Articles about Echo Trails and our tours

Rail Tour Review – Echo Rails & Trails 12 Day Rail Tour

This is a fabulous tour! We got to see all of the major sights in Switzerland. We traveled via public transportation which was a delight. The train and bus schedules sync together like clockwork. Our luggage was transferred from hotel to hotel so we did not have to deal with getting it on and off of the trains. The hotels and food were exceptional. They choose hotels that are centrally located making it easy to walk around the towns and get to the train station. They also work very hard to ensure that we eat in authentic Swiss restaurants and get to experience the region’s food. They also go out of their way to see that we are where we need to be to get the best views and/or experiences. For example, when in Zermatt they work with the hotel owner to ensure that we get rooms that will allow us to see the Matterhorn from our room (weather permitting).

They know from experience when we should travel to the viewing platforms to have the best views of the alps. For example, also when we were in Zermatt it was rainy and cloudy. They encouraged us to go to Gornergrat early in the morning so that we would have the best chance of seeing the Mattherhorn and the other surrounding mountains. We did, and even though we only saw the base of the Mattherhorn, we would not have seen anything if we had waited until later in the day. By the time we left the mountain, the clouds were rising and obscuring our “window view.” Because it is a small group tour and the guides are the owners of the company, there is quite a bit of flexibility. If the schedule needs to be modified to enhance the guests experience, they can do it. This rail tour requires a lot of walking and sometimes in order to make the train or bus connections you have to walk very fast. No one should do this tour if you cannot walk quickly and you need to be able to walk several miles a day. Some days we were mostly on trains, but when walking is required there is quite a bit of it! Switzerland cannot be beat for spectacular natural beauty, and Echo Rails and Trails is definitely the tour company to use! George M. from Trip Advisor 2021



Retired Railroad Conductor Review of Echo Rails & Trails Grand Rail Tour

After working on a mountain railroad for some 21 years, I thought I knew about trains. The trains on this trip were such an unexpected treat. In over 15 days we rode 54 trains! Electric, luxury, steam, cable cars, funiculars, cog wheels both vertical and horizontal, almost every train on time! All of this with the grandeur and beauty of the Swiss country side all around us. Rene and Suzanne have crafted an exceptional tour through the Swiss Alps. With our “Swiss Pass” we rode trains, buses, and boats, First Class all the way. Our accommodations were exceptional also as we stayed in beautiful hotels often with exceptional views of mountains and the surrounding country side – our meals were delicious and carefully prepared and selected. We (Rebecca and Richard) highly recommend this trip!

Date of experience: September 2021



Pilatus is the home mountain of the Swiss Alps and a must-see if you’re in Lucerne. During a magical day trip to Mt. Pilatus you’ll experience nonstop views of the Swiss Alps, an Alpine flower path and fantastic food. We got there by taking a bus to the trail head for a short walk through the forest and then transferred to the gondola & cable car for the last segment of the journey up the mountain. It’s all accessible through public transportation including the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, aerial trams and gondolas.  

Mt Pilatus Day Hike

Mt. Pilatus Transportation Tips

Most people either take the cable car up from the Lucerne city side or take the cog-wheel from the end of Lake Lucerne side. Either way you should plan for an hour to get you up by the time you purchase your ticket, stand in line and start moving.

Views from Mt. Pilatus

Once you are on top, you have a few options to walk outside to see the stunning surroundings and views. The most scenic is to take the “Alpine Flower Walk” on the level path cut into the mountain that gets you very close to nature and to see the distant Swiss Central Peaks. There is a wire fence along the path so it is very safe. 

From the summit, you can see across the Central Swiss Alps and the Jura all the way to France and the Black Forest in Germany. Once you reach the top, you’ve built up a good appetite and it’s time for lunch. There are many dining options at the top, including an inside cafeteria. For a luxury dining experience, there’s the outside terrace at the Victoria Restaurant, established in 1890.

Why Swiss Food on top of Mt. Pilatus Tastes So Good

Have you ever wondered when you’ve been outside, walked some and then had lunch, you say to yourself “Wow, this really tastes good”.

As a local guide in Lucerne taking hundreds of people up to the 7,000 ft Mt. Pilatus Day tour, this is the kind of “Wow-this food tastes really good” comments I’ve heard.

On a sunny day, the outside terrace of the Victoria restaurant is one of the highlights. You have your choice of menu items like the traditional Swiss veal sausage, with “rösti”, Swiss hash browns, in onion sauce or hearty soups and beautifully arranged mixed salads using regional fresh ingredients. And, of course, the always famous Swiss Fondue pot is delicious, however, why not branch out and experience the traditional swiss cuisine.

On a clear day in Lucerne, head to the top and see the views Mount Pilatus is famous for. Enjoy some drinks and lunch with the most breathtaking views and head back down. We’ve been making this trip for 8 years and it never fails to impress. More about Echo Trails Mt Pilatus day trip from Lucerne.

We also offer a luxurious 12 day Swiss Alps Rail Tour that will create lifetime memories… much more than just a vacation. Check this out for yourselves and book your Swiss Alps lifetime experience today!

We always like to hear from you so let me know what you think.

With best,

René Welti, Founder & CEO

Lonely Planet, Switzerland Guide Book, René Welti – Central Switzerland expert.

Lonely Planet Discover Switzerland

A “Rail Tour” of Switzerland is a spectacular experience

The many aspects of the tour also include travel on lakes and trails.
Here are some of my Swiss Alps Rail tour highlights and thoughts.

We’re all sitting outside on this veranda on a sunny day, joking & laughing with the Matterhorn and surrounding 13,000 ft mountain peaks starring at us

In the above picture, I’m the one on the right wearing the blue vest and the red hat – the Echo Trails tour guide.

We may be hiking by a mountain stream, standing on a Swiss Alps summit, riding in a paddle boat, or boarding a train or gondola for a trip up a mountain side

Hiking around Lake Lucerne

Or we may sit in a small cafe, tour a cheese factory, visit a museum, ride for free on a bus in any town or shop for gifts of chocolate to bring home and much more

The food in each of Switzerland’s, four regions, the Italian, French, Romansch and Swiss-German, is fresh and delicious

Outdoor Grilling of Swiss Sausages - Mt. Rigi tour

Switzerland is dream Getaway

A world in which you and your loved ones will feel safe and have your own “Sound-of-Music” experience. It’s guaranteed you will come home with a sense of renewal and have a treasure of lifelong memories; just like me.

More about how a Trip to Switzerland Will Excite Your Senses

Whether you are looking out of your rail tour in Switzerland train window, standing on a Swiss Alps summit, or sitting on an outside Swiss restaurant table, your eyes, ears and nose are in constant overdrive.

Alpine Views Switzerland’s awesome scenery every step and minute of your rail tour, day-trip or multi-day hiking  trip offers something magical.





Wherever you are, every corner of Switzerland offers a picture postcard kind of view.

Switzerland’s awesome cultural diversity is a function of this small country having four different national languages: French, Italian, Romanisch and German. Plus Switzerland’s small size, within three to four hours you can be  in neighboring Germany, France, Italy or Austria, where you experience the regional cultural differences.

What’s also interesting with Switzerland’s 729 year history, Switzerland and the United States have long been recognized as sister republics, Sharing common democratic values, free-market principles, and even similar constitutions.

With Switzerland’s non-stop ever changing awesome scenery, you sense this all in a  “peace of mind” safety. The global 2020 Environmental Performance Index report conducted by Yale University and Columbia University for the World Economic Forum ranks Switzerland # 1 out of 180 countries.

Switzerland gets the 2020 crown for the cleanest country in the world.

In addition to Switzerland’s long history of “neutrality” it also has one of the lowest crime rates among all the developed countries.

You experience this safety with all the cleanliness you see in the streets, restaurants and most evident in the bathrooms. Even the bathrooms in remote Swiss Alp huts  are always kept immaculately  clean.

I recall as a Bern public outdoor & indoor pool recreation area, “Badmeister” my responsibilities as a lifeguard included cleaning the changing room areas. You cleaned the changing room areas with a regimented 4 page instructional protocol of specific colored sprays and cleaning rags to use. Each shower, mirror and other areas had specific things to do and use.

The friendliness of the people and especially the local guides can make a good trip a one of your- lifetime-trips. We took our extended family members on a weeklong Swiss Alp Jungfrau region trip; it’s something they all still vividly remember and often talk about.

Our local great English speaking Swiss guide had all our transportation handled so efficiently we didn’t have to worry about what tickets to show or where to stand on the train platforms.  We just followed him and it made everything so effortless. Americans are not used to making multiple train platform changes. I recall  we made over five  effortless 7 to 10 minute train changes in one day and all we had to do was follow our guide.

Each platform has numeric markings and our guides knew where we all had to stand to board the right section where we all sat. And yes the trains depart on time. So when the actual train was 12 to 14 cars long, we stood in the right spot to just board the car in front of us and avoided the last minute panic to fuss to find our designated car.

In addition our local guide gave us great insight into the cultural and historical uniqueness of where we were in so it helped us to understand the place we were experiencing.

We had 5 & 7 year old grand kids, in addition to teenagers and their parents who relished with laughter and fun while walking around with the surrounding Swiss Alps peak mountains as the backdrop. The simple act of all of us eating outdoors on this panoramic veranda with each of us ordering off the menu provided a meal with so much fun and happiness.

Food in Switzerland

Mostly the food is fairly normal by western standards.  There are endless little variations on cured meats, breads, and cheese all over the country. There are something along the lines of 450 different cheeses, and various dishes made using them. Emmentaler, Gruyere and Appenzeller are the big 3 cheese types that you will find in every shop in Switzerland.  Unsurprisingly the chocolate options are also pretty extensive.

Switzerland is definitely a dream getaway place where you and your loved ones will feel and be safe, get to live that “Sound-of-Music” experience and come home with a sense of renewal and lifelong memories.

What Is a semi-guided multi-day hike?

We recently stayed at the Evergreen Lodge in Yosemite.

Click here for more information on the Evergreen Lodge
I mentioned to Lance, our experienced, local, guide, that we have a new Semi-Guided Swiss Jungfrau region multi-day hike.
He responded: “ I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Semi-Guided hike before”.
I responded by saying “you are right; we are the only company offering this kind of tour.”

By providing meet-greet and transfer at the Zürich airport, providing a local English speaking guide on your first day of hiking, you have all the information & resources you need to experience your Swiss Alps hike of a lifetime.

Echo Trails provides all the logistics, eliminate all the hassles and reduces costs.

All other Swiss Alps hiking companies offer either self-guided or fully guided hiking trips.
ECHO Rails & Trails is the only company offering visitors this all inclusive program at under $400.- per person per day.
Listen to what others have said about their ECHO Rails & Trails – Jungfrau Region hiking experience.

Check this out for yourselves and book your Swiss Alps lifetime experience today!
ECHO Rails & Trails – Semi Guided Jungfrau Region – Via Alpina # 1 hike Click here for more information
We always like to hear from you so let me know what you think.

With best,
René Welti, Founder & CEO


Article about Swiss Alps Hiking with Suzanne and Rene – a multi-days tour of Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region

“Thank you René and Suzanne for the most wonderful vacation/experience we had over the past 10 days.

You took us to the most beautiful places and showed us the best of Alps. I can’t stop thinking about some of the peaks we explored and how we challenged ourselves to higher elevations. I now have to contend with our photos of a great trip. I think the trip was very well organized, the accommodations were great and the food was excellent.

Your care and generosity was exemplary. I shall live with the memories of this great trip for life”

Dr. F., Los Altos, California – July 2019

“We can definitely recommend the ECHO Rails & Trails Swiss Alps program.”

The things we liked best dealt with the small group and flexibility. Based on the daily schedule and weather, due to our small group the guides are able to come up with alternate things to do and see so we maximized our time to see the most important things on the trip. The hotels, meals, especially the ability to choose å la carte at some of the dinners all very excellent.

Our wish was to experience trains and we definitely did. We enjoyed the timeliness, cleanliness and of course the wonderful Swiss scenery all the time. With this trip we finally experienced the Alpine part of Switzerland and were very surprised and impressed to learn of the different Swiss dialects and diverse landscape.

René as guide was very good as he explained many of the cultural differences of the Swiss places we visited. Also he shared how the Swiss government is set up and runs, all very interesting for us. All in all our experiences with this Swiss Alps Rail program we rate as excellent value for our money and can recommend wholeheartedly.

M & D, San Antonio, TX – July 2019