While the temperatures are cold, warm your heart in the beloved cities of the Swiss Alps, traveling between destinations aboard two widely known mountain railways, the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express.
About the Tour
Switzerland’s alpine beauty is well-versed; travelers visit from all corners of the globe to see the idyllic villages from yesteryear and the stunning resort towns tucked within the peaks and valleys of one of the world’s most impressive mountain ranges. Though beautiful at any time of the year, under the shroud of winter, this country becomes a breathtaking winter wonderland - a wonderland that beckons your discovery on this 9-day guided tour. Our time in Switzerland is split between two fantastic cities: Brig and Chur. From Brig, venture to incredible destinations, such as the resort town of Zermatt; Spiez, with its ancient castle; and the lakeside village of Thun. The Glacier Express guides us through the spectacular Rhine Gorge, which is often referred to as the Swiss Grand Canyon for its dramatic scenery, to Chur. Our home base here is the Romantik Hotel Stern, an inn that boasts well over 300 years of history. Enjoy free time to explore Switzerland’s oldest city independently as well as a ride to Poschiavo and St. Moritz aboard the Bernina Express. Scenes of mountains and villages dusted with snow adjoin with memorable excursions and wonderful destinations to make this wintertime trip one that leaves a lasting impression.
- Rail travel on the high-speed Eurostar and local rail networks
- Two scenic rail excursions: Glacier Express and Bernina Express
- Swiss Travel Card permitting 50% discounted fares on free days for rail, boat and most mountain railroad journeys
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 15 meals
- Spiez Castle visit
- Exclusive meeting point at our Dedicated Departure Office at London St. Pancras
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - To France
Arrive at London St. Pancras and meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at our dedicated Departure Office. Together, we board a high-speed Eurostar train bound for Paris, and on arrival, we switch trains to continue the journey to Strasbourg. We arrive late this afternoon and transfer to our centrally located hotel to freshen up before dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Strasbourg. (Eurostar Meal, D)
Day 2 - To Brig By Rail
Enjoy a free morning to sightsee on your own in Strasbourg. Notre Dame Cathedral is incredible, and there are gorgeous historic buildings throughout the city. Alternatively, you may wish to indulge in Strasbourg’s history and culture at one of the local museums. Later, our journey continues by train into Switzerland to the town of Brig, by way of Basel and Bern. We transfer to our hotel on arrival and enjoy a delicious three-course dinner this evening. Overnight Brig. (B, D)
Day 3 - Zermatt
One of the most unique destinations in Switzerland beckons our discovery today: Zermatt. From Brig, we travel south through rural expanses and alongside the River Rhône aboard a narrow-gauge train. We pause in Visp and join the mountain track for our climb toward Zermatt. After passing through eight tunnels and crossing 42 bridges, the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn comes into view and we arrive in this charming, car-free resort town.
Spend your time in Zermatt sightseeing at your own pace. You may wish to immerse yourself in the living history of Old Village, with its narrow alleys and traditional architecture. Walk past stables, shops and homes that date back as far as the 16th century, including over 30 Walser homes. Explore how modern life mingles with history while shopping and dining in Zermatt Village, or climb to the summit of the Gornergrat aboard the nearby funicular railroad. Following a 6-mile route and offering superb views of the Matterhorn cloaked in fluffy white snow, the Gornergrat Railway is an experience to remember. Dinner is served as we return to Brig this evening. Overnight Brig. (B, D)
Day 4 - At Leisure in Brig
The day is yours to explore Brig and the surrounding region. The winter months transform the Brig-Simplon area into a picturesque winter wonderland, and with your Swiss Travel Card in hand, you enjoy reduced rail fare to reach exciting nearby destinations. Perhaps join the GoldenPass Line panoramic train to see beautiful resort towns blanketed by snow or the Centovalli Railroad, which travels across “a hundred valleys” during its scenic route. The canton of Valais and the Rhone Valley, where Brig is located, is a world-class destination for skiing during the winter months. You have access to fantastic ski resorts - including Rosswald, Rothwald, Belalp and Aletsch Arena - using the local railways. In town, maybe visit the 17th-century Stockalper Palace to see its lavish furnishings and intricate silk paintings or tour Kloster St. Ursula. Overnight Brig. (B)
Day 5 - Spiez Castle
Surrounded by rolling hills and the calm waters of Lake Thun, Spiez is our destination today. We depart Brig by train, enjoying views of the Valais Alps and the surrounding hills and vineyards as we approach the city. On arrival, we are transfer to Spiez Castle, located on a small peninsula on Lake Thun. This charming castle offers over 1,300 years of history within its walls and has been designated as a Swiss Heritage Site. We wander through the immaculate banquet halls, the 15th-century kitchen and some of the impressive entertaining rooms throughout the castle during our time here. As you explore, note the different architectural styles found throughout the buildings and enjoy a glimpse at years past as you peruse glass cases of artifacts. The tour through the castle also includes admission to the tower. Climb the steep staircase to the top while gazing upon ancient “graffiti” of carved knights and horses. The trek is most rewarding; from the tower windows, soak in enchanting views over the surrounding mountains’ frozen peaks, beautiful Lake Thun, the castle’s church and the town itself.
Following our time at the castle, we set out on a boat ride across the lake, immersing ourselves in the stunning landscape as we cross to the town of Thun. Take a bit of time to explore this storybook locale before boarding our train back to Brig. We enjoy a multi-course dinner this evening upon return. Overnight Brig. (B, D)
Day 6 - Glacier Express
Embark on one of Switzerland’s most iconic rail trips today, as we journey to Chur aboard the Glacier Express. As the train pulls out of the station in Brig, we proceed into the Upper Rhone Valley and marvel at the stunning vistas of the mountains that surround the narrow valley. We continue into a long mountainside tunnel and across a vast expanse of frosty rural landscape before beginning our ascent up to the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on our route. From here, the descent through the Rhine Gorge - also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon - is simply breathtaking. Crisp snow lies on the steep hillsides and the small towns take on a new level of charm under a veil of white. As we arrive in Chur later this afternoon, we are transferred to our hotel, the historic Romantik Hotel Stern, where we enjoy a delicious dinner after check-in. Overnight Chur. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - At Leisure in Chur
Discover over 5,000 years of history during your free day in Switzerland’s oldest town, Chur. Located in the midst of the Alps, this destination is ideal for exploring on foot. Walk through Old Town, surrounded by well-preserved buildings and idyllic squares. Pop in and out of the local boutiques and high-end shops or make your way to beloved destinations in the city, such as Würth Sculpture Park, the 800-year-old Episcopal Church, the Bündner Art Museum or the 5th-century St. Stephen’s Church Museum, which is located underground. You may wish to ride the Chur Bergbahnen cable car to bask in panoramic views of this alpine destination or to utilize your Swiss Travel Card to travel to nearby ski resorts to hit the slopes. Overnight Chur. (B)
Day 8 - Bernina Express
The Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage rail line, is our guide through the Swiss Alps on today’s adventure. In use for over 100 years, this railway is a testament to innovative engineering and presents inspiring views around each bend in the track. Cross through 55 tunnels, over 196 bridges and viaducts, and past lush alpine forests during our route to Poschiavo in Italian-speaking Switzerland. The train departs from Chur and proceeds through the Domleschg Valley, which is beloved for its bountiful castle ruins, before crossing the instantly recognizable Landwasser Viaduct. Plunging ravines, frozen waterfalls and wide-open mountain vistas surround the tracks as the train winds through the track’s spiral loops and begins its journey through the Albula Tunnel to the Upper Engadine Valley and later, the Bernina Pass at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. Continuing our climb, the train passes White Lake and Several glaciers before pausing at the Ospizio Bernina train station, the highest point on the Bernina Express rail line. The descent through the valley brings sights of villages that look more Italian than Swiss, including our first destination, Poschiavo. Pretty pastel-hued houses line the streets of this picturesque village, and you have some time to stretch your legs and explore before rejoining the train in the opposite direction, returning to Chur via St. Moritz. Overnight Chur. (B, D)
Day 9 - Tour Conclusion
After breakfast, we walk to the train station in Chur to join our train to Basel. From Basel, we connect to Paris and later transfer to a high-speed Eurostar train to London. On arrival at London St. Pancras, your wintertime expedition through the Swiss Alps concludes. (B, Eurostar Meal)
Hotel Ambassador, Brig
The 4-star Hotel Ambassador in Brig is conveniently located close to the railway station and the town centre. The hotel boasts an elegant restaurant, cosy brasserie and delightful garden terrace. Each of the stylishly renovated rooms is equipped with a telephone, television and a hairdryer.
Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur
A traditionally Swiss hotel, the stunning Romantik Hotel Stern has stood for 360 years in central Chur and is the perfect blend of rustic heritage and modern convenience. The well-established onsite restaurant specializes is delicious Swiss cuisine and there is also a rooftop terrace that provides wonderful views of the surrounding natural environs. The Romantik Hotel Stern is just a short walk from Chur's regional station
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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