Zurich to Graz - Europe's Epic Express Train Journeys

The route taken by the Railjet and EC trains between Zurich and Austria, lives up to expectations that a long distance journey by train between these two countries, must inevitably be fabulous.

On departure from Zurich the train will plunge into a tunnel, but the breath-taking views commence as soon as the train exits and then spends more than 30 minutes running along the shore of the Zurichsee (Lake Zurich), which can be seen on the left when heading east.

Lake Zurich from a Railjet train heading to Austria

From Zurich to Austria by train

Lake Zurich from a train window
Shortly after the train has left Lake Zurich behind there are even more incredible lakeside views on the left as the train passes the Walensee.
On the train to Austria from Switzerland

The view of the Walnesee from the Switzerland to Austria train

As the train heads towards Austria, before it briefly passes through Liechtenstein, there's a preview of the Alpine scenery to come.

From a Railjet train heading to Austria from Switzerland

After the train has departed from Fedkirch comes the highlight of the journey, the passage through the Arlberg Pass between there and Langen.

Heading into the Arlberg Pass on a Railjet train
The best of the views will now over to the right, but the train will have reversed direction at Buchs, so if you join the track at Zurich opting to sit on the left is definitely the best option.

A big plus of this journey is that seats don't have to be reserved on the Railjets or the EC trains on this route - so when boarding at Zurich you can opt to sit on the left.
These trains are rarely crowded, particularly in the middle of the day.

Though what can be frustrating is that this journey isn't above the tree line, so the constasnt presence of the tress means the stunning views can be fleeting

The image below is one of the highlights of this journey, the view down the valley near Braz, when the train loops across the valley around 10 mins after departure from Bludenz station - this is a location where the trees temporarily don't get in the way!
Through the Arlberg Pass on a Railjet train
Between Braz and Langen am Arlberg the train travels through the Arlberg Pass on the northern side of the valley wall and the views below are taken from the right.

Travelling through the stunning Arlberg Pass by train
Between Langen am Arlberg and to the east of St Anton the train travels through a series of tunnels including the 10.6 kilometres of The Arlberg Tunnel, after which the train crosses a series of bridges, which give views down the valleys.
Travelling through Austria on a Railjet train

After the tunnel the trains leave the most spectacular section of The Arlberg Pass behind, but between here Innsbruck the views are far from dull - and on this section of the journey the best of the views switch to the left.

The trains begin a long descent into Landeck-Zams, with views over the town.
The views of Landeck from a train heading towards Innsbruck
This image below was taken after depature from Landeck-Zams and from here to after Innsbruck the train follows the River In.
Between Innsbruck and Worgl the best of the views switch back to the right - the EC train from Zurich to Graz doesn't use the new tunnels which divert the Railjets away from the river.

After Worgl the Railjets on the Zurich - Salzburg - Wien/Vienna route part ways with the route taken by this daily direct Zurich - Graz train.

We have a confession to make, we have only followed the route taken by the Railjets, but on their journey you will have already experienced the best of the scenery when heading east from Zurich.

However, the route that the Zurich - Graz train takes beyond Worgl is still a delight. We know that is the case because much of it is marked as scenic on the Thomas Cook Rail Map of Europe and it never let's us down.

This train takes a route through the heart of the Austrian Tyrol via Kitzbuhel and Zell am Zee and the views of Alpine landscape then continue as the train travels along the majestic Enns Valley Line towards Graz.

So if you're going to make one epic journey from Switzerland to Austria by train then choose this Zurich to Graz journey over the Zurich - Wien journey.

For all the practical information you need to know about making this incredible journey - including details of the tickets, trains and stations...

If you have a Eurail or InterRail pass, a fabulous alternative to the direct trains between Zurich and Wien/Vienna is to take this train heading to Graz, but to leave it when it arrives in Leoben.

At Leoben you can connect into a train on to Wien that will travel over the stunning Semmering Pass - though you need to make that connection at Leoben in the summer, in order to make the most of the late afternoon journey on that route (in the opposite direction TO Wien/Vienna).

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