How to plan your 2 week Switzerland Train Itinerary?

Switzerland is perfect to discover by train. I traveled for 2 weeks in Switzerland by train and planned and arranged everything myself. Be inspired by my Switzerland train itinerary that includes all the scenic train journeys of Switzerland. Plus a DIY guide on how to arrange everything yourself!

Are you ready to plan your own itinerary for Switzerland by train? Want some tested and tried tips for booking ahead and organizing your itinerary? Continue ready as I have done all the hard work for you.

Need more help? Check out my free spreadsheet with all the details to copy my Swiss train itinerary. Or use it as a base to make your own!

Interrail sponsored me with a Global Rail Pass in first class. For all the other costs, I paid in full myself and all my opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links. If you decide to book something via one of my links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

How to Plan Your 2-Week Switzerland Train Itinerary?

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My Switzerland Train Tour with Interrail

For our Switzerland train tour, we used our Interrail Global Passes. With this pass, we were allowed 10 train days in a period of 1 month. As we only had 2 weeks of holiday, we decided to cram in as much as possible and use our train pass to take all the scenic train journeys in Switzerland. We traveled for 15 days in September and I arranged everything myself.

Interrail Global Pass

For people unfamiliar with the Interrail Global Train Pass, let me briefly capture the main benefits of this pass. The Interrail Global Pass offers you free train travel in all countries of Europe. You can choose different passes but Interrail sponsored us with 2 Global Passes.

On a few of our travels, we could just hop on a train and not pay anything extra. But certain train journeys in Switzerland have a mandatory reservation fee.

More detailed information on passes and prices for your rail journey in Europe – book direct.

2 weeks in Switzerland Itinerary

Switzerland is not a big country and the public transport system works fast, efficiently and is very reliable. Yet, 2 weeks was not enough to explore the whole of Switzerland. We didn’t visit the capital Bern, nor did we explore Zürich or Geneva. So what did we do? We took Switzerland’s most scenic train journeys! In general, we took a scenic train ride every other day and used the day in between to explore the surrounding area.

Did we see the whole of the county? Yes and no. It was a whirlwind Switzerland train tour. Mainly focusing on railway journeys. But, you can still use my guide, scrap out anything you don’t like and add extra days in between. This post is to show you that you CAN do the most scenic train journeys of Switzerland, all in only 2 weeks.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
The different panoramic train routes we took during our 2 week Switzerland train itinerary on the Switzerland train map

Grand Switzerland Train Tour

When I was researching our train trip in Switzerland, I found the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. A great inspirational website by the Swiss tourism board with amazing images and a cool feature where you see a Switzerland train map. They show things to see along the route and places of interest to stop. However, I didn’t find any practical information about train numbers, journey times, the best time to travel and how to arrange all of this on your own. Or even via an agency or tour operator to help you along.

So.. I trusted the good old internet and gathered all the information myself. And I must admit, it was not easy. Although I think of myself as a pretty savvy travel planner, I did have some difficulties coming up with a logic route without tracing back our steps. In the end, when I wanted to reserve all the mandatory seat reservations on the Swiss trains, I encountered the problem of tickets being fully booked. In the end, I decided to completely throw our Switzerland itinerary upside down and we ended up starting at the end of the previous itinerary.

Our two week Switzerland train itinerary

Before you go ahead and copy everything I’ve done, here are some things to know about us and our travel style. We only had two weeks but the same itinerary can be done in a much more relaxed pace in 3 weeks. When you have less time, you really need to cut out some train journeys in Switzerland.

We are a couple in our mid-thirties and we are reasonably fit. We have no problems to walk with a mid-sized backpack and we have no problems getting on and off a train multiple times a day. I get bored easily, so I like to travel at a high pace. Due to a huge FOMO, I wanted to cram as many sights and train journeys in as possible.

Where to arrive for your Switzerland train tour?

We traveled from the Netherlands via a quick and direct train from Cologne to Basel. As Basel is situated in the north of the country and it has Roman Ruins nearby, we made a 1 night stop here. Otherwise, we might have continued on to Lucerne. Either Lucerne or Zürich are great places to start your Switzerland train itinerary. But as you’ll see when you continue reading, my train itinerary in Switzerland is a loop, so basically, you can start anywhere on the route and circle back.

One day in Basel Switzerland

In our case, we arrived in Basel at 4 pm and had enough time to rest a bit, do a walking tour of the city, try our first cheese fondue of the trip and sleep in a bit. We went to visit the Roman Ruins of Augusta Raurica before continuing our journey to Lucerne.

We stayed at the Rheinfelderhof in Klein Basel. Due to its central location and spacious room with extensive breakfast, I found it offered very good value for money.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Lovely Basel by night

Arrive to Lucerne by train

I didn’t really plan our trip from Basel to Lucerne as we just took a regular train. There are no scenic train journeys between Basel and Lucerne so we just took the first train we could find when we arrived at the train station. As I wasn’t able to find a decent priced accommodation in Lucerne center, I opted for a 3-night stay at an Airbnb at a nearby village. This offered us the option to do grocery shopping and make our own breakfast, bring a packed lunch and cook dinner.

One of the things we did during our stay in Lucerne was the steepest cogwheel train up to Mt. Pilatus and enjoy the view. Although not really one of the great scenic train rides of Switzerland, I do want to mention it here as I really enjoyed the views over Lake Lucerne and the mountains in the distance.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
The train climbing the steep railways. Copyright by: Pilatus Bahnen/Swiss Travel System By-Line: Perret

Voralpen Express: Lucerne to St. Gallen

Instead of packing our bags again, we decided to stay near Lucerne and take one of Switzerland’s scenic train journeys as a day trip. From Lucerne, we took the Voralpen Express or Pre-Alpine Express to the city of St. Gallen in the east of the country. Famous for its library and church, St. Gallen was a nice place to have lunch but the journey on the Voralpen Express was a perfect introduction to how scenic Switzerland really is.

We left early in the morning, when the mountain dew was still visible, leaving a hazy blanket over the lakes and green hills we passed. I’m calling them hills as they were definitely not mountains, but I’d rather not climb them as they looked pretty steep. We passed numerous lakes and bridges and saw some monasteries in the distance.

The Voralpen Express was one of the shortest scenic train rides, in only 2 hours we traveled from Lucerne to St. Gallen. The Voralpen Express, (VAE) is operated by the SOB, the Südostbahn (South East Railway) almost 13 times a day. You can also travel from Lucerne to St. Gallen via Zürich but this is not direct and that train doesn’t have panoramic windows.

You don’t need a reservation to take the Pre Alpine Express and no extra fees apply except for a valid train ticket.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Lovely St. Gallen can be reached on the Voralpen Express from Lucerne.

Rhine Falls and Zürich

As we didn’t want to go to St. Gallen and return on the same route, we decided to check out St. Gallen and then continue our train trip along the Bodensee and continue towards the Rhine falls. The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland also mentions that stretch from Zürich via Schaffhausen to St. Gallen on their website but in my personal opinion, the train journey is not that interesting. As a matter of fact, it took us nearly 2 hours on the super slow regional train that stops at




It was very tedious and took a lot of patience. What I like about train travel is the repetitive sound and motion of the train on the rails and that you see the landscape glide by as you pass it. But on the St. Gallen to Schaffhausen (the S8 regional train) it was more of a hiccup sprint and stop journey. But… It was worth it in the end as we went to Neuhausen am Rheinfall to see the Rhine falls which was spectacular and very very impressive. So much water rushing past you and the dramatic scenery around it. I do agree with the Grand Switzerland Train Tour to include the Rhine Falls, I just think there are less obnoxious routes to get there.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
The very impressive Rhine Falls

Gotthard Panorama Express: Lucerne to Lugano

The next day, we left Lucerne behind us as we boarded a boat! Yes, how amazing is that! Boat rides are definitely part of the best Switzerland itinerary and we did it on the Wilhelm Tell Express or the Gotthard Panorama Express. Both are the same thing, just 2 different names.  

We first took the boat across Lake Lucerne to see all the little villages and enjoyed the sunshine on our faces. We disembarked at Flüelen and waited for the panoramic train to arrive. Just a couple of minutes later, the Gotthard Panorama Express glided into the station of Flüelen.

This felt like a proper panoramic Swiss railway journey! Excited I settled in my leather seat and gawked at the scenery beyond the bright big panoramic windows. It was spectacular. We had a bright and sunny day and the landscape around us was like a big green canvas and we glided right through it.

The Gotthard Panorama Express is all about the little town of Wassen that you’ll pass 3 times and the amazing viaducts of the Gotthard Pass. The train even slowed down when we passed through the Gotthard Tunnel, so we could learn about this major feat of engineering. I found the Gotthard Panorama Express very interesting and I learned a lot. And it was a great way to cut through Switzerland from central Lucerne to southern Lugano.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
The Gotthard Panorama Express train passing the village of Wassen.
Read all about our train trip on the Gotthard Panorama Express

Explore Lugano for 1 day

As soon as we left the Gotthard Tunnel, it felt like we had arrived in Italy. Pastel-colored houses, a softer glow in the air and pizzerias in the little villages we passed. Lugano felt exactly the same. I have to admit, we didn’t go into Lugano city. We just arrived at the train station of Lugano and took a bus to our self-catered hotel. As we just had a full day of travel, we went grocery shopping and took things easy for the night. The next day, we set out the explore the San Salvatore mountain on the funicular and walked down to the lovely village of Morcote. If you don’t like hiking, you can also use this day to explore Lugano or the nearby castles of Bellinzona.

We stayed for 2 nights in Lugano at one of the cheapest hotels I could find with a kitchen and they had washing machines for us to use which was quite useful. The room was very basic and didn’t have any ambiance but it did the trick. Click here to see if this might be an option for you.

Bernina Express Train: Lugano to St. Moritz

The next morning, we packed up our bags again and returned to the train station. But not to take the train. Instead, we took the bus! We took the Bernina Bus from Lugano to the Italian city of Tirano. The bright red bus turned into the parking lot and I immediately got excited. The big windows gave us perfect views of the Lake of Lugano and Lake Como. It was absolutely spectacular. See my web story about our ride on the Bernina Express.

In little over 2 hours, we arrived at Tirano and used our hour in Italy to use our free European Union roaming on our phones to post some pictures on Instagram and we stocked up on some cheaper snacks for the next leg of our Swiss railway journey.

Sometimes dreams come true and the Bernina Express train from Tirano to St. Moritz was nothing short of a train lover’s dream come true. What a spectacular route from start to finish that was. But isn’t the Bernina Express a hype? Read exactly what I think of the Bernina Express here, but I can assure you, the Bernina Express is a must-do if you’re in Switzerland for the train travel.

The Bernina Express is mandatory for anyone who likes sweeping scenery, impressive altitude gains on the train and wants to enjoy some of the best views of Switzerland. All of this while you’re seated in luxurious seats and can order drinks and lunch as you go. (We didn’t as we stocked up on snacks in Italy). I spoke to a woman who took the Bernina Express as a day trip from St. Moritz. She went back and forth on the same route and this was the one time I could imagine that it is totally worth it. There is so much to see on the route, one journey is not enough.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
One of my favorite parts of the Bernina Express where the train climbs on the circular viaduct.

One day in St. Moritz.

When I was planning our 15-day Switzerland itinerary via train, I figured after each long travel day, we would have 1 day to rest and stay in 1 place. This would give us 2 nights in each place and cut down on packing up too much. I still believe in this philosophy, but I regret the extra day we had in St. Moritz. Yes, it was nice to rest a bit but as we’re not posh, we don’t ski and it was September, I felt quite bored in St. Moritz. Looking back, we should have continued our travel plan and add the extra day later in our itinerary in Zermatt or in the Jungfraujoch area.

Glacier Express: St. Moritz to Zermatt

The next morning, we woke up at 6 am as our train to Chur left at 7 am. When I wanted to book the mandatory reservations for the Glacier Express, all spots were sold out. We could not take the 10 am or 11 am train from St. Moritz or Chur to Zermatt. In a desperate attempt not the change our plans, we took a 7 am train from St. Moritz to Chur and were scheduled to take the afternoon train from Chur to Zermatt.

The morning journey was spectacular. As the sun was rising above the mountains, she cast her golden rays over the Alps and the green meadows in between. We had the whole train compartment to ourselves and enjoyed one of the most impressive views of Switzerland as we passed the Landwasser Viaduct.

But the early morning took its toll on us. As we arrived in Chur with a whole afternoon to spare and sore feet from already walking that much. We decided to not take the Glacier Express Panoramic train from Chur to Zermatt. Instead, we took the regional train that follows the same route and would bring us to Zermatt 5 hours earlier. Although it was a long travel day, we still saw the same scenery as the Glacier Express. We lost the money in our reservation fee (as it’s non-refundable) but I was glad we took the regional train. And I could write a comparison story about it too!

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Passing the famous Landwasser Viaduct on the Glacier Express.

One Day in Zermatt

Although I set out to see Switzerland by train in our 2-week itinerary, my best day was not a train-day. I cannot believe I dare to admit this in writing. Personally, my best day was the day we went hiking in Zermatt. Although I woke up with a bad cold, we decided to hike the 5-Seen Weg in the mountains of Zermatt. The day could not have been more perfect with crisp clear skies, the impressive Matterhorn mountain looming at the horizon and a great day hiking with my boyfriend. Yes, I was more dead than alive at the end of the day but it was gorgeous.

In case you’re wondering if you should take the Glacier Express all the way to Zermatt, then I’d recommend you do. Zermatt is such a cute village with an amazing vibe. I felt we could have hopped from one bar to the next, drinking beer, having fondue and just relax for a bit.

We stayed in an amazing apartment right in the center of town that I rented via Airbnb. It was big and the kitchen was amazing. And, it was the cheapest accommodation for our two weeks in Switzerland.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Amazing day of hiking with views of the Matterhorn near Zermatt

Zermatt to Montreux: along the Rhône River

Although I enjoyed hiking in the mountains around Zermatt, I was also excited to board the train, again, and continue our Swiss train journey. We took the regional train from Zermatt to Montreux. Although not a panoramic train, the route was quite impressive as we followed the Rhône River with her grape packed hills until we reached Lake Geneva. The train continued along the shore of the lake, giving us our first glimpses of the famous lake. We stopped in Montreux but you can continue to Geneva is you like.

3 nights in Montreux

We stayed in Montreux at the Royal Plaza Montreux & Spa Hotel for 3 nights. We would use Montreux mainly as a base to explore the region and for more train travel the following day, but the town itself surprised me.

But we didn’t just eat cheese fondue, walk along the Mediterranean flower beds and take up all the sunshine we could find. We also took more Swiss railway journeys while we stayed in Montreux.

Cogwheel Train to Rochers de Naye

We arrived quite early in Montreux and figured we take one of the scenic day trips up to the hills above Montreux and enjoy the view. We took the little train to Rochers de Naye that has a breathtaking view across Lake Geneva. Fun thing was that we spotted some groundhogs but the top attraction really is the view.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Taking in the view from Rocher de Naye.

Chocolate Train to Gruyère and Broc

Was it as good as it sounds? A train that brings you to a cheese factory and a chocolate factory. Well, let me save you the disappointment, the name sounds fancier than the actual train trip. I was utterly disappointed actually. Yes, the 1-hour ride on the vintage Pullman train was amazing. The plush seating and the wooden clad benches transported you back to the good old days of luxurious train travel. But the transport by bus to the cheese factory in Gruyère was a disappointment. The visit to the Gruyère cheese factory was a waste of time as the audio tour didn’t tell anything interesting and you watch everything from above.

The visit to the town of Gruyère was nice. It was my boyfriend’s birthday so we enjoyed the day in the sun and indulged in a gigantic ice cream sundae. The visit to the Broc chocolate factory was ok. It was nice to see vintage advertisements and talk to the staff about the mass production of chocolate products but it felt like a commercial tourist trap.

All in all, not the worst day I ever spent traveling but it had cost us 1 valuable day of our train pass and we had to pay nearly 100€ in ‘reservation fees’ on top of that. If you think that you’ll follow the same route on the Golden Pass Line train route, then in my personal opinion, the Chocolate Train is not worth it.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
The vintage carriage of the Chocolate Train. Copyright by Rhaetische Bahn By-line: Benz

Golden Pass Line: Montreux to Lucerne

Something that was worth it, was the Golden Pass Line from Montreux to Lucerne. It was basically a way to get from the west of Switzerland back to the middle part but this scenic train journey surprised me a lot. I felt the Golden Pass Train route had a lot to offer as it shows some typical stereotype scenery of Switzerland. But it also covers a lot of ground and although this was our 11th scenic train trip in Switzerland, I was still captured by the landscape and the flow of the train.

Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe Train station

One of the reasons to take the Golden Pass Train is because it stops in Interlaken and Interlaken is the gateway to the Jungfraujoch region. We only had 1 night in the village of Wengen but this meant we had 2 options to travel to the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station. Either the afternoon of our arrival or the next morning.

After nearly 2 weeks of sunshine in Switzerland, this was one of our very few clouded days. It even rained a bit in the afternoon. Therefore, we decided to take the train up the Jungfraujoch the next morning. See my web story about our trip here.

Although the round trip by train to the Jungfraujoch was expensive and we only got a 25% discount with our Global Rail passes, I’m glad we did visit the Jungfraujoch as it was one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen. It’s not that often you get to stand at 3.454m (11.332ft) and enjoy the mountains around you.

We had a 1-night stay at the Victoria Hotel & Spa Lauberhorn in Wengen, which was perfect to explore the region.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Spectacular scenery to ride up the Jungfraujoch.
Read all about our journey to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe station

Two weeks Switzerland Itinerary by Train

After our visit to the Jungfraujoch, we went back to Interlaken and continued on the Golden Pass Line to Lucerne. Basically, we came full circle as we recognized Mt. Pilatus and saw the outline of the city which we left behind earlier by boat. With one evening to spare, we continued to Zürich and explored the city for some dinner. The next morning, we had to depart early to return home again but otherwise, we could have explored Zürich by day.

More Switzerland Train Travel: Other train trips in Switzerland:

Planning your 2-week train itinerary Switzerland

In the end, we spent 15 nights in Switzerland. We took the major 5 panoramic train journeys around the country and we took 6 scenic day trips (by train) in Switzerland. This made a full circle in Switzerland and saw north, south, east and west. We covered the German-speaking part, the Italian speaking part, and the French part. We traveled over 1.500 km (945 miles) by train and almost all of it in Switzerland, without backtracking a lot.

But it wasn’t easy. It took me a good portion of my evenings, looking at maps, familiarizing myself with the names of the train routes around Switzerland and the places and little towns. Finding affordable places to stay was also mission impossible and making the mandatory train reservations was nerve-racking.

Highlight first or save the best for last

When I first started planning our Switzerland train trip, I first planned to go from Lucerne to Montreux with a visit to the Jungfraujoch and then onwards to the east. If you’ve read the above, you’ll see I actually went 100% the other way around. Why?

After careful deliberation, I realized we’d be doing the Voralpen Express and St. Gallen last. Although they were really nice trips and worth our time, I might have had a different opinion if we’d been traveling through the actual Alps first. In our first plan, we’d visit the Jungfraujoch first. Ticking off one of our must-dos first seemed like a good plan, but with our actual itinerary we slowly built up to the highest highlight. Saving the best for last is always a good idea to prevent travel fatigue and boredom.

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Enjoying the train ride very much!

My practical tips for planning your train itinerary in Switzerland

  • Check out my Switzerland train map to see my 2 week Switzerland train itinerary
  • Download the Swiss train app to research route times (for Apple here and for Android here). Their website is patchy and glitchy but I found the SBB app works really well for all areas in Switzerland.
  • Familiarize yourself with all the rules of your train pass. Of course, you can also just buy separate tickets but a Switzerland train pass will save you money
  • Use a spreadsheet. Like mine. Why don’t you join my mailing list, download mine, and use the data I’ve gathered to make your own spreadsheet. Click here.
    Sign up for my newsletter and download mine
  • Make reservations for your train tickets 3 months in advance via the sites below.
  • After making the train reservations, make hotel bookings via this website or use Airbnb (or steal my recommendations with a list of all our accommodations below).
Detailed sheet with all information needed for planning a Switzerland train itinerary. I added my several train travel dates, times, reservations, costs, places to stay and things to do.
Click the image to sign up for the Probe around the Globe FREE download page, where you can get the link to download my practical planning sheet for train travel in Switzerland and many other resources.
Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Switzerland in a nutshell: Mountains, Lakes and Trains. Copyright by: SBB/Swiss Travel System By-line: Baur

Where to stay during your 2 week Swiss train adventure?

Here are the links of the hotels and AirBnB’s where we stayed during our 2 weeks in Switzerland. I paid for all myself, except for the hotel in Montreux where we received a discounted stay. But as always, all opinions are my own. All hotels were carefully selected by me for their location from the train station and their price compared to value.

Helpful tips and tools for your Switzerland trip
  • Fodor’s Essential Switzerland Guidebook is a good guide for information and practical travel tips. Purchase your copy here.
  • Book your hotels in Switzerland via or
  • Find your direct flights to Zurich, Switzerland here
  • Book your tours and activities direct with GetYourGuide or Viator
  • Travel in style and hang this super cool Swiss Flag luggage tag on your bag. Check out these cool designs!
  • Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel in Switzerland. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
Enjoying the good life in Switzerland

Your 15-day train trip to Switzerland

Wow, are you still with me? I love you for reading that much. The thing is, this 2-week train trip to Switzerland really was a trip of a lifetime and I have so many details to share and try to cram them all into this post. I’m sure with my tips, you can stitch together your own train itinerary with the best train trips Switzerland has to offer.

Have you done a train trip through Switzerland? Which one was your most favorite train journey? How did you arrange everything? Let me know in the comment section below!

Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
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Switzerland is made to discover by train. Check my perfect Switzerland train itinerary for 2 weeks with practical tips to help plan your Swiss train trip.
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The Pinterest images above are with special thanks to Switzerland Tourism – BAFU and Rhaetische Bahn/Swiss Travel System.


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