Beautiful view from train window in Switzerland

12 Reasons to Book a Swiss Rail Package

March 15, 2023 Last Updated on May 14, 2024

If you’re planning a Switzerland vacation, then it may be worth thinking about booking a Swiss rail package. This kind of Switzerland train tour allows you to see the incredibly scenic landscapes at their very best, while using the country’s network of clean, efficient trains. 

In fact there are some Switzerland train tours you may have already heard of. Swiss panoramic train routes are among the most picturesque in the world which is just one of the reasons why rail holidays in Switzerland are so popular. 

Not having to sort out car hire, drive or navigate is of course a good reason to choose a package tour to Switzerland that includes rail travel. But that’s only one of the advantages. 

Following our recent podcast episode on Swiss rail packages, we’ve put together this guide to why a rail-inclusive package for Switzerland could be the ideal option for you. 

In this article, you’ll learn why Switzerland train vacations are such a great idea. You’ll also discover a dozen great reasons to take a closer look at the Switzerland tour packages you can book. 

Also included is an exclusive deal we’ve struck with Switzerland’s largest tour operator, so you can even save money when booking your Switzerland travel package. 

Read on to find out all you need to know about these Switzerland package holidays. 

[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]

What is a Swiss rail package?

Bernina Express
Bernina Express.

A Swiss rail package is the ideal solution for busy people who want to see the very best of this beautiful country. 

If you’re short on time – whether for planning or to spend in Switzerland – then having an itinerary planned by a local expert can be the perfect way to ensure you see and do all that you want to. 

There are over 20 train and hotel packages to choose from. And that’s not all – you can also customise your itinerary to suit what you want to do. This includes where you’d like to stay, and how long to spend in each destination. 

These rail- and hotel-inclusive Switzerland travel packages are also available for all sorts of travellers. Whether you’re going solo, as a family, as a couple or even as a group, there are Switzerland rail tours that are perfect for you. 

We recommend the rail packages offered by Switzerland Travel Centre, and all can be tailored to suit your precise preferences. 

Switzerland Travel Centre is a subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss Hotel Association, and is also a member of the Swiss Federation of Travel Agencies. The company has been operating for 25 years. 

With this backing, you know you’re in good hands. This gives complete peace of mind – both before and throughout your trip. 

More ways to learn about Swiss rail packages

🇨🇭 Listen > to our podcast
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What are some of the itinerary options?

Glacier Express crossing a bridge in winter
Glacier Express.

One of the most popular all-inclusive Switzerland holidays by rail is the original Grand Train Tour. This is an eight-day extravaganza that includes a number of journeys on the country’s most exciting panoramic trains. 

Not surprisingly, it’s one of Switzerland Travel Centre’s best selling trips

Itineraries range from a one night trip to tours that last for a week or longer. You can choose according to the route, or the season. 

Themed scenic rail journeys are also available, such as those centred on historic hotels packed with character, or soaring mountain peaks. 

The itineraries can also be tailored to suit each traveller. So if you want to spend more time in a place that particularly interests you, that’s no problem at all. You can travel in a different direction, add in extra excursions and much more.  

Winter tour options are also very popular, especially for travellers who don’t come to Switzerland to participate in winter sports. Seeing the snowy landscapes from the trains makes for a truly unforgettable journey. 

Advantages of booking a Swiss rail package

The Bernina Express train ride is included with the Swiss Travel Pass

1. Choose your own itinerary

If you decide to book one of these trips, you can make the itinerary your own. The first step is picking one of more than 20 itineraries offered by Switzerland Travel Centre. These include the ever-popular Grand Train Tour, as well as other Scenic Rail packages. 

Once you have that framework in place, you can then tailor it to suit your timeframe and interests perfectly. You can choose which hotel to stay in and how long for. Attractions and activities that you don’t want to miss can also be added. 

It’s really simple to customise your trip by using Switzerland Travel Centre’s online booking system. This allows you to piece together all the elements of your trip to suit you, by adjusting just what you want to. 

2. Best value train tickets

There are so many Swiss rail passes to choose from. All offer great value for money and significant savings, but some people find that working out which is best for them can be challenging. 

When you book all-inclusive holidays to Switzerland through Switzerland Travel Centre, all the calculations have already been done. Therefore, you don’t need to stress over which combination of tickets will offer you the best value for money. 

This saves you time, while you know you’re still getting the best deal possible. 

Why do it the hard way when a local expert already knows how to put together all the elements in the most cost-effective way? 

3. Panoramic train seat reservations included 

Glacier Express premium panoramic train
Glacier Express. © Travel Switzerland.

As you can probably imagine, premium panoramic trains in Switzerland are very popular indeed. This means you do need to book your seat – unlike with most other rail journeys within the country. 

In each case, this needs to be done via each individual train operator. This means visiting the websites of the different panoramic train companies separately and is a time consuming and sometimes confusing task.

When you book a Switzerland Travel Centre rail package, though, there’s no need to do this. Seat reservations are made on your behalf when you book. 

This means you can simply sit back and daydream about being whisked past all those iconic Swiss landscapes – snow-capped mountains, Alpine meadows, glimmering lakes and more without needing to do a thing. 

4. Enjoy lunch on the Glacier Express

Passengers travelling in Excellence Class on the Glacier Express
Excellence Class on the Glacier Express. © Travel Switzerland.

Savouring a delicious lunch served aboard the Glacier Express is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you want to seize this chance, then booking a package via Switzerland Travel Centre makes it easy.

As with seat reservations, lunch on board the Glacier Express can be booked on your behalf. 

5. Select 1st or 2nd class travel

goldenpass express 1st class seat
1st class carriage on the GoldenPass Express. © MOB.

You can also decide for yourself the class of travel. Whether you’d rather go for a great value second class seat or spoil yourself by booking first class all the way, the decision is yours. 

6. Accommodation plus breakfast included

When you book a Swiss rail package, all your accommodation is taken care of. A daily breakfast is also included, so you can fuel up each morning, ready for the day ahead.

If you want to upgrade to a more luxurious hotel, then it’s easy to do so when booking. By the same token, you can also opt for a budget property that will save you money if you prefer. 

When you want or need to stay in a particular destination for an extra night or more, this can also be arranged. 

7. Pick between over 500 hotels with 2 to 5 stars

As mentioned above, you can choose which hotels to stay in. Switzerland Travel Centre can book you into the accommodation of your choice, all as part of the package. 

Though the system will automatically default to their recommended hotel in each destination, you are free to switch these options around to suit you. 

There are more than 500 accommodation options to choose from. These may have two, three, four or five stars, giving you so much choice. 

Whether it’s five stars all the way, hotels that save you the maximum amount of money or something in-between the two extremes, you can tailor your accommodation to ensure it suits you perfectly. 

Not only can you choose your hotel, however. You can also select a room type – such as a family room. It’s also possible to book accommodation on a higher floor for sweeping views, or to choose a room that faces the direction you want it to. 

 8. Book hotel-to-hotel luggage transfers

Woman sitting in a Swiss train carriage
© Travel Switzerland.

With some of these Swiss train package itineraries, you can include hotel-to-hotel luggage transfers. This means you can leave your belongings in safe, capable hands while you enjoy a panoramic train journey, that mountain excursion, or exploring a mediaeval Old Town.

Once you arrive at your destination for the night, you will be reunited with your luggage. During the day, you can of course carry a compact daypack or some other sort of small bag containing all your essentials. 

This is ideal when you have any muscle, joint, back or other issues that may be triggered by lifting heavy cases. It’s also perfect when you simply want to take a break from doing anything too taxing! You are on holiday, after all. 

9. Include pre-booked excursions and activities

Rotair rotating cable car pictured over a snow-covered Mt. Titlis in central Switzerland
Titlis Rotair cable car. © Travel Switzerland.

The Switzerland Travel Centre online booking platform doesn’t only allow you to tailor your accommodation choices. You can also add a wide range of attractions and activities that you want to see and do. 

Whether you’ve always wanted to take a cable car to the top of a mountain, would like to take a boat trip across a Swiss lake or don’t want to leave without experiencing a major adrenaline rush, you can do all that and more via the easy to use online booking platform.

10. One single payment for the whole package

Paying for your trip is also convenient and simple when booking a Swiss rail package. Instead of paying multiple operators and thus trying to keep track of what you’re spending, you can see the total at a glance. 

This again saves you time – but perhaps more importantly – also makes you feel far more in control of your spending. As you add activities, change hotels and so on, you can also see how that affects the price, giving you ultimate flexibility. 

The only thing you will need to add on to a complete Swiss rail package is your airfare. Flex Option insurance can also be included with your package if you wish. 

11. Instant booking confirmation

All arrangements will be confirmed instantly when you book a rail package via the Switzerland Travel Centre. There’s no waiting around. Nor is there any stress over trying to align hotels with train tickets and seat reservations. 

12. E-tickets sent 3 weeks in advance

swiss travel pass on mobile
© Travel Switzerland.

All the documents you need will be emailed to you around three weeks prior to your departure date. Again, this is all in one place, so you don’t need to search through pages of emails received on different dates when you need to show a ticket or booking confirmation. 

Planning a trip to Switzerland?

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How to book your Swiss rail package online

Gotthard Panorama Express train at Fluelen beside Lake Lucerne.
Gotthard Panorama Express. © Travel Switzerland.

The Switzerland Travel Centre booking system is really easy to use. It’s both intuitive and user friendly, and as already mentioned it gives you total control over where to go, what to do, where to stay and more. 

🎥 You can watch our video walk-through showing you how to book your Swiss rail package online here.

Get started now by taking a look at the scenic Swiss rail journeys available. Once you’ve seen some you like the look of, you can begin to plan your Swiss adventure, activities and attractions around that. 

If it’s the Grand Tour of Switzerland train trips you’re interested in, find all 10 Grand Tour itineraries here.

Holidays to Switzerland Bonus Offer

The best news of all is that Holidays to Switzerland readers can get an exclusive discount on packages booked via Switzerland Travel Centre. This gives you a 5% discount when making your booking. 

To get the discount, simply add the code HTSWISS under ‘Enter Promo Code’ when making your booking. Make sure you do that at this point, as it cannot be added later.

The 5% discount applies to the whole package price, and cancellation fees may apply as per the usual Switzerland Travel Centre policy. 

Swiss Rail Package FAQs

Train conductor talking to passengers onboard the Gotthard Panorama Express.
Gotthard Panorama Express. © Travel Switzerland.

Are these Swiss rail packages booked through a reputable company?

Switzerland Travel Centre is a subsidiary of Switzerland Tourism, the Swiss Hotel Association, Swiss Railways SBB, and various Swiss regional railway companies. 

There are offices in Zurich, Stuttgart, London and Hong Kong. Switzerland Travel Centre is also PCI DSS certified, and a member of the Swiss Federation of Travel Agencies. This gives customers complete confidence and peace of mind. 

Who are rail packages best suited to?

Rail packages are suited to all types of traveller, as they can be tailor made. Whether you have just a couple of days or a week or more, an itinerary can be made to fit. 

The packages are also ideal for solo travellers, couples, families and groups alike, and are perfect for visitors of all ages. 

Are Switzerland rail packages available all year round?

Swiss rail packages are offered all year round. Many services operate during every month of the year, though some routes do close annually for a short period for maintenance purposes. 

Winter Grand Tour journeys are in fact among the most popular options, even for those passengers who don’t visit Switzerland for skiing. 

How much does a Swiss rail package cost?

As your train package in Switzerland can be tailored to fit you, the cost can also be adjusted. Choose, for example, two or three star hotels rather than those with four or five stars. You can also save money by selecting second class travel. 

When you book one of these Swiss packages, the cheapest train tickets for each sector are automatically applied. This can save you a lot of time, as well as money. 

Booking Swiss Rail Packages | Final Thoughts

Voralpen Express
Voralpen Express. © Travel Switzerland.

Swiss train package tours are the ideal way to save time when planning your itinerary. They can also save you money, as the cheapest fares for each portion of the trip are always used. 

As you can tailor an itinerary to suit you, booking a Switzerland rail package also means you’re not restricted by a rigid timetable. You can stay, visit and do whatever you like. 

The key advantages of the rail packages include this flexibility, plus the expertise of Swiss travel specialists. All of your booking is in one place, and all documents will be emailed to you a few weeks before travel. 

Opting for a package makes it easier to budget, too. Both your seat reservations and excursions can be pre-booked, saving you time and stress in dealing with different reservation systems. 

With a user-friendly booking interface, local expertise, 25 years’ experience and the backing of Swiss Federal Railways, the Swiss Hotel Association, and Switzerland Tourism, booking via Switzerland Travel Centre really is a no-brainer. 

🇨🇭If you’re ready to book one of these Swiss train packages, don’t forget to add the code HTSWISS in the Promo Code box to get your 5% discount. > Click here to make your booking.

Switzerland Travel Essentials