An independent rail journey of epic proportions, this voyage unveils the sensational panoramas of southern Switzerland, including the Glacier Express, the Centovalli Train and the Gotthard Panorama Express.
10 days $1,975
About the Tour
From the modern architecture of Zürich to the palm trees of Lugano, the immense beauty and amazing variations of the Swiss landscape come to life on this adventure. Five cities, each with its own scenic delights and cultural contributions are highlighted, as are three of the country’s scenic rail lines. The journey commences in Zürich before moving to St. Moritz by train. From here, the Glacier Express takes you through the valleys and peaks of the Swiss Alps to Zermatt. Another scenic railway, the Centovalli Railway, presents the beauty of Italy’s northern tip as you travel through the “Hundred Valleys” region to the Italian-speaking city of Lugano in Mediterranean Switzerland. Enjoy the ever-changing scenes of the Swiss landscape one last time as you travel between Lugano and Lucerne aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express. In each city, spend your time sightseeing at leisure - exploring the attractions that most interest you with your Swiss Flex Travel Pass in hand. Southern Switzerland’s delights await.
8-day Swiss Travel Flex Pass featuring unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat plus select mountain excursions and admission to more than 500 museums
Three scenic rail excursions: Glacier Express, the Centovalli Train and Gotthard Panorama Express
Arrive in Zürich today, and make your way to your centrally located hotel. Take the remainder of the day to enjoy the offerings of this world-class city. Perhaps take a stroll down the scenic promenade along Lake Zürich or meander through the enchanting streets of Old Town. Overnight Zürich.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel this morning before transferring independently to Zürich’s train station. Get settled into your seat for the scenic ride to St. Moritz. The route begins by skirting the shores of Lake Zürich and moves through countryside, protected parklands, and cities, before arriving in St. Moritz. Upon disembarking the train, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and take in the stunning surroundings. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is yours to get acquainted with this resort town. You may wish to peruse the galleries and shops throughout the city or to visit one of the museums. The culinary scene in St. Moritz is phenomenal, with restaurants ranging from traditional Swiss fare to haute cuisine. Overnight St. Moritz. (B)
Whether you desire an alpine adventure or hope to stay in town, there is plenty to experience during your day at leisure in St. Moritz. The Leaning Tower is a unique sight to behold, with its 5.5 percent tilt. Other popular attractions in town include Engadiner Museum, the Segantini Museum, and the St. Moritz Design Gallery. You are well-equipped with your Swiss Flex Travel Pass and enjoy free admission to over 500 museums throughout Switzerland, as well as reduced admission for mountain excursions. One such excursion aboard the Muottas Muragl Funicular railway offers incredible views over the Upper Engadin Valley, as well as a variety of activities at the summit of the mountain. Overnight St. Moritz. (B)
Experience “Europe’s slowest express train” today as you make the journey between St. Moritz and Zermatt on the world-famous Glacier Express. This train moves at a leisurely pace during its 186-mile route through the Alps, presenting all the glory of Switzerland. The train travels through spiral loops and across the magnificent Landwasser Viaduct. Cities such as Chur, Andermatt, and Brig are stopping points, and the scenes of the Rhine Valley are truly memorable. Enjoy the wonder of passing through mountain tunnels and the vistas from artful bridges. After approximately 8 hours of Switzerland’s dramatic scenes, the train arrives in Zermatt. Make your way to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure in this charming resort destination. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Sightsee through Zermatt at your own pace today. One of the best places to get an authentic feel for the village is on Bahnhofstrasse, Zermatt’s Main Street. The village is car-free, so strolling between boutique shops, galleries and restaurants is a dream. You may wish to discover the traditional wooden houses and beautifully preserved buildings of the Old Village or to visit the Matterhorn Museum to learn more about the history of the Zermatt area. Alternatively, take in the views from a higher vantage point aboard the Gornergrat Railway. This open-air train travels from the village center to the summit of the Gornergrat during its half-hour journey. Along the way, enjoy views of the village and surrounding mountainscapes, including the mighty Matterhorn, which looms over Zermatt. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Make your way to Zermatt’s train station this morning to board your train bound for Domodossola, Italy. The journey is again filled with natural beauty as you climb through the Alps and pass through amazing feats of engineering, such as the Simplon Tunnel. The train descends from high in the mountains to the city of Domodossola, where you join the Centovalli Train bound for Lugano. Enjoy the scenery of the “Hundred Valleys” region, as well as views of the rivers, gorges and snow-capped mountains that form the railway’s backdrop. As you arrive in Lugano, one of the first things you will notice is the unique contrast of the distant mountains and the palm trees of the city. This Italian-speaking canton is chock-full of Mediterranean flair and is yours to explore for the remainder of the day. Overnight Lugano. (B)
From arts and culture to food and wine, the city of Lugano is a treasure trove. During your day at leisure, you may wish to seek out Piazza della Riforma, Lugano’s main square, which is a hub for shopping and dining. In Old Town, historical pastel-hued buildings line sloping pedestrian streets, and the promenades offer fine views of the lakefront. Chapels and villas abound, as do art galleries. If you want to explore the natural side of the city, perhaps visit the beautiful Parco Civico or explore one of the walking or hiking trails found just outside the city limits. A ride aboard the Monte San Salvatore Funicular Railway showcases the immense beauty this region has to offer. You also have the option to cruise Lake Lugano to one of the famous grottos and learn to make traditional risotto with a professional chef. Overnight Lugano. (B)
Watch the immense history and breathtaking landscapes of Switzerland unfold as you travel from Lugano to Lucerne on the legendary Gotthard Panorama Express. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready; the amazing sights begin almost immediately. Leaving Lugano, there are vineyards, colorful resort villages, castles, and beautiful Lake Maggiore. The train continues through spiral loops and the 9-mile-long Gotthard tunnel before emerging in a more traditional alpine atmosphere. Moving into the Reuss River Valley, watch as the landscape narrows between the mountains. The Gotthard Panorama Express follows the river, through the lovely town of Amsteg and into pristine mountain meadows on tracks which are truly a marvel of engineering, given the landscape.
In Flüelen, disembark the train, and prepare for the final leg of your journey, a cruise on Lake Lucerne aboard an authentic paddle steamer. Forested cliffs frame Lake Lucerne, and in the background, the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps add another dimension of beauty. You will see harbors and colorful buildings as the boat passes lakeside towns, and after a leisurely journey, you arrive in Lucerne. Make your way to the hotel upon docking, then enjoy an evening to explore the city’s gastronomic delights or to take in the sights of historical architecture bathed in the evening light. Overnight Lucerne. (B)
Immerse yourself in the traditions and culture of Lucerne and the surrounding region today as you explore at your own pace. You may wish to start your day in Old Town, passing the old limestone buildings whilst walking on cobbled streets. There are lovely medieval buildings and charming boutiques, as well as a beautiful riverfront to explore. The Chapel Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge are the city’s most iconic footbridges, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, respectively. Lucerne is brimming with art and history, which are presented at museums such as the Swiss Museum of Transportation, the Rosengart Collection and the Richard Wagner Museum. Alternatively, there are plenty of mountain excursions to be had outside the city limits, including to Mount Rigi aboard the Vitznau – Rigi Kulm Cogwheel Railway; Mount Pilatus aboard the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, the Pilatus Railway; or to the summit of Mount Titlis by cable car. Overnight Lucerne. (B)
Your journey through southern Switzerland concludes after breakfast this morning. Board your train back to Zürich or continue on with your travels in this scenic destination. (B)
Moderate Hotels are centrally located 3-star properties such as Leoneck Swiss Hotel, Zurich; Hotel Hauser Swiss Quality, St. Moritz; Hotel Excelsior, Zermatt; International au Lac Hotel, Lugano; and Hotel De la Paix, Lucerne. Seat reservations are in second class. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities.
Superior Hotels are centrally located 4-star properties such as Hotel Ambassador, Zurich; Hotel Crystal, St. Moritz; Hotel Alpenhof, Zermatt; Hotel Lugano Dante Swiss Quality, Lugano; and Hotel des Balances, Lucerne. Seat reservations are in second class. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities.
Glacier Express This train winds its way through the Swiss Alps, traveling 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.
Centovalli Train The Domodossola–Locarno railway, also known in Switzerland as the Centovalli railway and in Italy as Valle Vigezzo railway, is a meter-gauge railway negotiating the dramatic mountainous terrain between Domodossola, Italy, and Locarno, Switzerland. The scenic route runs through the Centovalli (meaning "100 valleys" in Italian) and shows another kind of Switzerland: rocky gorges, quaint stone villages, and many waterfalls.
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 snow-capped mountains and palm trees along the way.
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Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Hotel and Rail accommodations listed above, are subject to change based on availability at the time of booking.