Grand Train Tour of Switzerland in 10 Days Itinerary

A 10 day trip to Switzerland 
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The snow-capped Alps and the bright emerald meadows speak to the diverse landscape that will be found during your customizable itinerary for Switzerland. Travel on luxury trains across the secluded towns and the steep slopes to discover the views of shimmering lakes with the dramatic peak of the Matterhorn. The historical districts of the fascinating cities reflect both medieval and Renaissance artistry as the scent of chocolate combines with the aroma of evergreen trees. Opulent hotels offer panoramas to the peaceful rivers as the rushing waters of Rhine Falls sound like thunder. Bask in the splendor of the countryside and the beauty of the culture during your grand tour along Switzerland’s scenic railways. 

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General Information

Photos
Railway in Switzerland.
Matterhorn trail sign.
Wintertime in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Zurich, St. Gallen, Lucerne, Montreux, Zermatt, St. Moritz, Lugano, Lucerne, Mt. Titlis, Brig, Geneva, Schaffhausen, Rapperswil, Bern, Interlaken, Chur

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Zurich – Arrive in Vibrant Switzerland for an Introductory City Tour

Zurich is a vibrant city set against the backdrop of the mouth of Limmat River. In the summer, locals jump into the water and drift with the current alongside the whitewashed tower homes to pass beneath the old bridges. Trees shade the walkways along the grid of the fortified Roman settlement on the left bank as bohemian neighborhoods brush against post-industrial apartments that contrast with the winding lanes and the tall church towers of the historical city center.

Your flight will land at Kloten Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival. You will settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel that overlooks the cobbled lanes of the antique neighborhood of Old Town and your guide will greet you in the lobby eager to lead you on an engaging tour of Switzerland’s largest city, beginning at Fraumunster. The Cathedral soars over the city with a 13th-century copper tower, and Marc Chagall crafted the remarkable stained-glass windows that depict stories from the Bible represented in bright, glowing hues.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: St. Gallen – Venture to Renaissance Schaffhausen en route to St. Gallen

The morning light will wash over the city and shine against the turquoise waters of the Limmat River and the rippling surface of Zurich Lake. The doors of the cafes open to the city, emanating the aroma of fresh coffee and light, fluffy cakes. The cobbled square of St. Peter’s Church wraps around an ancient, rustling tree. Your private transfer will escort you to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the main train station of the city. Your will board a first class car and make your way through the marvelous alpine countryside to reach Schaffhausen, an enchanting medieval town near the border with Germany.

The pedestrianized Old Town features pastel-colored homes with oriel bay windows. Ornate frescoes add an extra layer of historical charm to the houses that line the antique cobbled lanes. You will be able to hear the Rhine River rushing against the slopes of the grassy banks while the Munot Fortress crowns the summit that edges the city. The bright frescoes depict Golden Oxen and a Turkish sultan while the scent of fresh bread fades beneath the aroma of seductive buttery pastries topped with berries. You will then venture east to find the 15th-century Ritter House, which boasts a majestic Renaissance-style fresco that highlights the escapades of a valiant knight.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Lucerne – Explore the Scenery of Rapperswil, Bern, and Stunning Lucerne

You will wake up in St. Gallen, one of the highest cities in the world, located at more than 6,550 feet above sea level. The aroma of decadent, thick hot chocolate drifts beneath the homes of 15th-century textile merchants as you make your way to St. Gallen Railway Station for the relaxing and scenic journey to Rapperswil. The town is located on the upper edges of Lake Zurich and is known for the vivacious roses that blossom in the three celebrated gardens.

The castle towers over the town and offers a panoramic view to the jagged mountain peaks and church spires. The edifice was erected in the 13th century in the shape of a triangle, and a tower reinforces the axis. Battlements wrap around the six-story palace while a stunning fresco on a house in Hauptplatz depicts the founding of the town. The medieval city center leads to the lake promenade where cafes set out tables and chairs for patrons to enjoy the panorama of the rippling lake and sloping foothills. 600 different types of roses bloom in summer and fall, making the town radiate crimson, violet, yellow, and orange.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Montreux – Travel the Brunig Pass to Interlaken to View Jungfraujoch

The sunlight will spread over the emerald canopy of the alpine forest that surrounds Lucerne. The red-tiled rooftops of Old Town glint against the turquoise hues of Lake Lucerne as the 14th-century Chapel Bridge connects the opposite shores of the city, decorated with 17th-century frescoes along the roof rafters. Your private transfer will escort you to your first-class train car at Luzern Bahnhof to venture through the Brunig Pass. The railway travels more than 45 miles along a narrow gauge line. Outside the window, you will find shimmering cobalt blue lakes, jade grasses, emerald trees, and rugged mountain peaks that roll over the horizon.

Tulips blossom in the gardens that are connected to the more than 30 acres of the Hoheweg, an avenue between the east and west train station. The flatland and verdant grass bring a sweeping view to the Jungfrau, the main massif, framed by hotels, cafes, and the flowers in bloom. You will then board the modern cogwheel railway to reach more than 6,800 feet above sea level. You will eventually reach the Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in the world and more than 11,000 feet above sea level. It is often referred to as the “Top of Europe.” The air is thin and crisp on your cheeks, and you will find the scent of ice drifting from the glacier and the meltwater creating the nearly 14-mile long ice stream in the distance.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Zermatt – Traverse Lake Geneva to Brig and Zermatt to find the Matterhorn 

The splendors of Montreux inspired artists and writers, including the 19th-century poet Lord Byron. The tranquil lakeside resort town maintains a mild climate, and a charming Old Town set beneath the ramparts of the 13th-century fortress. The morning air fills with the scent of chocolate and buttery pastries emanating from the quiet cafes. Your private transfer will lead you to the train station for your scenic ride to Brig, and the gorgeous landscape persists during the ride from Brig to Zermatt. Travel along rugged cliffs and steep mountain slopes to reach the car-free alpine town.

The Matterhorn bursts from the horizon as if from a jack-in-the-box, reaching a height of nearly 14,700 feet above sea level with a curvature resembling a shark’s fin. The steep slopes enclose the green valley and lead to marvelous views of the Matterhorn from every single angle as half-timber homes resemble wooden chalets. You will board Europe’s highest cogwheel train, known as the Gornergrat Bahn, named for position along the hills of the more than 10,100-foot high Gornergrat Mountain. The railway was erected in the late 19th century, and at sunset you can watch the layers of the sky burn orange and red, reflecting in the snow-capped peak of the Matterhorn.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: St. Moritz – Ride the Glacier Express to Chur on a Scenic Train to St. Moritz

The rustic wood that frames the lobby windows adds to the luxury and charm of your accommodation in Zermatt. You will have a view of the Matterhorn from the comforts of your hotel and can savor the refreshing hot chocolate at breakfast. As you are ready, you will venture to the train station to board your first-class car on the Glacier Express. The train is celebrated for its majestic views as it passes through more than 90 tunnels and across nearly 300 bridges. Peaceful pastures shine with green grass set against the spectacular snow-capped mountaintops the background.

Villages of half-timber homes overlook cows and sheep as they graze in the alpine meadows. You will soon reach Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland, nestled in a small valley encircled by the Alps. The city was established in 3,000 BC and has beckoned people with unfathomable natural beauty and a chic charm that comes from boutiques, art galleries, quaint cafes, and restaurants serving traditional Swiss cuisine that fill the city. Old Town rests near the banks of the Plessur River, and the Obertor Tower serves as the entrance gate to the city center. The distinctive spire of the Martinskirche Church was erected in the 15th century with a Gothic style and is now adorned with a gorgeous clock. After taking your time to enjoy the pleasant ambiance of the city, you will return to the train station and continue to St. Moritz.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Lugano – Discover the Valleys and Alps that border Italy en route to Lugano

In the morning, the wildflowers of the hillside plains outside of St. Moritz will rustle in the gentle breeze. The water shines with cobalt hues against the emerald prairie and granite foothills as the aroma of hot chocolate and meringue emanates from the cafes that offer views to the lakeshore year round. The charming high-altitude town represents the idyllic and serene ambiance of a destination with delights all year long. After breakfast, you will board your train bound for Lugano, near the border of Italy on the shores of the eponymous lake.

The hill of Monte San Salvatore protrudes from the water with radiant forest and terraced vineyards. The peak reaches a height of nearly 3,000 feet above sea level with views to the Alps as red tiled roofs spread across the hills and cluster around the shoreline. The lakeside park radiates color from the blossoming flowers that lead to the Mediterranean palms that grow against the lake. The 18th-century Palazzo Riva frames the waterway beneath the towering mountains as the San Lorenzo Cathedral rises above the historical city center with a façade specific to the Renaissance styles of Italy’s Lombardy region. Images of lions and birds frame the portals beneath the glistening rose window. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Lucerne – Enjoy the Wilhelm Tell Express and a Cable Car Ride to Mt. Titlis

The scent of croissants will fade beneath the distinct aroma of bacon sizzling from the dining room of Hotel International Au Lac, located on the lakeside promenade. Boats crisscross the waters of Lake Maggiore while the surface reflects the beauty of the surrounding mountains and historical architecture. You will have a private transfer to the train station to board the Wilhelm Tell Express, which combines travel by land and water. Pass the dramatic castles of Bellinzona in the Ticino Valley before venturing into the feat of civil engineering through the Gotthard Tunnel. The wonders of steep cliffs and gorgeous meadows follow you until you reach the shores of Lake Lucerne.

Exit your first class train car and board a steamer ship ready to ferry you across the shimmering waters of the nearly 45 square mile lake. Your private transfer will then greet you at Luzern Bahnhofquai, the peer right beside the train station. After the beautiful journey and quick side trip to the top of Mt. Titlis, you can then take time to settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel situated along the charming streets of Old Town. Cobbled lanes lead to charming cafes in view of the celebrated medieval covered bridges. The Cathedral spires imitate the sharp peaks of the surrounding mountains as the Chapel Bridge was erected in the 14th century and remains one of the best-preserved wooden bridges of its time.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Zurich – Return to Zurich on a Fabulous Train for a Cruise to Rhine Falls

The scent of apricot jam and berry marmalade accompanies the unmistakable aroma of fresh bread as drifts out of the local bakery in Old Town. You will catch sight of the 13th-century octagonal water tower that connects to the Chapel Bridge. Geese glide along the calm at the mouth of the Reuss River, and you will then take the train back to Zurich, finding familiarity in the mixture of antique elegance in Old Town and 19th-century grandeur of the arcades along Bahnhofstrasse.

After settling into the hotel, you will take to the waters once again, this time boarding a boat at Kreuzlingen and setting off to view Rhine Falls. The boat ride takes you along Lake Constance to the mouth of the Rhine River. Europe’s largest cascade is located near Schaffhausen, and has a width of nearly 500 feet across, roaring over rocks at a depth of almost 70 feet. The raw power of the falls is breathtaking, causing the mist to rise from the whitewater. The medieval town of Stein am Rhein overlooks the shores of the river, with old alleyways, brightly painted homes, and captivating frescoes all yours to explore. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Zurich – Depart for Home

In the morning, the aroma of chocolate truffles and macaroons emanates from the confectionaries that are located on the Bahnhofstrasse. The main street of Switzerland’s largest city stretches to a length of nearly 4,000 feet while the principal church of the city stands on an open terrace above the banks of the river, dominating the skyline with 15th-century Romanesque towers. The figure of Charlemagne adorns the south tower to commemorate the emperor believed to have founded the order to which the original church belonged. Bronze doors shine in the returning sunlight as steamers return to the waters to crisscross the vivid colors of the lake. After one last quiet morning to explore it all, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel when you are ready and escort you to Zurich Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.