Swiss Mountains and Italian Lakes — A Journey by Rail

Enjoy the highlights of Swiss and Italian scenery in style on this 10-day journey by rail that carries you from the peaks of the Alps to the island-dotted waters of Lake Maggiore. Board your first train in Zürich for a picturesque ascent into the mountains of Zermatt. Explore this quaint mountain town and ride cable cars high into the peaks to the dramatic Matterhorn Glacier Paradise for unparalleled views of the surrounding mountain ranges. From Zermatt, journey east to Pontresina on the iconic Glacier Express. Spend several days here in the canton of Graubünden, venturing out to the towns of St. Moritz and Tirano, just across the border in Italy. Continue to Bellinzona and come to rest along the shores of Lake Maggiore in Stresa. The final days of the trip are spent enjoying lakeside Orta and the charming Borromean Islands. Swiss hospitality and Italian dolce vita come together in this unforgettable trip.

Jun 21-30, 2020

Jul 12-21, 2020

Aug 9-18, 2020

10 Days

9 Nights



Cruises & Trains

10 Days, 9 Nights

Trip Cost, Per Traveler

Swiss Mountains and Italian Lakes- 2020
$7,495 double occupancy
(Single supplement: $975.00 )
$500 Deposit
or Call 855.890.5298
Phone Hours - M-F, 7AM – 5PM PT
Print Itinerary
Expedition Highlights

Take in the views of some of Switzerland's most dramatic peaks as you explore the mountain town of Zermatt and the towering Matterhorn Glacier Paradise — the highest cable car station in Europe — and see the tallest peaks in Switzerland, France and Italy. 

Savor Switzerland's picture-perfect landscapes in style on iconic trains including the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.

Spend several days drinking in the atmosphere of Lake Maggiore, exploring the jewel-like Borromean Islands of Isla Bella and Isola Madre.

Our Expedition Experts
Chris Reynolds - LA Expeditions Expert

Chris Reynolds

LA Times travel writer

June 2020

Mary McNamara - LA Expeditions Expert

Mary McNamara

LA Times Pulitzer Prize–winning television critic

July 2020

Michael Hiltzik - LA Expeditions Expert

Michael Hiltzik

LA Times Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist

August 2020

Day 1

Welcome to Switzerland

Arrive at Zürich Airport. Meet with fellow passengers, and board your first Swiss train for a ride to Zermatt, in the canton of Valais. This mountain town was nearly unknown until the mid-1800s, when adventurous climbers seeking to conquer the peak of the Matterhorn made it a popular destination. Arrive in Zermatt and check in to your hotel. Enjoy a welcome reception this evening, followed by dinner. (R, D)

Day 2

Glacier Paradise

Begin today with a walking tour of Zermatt. This car-free town is a bustling ski destination in winter but in summer attracts hikers and those seeking the unrivaled views the mountain peaks offer. Board one of Zermatt's iconic red cable cars and ascend to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, at 12,740 feet Europe's highest cable car station. Ride back down the mountain to Schwarzsee for a leisurely hike, then continue by cable car back to Zermatt. (B)

Day 3

The Peaks of Zermatt

Return to the peaks today. Board a train on the Gornergrat Bahn, Europe's second-highest railway. At the end of the line, take in a picturesque view of the Matterhorn in the distance. Descend again to Riffelberg for a short hike and views of more than a dozen nearby peaks. Back in town, pay a visit to the Matterhorn Museum, which recounts the history of the first dramatic attempts to conquer the mountain. Dinner will be at leisure. (B)

Day 4

All Aboard the Glacier Express

Rise early today to catch one of Switzerland's most famous trains, the Glacier Express. Its eight-hour journey offers spectacular views as you pass through three cantons (Valais, Uri and Graubünden). Enjoy an onboard three-course lunch, accompanied by wine. Arrive at the end of the line in St. Moritz, then make a short transfer to your hotel in the mountain village of Pontresina — renowned for its Belle Epoque hotels. Check in to the Sporthotel Pontresina, and have dinner as a group. (B, L, D)

Day 5

Pontresina and St. Moritz

Stroll through Pontresina on a walking tour this morning, then visit a local museum on a private guided tour. Your stay includes a pass that provides access to all public transportation in the area — the afternoon is yours to explore. (B)

Day 6

The Bernina Express

Today includes another iconic Swiss train, the Bernina Express. This sightseeing train runs along the Rhaetian Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel to the picturesque town of Poschiavo, just before the border with Italy. Explore Poschiavo on a guided walking tour before returning to Pontresina for the evening. (B)

Day 7

Bellinzona's Castelgrande

Depart Pontresina this morning by private coach to head south toward Italy's lake region. Stop in Bellinzona for lunch, then explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Castelgrande. This site of Castelgrande has been fortified for more than 2,000 years, although the human presence there dates back to Neolithic. Continue to the town of Baveno, bordering Lake Maggiore, and check in to your hotel. (B, L)

Day 8

Lake Orta and Italian Wine

Depart Baveno for a spectacular scenic journey to Lake Orta, the Italian Lake District’s hidden gem. Take a short boat ride across the lake to Orta San Giulio. This is the most picturesque medieval village overlooking the lake, awash with winding lanes and with beautiful architecture in tones of ochre, tangerine and apricot. After a tour exploring the village, take time to have lunch at your leisure – making sure to enjoy a plate of the local Piedmont delicacies. Then sail back to the tiny island of Isola San Giulio to visit the beautiful Romanesque Basilica di San Giulio, dating from the 10th century and full of colorful frescos. Afterward, head to a local winery to see the wine production and taste some delicious Piedmont wines. (B)

Day 9

Jewels of Lake Maggiore

Today is dedicated to two of Lake Maggiore's famous Borromean Islands — Isola Bella and Isola Madre. Board the boat bound for Isola Bella, which is just a few hundred meters from shore. Until the 17th century, only a small fishing village occupied the island. Then members of the House of Borromeo — which still owns many of the Borromean Islands — began constructing summer palaces there. Visit the elegant palace and gardens, then continue to Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands, to stroll its lush botanical gardens. Return to Baveno for a farewell reception and dinner. (B, R, D)