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Self-Guided Best of Switzerland by Train

Ride the rails on our Best of Switzerland tour, exploring three of our favorite locations in the Alps.

Self-Guided Best of Switzerland by Train

Ride the rails on our Best of Switzerland tour, exploring three of our favorite locations in the Alps.

  • Self-Guided,
  • Scenic Journeys,
    Activity Level
  • Relaxed to Moderate,

You’re looking for a short, leisurely train trip to the Swiss Alps, and want to focus on just a few of the very best destinations, our self-guided Best of Switzerland is for you.

You’ll start in Lucerne, our favorite Swiss city, followed by two stunning mountain locations, the Bernese Oberland and Zermatt. These are the cream of the crop. Three great destinations linked by first class train at a pace that allows you to see a lot, but to slow down and relax at the same time. It’s an ideal Swiss getaway.

Lucerne is a charming Swiss city, small and tidy, on a beautiful lake and bursting with medieval flair. From here, a scenic Express train brings you to the Bernese Oberland, quite simply the Switzerland of dreams, with soaring mountains, pristine glaciers, cows, waterfalls, and much more. Finally, you’ll travel down to Zermatt, the luxurious mountain village at the base of the incomparable Matterhorn, a bucket list item for any lover of mountain scenery. Take a cogwheel train up to a scenic viewpoint, ride a relaxing lake steamer, or hit the trails for a mountain hike… the choice is yours each and every day.

  • 7 days, 6 nights
  • Jan 01 – Dec 31, 2024
  • $3890 Per Person
  • $950 Single Room

Itinerary At a Glance

Days 1-2


Lakeside Lucerne is a beautiful little city in Central Switzerland. Ride the cogwheel train up Mount Pilatus or Rigi, take a boat ride to the historic Rutli meadow, see the Chapel bridge and walk along the ancient city walls as you explore the Old Town core.

Days 3-4


Grindelwald is at the very heart of the Bernese Oberland, the epicenter of Swiss mountain scenery. The Eiger soars above town, cows graze the meadows, and glaciers and waterfalls tumble from the heights. Take the train to Jungfraujoch, or the easy and mind-blowing walk from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. Or get adventurous on a bigger hike. We’ll give you plenty of options. There is much to explore.

Days 5-6


Now you hop another scenic Swiss train to Zermatt. It is not often that a place can be so famous yet still so surprising. Zermatt is audacious, with amazing hotels and some of the most powerful mountains on Earth. Enjoy a luxurious stay in our favorite 4-star hotel while you explore Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn, or one of the many hiking trails.


Your tour includes 6 nights in comfortable 3 and 4 star hotels, with 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners. You’ll be pampered with a 4-day 1st class Swiss rail pass for your travels. You will also receive topo maps, detailed route descriptions and gps routes for (optional) self-guided hikes, and sightseeing suggestions. We are always available by phone if you have questions during your tour.

Full Itinerary

Day 1

arrive Lucerne, Lion monument and Chapel Bridge

Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train to Lucerne (called Luzern in German), perhaps Switzerland’s prettiest city. Lucerne sits on the banks of a beautiful lake surrounded by mountain. The city itself compact and walkable, with a pedestrian-only Old Town core ringed by medieval city walls.

Stay in Lucerne’s charming Old Town center and see the Chapel Bridge, the Lion of Lucerne, and perhaps an excursion to Mount Pilatus or to nearby Rigi mountain. Both offer historic rides to the summit and sweeping views of the lakes and surrounding mountains.  Breakfast and dinner will be on your own in Lucerne.

Arrival: Plan to arrive by the day your tour starts. There is a train station at the Zürich airport, with frequent departures for Lucerne.   Travel time, 1 hr.

des Alpes or similar

Day 2

Lucerne, visit Pilatus or Engelberg

A second day in Lucerne gives you a chance to further explore this beautiful city and region. If you didn’t get to Pilatus on your first day, that would be a great activity today.  Or you might visit one of Lucerne’s many museums, such as the comprehensive and really fun Transport Museum, filled with everything train, plane, auto and cable car related.

Another option… take a boat ride along the lake, perhaps across the lake to Stans, where the open-air Stanserhorn cable car makes a memorable trip up the mountain. You might take a daytrip to the nearby mountain village of Engelberg, only an hour away, filled with hiking trails and the glacier-clad Titlis mountain.  There is much to see and do!

des Alpes or similar

Day 3

train Grindelwald, visit First and Bachalpsee

You’ll take the beautiful Luzern-Interlaken Express train, a leg of the Goldenpass route, to the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland, our favorite mountain region in the Alps. You have the option to stay in either car-free Wengen or Mürren, but for up-close mountain scenery and easy access to cable cars, it’s hard to beat Grindelwald.

Grindelwald sits at the base of the Eiger North Face, a ginormous mountain wall stretching 10’000 ft above town. You’ll have time for a hike today, perhaps the scenic walk from the First gondola to the postcard-ready Bachalpsee lake mirroring the Eiger, Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn mountains that rise above town.

Gletschergarten or similar
  • Dinner

Day 4

Grindelwald, visit Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg

A second day in Grindelwald is not nearly enough, but it will have to do. What to do… there are so many choices! This is the Switzerland of fairy-tales, with soaring mountains, flower-munching cows, and countless waterfalls. One option is to ride the Jungfraujoch train up to the massive Aletsch glacier, taking in some of the most famous scenery in Switzerland.

Or you may decide to take a hike. We can send you up into the mountains on a narrow trail to an alpine hut hidden among the glaciers. Stop in for lunch as avalanches peel off the glaciers to the valley below. Return to your cozy Grindelwald hotel for dinner and a restful evening.

Gletschergarten or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 5

train to Zermatt, visit Klein Matterhorn

Hop on the train again for a scenic half-day journey through the mountains 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 sharp, glacier-clad peaks.

Ride a cable car up to stunning viewpoints such as the Klein Matterhorn, or just enjoy the ambiance of the village with great restaurants and hotels, and a lively vibe. Our home here is the lovely 4-star Hotel Europe, one of our favorite hotels in the Alps, and a luxurious base for your Zermatt adventures.

4-star Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 6

Zermatt, visit Riffelberg

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, Breithorn, Matterhorn and more.

If you want to get out on the trails, there are many walks from easy strolls to challenging hikes to choose from. Hiking on quiet trails from Riffelberg station to Gornergrat is a great way to see wildflowers, marmots and maybe an Ibex or two, while taking in the fresh mountain air and Matterhorn views.

Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 7


Your tour ends after another lovely breakfast at your hotel.

Departure: Zürich or Geneva. It is 4 hrs from Zermatt to Zürich or Geneva by train.  Trains start at 6 am if you need an early start, and leave frequently throughout the day.

  • Breakfast

What's great about this tour

  • Great for hikers and non-hikers alike
  • A relaxed tour with 3 stops in 6 nights
  • Comfortable and convenient 3 and 4-star hotels
  • Scenic train rides and 1st class rail pass
  • Perfect for a year-round trip... winter, spring, summer or fall
  • Epic mountain scenery… Eiger, Jungfrau, Matterhorn
  • Our favorite locations in the Alps.

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