22543
Switzerland

Switzerland in a Nutshell: Cities and Peaks by Train

Ride the rails through the mountain of Switzerland to discover ancient towns, idyllic lakes, pristine countryside and the legendary Matterhorn with time for independent explorations.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 22543RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
925

At a Glance

As massive, snow-covered peaks reach towards the sky, sloping green hillsides offer shelter to medieval cities, historic cathedrals and fascinating residents. Switzerland is a country of geologic and cultural wonders — and the ideal way to discover them is by train. Join us for a Swiss adventure along the rails that begins in the metropolitan city of Zurich and rolls along mountain landscapes to the vibrant city of Basel. Along the way, learn about French and German cultural influences, cross bridges over breathtaking gorges and thrill in the sight of the “Mountain of Mountains,” the Matterhorn.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles; cobblestones, stairs and extensive standing. Elevations up to 7,300 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Board the Glacier Express — Switzerland’s most famous railway — for a journey along mountain landscapes, idyllic gorges and over impressive bridges.
  • Weather permitting, enjoy a ride on a cogwheel train for panoramic views of the Matterhorn.
  • Join an expert for a walk through the medieval Old Town of Basel, one of the most well-preserved in Europe.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Paula Rudolf
Paula Rudolf was born and raised in northeastern Brazil. In 1997, she graduated with a degree in international public relations, and after getting married, she and her young family moved to Switzerland. Since then, Paula has been engaged in politics and her community, and has worked as a business administrator. Today she is very happy to share her knowledge and experience of her adopted home country of Switzerland with the Road Scholar groups.

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

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Paula Rudolf
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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.
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.
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.
Switzerland Map
by Michelin Maps
A colorful, shaded relief map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:400,000.
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.
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.
Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
A suspenseful tale of a young boy determined to keep his father's mountaineering dream alive.
Daisy Miller
by Henry James
A classic story of a young American woman's innocent flirtation and its misinterpretation by a sophisticated European man, set in Lac Leman and Chillon. This is James' first fictional work to gain mass popularity and one of his great American female portraits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe
by Andrew Cleave
A colorful field guide featuring commonly encountered species of the fields and gardens of Europe.
The Theoretical Foot
by M. F. K. Fisher
MFK Fisher's first novel, considered too racy for its time, features two unmarried American couples tramping through Europe in the late 1930s whose love affairs are tested by the rise of fascism and looming war.
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.
A Tramp Abroad
by Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)
Written 11 years after Innocents Abroad, this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Now with an introduction by Dave Eggers.
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.
Asterix in Switzerland
by Rene de Goscinny
This entry in the Asterix series of comic books features excellent drawings of the Swiss Alpine landscape.
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.
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.
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.
Culture Smart! Switzerland
by Kendall Maycock
A concise, no-nonsense guide to Switzerland's customs, etiquette and culture.
Alpine Cookbook
by Hans Gerlach
Subtitled "Comfort Food from the Mountain," DK’s Alpine Cookbook collects 110 delicious recipes from Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland. The dishes, which combine traditional cuisine with modern trends, include schnitzel, potato pancakes, meaty main courses and savory vegetarian options.
Insight Guide Switzerland
by Insight Guides
This handsome guide gives a profusely illustrated overview of Switzerland, featuring concise essays by well-regarded authors on history, politics and culture, as well as hundreds of photos and maps and other practical information.





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