7 Days Swiss Rails & Trails Tour Itinerary
Swiss Alps by Rails and Trails – Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Lucerne
Today everyone arrives in Lucerne, your guide will meet you in the Hotel Lobby and he/she will review the trip and answer all your questions. The hotel will be the Continental Park
You have the chance to meet your new friends joining the tour. Trip briefing followed by a leisurely informative walk around the old town, to the historic Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument, St. Ledger’s Church, through the old town squares and much more.
The tour includes a visit with “Lucerne Ecological Expert” from the world’s first and only Glacier Garden. Learn about Lucerne’s ice age past.
Dinner will be in a local authentic Lucerne Restaurant.
Day 2 – Full day excursion to Lucerne’s two home mountains: Mt. Pilatus & Mt. Rigi, with scenic Alpine views
Today you experience the scenic Central Alps views from Lucerne’s two “Home” mountains, Mt. Rigi (6,000ft) and Mt. Pilatus (7,000ft).
Today you’ll experience various the of public transportation and see first-hand how Switzerland’s travel system is all coordinated and in synch with another.
The Mt. Rigi Railway was the first European cogwheel train in 1871 to take visitors to the top of the mountain. You’ll enjoy the 360-degree views of the surrounding alps. This is where Thomas Cook in 1863 brought the first packaged tour and started the tourism industry. This was the place to be during the “Belle-Epoque” period pre WWI.
In the afternoon we ride up to Mt. Pilatus on another cogwheel system.
The Pilatus Rail, first commissioned in 1889, uses a system with two horizontally rotating cogwheels to cope with a 48% gradient. It is still the steepest cogwheel train in the world.
Dinner will be in a local authentic Lucerne Restaurant.
Day 3 – Abbey Library in St. Gallen – Glacier Express to St. Moritz
Depart on the Voralpen Express train from Lucerne. Travel through scenic rolling landscapes typical of Eastern Switzerland to arrive at St Gallen.
The Abbey Library in St. Gallen is one of the oldest libraries in the world – with manuscript collections from the Carolingian and Ottonian period from 8th to the 11th century.
In the afternoon continue via train to Chur, Graubuenden’s, 5000 year old capital city and transfer to the Glacier Express train.
Enjoy viewing the Landwasser viaduct, a single track six-arched curved limestone railway viaduct, designed in 1901. A signature structure of the World Heritage-listed Albula Railway. The Landwasser Viaduct has six arch spans 20 metres (66 ft) in width, resting on five high pillars. The railway line near the viaduct has a slope of 2 percent, and in plan a circular arc with a radius of 100 metres (330 ft).
The Albula railway is a single track metre gauge railway line forming part of the so-called core network of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB), in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It links Thusis on the Hinterrhein (697 m (2,287 ft) above sea level) with the spa resort of St. Moritz in Engadine (1,774 m (5,820 ft) above sea level).
Construction of the Albula Railway was begun in September 1898. On 7 July 2008, the Albula Railway and the Bernina Railway, which also forms part of the RhB, were jointly recorded in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes.
Arrive in St Moritz. We will most likely stay at the Hauser. There is a short orientation walk through the town before reaching the centrally-located family-run hotel.
Day 4 – All day in the St. Moritz-Engadine Valley area to visit scenic Alpine highlights with optional Panorama hike.
Experience the highest railway across the alps with the Bernina Express train to Alp Grüm and enjoy the awesome Bernina mountain peaks, glaciers and waterfalls. At the highest point on the RhB, 2,253 metres / 6760 ft above sea level, you will see the Ospizio Bernina summit. Here you can delight in the cultural and natural surroundings. Enjoy the Alps at their most impressive.
We take a cable car ride up to the Diavellezza at 2979 m / 8937 ft. At the base of the fabulous backdrop of the Bernina massif and the Piz Palü, 4000m / 12,000 ft. mountain peak.
We also take a cable car ride up to the Corvatsch 3300, 11000 ft where you understand the rationale for St. Moritz’s “Top of the World” branding as you see mountain peak after mountain peak.
With two available guides, we can also offer a Panorama hike for those you prefer to experience these Bernina mountains and green pastures first hand.
For those wishing to hike we also have the Panorama Trail from Muotas to Pontresina.
The actual walking & hiking time and distance: 3 ½ to 4 hours, 5 ½ miles / 9 km
Elevation change: 400ft / 130m down
Hiking terrain: relatively flat, natural dirt & stone path, public sign posted trails
Day 5 – From St. Moritz by Glacier Express to Andermatt in the infamous Gotthard region of the Central Swiss Alps
Experience the highlights of the Glacier Express route – described by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper as one of the world’s best train journeys.
This trip includes a second view of the Albula line and Landwasser Viaduct from the South-to-North direction. Continuing on alongside the Rhine Gorge or Switzerland’s ‘Grand Canyon’ as you travel up to the Oberalp Pass at 2033 m/6000 ft.
Witness one of the few trains that still serves hot meals at your seat as you ascend 1000 m/3000 ft from Disentis to Oberalp.
Arrive at Andermatt in the afternoon, in the area known as the watershed of Europe for it is here that Europe’s mighty rivers, the Rhine and the Rhône, as well as many other small ones, arise. We will stay at the Crown Hotel.
In the afternoon we enjoy a 2 hour ride in the Furka Steam Train cog engine – restored to its original condition. We cross mountainous countryside including the Rhone and Mutt glaciers.
The Furka Cogwheel Steam Train operates a partially rack and pinion-operated line across the Furka Pass, between Realp in Uri and Oberwald in Valais. Culminating at 2,160 metres (7,087 ft), above sea level, it is an old mountainous section of the Furka Oberalp Bahn (FO) that was abandoned after the construction of the Furka Tunnel.
It has been gradually brought back into service by the Verein Furka-Bergstrecke with the use of only steam locomotives, with the entire line completed in 2010. The Furka Railway is the second highest rail crossing in Europe, after the Bernina Railway.
We transfer back via train to Andermatt.
Day 6 – All day in the Andermatt / Gotthard region with an excursion to a military fortress.
In the morning ride up to the Gotthard Pass summit and get a sense of Switzerland’s defense system during the World War II period.
Click here for more on Gotthard Military Fortress
Take a guided walk through the former top-secret Elsasso Gothardo military bunker. A Swiss World Ware II Specialist will guide us through the 1942 military bunker deep in the Gotthard mountains.
The fortress was built inside the mountain during World War 11 to protect Switzerland’s southern flank and designed to be self-contained for 420 man and 73 artillery pieces for a minimum of 6 months.
There are trails and lots of beautiful mountain scenery to explore.
After our return to Andermatt pamper yourself with a drink in the world famous Chedi Hotel.
Day 7 – From Andermatt to your next destination
After breakfast we wish you a fond farewell.