Three very good reasons for choosing Olten as a location for a holiday dedicated to exploring Switzerland by train:
A particularly fabulous journey is to head to Locarno on the newly restored service of direct IR trains, which take the amazing slower Gotthard route via Goschenen
You can then rush back to Olten by connecting in Bellinzona for an IC or EC train that will race through the epic Gotthard Base Tunnel.
But most of those other routes from Olten also have multiple scenic highlights...
...the ride to Lausanne or Geneva...
...on the journey to and from Interlaken, Visp and Brig...
...on the journey to and from Interlaken...
...on the journey to and from Visp and Brig...
...on the journey to and from Chur and Landquart.
Olten may be located some distance from any of the Swiss mountain railways, but most of them are easily accessed by train
By direct trains from Olten:
(1) to Arth Goldau for the RigiBhan
(5) and the trains on to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, for connections on to Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg, Murren, Schynige Platte and Wengen.
(7) to Bern or Spiez for the Lotschberger trains on their incredible journey to Brig via Kandersteg.
By making one connection:
Only one straightforward connection is required when accessing virtually many of the other Swiss Mountain railways from Olten:
(1) Head to Martigny via Visp or Lausanne so that you can take a ride on the Mont Blanc Express.
(2) Take a ride on the MOB Railway to Montreux by heading to Zweisimmen via Bern or Spiez.
You can then return to Olten by connecting in Lausanne.
(3) Connect in Luzern for Alpnachstad to ride the Pilatusbahn
(4) Connect in Interlaken for Brienz to ride the Brienz Rothorn Bahn
Using a rail pass can also be great value of money from Olten.
The InterRail pass for Switzerland is the cheapest national rail pass and it can be used at no extra cost to travel long distances from Olten to locations such as Locarno, St Moritz and Zermatt
These stunning round trips are also covered by an InterRail Pass for Switzerland - and also by 'Global' Eurail and InterRail passes if you stopover in Olten while on a multi country itinerary:
Though if you want to travel on these railways to mountain summits
Olten is only a 35 minute train ride from Luzern so if you want to use a Tell Pass and can find a good room rate in Olten, staying there instead of Luzern can be a money saver, despite Tell Passes not being valid on the trains between Olten and Luzern.
All of the routes below can be accomplished in a day.
The schedules may seem daunting, but virtually all the connections are as simple as possible.
1: The Golden Pass route: Olten → Visp → Montreux → Zweisimmen → Spiez → Interlaken Ost → Luzern →Olten
2: The Glacier Express route #1: Olten → Visp → Andermatt → Disentis/Muster → Chur → Olten
3: The Glacier Express route #2: Olten (depart 09:30) → Chur → St Moritz (depart 15:37) → Landquart (via Klosters) → Zurich → Olten4: The Centovali Express and The Gotthard Express route: Olten (depart 10:55) → Domodossola → Locarno → Olten
5: The Mount Rigi and Gotthard Express route: Olten → Luzern →** boat to Vitznau →** Rigi-Kulm →** Arth-Goldau → Bellinzona → Olten
6: The Bernese Oberland Railways: Olten → Interlaken Ost →* Grindelwald →* Kleine Scheidegg →* Jungfaujoch →* Kleine Scheidegg →* Lauterbrunnen →* Interlaken Ost → Olten
8: The Mont Blanc Express route and The Lotschberger: Olten - Visp → Martigny → Le Châtelard → Martigny → Brig → Thun or Bern via Kandersteg → Olten
Journeys with a single * are those which Eurail/InterRail users have to pay a reduced fee.
Journeys with a double ** are those on which all rail pass users have to pay a reduced fee.
Users of Saver Day Passes don't qualify for the discount on the Berner Oberland routes unless they also have the Half Fare Card.
Olten has hourly direct fast trains from the stations at the airports in Geneva and Zurich.
Up to five trains per day link Milano Centrale station with Olten
Olten also typically has direct ICE trains to/from Berlin, Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover and Karlsruhe.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.
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