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Tunnel Deeper

When work is complete on the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT), travelers will be able to travel through burrowed sheer mountain rock for 35 miles in a 50-minute trip from Zurich to Milan. Until then (scheduled completion is June 2016), sections of the world's longest and deepest traffic tunnel is open for group tours organized by local visitor centers. You can see the digging machine that did the literally groundbreaking work, a 300-ton, 450-meter-long wonder. While the digging is done, the 57-kilometer tunnel won’t open till workers lay down all the train tracks and support structures.

We took a short train ride to Bellinzona, where we boarded the train to Lucerne where we were joined by Tabea Mandour, who is a project manager with the Swiss Travel System. Tabea told us that this amazing project has been over 20 years in process, and will cut the time between Zurich and Ticino by 50 minutes (with another 10 minutes in savings once the Cenari Base Tunnel in Ticino is complete). This will bring the travel time for a train journey from Locarno to Zurich down to an hour and 40 minutes!

Ready to embark on your own Swiss adventure? Check out the itineraries that have been created by the members of AFAR’s Travel Advisory Council and other specialists at AFAR Journeys.