Articles about Echo Trails and our tours

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


View from Mt. Rigi Day Tour

Here’s a glimpse of what we experienced on our hike today.


Once a year, on the eve of Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, the town of Küsnacht-am-Rigi, a medieval picturesque village outside of Lucerne puts on a “Klausenjagt”; litteral translation “St. Nicholas Chase”.

This is a unique procession dating back to pre-Christian pagan times attended each year by about 20,000 people, consists of a parade of around 1,500 participants, and lasts far into the night.
The procession is organised in six stages.

  • First come men cracking long two-handed sheep whips.
  • Next come men wearing Iffelen or Infuln, which are enormous, incredibly ornate paper hats which resemble a cross between a bishop’s mitre and a stained glass window, lit from the inside by candles, and as much as seven feet tall.
  • Behind them is St. Nicholas himself, with four attendants in black robes and hoods known as Schmutzlis, who hand out pastries.
  • After them comes a brass band playing the traditional Klaus song, followed by a large group ringing trycheln, large bells which are descendants of cow bells.
  • Lastly, the entire procession is followed by men blowing cow horns. Participants and watchers then generally head on to celebrations in local taverns.
    What does this all have to do with ECHO Trails?
    You see the medieval village on a number of our Day tours.

June in Switzerland

The clean forest smells, the rustling sounds of the melting snow and the sprouting meadow flowers makes a visit to the Swiss Alps in June a special experience.

Here’s what Chuck wrote about his experience:

Fantastic and amazing four-day circuit hike

If you can possibly do so, this fantastic four day circuit hike (out and back from Lucerne) is worth building your entire Swiss vacation around.

Echo Trails sets up hotel stays along a hiking circuit around the far end of Lake Lucerne, your luggage is transferred from place to place for you, and you are free to hike the amazing and tranquil trails far far from the crowds of Mt Rigi or Mt Pilatus carrying only a day pack. The ‘hard’ part of the hikes (i.e. the big uphill sections) are by cable car or cog railway, leaving you free to hike along a combination of spectacular Alpine trails as well as lakefront trails without feeling over exerted.

I did this hike along with my grown (27 year old) son. We’re both in decent shape but not avid joggers or cardio exercise nuts and we felt perfectly comfortable with the amount of energy the daily hikes took, even given the altitudes involved.

The first day is with a guide so that you feel comfortable with the (excellent) trail signage. After that you’re on your own through alpine meadows, local villages, and nature preserves, and with a variety of options each day to make your hike more strenuous or more relaxing, whichever you’re in the mood for.

Plus, you end up using lake steamers, cable cars, cog railways, and in one stretch a surprisingly luxurious local ‘postal’ bus to get around between hiking segments which adds a fun element to the whole thing.

The hotels ranged from a simple village establishment, to a fully renovated Belle Epoque grand hotel on the lake, to a modern hotel with a gigantic and amazing super modern hot mineral bath complex halfway up Mt. Rigi.

Echo Trails thought of everything, down to supplying a mobile phone in case of questions or confusion (which we never felt the slightest need to use).

I just can’t say enough good things about this circuit hike. We took what seems like approximately one million photos as the scenery and views were spectacular at each turn of the trail.

An amazing and memorable experience.

Truly worth building your vacation around.
I would give this ten stars if I could – it was that good.