With a network of 5,124 kilometres connecting the country, the best way to discover Switzerland is certainly the train. Swiss trains are almost always neat and perfectly on time: Travelling by train in Switzerland is really comfortable. Their services can take you easily everywhere in the country. Even to remote places high in the mountains. We made the most of our explorations throughout Switzerland by train. From time to time, it is possible that the train guard makes announcements to apologize for the delay: In the vast majority of cases, when that happens, the service is only one or two minutes behind schedule! Yet single or return tickets on board Swiss trains are expensive. In some cases (please check with the Swiss railways), special passes are available at a better rate. If you purchase tickets in advance, you can easily get great discounts on off-peak-time journeys.
In a previous story, we already shared a great experience on board the Goldenpass Line in the Swiss Alps. Another exciting train line crosses the Alps all through the south of the country: The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn is a legendary train line. Tourists and locals can go through the 144 kilometre narrow gauge railway line stretching from Zermatt in the Oberwallis region to Disentis-Mustér in Canton of Graubünden. The trains serving this route are equipped with panoramic coaches to fully enjoy the beautiful views over the surrounding mountains and valleys. This story does not cover the entire Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn line, but only a charming segment between Andermatt and Brig.
We started our journey in Göschenen, in the centre of Switzerland on our way to Brig. Göschenen is a small village in the Canton of Uri, located on the north side of the Gotthard Tunnel. We took a train to join the main Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn line in Andermatt. Then, we continued until the end of Canton of Uri to enter into the Canton of Valais. There, the train snakes through a beautiful valley in the Goms region in Upper Valais (Oberwallis in Swiss German). We quickly realized why the place is a renowned paradise for cross-country skiing in winter: Over 90 kilometres of Nordic tracks in a relatively flat, 1,300 metre high valley, that only has a few villages, and on top of that, very well-preserved nature. When travelling by train, you can hop on and off with your skis in no time as the train runs next to the Nordic tracks. In summer, skiers are replaced by hikers and cyclists who enjoy more than 70 kilometres of marked trails.
We continued our journey on board a panoramic train through magnificent landscapes until Brig, our final destination. With its lovely historical centre and castle, Brig definitely deserves a visit. Over the centuries, and still today, Brig was and is a landmark on the routes connecting Italy to central and northern Europe. Right outside the town of Brig, the Simplon train tunnel opened in 1906. Ranked as the longest world tunnel for several decades, it connects Italy to central and northern Europe. Several daily services for both passengers and goods cross the tunnel. In the Alps high above Brig, similar to the Great Saint Bernard Pass, the Simplon Pass is another way (with a long and interesting history) that connects Italy and Switzerland.
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Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe Renauld
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