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Voralpen Express Route: From Lucerne to St. Gallen

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Darla

Switzerland has a fantastic train system consisting of thousands of kilometers. The Voralpen Express Route is one of the most spectacular ways to discover the Swiss Pre-Alps comfortably by train. This train route is characterized by large lakes, hilly terrain, and smaller mountains.

Image of Lucerne by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Voralpen Express train might not be as popular as the Bernina Express and Glacier Express, but the views are still amazing. You can start your journey from either Lucerne or St. Gallen. The train passes by many interesting and family-friendly attractions, such as a zoo, a water park, and the Verkehrshaus Transport Museum.

This is a travel guide to provide information on the Voralpen Express route from Lucerne to St. Gallen. It discusses the various stops and landmarks along the route. The route runs along the lakes Lucerne and Zurich before passing through the Toggenburg region.

Voralpen Express Route Stops: Lucerne to St. Gallen

The stops along the Voralpen Express Route are as follows:

StopsStops
LuzernPfäffikon SZ (near Ufenau Island)
Luzern VerkehrshausRapperswil SG
Meggen ZentrumUznach
Küssnacht am RigiWattwil
Arth-Goldau (near Tierpark Goldau)Herisau
RothenthurmSt. Gallen
Biberbrugg
Voralpen Express Route

Lucerne: Start of Voralpen Express Route

Image of the Chapel Bridge, Lucerne by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lucerne is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland, known for its famous Chapel Bridge, clear blue lake, charming old town, and proximity to many high mountains. You can also start your journey on the Voralpen Express from here.

As the train moves away from Lucerne, it stops at Verkehrshaus, where you can visit a large museum dedicated to transport. Here, you will learn about and experience everything related to transport, from trains and trams to buses, cable cars, airplanes, and even submarines. It’s a fun day out for both young and old. I highly recommend stopping by.

Image of Verkehrshaus by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you would like to learn more about the Verkehrshaus, you can check out Best Guide To Verkehrshaus Lucerne – What You Need To Know.

The Voralpen Express train continues along Lake Lucerne, stopping at Meggen and Küssnacht am Rigi before moving to Lake Zug. Near Meggen, you can explore the Swiss countryside and visit Meggenhorn Castle. From Küssnacht am Rigi, you can take a bus to Vitznau and then go up to Rigi Kulm.


Arth-Goldau

Image of Lake Lucerne from Mount Rigi by TouringSwitzerland.com

After passing through the southern end of Lake Zug, the train stops in Arth-Goldau. Arth-Goldau, though not very exciting as a town, has a fun zoo called Tierpark Goldau where you can feed roaming deer. It is also a well-connected transport hub with trains heading to Ticino, Zurich, Lucerne, and Rigi. The town offers numerous outdoor activities on water, land, and in the mountains, making it a popular destination for many Swiss people on a sunny day.

From Arth-Goldau, you can also take the rack railway up to Rigi, where you can see stunning panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

The train moves on to the high moor of Rothenthurm after passing two large lakes. This quiet area around Rothenthurm and Biberbrugg is dotted with small villages and farming communities. Nearby, you can visit the family-friendly mountain Sattel Hochstuckli, where you can enjoy the annual winter Hotair Balloon event called Ballonfiesta, ride a rotating gondola, walk on a hanging bridge, and have fun with kids all year round.

Image of the Einsiedeln Abbey by TouringSwitzerland.com

From Biberbrugg, you can take a connecting train to Einsiedeln, where the beautiful Einsiedeln Abbey awaits.

After passing the high moor, you’ll see another large lake—this time, Lake Zurich—before the train stops in Pfäffikon SZ.


Pfäffikon SZ

Image of Lake Zurich from Ufenau Island by TouringSwitzerland.com

Pfäffikon SZ, like Arth-Goldau, is not a particularly attractive town to visit. However, it is a good transport hub with trains going to Zurich, Glarus, Rapperswil, and Chur. It also has many options for a fun day out, such as the Alpamare Waterpark, the Badi, and several boat connections to Ufenau Island.

If you want to learn more about getting to Ufenau Island, you can check out this article: How to Get to Ufenau Island.


Rapperswil

Image of the Wooden Bridge between Hurden and Rapperswil by TouringSwitzerland.com

The train crosses Lake Zurich via the Seedamm and arrives in Rapperswil. On the right side of the train, you’ll spot Switzerland’s longest wooden bridge, spanning between Hurden and Rapperswil, which opened in 2001.

Rapperswil is the second biggest municipality in Lake Zurich and the canton of St. Gallen. It has a beautiful old town full of boutiques, restaurants, and street cafes. There is also a popular Children’s Zoo in this town.

If you would like to read more about Rapperswil, you can check out our article 8 Best Things to Do in Rapperswil, Switzerland.


St. Gallen

Before reaching the end of the Voralpen Express route, the train passes through the Toggenburg region. This area, situated between Uznach and St. Gallen, features mountains in the Churfirsten range ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 meters. Noteworthy attractions here include the Neckertal Treetop Walkway and the Toggenburg Tone Trail.

Finally, the train arrives at its last stop, St. Gallen. This city, though not as famous as Geneva, Zurich, Bern, or even Lucerne, is quite charming to visit, especially during Christmas when it’s adorned with festive decorations. A must-visit here is the UNESCO World Heritage St. Gallen Abbey District, renowned for its stunning cathedral and library. Another quintessentially Swiss event is the Olma Fair in autumn, celebrating everything related to farming, agriculture, and food.

If you would like to read more about St. Gallen, you can check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in St. Gallen, Switzerland.


Summary of the Voralpen Express Route

  • The Voralpen Express route from Lucerne to St. Gallen takes 2 hours and 16 minutes, passing through the lakes of Lucerne, Zug, and Zurich, as well as many towns in between, before reaching St. Gallen.
  • The Voralpen Express route from St. Gallen to Lucerne takes 2 hours and 16 minutes, begins in St. Gallen and passes through the lakes of Zurich, Zug, and Lucerne, as well as many towns in between, before reaching Lucerne.
  • The highlights of the Voralpen Express route from Lucerne and St. Gallen are the following:

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Darla 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.

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