Zermatt to Interlaken via the Golden Pass Line

Staff member: Shariah // Trip date: Nov 2017

Stepping off of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn and into Zermatt felt a lot like the moment the Pevensie children crossed through into Narnia. I found this small car-free village to be much like a winter wonderland and enjoyed every moment I spent in it. I was able to try the Swiss cheese, build my very first snowman and found the Matterhorn Museum here. You also have the opportunity to take the Gornergrat Bahn to the summit of the Gornergrat. The Gornergrat Bahn was the world’s first fully electrified cog railway and Europe's highest open-air cogwheel train journey that travels directly from Zermatt. I myself did not seize the opportunity to take and enjoy this train journey, I was too excited to be playing in the snow for the very first time! I also had plans to travel up to the Jungfraujoch once I made it Interlaken, so I thought I'd take it easy in Zermatt.


Once my partner and I were ready to leave Zermatt and move on to Interlaken, we took the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn to Tasch and then from Tasch we travelled by bus to Visp. This was due to construction work on the rail line, so we had staff directing us where to go as we made the connection in Tasch. From Visp, we took what they call an Inter Reggio train through to Montreux. I found this train to be quiet, comfortable and the journey itself offered many scenic views - it may have been no match when compared to the Bernina Express line, but still it was very beautiful nonetheless!


I decided to make a quick stop in Montreux so I could see Chillon Castle and the Freddie Mercury statue along Lake Geneva. This lakeside town has a lot more food to offer, so you'll find the food prices here are a lot cheaper than Zermatt. I think what I was most excited for, however, was the Golden Pass line trains I would be taking to reach Interlaken.


I had booked first class seats for the first train to Zweisimmen and I will be honest, the seats aren't very wide but the stunning views certainly make up for it. Leaving Montreux, you begin to make your way upwards and above the lake. In Autumn and Winter, you will notice that as the train begins to ascend and travel further from the lake, the golden, red and orange leaves on the trees soon disappear and are replaced by snow and icicles. It kind of feels like you are travelling through the seasons, from early Autumn into a deep Winter.


Once In Zweisimmen, my partner and I made the short connection to our next train travelling to Interlaken. The connection time at Zweisimmen was about 8 minutes, which I was a little worried about, but I found that some of the staff were also making the connection and they assured me that our connecting train would kind of wait for us as they were anticipating us. I found our second train had wider seats and the configuration in first class was 2 seats, an aisle and then one seat. The configuration for second class was 2 seats, an aisle and then 2 seats. So this meant I had more legroom in first class and it was actually a bit quieter. I found a lot of the locals were in 2nd class and this is most likely because they've already travelled their backyard and don't feel the need to spend an extra few dollars to sit in first class. So if you ever want to travel for comfort, choose first class, otherwise, if you'd like to mix with the locals and save some money, then the second class is for you.


After around an hour of passing by beautiful snow covered villages, dipping through valleys and winding around steep hills, we arrived into Interlaken Ost. Stepping outside from the warm train was a real shock! I found Montreux was a lot warmer and thought Interlaken would be just as warm, considering the lakes this town is found by - boy was I wrong haha!


As you walk towards the centre, you come across the Harderbahn, which is to your right. This funicular train journey takes you to the summit of the Harderkulm where you can take scenic photos or enjoy the spectacular views from the Two Lakes Bridge viewing platform and dine in the panorama restaurant. You will notice the restaurant from the ground by its giant star that is lit at night. Now, when in you're Interlaken you have to at least experience the Harderkulm, Jungfraujoch or First - I chose the Jungfraujoch and was lucky enough to receive complimentary tickets to this monster. You can reach the highest train station in Europe by travelling from Interlaken Ost station to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, from either of these stations you travel by train to Kleine Scheidegg.Once in Kleine Scheidegg, you make your ascent to the Jungfraujoch station, which is 3454 meters above sea level!


I travelled to and from the monster via Grindelwald as there was a shorter wait for each train, but if you don't mind waiting - I would suggest you try travelling to the Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald and then make your return through Lauterbrunnen. This will have you making a kind of circle journey and is another way to see more of this beautiful area.


Once you arrive at Jungfraujoch station, the fun truly begins! You can grab a bite to eat from the cafeteria or restaurant, indulge in some Swiss chocolate from the Lindt chocolate shop (this is a must - there was a Lindt chocolate ball the size of a small child's head!), explore either the Alpine Sensation, Europes longest glacier or travel up to the Spinx Observatory area where you can walk out onto the terraces and take in the views from what feels like the top of Europe. On a clear day, you should be able to see 3 different countries from these terraces, but when I travelled to the Jungfraujoch, it was snowing - so I didn't have the greatest visibility but I still got to experience and see so many amazing views.


The Jungfraujoch is something you should certainly put on your bucket list! I now have so many memories that I will cherish forever and most of the moments I carry with me are the ones we didn't get on camera either. It's the little things that make the experience to the Jungfraujoch unforgettable as well - like getting excited as you take your final train to the Jungfraujoch, or taking that first bite into your mango Lindt ball as you walk through the Alpine Sensation or simply turning to your loved one with France in the background and feeling like you're on top of Europe.


All the best to those of you who decide to travel to the Harderkulm, First or Jungfraujoch. May you make memories that make you smile and take with you wherever you go.

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