Travel from London and to Switzerland by train and take the Golden Pass service to Interlaken and Lucerne.
Taking the train is a simple way to get from London to Switzerland without flying and is a wonderful way to see some majestic scenery as you pass through vineyards, meadows and extraordinary views of lakes and mountains.
There's no wasting time queuing at the check-in desk, you can bring all the luggage you want and we've never yet seen a ticket inspector frisk passengers to check for firearms. You can leave London St.Pancras in the morning and be beside Lake Geneva in time for dinner.
We've suggested an itinerary below. However, if you'd like a real person to do the work of taking care of all the travel arrangements, including trains, hotels and Swiss Passes then call Ffestiniog Travel and they'll do all the work for you. They are partners with the Swiss Travel Centre and so know what they are talking about and will get the best prices. They have over 40 years experience and all their profits go to supporting the Ffestiniog Steam Railway in Porthmadog. See the blue box.
HOW TO BOOK
PARIS - MONTREUX
The earlier you book the cheaper the ticket. You can book up to 90 days in advance.
OPEN THESE TABS
SWITZERLAND TRAVEL CENTRE ( SWISS PASSES )
SBB ( TRAIN TICKETS IN SWITZERLAND )
Use the Deutsche Bahn site to check times. As you're not travelling to or from a German station you can't book online with them though. Use the Voyages SNCF website & Eurostar to book online.
Lon 11.31 (10.25) - Paris 14.47 (13.47) Paris 15.57 - Lausanne 19. 37 Lausanne 19.46 - Montreux 20.05
On the Voyages SNCF site enter "Paris - Lausanne" and then book the 15.57 TGV Lyria service that goes direct from Paris to Lausanne. Then enter "Lausanne - Montruex" and book that journey. (If you you enter Paris - Montreux you are not offered the option via Lausanne, see below).
If you are buying a Swiss Pass you do not need to buy the tickets between Lausanne and Montreux.
You can book your journey all the way through to Lausanne on the Eurostar site. It's sometimes the cheapest option. You can also book your ticket from a UK departure point such as Bath or Manchester. You can't book the return journey from Lucerne though.
Lon - Paris Paris 15.11 - Geneva 18.16 Geneva 18.42 - Montreux 19.35
Go to the Voyages SNCF site and enter "Paris - Montruex. You are then given the option to travel via Geneva. After booking this section see above for the journey between Montreux and Interlaken, Interlaken to Lucerne, Lucerne to Paris and Eurostar.
STAGE 3 Lucerne - Basel - Paris
Luc 10.54 - Basel 11.55 Basel 12.34 - Paris 15.37 Paris 18.13 - Lon 19.39
Stay on the Voyages SNCF site enter "Lucerne - Paris" (via Basel). Book this service.
STAGE 4 - LONDON - PARIS
Either stay on the Voyages SNCF site or go to the Eurostar website and book your outward and return journeys between London and Paris.
STAGE 5 - GOLDEN PASS
Book your Golden Pass journey from Montreux to Interlaken. Enter Montreux - Interlaken Ost on Voyages SNCF and choose the 9.44 for the official service (there are trains at other times, see the DB site). It arrives in Interlaken at 12.49, with one simple change at Zweisimmen. You can buy your Interlaken to Lucerne ticket with Voyages SNCF too, or at the station on the day. If you are buying a Swiss Pass you do not need to book any trains once in Switzerland ( see below).
YOU CAN ALSO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR SWITZERLAND ON THE SBB SITE, ONCE YOU'VE BOUGHT ANY SWISS PASS, AND GET THE RELEVANT DISCOUNT.
STAGE 6 - HOTEL
IS IT WORTH BUYING A SWISS PASS?
SEE OUR GUIDE ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN SWITZERLAND
For this journey we recommend buying a Swiss half
price pass (valid for one month). The approximate cost of the rail
travel and trips within Switzerland for this itinerary is £315, but with
a half price pass (£83) the total cost, including the pass, is £284.
This also includes the discounts on the Jungfrau and Schilthorn and
admission to Ballenberg. If you have children then it may be cheaper to buy a Swiss Pass.
VISIT THE SWITZERLAND TRAVEL CENTRE TO BUY YOUR PASS
The Swiss Pass entitles you to unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the rail, bus and boat Swiss Travel System network. The Swiss Pass is available for 4, 8, 15 or 22 days or one month. ***This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in 41 towns and cities and will offer 50% reduction all most mountain-top trains and cable cars. The Swiss Pass will also include the Swiss Museum Pass, allowing you free entrance to 470 museums and exhibitions.
PRICE FROM £299 for 4 days. Children 6-15 travel for free with with a fare paying parent.
The Swiss Flexi Pass allows travelers to freely choose their traveling days. You may travel on the Swiss Travel System network for 3, 4, 5 or 6 non-consecutive days within a month; on the selected days, you are offered the same great possibilities as when traveling with a Swiss Pass. On the days between the first and the last activated day, your Swiss Flexi Pass offers a 50% discount on train, (postal) bus and boat rides, as well as on most mountain-top excursions.
The Swiss Flexi Pass will offer 50% reduction on most mountain-top trains and cable cars and will also include the Swiss Museum Pass, allowing you free entrance to 470 museums and exhibitions. **Children between the ages of 6-15 travel free if accompanied by a fare paying parent. **Prices from £287 for 3 days.
TO BUY PASSES & MORE INFO VISIT THE SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM WEBSITE.
Go from the champagne bar of St Pancras to the heart of Paris in under three hours.
Check-in at The Eurostar terminal is smooth and simple, with e-ticket machines and a brisk security scan. Queues are usually short, though there may be a slight delay at rush-hour and weekends.
Check-in is open until 30 minutes before departure, and once checked in, there is a large passenger lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops and cafes including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating, with a travelator which delivers passengers directly to the platform, and makes it easy to manoeuvre luggage. There’s also a lift if you prefer.
There is a buffet car on board the train, and an optional executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
The Eurostar sets off from the beautifully refurbished St Pancras station, speeds through the countryside and takes just twenty minutes to dash through the Channel Tunnel and emerge in France. The journey is deceptively fast- the comfortable train rockets trough Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
Leave in the morning and the Eurostar will pull into the Gare Du Nord two hours and fifteen minutes later, in time for lunch.
PARIS - LAUSANNE - MONTREUX
( We suggest the 15.57 Paris to Lausanne direct service, which arrives in Montreux at 20.05, after a quick change at Lausanne).
Cross Paris on the RER to Gare de Lyon and take the train from Paris to Lausanne. You travel on the modern TGV Lyria service that has interiors designed by Christian Lacroix. Change at Lausanne Gare for the local service to Montreux. It's a simple change at Lausanne and only a short trip to the Montreux Riviera. Check into your hotel. Click here to visit our Montreux page.
MONTREUX - INTERLAKEN
Before you leave for Interlaken on the Golden Pass railway have a walk along the promenade. Then go to Montreux station and catch the 11.44 Golden Pass local service to Interlaken Ost.
The official train has panoramic windows affording amazing views of the surrounding scenery. This is the stretch known as the “Swiss Riviera”, with its vineyards, palm trees, and lush, semi-tropical gardens.
You ascend to Gstaad before having to make a simple change at Zweisimmen. The train then continues along the bank of the other-worldly Lake Thün, which shines like a split pool of moonlight, as the Alps rise beyond it and the train then arrives in Interlaken Ost, where you get off (you could carry straight onto Lucerne if you wished). Click here for our page on Interlaken.
Option: Carry on to Lucerne, without getting off at Interlaken.
Days 2 - 5
This compact town lies between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, hence it's name. From here you can visit the majestic Jungfrau, the lovely old town of Brienz, with its wooden chalets or take a trip on Lake Thun. Click here for our Interlaken page.
INTERLAKEN - LUCERNE
The Golden Pass train service also goes between Interlaken and Lucerne, along the shore of Lake Brienz, through the Brunig Pass and into Lucerne via the shores of Lake Sarnen. Lucerne lies at the edge of Lake Lucerne in the shadow of Mount Pilatus.
It has a delightful old town and the excursions across the lake are tremondously relaxing. You can take the William Tell Express from Lucerne to Lugano and Locarno. Click here to visit our Lucerne page.
Option: You can take the train back to Paris from Interlaken, via Basel. Click here for more.
Option 2: Stop off at Brunig Hasliberg, see an antique shop on the Brunig Hasliberg and then catch a later train to onwards to Lucerne.
Leave Lucerne for Basel late morning, or earlier if you wish to be back in Paris or London in the afternoon. Change at Basel for the TGV Lyria and arrive in Paris in time for an early dinner, perhaps at the famous Le Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon. Make your way across Paris to Gare de Nord, ready for your journey back to London St.Pancras on Eurostar.
*Of course, you could decide to stay an extra night in Paris...
If you're coming from Gare de Lyon (or Gare D'Austerlitz and Gare Montparnase) you'll need at least 90 minutes to allow for check-in time at Gare du Nord. Gare De L'Est is much closer, just a 10 minute walk.
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