Soak in the ravishing landscapes of Zürich, Lucerne, Lausanne, Zermatt and St. Moritz on this 10-day rail tour, featuring journeys aboard six scenic railways, including the renowned Glacier Express, and immersive experiences that bring the culture of Switzerland to life.
About the Tour
Is there any better way to experience the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps than by train? We think not. This round-trip rail tour puts the best of Switzerland on display, offering an unforgettable perspective through scenic train journeys and unique excursions. Beginning in Switzerland’s largest city, Zürich, we savor the contrasts of the city and the countryside with a drive through dairy farmlands en route to car-free Appenzell. From Zürich, we make our way to Lucerne, where Medieval architecture sits against a background of spectacular alpine scenery. Follow the curve of Lake Geneva to the Swiss Riviera, Montreux; then it’s on to the mountain resort towns of Zermatt and St. Moritz before returning to Zürich. Along the way, we spend time in charming villages and enticing locales, and we even dip down into Tirano, Italy, for a day to remember. Switzerland’s scenic railways, including the Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Gornergrat Railway and GoldenPass Panoramic, bring all of this and more to life.
- 8-day Swiss Travel Pass featuring unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat plus select mountain excursions and admission to more than 500 museums
- Six scenic rail excursions: Glacier Express, Bernina Express, GoldenPass Panoramic, Gornergrat Railway, Lucerne-Interlake Express, and BLS RegioExpress
- Hotel accommodations for 9 nights
- 14 meals, including a fondue dinner
- Appenzell excursion
- Day trip to Tirano, Italy, aboard the Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Zürich city tour
- Quietvox headset system
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
Day 1 – Zürich
Welcome to Switzerland! Arrive at the airport and meet your tour manager for a group transfer to the hotel. Transfers will accommodate guests arriving into Zürich before 10:30 a.m. Once at the hotel, check in, unpack and get settled. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or begin exploring this exciting city on your own. You may wish to visit a museum, marvel at the contrast of modern and centuries-old buildings, or simply get a taste of authentic Swiss chocolate. Join your tour manager and traveling companions this evening for a welcome dinner at your hotel. Overnight Zürich. (D)
Day 2 – Appenzell Excursion
This morning we set off on our first excursion into the Alpstein region and the car-free village of Appenzell, situated in a singularly beautiful landscape of rolling hills. Along the way, we stop in the town of Stein for a tour of one of the area’s local dairies, where you can savor their cheeses as well as lunch.
Appenzell is the political, economic and cultural center of Appenzell Innerrhoden, the smallest Swiss canton. This charming village beckons with pretty lanes and a myriad of small stores and boutiques that are ideal for shopping and browsing. The facades of the buildings are decorated with frescoes. Appenzell Museum, which is in the town hall, shows a cross section of Appenzell’s history and culture. Overnight Zürich. (B, L)
Day 3 – Zürich to Lucerne by Train
This morning we make our way to the local train station and board a train bound for Lucerne. The route is under an hour in length yet astounds with its scenic views. Take in the mountains, the rolling hills, bodies of water and rural villages as the train moves along to Lucerne.
Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s most idyllic medieval cities, surrounded by a beautiful lake and nestled amidst snowcapped Alps. Upon arrival, the day is yours to discover the delights of this charming city. Alternately, you may wish to join an optional excursion to Mt. Rigi. Two cog railways and a panorama cable car make the journey up the mountain for a truly unforgettable experience. At the summit, you are in store for breathtaking panoramic views across the Alps into Germany and France. Overnight Lucerne. (B)
Day 4 – Lucerne to Lausanne by Train
All aboard for a day filled with Switzerland’s spectacular trains as we travel along the GoldenPass Line. We depart Lucerne this morning on the Lucerne-Interlaken Express. The train passes through the Bernese Oberland and crosses the Brünig Pass en route to Interlaken, where we stop for a visit to gaze over the emerald waters of Lakes Thun and Brienz and to admire the storybook timber homes. From Interlaken, we take the BLS RegioExpress train to the alpine town of Zweisimmen. Here, we continue on the GoldenPass Panoramic, which offers large windows from which to see the amazing landscape on this unforgettable journey to Montreux. Continue to the Lausanne area, where the rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight Lausanne. (B)
Day 5 – Montreux and Zermatt
This morning we depart Lausanne for the delightful Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt. Following the curve of Lake Geneva, we stop in the lakeside town of Montreux, known as the “Swiss Riviera.” You can choose to spend your time here taking in the amazing sights, or you may wish to join an optional guided excursion to Chillon Castle. Located on an island on Lake Geneva, the castle is one of the most visited historic sites in Switzerland offering hundreds of years’ worth of history. Our journey continues by train to Zermatt. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Day 6 – Gornergrat Railway
The day begins with a mountain adventure. From the hotel, we travel to Zermatt city center to board the Gornergrat Railway. This fully electric cog railway has been taking passengers up Gornergrat Mountain since 1898. As we make our way up to the summit over the course of 33 minutes, you are treated to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, including a look at the Matterhorn. Upon descending the mountain, we return to Zermatt for a day of leisure. Enjoy a walk through the historic village, where some structures date back 500-plus years; meander along the narrow streets and explore the local shops and cafés. Tonight, we indulge in a traditional fondue dinner. Overnight Zermatt. (B, D)
Day 7 – Glacier Express to St. Moritz
Today’s train journey aboard the spectacular Glacier Express is without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip. Enjoy an unforgettable 8-hour journey as the train winds through the unspoiled natural beauty of the Alps on its direct route from Zermatt to the world-famous mountain resort of St. Moritz. This sleek train travels across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and around tight curves as it travels through the Swiss Alps, unveiling something new to see at every turn. At lunchtime, savor a three-course meal served by onboard attendants as the train maneuvers around twists and turns, inclines and declines before arriving in St. Moritz. Overnight St. Moritz. (B, L)
Day 8 – Bernina Express to Tirano, Italy
Embark on one of Europe’s most spectacular and breathtaking train rides today as we step aboard the Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the 2-hour trip to Tirano, Italy. Travel across the lofty Bernina Pass via the Swiss Poschiavo area to Tirano in the Italian Valtellina, witnessing an array of beautiful mountain streams, glaciers, and alpine scenery along the way. In Tirano, the day is yours to sightsee amongst the various churches, the town’s palace and through the narrow streets. The train returns us to St. Moritz, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight St. Moritz. (B)
Day 9 – St. Moritz to Zürich
We depart St. Moritz this morning on our last rail adventure of the tour, this time returning to Zürich. Upon arrival, we get acquainted with the city during a guided tour. Switzerland's largest city is beautifully located on the banks of two rivers and a lake. Some of the sites you may see along the way include the National Museum, which looks much like a castle; the Opera House; the famous banking district; the elegant shops along the Bahnhofstrasse; Lake Zürich; and Fraumünster Church, where Marc Chagall’s 5-piece stained glass windows flood the chapel with light and color. Tonight, we celebrate our new experiences and new friendships with a group Farewell Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Zürich. (B, D)
Day 10 – Tour Conclusion
Your Swiss rail tour ends this morning with breakfast, followed by a group transfer to Zürich’s international airport for return flights home. Transfer will accommodate flights departing after 10:30 a.m. (B)
Hotels include Hotel Glockenhof (Zürich), Hotel Luzernerhof (Lucerne), Hotel Continental (Lausanne), Hotel Derby (Zermatt), and Hotel Bären (St. Moritz).
Switzerland’s best-known train, the Glacier Express travels through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges on the 181-mile journey between Zermatt and St. Moritz. Breathtaking unaltered natural landscapes are on full display from the train’s large panoramic windows.Snow-capped mountains, canyons, narrow valleys, and rushing waters are highlights of the changing vistas during the 8-hour journey.
The Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, connects Switzerland’s mountain villages with Mediterranean Italy. The highest railway across the Alps, the train travels across the Albula and Bernina Passes, through 55 tunnels and across 196 bridges. Scenic highlights of the journey include the Brusio Circular Viaduct, the much-photographed Montebello Curve and the Rhaetian Railway’s signature Landwasser Viaduct.
The Gornergrat Railway opened in 1898 as Switzerland’s first fully electrified rack railway. It has since been upgraded to an energy-efficient train with a regenerative braking system. The 33-minute journey from Zermatt on the highest open-air railway in Europe offers some of the best panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, including stunning views of 29 mountains, including the Matterhorn.
The modern rail cars of the GoldenPass Panoramic offer the best views of cities and scenery from the comfort of panoramic rail carriages. The train travels the scenic route between Zweisimmen and Montreux, located on the shores of Lake Geneva. Alpine meadows and snow-capped Alpine peaks are scenic highlights of this scenic journey through the Bernese Oberland
Part of the larger GoldenPass Line linking Lucerne and Montreux, the Lucerne-Interlaken Express connects Lucerne to Interlaken on a two-hour journey. Scenic highlights along the route include Lake Lungern, the Brünig Pass, and Lake Brienz.
The BLS RegioExpress travels along the shores of Lake Thun as it connects Interlaken and Zweisimmen. Chalets and castles dot the small villages of the Bernese Oberland before you cross through Simmental.