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
11 days
Starts at
Flights start at

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.
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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.
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A colorful, shaded relief map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:400,000.
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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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A Tramp Abroad
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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.
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
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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
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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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