Top 4 panorama trains in Switzerland: The Wilhelm Tell Express
I have always been passionate about travelling by train and the unique sense of a journey it brings. Just sitting there staring at the landscapes passing by – the feeling of being ON THE WAY. It’s just different in a train compared to driving a car or taking a plane.
Therefore I was extremely excited about exploring Switzerland by train last summer, and covering much of the stunning alpine country on tracks. Through three different language zones and ever changing landscapes.
From south to north by train and boat
The Wilhelm Tell express not only offers an exciting train jouney – but also connects with a historic lake-paddling steamboat.
Switzerland’s biggest city in the south is exotic-looking Lugano with a rich-city feel like Zürich in the north. A can’t miss spot in the Italian-speaking part of the country, where designershops and the stunning lakeside views lure many wealthy tourists. But even on a budget it’s exciting to discover by foot.
From here you can start (or finish) your journey with the Wilhelm Tell Express – which has gotten its name from the classic tale about Wilhelm Tell. A ride that will take you to the historic city of Bellinzona – where you might want to get off and spend a day exploring its castles.
No matter what, you you’ll be changing trains here to get onboard the panoramic part of the journey – and if you do so in the high season, you’ll have a guide onboard to point out and explain interesting facts along the way.
The journey will take you from the Italien looking lanscape, through a bunch of spiral tunnels – and literally through the alps in the 15 kilometer long Gotthard Tunnel.
And although you might be a train-lover like me, one of the absolute highlights of this combined track and waterway journey, is when you reach Flüelen and board a historic paddle steamer to take on Lake Luzern.
The boat itself is an attraction and should be explored thoroughly – but the view to the shore will amaze you for a couple of hours. And reaching the city of Luzern you’ll have the chance to discover one of Switzerlands most beautiful cities with an especially charming old town.
About the Wilhelm Tell Express
Travels between: Lugano/Locarno – Luzern
Number of changes: 2 (Bellinzona and Flüelen)
Total journey time: 5 hours and 21 minutes (from Lugano, incl. boattrip)
Distance covered: 182 km.
Highlights: Bellinzona, spira tunnels, Gotthard tunnel, Wassen church, paddle steamer trip, Tell Chapel.
Must do: Don’t miss out on the sailing part of this trip where you can enjoy a nice meal inside one of the beautiful paddle steamers.
Prices and info online: The Wilhelm Tell Express