If you’re interested in Switzerland, and would like to see as much as possible in a short time, our Switzerland’s Scenic Trains self-guided tour is the tour for you! No busses, no groups… just great train rides, fantastic destinations, charming hotels, and the best sights the Swiss Alps have to offer. This a superb 11-day introduction to the Swiss Alps. It combines stays in 3 of Switzerland’s prettiest and most interesting cities – Lucerne, Lugano and Zurich – along with visits to 3 of the most incredible mountain areas anywhere – the Matterhorn region (Zermatt) and Jungfrau region (your choice of Wengen or Mürren), and the Engadine (Pontresina). Moving often, you’ll enjoy the incredible Swiss train network, including the Glacier Express and Bernina Express, as well as opportunities to take Pilatus, Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat mountaintop trains.
Choose between a deluxe option with distinctive inns, 4-star hotels, and a 1st class rail pass (5-star hotels and suite upgrades are also available), or our standard option with more modest inns, 3-star hotels, and 1st class rail pass. We’ll take care of all the details: get you the most appropriate rail pass, find the best hotels, recommend our favorite sights, and link them together in an itinerary that gets the most out of your time in Switzerland.
As always, you can count on your hotels being the best in their class – charming, family run inns with perfect locations, great food, and professional service. Your typical day will start with a buffet breakfast at your inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – giving you a good start for a full day of sightseeing. Then you’ll be out, seeing the sights such as Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge or Mount Pilatus, Switzerland’s highest train station – the Jungfraujoch, or breathtaking Gornergrat in Zermatt. Many days will include a scenic train ride between villages such as the Bernina Express and Glacier Express routes (reservation fees not included).
In some of the mountain villages and countryside you’ll finish with a multi-course dinner at your hotel restaurant, while in other locations we’ve left evenings free for you to explore some of the many restaurants around, a great chance to get out and follow your own bliss!
Zermatt – Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train to Zermatt, the atmospheric mountain village nestled up at the foot of the Matterhorn.
The Matterhorn is Switzerland’s most recognizable monument, a massive and distinctive mountain surrounded by dozens of fine, glacier-clad peaks. Ride a cable car up to stunning viewpoints, or just enjoy the ambiance of the village with great restaurants and hotels, and a lively shopping district.
Zermatt – You have a second day in Zermatt to take in the sights. The historic cogwheel train ride of up the ridge at Gornergrat is a must, with gorgeous views of Monte Rosa (Switzerland’s highest mountain), the Gorner glacier, Matterhorn and more.
If you want to get out, there are many walks from easy strolls to challenging hikes to choose from.
Pontresina – Connect up with the Glacier Express train to Pontresina in the Engadine region.
Pontresina is my favorite village in the Upper Engadine, a quiet and sophisticated alternative to St. Moritz, and a great base in this region of gorgeous mountain views, alpine lakes, beautiful architecture, and strong local traditions.
Lugano – The Bernina Express route is one of Switzerland’s prettiest rides and brings you from Pontresina past lake Como to Lugano, Switzerland’s sun-drenched, lakeside pearl.
This Italian-speaking region brings a distinctly mediterranean feel, with charming outdoor markets on narrow, cobblestoned streets. Enjoy a night of la Dolce Vita at one of Lugano’s outdoor cafes!
Lucerne – Another beautiful train ride along the William Tell route brings you to Lucerne, perhaps Switzerland’s prettiest city.
We put you in the heart of Lucerne’s historic Old Town center, where you can see the Chapel Bridge, the Lion of Lucerne, museums, or perhaps take the cable car and cogwheel train up to the views from Mount Pilatus.
Lucerne – An extra day in Lucerne give you a chance to further explore.
Take a boat ride along Lake Lucerne and visit the nearby mountain village of Engelberg, with magnificent views from the Titlis cable car. Finish with a romantic riverside dinner in Lucerne’s Old Town center.
Wengen or Mürren – A beautiful 4 hour train ride brings you to the Bernese Oberland to the Jungfrau region, where you’ll stay in your choice of car-free villages, Wengen or Mürren.
Wengen is slightly larger and more convenient to the Jungfraujoch, an unforgettable train ride that tunnels through the Eiger to upper reaches of the Jungfrau mountain. Mürren is quieter, with slightly better mountain views, and the perfect place to unwind and slow down.
Wengen or Mürren – A second day in either Wengen or Mürren gives you a chance to explore this memorable region, my favorite in Switzerland.
This is the Swiss Alps of fairy-tales, with soaring mountains, flower-munching cows, quaint villages and countless waterfalls. Ride the Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn cable car, see the Yosemite-like Lauterbrunnen valley, or take a beautiful alpine walk.
Wengen or Mürren – With a 3rd night in the region, you might opt for the cogwheel train to Schynige Platte or historic steam train up the nearby Rothorn peak.
Or take an easy walk through the Lauterbrunnen valley and visit the powerful Trummelbach waterfalls. There is so much to do in this most incredible of Alpine regions.
Zürich – Take the train back to Zürich, Switzerland’s main city with a surprisingly quaint and walkable city center.
Lose yourself in a maze of narrow, winding streets filled with shops, cafes and restaurants, and enjoy a fantastic dinner on your last night in Switzerland.
depart – A 10-minute train ride from the city center brings you to the airport for your post-tour destination.
If you only have time for a quick trip to Switzerland, our 8-day Best of Switzerland self-guided tour may be just the tour for you!Learn more ›
The self-guided Mürren tour is the perfect combination of a quaint village setting, gorgeous hiking, huge waterfalls, and spectacular mountain scenery.Learn more ›