Switzerland’s panoramic Golden Pass
By train from Luzern to Lauterbrunnen
One of several famous scenic rail journeys in Switzerland is the Golden Pass. The express from Luzern to Interlaken. Interlaken is a stepping off point for the high alps. However we worked out that if we stayed at Interlaken, each day would begin with a train trip to Lauterbrunnen – so why not stay at Lauterbrunnen in the first place?
The point of the journey is simply the spectacular scenery. Most often rail lines run through the least visually desirable parts of the country. The Golden Pass is a beautiful exception. It is an even bigger surprise for two Aussies to see a land in apparently the height of summer that is so rich, verdant green instead of the dry, thirsty stubble that we are used to in our summer. Narrow waterfalls cascade from cliff faces shedding the continuous run off of snow melting and postcard houses not the hillsides.
We travelled in first class. I am quite sure that the scenery is the same in second class, but we enjoyed the huge panoramic windows that had obviously been cleaned that day to ensure picture perfect viewing. For the best views sit on right side when travelling from Luzern to Interlaken. If you make your run in the middle of the day, first class won’t be crowded and you can swap seats with abandon.
We took the trip twice (one in each direction). The first trip was stunning but the second had no where near the flavor as the weather ranged from overcast to drizzle. The moral of the story is to try to make the trip on a sunny day. The overall journey is just under two hours, so if you are staying at Luzern it is an easy day trip there and back. You can even popup to Lauterbrunnen (20 minutes) and work in a cable car run to Schilthorn, or for a long day, the train up to Jungfraujoch and back. (2 hours each way) from Lauterbrunnen.