Launched! Check out the all-new JeffWilsonExplore.com: My outlet for info about my PBS travel shows, the all-new, all-electric, Real Road Adventures, and the classic, multiple Telly Award-winning, Real Rail Adventures. On top of that, you’ll get my musings on adventures great and small, behind-the-scenes extras, featured stories, and more. Coming soon will be a store for travel bags, gear, and food from treasured destinations (like fondue…you know you want it – now you can have it delivered straight to your home!), and trips and tours that take you to some of the fantastic destinations we’ve covered in our shows. Bookmark JeffWilsonExplore.com and check back regularly – the adventure is only just beginning!
While travel may have slowed a bit due to the pandemic, the crew here at Real Rail Adventures has been hard at work producing more exciting travel programs. A new series debuts nationwide (with all-new travels and an exciting twist in our modes of travel) in April 2022, but until then, you can catch up with us on the PBS Video App.
Whether you want to watch on your iOS or Android device or on your smart TV, the PBS App gives you access to over 4000 amazing PBS programs, including all four hour-long episodes of Real Rail Adventures. As a member in good standing at any level of your local PBS station, you can stream all of this programming for free.
Make a night of it! Whip up some fondue as an appetizer and settle in with the first episode, Real Rail Adventures: Switzerland, to get a whirlwind overview of travel by rail in Switzerland. Then, kick it up a notch with another Swiss specialty, capuns, and take the Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Grand Tour. Next, indulge in some luscious Torte di Pane while being swept away by Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic. Finally, pour yourself a finger or two of kirsch and hop on the train to everywhere in Real Rail Adventures: Swiss International Hubs, our most award-winning episode to date.
A little tired now? That’s okay, after all of that train travel you’ll be dreaming of Switzerland.
Tell us your stories and dreams of travel by train in Switzerland and Happy Viewing!
Don’t miss the multiple Telly Award-winning Real Rail Adventures: Swiss International Hubs as it airs nationwide on Create TV on Sunday, June 27th, at 10pm ET…and make sure to follow us now on social media to get a sneak peek at our all-new travel series that will really get you amped up to travel!
FB: @realadventuresTV @jeffwilsonregularguy
IG: @realadventuresTV @jeffwilsonregularguy
Every time we come home from a Real Rail Adventures shoot, I can’t wait to go back for more. If you’re enjoying Real Rail Adventures episodes on public television, Create Network, and through Amazon Prime Video but still need more Switzerland, we’ve got you covered. After completing our shoot for Real Rail Adventures: Swiss International Hubs last fall, a couple of us stayed on to cover a few other far-flung Swiss stories.
In this first side-trip, I visit the Toggenburg region of eastern Switzerland where I meet Roland Liechtensteiger of Toggenburg Tourism for a tour of the “Klangwelt,” or Sound World. On a spectacularly beautiful day in the Alps, we hike the Klangweg (Sound Trail) and tour the Klangschmiede (Sound Forge) Museum, where I learn a bit about the history of Swiss sound and get a workout forging a real Swiss cow bell.
Where should I go next? Tell me all about off-the-beaten-path adventures you’d like to see on our show (or here on the very small screen). And, as always, stay tuned for more!
There’s something about Switzerland in winter time that makes it magical. Back home, we might despair at another snow storm in February, but the same storm transforms a Swiss village into a quaint snow-globe scene, and beckons us out for one more sled run.
When the Real Rail Adventures crew visited Switzerland during winter months, we found a cornucopia of frosty outdoor activities to try, of course. But we also availed ourselves of the requisite complementary fireside tipples and treats to keep our souls eternally willing to plunge back out into the storm. For what is a bobsled run without a proper fondue to follow? And how do you muster the courage to jump off a snow-clad mountain for a frigid paraglide without the promise of a bit of curried lamb and kirsch at the end?
Have you dreamed of visiting the winter wonderland of Switzerland? Dream no more . . . here is the itinerary that closely matches the one our Real Rail Adventures crew followed while shooting Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic. Once again, I caution readers that, as a film crew, we are forced by time and budget to cram quite a bit into our schedules. Use this itinerary as a planning tool, but, as they say, don’t try this at home.
Haven’t seen the show? Stream it on Amazon Prime here. And send me your thoughts on the perfect winter pursuits in Switzerland.
Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic – Itinerary
by Jeff Wilson
Day 1: Leave U.S. for Switzerland
Day 2: Arrive Zurich. Train to Chur. Overnight in Chur
Day 3: Explore Chur. Overnight in Chur
Day 4: Leave Chur aboard the Albula-Bernina line. Arrive in St Moritz. Explore St Moritz and overnight (highly recommend the Waldhaus Sils hotel, in nearby Sils)
Day 5: Bobsledding on Olympia Bob Run morning. Snow-kiting lesson on Lake Silvaplana afternoon. Pre-dinner horse-drawn sleigh ride. Overnight in St Moritz
Day 6: Morning horseback tour with Stella Costa farm. Daytrip on Bernina Express over snowy Lago Bianco pass. Return to St Moritz for overnight
Day 7: Morning “Yoga on Snow” lesson and skiing, St Moritz. Afternoon trip up Muottas Moragl. Lunch at Hotel Romantik at top, then sledge-ride to bottom. Return to St Moritz for overnight
Day 8: Board Glacier Express. Side trip to Goms region. Arrive Reckingen. Explore Reckingen and overnight (Hotel Joopi, preferred)
Day 9: Day trip to Oberwald. Morning skate-skiing lesson. Afternoon tour ski-museum and Roggenbröt baking. Return to Reckingen for “Cholera Pie” dinner. Overnight in Reckingen
Day 10: Re-board Glacier Express. Arrive Zermatt. Explore Zermatt and Matterhorn Museum. Overnight in Zermatt
Day 11: Ski-day in Zermatt. Lunch on mountain. Après-ski at Cervo. Overnight in Zermatt
Day 12: Morning helicopter tour with Air Zermatt. Afternoon tour of Julen farm to meet their Valais Blacknose Sheep and lambs. Dinner at Schäferstube, a Julen restaurant. Overnight in Zermatt
Day 13: Leave Zermatt via train to Gstaad via the GoldenPass line. Tour Gstaad and overnight
Day 14: Morning fat-tire snow-biking tour. Afternoon day-trip to Glacier 3000 on cable car. Select winter activities, including suspension bridge peak walk. Lunch at mountain retreat, Refuge L’espace. Return to Gstaad for overnight
Day 15: Board train to Lucerne. Boat to Vitznau and cogwheel to Rigi Kaltbad Hotel. Spa experience at Rigi Kaltbad Hotel and overnight
Day 16: Morning snowshoe tour. Fondue lunch at Restaurant BärgGnuss. Afternoon paragliding tour from Rigi Kulm to Arth Goldau. Train to Zurich. Late afternoon walk and dinner at “Top of Zurich.” Overnight in Zurich
Day 17: Morning walking tour of Zurich and Aldstadt. Coffee at Café Voltaire. Afternoon walking tour of trendy West “Züri” and dinner. Overnight in Zurich
Day 18: Leave Zurich to U.S., arrive U.S.
Sound like a plan? Let me know your thoughts below. And don’t hesitate to ask for advice . . . that’s completely free. If you’re interested in custom itineraries and trip bookings through my on-the-ground partners, or trips to Switzerland led by me, that’s available, too.
We’re back with another installment of the itinerary series of blog posts. This time I’ve prepared an itinerary that closely follows Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Grand Tour episode (episode number two, if you’re counting). If you haven’t seen it, check it out on Amazon Prime here.
As usual, I offer this itinerary with a caveat: Due to money and time, our production itineraries have to pack lots of stops and activities into a relatively short amount of time. I don’t recommend following our trip to the letter, but encourage you to choose the bits you like and build your own dream tour. I write more about that in the first installment here.
That said, here it is:
Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Grand Tour – Itinerary
by Jeff Wilson
Day 1: Leave U.S. for Switzerland
Day 2: Arrive Zurich. Overnight in Zurich
Day 3: Explore Zurich. Afternoon train to Schaffhausen. Explore Schaffhausen. Evening walk to sunset view at Munot Fortress. Overnight in Schaffhausen
Day 4: Explore Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall museum, then walk to Rheinfall. Take boat to climb rock in the middle of the falls. Afternoon climbing, swinging, and zip-lining at Adventure Park Rheinfall. Overnight in Schaffhausen
Day 5: Board river boat to Stein am Rhein. Pick up bike for leisurely 3-hour ride to Romanshorn with lunch on Lake Constance along the way. Drop bike in Romanshorn. Train buffs can spend an hour at the Locorama rail museum (including train driving simulator). Short train ride to St Gallen. Overnight in St Gallen
Day 6: Explore St Gallen and its Altstadt. Tour Abbey of St Gall and library. Overnight in St Gallen
Day 7: Day train trip to Appenzell. Short food tour of Appenzell. Cable car ride up to Ebenalp. Short walk to Wildkirchli caves and lunch at the popular Aescher Hostel. Overnight in St Gallen
Day 8: Train to Chur. Board Albula-Bernina line, crossing the famous Landwasser Viaduct. Disembark at Preda to hike the Railway Adventure Trail to Bergün. Re-board train at Bergün to St Moritz. Overnight in St Moritz
Day 9: Day train trip to Alp Grüm. Hike near Palü Glacier and tour hydropower plant. Lunch at Alp Grüm Restaurant (try the Capuns). Return to St Moritz for overnight
Day 10: Board Glacier Express, traveling west. Train change to Ilanz. River rafting on the Vorderrhein through the “Swiss Grand Canyon.” Re-board Glacier Express to Andermatt over the Oberalp Pass. Overnight in Andermatt (I prefer the River House boutique hotel)
Day 11: Train to Martigny. Tour Giannadda Museum and St Bernard Museum (say ‘hi’ to the puppies for me!). Overnight in Martigny
Day 12: Day train trip to Emosson Hydroelectric dam via the Emosson funicular, Emosson Panorama Railway, and mini funicular. Short hike and lunch at Emosson Dam. Return to Martigny and overnight
Day 13: Train to Trübschachen and Kambly Experience cookie tour. See Swiss Heritage Museum and Rope Trail. Train to Lucerne and overnight
Day 14: Lucerne-Engelberg Express to Engelberg. Tour Benedictine monastery and gardens. Overnight in Engelberg
Day 15: Kayak narby lake Trübsee. Ride Titlis Rotair gondola to Mt. Titlis. Tour Glacier Cave, walk the aerial suspension bridge above the glacier. Lunch and return to Engelberg for overnight
Day 16: Train to Zurich. Overnight in Zurich
Day 17: Leave Zurich to U.S., arrive U.S.
There you have it – one possible itinerary from an unlimited number of possibilities. What would you do if you had the chance to travel through Switzerland? Leave comments and suggestions below.
Want help with your itinerary? Just ask! I can also recommend a trusted travel partner in Switzerland and I offer trips, fully-customized to your tastes (and, if you like, guided by me and my wife) for up to 8 fellow travelers. Stay tuned to the blog for more Real Rail Adventures!
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
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!
Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic is one of my favorite projects to date. The third hour-long travel documentary in the series, we traverse a stunning Swiss landscape of snowy peaks and quaint towns in search of adventure, culture, and unique experiences. My days are packed with bobsledding, kite-skiing, parasailing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, ski-yoga, skate-skiing, and mountain sledding, while evenings find me dining on warm fondue, local lamb, and “Cholera” pie. The efficient Swiss trains and travel system link my experiences and take me to Zurich, Chur, St Moritz, and Zermatt. All three Real Rail Adventures episodes are now playing nationwide – check your local PBS listings and Create Network for air times and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions on travel in Switzerland. Watch the trailer HERE