Last Updated on November 5, 2023
Picture this: you’re seated on an 1880s-style scenic passenger train complete with opulent décor and ornate detailing as you ride past jaw-dropping views of the Swiss Alps. Sound too good to be true? Amazingly, you can make this dream a reality by taking a ride on Switzerland’s Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train! Often referred to as the most beautiful train in all of Switzerland, the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will transport you back in time and make you feel like royalty.
If you’d rather take the train than drive in Switzerland, the Golden Pass scenic train is hard to beat. This Ultimate Guide to the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train will tell you all the general information and insider tips so you can experience the train for yourself!
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Table of Contents
What is Golden Pass Belle Epoque?
Golden Pass Belle Epoque is a special passenger train that travels through Switzerland. The train is like no other in the country thanks to its strikingly beautiful design, which is straight out of the late 1800s. Additionally, the train only travels on one specific route between two incredibly scenic Swiss towns. With stunning views and an equally impressive interior, the Golden Pass Belle Epoque offers a unique experience like no other.
The Golden Pass Belle Epoque Route
The Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train travels between the towns of Montreux and Zweisimmen. Montreux is a gorgeous resort town located on Lake Geneva, at the base of the Swiss Alps. From there, the Golden Pass scenic train travels northeast through the Swiss countryside to the charming town of Zweisimmen. Along the way you’ll pass through Gstaad, a beautiful, world-famous ski resort that is often frequented by celebrities and even royalty! In total, the train ride from Montreux to Zweisimmen takes roughly two hours.
How to Book the Golden Pass Belle Epoque
There are several ways you can book a seat on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train. The first option is to visit SBB.CH and set your starting destination as Montreux and your ending destination as Zweisimmen. Make sure the search pulls up trains marked with “PE,” and you’ll see all the available times for your selected travel date.
If you want to be extra safe and ensure you’re selecting the correct tickets, simply visit Journey.MOB.CH and book the train directly through there.
How Much Does the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Cost (Updated 2023)
One great thing about the Golden Pass Belle Epoque is the ticket price is the same for any other Swiss train driving this route, so there’s no extravagant fees or charges! This makes the train a very reasonably-priced attraction given how unique the experience is.
If you choose to ride first class on the Golden Pass scenic train, you can expect to pay CHF 58 ($62 USD) one way without a Swiss half fare card, and CHF 29 ($31 USD) with a half fare card.
A second-class seat on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque will cost CHF 33 ($35 USD) one way without a half fare card, and CHF 16.59 ($18 USD) with the travel card.
It’s also helpful to note that a Swiss Pass will cover tickets for the Belle Epoque train in whatever class you purchased the pass for. While a Swiss Pass isn’t a necessity to travel throughout Switzerland, we definitely recommend picking one up if you expect to be using the train a lot since individual tickets can add up quickly.
Should I Reserve Seats?
Seats on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train are first come, first serve unless you reserve them in advance. If you’re traveling alone or aren’t concerned with your entire party sitting together, there’s no need to reserve seats. Seat reservations can be helpful, however, if you’re traveling during peak season on a day with nice weather. The Golden Pass scenic train can get very busy and if you don’t reserve seats in advance, you won’t be guaranteed one at all, especially in second class.
Seat reservations on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque are CHF 9 ($10 USD) per person each way of the trip, and you can book them online at Journey.MOB.CH up to two hours before train departure. For our trip on the Belle Epoque Train, we reserved seats so that we could sit together the entire ride and have an entire area for ourselves. This ended up being very convenient, and we definitely recommend paying the extra fee for reserved seats, if possible.
Belle Epoque 1st Class vs 2nd Class
When you’re taking a trip on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train, you have the option of sitting in first or second class, and there are pros and cons to both. The most beautiful train carriage on the Golden Pass scenic train is first class, where the seats are spacious and feature the signature turquoise fabric you’ve probably seen in photos. We definitely recommend splurging on first class tickets for the Belle Epoque Train in Switzerland for the most beautiful décor and comfortable experience. The first-class carriage also tends to be less busy, and the seats are much better for taking in views!
Second class is still a great option if you aren’t concerned with extra roomy seats or special décor. There are two second class carriages, one that is wooden with simple benches for seating, and one that is similar to first class with fabric chairs. The biggest difference between this second-class carriage and the first-class carriage is the seats are a bit smaller in the second-class carriage, and there are no arm rests in between to separate them.
Which Side of the Belle Epoque to Sit On
Truthfully, the views are beautiful from both sides of the Golden Pass scenic train, regardless of which direction you’re traveling. For the journey from Zweisimmen to Montreux, you get great mountain views in the Bernese Oberland on both sides. After the tunnel and making the journey down to Montreux, you get the best lake view on the right side. If the train isn’t very busy, you’ll probably be able to change seats throughout the trip to take in views from a variety of directions.
Where Are the Best Views on the Belle Epoque
While all the views along the Belle Epoque train in Switzerland are exceptional, there are some notable locations that are especially stunning. Along the Bernese section of the route, you can find the best views between Zweisimmen and the Gstaad ski resort. During the Vaud section of the Belle Epoque train route, the best views can be found as you descend into Montreux, as you’ll have perfect views of Lake Geneva!
Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Golden Pass Belle Epoque
Still have more questions about taking a ride on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about booking tickets, reserving seats, and more!
Does the Golden Pass Belle Epoque go both ways?
Yes, the Golden Pass scenic train travels back and forth between Montreux and Zweisimmen. We recommend taking the Belle Epoque Train to Zweisimmen and then riding on the Panoramic Train back to Montreux. The Panoramic Train holds the distinction of being the only train in Switzerland where you can sit in the front! Check out this TikTok from our own ride to see just how amazing the Switzerland Panoramic Train is.
Is there food on the Belle Epoque train?
The only instance in which the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train will provide hot food or catering is if you’re traveling with a party of 10 or more and put in a request ahead of time. Otherwise, anyone riding on the Golden Pass scenic train is welcome to bring their own snacks and drinks for the journey.
Is the Golden Pass Line worth it?
Absolutely! The Belle Epoque Train in Switzerland provides a super unique experience for a relatively affordable price compared to many other attractions throughout the country. We can promise you won’t regret taking a ride on Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train.
Does Swiss Pass cover Golden Pass?
Yes, the Swiss Pass does cover your ride on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque train for whichever class you purchased it for. You can also purchase an upgrade for your Swiss Pass if you want to experience first class on the Belle Epoque Train in Switzerland. Note that seat reservations are not included and would be an extra fee on top of the ticket price.
How much is seat reservation for the Golden Pass Belle Epoque?
The price to reserve a seat in advance on the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train is CHF 9 ($10 USD) per person one way.
Golden Pass Belle Epoque Summary
If you want to take your Switzerland vacation to the next level, the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train experience is the perfect activity. Taking a ride on the Golden Pass scenic train will lead you through some of the most beautiful areas of Switzerland where you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Alps. There are a variety of seat options on the Belle Epoque Train depending on your budget and travel preferences, but all provide amazing views. For an even more exceptional experience, consider riding in the first-class carriage which boasts gorgeous décor and comfortable seating. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy the Golden Pass Belle Epoque Train, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience!