Springtime in the Alps
This wonderful trip is one of our most popular international tours.
This wonderful trip is one of our most popular international tours. It combines a surprisingly easy pace with comprehensive sightseeing, featuring the grandeur of the Alps as seen from the superb trains of the Swiss Rail System.
As part of your tour, you have a Swiss Rail Pass which includes travel aboard the entire Swiss rail network plus narrow gauge mountain railways, lake steamers, trams in the major cities, and postal buses to the few areas not reached by train. In addition, the pass now includes paid admission to over 400 attractions throughout Switzerland.
Highlights of this Swiss rail adventure include a ride on the narrow-gauge Bernina Express over the 7,000-foot Bernina Pass, dropping down from glaciers and perpetual snowfields on the pass to the palm trees of Tirano, Italy, as well as a journey across the main range of the Alps on the legendary Glacier Express. The diners of the Rhaetian Railway are renowned for gourmet meals and unique tilted-stem glassware to compensate for the steep grades! We enjoy a wonderful lunch in the diner on the Glacier Express. We see the Matterhorn and Zermatt, and visit the remarkable Swiss Railway Museum in Lucerne. Several lake cruises enhance the tour. Sail past the flower-clad hills of the Swiss/Italian Lake District and cruise the beautiful lakes of Constance, Locarno (the Lago Maggiore), Lucerne, Thun, and Geneva beneath towering peaks.
Highlights and Inclusions
- GoldenPass Panoramic Express to Montreaux
- Hotel accommodations for 14 nights
- 24 meals
- Sightseeing and scenic excursions per itinerary
- Baggage handling
- Services of a professional tour manager
- First-class 15-day Swiss Rail Pass and train reservations (add $650)
Scenic highlights of your trip include:
- St. Gallen
- Lake Constance
- Mainau Gardens
- Bernina Express to Tirano, Italy
- Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt
- Voralpen Express from Arth-Goldau to Chur
- San Bernadino Pass
- Lago Maggiore
- Lake Thun
Day 1 - Depart USA for Zurich
Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight bound for Zurich. (International flight not included)
Day 2 - Zurich - Appenzell
Arrive in Zurich this morning, meet your tour manager and travel by train to Appenzell. The afternoon is unstructured so travelers can rest after the long flight or discover Appenzell's beautiful architecture, fine shops, unique folkloric museum, grand Baroque church, and a fascinating maze of squares and narrow streets all within a five-minute walk from your hotel. Overnight Romantik Hotel Santis (D)
Day 3 - St. Gallen
Ride the little narrow gauge train to the beautiful cathedral town of St. Gallen for a walking tour that includes the magnificent cathedral and unique Abbey Library, which houses a priceless collection of illuminated manuscripts. Overnight Romantik Hotel Santis. (B)
Day 4 - Mainau Gardens
Take regional trains north to Lake Constance, a great widening of the Rhine River, and cross into Germany. At the “Free and Imperial” city of Constance, board a lake steamer for the lovely voyage across the lake to tour magnificent Mainau Gardens. This floral paradise occupies the estate of a Swedish Count. The immense spring tulip display should be peaking during your visit. Returning to Appenzell, pass through sunny vineyards on flower-bedecked terraces gradually ascending from the lakes to the Alps above the village. Overnight Romantik Hotel Santis. (B)
Day 5 - Train Journey to Chur
Ride the narrow gauge railway to Alstatten. This line descends from the heights of the Mount Santis massif to the Rhine River Valley and offers amazing views of three countries: Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein. Transfer to the mainline train for a fast run to Chur, where you'll stay three nights. An exciting option this afternoon a ride on the narrow gauge railway to Arosa, which departs from the main plaza in front of the station. This line ascends through a stupendous canyon on its hour-long journey into the high peaks. Overnight Romantik Hotel Stern. (B,D)
Day 6 - "Top of the World" on the Bernina Express
You can almost touch a glacier from your train today as we ride the Bernina Express over the 7,000-foot Bernina Pass, the highest point in Europe reached by a non-cog railway. This narrow gauge line includes spiral tunnels and horseshoe curves as it surmounts the Albula and Bernina Passes, finally terminating amid unexpected palm trees at Tirano in northern Italy. There is free time for lunch before the return journey to Chur. One of the marvels of this line is a spiral viaduct on the ascent up the Italian side of the Pass. Overnight Romantik Hotel Stern. (B)
Day 7 - Glacier Express
Re-board the Rhaetian Railway, riding the renowned Glacier Express, with lunch in the unique narrow gauge diner while traveling across the Oberalp Pass (literally the “Overalp Pass”). Descend via the “North Ramp” of the St. Gotthard Line, renowned for its spiral tunnels. At Arth-Goldau, change to the little-known but very scenic Voralpen Express for a lovely crossing of the meadows and heights of the pre-Alps enroute back to Chur. Overnight Romantik Hotel Stern. (B,L)
Day 8 - Davos / Klosters / Locarno
The narrow gauge trains of the Rhaetian Railway and Switzerland's remarkable Postal Buses take you on a grand mountain curcuit today. Begin with a spectacular Postal Bus trip to the ski resort of Davos, climbing thousands of feet above the gorges of the Landwasser River as we ascend. At Davos, board the train for Klosters, then return to Chur and reboard the Postal Bus for the "Via Mala," the legendary crossing of the San Bernardino Pass, a stunning drive across the Alps to Bellinzona in the Italian-speaking south. Our route takes us to Locarno, a lovely resort on the palm-lined shoes of Lake Maggiore. Overnight Hotel La Palma au Lac. (B, D)
Day 9 - Locarno at Leisure
Today is free to enjoy the lovely resort of Locarno. There are numerous options here. You can ride the funicular railway to visit the pilgrimage church of the Madonna del Sasso above the town. Weather permitting, continue on the cable car above the church to alpine meadows thousands of feet above the town. There are wonderful shops and narow streets with ancient stone buildings in the Old Town and a museum with items dating back to Roman times. If the weather is dry, you may wish to embark on a full-day excursion (not included) into the Italian Lake District to visit the beautiful islands of Isola Madre and Isola Bella. Overnight Hotel La Palma au Lac. (B)
Day 10 - Rail to Interlaken
Your morning is free to enjoy Locarno. You may wish to take a trip by Postal Bus into the mountains or board a morning lake steamer and sail to the Swiss island of Brissago. This afternoon, travel northwest on the narrow gauge Cento Valley tram line, which ascends past thujndering waterfalls up a narrow gorge to the Italian border. We cross over the range to Domodossola and change to the mainline Lotschberg route, traversing the trans-Alpine Simplon and Lotschberg Tunnels, descending to Lake Thun. Here, we connect to Interlaken and our hotel for the next six nights, located on the shores of Lake Brienz in the quiet lakeside village of Bonigen/Interlaken. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 11 - Brunig Pass / Lucerne / Lake Brienz
Board a lake steamer at the pier across the street from your hotel and cruise majestic Lake Brienz. At Brienz Landing, board a train and travel the stunning Brunig Pass en route to Lucerne. Here, we will embark on a walking tour of this lakeside town. Highlights include a visit to the beautiful Jesuit Church, the famous covered walking bridge and the Lion Monument. This afternoon, return via the Brunig Pass to Brienz. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 12 - Rail to Zermatt
Today we ride the rugged standard gauge Lotschberg Railway south to Brig, changing to the narrow gauge cogwheel trains of the Brig-Visp-Zermatt Railway and continuing along the route of the Glacier Express to Zermatt, lying at the base of the Matterhorn. Good views of the legendary peak can be seen from the car-free village but if weather is good, you may wish to ride the steep Gornergrat cog railway to a classic overlook of the peak and glaciers. We retrace our route to Interlaken this afternoon. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 13 - Visit Bern / Cruise Lake Thun
Ride an express train to Switzerland's capital, Bern, this morning. Enjoy a walking tour of the historic city center, see the stunning Gothic cathedral and enjoy time at leisure. This afternoon, take the train to Thun and board a lake steamer for the voyage to Interlaken. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 14 - Bernese Oberland at Your Leisure
Today is a free day to explore Interlaken and its surrounding towns on your own. Your tour manager will be able to provide a variety of scenic touring suggestions as well, such as visit to the highest railway summit in Europe, the Jungfrau. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 15 - GoldenPass Panoramic Express Route to Chillon Castle
Follow the renowned GoldenPass Panoramic Express route to the shores of Lake Geneva. This unique line mixes both standard and narrow gauge services and includes two breathtaking mountain passes and an amazing descent through vineyards, gardens and cascading waterways to the shores of Lake Geneva at Montreaux. Take a short lake steamer to Chillon Castle, made famous by the poet Lord Byron. The day concludes with a journey along the shores of Lake Geneva past vineyards, to Lausanne and Bern and back to Interlaken for a spectacular farewell dinner at our hotel. Overnight Hotel Seiler au Lac. (B, D)
Day 16 - Return to USA
Transfer by train to the Zurich Airport for your flight home.
Dates & Prices
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|18th April 2014||$3,499||Book Now|
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**$650 per person will be added at time of booking for the cost of a 15-Day Swiss Rail Pass**
A valid passport with an expiration date no less than six (6) months after the schedule return date is required. Non-U.S. citizens must consult with appropriate consulates to determine if any visas are needed and are responsible for obtaining all visas and entry documents.