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Ultimate Guide to the Golden Pass Train Lucerne to Montreux (2024)

Exploring iconic train routes in Europe? Switzerland boasts some of the most scenic journeys globally, notably the renowned Golden Pass Line from Lucerne to Montreux.

This picturesque route traversed by the Golden Pass Train showcases Switzerland’s spectacular vistas and iconic landscapes.

The Golden Pass Line

The Golden Pass Train takes you along one the most spectacular routes in Switzerland passing some of the country’s most iconic vistas. 

Looking out the window of a train to see crystal blue lakes, green fields and snow capped mountains on the Golden Pass Line in Switzerland

Start or finish your Golden Pass Line journey with two days in Lucerne. Make the most of your time in Switzerland’s most beautiful cities with our 2-day Lucerne itinerary and 2 day Montreux itinerary

Trace the shorelines of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes, including Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, and Lake Geneva. You will see the spectacular Brünig Pass and travel through lush green meadows dotted with charming Swiss villages as you climb into the magnificent Swiss Alps

The Golden Pass route bundles Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes into one journey. 

Plan Your Trip to Europe: Discover the best time to visit Europe based on where you want to visit and what you want to experience.

Train Travel in Switzerland 

Train travel in Switzerland is efficient, clean, easy to navigate and is truly the best way to travel around the country. The national train company is SBB.

Bookings for all Swiss train travel can be made on the SBB website, or in person at any of the Swiss rail stations. 

Modern train at Lucerne station in Switzerland
Lucerne Station
Lucerne to Montreux Golden Pass Train with snow covered mountains surrounding

Golden Pass Train Route

The Golden Pass Train Route is not one train journey but made up of three separate train legs:

  • Lucerne to Interlaken 
  • Interlaken to Zweisimmen 
  • Zweisimmen to Montreux 

You can, of course, choose to take one route, or, book all three for a continuing journey from Lucerne to Montreux. 

Reflection of a man in the window of a train looking out over a crystal blue lake in Switzerland travelling on the Golden Pass Railway
Enjoy views of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes

Exploring the Train Routes

Zweisimmen and Montreux

Between Zweisimmen and Montreux, you have a choice of Panoramic or Classic cars. The Panoramic cars are modern, comfortable and better suited to sightseeing.

The Classic trains are all about the old world charm with lots of polished timber and belle époque style finishes. These trains are much more popular with tour groups, so more crowded and have limited luggage space. 

Passing panoramic train windows on the Golden Pass Line.
Looking through the window from a Panoramic Train into a Classic Train on the Golden Pass Line

There is also a VIP section on two services each day between Zweisimmen and Montreux on the Panoramic Train.

The area offers a full front and side window view for up to 12 passengers. The seats are not as spacious as in first-class, but you do have an absolute front-row scenic view. These seats attract an additional CHF 15 (~USD $15.00) supplement charge.

Luxury seats next to the train window and lush green Swiss countryside and the Swiss Alps between Interlaken Ost and Zweisimmen on the Interlaken Express, Golden Pass Line.
The Interlaken Express between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost

Lucerne to Interlaken Ost

The Lucerne to Interlaken Ost service is on the brand new panoramic Interlaken Express. 

Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen

The Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen is on the BLS RegioExpress.

First Class Panoramic train carriage on the BLS RegioExpress between Interlaken Ost and Zweisimmen, Golden Pass Line
Travelling between Interlaken Ost and Zweisimmen. Winter is a great time to take the Golden Pass Line; sometimes, you can have a whole carriage to yourself.

Discovering the Themed Trains

Embark on a themed Golden Pass train journey with MOB to unravel Switzerland’s chocolate and cheese legacies. Delight in scenic rides, delve into culinary history, witness live demos, and savor authentic Swiss delicacies.

See here for details on the Chocolate Train and here for more information on the Cheese Train

Add a River Cruise to Your Swiss Itinerary: A river cruise down the Rhine and Moselle between Paris and Zurich is a great addition to your Swiss itinerary.

How Long is the Golden Pass Train Ride?

If you decide to travel the full length of the Golden Pass from Lucerne to Montreux (or vice versa) on all three trains, the entire journey will take a little less than five and a half hours.

Travel time for each train leg is approx:

  • Lucerne to Interlaken – A little under 2 hrs
  • Interlaken to Zweisimmen – Less than 1.5hrs
  • Zweisimmen to Montreux – 2 hrs
Old city of Lucerne over the river with the Swiss Alps in the background.
The old city of Lucerne is where you will either start or finish the Golden Pass Line. We recommend at least one night in this beautiful city.

Train Connections

Train connections are planned for smooth transitions. This ensures that you will never have to wait more than 6-15 minutes between services, allowing for a seamless journey.

The trains all connect from small stations, so you don’t have to rush. At most, the connecting train will be two platforms away, so it is easy to transfer in a short time, even with luggage. 

Services on Board The Golden Pass

All train services along the Golden Pass Route offer food and drink services to your seat. There is an expansive menu of snacks, light meals, tea, coffee, wine and more. Prices are not expensive by Swiss standards, although, do prepare for things to be a little pricier than average.  

First class train carriage on the Panoramic Golden Pass Train with the snowy Swiss Alps on the horizon.

Only Have a Few Days in Switzerland? If you are short on time in Switzerland, add a trip on the Golden Pass Line to our 2 day Switzerland itinerary for a fantastic all-around Swiss experience.

Lucerne Switzerland mountain out of a train window

About the Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass allows for unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System as well as free entry and discounts to attractions and over 480 museum and exhibitions.

You can buy passes for 3, 4, 8 and 15 days. You can find some excellent information here on the value of the Swiss Travel Pass or; you can buy a Swiss Travel Pass here

Lake Geneva from the Golden Pass Train with the Swiss Alps in the background
Coming into Montreux, you can see magnificent views over Lake Geneva. You can also see how steep the train must climb in relation to the horizon.

How to Buy Golden Pass Line Tickets

The easiest way to book an ordinary scenic Golden Pass ticket is on the SBB website.

  1. Go to Timetable on the SBB website.
  2. Select English if necessary.
  3. Complete the following steps to ensure you are on the slower panoramic lines with the availability of a Panorama Coach.

  1. In the search box, enter Luzern to Montreux.
  2. Then click on ‘Add Via.’
  3. Enter –  ‘Interlaken Ost’
  4. Then click on ‘Advanced Search.’A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.
  5. Click on ‘Add Via’
  6. Enter – ‘Zweisimmen’
  7. Then enter date and departure time.
  8. Choose the desired departure.A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.
  9. Look for the Panorama Coach symbol and ‘R’ for Reservation Possible.A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.
  10. When booking online, usually the first fare shown is the Half Fare Card fare. If you are not a holder of this card, then you must enter ‘No Discount’ after entering your details to see the full adult fare. The price of the ticket will typically double. You can see the difference in price between the previous view and the following. The following snapshots show the difference between 1st and 2nd class. 
A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.
A page view of the SBB booking site to show how to book Golden Pass Line tickets from Interlaken to Montreux Switzerland.

How Much Does the Golden Pass Railway Cost?

If you want to book all three legs from Lucerne through to Montreux, the price will vary according to the fare type and class.

It can also vary depending on the time of year and the service chosen. We have seen first-class fares range from CHF 76.00 to CHF 133.00 depending on the day and time. 

Children’s Fares on the Golden Pass

Children under six travel free on Swiss trains which also applies to the Golden Pass Train. However, they still require a seat reservation if you want them to have a seat of their own. This will require a small reservation fee. 

Lake Geneva with mist on the water and the sun breaking through the clouds over the Swiss Alps
Lake Geneva in Montreux

Golden Pass Seat Reservation

Once you have purchased your tickets, it is smart to make your seat reservations.You can make your seat reservations on the Golden pass website.

You can also reserve your seats by visiting an SBB ticket office once you are in Switzerland.  We recommend reserving seats as far in advance as the reservation system will allow. 

Ensure to check your seat reservation matches the train tickets purchased, train number, class and time.  Note that some trains will not allow reservations.

Seat Reservation Costs:

Each of the three train legs requires a separate seat reservation. Seat reservation charges are the same for both 1st and 2nd class tickets. Expect to pay 9 CHF (~10 USD) for each reservation. 

Lake Lucerne Switzerland with jetty's and boat shed.
Lake Lucerne
Inside the Panoramic Golden Pass Train, unobstructed views no matter where you sit.
Train seat in first class carriage on the Panoramic Golden Pass Train

Travel to and from the Golden Pass Line

The Golden Pass starts and finishes in Lucerne and Montreux. Depending on where you are coming from, you will need to connect with either of these cities. Most people will be connecting from either Geneva or Zurich

Use the regular rail system from either city to connect with the Golden Pass Line. Routes and prices are as follows. Bookings or seat reservations are not necessary for these routes. 

Zurich – Luzern

  • Trains run on average at least every half hour.
  • The journey takes 45 – 60 minutes.
  • Full price tickets from 30 CHF (31USD)

Montreux to Geneva

  • Trains run on average every half hour.
  • The Journey takes 60-75 minutes.  
  • Full price tickets from 31 CHF (33USD)
Lake Geneva and the spouting, Jet d'Eau fountain
The Jet d’Eau fountain in Geneva, one of the tallest fountains in the world

Finally, Is the Golden Pass Line Worth It?

Absolutely! It is not all hype when people say it is one of the most scenic train routes in the world. Also, it wouldn’t matter what time of year you travelled on the Golden Pass; the scenery will always be spectacular.

We recommend a night or two in Lucerne and again in Montreux. Both cities are very beautiful. 

We travelled on the Golden Pass in December, and the train was relatively quiet even with the ski crowd commuting.

In summer, expect the trains to be much busier, especially with tour groups, so book your seats in advance. 

Panoramic Golden Pass Route through Switzerland. A complete guide to the Golden Pass line.