Secret spots from our community
The alpine country of Switzerland is a travel addict's dream... Historic towns and villages can be found amongst a backdrop of expansive nature, with mountains, plains and lakes. Our Interrail community can assure you that the best way to see all of this is from a train! Below, our local Switzerland ambassadors will introduce you to a lesser-known scenic railway line, and our community members recall their favourite finds from the Bernese Oberland.
The Rorschach-Heiden railway line ⭐
Switzerland ambassadors Benjamin Rohner and Christian Bach both recommend...
The scenic Rorschach-Heiden railway line in north-east Switzerland is only locally known, but it is amazing! This mountain rack railway is the only narrow gauge cog-rail in Switzerland, besides the Rigi line. The 7km route offers great views, including a view over Lake Constance throughout most of the trip, which can be enjoyed from open carriages in summer. It connects Rorschach with Heiden, which is a starting point for skiiers in winter.
Alternatively, Benjamin Rohner recommends the nearby Altstätten-Gais railway line, which also provides great views and open carriages in summer.
Both railway lines are operated by Appenzeller Bahnen, a private company which accepts Interrail Passes for free travel.
Getting there by rail: The region's biggest city is St Gallen, which can be reached in just over 1 hour from Zürich.
Christian Bach recommends... ⭐
Located in north-east Switzerland, beneath the Alpstein mountains and close to the Altstätten-Gais railway line. It has a car-free old town and a market square where they hold elections. There is also a Locher brewery with a visitor centre. Reachable by narrow gauge railway lines.
Located in central Switzerland and accessible from Zürich or Lucerne. It has a famous baroque monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey, established in the 10th century. The town is also one of the starting points for the Camino de Santiago trail, which stretches all the way to Spain.
Rapperswil-Jona, St. Gallen
Located by Lake Zürich. It has a wonderful old town with a small castle. Families can enjoy Knie's Kinderzoo.
Activities at the lake include Holzbrücke Rapperswil-Hurden, a pedestrian wooden bridge which crosses the lake to the village of Hurden. You can also take a boat ride with 50% discount with an Interrail Pass.
Located in east Switzerland, close to Chur and Davos. In winter it is a good starting point for skiing, while in summer it is a wonderful starting point for medium hikes up to 2,500m above sea level. For example, take a hike up Weisshorn, which has a good restaurant on top, or Grosser Mythen (1,898m), which has views over Lake Lucerne and the pre Alps.
Reachable by the Rhaetian railway, the famous metre gauge railway line on a track close to some high ravines.
Secret spots from our community
Our wonderful Interrail community have sent us photos and stories of secret spots that they discovered while travelling in Europe. In Switzerland, our community had a clear favourite region, since all of their photos were taken in the Bernese Oberland, around the town of Interlaken. We've threaded their photos and stories together into a tour to show how you can also find the best of the area. But first, a timeless photo of Switzerland...
The Swiss Alps by train
This is just one of hundreds of breathtaking views you can see from the train in the Swiss Alps. The photo does not do the actual scenery justice. These are views you can only get from the trains. Simply beautiful.
Tour of Bernese Oberland
One of Interlaken's two beautiful lakes. It has an amazing view of mountains. I felt like I wasn't seeing this with my own eyes in real life. It looked like a high-definition picture all around me. Best feeling ever!
Getting there by rail: Interlaken is centrally located within Switzerland. Travel to Interlaken West in 47 mins from Bern, or to Interlaken Ost in 1h 49m from Lucerne.
Located just south of Interlaken. A truly sublime village nestled between breathtaking mountains adorned with dozens of cascading waterfalls. It is truly enchanting to visit - I felt as if I had entered a fairytale.
Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen: The journey from Interlaken Ost takes 20 minutes and is operated by Berner Oberland Bahnen. This train is not included in the Interrail Pass, however you can travel with a 25% discount.
Staubbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen
Use your Interrail Pass discounts to hike to 72 waterfalls or ride to the top of the world at the Jungfrau and Eiger or Piz Gloria, where a James Bond movie was filmed.
Getting there by rail: The waterfall is just a 12 minute walk from Lauterbrunnen station.
From Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch
I managed to capture this beauty while travelling on the train from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. The rolling Swiss hills and snow capped mountains were a sight to behold.
Getting there by rail: Located to the east of Lauterbrunnen, take the Jungfraubahn which is not included in the Interrail Pass. You can travel with 25% discount.
Amongst birds and mountains. During my Interrail Pass travels in Switzerland at the Schilthorn summit. The most amazing view you can find, in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
Getting there by rail: Located to the west of Lauterbrunnen. Either take a bus or the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren mountain railway (not included, 25% discount) to Mürren, then take the Schilthorn cableway to the summit (25% discount for Interrail Pass holders).
Oeschinen Lake, Kandersteg
This was the most beautiful lake I'd ever seen, and it’s not packed with tourists! It’s a beautiful hike to get there and really looks like a hidden gem when you approach it. Truly breathtaking!
Getting there by rail: Located in the next valley west of Lauterbrunnen. From Interlaken West, the journey to Kandersteg takes 1h 05m, via Spiez.
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If you want to discover more of Switzerland, then you can find out how to add it to your next Interrail Pass trip with more destinations and rail travel tips on our Switzerland main page.
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