Swiss Travel Pass: Panoramic Train Journeys Across Switzerland in Spring

A Guide to Switzerland in Spring: Panoramic Train Journeys and More With the Swiss Travel Pass

Your all-in-one pass to riding the country’s trains, buses, and boats.

There are some experiences that are universally on everyone’s bucket list: gazing at the majestic Matterhorn, skiing in the Swiss Alps, reaching the peak of Jungfraujoch, and of course: hopping on a scenic train ride through Switzerland’s majestic mountains and villages. With so many train journeys to explore across the country, it’s a good idea to equip yourself with the Swiss Travel Pass for your Spring holiday travel in Switzerland. Here’s what you need to know.

Discover Switzerland

Swiss Travel Pass: What it is, and why you should buy one

swiss travel pass

Image credit: Kavalenkavadesign via Canva Pro

The Swiss Travel Pass is your all-in-one e-ticket to see the entire country. It is the most convenient way to access unlimited train, bus, and even boat rides across the country. The train rides are not only limited to the public transport networks (of more than 90 urban areas), but even covers premium panoramic trains (with applicable seat reservation fees). 

Not only that: Since you’ll most probably want to explore further into certain areas, the Swiss Travel Pass gives you up to 50% discounts for access to many mountain railways and cableways. Additionally, Mount Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Stoos are fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.

Image credit: Andrey Khrobostov via Canva Pro

Culture buffs can further benefit from the Pass with free entry to more than 500 museums. For example, with the Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll get to enter many popular attractions, including Chillon Castle (Montreux), Matterhorn Museum (Zermatt), Olympic Museum (Lausanne), Abbey Library (St Gallen), Einstein Museum (Berne), and more.

Basically, once you’ve got the Swiss Travel Pass, it’s your ticket to the country’s transportation network, mountains, and museums! What’s more, the Swiss Travel Pass is an e-ticket with its own QR code, so you need not worry about losing your paper tickets, making it much easier to travel with.

How to buy the Swiss Travel Pass

swiss travel pass

Image credit: Hem Poudyal

When booking the Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll get to choose from a standard, youth, or family pass, first or second class, and continuous or flexible plan. Here are the steps broken down:

  1. Head to the Swiss Travel Pass booking page and click “Buy Now”
  2. Under the “Rail passes” drop down, enter the country to visit (Switzerland) and your country of residence. Key in the “Valid from” date and the number and age of passengers.
  3. After clicking “Search,” choose the pass type: Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Half Fare Card, or Swiss Travel Pass Flex. To maximise your time in Switzerland, we suggest going for the Swiss Travel Pass.
  4. Customise the number of days you’d like the Pass for: 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15. For the Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card, the pass is valid for consecutive days. The Swiss Travel Pass Flex can also be selected for a set of 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days, and will be valid for one month from your “Valid from” date. 
  5. Also, customise the class carriage: first or second class. The first-class seat provides bigger legroom space, larger windows, more privacy, and comfort. It is often less crowded during the peak periods. 
  6. Click “Pass details” and wait for the checkout page to load. Fill in the Traveller(s) details and click “Add to basket.” The final price will be subject to booking fees. 
  7. Once payment has been made, the ticket(s) will be attached to your booking confirmation email in PDF format. You need to present this at the point of ticket inspection, either as a printout or on a mobile device.
  8. Remember to activate your Flex Pass before using it at

Get your Swiss Travel Pass!

Hop on the Grand Train Tour with your Swiss Travel Pass

Once you’ve gotten the Swiss Travel Pass, here are the train journeys you can look forward to in the blissful spring season.

1. Bernina Express

Harry Potter fans, listen up: When in Switzerland, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Landwasser Viaduct to make your Hogwarts Express dreams come true! The Bernina Express is one of the best (if not, the best) ways to explore the country’s alpine landscapes and attractions like these. 

Passing through 55 tunnels and crossing 196 bridges along the iconic Rhaetian Railway, you’ll also get unparalleled views of the Bernese Alps, Morteratsch Glacier, and the many lakes, forests, and villages of Switzerland’s eastern towns and cities.

swiss travel pass

Image credit: Jacques Bopp

Plus, in the summer, the journey continues once you alight in the northern Italian town of Tirano. Boarding the Bernina Express Bus from here to Lugano in south Switzerland is the best way to appreciate the lakes and mountainous towns that sit on the Switzerland-Italy border. 

Route: Chur/St. Moritz – Tirano (Italy) (train); Tirano (Italy) – Lugano (bus)

Duration: Four hours 30 minutes (train); three hours (bus)

Distance: 144 kilometres (train); 90 kilometres (bus)

2. Glacier Express

Glacier Express

Image credit: scaliger via Canva Pro

For a slower, more luxurious, and equally iconic train ride, the Glacier Express is yours to embark on! The Glacier Express is the world’s slowest express train, intentionally travelling at 18 miles per hour (or 29 kilometres per hour). This train ride — with its panoramic glass windows and delightfully comfortable amenities — takes the phrase that “the journey is more important than the destination” to a whole new level.

Look forward to a front-row-seat to ravines, mountains, lakes, villages, and 291 bridges and 91 tunnels from St.Moritz to Zermatt. Trust us: It’s a journey that you wouldn’t want to see the end of. 

Route: St. Moritz – Zermatt (or vice versa)

Duration: Eight hours three minutes

Distance: 291 kilometres

3. Luzern–Interlaken Express

Luzern–Interlaken Express

Image credit: Zentralbahn

Connecting the country’s most scenic cities, the Luzern–Interlaken Express journey promises endless landscapes of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, expansive landscapes, and villages. 

swiss travel pass

Image credit: Zentralbahn

Of course, on your commute between Lucerne and Interlaken, you’ll also pass by the famous Jungfrau region. It is also the starting point for many of the iconic mountain excursions such as Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn Piz Gloria, Pilatus, Titlis, Rigi, Stanserhorn, and more.

Route: Lucerne – Interlaken (or vice versa)

Duration: One hour 50 minutes

Distance: 98 kilometres

4. GoldenPass Express

The Golden Pass Express is the new addition that commenced operation in Dec 2022. It operates one trip daily in each direction. From June 2023 onwards, this will increase to four trips daily in each direction between Interlaken and Montreux.

Straddling the scenic Lake Geneva, the traditional hillside town of Montreux coupled with the mountainous lakeside Interlaken makes the GoldenPass journey a worthy addition to your travel bucket list. Plus, the ride passes through peaks, mountainside villages, and ski resorts, with guaranteed comfort in the newly-opened Prestige class. This new travel class offers privacy in a small compartment of your own — along with exceptional culinary offerings.

TripZilla Tip: With your Swiss Travel Pass, you can access the boat cruises on Lake Geneva, as well as the lakeside Chillon Castle — at no additional cost! 

Route: Interlaken – Montreux (or vice versa) (As of 26 Feb 2023, the GoldenPass Express is operating only between Montreux and Zweisimmen. This is due to a technical issue on the stretch between Zweisimmen and Interlaken.)

Duration: Five hours 15 minutes

Distance: 191 kilometres

5. Gotthard Panorama Express

Gotthard Panorama Express

Image credit: Leonid Andronov via Canva Pro

In a region of Switzerland bordering Italy,  the Bernina Express Bus connects the Italian town of Tirano with the Swiss town of Lugano, where guests can transfer to the Gotthard Panorama Express to Flüelen, before continuing on a boat ride to Lucerne.

Starting from Ticino, the Italian-speaking region in southern Switzerland, watch as Italian-influenced architecture and landscapes unfold in cities like Lugano and Bellinzona. This journey takes you all the way to Flüelen, a peaceful town with gateways to hiking and cableway opportunities. Choose to continue your travels towards Lucerne by steamboat, or stay on the train to Arth-Goldau

train journeys switzerland

Image credit: LSC from pixabay via Canva Pro

The pièce de résistance of this 182-kilometre-long ride? Passing through the Gotthard Base Tunnel beneath the Swiss Alps, aka the world’s longest and deepest tunnel (at 57-kilometres-long and 2,300-metres-deep)! 

Route: Lugano/Bellinzona to Flüelen by train. Flüelen to Lucerne by steamboat; or, Lugano/Bellinzona to Arth-Goldau by train (with connection to Rigi Railways).

Duration: Five hours and 30 minutes, approximately

Distance: 182 kilometres

6. Voralpen-Express

Beneath the soaring peaks and ravines of Switzerland lies the humble, quieter side of the country. The Voralpen-Express connects the cities of Luzerne and St Gallen, where you can see the famous Abbey Library, one of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in the world dating back to the 8th century. The panoramic train also passes through Arth-Goldau, Rapperswil, and Wattwil from Central to Eastern Switzerland. 

Then, arrive at the Sitter Viaduct, a panoramic viewpoint from which the Baroque architecture of St. Gallen appears. 

Not to mention, the trains of the Voralpen-Express are the most unique of all premium trains, too: Coursing through the upland moors and villages are copper-coloured trains, instead of the usual bright red! 

Route: St. Gallen – Arth-Goldau – Rapperswil – Wattwil – St. Gallen

Duration: Two hours 16 minutes

Distance: 125 kilometres

Embark on a train journey across Switzerland

Not sure which train journey to embark on? Why not combine them into your own customized Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, just like Roger and Trevor who just had The Ride of a Lifetime? Depending on the season, the length of your stay, the type of holiday you’re looking for, and the sights and cities on your wishlist, there’ll be something for you and your family for the Spring season.

swiss travel pass

Image credit: Switzerland Tourism

For instance, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Original merges all the above six train journeys into one 8D7N cross-country adventure! Then, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Stunning Waters brings you to the country’s best waterfalls, rivers, and cruises, while the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – Winter Magic lets you discover the country’s snowy landscape of mountains, ski resorts, glaciers, and frozen lakes. 

That’s not all: When you buy a Swiss Travel Pass from 15 Apr to 14 May 2023, get up to two additional travel days — free of charge! 

The offer is applicable for both the 1st and 2nd class seats, and valid for travel through 13 Nov 2023 – the last first day of validity. Get your Swiss Travel Pass today! What are you waiting for?

Get your Swiss Travel Pass!

Brought to you by Switzerland Tourism and Swiss Travel System.

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.