St. Gallen – Lucerne Travel Time 2.15 Hours
The “softer” side of Switzerland: it needn’t always be towering peaks and deep rugged ravines. The Pre-Alpine Express introduces you to a Switzerland of gently undulating hills, picture-perfect villages and mellow orchards.
This train is definitely not designed to take you from A to B via the quickest possible route. Climb aboard the Pre-Alpine Express from St. Gallen to Lucerne, and there’s one thing you’ll require in abundance – time. Because there’s much to see. First you leave behind the city with its world famous Abbey Library, then cross into neighbouring Canton Appenzell with its distinctive landscape and the impressive Alpstein massif. Rolling hills and pristine villages pass by your panorama windows as the train winds its way through the idyllic Toggenburg. The peaks of the Churfirsten range adorn the backdrop. We suggest a stopover in Rapperswil on eastern Lake Zurich and a leisurely stroll through the attractive old town. Take in the view of the historic castle and enjoy a lakeside ice cream – a simple pleasure but the perfect start to the final leg of your journey to the heart of Switzerland.
St. Gallen and region
The spirit of the Benedictine monks still lingers in the UNESCO-listed St. Gallen Abbey Precinct. Visit the magnificent cathedral and the Abbey Library with its Baroque hall and more than 170,000 rare books.
One of Switzerland’s most breathtaking vistas can be enjoyed close to St. Gallen, by taking the cable car past rugged rock faces to the 2502-metre summit of Mount Säntis. You’ll be rewarded with views stretching from Germany’s Black Forest to the Vosges mountain range in France.
Lucerne and Region
Five stately steamships ply the placid waters of Lake Lucerne, including the “Uri” – launched in 1901 and the oldest paddle steamer in Switzerland. A round trip on a historic steamer is like a journey into the past. And the perfect prelude to an excursion into the surrounding mountains.
In 1806 a devastating landslide in Goldau destroyed three local villages and killed more than 400 people. More than two centuries later, this once stricken area is an attractive Nature & Wildlife Park for more than 100 types of animals, including deer, wolves and lynx.
When travelling by the Pre-Alpine Express, you cross over the highest railway bridge in Switzerland. It’s the 99-metre high Sitter viaduct near St. Gallen.
No other canton can claim such a treasure trove of living tradition as Appenzell. Whether on foot or by public transport, you can experience ancient customs and crafts in close-up in the region between Lake Constance and Mount Säntis.