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Best of Switzerland by Rail

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4.1 stars(17 reviews)
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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.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
10 days From $3,695 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2023 Tour code: WE-SGJA-23

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 enjoy leisure time exploring the city on our own and spend a day in nearby St. Gallen. 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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Zürich

Welcome to Switzerland! After clearing Customs and Immigration formalities, make your own way by rail or taxi to your centrally located hotel. 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.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – St. Gallen Excursion

Today we take the train to St. Gallen. On arrival, we embark on a walking tour of the Old Town. Admire the historic building, including the famous Baroque cathedral, as we learn about the origins of the town. There is time for lunch on your own before returning to Zurich this afternoon. Overnight Zurich

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 – Zürich to Lucerne by Train

Lucerne is one of Switzerland's most idyllic medieval cities, surrounded by a beautiful lake and nestled amidst snowcapped Alps. A highlight of the day is an 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
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." Here we join a 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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 delicious lunch served by onboard attendants as the train maneuvers around twists and turns, inclines and declines before arriving in St. Moritz. Overnight St. Moritz. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Tour Conclusion

Your Swiss rail tour ends this morning with breakfast.  Use your Swiss Rail Pass to transfer to Zurich International Airport.  Your Tour Manager will provide hotel departure time details based on your return flight schedule. 

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel Continental, Lausanne

Hotel Continental, Lausanne

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Romantik Hotel Wilden Mann, Lucerne

Romantik Hotel Wilden Mann, Lucerne

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Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz

Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz

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Hotel Simi

Hotel Simi, Zermatt

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Hotel Glockenhof, Zurich

Hotel Glockenhof, Zurich

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Trains

Bernina Express
The Glacier Express
The GoldenPass Line - Journey to Montreux
Gornergrat Mountain Railway
Lucerne-Interlaken Express

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Reviews

4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 17 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (4)
  2. 4 stars
    (12)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Switzerland

5 stars

Submitted 24 Oct 2022

Our tour manager, Oliver Treacy was excellent and accommodating to our travelers. Would like to have him again on a trip. It would have been helpful for him to use the radios when speaking so those with difficulty could hear easily. I would have liked more local specialists and staying in each place x2 nights to see the city we were in. It was wonderful NOT to feel rushed in the mornings with bags and early leaving times as we have experienced on coach tours.

Collected by Trustpilot

Randy

5 stars

Submitted 19 Oct 2022

This is a great tour of Switzerland. The tour manager was top notch, hotels great and the trains were clean quiet and on time. We saw so much of the country but the Glacier Express and Bernina Express were the highlight.

Collected by Trustpilot

Anna Marie Van Eck

1 stars

Submitted 18 Oct 2022

We were rushed on foot through crowded cities, some crowded train stations and rode on a number of commuter trains. We were originally told we would have airport pick up and after the trip was booked were told that they would not provide requiring us to take a taxi. On most days there was a great deal of walking at a rapid pace to get to and from hotels and train stations. There were multiple flights of stairs, steep upgrades and hills making it difficult (at times impossible) for some of the travelers. None of this was made clear pre-trip. Two of the hotels were terrible. I will provide a few photos. There is much more to say but I will conclude with, Switzerland is lovely but I would suggest another travel company. I would welcome contact from the travel company to discuss this further.

Collected by Trustpilot

X Vacations By Rail GRJ

4 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2022

Our Best of Switzerland trip was beautiful and worth the $ spent. We booked early and took advantage of the early booking discount. We also joined AAA for an additional discount. My only disappointment with the trip was they do not tell you how many trains you will actually be on, although we loved the larger train trips for example, on the Bernini express, unfortunately, it takes a couple of train trips to get to that particular train, in total we were on over 20 trains. The food that we received on the tour was decent but nothing to brag about breakfast was exceptional. However, dinner was sketchy at times one dinner, which was to be a fondue dinner. Wound up being cubes of bread, we did not receive any meat to dip into the cheese , other meals were standard across the group with no choice the best meals we had we’re on our own Only one of the hotels, disappointed the entire group. The other hotels were all very nice and accommodating. Our tour guide was Oliver and he did a wonderful job. One hotel which should be removed from tour is Hotel Continental which was horrid Below are stairs that need to be taken to Hotel Steffani in St Moritz due to escalator being shut down. An absolute nightmare getting to the hotel but our tour guide got us a hotel transport the next morning. Not everyone. Just 5 of us with climbing issues Below photo two was the best of the entire trip. Lunch outside at Mt Rigi. Amazing!! But we did have fabulous weather. Photo 3 I took at Mt Rigi of a friend. Just beautiful Would I do it again ? No. I would plan myself and avoid so many trains I know I wouldn’t see everything we saw but it was exhausting. Ps Yes I’m old 66

Collected by Trustpilot

Eva M., Magnolia, AR

4 stars

Submitted 31 Dec 2018

Very interesting and enjoyable.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Jean M, Lexington, KY

4 stars

Submitted 20 Dec 2018

It has been an excellent tour based on the 'Natural Wonders' of Switzerland. The highlights selected for the tour, the scope of interesting places, transportation modes and mostly because of the tour manager's skill in so very successfully directing the entire tour!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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