The Golden Pass Classic Winter follows one of the most picturesque panoramic train lines in Switzerland. It links Lucerne, situated at the scenic lake which bears its name, in the historic heart of Switzerland with Lake Geneva and the famous city of Montreux on the so called Riviera, a relatively mild climate area, also in winter, that even has palm trees. Both, Lucerne and Montreux have convenient direct train connections to Zurich and Geneva and their airports.
The highlight of the route is Interlaken in the heart of the Bernese Oberland with the famous mountain peaks Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau. From here the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe will be visited (included).
This tour shows you Switzerland at its best with historic cities, great landscapes and passing 6 scenic lakes! You get to see the glacier covered peaks, the longest glacier of the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier with 22 km length and visit the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.
For more information about winter check our post Winter in Switzerland.
Whether from any of the 3 Swiss international airports (Zurich/Zürich, Basle/Basel or Geneva/Geneve) or by train from Germany, France, Austria or Italy, the package includes the train trip from Swiss international airports or the border station to Lucerne/Luzern and at the end back to the airport or border station, so no need to buy any additional train ticket. All travel within Switzerland is included! And as an extra benefit, with this package tour all further excursions by train, mountain train, cable car, boat or bus can be obtained for half the price.
Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, but by international standards still rather small. This “metropolis of experiences”, situated by the lake with a magnificent view of the snow capped Alps on the horizon, offers a unique mixture of attraction. In 2019 Zurich was ranked among the ten most livable cities in the world by Mercer together with Geneva and Basel.
Overnight in Zurich
In the morning, one can explore Zurich. The city is older than most people think. Already the Romans have built a bridge and castles here. The Grossmuenster and Fraumuenster churches dominate the Zurich skyline. The latter is famous for the glass stained windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti. On the ride from the urban centre of Switzerland to Lucerne, a gentle landscape dominates the scenery, with sparkling lakes in between. The train follows the shorelines of Lake Zug and the Rotsee towards Central Switzerland.
Upon arrival at Lucerne you can explore the beautiful city. Of course you can visit the historic district with the famous Chapel Bridge. Also you can stroll through the narrow streets. If you want to visit the famous Lion Monument, just continue your walk, because the city is relatively small. Next to the Lion Monument, you can visit the Glacier Garden and the huge Bourbaki panorama. Lucerne was covered by a glacier 10,000 years ago and the traces are still visible. The city is beautifully located on the Lake Lucerne and therefore a stroll over the boulevard is recommended.
Overnight in Lucerne
Today there are many options spending this day in the Lucerne area. Here are some suggestions:
So many choices… But they are all well worth a visit.
Overnight in Lucerne
After the Swiss breakfast buffet (included with all overnight) a short walk or taxi ride will bring you to the station. There, the Luzern Interlaken Express, the red train which is part of the GoldenPass Line, will be waiting for you, but don’t be late as the Swiss are famous for their punctuality. The train will leave on time!
Enjoy the first part of the GoldenPass Line in the fully air conditioned panoramic train. A restaurant car is located in the middle of the train for hot and cold meals, beverages and snacks. 5 lakes „pass by“ on your train trip to Interlaken. Especially the last one, Lake Brienz, is extremely beautiful.
After the 2 hours ride, the train arrives at its final destination, Interlaken Ost (Ost means east in english, Interlaken has 2 stations, East and West). After check-in at your hotel you can explore Interlaken with its famous “Hoeheweg” (promenade) facing the Jungfrau mountain. From Early December to late February you can enjoy the Ice Magic, a structure of several ice rinks attached together. Enjoy a hot chocolate at one of the many concession stands and meet the locals. Why not try to skate yourself? You can rent the skates. Interlaken is derived from Latin and means „between the lakes“.
Overnight in Interlaken
Today’s full day excursion takes you up to a unique, high alpine glacier world. Aboard the legendary Jungfrau Railway you reach Europe’s highest altitude railway station (3454 m). This mountain railway was built back in the late 19th century and opened on August 1st 1912. Originally the goal was the summit of the Jungfrau 4,158m, but in 1912 the financials did not permit to go on with the construction and then World War I put an end to the project. Now the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is the highest railway station and the highlight of every tour through Switzerland.
The new Eiger Express, between Grindelwald Terminal and the Eigergletscher station, at the entrance of the Jungfrau railway tunnel, permits breathtaking views to the Eiger North Face. This very steep wall is one of the most difficult climbs in the Alps. It was the greatest climbing challenge in the 1930’s. Numerous stories about these climbs and fatal accidents can be told.
At the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe you can see the longest glacier of the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier, 22 km long! At the Ice Palace you can go inside the glacier and see the ice sculptures. Don’t miss the view from the Sphinx Terrace, which can be reached by one of the fastest elevators in Switzerland.
On the way down, you will see many skiers. The Jungfrau Region is a popular ski-area, also famous because of the Lauberhorn Run, one of the most difficult downhill runs in the FIS World Cup circuit.
Overnight in Interlaken
After the impressive day at the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe it is time to move to the french speaking part of Switzerland. Board the train for the second part of the GoldenPass Line. Along Lake Thun the train continues to Spiez and then winds through the lovely Simmental valley, well known for its Swiss cows that give rich and creamy milk for cheese and chocolate! In winter you won’t see them, because they remain in their stables.
Later the train will pass the famous resort town of Gstaad where many rich and famous celebrities reside. Also, this region is a well loved ski-area. You will see many skiers because most of the ski lifts start directly near the train stations of the GoldenPass Line. The train tackles another climb and finally the breathtaking view of Lake Geneva welcomes you to the “Romandie”, the french speaking part of Switzerland. Then the train descends towards the final destination, Montreux.
Montreux, brilliantly situated on the lakefront, is called the “Riviera” and well known for its Jazz Festival and famous artists that have either lived there or visited the town. Amongst them are Charlie Chaplin and Freddy Mercury.
In the afternoon, you can walk over the promenade along Lake Geneva to the famous Chillon Castle. The walk takes about 45 minutes. You can go back by boat (limited service in winter). Another option is a visit of the mansion of Charly Chaplin, Chaplin’s World.
From Montreux, you can also take the cogwheel railway up to the 2,042 m high summit of Mt. Rochers-de-Naye. You’ll experience a beautiful 55 minutes journey through a picturesque landscape with breathtaking views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. In fine weather, both the Eiger and Mont Blanc can be seen in the distance. You can enjoy the snow here as this mountain is the local ski area.
Overnight in Montreux
It is time to say goodbye. However, even the journey back to the airport or border station follows through the beautiful Swiss landscapes. Depending your destination, a stopover in the city of Geneva, Bern or Zurich is a good choice. Because all train stations in Switzerland are conveniently located in the centre of each Swiss city, a quick tour of the city can be done easily. At every station luggage lockers are available so your luggage can safely stay at the station.
Alternatively, another tour can be added or you may want to stay a few extra days in Switzerland.
The tour can start/end at any Swiss airport or border station.
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