Take the Fast Track to the Perfect Ski Holiday28 Oct, 2022 by Investors In Property
Our favourite time of year has returned- snow is falling, chair lifts are opening and the anticipation for our first run is growing stronger by the minute! As we began to plan our journeys back to the magical Alps this winter, we realised that there is no prettier way to arrive in your favourite resort than by rail. Start your holiday by letting the train take the strain as you sit back and enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the mountains.
Whether you’re catching the Snow Train from London to France, or boarding the traditional cogwheel train to Wengen, a scenic train ride in the Alps is a must. We’ve listed the best resorts for train travel in both the French and Swiss mountains. Wherever you choose to go, there is a train waiting to smooth your journey.
Once you’ve arrived in Zurich airport, the best way to Andermatt is a relaxing jaunt through the majestic mountains and magnificent scenery. From Zurich to Göschenen the journey takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes, before the tracks are changed and you board the breath-taking Matterhorn Gotthard Railway which will take you up to Andermatt in only 10 minutes.
If Andermatt is your final destination, the station’s central location means that wherever you need to go next within the resort won’t be an issue. In just a few minutes you can be on the Gütsch Express gondola travelling up to the extraordinary mountain peak at 2376m and enjoying some exquisite Japanese fine dining by The Chedi on the way up.
If you are travelling a little further, the world-renowned and prestigious Glacier Express passes through Andermatt frequently, giving you the option of a direct and stress-free journey to Zermatt or St. Moritz.
When travelling to Zermatt from either Zurich or Geneva, the spectacular scenery on offer will leave you feeling truly energised, anticipating a memorable stay. With Zermatt being a traffic-free resort, the attraction of travelling there by train becomes even more appealing.
Zermatt is home to two spectacular train rides – the Glacier Express and the Gornergrat Bahn. The 8-hour long Glacier Express is routinely listed as one of the most beautiful and scenic train rides in the world and has been running between Zermatt and St. Moritz since 1930. The journey covers an extraordinary 186 miles at a peaceful pace with views so dramatic that you forget you’re even trying to reach a destination at all.
Opened in 1898, the Gornergrat Bahn was Switzerland’s first electric cog railway. The train line is Europe’s highest open air cog railway and offers the discerning traveller unparalleled views of the Matterhorn and Gorner Glacier from as high as 3089m above sea level.
Wengen is one of several Swiss resorts which can only be reached by a cogwheel train; this adds to the charm and tradition of the resort and truly adds to the idyllic nature, far away from the stresses of everyday commuter life.
Most visitors usually get the cogwheel train from Lauterbrunnen up to Wengen in as little as 15 minutes. The Wengernalp Railway connects these resorts, as well as the likes of Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg. This track is Europe’s longest cogwheel railway with extraordinary views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
Although Grindelwald can be reached by car, why worry about snow-chains and navigation, when you could simply relax on the Wengeralp a little longer? Sit back and unwind in your seat as you travel back in time and enter a Bernese wonderland, complete with picturesque scenery and a warm nostalgic feel.
Whilst in the region, the top of your list should be going up to the Jungfraujoch station – the highest trainline in Europe at a remarkable 3,454m! The station opened in 1912 and has an established history as a world attraction offering the freshest air and the most beautiful views - the very essence of Switzerland!
For resorts like Chamonix, there is the option of the Mont Blanc Express. As well as the convenience of the train taking you from St Gervais station up to the striking heights of Chamonix, many passengers board the train just to take in the outstanding views of glistening gorges, snow-capped peaks and rolling, snow-covered meadows. In the summer, the Mont Blanc Express welcomes mountain biking enthusiasts to come and explore the vast landscapes to jump, ride and pedal through, with day and week passes on offer.
If you are fortunate enough to be visiting both the Swiss and French Alps, why not take the Mont Blanc Express from Argentiere to Martigny!
The French Alps
Taking the train from London straight to the French Alps has become increasingly popular as people have become more aware of the advantages of train over plane. You could fight for a seat in Pret, before rushing to the boarding gate and watch the ‘Delayed’ notice flash relentlessly next to your flight details… however we think we would rather opt for a drink in hand, sat in our train seat leisurely watching the countryside roll by.
Fortunately travelling by train is becoming more and more convenient with options to leave London St Pancras in the morning and be on the snowy peaks by the evening that same day. For the train ride back, the night snow train from France departs every Saturday night and enables you to make the most of your last full day in the mountains and travel home without losing any hours up on the slopes.
This year, the Travel Ski Express opens on Saturday 17th of December and runs until the 8th of April 2023 with daytime trains every Saturday morning. The Eurostar night train back from France will open on the 24th of December and will be running every Saturday up until the 15th of April 2023.
For trains to Les Trois Vallees, in just over 8 hours you can get from London St Pancras to Moutiers station where the connections to world famous resorts such as Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens are right next to the train’s platform.
By staying on the train for just one more hour, you can reach the last station Bourg St Maurice. Here, you will have the stunning resorts of Val d’lsere and Tignes just moments away.
The train takes care of all worries about checking in bags, catching flights, and cramped up bus rides and replaces it with holiday excitement, mountain reminiscing and a much-needed chance for rest! All-in-all the train offers a stress-free and scenic start to your holiday. It’s also more friendly to the environment that us skiers love so much. Why not fast track to the perfect winter break?