Tour the Alps of Europe in a Scenic Train Route

In 8 nights, it is possible to travel the charming mountains of Lyon, Annecy, Geneva, Montreux and Interlaken

A train crosses a small village, the little houses scattered across the grass field and scattered clumps of trees, with the alpine chain at the back

LYON – 3 nights

On this route, the train windows reveal lakes, snowy mountains and green hills that look more like computer screens. The trip begins in Lyon, urban center in the east of France, full of contrasts. Here, compare the modernity of Confluence, formerly a fully renovated port area, to the charm of Vieux-Lyon, a medieval neighborhood composed of narrow streets and secret passages.

In the latter, enjoy the red funicular, active since 1900, to climb to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, all lined with mosaics of Byzantine inspiration. The pulsating lyonnais center is the Place Bellecour, where it’s cool staying. Nearby, you will find a number of charming boutiques and cafes – one of the coolest is Slake, from the craggy side of the scenic Place des Jacobins.

A huge sign with the words “Only Lyon” and a carved lion in front of a river and French buildings in the background. Children and tourists climb the giant letters and the lion. The popular monument “Only Lyon”, also in Place Bellecour

ANNECY

Lyon-Part Dieu Station connects the city to almost all of France. It is from there that trains depart to Annecy, a hamlet at the foot of the Alps cut by canals. In summer, the lake of the city, with transparent waters, can be traversed by pedal boats. In the canal area, take the Palais de L’Île (€ 4), an old prison that squeezed between two waterways. Savoyarde cuisine abuses cheeses, breads and potatoes – the best place to try them is at the restaurant Le Freti, where you should make a reservation.

GENEVA – 2 nights

Back in Lyon, board a Lyria train to reach Switzerland in 1h40min. Very close to the French border, the civilized Geneva is expensive and elegant, but it is more palatable to the tourist who goes beyond the basics. It is your chance to meet international organizations such as the United Nations office (the palace is open for guided tours) and the Red Cross headquarters (the interactive, museum is a must).

To save some Swiss francs, buy the Geneva Pass, which entitles you to several attractions and the local transport system. Also included in the pass is a boat tour of Lake Léman, surrounded by mansions and luxury shops. To appreciate it from another angle, climb the tower of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the historic district of Vieille-Ville.

MONTREUX – 1 night

At the other end of Lake Geneva, at 1:10 a.m. from Geneva, the resort of Montreux preserves a certain glamor of times past. Little town, the town can be toured all on foot – the promenade around the lake ends only in neighboring Vevey. If the casino does not win you over, take a jump in the vineyards on terraces of Lavaux, a ten-minute train ride from the center. Those who enjoy history will approve Chillonm Castle, located on a rocky island near the coast, with 12th century ramparts and towers.

INTERLAKEN – 2 nights

It is from Montreux that it departs one of the most beautiful panoramic train lines in Switzerland. The stretch to Interlaken, with balancing at Zweisimmen, is called the Golden Pass Line. On this panoramic route, there are also compositions that belonged to the luxurious company. Book the latter looking for times with the “Classic” brand.

Once in Interlaken, stay in the vicinity of the train station to facilitate sightseeing around the neighborhood. One of the best is the one that goes to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe, all white snow even in the height of summer. You can spend a whole day there, taking turns between vertiginous viewpoints and snow sports.

The train that takes you to the so-called “Top of Europe” stops at strategic lookout points and passes charming villages such as Wengen and Grindelwald, which turn into disputed winter ski bases.