Starting in the medieval Lucerne with the famous Chapel Bridge you go on to Lugano, the southernmost Swiss city in the Italian-speaking part. You continue by Bernina Express, the highest alpine railway crossing the Alps, to St. Moritz, the famous resort in the Engadin valley of light. The highlights of the Lakes and Glaciers tour are Mt. Titlis, the Swiss-Italian lakes, the Bernina Express and St. Moritz.
This tour crosses the Swiss Alps twice. After the visit to Lucerne, you will travel via the famous Gotthard line in the Italian part of Switzerland. In Lugano you will experience this totally different part of Switzerland and enjoy the “Italianita” with a touch of Swiss rigidity. Then crossing the Alps again via the UNESCO World Heritage Bernina railway over the highest “railway pass” of the Alps towards St. Moritz. This resort at 1,815 m brings a large contrast to the Mediterranean atmosphere of Lugano. Finally the trip to home begins with another famous stretch of the Albula line, also a UNESCO World Heritage.
On this tour you will overnight in each hotel twice, thus very relaxing.
Whether from any of the 3 Swiss international airports (Zurich/Zürich, Basle/Basel or Geneva/Geneve) or by train from Germany, France, Austria or Italy, the package includes the train trip from Swiss international airports or the border station to Lucerne/Luzern and at the end back to the airport or border station, so no need to buy any additional train ticket. All travel within Switzerland is included! And, as an extra benefit, with this package tour all further excursions by train, mountain-train, cable car, boat or bus can be obtained for half the price.
Upon arrival at Lucerne there is some time to explore the beautiful city. Of course you can visit the historic district with the famous Chapel Bridge. Also the narrow streets are worthwhile a stroll and the Lion Monument is also close by. Next to the Lion Monument also the Glacier Garden can be visited. Lucerne was covered by a glacier 10,000 years ago and the traces are still visible. The city is beautifully located on the Lake Lucerne and therefore a boat cruise in the afternoon is also highly recommended. In summer there are evening cruises so you can enjoy the sunset.
Overnight in Lucerne
From Lucerne the train takes you to the mountain monastery village Engelberg where you board the gondola which takes you up to the Truebsee and on to Stand and finally the revolving Titlis rotair cable car (the first of its kind) takes you up to Mount Titlis (3,020 m).
This glaciated mountain peak offers great views and even the mountains near the Matterhorn can be seen from here. For a spectacular, close-up insight into a glacier, visit the glacier cave and ride the Ice Flyer chairlift. And get your thrills on the Titlis cliff walk, a spectacular suspension bridge at a height of 3,041 m. On the way back a stopover at Truebsee and a hike around it is a good possibility to stretch your legs. Also the town of Engelberg is worthwhile a visit on the way back. There is a monastery, founded in 1120 and it can be visited.
Overnight in Lucerne
After the Swiss breakfast buffet (included with all overnight) a short walk or taxi ride will bring you to the station. There, you board the train to Lugano that runs through the longest railroad tunnel in the world, the 57 km long Gotthard base tunnel.
The train ride to Lugano takes only a little over 2 hours. The afternoon is all yours. Explore the city or choose one of the excursions nearby. It is well possible the weather on this side of the Alps is completely different from the north side. Also, you will notice the completely different landscape and culture. This makes the tour so interesting.
Option Gotthard Panorama Express (in the summer season only) especially for train and boat enthusiasts. First, the paddle steamer takes you from Lucerne over the entire Lake Lucerne to Fluelen at the upper end. Many locations steeped in history, such as the “Ruetliwiese”, the “Schillerstein” and Tell Chapel greet guests with their original Swiss charms. Then the Gotthard Panorama Express with its specially designed carriages with huge panorama windows runs over the historical Gotthard railway line with its many spiral tunnels and bridges to Bellinzona (castles of Bellinzona – UNESCO World Heritage). From there it is just a short ride through the newly opened Monte Generi base tunnel to Lugano.
Overnight in Lugano
Lugano is the largest city in the canton of Ticino and also an important location of many Swiss banks. It is nicely located between two mountains, Monte Bre and Monte San Salvatore. The latter has a small chapel on the summit from where you have excellent views.
Today you can discover the Italian part of Switzerland at your own pace. The city of Lugano has a nice centre, but you can also take the opportunity to do some excursions. What about a visit to the Monte San Salvatore by funicular or a hike to the old fishers village of Morcote, glued on the mountain slope above Lake Lugano? From there you can take a boat trip across Lake Lugano and visit the Customs Museum, where smugglers artifacts can be seen and learn about the ingenuity of the smugglers. Another possibility is a visit to Locarno and Ascona on the board of Lake Maggiore.
Overnight in Lugano
Today we will travel partly through Italy. The Bernina Bus starts at the Lugano station. Along Lake Lugano and later on the famous Lake Como both also considered the “Fjords of the Alps” because they are surrounded by steep slopes, the bus takes you conveniently to Tirano, the starting point of the Bernina Express.
This is the highest railway across the Alps (2,253 m) and climbs up to the glistening glaciers in many turns and through numerous tunnels. Because the railway blends ideally with the alpine landscapes, it has been given the UNESCO World Heritage status. Thanks to the modern panoramic cars, you will enjoy unrestricted views of the unspoilt alpine panorama. The most famous landmark is undoubtedly the Brusio spiral viaduct, unique in the world!
On the north side of the Bernina Pass, the railway descends gradually and leads to the Engadin valley at approximately 1,800 m where St. Moritz is located.
Overnight in St. Moritz
St. Moritz hardly needs an introduction. This “capital of light” at an altitude of 1,815 m level hosted two Olympic winter games. It also has the worlds only bobsleigh run with natural ice. In summer, the area with the upper Engadin lakes and surrounding mountains is a paradise for hikers and landscape lovers.
Winter tourism – the result of a legendary bet
In the autumn of 1864, the story goes, Johannes Badrutt sat by the fire in Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz with four English holiday guests. He enthused about the St. Moritz winter idyll – a snow-blanketed landscape basking in sunshine with mild temperatures during the day, “a paradise on earth.” The Englishmen did not believe him since they knew the dark, cold English winters all too well. This conversation led to the legendary bet: Badrutt suggested that the four should return in December, and if they did not enjoy their stay, he would reimburse the travel expenses. The Englishmen returned – and stayed until Easter. Badrutt won his bet and winter tourism was launched.
Today you can enjoy the choice of several excursions in all directions. Whether you backtrack towards the Bernina Pass and ride the Diavolezza cable car for a view of the “Festival hall of the Alps”, or the even higher Piz Corvatsch, these excursions are all included (only in summer). Our recommendation is to safe the ride up to the Muottas Muragl for the evening. Reserve your table in advance and enjoy dinner at sunset! A great experience to end your Lakes and Glaciers tour.
Overnight in St. Moritz
It is time to say goodbye. However, even the journey back to the airport or border station follows the beautiful Swiss landscapes. The first part via the Albula line is also part of the aforementioned UNESCO World Heritage, so well worth looking out of the window
Alternatively, another tour can be added or you may want to stay a few extra days in Switzerland.
The tour can start/end at any Swiss airport or border station.