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Best of Switzerland by Rail

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10 days From $3,995 $3,695 per person
4.2 stars(23 reviews)
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Experience sensational alpine scenery as the natural beauty of Switzerland is explored during journeys on world-famous trains, including the Glacier Express

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
Save Up to $500

Early Booking Offer Ends August 7th: Save up to $500 per person on 2025 Vacations, offer varies by tour. Prices as marked online. 

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Mobility Rating 4

2025 Tour code: SGJ25

About the tour

From Switzerland's largest city, Zürich, this round-trip unveils an unforgettable perspective on this small but stunning European country.

Uncover delightful towns such as medieval St Gallen and Lucerne, lakeside Montreux, upmarket St Moritz and charming Zermatt, traveling between them on Switzerland's famed trains.

Renowned railroads provide a front-row seat to the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps. Admire stunning lakes and awe-inspiring mountains, including the symbolic Matterhorn, from the Glacier Express, Bernina Express, GoldenPass Express and Gornergrat Mountain Railway.

Unforgettable Experiences

Riding the full length of the iconic Glacier Express
Riding the full length of the iconic Glacier Express
With lunch provided at your seats, gaze in awe as unparalleled panoramas of the Swiss Alps and Rhine Gorge unfold on a spellbinding journey from Zermatt to St Moritz.
Traveling to Italy aboard the stunning Bernina Express
Traveling to Italy aboard the stunning Bernina Express
Journey on the world-renowned and UNESCO-listed Bernina Express, passing by snow-capped mountains and incredible glaciers enroute to the Italian town of Tirano.
Embarking on a breathtaking mountain rail trip up Mount Rigi
Embarking on a breathtaking mountain rail trip up Mount Rigi
Carrying passengers to the top of Mount Rigi since 1871, hop aboard Europe’s oldest mountain railway to a height of nearly 6,000 feet above sea level for incredible 360° views of peaks and lakes.
Basking in Matterhorn views from the Gornergrat Railway
Basking in Matterhorn views from the Gornergrat Railway
Witness unmatched vistas of the Matterhorn from the second-highest railway in Europe. Enjoy a captivating six-mile cogwheel journey to a superb vantage point in front of Switzerland’s most symbolic mountain.
Absorbing panoramic scenes on the GoldenPass Express
Absorbing panoramic scenes on the GoldenPass Express
Opened in 2022, this route allows travelers to enjoy a beautiful journey in panoramic carriages direct from idyllic Interlaken, nestled between lakes and mountains, to the chic lakeside resort of Montreux.
Exploring historic St Gallen on a guided tour
Exploring historic St Gallen on a guided tour
Visit charming St Gallen for a guided tour of its Old Town, where beautiful Baroque architecture lines the streets, and its 1,300-year-old cathedral shines as a reminder of old-world European grandeur.
Spending time in beautiful Zermatt and St Moritz
Spending time in beautiful Zermatt and St Moritz
Stay for two nights in both of these charming resort towns. Soak in the tranquil atmosphere of Zermatt, nestled in the shadow of the Matterhorn, and embrace the vibrant lifestyle of upmarket St Moritz.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Zürich

Welcome to your Swiss rail adventure! After landing in this small but mighty European country, make your own way by rail or taxi to your Zürich hotel. 

The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or begin exploring on your own. Zürich is Switzerland's largest city and sits at the northern edge of a beautiful lake that shares its name. With a history stretching back to the Romans, there are many attractions to seek out here. The city is also an art-lovers' paradise. The Kunsthaus displays major works of fine art, modern and Constructivist pieces can be found in Museum Haus Konstruktiv (located inside a former power station), and Cabaret Voltaire is the spiritual home of Dadaism.

This evening, return to your hotel to meet the Tour Manager and traveling companions for a welcome dinner. Overnight Zürich.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Exploring St Gallen, Switzerland’s fairytale city

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of northeastern Switzerland near to the borders of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, the historic city of St Gallen is our destination after breakfast today.

Arriving after a short train journey, we embark on a walking tour of its quaint Old Town. Named after a 7th-century Irish monk who founded a hermitage here, St Gallen brims with old-world delights. Colorful buildings with protruding ornate oriel windows line the attractive squares and charming streets, but its main sights can be found around its Baroque cathedral. Set within the grounds of an abbey dating back to the 8th century, this twin-towered 18th-century cathedral is UNESCO-listed. Admire the historic building, including the famous Baroque cathedral, as we learn about the origins of the town. The astonishing abbey library is another World Heritage site, containing a significant collection of works dating from the 8th century. One of the world's oldest and most beautiful libraries, it is decorated in grand Rococo style with arched, frescoes ceilings.

There is time for lunch independently before we return to Zürich this afternoon. Overnight Zürich.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Lakeside Lucerne and Mount Rigi Cogwheel Railway

Leaving Zürich after breakfast, we travel by train to idyllic Lucerne. This medieval city is set on a beautiful lake amidst snowcapped Alps. On arrival, we enjoy a vacation highlight as we view the stunning scenery from lake and mountain.

At the quayside outside Lucerne's train station, we embark on a cruise across Lake Lucerne, taking in the beautiful surroundings. Europe's oldest mountain railway, Mount Rigi Cogwheel Railway, has been carrying passengers up the peak since 1871. Following in their steps, we make the journey to the summit, nearly 5,900 feet above sea level. Truly breathtaking panoramas greet us as we gaze in awe at sharp peaks blanketed by snow and thick forests, while Lake Lucerne glistens below. There is free time to stroll among the alpine meadows and absorb the sensational vistas.

Our descent takes us to Rigi Kaltbad by train, where a cable car journey to Weggis gives us unobstructed views of the lake unfolding below us. Returning to Lucerne by boat, there is a free evening to explore this historic city and dine independently. Overnight Lucerne.

*Please note: On some departures, we will stay in Stansstad.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Across the Swiss Highlands to glistening Lake Geneva

Switzerland's newest iconic train, the GoldenPass Express, is today's highlight. First, we make our way by rail across the Brünig Pass to picturesque Interlaken after breakfast.

Until 2022, the route connecting the snow-capped peaks of the Bernese Oberland with the palm trees of Lake Geneva required a change of trains in Zweisimmen. Now, however, innovative Swiss technology means the train can adapt its gauge and complete the route from Interlaken to Montreux direct. Passing Lake Thun, we begin to climb through untamed forests and rolling mountains, with our panoramic carriages providing excellent views enroute. Quaint villages and alpine meadows are scattered across the landscape before we reach the upmarket mountain resort of Gstaad. Beginning our descent to Montreux, we view shimmering Lake Geneva through the sparkling vineyards.

From chic Montreux, the short final leg of our journey takes us to nearby Vevey. After checking in to our hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Vevey.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - By rail to tranquil Zermatt in the heart of the Alps

A free morning in Vevey is yours to spend as you wish. Relax at our hotel or opt to travel independently to Château de Chillon. This fairytale medieval castle appears as if it is floating on Lake Geneva and was formerly occupied by the influential House of Savoy. One of the country's most visited historic sites, it has attracted tourists since the early 1800s, including the likes of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley.

This afternoon, a scenic rail journey sees us travel along the Rhône deeper into Switzerland's stunning mountains. With lush wildflower meadows, thundering waterfalls and rugged mountains, the dramatic Matter Valley guides us to our destination - beautiful Zermatt. On arrival in this car-free town, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Zermatt is full of historic sights and dominated by the mighty Matterhorn - its pyramidal peak can be seen from most parts of the town.

Dinner is on your own tonight and Zermatt is a great place to experience a taste of authentic Switzerland. Overnight Zermatt.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Marveling at the Matterhorn on the Gornergrat Railway

Today begins with a mountain adventure after breakfast as we journey on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway.

More than 125 years old, this charming heritage train is Switzerland's original electric cogwheel railway and first carried travelers the six miles up the mountain in August 1898. As we make our way up to the summit over the course of 33 minutes, we ride across picturesque valleys and through lush alpine forests to an altitude of more than 10,000ft above sea level. The spectacular views from the top are utterly jaw-dropping, and on a clear day an astonishing 29 mountaintops are visible. We have time to soak in these spellbinding vistas, including Monte Rosa and the best view of the majestic Matterhorn. This famous mountain is an iconic symbol of Switzerland, and its striking shape also provided the inspiration for the design of Toblerone.

After descending the mountain to Zermatt, there's free time to wander amongst the 17th-century wooden chalets bedecked with blooms of geraniums on Hinterdorfstrasse before dinner this evening. Overnight Zermatt. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Experiencing the Glacier Express to St Moritz

Regularly considered one of the world's best train journeys, we board the iconic Glacier Express after breakfast for a spectacular day of travel.

Enjoying an unforgettable eight-hour journey the full length of its route, the 'slowest express train in the world' winds through breathtaking Swiss scenery on the way from Zermatt to the chic town of St Moritz. Watching on as the Matterhorn fades into the distance and some of the region's other tall peaks come into view, we pass through the steep Rhône Valley. After crossing the Furka Pass, we enter a nine-mile-long tunnel and traverse the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the route. With lunch served at our comfortable seats, we can relax and marvel at dramatic scenery including the 'Swiss Grand Canyon'. Twisting and turning along the UNESCO-listed Albula Line, the last leg of this scintillating journey sees us snake across deep ravines and impressive viaducts on the approach to St Moritz.

On arrival, we check in to our central hotel where the rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight St Moritz. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 - Crossing to Italy aboard the stunning Bernina Express

One of Europe's most jaw-dropping train trips awaits after breakfast today as we cross the Alps aboard the UNESCO-listed Bernina Express.

Known as Switzerland's best-kept secret by rail experts, this astonishing journey follows the highest route in the Alps and highlights the country's unique regions. Reaching the summit at more than 7,300 feet above sea level, we pass the turquoise waters of Lago Bianco before crossing the Bernina Pass. Pausing to view the spectacular Palü Glacier beside the tracks at Alp Grüm, we then wind down the mountains, spiralling round the remarkable corkscrew viaduct at Brusio. Our destination is the Italian town of Tirano. Free time here allows you to explore the narrow, cobbled streets and characterful piazzas.

Returning to St Moritz, the rest of the day is at leisure. Located immediately outside our central hotel, the Via Serlas is one of the world's most famous shopping streets and brims with upmarket fashion boutiques. Dining independently this evening, St Moritz boasts a wide array of cuisines, including authentic local food such as raclette or hearty pizzoccheri pasta. Overnight St Moritz. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Return to Zürich for a guided tour

Departing St Moritz after breakfast this morning, we embark on our final rail adventure of the tour, this time returning to Zürich. The sensational Albula Line puts on a scenic show on the way to Chur, while views of sparkling lakes can be admired enroute to Zürich.

Upon arrival, we get acquainted with the city during a guided sightseeing tour. Switzerland's largest city is beautifully located on the banks of two rivers and a lake. This historic and cultural city is famed as a financial center and boasts many impressive sights, including the Opera House and the castle-like building that houses the National Museum. Dating from the 13th century, Fraumünster Church is an icon of Zürich and the city's skyline. Here, Marc Chagall's five-piece stained-glass windows flood the chapel with light and color.

After time at leisure to continue your explorations, we gather at our hotel for a farewell dinner. Overnight Zürich.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Homeward bound

Switzerland is rightly famed for its beauty and warm hospitality. Our exploration of the country has revealed all this and more through its iconic trains, mountainous scenery and charming towns. A round-trip beginning and ending in Zürich has taken us to medieval St Gallen and Lucerne to glamorous Montreux, Zermatt and St Moritz. Astonishing views have been experienced on rail trips to the peaks of Mount Rigi and the Gornergrat, where we marveled at the symbolic Matterhorn. Travel is part of the experience in Switzerland, and we have journeyed on world-famous trains including the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and GoldenPass Express, admiring spectacular landscapes enroute.

As your tour of Switzerland comes to a conclusion this morning, you return to Zürich Airport by rail. The Tour Manager will provide your train ticket and 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 Park, Lucerne

Hotel Continental Park, Lucerne

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Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

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Astra Hotel, Vevey

Astra Hotel, Vevey

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Hotel Schweizerhof

Hotel Schweizerhof, Zermatt

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Hotel Simi

Hotel Simi, Zermatt

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Hotel Sonne

Hotel Sonne, Zermatt

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Hotel Winkelried, Stansstad

Hotel Winkelried, Stansstad

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Trains

Bernina Express
The Glacier Express
The GoldenPass Line
Gornergrat Mountain Railway

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Reviews

4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 23 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (11)
  2. 4 stars
    (8)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (2)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Robert

4 stars

Submitted 12 Jul 2024

The train trips were most enjoyable, especially the Bernina Express. We were not ready for the amount of walking required, especially from train stations to hotels. In three instances, walking up or down steep inclines were necessary to reach the hotels. In one instance, our tour director, Kevin Childs, arranged for a hotel shuttle van to pick us up. In the other two instances, we had to take a cab. Most of the walking part of the tour was only for young, able-bodied persons, not senior citizens.. Kevin Childs did an outstanding job as tour director!

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Cheryl

5 stars

Submitted 01 Jul 2024

The trip was great and provided everything promised. Our guide, Kevin Childs, was outstanding in every way. Walking stamina is definitely needed as the streets are not flat by any means. Would recommend as a great way to see Switzerland.

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Robert Munger

5 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2024

Graham was an awesome guide!

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Cheryl

4 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2024

1) very disappointed in Tirano. All shops were closed and your group should have known that the stores close between 1:00-3:00 and rearrange when to be bring your tours there. We could do nothing but go to a restaurant. The food at the restaurant was fabulous. 2) The “cruise” we took was really most a boat picking up and dropping off people at various stops. 3) Both meals we had at the hotel in Zurich served us veal each time. Not everyone likes veal. 4) Also we didn’t “climb” Mt Rigi as your description stated. We rode up to the top of Mt. Rigi and it was beautiful up there. 5) loved the Glacial Express Train and the Bernini. beautiful in every way. 6) very disappointed not to get to Zermatt/Matterhorn due to land slide and flooding. No one’s fault but Mothernature. 7) Very nice hotels. 8) great tour guide.

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Ron

5 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2024

Note to our trip coordinator: "Dear Kevin, it is hard to find words to express our gratitude to you for making our journey such a delightful experience. You guided us through the more challenging moments with grace and experience and provided vital information to make the whole experience smoother and enriching." Ellen Bradley I must add that out of our group of 40, I did not hear a single complaint when it turned out, because of severe weather, we were unable to visit Zermatt and view the Matterhorn. I think this was largely due to how Kevin handled the whole situation. Also, as it turned out, the most spectacular part of the journey was our experience on the Benini express! Ron Bradley

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Peter D.

4 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2024

Having probably the best tour manager we have ever had certainly enhanced the trip. Kevin Childs handled the disaster we had, not being able to go to Zermatt, with great creativity and hard work, and made the tour much less disappointing.

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