Of all Switzerland’s modes of mountain transport, the Gelmer Funicular freaks us out the most. With a maximum gradient of 106 per cent – no, that’s not a typo – this rollercoaster-esque funicular is the steepest in Europe. It was built in the 1920s to transport construction materials to the Gelmer dam. Nowadays, it carries brave tourists up to 1,860 metres above sea level and the stunning Gelmer Lake. There’s just one more thing: to reach the funicular you have to cross the Handeck suspension bridge, which hangs some 70 metres above the Handeck Gorge.
Flying double decker bus meets convertible car? The so-called CabriO is somewhere along those lines. As the open-top cable car climbs the 1,900-metre Mount Stanserhorn from Stans near Lucerne, passengers can enjoy views over 100 kilometres of Alps and 10 Swiss lakes, as well as fresh air, from its “sun deck”. There is also a panoramic lower deck – with windows – for colder days. It is a world first, of course.
Built in 1917 for the construction of a reservoir and a power station, the Piora – Ritom funicular has been open to the public since 1921. The red railway carries 100 people per hour up at 87.8% angle to the scenic mountain lakes in the Val Piora. The Ritomsee lake is just 15 minutes from the mountain station along a narrow and largely flat road. Nearby, three mountain restaurants serve their renowned Ticino specialities such as Polenta e Brasato (braised beef) or a piece of Piora cheese. Visitors can take a mountain hike to the Cadlimo hut (accommodation available) and onwards to the Oberalp Pass, over the Passo dell'Uomo to the Lukmanier Pass or a classic tour over the Passo del Sole to Acquacalda.
The stunning Furka mountain route was meant to be a relic of the past after the Furka base tunnel opened in the year 1982. But thanks to railway enthusiasts from Switzerland and abroad, this beautiful line has been preserved to allow a steam locomotives to run to this day. The steam trains and their original restored passenger carriages run from June to September on the cograil sections from Oberwald via Gletsch to Realp in the canton of Uri.
Reichenbach in the Kandertal valley is starting point of most spectacular PostBus trips, and here the Kiental–Griesalp route commences. (PostBus stop Reichenbach i.K., Bahnhof). And with as much as 28-degree climb, it’s the steepest PostBus stretch in Europe! Before the backdrop of the mighty Blüemlisalphorn lays Griesalp, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage: Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch territory. Be prepared for some great highlights on this scenic trip!
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The Swiss Travel System is the transportation network throughout Switzerland. With 27,000 kilometres of public transport, it includes trains buses and boats and connects to 150 local public transport services in Swiss towns and cities. Best of all, you can get some great ticket deals before you even leave home.
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