For a hilarious way to travel around Switzerland, see the video below (well done, Swiss Tourism, you have great ideas!) But the gal found that the best method of getting from one of the beautiful country’s many luxury hotels to another, and so on, was by train, www.myswitzerland.com/rail Yes, there are marvellous high-speed lines in China and Japan but trains in Switzerland are unique for their punctuality, their complicated network and the variety of their products. Buy a Swiss Travel Pass, for a certain number of days, and it is so simple. First time you use it you write down today’s date and details of your passport. Thereafter just use it wherever, whenever. www.swisstravelsystem.com/pass
An eight-day pass can be used on eight consecutive days on railways, boats and most alpine postbuses, over 16,000 kilometres in all – plus you get 50% discount on privately-owned funicular and mountain railways plus free entrance to 450 museums, and free local transport in 36 cities and towns. My journey on this visit started in Zurich, took in Interlaken and Gstaad, and finished in Geneva. I quickly discovered, ahead of time, to go to any rail station and get an itinerary for tomorrow’s journey: I never had to wait more than two minutes, and the resulting printout told me the changes needed, times of departure and arrival in each place, and also arrival and departure platforms.
This is the itinerary I received for Interlaken to Gstaad: train one, Interlaken West 1035 platform 1; arrive Spiez 1052 platform 3; leave Spiez 1112 platform 3; arrive Zweisimmen 1157 platform 12; leave Zweisimmen 1205 platform 4; arrive Gstaad 1232 platform 2. When I arrived in Gstaad, there were two drivers from The Palace Gstaad waiting for me (of course they knew the train would be on time). The final train, by the way, was the Golden Pass, a scenic train that runs, for instance, from Zweisimmen to Montreux via Gstaad – having arrived in Gstaad one day I left 24 hours later to take it on to Montreux.
Trains are, as you expect in Switzerland, meticulously clean, and in First Class they all seem to have electric sockets, although with today’s greatly enhanced batteries I can travel all round Switzerland without having to top up. At the end of my travels I really felt quite sorry to be boarding for my last trip – on this itinerary, at least. But I shall be back. Switzerland does have some remarkable and iconic luxury hotels, and it is my duty to visit them, and return as often as possible. NOW DO WATCH THIS VIDEO BELOW!