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Best Switzerland Tours for travel in 2020

October 25, 2019
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Being relatively small in size, and with a wonderful road and train network, Switzerland is easy to travel around independently. But independent travel isn’t for everyone.

If you’d rather not spend your Swiss vacation looking at timetables and maps but would prefer to have someone else work out the logistics of getting you from A to B, one of the many Switzerland guided tours that are on the market could be just what you are looking for.

Thankfully, there are plenty of Switzerland tour packages with varying itineraries available and in this guide we compare what we believe are the best Switzerland tours for 2020.

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Best Switzerland Coach and Rail Tours


Best Switzerland Tours by Coach

With so many escorted coach tours on the market it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.  There are varying price points and vastly different itineraries and inclusions so it can get very confusing.

To help make it easier for you to decide on the right tour for your Switzerland vacation, we’ve compared a range of options and come up with our list of the best of Switzerland tours for 2020.

Montreux, Switzerland


Mountains, Valleys and Lakes of Switzerland 

Operator: Back-Roads Touring (called Blue-Roads Touring in the USA)

Our verdict: Best small group tour of Switzerland

Visiting some of the country’s most popular destinations, this small group tour of Switzerland stays in boutique accommodation and includes daily breakfast plus five other meals. Travelling in a luxury mini coach means you will enjoy a more personalised experienced from your guide and get to places that larger coaches can’t access.

Activities include wine tasting, a chocolate-making demonstration, Lake Lucerne cruise, excursion to Mt. Rigi, visits to Thun Castle and Trummelbach Falls, and an excursion to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.

Throughout the tour you’ll be accompanied by an experienced driver and tour leader and local guides in St. Gallen and Bern will share their knowledge of their local cities with you.

  • Highlights: Liechtenstein – Lucerne – Bern – Jungfrau region
  • Tour Length: 9 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: May 2020 to February 2021
  • Group size: Maximum of 18
  • Average age: 45+
  • Accommodation style/rating: Boutique hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Bern Switzerland


Best of Switzerland

Operator: Globus

Our verdict: A premium one-week Switzerland tour with many inclusions

Combining stunning alpine locations with the stunning Swiss/Italian Lake Lugano, Globus’ Best of Switzerland tour will help you to create lasting memories.

As well as first class accommodation, you’ll enjoy daily breakfast, four three-course dinners and one lunch, making this one of the best value Switzerland guided tours on the market.

Explore the Old Towns of Zurich, Bern and Lucerne with your expert guide, visit the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, admire the towering peaks surrounding you in St. Moritz and Zermatt, and enjoy an excursion to Mt. Pilatus 

  • Highlights: St. Moritz – Lake Lugano – Zermatt – Lake Geneva – Bern – Lucerne
  • Tour Length: 8 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: April to October 2020
  • Group size: 40 – 50
  • Average age: 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 4.5-star deluxe accommodation

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Gruyeres Castle from above


Grand Tour of Switzerland 

Operator: Cosmos

Our verdict: An affordable tour with plenty of highlights

Cosmos Tours began in Switzerland ninety years ago so when it comes to Switzerland escorted tours they certainly know their stuff! Now part of the Globus family of brands, Cosmos offers travellers excellent value for money. 

The Grand Tour of Switzerland not only visits some of Switzerland’s most popular destinations, you’ll also get to experience the lesser-known Appenzell region, enjoy a ride on the famous Bernina Express and watch a cheese-making demonstration in Gruyeres.

Daily buffet breakfast, 4 dinners, an experienced, knowledgeable guide and transport aboard an air-conditioned coach, make this tour ideal for those who want a great experience at a reasonable price.

  • Highlights: St. Moritz – Bernina Express train – Lugano – Zermatt – Gruyeres – Bern – Lucerne
  • Tour Length: 10 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: March to September 2020
  • Group size: Maximum 48 guests
  • Average age: 45+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 3-star and 4-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Lugano Switzerland


Best of Switzerland

Operator : Trafalgar 

Our verdict: A good overview of Switzerland at a reasonable price

I have personally travelled with Trafalgar on their Best of Switzerland tour (although the itinerary has changed slightly since my trip) and found it good value.

The 2020 itinerary includes a visit to Chillon Castle, lunch at a 15th century vineyard, free days in both Zermatt and Baveno (Lake Maggiore), and a ride on the Bernina Express train from Tirano to St. Moritz.

There are orientation tours of Zurich and Lucerne, daily breakfast, 1 lunch and 3 dinners included.

  • Highlights: Montreux – Zermatt – Lake Maggiore – St. Moritz – Lucerne – Interlaken
  • Tour Length: 9 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: April to September 2020
  • Group size: Maximum 50 guests
  • Average age: Varies but generally 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: Mostly 3-star to 4-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

St Gallen Switzerland


Country Roads of Switzerland

Operator: Insight Vacations

Our verdict: A comprehensive Switzerland tour for the discerning traveller

Guests that enjoy a more leisurely pace and more luxury will love Insight’s Country Roads of Switzerland tour.  Premium accommodation, more legroom on the coach and plenty of inclusions means you’ll experience the best of Switzerland on this two-week tour.

Orientation tours of most destinations are included along with an excursion to Stanserhorn, a visit to Chillon Castle, a cruise on Lake Geneva, a transport pass to enjoy rides on cable cars, funiculars, chairlifts at St. Moritz and a journey on the Glacier Express.

Daily breakfast and 5 dinners are included on this tour that will take you along some of Switzerland’s most scenic country roads.

  • Highlights: Lucerne – Gruyeres – Montreux – Zermatt – Lake Maggiore – St. Moritz – Glacier Express – Grindelwald
  • Tour Length: 14 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: April to September 2020
  • Group size: Maximum 40
  • Average age: 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: Luxury and Premium hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Spiez, Switzerland


A Swiss Fairytale

Operator: APT

Our verdict: All your Swiss dreams will come true on this luxury tour

Live out your own fairytale on this magical 11 day tour that visits not only some of Switzerland’s most famous sites but also some of the often-bypassed ones.

With APT’s Signature Experiences, you’ll enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through stunning alpine scenery, visit the Klotzli Messerschmiede workshop to watch handcrafted Swiss folding knives being made, and sample the local drop of Mauler, made to traditional methods since 1829.

Also included in the tour are 17 meals, Glacier Express (in Excellence Class) and Bernina Express journeys, a visit to the pretty medieval town of Stein am Rhein, a cruise on Lake Constance and a visit to the powerful Rhine Falls.

The tour allows plenty of free time to immerse yourself in each destination or relax at your luxury accommodation. 

  • Highlights: Lucerne – Bern – Neuchatel – Montreux – Zermatt – Tirano – St. Gallen – Stein am Rhein – Zurich
  • Tour Length: 11 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Departures: June to September 2020
  • Group size: Maximum of 20
  • Average age: 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 5-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY


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Best Switzerland Rail Tours

Fancy exploring Switzerland by rail rather than coach?  You can! There are numerous options available and below you’ll find the details on three of our favourite Switzerland train tours.

The Swiss Travel Pass is an All-in-One Transport Ticket for Switzerland


Switzerland by Rail

Operator: APT

Our verdict: One of the best premium Switzerland tours by train

If you would like to see Switzerland by rail, tours like this one from APT are perfect! With rides on Bernina Express, Glacier Express (with lunch), Jungfraujoch and GoldenPass Line all included, as well as a Mt. Pilatus excursion, this tour is a top pick.

There are 20 meals included, first class rail travel throughout, plus two of APT’s Signature Experiences: wine tasting in Spiez and a private dinner at Harder Kulm overlooking Interlaken and the Alps.

Along with plenty of alpine scenery you’ll also experience the stunning lakes of Lugano and Geneva. 

  • Highlights: Lucerne – Lugano – St. Moritz – Zermatt – Interlaken – Gstaad – Montreux
  • Tour Length: 13 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Geneva
  • Departures: June to September 2020
  • Group size: Maximum 40 guests
  • Average age: 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 5-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Bernina Express


Scenic Switzerland by Train

Operator: Cosmos

Our verdict: An easy way to experience Switzerland’s panoramic trains without a full ‘tour’ experience

Savour the breathtaking scenery of Switzerland from aboard the country’s most panoramic trains.  Your tour includes First-Class travel aboard the GoldenPass Line, Glacier Express and Bernina Express. A ride on the Gornergrat cog railway to view the Matterhorn is also a highlight.

Arriving at each destination rested after your comfortable train journey, the tour allows plenty of free time for you to explore as you wish.  Whether you prefer to go shopping, join a walking tour, take a mountain excursion or just sit and enjoy the breathtaking scenery, the choice is yours.

This tour is great for those that don’t want a full-on tour experience but like the security of having a tour guide on hand and the knowledge that all transport and accommodation is arranged. 

Daily breakfast and three dinners are included in the tour price and all train travel is in first class carriages.

  • Highlights: Zurich – Lucerne – Lake Geneva – Zermatt – St. Moritz
  • Tour Length: 9 days
  • Start/End point: Zurich/Zurich
  • Pace: Medium
  • Departures: April to October 2020
  • Group size: Maximum 48 guests
  • Average age: 45+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 3-star and 4-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY


Railways of Switzerland

Operator: Travelmarvel

Our verdict: A good-value tour with unique mountain-top stays 

Train lovers will be heaven as they sample the diversity of Switzerland’s varying landscapes – from the snow capped Alps to the palm trees of the Italian-speaking Ticino region – whilst riding aboard some of the most spectacular trains in the world.

Included in the trip are journeys on the Bernina Express, Brienz Rothorn and Giessbach funicular, an excursion to Mt. Pilatus and a cruise on Lake Brienz, making this one of the best train tours in Switzerland.

Throughout the tour you’ll be accompanied by an experienced tour escort and you’ll stay in premium accommodation including mountain top hotels at Giessbach and Mt. Pilatus. Breakfast is included each day, as are six dinners.

  • Highlights: Basel – Brienz – St. Moritz – Tirano – Lucerne – Zurich
  • Tour Length: 8 days
  • Start/End point: Basel/Zurich
  • Departures: June to October 2020
  • Group size: Maximum of 20
  • Average age: 55+
  • Accommodation style/rating: 4-star hotels

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS, PRICES AND AVAILABILITY

Zurich and the River Limmat

Why join a guided tour of Switzerland?

Escorted tours are a popular option for many travellers and there are many reasons why.  If it’s your first time visiting Switzerland (or Europe) and you’d rather let someone else make all the arrangements, a guided tour is perfect.

As you’ll be travelling with others, you’ll make new friends and for solo travellers there is often the option to share a room with a fellow traveller.

Travelling on a tour is a great way to familiarise yourself with a country.  Perhaps you’d like to stay on afterwards – but the time your tour is finished you’ll have the confidence to see some sights on your own.

One big advantage that comes with a guided tour is the tour guide!  Not only will your guide be on hand to answer your everyday questions, they are a wealth of knowledge on the destinations you’ll visit.

Your guide will help you to skip the lines at major attractions and take you to ‘off the beaten track’ places that you may never have heard about if you weren’t part of a tour.

Booking on a tour can help keep your holiday budget in check, too.  With the major components of your trip prepaid – transport and accommodation – you only have to budget for some meals, additional sightseeing and incidentals.

Another bonus of joining a coach tour in Switzerland is that extras like hotel porterage, local taxes and tipping (often called gratuities) are all taken care of, so there’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Chapel Bridge, Lucerne

What to look for when choosing a tour

Before you decide on your tour there are a number of things to consider to ensure you are getting the best value for your holiday dollar.

>> Sightseeing inclusions – Which attractions and excursions are included in the tour price? Your tour might stay in Interlaken but does it include an excursion to the Jungfraujoch?  If visiting Jungfraujoch (for example) is a priority for you, make sure you know if the ticket price is included or if you’ll have to budget extra for it.

>> Which sites and attractions does the tour visit? – Does your tour include a visit to a particular site or do you just ‘see’ it as you drive past?  For example, if you particularly want to visit Chillon Castle, does your tour include that or do you just view the Castle from a cruise on Lake Geneva or from a viewing point beside the road?

>> Optional excursions – Most tours include some sightseeing and offer a list of optional excursions.  Prices for the optional excursions are usually available prior to booking the tour. Add the price of the excursions you’d like to do to the base tour price and compare this with the cost of a tour that already includes them.  How do they compare?

>> Hotel standard – The price of the tour will reflect the standard of accommodation that you stay in.  Tours with 5-star luxury accommodation are going to cost a lot more than tours that use 3-star hotels. Familiarise yourself with the standard of accommodation on the tour so you know what to expect.

>> Pace of tour – Do you want a fast-paced tour to see as much as you can in a short amount of time or would you prefer a tour that travels at a more leisurely pace? Check the tour itinerary to see how ‘busy’ the itinerary is and if it’s right for you.  If you don’t want to be up at 6am every morning whilst you are on vacation make sure that your tour itinerary doesn’t require this.

>> Free time – Although you’ve chosen a guided tour for the convenience of having everything organised for you, it’s always nice to know there will be some free time to explore on your own.  An hour or two wandering the streets of a quaint village or sitting with a coffee and people-watching can be just what you need after a busy few days on tour. If having a bit of free time is important to you, check how much is allowed in the itinerary. 

>> Meals – How many meals are included in your tour price? All the tours mentioned above include breakfast each day but they all vary in the number of other meals included.  If you prefer to have as many meals as possible prepaid, consider this when choosing your tour. Alternatively, if you like to have the option of deciding where and when you eat at night, a tour that includes fewer dinners might be the best bet for you.



Ready to book your rail or coach tour of Switzerland?

As you can see, there are Switzerland guided tours to suit everyone. Whether you prefer to travel by coach or train, at a fast pace or more slowly, there’s sure to be something to suit in the Switzerland tours we’ve listed above.

Before you book, check for early bird offers and special deals. Insight Vacations and Trafalgar sometimes offer ‘fly free’ deals with tours over a certain length, and you can regularly find great savings on Tourradar.


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