Switzerland offers some of the most spectacular train rides in the world, some of which are more well known than others. I've had the opportunity to travel on a number of scenic trains in Switzerland and each one offers something a little different. One thing they all offer, though, is magnificent views from the comfort of your seat.
Brienz Rothorn Bahn
Across Lake Brienz from the town of Interlaken lies the village of Brienz and a fabulous excursion is to ride on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn steam train. The train operates daily from early June to late October with a journey time of about an hour.
The traditional-style carriages without windows are wonderful for breathing in the fresh alpine air and for snapping photos. And as you climb to your destination, the Rothorn Kulm, with stunning views of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun far below and lush green mountain pastures all around you, there's plenty to take photos of.
Whenever possible, steam engines are used to push or pull the train on its journey as they have been doing on this line for over 100 years. Atop the Rothorn is a great place for a picnic, or eat at the restaurant for hearty Swiss meals and snacks. The fresh alpine air made me hungry so I filled up on food and drank in the views before jumping aboard for the downhill ride.
Golden Pass Line
It was quite by accident that I ended up on the Golden Pass Line but I'm extremely thankful that I did. I was travelling with a friend from Interlaken to Lucerne and as we'd spent the day exploring the area around Interlaken, we hadn't booked a particular time for our onward journey. It was by chance then that we waited for the 5.04pm train and discovered we would be travelling aboard the Golden Pass Line.
The train actually runs all the way from Montreux on Lake Geneva to Lucerne, a journey time of just over five hours, but our part of the trip took two hours and passed some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland. The journey saw us pass Lake Brienz, Lake Lungern and Lake Sarnen, before arriving at our destination of Lucerne.
Along the way, the train climbed to 1,008 metres as it travelled over the Brunig Pass, all the while offering magnificent views of flower-filled meadows, snow-capped alpine peaks and glistening lakes.
The panoramic windows on the Golden Pass Line were great for getting the best views possible and my camera was never far away as I tried to record this wonderful journey.
The Golden Pass Line has a restaurant and bar onboard, and passengers can even have their meal served to them in their seat, so you needn't miss the view for a moment!
Schynige Platte bahn
A fantastic, but perhaps less well known excursion from the Interlaken region, is the open-sided cog wheel railway to Schynige Platte, an alpine garden on a plateau in the Jungfrau region.
Although it took almost an hour to climb the seven kilometres from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte, I didn't feel uncomfortable on the wooden bench seats of the nostalgic carriages as I was too busy admiring the stunning scenery roll by.
Schynige Platte is the departure point for a number of popular mountain hikes but I was in holiday mode and was more interested in just wandering around the Botanical Alpine Garden, home to around 600 species of Alpine plants.
A restaurant with sun terrace is a great spot to admire the views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch, or you can simply sit yourself down on the flower-covered alpine meadows and breath in the fresh mountain air.
The Schynige Platte train operates from late May to late October each year.
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Which of these scenic Swiss train rides appeal to you?