Switzerland is renowned for its spectacular mountains, scenic lakes, and idyllic countryside. The GoldenPass Railway is a popular tourist attraction that allows visitors to experience these stunning landscapes from the comfort of a seat, riding past at a leisurely pace. The railway is a feat of engineering and an excellent way to explore the natural beauty of Switzerland.
In this post, we share a closer look at the GoldenPass Railway, including the route, classes of service, travel tips and our own personal recommendation of the Prestige class experience on the train.
GoldenPass Railway Route and Scenery
So where does the GoldenPass train go you may wonder?
The GoldenPass Railway is a panoramic train that runs from Montreux to Lucerne in Switzerland. The whole route is divided into three main sections:
- Montreux to Zweisimmen
- Zweisimmen to Interlaken Ost
- Interlaken Ost to Lucerne
The whole wrote, if you wish to take it, takes almost 5.5 hours total. This include the change from one train to another for the different sections. There are actually also different train types on each section, because different railway companies operate on the GoldenPass line.
Goldenpass Monteux to Zweisimmen
The train departs from Montreux, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Geneva, and travels through the vineyards of the Lavaux region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first part of the journey is a steep climb, and the train winds its way up to the Alpine town of Chateau-d’Oeux. The views from the climb are enjoyed on both sides of the train, so it doesn’t matter what side to have seats on.
This is the route we also had tickets for, as we combined a weekend stay in Montreux while we visited the Hot Air Balloon Festival here (also recommended!).
From there, the train travels through the mountainous regions of Gstaad and Zweisimmen, offering stunning views of the surrounding valleys and peaks. Our journey on this section was during Winter, so we saw some amazing scenery and views from the train with snow.
GoldenPass Belle Epoque
During our visit we took the normal GoldenPass railway direct from Monteux to Interlakken, but there is also a specialist train called the Belle Epoque you can choose instead. It takes around 2 hours, allowing you to enjoy the stunning orient express style carriages.
The interior is a turquoise blue, with comfy but royal-like seating areas. There are gold highlighted features and lighting to suit the style too. You may have seen a few beautiful images on social media for these special carriages. Consider upgrading to 1st class (for only 25CHF more) for a bit more fanciness!
Goldenpass Zweisimmen to Interlaken Ost
The second section of the route, from Zweisimmen to Interlaken Ost, is equally impressive. The train passes through the famous ski resort of Gstaad, known for its luxurious chalets and high-end shops. As the train continues through the mountainous landscape, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Bernese Oberland region. The route takes the train through the Simmental valley, a picturesque region known for its rustic farms and traditional chalets. The journey ends in Interlaken Ost, a charming town located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Brienz is a great location to also stop at for the night if you wish to see the local Swiss Air Force Military show.
Goldenpass Interlaken Ost to Lucerne
The final section of the route takes passengers from Interlaken Ost to Lucerne. This part of the journey is the most scenic, with the train traveling through the Brünig Pass, a mountain pass that connects the Bernese Oberland with Central Switzerland. The train passes by Lake Brienz and Lake Lungern, and passengers can enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
If you can, have seats for the right side of the train leaving Interlakken to Lucerne. This is the main side with all the lake views.
TRAVEL TIP: If travelling around Switzerland on more trains, boats and buses – consider taking a Swiss Travel Pass to save money!
GoldenPass Express Classes of Service
The GoldenPass Railway offers three classes of service: the classic, panoramic, and VIP classes. Each class provides a different level of comfort and amenities, and passengers can choose the one that best suits their needs and budget.
2nd Class Classic Class
The classic 2nd class is the most affordable and basic class of service. It offers comfortable seats with plenty of legroom, large windows for admiring the views, and air conditioning. This class is ideal for those wanting to enjoy the GoldenPass railway while on a budget, keeping prices to the minimum for your travels.
Passengers can also purchase snacks and drinks from the onboard snack bar.
1st Class Panoramic Class
The panoramic 1st class is the most popular class of service and provides passengers with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The train features large windows that extend up to the roof in this class, offering an unobstructed view of the mountains, valleys, and lakes. So on a clear perfect day, you have amazing views from floor to ceiling.
The seats are also wider and more comfortable than the classic 2nd class area, and passengers can still benefit from the snacks and drinks in the snackbar during the journey.
GoldenPass Railway Prestige Class
The prestige class is the most luxurious and exclusive class of service. It offers passengers a private compartment area with leather seats, moveable seats, lots of space for legs and storage, and a personal attendant who is bringing drinks and food that you have reserved for the journey. The compartment is soundproof and provides passengers with a comfortable and intimate setting to enjoy the journey.
Fun Fact: the seats are also at least 40cm higher compared to other classes, so you have a much better view.
Prestige Class Personal Experience
For our personal journey, we decided to try prestige class for the very first time. We booked the tickets in advance for the route between Montreux and Interlakken. This was during our visit to the Hot Air Balloon festival in Chateau-d’Oex so it was also during Winter season.
Due to it being Winter, we were very happy that the prestige seats has a seat warming function. We instantly got warmed up in our seats. There was lots of space for hanging up our coats, and luggage area for our mini suitcases. We also spotted that the windows are protected/heated, so even on a snowy day like on our journey, the windows are clear and you still have an amazing view.
The seat was also facing backwards when we boarded, so the conductor switched this round so that we’d be facing the way we are travelling. This was easy to do with the foot switch below the chairs. So this would be ideal if you are travelling in a group of 4 to sit together in a section.
We had reserved the small breakfast in our ticket, which came within 30minutes of boarding the train. Else it was of course possible to visit the onboard catering area for something extra. A cuppa tea was perfect with the croissant! Later on, we saw also a couple have the prosecco with cheese and meats.
Overall Experience: Absolutely loved it. We would 100% book again for Prestige class for the comfort, relaxation and peace, but we see 1st and 2nd class look just as enjoyable!
Travel Tips For Your GoldenPass Railway Journey
Here are 5 travel tips about the GoldenPass railway in Switzerland:
- Book in advance: The GoldenPass railway is a popular tourist attraction in Switzerland, so it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the peak season. You can easily book your tickets online or at any of the train stations.
- Choose your seat wisely: The GoldenPass railway offers different types of seats, including panoramic windows and VIP seats with extra legroom. If you want to have the best view of the Swiss Alps, make sure to book a panoramic seat in advance, as the good seats do sell out sooner than other.
- Plan your route: The GoldenPass railway offers several different routes with various stops along the way, so it’s important to plan your route beforehand. Decide which stops you want to make and how long you want to stay at each stop.
- Bring warm clothing: Even during the summer months, the Swiss Alps can be quite chilly, so make sure to bring warm clothing and a jacket. Additionally, it’s recommended to wear comfortable shoes as some stops may require a bit of walking.
- Take advantage of the stops: The GoldenPass railway stops at several picturesque towns and villages, so take advantage of the stops to explore the local areas if you have more time. Try the local food, visit the museums, and take a stroll through the quaint streets.
GoldenPass Railway Additional Questions
What Is The GoldenPass Belle Epoque?
We’ve highlighted this above in the route section, but for awareness, the GoldenPass Belle Epogue is a special train that runs the same Montreux–Zweisimmen line. It is beautiful, elegant and romantic train journey in both 1st and 2nd class with royal-like style from the 1930s.
Is The GoldenPass Included in SwissPass?
Yes! We booked our journey on the SBB website directly. We bought these in advance since we had a specific day to travel back home from Montreux. With our SwissPass, we could benefit with the usual discount just like on all other train journeys.
What’s The Best Season?
Ideally when it’s good weather, since you want to enjoy the panoramic views as much as possible. Spring in Switzerland is a gorgeous moment to book some tickets, but Summer sunshine or Winter wonderland moments are just as special.
Is The GoldenPass Railway Line Worth It?
Our honest answer = absolutely!!
Our journey on the GoldenPass Express was really fun and comfortable. Even though we were sat in Prestige for our journey home, we think that sitting in 1st or 2nd class would have been just as enjoyable. Would definitely book again if we are travelling in the area!
How To Book The GoldenPass train?
Check the local websites like SBB and directly on the official website of MOB. We personally bought our train tickets on the SBB site with our SwissPass discount first, but upgraded to Prestige seats with breakfast choices with the official website.