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How to Find Your Ideal Swiss Train Tour: A Guide

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How to Find Your Ideal Swiss Train Tour: A Guide

Have you decided to visit Switzerland by rail this summer? 

It is a fantastic choice of destination. Switzerland is famous for its world-class public transport system, panoramic trains, and breathtaking scenery. 

But how do you choose the best offer for Swiss train tours?

Our tips will help you select the best rail tour for your needs. Get ready for a journey of a lifetime!

is bernina express worth it

Private, guided and semi-guided

As you browse through the online offers for train tours in Switzerland, you’ll probably come across these terms: guided, semi-guided and private.

Here is what they mean.


Guided train tours in Switzerland are usually group tours where you are always accompanied by a guide. They are responsible for getting the group from point to point, for organizational matters, transfers, tickets, admissions, and so on. They will also, of course, share facts and stories about the places the group is visiting. Guided rail tours usually have a set itinerary, and most costs are included in the price.

Advantages: Logistics and itineraries are taken care of; a sense of security thanks to the guide’s assistance; you learn about Swiss nature, culture, and history from your guide; you travel with like-minded people.

Disadvantages: inflexible schedules; too full or too empty itineraries.

Semi-guided Swiss train tours are those organized by tour operators but don’t include a guide. You receive your tickets and itinerary in advance and follow them on your own. The itinerary includes tips and suggestions for things to see and do, but you’re free to follow it more or less strictly.

Advantages: more flexibility; organized transport and accommodation; activities tailored to client’s needs and preferences.

Disadvantages: limited guide assistance; possible language barrier.

Private Swiss train tours are designed for individual clients, taking into account their wishes, needs and preferences. Your private guide will be with you at all times, taking care of the itinerary and logistics. You don’t have to worry about a thing, just follow your guide who will adjust the pace and the type of attractions to your preferences. 

Advantages: Very flexible itinerary tailored to your needs; private guide with you at all times; cultural immersion; safety and security.

Disadvantages: higher cost.

a day on a glacier express

What to expect from Swiss train tours?

Traveling by train through Switzerland is a fantastic adventure. But if you haven’t done a group or private train tour, knowing exactly what you need might be tricky.

Here are our tips for selecting the best tour for yourself and your loved ones.

1. Dedicated luggage transfer

Dedicated luggage transfers: probably one of the most important features of any rail tour. Lugging suitcases up and down the ramps, lifting them to overhead shelves, asking for help taking them out of the train… this all can be spared. Rail tour organizers often offer dedicated luggage transfer so you can travel light and change trains easily.  

ECHO Rails Tip: Make sure the cost of luggage transfer is included in the original price of the trip. 

2. Activities adjusted to your fitness level

Most Swiss train tours are done only by train, bus, and boat. Traveling by public transport, though comfortable and seamless, requires a certain level of physical fitness. One often has to walk up the stairs and ramps and change quickly between the platforms.

There is also “commuting” on foot involved: between the station and the hotel, to and back from the restaurant, etc. Make sure other activities are also achievable. If you’re not a fan of hiking, make sure your itinerary doesn’t contain long hikes every day. 

ECHO Rails Tip: Many tour descriptions do not indicate how much daily walking to expect. Call the agent and inquire how many steps or what distance is expected to be covered on an average day.

3. Interesting itinerary

Switzerland is a cornucopia of wonderful natural scenery, cultural treasures, historic cities, and panoramic trains that connect all that abundance. Make sure the trip you select includes sights, activities, and locations that are interesting to you. If you’re not an avid hiker or don’t like to change locations too quickly, make sure the itinerary reflects that. 

In the case of guided tours, make sure to compare different offers and choose the one closest to your preferences. Also, check if the itinerary is not too packed or too relaxed for your liking. 

ECHO Rails Tip: Swiss train tours should be an amazing adventure, not a drag. If you’re not sure about certain activities, check if they’re marked as optional, or there are alternatives planned.

4. Food options

Food is an inherent part of every trip abroad and a very important part of the cultural experience. We all want to try local dishes and check what and how people eat every day. If food experience is important to you, make sure your tour description mentions dining on the train, at local restaurants, food halls, farms, and, in the case of Switzerland, mountain huts. 

It would be a shame if you left Switzerland without trying raclette, fondue, local meats, and cheeses. Also, Swiss cities and mountain resorts alike boast a selection of great food spots. 

ECHO Rails Tip: Check what meals are included in your offer and always ask your guide for local dining options.

5. Single supplement

Most Swiss train tours’ prices are calculated for double occupancy. If you’re traveling by yourself, always expect to have to pay a single supplement. Some tour operators might not be transparent about the cost of such a supplement, so reach out to the company’s agent before you decide on the best option. 

ECHO Rails Tip: Some single supplements are only charged at certain times of the year or during certain seasons. Having your own room during group tours has plenty of benefits – in other words, it’s worth the money!

Packing for Swiss train tours

Packing is never easy and many people wonder how to optimise their packing for a two-week train journey.

It’s always better to pack less than more. Traveling light saves on baggage costs and is more environmentally friendly. Plus, smaller suitcases mean less hassle in the hotel as you probably know where everything is.

Packing for a rail holiday is also a challenge because the itinerary is usually very varied. You need to think about trekking boots for the hikes and nice clothes for dining in fancy restaurants. The weather changes drastically with altitude. If you’re planning to climb some peaks, be sure to bring a fleece and a windbreaker, as well as shorts and a swimsuit to enjoy wellness in your mountain hotel.

ECHO Rails Tip: If you don’t know how to pack your suitcase for Swiss rail travel, we have a complete rail travel packing guide.

a day on a glacier express

ECHO Rails Swiss train tours

At ECHO Rails we don’t keep you in the dark.

Our small-group guided tours and private rail holidays are truly all-inclusive, where your adventures will be seamless and the journey – unforgettable.

Our small groups (max 16 participants) allow for a complete cultural immersion, especially under the care of our local English-speaking guides. Private tours take you wherever your heart desires with the support of a local guide.

What else?

  • flexible itineraries
  • optional hikes and walks
  • the assistance of a guide
  • dedicated luggage transfer included in the price
  • detailed activity levels, including compulsory and optional distances
  • Swiss dining experience at local restaurants and bars
  • mixed activities, including historical, natural and engineering wonders

Swiss train tours with ECHO Rails are your gateway to the new and exciting world. Comfort, flexibility, and cultural immersion are going to be the hallmarks of your adventure.

Don’t wait, book you private or small group tour today.

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