Above Montreux
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Montreux’s train station is served by three different gauges of track. As well as the main-line CFF trains running west along the lake and south into the Valais, there are two different narrow-gauge lines operated by MOB (MontreuxOberland-Bernois) running up into the hills above Montreux that offer spectacular viewpoints, excellent hill walking, and panoramic rides through the countryside towards the high Alps of the Bernese Oberland.

The smaller line has creaking trains winding their laborious way northeast up to the giant Rochers-de-Naye summit (Eurail not valid, InterRail gets half-price, and the Swiss Pass is free to Caux, with a 25 percent discount from there to Rochers). Emerging from a series of corkscrew tunnels you come to GLION, an eyrie of a village perched amidst fields of narcissi directly above Montreux, with jaw-dropping views over the lake and the Rhône. There are a couple of luxury old-world hotels up here, but the more affordable Des Alpes Vaudoises, on Rue du Bugnon and with its own train station (021/963 20 76, fax 963 56 94, hotelalp@montreux.ch; b–c; closed Jan) is just as characterful and tranquil a place to unwind. A steep funicular also serves Glion from Territet on the lakeside below. Further up on the train line is CAUX, home to the Conference Centre for Moral Re-Armament, the dramatically sited and turreted headquarters of a rather odd collective which seeks to ease global political and economic strife through personal religious reconciliation. Spiritual rebirth notwithstanding, you might prefer a quiet stroll and a night or two at the Hôtel les Rosiers, on Chemin de l’Impératrice (phone & fax 021/963 61 73; b), a tranquil, respectable little family hotel behind the village. After another half-hour, trains reach the vantage point of ROCHERS-DE-NAYE (2045m), with suitably incredible views, plenty of hiking trails over the grassy hilltops and the basic Plein-Roc restaurant.

The more important MOB narrow-gauge line above Montreux climbs northwest through the hills into Canton Bern (Eurail, InterRail and Swiss Pass all qualify for free travel). This is the route of the Crystal Panoramic Express, one of the showcase journeys of Swiss railways – you must pay a small supplement on the special panoramic trains, but not on the ordinary ones. A little above Montreux on this route is CHAMBY, one end of the Chemin de Fer-Musée (Museum Railway; May–Oct Sat & Sun 9am–6pm; Fr.12; SMP), which has steam trains running on a 3km stretch of track to and from Blonay, on the Vevey–Les Pléiades line as well as a depot full of old rolling stock. The MOB trains from Montreux continue through the village of LES AVANTS – starting point of a number of beautiful walks – to Montbovon, access point for trains north into the gorgeous countryside around Gruyères. The MOB narrow-gauge line continues east to Château d’Oex and Gstaad, but runs out at Zweisimmen, where you must change for connections to Interlaken and Bern.

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