Aboard iconic rail lines through the mountains and by boat on picturesque lakes, soak in the majestic landscapes of Switzerland as you embark on this grand tour.
About the Tour
Small in size, endless in amazing scenery: Welcome to Switzerland. Adventures here may take you high into the peaks of the Swiss Alps or deep into broad, colorful valleys. Brilliant blue lakes complement the beautiful clear skies, and in the cities, the buildings weave a multi-century tapestry. Experience the best of this incredible European destination with a grand tour of Switzerland. This escorted expedition begins in Zurich, the largest city in the country. From here, enjoy train rides throughout Switzerland, venturing to cities such as Grindelwald, Montreux, Zermatt, Chur, Lugano and Lucerne. Connect these world-class destinations with rides aboard the country’s intricate rail network and some of its most famous trains: Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Gotthard Panorama Express, GoldenPass Panoramic, Gornergrat Mountain Railway, and the Jungfrau Railway. Soak in the awe-inspiring scenery as you traverse between historic cities and resort towns. Each locale brings new adventures, including mountain rail excursion to the “Top of Europe,” the Jungfraujoch, a paddle steamer cruise on dazzling Lake Lucerne and free time to explore the historic and modern sites of the cities. Spend 11 days falling in love with the scenery and splendor that are uniquely Switzerland.
- Six scenic rail excursions: Jungfrau Railway, Gornergrat Mountain Railway, GoldenPass Panoramic, Glacier Express, Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express
- Hotel accommodations for 10 nights
- 15 meals, including lunch on the Glacier Express
- Cruise on Lake Lugano
- Transportation by motorcoach
- Select transfers
- Services of a professional Tour Manger
- Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
Day 1 - Zürich
Arrive in Zürich and transfer to your downtown hotel. After checking in, enjoy free time to get acquainted with the city ahead of your welcome dinner at the hotel this evening. Overnight Zürich. (D)
Day 2 - Zürich to Grindelwald by Train
We depart Zürich by train this morning and embark on a beautiful journey to Grindelwald in the heart of the country. The train makes stops in Lucerne and Interlaken before arriving in Grindelwald, known to be one of the most scenic resort towns in Switzerland. Picturesque vistas can be seen from every angle as we make the short walk from the train station to the hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the amenities of this wonderfully scenic locale. You may wish to take a mountainside gondola ride or to take in the dramatic scenery from the First Cliff Walk. Hiking trails surround Grindelwald, with one of the most popular being the Eiger Trail. Of course, you may also wish to visit the Grindelwald Museum to learn more about the region’s history. Overnight Grindelwald. (B)
Day 3 - Jungfraujoch
Today we embark on a journey to the “Top of Europe,” Jungfraujoch. Our climb begins with a cog railway ride to Kleine Scheidegg. Here, we switch rail lines and continue our journey to the top. At over 11,000 feet above sea level, the Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe. You have some free time to explore its attractions, including the Ice Palace, the Top of Europe shops, the Lindt chocolatier or the Sphinx observation deck. As we return to Grindelwald this afternoon, you can continue your explorations at leisure ahead of tonight’s group dinner at the hotel. Overnight Grindelwald. (B, D)
Day 4 - Grindelwald to Montreux
After breakfast at the hotel, we walk as a group to the train station and join the train to Montreux. Montreux is beloved for its breathtaking location, with steep hillsides on one side and Lake Geneva’s sparkling waters on the other. The train ride takes just under 4 hours to complete, and while you ride, enjoy views of several beautiful cities and the changing Swiss countryside. On arrival in this famous resort town, we transfer from the train station to our hotel with an afternoon at leisure to soak in the magnificent scenery and endless amenities. Guests that arrive in July may be able to visit the Montreux Jazz Festival, a highly anticipated annual event filled with countless concerts and fantastic events that bring the spirit of music to life. Overnight Montreux. (B)
Day 5 - Montreux to Zermatt
A brief walk takes us from our hotel to the train station in Montreux, where we board a train to Zermatt in the southern tip of Switzerland. The train trip takes us through scenic national park land and past towering mountain peaks as we follow the southerly route. You know we have arrived when the mighty Matterhorn comes into view. We transfer to our hotel upon arrival, and the remainder of the day is yours at leisure. Zermatt is simply amazing, with its car-free streets and immense history. There are plenty of modern shops and restaurants to explore, as well as a historic Old Village, home to over 30 traditional wooden Walser houses and ancient barns and stables. You may wish to visit the Matterhorn Museum or to pamper yourself in one of the luxurious spas. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Day 6 - Gornergrat Mountain Railway
A spectacular adventure lies ahead today on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway. The walk to the train station in Zermatt city center takes just a few minutes to complete, and we are in for a wonderful journey as the eclectic cog railway makes its way up the mountainside. Europe’s highest open-air cog railway, this mountain train passes through tunnels, crosses bridges and offers views of lakes, forests and ravines. The route takes under an hour to complete and makes stops at four stations as we travel up the mountain. Take some time to enjoy impressive scenes from the top, such as that of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. There is an excellent viewing platform from which to take it all in, as well as plenty of room to walk around. We return to Zermatt with the afternoon at leisure before enjoying dinner at the hotel this evening. Overnight Zermatt. (B, D)
Day 7 - Glacier Express
A jewel in the crown of this grand train tour of Switzerland is today’s ride on the Glacier Express. We depart our hotel after breakfast this morning and make our way to the Zermatt station to board this classic train. Watch as the Matterhorn fades into the distance and some of the region’s other tall peaks come into view. We cross through the V-shaped Upper Rhone Valley and makes its way across the Furka Pass before crossing through a long tunnel en route to Andermatt. We venture across the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the train ride, and descend into the Rhine Valley. The Rhine Gorge region is often referred to as the Swiss Grand Canyon, thanks to its dramatic scenery, and you have the opportunity to take it all in before arriving in Chur. Lunch is served on board before arrival. When the train makes its stop in Chur, transfer to the hotel and have the remainder of the day to relax or to explore this alpine town. Perhaps take a cable car ride on the Brambrüesch aerial cableway or begin your explorations of the 13th-century Old Town, free of vehicular traffic. Overnight Chur. (B, L)
Day 8 - Bernina Express
Keep your camera handy and your eyes peeled for amazing sights as we cross through the Alps aboard the Bernina Express. This train ride follows the highest route in the Alps and highlights the unique regions of Switzerland. Travel high into the mountains, gazing upon snow-covered peaks and mighty glaciers, before gliding down the mountainside toward the palm trees Switzerland’s Italian region. Your time on the Bernina Express is filled with incredible scenery, twists and turns. Cross through 55 tunnels and pass over 196 bridges as the journey proceeds. Because the train is equipped with panoramic rail cars, you can take in all the glory at every turn as you approach Tirano. As the train stations, we switch modes of transportation and continue from Tirano to Lugano. On arrival, we take the underground funicular railway from the station to the city center and embark on a lakeside walk to our hotel. This evening is at leisure to soak in Lugano’s immense beauty, from its stunning lake to its mountain backdrop. Perhaps take a stroll through Parco Civico or seek out the city’s magnificent cathedrals. Overnight Lugano. (B)
Day 9 - Lake Lugano Cruise
Gain a different perspective on the majestic landscape during today’s expedition: a cruise on Lake Lugano. The port is located right across from our hotel, and as we board the boat, take in views of palm trees and verdant mountains as we sail toward Gandria on the north shore of the lake. Take some time to look at the beautiful lakeside villas and visit Gandria’s museums during your time here. Soak in the warm sun as the ship sails back toward Lugano, where your afternoon is at leisure to continue your sightseeing. Overnight Lugano.
Day 10 - Gotthard Panorama Express
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel this morning before embarking on one last railway adventure, this time aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express. Take in vistas of castles, palm trees and wine-growing regions as the route begins. The train passes through spiral loops and several tunnels, including the spectacular Gotthard Tunnel, dating back to 1882. The train continues through another set of spiral loops as it nears the town of Wassen and cascades through the valley of the River Ruess before arriving in Flüelen, where we switch modes of transportation. Sheer beauty surrounds us as we travel by paddle steamer across Lake Lucerne to the one and only Lucerne. During the 3-hour boat ride, enjoy views of Tell’s Chapel, the snow-capped peaks of Gotthard Pass and high rock walls that rise up on both sides of the lake. Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus come into view as you approach Lucerne - the perfect scenic ending to this idyllic journey. As we dock, the group transfers to the hotel. Take some time to freshen up ahead of the group’s farewell dinner tonight at the hotel. Overnight Lucerne. (B, D)
Day 11 - Tour Conclusion
Your grand tour through Switzerland concludes this morning after breakfast. Transfers to Zurich airport are available. (B)
Hotel accommodations include Hotel St. Gotthard (Zurich), Derby Hotel (Grindelwald), Royal Plaza (Montreaux), Hotel Sonne (Zermatt), Romantik Hotel Stern (Chur), Hotel Walter au Lac (Lugano) and Ameron Hotel Flora (Lucerne).
This train winds its way through the Swiss Alps, travelling through 91 tunnels, and crossing 291 bridges. Relax and enjoy the view through the panoramic windows at your seat, or take in a drink at the bar. You'll have views of snow-capped mountains, canyons, narrow valleys, and rushing waters.
Depart Switzerland and cross the border into northern Italy. The route passes through a variety of terrain including orchards, chestnut trees and vineyards on its way to Tirano. Cross the famous Brusio Circular Viaduct on this narrow-gauge train that begins in the mountains and winds down to street level. Pass through the town of Tirano as you reach the city's station. The train includes refreshments and the commentary of a tour guide.
Gotthard Panorama Express
Previously named the Wilhelm Tell Express, the Gotthard Panorama Express is a wonderful piece of railway engineering with many spiral loops, bridges and tunnels. The journey includes travel by train and boat offering very diverse scenery with snowcapped mountains and palm trees along the way.
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