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Grand Tour of Switzerland

from £3176 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • May-Oct
Home Destinations Continental Europe Switzerland Grand Tour of Switzerland


switzerland glacier express crossing landwasser viaduct stefan schlumpf

Take four iconic rail journeys including the Glacier Express & Golden Pass

switzerland walking along lake moritz near st moritz astk

Immerse yourself in the Alpine paradise of St Moritz

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Delve into Lucerne’s beautiful old town

switzerland terraced vineyards lavaux maude rion

Visit the famous terraced vineyard of Lavaux

switzerland cruising lake lucerne luis astk

Sit back and relax as you cruise across Lake Lucerne

switzerland view over interlanken hans zurbuchen

Explore the Bernese Alps from Interlaken

Why this trip...

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On track and flight free

Slow travel from London to the classic towns and cities of Europe with your rail tickets and accommodation taken care of

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Carefully planned

This itinerary has been thoughtfully designed to provide the experiences and places you'll enjoy at a comfortable pace

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park tailor made white

Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe


Combine the spectacular alpine scenery of Switzerland and the engineering prowess of the Swiss and you have a recipe for truly extraordinary rail journeys. In fact, we think this two-week itinerary is one of the best rail holidays in the world. Not only does it seamlessly link four iconic and seriously scenic train journeys – Gotthard Panorama Express, Bernina Express, Glacier Express and the Golden Pass – but it also includes ample opportunities for exploring medieval towns and cities, sampling traditional Swiss cuisine and enjoying the odd mountain hike, cable car ride or boat trip. What’s more, it’s completely flight-free – simply hop on a train at London and let your rail adventure begin!


Gotthard Panorama Express

The first stage of Grand Tour of Switzerland is on the Gotthard Panorama Express – a combination of boat and train travel. Departing the beautiful city of Lucerne, take a relaxing journey by water on the Lake Lucerne boat, passing Tell’s Chapel and Rütli Meadow before arriving in Flüelen. Transfer to the 1st class train of Gotthard Panorama Express and begin your journey by climbing in tight loops above the village of Wassen with its eye-catching Baroque church before travelling through the 15km-long Gotthard Tunnel and the vineyards of Gionico. The railway takes you past the 15th-century castles of Bellinzona (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), before arriving in the Mediterranean city of Lugano, with its grand palaces and fine parks.


Bernina Express

Another contender for Switzerland’s most scenic rail journey, the Bernina Express is the highest railway in the Alps, crossing the 2,253m Bernina pass, tackling gradients as steep as 1 in 7 and negotiating 55 tunnels and 196 bridges on its trans-Alpine route between Tirano in northern Italy and Chur in Switzerland. Roll out of sunny Tirano, passing picturesque villages like Poschiavo, climb through flower-speckled meadows and conifer forest to the Morteratsch Glacier and upon reaching the alpine town of St Moritz. Slow travel at its best!


Glacier Express

It takes around 7.5 hours to trundle 180 miles on the famous Glacier Express, travelling at an average speed of just 24mph. The slower the better as far as we’re concerned! Linking the iconic ski resort of St Moritz with Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn, this is arguably Switzerland’s most scenic train journey, and you’ll want to spend every minute soaking up the views of snow-capped peaks, alpine forests and mountain villages from the special panoramic coaches used on this route. Highlights include the remarkable mountain-to-mountain Landwasser viaduct – one of nearly 300 bridges traversed, the Oberalp Pass and the Rhine Gorge (the ‘Grand Canyon of Switzerland’.


Golden Pass

Connecting Lake Geneva with central Switzerland, the Golden Pass route is operated on the direct Golden Pass Panoramic trains between Montreux and Interlaken. This breathtaking route through the heart of some of Europe’s finest mountain scenery, takes just over 3 hours Highlights of the journey include the steep climb from Montreux, weaving through vineyards and country estates to the stunning scenery of Bernese Oberland.


Depart London in the morning and travel to Paris Gare du Nord on Eurostar. Transfer to Gare du Lyon, just two stops on the Paris PER, before departing on your onward journey to Lucerne. Spend the following two nights in Lucerne.

Spend your day exploring what many consider to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Hugging the shores of Lake Lucerne, with mountains as a backdrop, Lucerne’s must-see highlights include the 14th-century landmark of Chapel Bridge, the old city square of Weinmarkt and the fortified Musegg Wall. Don’t miss the Dying Lion of Lucerne – a rock sculpture described by Mark Twain as ‘the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world’. Perhaps take a day trip to one of the spectacular mountains surrounding Lucerne, Mt Pilatus, Mt Titlis or Mt Rigi. In the evening, try regional specialities like Lucerne vol-au-vents, dried meats or fillet of lake trout. Overnight in Lucerne.

Depart Lucerne on a voyage along Lake Lucerne, passing Rütli Meadow (where Switzerland was founded in 1291) and Tell’s Chapel (where Wilhelm Tell is said to have made his daring escape). Arrive in Flüelen and transfer to the historic Gotthard Panorama Express to Lugano. Travelling in a first-class panorama coach, relax as you watch the spellbinding scenery slip past. Highlights include Wassen, where the train gains height in a series of loops, allowing you to admire the village’s striking Baroque church several times before travelling through the 15km-long Gotthard Railway Tunnel, a masterpiece of engineering dating from 1882. Travelling past the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the trio of 15th-century Bellinzona castles of Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro before arriving in the lakeside town of Lugano.

The Italian-speaking Swiss town of Lugano is not only famous for its spectacular views of the San Salvatore and Bré Mountains, but also for its colourful neoclassical architecture and intimate old town. With two days to explore Lugano, we’d recommend taking the funicular up to San Salvatore or Bré Mountain and then hiking back, taking a boat trip on Lake Lugano, sampling some local and seasonal cuisine and simply enjoying the town’s beautiful architecture – the cathedral of San Lorenzo is well worth a visit. Overnight in Lugano.

Your first part of the journey is on the 3-hour Bernina Express bus to Tirano, where you join another classic route: the Bernina Express train to St Moritz. Climbing to 2,253m, you’ll reach Ospizio Bernina station – the highpoint of this exciting trans-Alpine railway. Panoramic carriages provide unobstructed views of the surrounding glaciers and peaks. Spend the following two nights in St Moritz.

Birthplace of Alpine winter tourism, St Moritz has twice hosted the Winter Olympics – but summer is equally beguiling in this spa resort where mineral springs were discovered 3,000 years ago. With a full day to immerse yourself in this Alpine paradise, choose from a plethora of activities, ranging from hiking and mountain biking to sailing, horse riding and golf. Don’t miss a romantic carriage ride around the lake, through the town or Staz forest. Overnight in St Moritz.

Embark on the classic Glacier Express rail journey to the famous Swiss ski resort of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. This 290km, 7.5hr train ride takes you through a head-spinning kaleidoscope of snow-capped peaks and narrow valleys, through spiral tunnels and across the Obralp Pass. Perhaps the crowning glory of this epic train journey is traversing the Landwasser – a curved, six-arched limestone viaduct, completed in 1902 and carrying you 65m above a ravine before burrowing straight into a tunnel carved in the cliff face. Overnight in Zermatt.

Spend the day exploring this car-free village offering numerous summer activities. We recommend the cogwheel train ride to Gornergrat which takes you to over 3,000m for a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn. It’s also a great starting point for Alpine walks.

Spend the morning and afternoon exploring this car-free village offering numerous summer activities. We recommend the cogwheel train ride to Gornergrat which takes you to over 3,000m for a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn. It’s also a great starting point for Alpine walks. In the late afternoon or evening, take a leisurely 2.5 hour train journey to Montreux via Visp. Following two nights in Montreux.

An idyllic montage of mountains, lake and vineyards… Montreaux has inspired artists, writers and musicians ranging from Freddie Mercury and Prince to Igor Stravinski. It feels almost Mediterranean along the shores of Lake Geneva between Villeneuve and Lutry where Montreaux Riviera enjoys a microclimate that sustains the famous terraced vineyard of Lavaux (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Enjoy a wine tour, or venture from the lake shore into the forests where walking trails lead through alpine meadows to fabulous panoramic viewpoints. Overnight in Montreaux.

Today, you continue your journey on the Golden Pass Panoramic train. Leaving Montreux, enjoy the wonderful views of Lake Geneva before climbing to the glitzy Swiss resort of Gstaad and then on to a high point near Saanenmöser at 1,279m, finally weaving through the mountain-framed Simmen Valley, verdant with farms and forests, before arriving in Interlaken, where you spend the following two nights.

Boasting spectacular views of three famous Swiss peaks – Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger – Interlaken makes a superb base for exploring the Bernese Alps by train, funicular, cable car and, of course, via an extensive network of hiking trails. An optional cruise on either Lake Thun or Brienz aboard an historic paddle-steamer is highly recommended. Overnight in Interlaken.

Spend the morning and afternoon to explore further in the Interlaken area before embarking on the 2 hour train journey to Zürich, where you spend the following 2 nights.

With a full day to explore Zürich, we suggest heading to the medieval old town, Altstadt, and strolling along the waterfront where you can admire the beautiful guild houses that were built for tradespeople such as carpenters, merchants and spice dealers. Zürich’s Niederhof area is also worth exploring. Dominated by the Romanesque church of Grossmünster, it’s riddled with cobblestone alleys lined with trendy boutiques and Swiss eateries. Don’t miss the Neo-Baroque Conditorei 1842 where you can treat yourself to traditional sweets or sample the truffles, pralines and cakes. Visit the Cabaret Voltaire to learn about the birth of the Dada movement over a century ago. Overnight in Zürich.

Board the morning train to Paris Gare du Lyon, then transfer to Gare du Nord for the evening Eurostar to London.

Accommodation Options

We will recommend accommodation for this holiday, but with a vast choice available, we can adapt to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles in different cities.

  • royal hotel carlton hotel bologna deluxe room

Prices and Departures

Price from £3176 excluding flights

This itinerary is based on rail travel from the UK, so flights are not required.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Breakfast throughout
  • Interrail Pass for 15 days
  • All compulsory seat reservation fees on panorama and international trains
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

From price per person

Based on two sharing a twin room with private facilities and breakfast. Prices may vary depending on departure date. Please contact us for a detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates.

Departure Duration Twin Price
15 May - 06 October 14 nights £3,176 Round trip by train
15 May - 06 October 14 nights £2,877
Fly to and from Zürich - price excludes flights*

*Please note that flights are not included in the price, but will be quoted at the time of booking.

This itinerary is flexible and the number of nights at each of the overnight stays can be extended or reduced.

Children under 12 travel free on the parent's Interrail Pass and 12-27 year olds receive a discounted youth Interrail Pass. Accommodation is in family rooms where available. Please contact our travel specialist for a quotation.

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