tune with Byron’s romantic vision.