15879
Switzerland

Splendors of Switzerland By Rail

Discover museums, villages, waterways and culture as you explore the Swiss Alps by rail, winding through some of Europe's most iconic and photograph-worthy landscapes.
Rating (5)
Program No. 15879RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
5,899
Flights start at
925

At a Glance

Switzerland’s rail network winds through 3,000 miles of meadows and mountains, making it the densest railroad system in the world. Travel classic routes through the Swiss Alps, ride along the famed Glacier Express route and experience the picturesque Swiss-Italian narrow gauge line. Hear German spoken in central Switzerland, Italian in Locarno and Romansh in St. Moritz as you compare the history and culture of these diverse areas.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to three miles daily, sometimes on uneven, hilly terrain. Must carry your own luggage on and off trains. Elevations up to 7,690 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Ascend Mount Rigi, the “Queen of the Mountains,” aboard Europe’s oldest cog railway.
  • Take a train to Zermatt and see Switzerland's most famous mountain, the Matterhorn.
  • Walk underneath the medieval arcades in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Ursula Heckendorn
Ursula Heckendorn was born in 1982 and spent most of her life in Basel, Switzerland. After she attained her degree in social work, she worked as a social worker in Interlaken. Ursula has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe. Since 2011, Ursula has been living in Bucharest, Romania. She completed a master’s degree with a focus on Romanian risk groups and their support services, and for the last few years, she has been street worker with homeless people and families in Bucharest.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Ursula Heckendorn
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Culture Smart! Switzerland
by Kendall Maycock
A concise, no-nonsense guide to Switzerland's customs, etiquette and culture.
William Tell: One Against an Empire, A Swiss Legend
by Paul Storrie
The classic tale of a Swiss hunter facing a terrible choice, as a graphic novel for ages 9-11.
Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
A suspenseful tale of a young boy determined to keep his father's mountaineering dream alive.
Hotel du Lac
by Anita Brookner
Funny, stylish and spellbinding, Brookner's novel tracks the story of a romance novelist seeking evasive peace and quiet at the luxurious Hotel du Lac in Switzerland. Winner of the Man Booker Prize.
Switzerland Adventure Map
by National Geographic Maps
A waterproof, tear-resistant map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:500,000. Includes detailed elevations and the locations of natural attractions.
A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during WWI, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver. This edition collects all of the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other essential passages
Birds of Europe
by Lars Svensson
Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.
Coming Out Swiss, In Search of Heidi, Chocolate and My Other Life
by Anne Herrmann
Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Anne Hermann’s passionate celebration of what it means to be Swiss intertwines personal revelation with cultural fact.
Europe, A True Book
by Sandra Newman
Part of the True Book series, this illustrated, readable volume geared toward ages 9 to 12 introduces children to the geography and diverse cultures of Europe.
Scrambles Amongst the Alps: In the Years 1860-69
by Edward Whymper
Edward Wymper's classic account of Victorian-era mountaineering captures the geography, beauty and allure of the Alps.
Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps
by Fergus Fleming
Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn 150 years ago.
The Alps, A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond
by Stephen O'Shea
In an entertaining narrative, O'Shea drives, hikes and climbs through 500 miles of the Alps while musing on the historic personalities who braved the forbidding range, including Napoleon, Hitler and James Bond. A thoughtful introduction to the Alps.
La Place de la Concorde Suisse
by John McPhee
McPhee deploys his usual insight and wonderful prose on the phenomenon of the Swiss army, presenting an irreverent portrait of Switzerland and the Swiss mindset.
Heidi
by Johanna Spyri
The beloved tale of a little girl who is sent to live with her curmudgeonly grandfather in a remote Alpine village. This handsome hardback edition retains the quaint prose and buoyant disposition of Johanna Spyri's 1880 original.
Slow Train to Switzerland, One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years -- and a World of Change Apart
by Diccon Bewes
Bestselling author Diccon Bewes (Swiss Watching SWZ73) follows in the footsteps of an 1863 tour group who traveled from London to Lucerne, Switzerland. In his trademark breezy, intelligent prose, Bewes traces how tourism and time have caused a sea change in Switzerland.
The Apple and the Arrow
by Conrad Buff
Families will enjoy this spirited retelling of the famous legend of William Tell and his 12-year-old son, Walter, which won the 1952 Newbery Medal.
The Walk
by Robert Walser, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)
In this classic novella by the Swiss modernist, freshly translated, Walser writes that "it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker."
Asterix in Switzerland
by Rene de Goscinny
This entry in the Asterix series of comic books features excellent drawings of the Swiss Alpine landscape.
Eiger Dreams, Ventures Among Men and Mountains
by Jon Krakauer
A collection of some of Krakauer's (Into Thin Air) best journalism, these stories and essays focus on the mindset and determination of world-class mountaineers, including Alpine and Himalayan climbers.
Eyewitness Guide Switzerland
by Eyewitness Guides
A compact, thoroughly illustrated guide, featuring over 900 photographs, good maps, and plenty of information on hiking in the Swiss Alps, natural and tourist attractions and the history and arts of Switzerland.
The Gilded Chalet, Off-Piste in Literary Switzerland
by Padraig Rooney
In this amusing guide, a grand tour of literary Switzerland, Rooney profiles 200 years of outstanding works and their strong Swiss influences. He argues that the land of luxury hotels, fresh air and fresh milk deserves wide renown as a literary hub.
Swiss Watching, Inside Europe's Landlocked Island
by Diccon Bewes
An international bestseller. Diccon Bewees, a neutral Brit, covers cheese, chocolate, William Tell, bureaucracy and banks, all with humor and thorough research. His cultural portrait of the one-of-a-kind nation includes tips on local customs, greetings and etiquette. Second edition.





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