Follow Me! Original Real Rail Adventures: Switzerland Itinerary

One of the most common questions I get from viewers is: How can I take the same trip you took on your TV program? Usually, I point them to the show’s website, www.RealRailTV.com, where they can find full show descriptions and links to regions where we’ve traveled. The question comes so often, though, that I began to wonder if I was shirking my responsibility as a host and virtual “guide.” When I decided to go back and write a useful itinerary for the original episode, Real Rail Adventures: Switzerland, I was surprised by just how difficult it was to square our production schedule with a usable travel itinerary.

After careful review of the episode and my notes from the time, I’m happy to say that I’ve put together an itinerary that viewers can use to plan their own, very similar journeys. As I look back, I’m struck by just how ambitious that original trip was – we shot over 17 days, with little down time, often shooting 4-5 experiences in a day along with specific trains, interviews, and meals. Eric, our extremely talented camera operator, was rarely able to put the camera down.

So, while I’ve included this itinerary as an academic exercise, I don’t really recommend that anyone literally follow in our footsteps. My advice? Slow down, spend at least three nights in each location, and remember that Switzerland will be there next year (and the year after that, and the year after that). Travel requires time to really absorb the landscapes, culture, food, and all of the subtle feelings that come from being exposed to something new.

That said, here’s that itinerary:

Real Rail Adventures: Switzerland – Itinerary
Jeff Wilson
Day 1: Leave U.S. for Switzerland
Day 2: Arrive Zurich. Overnight in Zurich
Day 3: Explore Zurich. Afternoon train to Chur. Explore Chur. Overnight in Chur
Day 4: Leave Chur aboard the Albula-Bernina line. Stop in Bergün to tour the Albula-Bernina Museum. Re-board train to St Moritz. Overnight in St Moritz. This route can also be done on the Glacier Express, without the Albula Museum stop
Day 5: Day trip to Piz Corvatsch to view glacier via cable car. Return to and overnight in St Moritz
Day 6: Leave St Moritz aboard Palm Express Post Bus. Arrive Lugano. Lunch and tour Lugano, train to Bellinzona. Overnight in Bellinzona
Day 7: Tour Bellinzona castles. (Side trip to San Gottardo Train Club in Mendrisio if local events allow). Overnight in Bellinzona
Day 8: Gotthard Panorama Express to Flüelen; boat in Flüelen to Lucerne. Lunch on board. Stop in Vitznau to take Rigi cogwheel train to Mt Rigi. Return to Vitznau and boat to Lucerne. Overnight in Lucerne (possible side trip to Lake Ritom via Ritom Funicular)
Day 9: Train to Alpnachstad for cogwheel ride up to Pilatus Kulm. Explore Pilatus and return to Lucerne. Overnight in Lucerne
Day 10: Train to Stans for morning Cabrio cable car to Stanserhorn. Lunch on Stanserhorn, then return to Lucerne. Explore Swiss Transportation Museum. Overnight in Lucerne
Day 11: Leave Lucerne. GoldenPass Lucerne-Interlaken Express Panoramic train to Interlaken. Explore and overnight in Interlaken.
Day 12: Board Lötschberg boat to Brienz. Day excursion on Brienzer Rothorn historic cogwheel steam train. Lunch at mountain cottage. Return to Interlaken by train and overnight in Interlaken
Day 13: Day excursion to Jungfraujoch. Overnight in Lauterbrünnen.
Day 14: Day excursion to Schilthorn via train, bus, and cable car. Tour “Bond World” and lunch in Piz Gloria Restaurant. Overnight in Lauterbrünnen
Day 15: Leave Lauterbrünnen to Montreux via GoldenPass. Explore Chateau Chillon and overnight in Montreux
Day 16: Day excursion to Gruyères and Broc aboard historic “Chocolate Train.” Tour Gruyères and Gruyères Cheese Experience. Fondue lunch. Train to Broc and tour Cailler Chocolate factory. Return to and overnight in Montreux
Day 17: Leave Montreux. Morning excursion to Rochers-de-Naye. Lunch on Rochers-de-Naye. Train to Visp. Glacier Express Panoramic train to Zermatt. Explore and overnight in Zermatt
Day 18: Day excursion on Gornergrat Railway and the Matterhorn. Overnight in Zermatt
Day 19: Leave Zermatt via train to Zurich. Overnight in Zurich
Day 20: Leave Zurich to U.S., arrive U.S.

Ready to plan your dream trip to Switzerland? I can help! With my years of experience traveling there, I can help you have a travel experience well beyond a pre-packaged tour. With my connections to folks “on the ground,” I can help you create a custom itinerary and ensure that your trip goes off without a hitch.

Let me know what you think and stay tuned – more itineraries and a raft of travel advice will be coming your way in the coming months!

2 thoughts on “Follow Me! Original Real Rail Adventures: Switzerland Itinerary

  1. Jeff -Agree with everything on your itinerary except from Chur on.   Why not swing over to Klosters – half an hour to the east – for a couple of days, staying and dining at the Chesa Grischuna (Google it).  Garbo used to vacation there (as did I) every September.  Deborah Kerr married there.  Prince Charles took his sons there in the winter to ski.  

    And a MUST for another trip is Bern (as I’ve already suggested).  See and film the “Zytglogge.” (Especially when it’s chiming the hour.)  You can also tour inside. Eat traditional Swiss dishes (e.g. Bratwurst mit Roesti) at the nearby Cafe Harmonie.  Also film the ceiling of the lobby of the Hotel Bellevue.  (You can Google that too.)  Don’t miss the “Baerengraben” where the city’s signature bears are now kept.  Also the Paul Klee museum.  Also the Albert Einstein house (a local landmark). If you film Bern in the summer, show swimmers in die Aare (the river that loops around Bern).  You can Google pictures of that too. Nancy Dennis(in Santa Fe, wishing she were in Switzerland)

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    1. Excellent recommendations, Nancy! This itinerary, of course, is merely a reflection of what we planned for our original episode of Real Rail Adventures. It was to act as an overview of the country. As with all of our trips for the TV program, they’re crammed full of activities and experiences so that we can get the most bang for our production buck and give the viewers a fully packed hour of fun. I agree that one should relax and spend more time in fewer places.

      With the new episode, shot last August/September, I did get the chance to float the Rhine with the locals in Basel one evening. Look for that, along with many other new adventures, in April 2020 when it plays nationwide.

      I will put your suggestions on the list for the next time we shoot in Switzerland! Anyone else out there have some tips?

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