Discover the Stoosbahn of Switzerland: the steepest funicular in the world


Switzerland is the land of endless alpine wonders (albeit expensive alpine wonders). There are so many attractions in this amazing country. Switzerland is home to some of Europe’s most enchanted mountains and top ski resorts. It also has two of the steepest funiculars in the world. Another of Switzerland’s attractions is the Klein Matterhorn – at 3,883 meters or 12,740 feet, it’s the highest point you can reach by train in the country.

The Stoosbahn, otherwise known as the Schwyz-Stoos Funicular, is said to be the steepest funicular in the world. In Switzerland, it’s more than just a destination – getting to its alpine resort village can be an adventure. Traveling to the Swiss Alps is often a journey through some of the most majestic scenery that looks like it came straight out of a Walt Disney movie.


Stoosbahn is the steepest railway in the world

While the Stoosbahn is often called the steepest funicular in the world, the Katoomba Scenic Railway in Australia is actually steeper. The Stoosbahn has a maximum gradient of 110% (47.7°) while the Katoomba Scenic Railway reaches a gradient of approximately 122%. It is therefore the steepest in the world – outside of Down Under.

But the Stoosbahn has another claim of being the steepest railway in the world. The Katoomba Scenic Railway uses a winch system which technically makes it an inclined life and not a funicular.

The steepest funiculars/trains in the world:

  • Katoomba Scenic Railway: 122%
  • Stoosbahn: 110% (47.7°)
  • Gelmerbahn: 106% (46°41′)

Related: Switzerland has the longest and deepest tunnel in the world

What makes the Stoosbahn unique

The Stoosbahn is located in the Swiss canton of Schwyz and connects the Hintere Schlattli with the village and mountain station of Stoos. The length of the line is only 1.1 miles or 1.7 kilometers, but over this distance it rises to about 2,441 feet or 774 meters.

  • The steepest: Stoosbahn is the steepest in Europe
  • Length: 1.1 miles or 1.7 kilometers
  • Altitude change: 2,441 feet or 774 meters

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Stoosbahn is that it is so steep that the cabins were designed to turn. The cabins are spherical in shape and adapt perfectly to the slope (so passengers will not be plowed halfway).

  • Cabins: Rotate with Gradient

The Stoosbahn has only recently opened since late 2017 when it replaced the old Schwyz-Stoos funicular. This old funicular took a different route and had been in operation since 1933.

Previously the steepest funicular was Gelmerbahn also in Switzerland. It was built in 1626 to serve a reservoir and dam and has been open to the public since 2001. If you’re planning on going to Switzerland, plan ahead and book a ride on this impressive alpine train (it only runs from seasonally).

What to do in Stoos Village On The Top

Stoos – the mountain village served by the railway Stoos is a car-free village and an ideal place for some peace and relaxation. It is a paradise of breathtaking landscapes that hypnotize visitors in summer and winter alike. The village itself is around 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) above sea level and has a population of around 100. In winter, ski on the slopes or explore them on foot along the snowshoe trails.

  • Altitude: 1,300 meters (4,300 ft)
  • Population: 100 persons
  • To note: Without a car
  • Season: All year

Once there, there is a wide range of leisure activities with which one can enjoy the pristine Swiss Alps. Consider hiking along the ridge trail with breathtaking views of the Alps, or swimming in the alpine lake Little Stoos, or simply soaking up the atmosphere with a picnic.

Related: Why Slovenia is cheaper than Switzerland, but just as good

What you need to know about the Stoosbahn

The journey from Schwyz to Stoos with the steepest funicular in the world takes between 4 and 7 minutes. Along the route, one will cross two bridges and pass through three tunnels.

  • Duration: Between 4 and 7 Minutes
  • Season: All year
  • To note: Fully included in the Swiss Travel Pass (Flex) / GA Travelcard

Tickets cost 22 Swiss Francs ($21) per adult for a return ticket and can be purchased online. Once purchased, they are valid for 30 days.

  • Cost: 22 Swiss francs ($21) per adult – round trip

Next time in Switzerland take the record-breaking Stoosbahn, even if you don’t plan on going to the village of Stoos.


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