travel

Switzerland - Fast Track

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Reliable, efficient and with stunning views at every turn, Switzerland’s travel system really will take you on the ride of your life, whatever your mode of transport.

Much like London’s black cabs and double-decker buses, the little red trains, which wind long foaming rivers at the feet of towering mountains and through verdant Alpine meadows, have become a picturesque symbol of Switzerland. Similarly, the elegant paddle streamers, which dot the country’s lakes, Swiss flag fluttering proudly at their stern, and the yellow post buses, which pick their way along twisting mountain switchbacks, symbolize the fact that it is the actual travelling through Switzerland that makes up a large part of the pleasure of visiting this marvelous country.

Description: the Swiss public transport system

the Swiss public transport system

Given Switzerland’s clock-making heritage, it should perhaps come as no surprise to learn that you could set your watch by the Swiss public transport system – you’ll never find yourself wasting valuable holiday time waiting for the train. Furthermore, the extensive network of trains, buses, boats and even mountain cableways is incorporated under the Swiss Travel System, enabling you to travel the length and breadth of the country with just one ticket, the Swiss Pass.

Description: over 400 museums and a 50% discount on most mountain-top trains and cable cars

over 400 museums and a 50% discount on most mountain-top trains and cable cars

Not only does the Swiss Pass give you unlimited access to the country’s entire public transport network, it also provides free entry to over 400 museums and a 50% discount on most mountain-top trains and cable cars not already included in the pass. Families will be happy to hear that children up to 16 can travel free with the STS family card when accompanied by an adult.

Best of all, the Swiss Travel System is offering a special two-for-one rate on all four-day Swiss Saver Passes and Swiss Saver Flexi Passes (which enable you to select four non-consecutive days’ travel over the course of a month) for  several months this year, meaning there could not be a better time to explore Switzerland. To whet your appetite for discovery, here are some journeys to choose from.

Rail

Description: The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is, quite simply, one of the world’s most iconic railways. Travelling from St. Moritz to Zermatt in specially-designed panorama coaches, which boast outsize windows to maximize the jaw-dropping views, you’ll spend an unforgettable day travelling over 291 bridges and ancient viaducts, past glaciers, mountains, lakes and ravines and through traditional Alpine villages and pastures.

Bus

Board a comfortable yellow Postbus in St. Moritz for an extraordinary journey along the Engadin valley and over the Maloja Pass before descending into the lush Bergell valley by a series of hairpin bends, bound for Lake Como in Italy. After a scenic drive along the shores of Lake Como, you’ll return to Switzerland, finishing your adventure at Lake Lugano.

Description: Paddle steamer on Lake Brienz

Paddle steamer on Lake Brienz

Boat

Why stick with one lake when you can enjoy three in one day? The day-long Three Lakes cruise is offered year-around on the idyllic lakes Biel, Neuchâtel and Murten in the French-speaking canton of Jura. As you sail on the lakes, and pretty rivers and canals which link them, you’ll pass vineyards, medieval towns and St. Peter’s Island, where Rousseau was inspired to write his most seminal works.

Boat and rail

William Tell Express - The train has been named a Swiss hero William Tell

As with other Swiss Express railway routes, the Wilhelm Tell Express prides itself on adopting a distinctly languorous pace. Starting your journey abroad a paddlewheel steamer on Lake Lucerne, you’ll be ushered across the lake to the pretty town of Fluelen, enjoying a delicious lunch en-route. Disembarking at Fluelen, the town which celebrates the life of William Tell, who is believed to have leapt into the lake to escape the clutches of Gessler nearby, you’ll board the Gotthard Railway to travel through the Gotthard tunnel and into the Leventina valley in Ticino, eventually reaching the welcoming lakeside city of Locarno.

Did you know?

Switzerland’s first railway route opened in 1847 – a 12.5 mile-long line linking Zurich with Baden. It became known as the “Spanische Brotli Bahn” (the Spanish bun railway), reflecting the name it was given by the servants of Zurich’s gentry, who travelled to Baden to buy freshly-baked buns to serve to guests for Sunday morning tea.

Description: The Montreux

The Montreux

The Montreux paddle steamer ship on Lake Geneva was reconverted from diesel electric power to an all-new steam engine. It’s the world’s first electronically remote-controlled steam engine and has operating costs similar to state-of-the-art diesels, while producing up to 90% less air pollution.

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