Testimonials about Echo Trail’s rail tours
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!
“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
I was very wary of traveling with a tour group. But, trying to plan all of the details including transportation, lodging, food and attractions was more than I wanted to tackle.
So, we decided on a tour lead by Rene Welti, founder of ECHO Tours. What a great choice! He made us feel welcome from the very first meeting and then, over the course of 10 days, became a friend-not the people herder that i had feared.
We saw sights, ate food and stayed at places that I wouldn’t ever dream of. He went out of his way to ensure that everyone’s needs were met.
I can honestly say that I can’t think of one thing I would change. These folks really know Switzerland and go to great lengths to make sure everyone has a great time.
Customer Review of the Grand Railroad Tour of Switzerland
Rene was the lead tour guide on our rail trip through Switzerland. The trip was a dream of a lifetime for me being an avid rail fan. This, our return trip to Switzerland was a chance to not only experience their rail system, but visit places we had not explored previously. Rene made the our visit tremendous!
Our tour visited many of the must see destinations including Luzerne, Zermatt, St. Mortiz, Lugano, Gruyeres and many others. Rene’s knowledge of the rail lines, cities and people allowed us to experience the true Swiss culture. The best part was Rene’s willingness to share his vast knowledge, his desire to learn new information and his eagerness to make our experience the best it could be.
Rene was constantly offering optional unscheduled (free) experiences to the group. Anytime there was some downtime in the schedule he was right there to fill it with interesting options. An example was when we had a full free day, Rene guided additional excursions on cable cars to the tops of two mountains along with a hike down one mountainside.
We would be extremely pleased to have Rene lead or organize a tour for us anytime in the future!
We were first timers in Switzerland and on a guided tour. The small group and great reviews were what led us to our decision to choose this tour, and it was definitely the right choice.
Rene and Suzanne were not only knowledgeable and efficient, but were also amazing people who quickly became friends to all of us in the group. We covered all the major areas of interest, rode numerous scenic trains, crossed beautiful blue lakes, and traversed breathtaking mountaintops. Rene shared many stories and facts concerning the things we saw, making it all more interesting than it already was.
He and Suzanne were quick to accommodate the needs and interests of the individuals in the group giving us time to explore, hike or relax as we chose.
For us this was a long awaited dream trip, and it surpassed our dreams!