Great Swiss Bridge Adventure
Enjoy our Great Swiss Bridge Adventure – crossing 444 bridges in four days in some of Switzerland's loveliest regions.
Contact the Südostbahn reservations desk for details (+41 58 580 76 30 or info(at)voralpen-express.ch).
Day 1: Home–St. Gallen–Lucerne
The adventure begins when you set out from your home for St. Gallen in Eastern Switzerland. When you get there, you should visit the Abbey Precincts – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and its centrepiece, the Abbey Library, one of the oldest and most beautiful institutions of its kind in the world. Once on board the Voralpen-Express panorama coach, you soon find yourself crossing the River Sitter no fewer than 99 metres up on Switzerland's tallest viaduct. To this day it remains the railway crossing with the country's longest unsupported deck truss. Just a few kilometres later comes the 282 m-long, 64 m-tall Weissenbach Viaduct. The stretch over the 650 m-long causeway at Rapperswil features a timber bridge 841 m in length – Switzerland's longest. It's not long before your train is pulling into today's destination – Lucerne with its world-famous landmark, the Chapel Bridge.
Highlights Day 1
- St. Gallen Abbey Precincts
- St. Gallen Abbey
- Sitter Viaduct (at 99 m, Switzerland's tallest railway bridge)
- Rapperswil Causeway
- Chapel Bridge, Lucerne
Day 2: Lucerne–Locarno
The second day finds you not only crossing more than 220 bridges, but passing through 50 tunnels as well. The ascent to the Gotthard features the Intschireuss Bridge just above Amsteg. At 77 m, it's one of the tallest on the entire Swiss Federal Railways network. Following the spiral tunnel after Gurtnellen, the double loop in and around Wassen you negotiate two sets of double spiral tunnels known respectively as the Piottino Loops and the Biaschina Loops. It's not long before you spot the famed castles of Bellinzona. Once you reach the fertile fields of the Magadino Plain, you hear the announcement for Locarno, today's terminus. Your hotel is either a few steps from the station.
Highlights Day 2
- Intschireuss Bridge, 77 m tall
- Gotthard mountain route
- Gurtnellen Spiral Tunnel, Wassen Double Loop
- Piottino and Biaschina Loops either side of Faido
- Castles of Bellinzona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 3: Locarno–Montreux
The Centovalli Railway – the locals nickname it the Centovallina, while for the Italians it's the Vigezzina – is the most direct and fascinating link between Lake Maggiore and Western Switzerland. Across dizzying viaducts, past deep gorges and tumbling waterfalls, through forests of sweet chestnut and fertile vineyards, tunnels and tight bends, the 60 km metre-gauge railway crosses 83 bridges to reach Domodossola. Whatever you do, have a coffee in one of the street cafés in the historic centre of the town. Thus fortified, your journey continues on the Simplon line to and through the Simplon Tunnel, at 19,803 m the longest tunnel you'll be negotiating. After Brig, with speeds of up to 160 km/h you'll soon be in Montreux.
Highlights Day 3
- Steel bridge near Intragna, 75 m tall
- Ruinacci Bridge near Camedo
- Historical centre of Domodossola
- Simplon Tunnel
- Lakeside promenade, Montreux
Day 4: Montreux–Home
Before setting off for home, and assuming the weather's fine, why not go for a little jaunt on the rack railway from Montreux up to the Rochers-de-Naye at an altitude of 2042 m? The views here of Lake Geneva and the Alps are exceptional – and the area abounds with marmots! If the weather's not ideal, then you could push on to Lausanne for its cathedral and Olympic Museum. There's also the Rolex Learning Centre, a unique combination of cafés, libraries and services by the celebrated Japanese architectural practice, SANAA. A final stroll around the harbour in Ouchy before it's time for home. If this happens to be in Eastern Switzerland, you'll be fortunate enough to cross one of Switzerland's biggest bridges – the Grandfey Viaduct near Fribourg is 334 m in length and 82 m tall.
Highlights Day 4
- Rack railway to Rochers-de-Naye
- Lavaux terraced vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Rolex Learning Centre, Lausanne
- Ouchy harbour
- Grandfey Viaduct, 82 m tall
Price includes the following:
- 55 Hotel accommodation in chosen category incl. breakfast
- Travel from home in Switzerland to St. Gallen 2nd class
- St. Gallen–Lucerne in Voralpen-Express 1st class
- Lucerne–Locarno in 1st class
- Locarno–Domodossola on Centovalli Railway 2nd class
- Domodossola–Brig–Montreux 2nd class
- Travel from Montreux to home in Switzerland 2nd class
Prices 2020 (All prices in Swiss francs)
3-star hotel: Hotel Ambassador or equivalent
4-star hotel: Hotel Wilden Mann or equivalent
3-star hotel: Hotel Ibis or equivalent
4-star hotel: H4 Hotel Arcadia or equivalent
3-star hotel: J5 Hotels Helvetie Montreux or equivalent
4-star hotel: Eurotel Montreux or equivalent
Prices for Ascona on request.