Panoramic Golden Pass Train Route through Switzerland

When you think of Switzerland, you think of green Alpine meadows, cows with bells, wooden clad houses and snowy Alpine peaks. When you travel from Montreux to Lucerne on the Golden Pass train through Switzerland, this is exactly what you’ll get. It doesn’t get more Swiss than this. From cheese invested Montreux on the Lake of Geneva to central Lucerne, you’ll pass mountain lakes, through Alpine peaks and meadows. Our journey on the Golden Pass Line was surprisingly interesting. I share with you what it is like.

Golden Pass Train Through Switzerland

Our Golden Pass Train route

After almost 2 weeks of travelling through Switzerland by train, the Golden Pass Line was the last of the scenic train journeys we’d take. We already saw amazing scenery, like the Pre-Alpine Express and the Gotthard Panorama Express, followed by superb highlights on the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express. We took the steepest cogwheel train in the world up Mt. Pilatus and looked down on Lake Geneva from Roche-de-Naye.

After so many epic railway journeys, I didn’t think anything could top it or even match the previous amazing train journeys. Turned out, the Golden Pass Panoramic Train was equally exciting, amazing and shows you the essence of Switzerland and confirms all stereotypes. I loved it and wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for the world.

We traveled in September from Montreux to Zweisimmen, changed for a train to Interlaken. After a night up in Wengen to visit the Jungfraujoch, we continued from Interlaken to Lucerne. Of course, you can do it all in 1 day or the other way around.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
Map of the Golden Pass Train Route through Switzerland

Golden Pass route from Montreux to Zweisimmen

The Golden Pass Route can be taken in both directions, but we departed from Montreux, so for convenience, I’ll follow the route West to East.

Montreux

This posh little town on the shores of Lake Geneva is easily overlooked because people flock to bigger Geneva. We spent 3 days in Montreux. Mainly to depart on the Golden Pass train but we discovered the town of Montreux has a lot more to offer. We walked along the shores of Lake Geneva, visited Chillon Castle and climbed to the top of Rochers de Naya.

Golden Pass Railway

In the morning, we set out to Montreux’s train station and the train was already waiting for us. We settled into our luxurious coupe, with big bright panoramic windows. I took a sneak peak in the front, where you can sit for an extra fee and get the view of the train conductor. As the actual train conductor sits above the first carriage, there is nothing obstructing your view! 180 degrees view of the landscape around you! Wow.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
The train of the Golden Pass Line

Montreux to Zweisimmen

As we departed Montreux, we left the shores of Lake Geneva below us and started climbing. It took us a few twists and turns as we meandered up the steep hills, covered in ripe grapes, ready to be harvested. After we passed some tunnels, the lake was out of view and nothing but green hills surrounded us. We crossed a broad valley and the wood clad houses and pointy church towers greeted us in every village.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
Spectacular scenery on the route – Image by: swiss-image

Gstaad Switzerland

We saw Gstaad in the distance. I’ve never been there before but I instantly recognized it. This felt like the ultimate winter village with the big apartment blocks with chunky overhanging wooden balconies. Everything in Gstaad oozes winter and winter sports. I’d love to go back in winter and make a short stop in Gstaad.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
On the Golden Pass train route, you swap trains 2 times. Image by swiss-image

Golden Pass Train route from Zweisimmen to Interlaken

Soon after Gstaad, we arrived in Zweisimmen. It looked like any industrialized city and after all those cute little villages, not very appealing. But truth be told, we only changed trains on the platform and didn’t see much else of the city. As the next Golden Pass train to Interlaken was already waiting for us, we gathered our belongings and boarded the next train.

Golden Pass Panoramic train to Interlaken

The next stretch of the Golden Pass route to Interlaken was all about the great lake of Thun. It took about an hour to reach it and then we spent another hour riding along it. We had fun to see if the train was faster than the cars, as the railway is next to the motorway. The big Lake Thun is impressive with the towering mountains around it and small little white houses with dark timbered windows filling the gaps between the trees.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
Rolling hills and cute villages on the way.

Interlaken

If you travel the Golden Pass Line from Montreux to Lucerne, you’ll first reach Interlaken West. This might be confusing, as you need to switch trains in Interlaken, but only at the (much bigger) Interlaken East train station. Luckily, I was prepared, so I didn’t panic, but quite some other travelers in our carriage did. But no worries, Interlaken East is your next stop.

Golden Pass Line from Interlaken to Lucerne

We got off the train at Interlaken and took a little detour to visit the Jungfraujoch. Interlaken is the perfect base to visit the region and trains go from Interlaken to Wengen and Grindelwald, from where you can visit the highest railway station in Europe. It was a true adventure, read the story here.

After we got back from our visit to the Jungfraujoch the next day, we continued to travel on the Golden Pass train to Lucerne.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
Hugging the lakes shore, the train line rounds Lake Thun.

Brienzersee

As we left Interlaken, we traveled in one of the more common train carriages. Still with bright windows, but things didn’t feel as special as the previous Golden Pass trains. We did pass some spectacular scenery on the way, so we were entertained for the whole ride.

The weather was playing up a bit, turning the water of the Brienzersee into a turquoise blue or green. Together with the dark looming clouds and red holiday style homes along the lake’s shore, this made for a pretty picture.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
Riding along the lakes shore with impressive views

Sarnersee

We passed numerous villages, through woods and hills. We didn’t see any heavy traffic and it felt like we took the back door to Lucerne. But after the Sarnersee, the landscape slowly opened up and things started to look familiar as we’ve been to Lucerne before.

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
One majestic lake after another

Arrive in Lucerne

After almost 5.5 hours on the Golden Pass train, we arrived in Lucerne. We crossed Switzerland, from Montreux at the Lake Geneva, via classy Gstaad to the lakes in the Bernese Oberland to finish in central Lucerne.

From Lucerne, you can go anywhere you like in Switzerland or stick around and visit Mt. Pilatus or travel on the Gotthard Panorama Express or the Voralpen Express.

More Switzerland Train Travel

Other train trips in Switzerland:

Discover typical stereotype Switzerland on the scenic Golden Pass train route from Montreux to Lucerne. Read what to expect on the Golden Pass Line.
The vintage train is a train lover’s dream! Image by
swiss-image

Golden Pass Train Montreux to Lucerne

I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Golden Pass route through Switzerland. You’ll not see the highest mountains, but you do see typical Swiss landscapes and lovely views. I’m happy we included this scenic train journey in our itinerary.

Helpful tips and tools for your Switzerland trip

  • It’s a good idea to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong during your trip to Switzerland. You can purchase travel insurance from World Nomads here.
  • Fodor’s Essential Switzerland Guidebook is a good guide for information and practical travel tips. Purchase your copy here.
  • Travel in style and hang this super cool Swiss Flag luggage tag on your bag. Check out these cool designs!

Why you should take the Golden Pass Line

  • The Golden Pass train goes right through the heart of Switzerland, giving you a good impression if you have little time to explore
  • The Golden Pass train is very well connected within Switzerland and from abroad. International airports of Geneva (75 min from Montreux) and Zürich (1 hour from Lucerne) make this an accessible train journey
  • The Golden Pass Line is not an express service. It consists of 3 different stretches, operated by 3 different companies. This makes it easier to break up your train journey in Switzerland and explore more of the surrounding region.
  • There are numerous discount cards and options to travel on the Golden Pass Line from cheap. Of course, you can reserve first-class seat in their Belle Epoque carriages, but you can also travel on the route via local trains. I used my Interrail card to travel for free on the Golden Pass line.
  • Due to the convenient stop in Interlaken, you can include a visit to the Jungfraujoch in your journey. In only 2 days, you can travel from Montreux on the Golden Pass train to Interlaken. There you switch to explore the Jungfraujoch and take in the highest railway station of Europe, before you continue to central Lucerne.
  • The Golden Pass train runs year-round. I do recommend to travel in good weather as the view of the mountains and lakes are spectacular under a clear blue sky but it must look like fairy tale magic in winter too.

Have you ever traveled through Switzerland? Odds are, you might have traveled on the Golden Pass train route. What did you think of this train journey? What was your favorite stretch? Share it in the comment section below.

Yellow panoramic Golden Pass train driving up a hills around Lake Geneva. In the distance you see the city of Montreux and Lake Geneva. Text overlay saying: Golden Pass Train across Switzerland Probe around the Globe
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My boyfriend and I took the images in the post unless stated otherwise. The Pinterest image above is with special thanks to & copyright by GoldenPass – MOB/Swiss Travel System By-Line: swiss-image.ch/

Interrail sponsored me with a Global Rail Pass in first class. All opinions are my own as always.

I paid for everything 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 costs to you.

4 Comments

  1. Nat

    Hello! Stupid question here. So, if I take the panoramic train, can I just hop on and off along the route? Let’s say the route is from A-B-C-D. So when I arrived at B. I can just hop off and explore B area. Then I can just hop on back from B to C. As long as I have the ticket with me. Is it correct? Thanks!

    1. Hey Nat, you always need a valid ticket for the day, so if you decide to stay overnight, you need a new ticket for the next day, covering the distance you want to go. For seats on the panoramic trains, a reservation is mandatory so it is not like a hop on hop off-type of train but you can make it that way, you just need more tickets and reservations.

  2. Scott Laumann

    Hi, I am planning on taking the Golden Pass from Montreux to Lucerne, with a 2 night stop over in Murren, not far from Interlaken. Would I need to buy 2 separate tickets, one for Montreux to Interlaken and another from Interlaken to Lucerne, or can I buy a single full route one way ticket and use it on different days? Would it be best to pre purchase these tickets, I want to make sure I get on the panoramic cars. Thanks!

    1. Hi Scott, yes, if you don’t make the whole journey on the same day, you’ll get one ticket from Montreux to Interlaken on one day and then when you’re ready to depart and continue your travels, you book another ticket from Interlaken to Lucerne. You can hop on any regular train from Interlaken to Lucerne, but if you want to be on the Golden Pass Panoramic trains, you need to book in advance and reserve your seat. I hope this helps. Have a great trip!

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