8 Swiss places you can only reach by public transport
Impressive mountains, crystal clear lakes and rolling hillscapes: The diversity of the Swiss natural scenery can be explored in many different ways. Some locations even offer a uniquely exclusive piece of Switzerland, as they are only accessible by public transport – a comfortable as well as eventful experience. Here are our Top 8:
1: Zermatt, Wallis.
The holiday resort Zermatt is located at the foot of the Matterhorn in the middle of a landscape bursting with adventure possibilities and panoramic views. The village with strong ties to the probably most famous of Swiss mountains can only be reached on foot or by public transport. Also, having arrived by train, there are only two ways to continue the journey: on foot or in one of the e-taxis belonging to the village – an additional feature that lends charm to the place. All the panoramic mountains like Gornergrat or Sunnegga can also be comfortably reached by cogwheel train respectively cableway.
2: Stoos, Schwyz.
Nestling in a lovely Alpine landscape at the foot of the Fronalpstock lies the car-free holiday resort Stoos on the sunny plateau of the same name. The ascent to 1,300 metres is an adventure in itself: Since its opening in December 2017, the world’s steepest funicular has been running from Schwyz up to the Stoos and delights guests from far and wide. Innovative state-of-the-art engineering makes it possible for the cabins to perfectly adjust to the extreme gradient and thus enables a comfortable and spectacular journey to the village – despite a gradient of 110%. Those who consider this too steep can always opt for the cableway from Morschach.
3: Alp Grüm, Graubünden.
Surrounded by a magnificent mountainscape and pristine nature lies the small station Alp Grüm. No cars can reach the picturesque station building of ashlar masonry at an altitude of 2,091 metres – this gem can only be accessed by a Rhaetian Railways train or on foot. But the excursion to this hidden paradise is absolutely worthwhile: The charms of the beautiful Bernina massif and the eternal ice of the Palü Glacier are overwhelming. The distinctive view over the entire Val Poschiavo stretching down to Italy caps off this wonderful panoramic experience.
4: Wengen, Bern.
Wengen lies on a sheltered sun terrace at the foot of the Jungfrau, 400 metres above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. This holiday resort at 1,274 metres altitude offers a wealth of tradition as well as a family-friendly skiing and hiking area. With its nostalgic timber cottages, numerous holiday chalets dotting the landscape, and the hotels from the “Belle Epoque”, the resort in the Bernese Oberland has preserved its picture-perfect mountain village character. Since 1893, the car-free Wengen has been accessible from Lauterbrunnen with the Wengernalp Railway. Since June 2018, a new open-air cableway has been leading up to the Männlichen from Wengen and promises a fantastic view of snow-capped mountains and the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
5: Mürren, Bern.
Mürren is the highest-situated, permanently inhabited village of the Canton of Bern. It lies on a terrace of 1,650 metres, high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The former Walser settlement at the foot of the Schilthorn can only be reached by public transport and offers a view of the untouched mountainscape on the opposite side of the valley. From Lauterbrunnen a shuttle railway leads up to the plateau, and from Stechelberg a cableway runs right to the heart of the car-free village – past roaring waterfalls and sheer rock faces. From both stations, a cableway makes the Schilthorn at 2,970 metres altitude accessible. Visitors delight in a fantastic panoramic view of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
6: Rigi Kaltbad, Central Switzerland.
Mount Rigi impresses with a breathtaking all-around panoramic view – onto Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerzersee among other gems – and belongs to the most formidable mountains of the Voralpen. Surrounded by a fantastic “water world”, Rigi offers a piece of pristine natural beauty far away from car traffic. The eventful journey starts with a historic ride on Europe’s first cog railway. The railway built in 1871 runs from Vitznau to the station Rigi Kaltbad at 1,798 metres altitude – stunning panoramic views included. Having arrived at the top, a direct cableway connection down to Weggis is available, where the Alps and Lake Lucerne combine into a wonderfully mystical scenery.
7: Quinten, St. Gallen.
On a small strip of land projecting out into Lake Walensee lie Quinten and the hamlet Au – a lovely spot that is bounded by the lake on the one side and the precipitous rock faces of the Churfirsten mountain chain on the other. Quinten can be reached on foot from either Weesen or Walenstadt, or else via boat. Thanks to the very mild climate, grapes, figs, kiwis and other tropical fruits thrive here and lend a distinctly Mediterranean flair to this excursion destination. The boat cruise to the car-free village is a unique experience and delights with fairy-tale views of the hiking region of Mount Flumserberg and the towering rock walls rising from the lake.
8: Rütli, Uri.
Experiencing a piece of history: For the Swiss, the Rütli represents the pinnacle of the Swiss founding myth. It is the history-steeped location where allegiance was sworn by the original Swiss confederates in 1291 – a myth fuelled by the impressive drama “Wilhelm Tell” by Friedrich Schiller. The “birthplace of Switzerland” is not accessible except by public transport or on foot. The Rütli can be reached on a roughly one-hour hike on the “path of Switzerland” from Seelisberg or by boat from either Brunnen or Flüelen. The spectacular boat cruise from Lucerne takes a good two hours.