There’s nothing like relaxing on a train to watch the scenery go by. This is why trains like Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and Golden Pass Line are so popular in Switzerland. Another great experience, although probably not as well known, is the Historical Train that goes from Davos to Filisur. This train goes on the Swiss meter-gauge rail line between Davos Platz and Filisur, which has been in operation since 1909.
The Historical Train is a vintage wooden carriage that runs twice a day between Davos Platz and Filisur. You can travel daily on this historic train composition from May until October. With this historic train from the 1920s, you’ll pass through wild ravines and stunning scenery.
It’s pretty amazing to ride a train pulled by a century-old crocodile locomotive in one of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland. On this route, you’ll also see alongside the Davos countryside and the Zügen Gorge, a lot of dark brown wooden train buildings.
Highlights of Historical Train from Davos to Filisur
The scenic highlights of the Historical Train from Davos to Filisur include the following:
- Wiesen Viaduct – A single-track viaduct that crosses the Landwasser river near Wiesen. At 210 meters long, 3.7 meters wide, and 88.9 meters high, it’s Rhaetian Railway’s biggest stone bridge.
- Zügen Gorge – A stunning gorge located between Wiesen and Davos Monstein. In this three-kilometer-long gorge, the Landwasser River is framed by rock formations and steep cliffs.
- Filisur – In addition to the Landwasser Viaduct, this beautiful alpine village in the Albula region has Engadine-style houses and the ruins of Greifenstein Castle.
Historical Train Route: Davos to Filisur
The route from Davos to Filisur has its origins in the state assembly decision on December 6, 1903, when Davos sought a connection to the recently inaugurated Albula Railway Line. With the approval of a capital of 1 million Swiss Francs, construction of the railway line to Filisur began. Despite numerous challenges, as highlighted by Chief Engineer Peter Saluz, such as avalanches and wild streams in the excavation, as well as complex geology, the railway line was successfully completed.1
On July 1, 1909, a 19-kilometer-long railway was inaugurated, connecting Davos and Filisur. This impressive railway boasted 14 tunnels and 30 bridges. Initially powered by steam locomotives, it was later electrified in 1919.
Historical Train Locomotive
The Historical Train utilizes a fascinating piece of history – the iconic crocodile locomotive engine dating back to 1929. Within the train, passengers will find meticulously restored train compartments spanning the years from 1903 to 1990, offering a captivating journey through time.
The train leaves from Davos Platz and stops in various Davos villages before ending in Filisur. Upon reaching Filisur, the locomotive disengages and moves to the opposite side of the train to propel it back to Davos.
Davos Platz is where the train line starts. I recommend taking the train from there. Seats in the open carriage will fill up quickly on a nice, sunny day. It would be great to be able to sit by the window.
Although some people prefer closed carriages, I think the best experience will be in the open panoramic carriage.
As soon as the train starts moving, it will follow the Landwasser River mostly parallel through the Davos countryside. Soon after crossing the Landwasser River, it stops in Davos Frauenkirch.
After passing a waste disposal facility, Islen, and crossing the river, the train stops in Davos Frauenkirch. On the train, you get a really good view of the Church of Davos Frauenkirch (Reformierte Kirche Davos Frauenkirch in German).
The train goes alongside Landwasser Street and you’ll see the countryside slowly giving way to narrower valleys and mountains. It’s best to stay on the train at least until Davos Monstein. But if you’ve seen the route before, you can get off at Davos Glaris too.
If you’re getting off at Davos Glaris, you can take the gondola across the station to Davos Rinerhorn. Rinerhorn offers beautiful hiking trails. There’s a beautiful trail from Rinerhorn to Sertig Dörfli. Another leads you to the wonderful Walser village of Davos Monstein.
The valley gets narrower after you leave Davos Glaris station and you’ll then reach Davos Monstein station. At this point, more people will likely get off the train and decide to walk along the route instead.
An interesting 3-hour hiking route goes from Davos Monstein – Zügen Gorge – Davos Wiesen – Wiesen Viaduct – Filisur.
The Walser village of Davos Monstein sits atop the mountain at 1,619 meters above sea level. Just don’t expect it to be right beside the Davos Monstein train station. Getting to it takes an hour on foot or 30 minutes by bus.
Just after leaving Davos Monstein, the Historic Train passes through the Zügen Gorge.
Davos Wiesen is far below the village where it gets its name from. It’s about a 45-minute walk to get there on foot. After Davos Wiesen station, the line runs over the 210-meter-long and 89-meter-high Wiesen Viaduct, the Rhaetian Railway’s largest stone bridge.
Eventually, more people will likely get off the train at Davos Wiesen station and walk along the route. When you walk beside the Wiesen Viaduct, you can see it better than when you are on a train. Following this stop, the train climbs to the Filisur station, far above the Landwasser Gorge.
You are slowly approaching the end of your journey. Between Davos Platz and Filisur, the train line passes through 14 tunnels and 28 bridges over a total length of 4,200 meters.
From Filisur, you can head further up to the Landwasser Viaduct, the highlight of the Albula Line. The viaduct is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Alternatively, you can get the Landwasser Express Mini-Train from Filisur. From mid-May until the end of October, it runs twice a day from Filisur to Landwasser Viaduct. The Landwasser Express train is available Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Final Thoughts: Historical Train Davos to Filisur
Watching the scenery go by on the train from Davos to Filisur is great. Especially when the sun’s out, you’ll see the Davos countryside before it slowly transforms into a wilder, rocky, mountainous area.
There are lots of options too. You can stay in an old first-class wagon or an open panoramic carriage. There are also multiple stops, so you can get on or get off wherever you want, depending on what you want to do that day.
Best of all, this will be a free ride for holders of the Davos Klosters Card, Filisur Guest Card, Swiss GA Travel Card, and Swiss Travel Pass. Just show up on time. No reservation or surcharge are necessary.
Enjoy the journey!
- 1Die RhB-Bahnlinie Davos-Filisur. Zügen-Landwasser: Natur • Kultur • Geschichte. Interessengemeinschaft Zügen-Landwasser IGZL.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.