Articles about Echo Trails and our tours
Beautiful hike and tour of the Jungfrau region in Switzerland
My wife and I did the “Swiss Alps Via Alpina #1 Jungfrau Region Hike.”
SUMMARY: ECHO TRAILS HAS SELECTED A “BEST-OF” HIKING TOUR OF THE JUNGFRAU REGION. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THE HOTELS HAD GREAT VIEWS.
The trip was eight days and seven nights.
On day 1 the guide (and owner) met us at the Zurich airport, then guided us on trains to Engelberg.
The next day (day 2) he was with us for beautiful hiking and tram rides past lakes through Swiss cow country to Melchsee-Frutt. He pointed out to us where to hike the next day. That night we had a beautiful view of the lake and the storm that came in both from our room and from the spa.
Day 3 we were on our own for the longest day. We hiked along a ridge with fantastic views in all directions to a tram down to Meiringen. We walked around the town and got lunch, then took two buses to the Grindelwald region. We got off before Grindelwald and hiked through more cow country with classic Swiss houses and barns before reaching Grindelwald. We spent three nights in a hotel room facing the Eiger, which was hiding in the clouds most of the time. We had two full days in Grindelwald to hike and tour where we pleased.
Day 4 we chose to ride the tram and train up to Jungfraujoch (very touristy but, hey, we are touring). On the way back down we skipped the tram and hiked along the based of the Eiger.
Day 5 we took the bus up to Grosse Scheidegg and attempted to walk to First. We followed the signs, but somehow got off track. This turned out fine as walked through more classic Switzerland with barely another soul around. We ended up at the Schreckfeld tram stop and rented little karts to coast down the road to the next tram stop in Bort before taking the tram back to Grindelwald.
Day 6 we took trains to Lauterbrunnen. The valley upstream from here is known as “The Valley of 70 Waterfall.” It was raining and we didn’t want to miss any waterfalls, so we walked from there. We paid to go into Trimmelbackfalle, which is deep cuts in the rock containing ten little waterfalls. We walked from there to take a tram up to Gimmelwald and on to Murren, which is at the top of the cliff. I love Yosemite. Murren and the valley below rival Yosemite Valley for beauty. The hotel for the next two nights again had a fanstastic view, this time of the mountains and waterfalls.
Day 7 we chose to hike above Murren through the clouds up to Birg. From there we rode the tram up the the Schilthorn. There was no view due to the clouds, but we got to see the James Bond exhibition inside before taking the tram back to Murren.
Day 8 we checked out and were on our own. We rode trains and trams to Zermatt for our next adventure.
This was a wonderful experience!
The guides were fun and knowledgeable. They provided on-the-fly custom visits to places of particular interest to some members of the group. The use of multiple public transportation modes was a real education and a marvel–so timely and so clean.
The hotels were nice and well located for our outings. I was a little apprehensive about the cost of this tour but soon came to see that it was worth the money. Almost everything was included in the cost and well planned by ECHO.
The small group was perfect for us and we really enjoyed getting to know the other travelers.
This company does it RIGHT!
Reviewed by sherry7112015 – July, 2023
I have been blessed to have traveled to all 50 US states, all the Canadian provinces, and 29 countries in Europe, and this trip was clearly the best of all i have done.
Most of that credit goes to God for putting so many beautiful mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls all in one country. Much credit goes to Echo trails as well for making it first class and packing in so many experiences and beauty in 12 days.
Getting to experience so many trains including a steam engine and cogwheel, funiculars, cable cars, gondolas, and boats was great. Hiking to a cheese farm and having fresh fondue was awesome. Making our own chocolate in Interlaken was outstanding. Having a small enough group and a long enough tour to get to know others well was a great bonus. I felt the communication could be better if everyone was on one platform (whats App for example to make sure everyone got the same info at the same time when changes were made or we planned to meet somewhere after doing different things).
This trip is not for people that are not comfortable with walking a lot, potentially in heat, for a ten hour or more tour day. Most of the tour day is not walking but there are some tight travel connections and some hiking. Regarding hiking, I think it would be beneficial to use a rating system like one i am familiar with that goes 1 to 5 for difficulty of terrain and A to E for elevation up and down.
The food and lodging was very good and the guides were very knowledgeable and invaluable regarding transportation knowledge, and were very friendly and helpful even to someone like me who can be irritating by asking a lot of questions.
P.S. This trip is not for someone looking for a bargain. Switzerland is one of the most expensive places I have been to but it was well worth it.
Larry from South Carolina
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!
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 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…..so 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.
René Welti, Founder & CEO
Lonely Planet, Switzerland Guide Book, René Welti – Central Switzerland expert.