Articles about Echo Trails and our tours

Glacier Express

The first time I experienced the Glacier Express was in the 1990’s when I traveled with  tour operator Presidents from the United States Tour Operator Association, on an Out- of- Country Switzerland meeting as the USA Graubünden Tourist Office representative. It was Winter with the surroundings covered in white snow and everyone experiencing a “magical” kind of trip then.

In 2012 when I started freelancing Swiss Rail trips, I would do 4 to 9  Glacier Express trips a summer. This past year, I completed my 50th Glacier Express trip that coincidentally occured  on my birthday. To top my day I lunched with the newly appointed President of the Glacier Express LLC, Annemarie Meyer, a tourism colleague, to hear first-hand upcoming Glacier Express new features.

It’s taken me a few years to actually understand & appreciate the engineering wonders the Glacier Express offers passengers. Here are some the Glacier Express highlights worth mentioning.

The Glacier Express began it’s journey as a 1930 train “brand” that connects  St. Moritz in the canton of Graubünden, to Zermatt in the canton of Valais and vice versa traveling through the most scenic parts of Switzerland. The name honored the Rhone Glacier as it gave  passengers the ability to see the Rhone Glacier as it traveled over the Furka pass.

The Glacier Express traverses the 181 mi / 291-kilometre-long journey through the center of the Swiss Alps, over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels.  The panorama windows that run from your elbow to the top of the roof, make for excellent viewing of the moving countryside.

Because the  entire line is meter gauge (narrow gauge railway) this engineering allows the train to make the various grades; the lowest in Chur at 1,919 ft / 585m,  to the highest Oberalp Pass , 6,670 ft. 2.033m.

To make the Glacier Express express more efficient and memorable, our trip starts in St. Moritz and departs in Andermatt around 2:00p.m.   This allows people to experience the main highlights such as the Landwasser Viaduct, Albula tunnel, the ascent from Chur at 1,919 ft to the Oberalp pass summit 6,670 ft. while lunch is served.

By overnighting in Andermatt, people get to experience the Gotthard pass region, a 1940’s Swiss military bunker, ride a 2-hour  Furka Steam Train and see the Rhone Glacier the next day. We end up in Zermatt but travel via Lugano and then the Centovalli railway train later to finally make our way to Zermatt.

Echo Trails 12-day Grand Rail Tour of Switzerland

Guided Hikes of the Swiss Alps

Reviewed July 30, 2018 – Trip Advisor

Guided Hikes of Swiss Alps – First to Bussalp and North Face/Via Alpina to Rotstockhütte

During our visit to the Swiss Alps this past July, I was able to perform two guided hikes with ECHO Trails led by Rene Welti.

The first of the two was from First to Bussalp via Bachalpsee where we were able to hike to up to a wonderful view of the valley and a small Alpine Hut.
Our second hike was the North Face /Via Alphina to Rotstockhütte where we stopped for some home made pies before walking back to Mürren.

Both hikes were outstanding

August 6 ·

5 stars!

The week with Rene and Suzanne in the Alps exceeded all expectations. Beautiful weather, amazing scenery, great company and lots of happy hiking.

I would love to do another trip with Echo Trails.

August 12 ·

There are soo many reasons that my husband and I loved this trip with Rene and Suzanne as our guides. The main reason: they made it magical!

We hiked with a small group from hotel to hotel along the Alpina 1 and they transported our luggage. This was the best glamping imaginable!
Their knowledge of the trails, the region, and the accommodations made it possible for us to just show up and enjoy the scenery!

I loved the hiking options they made available for our group, too. The options were so well planned that even if someone chose to hike less on any day, they would still enjoy the mountains, trails and Swiss Alps.

My husband found the hard to find Edelweiss on a small steep alp below the Matterhorn. And yes, the Sound of Music tracks played in my head over and over.

It was the best trip

ECHO Rails & Trails offers
Guided Day, Multi-Day & Rail Tours
to meet
Your time, fitness and interest levels.

Now in our 7th year with Switzerland our 100% focus, our goal is to offer you one-stop Swiss tours shopping. If you just have a Day to spend & want to get up into the Swiss Alps, here are our Day Outdoor Tours to choose from:

Lucerne,   Lugano,   St. Moritz,   Zermatt,   Grindelwald and  Zürich.

For example since Lucerne marks the beginning of the Swiss Alps, it’s a place where you can get up high to see over 600 Central Alps peaks. It’s  an easy 1 hour train ride from places like Basel, Zürich & Bern.  Also lot’s of Rhine Cruise people who either start or end their cruise in Basel, include Lucerne to their Swiss visit. If you just have one Day and want to maximize your time and visit to see the main two mountains, we offer both Mt. Rigi & Mt. Pilatus mountains in a one Day Tour.  Or if you prefer one mountain over the other, we also have Day tours to both Mt. Rigi & Mt. Pilatus too.  

The Day Tour party size is usually 2 to 3 people so this makes for a very personable one-on-one experience with your local english speaking guide who lives in the area. So you not only get all the scenic highlights explained but also can ask anything about Switzerland you like. This exchange provides you a one of a kind interesting and informative “local experience”.

For those with more time say 7 to 13 Days, we now offer Guided Rail Tours where you experience the scenic highlights in Switzerland’s different regions. Riding the comfortable, historic and on-time trains, allows you to mingle with locals while constantly enjoying all the beautiful countryside.
Click here for more information

Looking for a more active Swiss Hiking experience? Our guided Swiss Alps Via Alpina # 1 national trail is quoted by “Outdoor Magazine” as one of the best hikes in the world. This 8-day majestic, enchanting hike through the middle of the Swiss Alps is all inclusive with lodging, two meals daily, baggage handling and two english speaking guides.
Click here for more information

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!

Contact ECHO Trails for more information or see our Swiss Rail Tours page. We look forward to hearing from you!

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!

View from Mt. Rigi Day Tour

The Lake Lucerne area offers a great combination of scenic alps, old world medieval city combined with a beautiful lake. Plus it is very central and easy to reach. 

Hear how this Michigan couple enjoyed their picnic on top of Mt. Rigi.

For more information how you too can experience this Lake Lucerne Region please click on this link: Mt Rigi Day Tour