12-Day Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour

12 Days

Trip Facts

  • Group
  • Easy to Moderate
  • First Class
  • 3 and 4* Hotels
  • Breakfast and Dinners
  • Fully Guided
  • Rail Tours
  • Culture and Heritage
12-Day Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour
Our 12-day Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour is the ultimate alpine experience. The very best of Switzerland, seen from 11 of the world’s most famous trains—including the Glacier Express, the Gornergrat cogwheel train, the Furka steam train and the Goldenpass line.

Small group size, two-night stays in 3 and 4-stars hotels and luggage service make the Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour the ideal way to experience all that Switzerland has to offer. Leave the details to us so you can relax and enjoy the journey of a lifetime!

Experience the majesty of the Swiss Alps from some of the world’s most legendary trains during your 12-day Swiss Alps Grand rail tour. From the iconic Matterhorn to the fury of Trummelbach Falls, the Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour delivers the total Switzerland experience. Enjoy gentle hikes, bike trails and gondola rides. The tour also delivers cultural highlights including the 9th Century Abbey Library in St. Gallen and the Mediterranean flair of Locarno.

Featured Swiss Railways

Bernina Express
Brienzer Rothorn rack railway
Furka steam railway
Glacier Express
GoldenPass line
Jungfrau railway
Mt. Pilatus cogwheel train
Mt. Rigi cogwheel train
Voralpen-Express
Gornergrat cogwheel train
Zentral Bahn

Highlights of the Swiss Alps Rail Tour

  • Breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps
  • Premium seating on 11 world-famous trains (more than any competing tour)
  • 12 days/11 nights
  • Small-group size (Maximum is 16)
  • Two-night stays at the finest hotels and/or lodges
  • Luggage transfer service between Hotels
  • All breakfasts and dinners included
  • Local, English-speaking guides for the duration of the tour
  • Guest experts provide color and local perspective
  • Historic St. Gallen Abbey Library, home to 8th-century manuscripts
  • Recently declassified Gotthard military bunker
  • Guided walks/hikes and day excursions
  • OPTIONAL: Pre-tour meet-and-greet (adds two days to the rail-tour itinerary)
  • OPTIONAL: Post-tour Taste of Italy (adds three days to your rail-tour itinerary)*

Itinerary

Depending on when everyone arrives in Lucerne, we will set the briefing time that will be held in the Lucerne hotel. The actual time and Lucerne hotel will be listed in the “final itinerary” you will have received in the mail. During the briefing, each of you will introduce yourselves so you will see who all your other travel companions are. Also your guide(s), will review the itinerary and answer all your questions. At this time, we will also pass out the Daypacks, ECHO Rails & Trails ball caps and make sure each of you have an adapter for the wall outlets.  After the briefing, we’ll take a leisurely stroll around the old town that includes stops at historic Chapel BridgeLion MonumentSt. Ledger’s Church, and other sites of interest. We’ll also visit the Glacier Garden and see glacier potholes and learn about Lucerne’s ecology & glacier past. Depending on when we do the briefing, early in the morning or at 1:00 p.m. for those arriving Lucerne the same day, we may have time to visit a nearby Cheese-dairy farm or go up the Stanserhorn Cabrio Cable car for a view of the surrounding Swiss Alps. That evening, we’ll dine at one of Lucerne’s fine restaurants.
Meals Included: Dinner
Accommodations: Continental Park Hotel (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

Day 2 is a delightful introduction to the Swiss transportation experience in Switzerland, a travel system of interlocking parts, all of which are perfectly synchronized.

We’ll be enjoying spectacular alpine views from Lucerne’s two home peaks, Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatus. We’ll travel on the Mt. Rigi Railway featuring the very first cogwheel train, in service since 1871. This is where the tourism business began in 1863 when Thomas Cook in brought the first packaged-tour group to the region.In the afternoon, we’ll scale the sister peak by Pilatus Rail, still the steepest (48% grade) cogwheel train in the world.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Continental Park Hotel (or comparable lodging)
Transport: Mt. Rigi Railway, Pilatus Rail

Breakfast, Dinner

We depart on the Voralpen Express, traveling through the rolling landscapes of Eastern Switzerland to St Gallen where well visit the Abbey Library–one of the oldest libraries in the world. Built in the 9th Century A. D., the library maintains priceless manuscript collections from the Carolingian and Ottonian period. In the afternoon, we’ll continue on to Chur, where we’ll transfer to the legendary Glacier Express route bound for St. Moritz. Sites along the way include the spectacular Landwasser limestone railway viaduct, a World Heritage Site on the Albula Railway.

Once in St. Moritz, we will take the legendary Muottas Muragl Funicular where we have dinner on top of the mountain overlooking the Engadin valley, between the towns of Samedan, St. Moritz and Pontresina.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hauser Hotel (or comparable lodging)
Transport: Volparen Express, Glacier Express

Breakfast, Dinner

Our group boards the Bernina Express to travel across the highest railway in the Alps, a route the offer spectavular views of mountain peaks, glaciers and waterfalls. These are the Alps at their most impressive. In the afternoon, after we have visited the 9,700ft  Diavolezza summit and return to St. Moritz, there is an opportunity to do a 1 ½ hr leisurely walk through the forest on the public path from Pontresina to St. Moritz. The rest of the day there is time to stroll around St. Moritz and explore on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hauser Hotel (or comparable lodging)
Transport: Bernina Express

Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 provides another opportunity to take the Glacier Express route, universally acclaimed as one of the world’s great railway journeys. You’ll cross the Albula line and Landwasser Viaduct a second time, but from the South. The train continues along the Rhine Gorge (Switzerland’s ‘Grand Canyon’) and up to the Oberalp Pass (2033 meters/6000 feet). Enjoy a rarity, a hot meal at your seat, as the train climbs over 1000 meters from Disentis to Oberalp, before arriving at Andermatt in the early afternoon.

In the afternoon, the group will take a 2-hour ride in the Furka Cogwheel Steam Train, a historic rail transport fully restored to its original condition. The second highest rail crossing in Europe—after the Bernina—the Furka train offers unparalleled views of the Rhone and Mutt glaciers.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Crown Hotel (or comparable lodging)
Transport: Glacier Express, Furka Cogwheel Steam Train

Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning, we’ll ride up to the Gotthard Pass summit to get a sense of Switzerland’s defence system during World War II. A Swiss military historian will be on hand when we visit the formerly top-secret Elsasso Gothardo military bunker built to protect Switzerland’s southern flank from invading forces. If you tire of military relics, there are plenty of trails and beautiful mountain scenery to explore.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Chedi Hotel (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

Saying goodbye to Andermatt, we’ll travel through the Furka Tunnel connecting the German-speaking region of Switzerland to the Swiss Canton of Valais where both Swiss German and French is spoken. The peculiarity of the Swiss German spoken in Valais is that is one of the most difficult to understand.

The Furka Base Tunnel is a Swiss railway base tunnel on the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn’s Furka–Oberalp line, an east-west railway connecting the cantons of Valais and Uri.

We’ll arrive in picturesque Zermatt early enough for a relaxed amble around town, with views of the Matterhorn around every corner. Even after a little shopping, there’s plenty of time left to enjoy wellness services at our hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Resort La Ginabelle (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

Experience breathtaking views of Mt. Matterhorn and the Alps in an excursion that combines a cogwheel train ride with an easy-to-moderate day hike

You’ll ride Europe’s second highest railway and the highest open-air railway on the continent—the Gornergrat cogwheel train climbing up to the 10,134 feet (3089 meters) offering incredible views of the Matterhorn along the way.

The group walks up to the 360-degree platform area providing a panoramic view of 29 alpine peaks higher than 13,123 feet (4000 meters)–including the world-famous Matterhorn.

Our 1-2 hour guided hike travels along sign-posted trails of an alpine nature reserve feature awe-inspiring views of the Matterhorn mirrored in pristine alpine lakes.

Along the way, you’ll learn about the origins of Zermatt and the people of the canton of Valais (French) or Wallis (German).

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Resort La Ginabelle (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

Travel through the French speaking Canton of Valais – know as the fruit basket of Switzerland offering delightful views of terraced vineyards and fruit trees.

This segment is branded as the Goldenpass Line with either a Classic train car or the Panorama Car with big panorama windows.

Experience what it was like during the Belle-Epoque, Golden Age period when the rich and famous where the only ones traveling on such trains.

We continue on the GoldenPass Line through the Préalps of the canton of Fribourg and through the beautiful Simmental Valley known for the sturdy brown and white cows and the world famous resort town of Gstaad, home to many Hollywood stars.

View Alpine valleys and rolling hills, green pastures and grazing cows, wooden chalets and picturesque villages as we journey to the Jungfrau region – one of Switzerland’s oldest and most popular resorts in the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel Alpina, Grindelwald (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10 is a memorable one, starting with a train ride to the top of the Jungfraujoch, a complex built between the Mönch and Jungfrau mountains—the perfect venue for viewing Europe’s largest Aletsch glacier. Mountains, snow, and ice as far as one can see. Sit in a deck chair, go tubing or simply walk on the glacier and become one with nature. The afternoon finds the group on a train to Lauterbrunnen where we transfer to a postal bus on its way to Trümmelbach Falls, a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls within the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel-funicular—a complex of lifts, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms constructed in 1913. The falls carry melt water from the glaciers—up to 20,000 liters of water per second, rushing over 20,000 tons of boulders. The mountain shudders and thunders unceasingly—a stage for nature’s majesty.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel Alpina, Grindelwald (or comparable lodging)

Breakfast, Dinner

After taking the Lake Brienz steamer from Interlaken to Brienz, the group boards the Rotbahn Steam train, in continuous operation since 1892. Ascending up to 7,700 feet, the railway offers views of emerald-green Alpine pastures, Swiss farmhouse—and at the peak— 360-degree views of the Bernese mountains.

A cable car takes us down into the Entlebuch valley to visit the pre-Alpine landscape UNESCO has designated as Switzerland’s first biosphere reserve. Later in the day, we’ll catch a local bus to Schupfheim train station where everyone transfers through Bern to the Zürich airport.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Radison Blu (or comparable lodging)
Transport: Lake Brienz Steamer, Rotbahn Steam Railway

Breakfast, Dinner

Departure to home or your next destination.

Breakfast, Dinner

What is included and not included

Included

  • Services of a local Swiss Resident English-speaking guide
  • 1st Class Rail Pass throughout
  • 2 nights Lucerne
  • 2 nights St. Moritz
  • 2 nights Andermatt
  • 2 nights Zermatt
  • 2 nights Grindelwald
  • 1 night airport hotel
  • 3-course dinners each evening and full Swiss breakfasts each morning
  • All ground transportation including mountain railways and cable cars, and admission costs
  • Daily transfer of your luggage directly from hotel to hotel – carry only your day-pack

Not Included

  • Lunch
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Items for personal use

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

12-Day Swiss Alps Grand Rail Tour
Group Discount Available
From CHF8,300
/ Adult

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