First Class Glacier Express at Christmas
A festive journey through the winter landscapes of Switzerland, this rail vacation brings the true meaning of winter wonderland to life.
Perhaps those who say “there is no place like home for the holidays,” have never had the opportunity to spend Christmas surrounded by the enchanting beauty of the Swiss Alps. You, on the other hand, enjoy just this while embarking on this 9-day wintertime adventure through Switzerland. Traveling into Switzerland by way of London, our journey begins aboard a high-speed train that takes us to Paris then Strasbourg before arriving in the alpine town of Brig in southern Switzerland. Here, enjoy a leisurely ride through the mountains to the resort town of Zermatt and a full day to explore Brig and the surrounding region at your own pace. Then it is off to Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland, aboard the country’s most famous train. Admire the panoramic views of the snowy mountains and dramatic gorges from your first-class seats on the Glacier Express. It is in Chur that we enjoy the festivities of Christmas, including a train ride to Lucerne - a city that becomes aglow with twinkling lights and Christmas spirit to welcome the holidays - and a delicious five-course dinner on Christmas Eve. Spend Christmas at leisure, soaking in the sights, smells and cheer of the day before embarking on one last grand adventure, a ride aboard the Bernina Express, and heading home. This rail tour offers the best of the holiday season in Switzerland.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on board the high-speed Eurostar train
- First class Swiss Travel Card including all Swiss rail journeys and 50% discounted fares on free days for rail, boat and most mountain railroad journeys
- Two scenic rail excursions: Glacier Express and Bernina Express
- Mountain rail excursion to Zermatt
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 15 meals, including a 4-course Christmas dinner with wine and 5-course Christmas Eve dinner with wine
- Visit to Lucerne
- Dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Days 1-2 - Strasbourg and Switzerland
We meet at our Departure Office in St Pancras International, before boarding the Eurostar to Paris, traveling in Standard Premier Class. We change trains and continue to Strasbourg, where we overnight. On Day 2, we enjoy a morning at leisure before traveling to our destination, Brig. (Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, D; Day 2 - B, D)
Days 3-4 - By mountain railroad to Zermatt
Today, we board a narrow-gauge train, traveling through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. Here, we join the mountain railroad to the charming resort of Zermatt, nestled below the peak of the Matterhorn. On Day 4, we are at leisure. Why not make use of the included Swiss Travel Card, giving you 50% off local rail fares? (Day 3 - B, D; Day 4 - B)
Day 5 - First Class on the Glacier Express
We leave Brig today, traveling on the iconic Glacier Express - the 'slowest express train in the world' - in First Class. The panoramic windows allow us to look out over a veritable winter wonderland of towering peaks and spectacular gorges, while enjoying lunch served at our seats. Our journey finishes in Chur. (B, L)
Days 6-7 - Christmas Eve in Lucerne and Christmas Day
On Christmas Eve, we travel by train to Lucerne, an ancient lakeside city of cobbled streets, squares, and the famous Kapellbrücke bridge. The festive atmosphere here adds an almost magical touch, as you have time to wander the illuminated streets and decorated plazas. In the evening, we begin our celebrations with a five-course dinner that includes wine and carol singing by the Christmas tree. Day 7, Christmas Day, is at leisure ahead of a Festive dinner at the hotel. (Day 6 - B, D; Day 7 - B, D)
Day 8 - The Bernina Express
Today we enjoy a trip on the narrow-gauge Bernina Express, that takes us from Chur to Poschiavo. This stunning railroad truly takes in the best of the Swiss landscapes, from the rolling green meadows and ancient mountains, to the rushing mountains streams and the deep pine forests. Following time in this Italian town, we return to Chur. (B, D)
Day 9 - Homeward Bound
Today, we leave Chur, heading to Paris via Basel where we join the Eurostar to London. Here your tour concludes. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel Ambassador, Brig
The 4-star Hotel Ambassador in Brig is conveniently located close to the railroad station and the town center. The hotel boasts an elegant restaurant, cozy 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.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
The narrow-gauge Bernina Express connects northern and southern Europe and offers a spectacular means of crossing the Alps. The route runs through the ancient landscape of Switzerland's beautiful Grisons/Graubünden region and provides essential links to the Italian-speaking population in the south.
The Glacier Express is undoubtedly Switzerland's best known train. The 181 mile (290km) trip from Zermatt to St Moritz lasts around eight hours winding its way through some of Europe's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.
Beginning in Zermatt, a pretty Alpine resort close to the Matterhorn, the Glacier Express glides northwards from under the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn and follows the Matter Vispa River and the Rhône Valley to Visp. The train then heads east to Brig, before climbing through Betten, Grengiols and Oberwald on its journey to the 9¼ mile (15km) long Furka Base Tunnel.
The train emerges and makes its way to the village of Andermatt, before beginning its ascent towards the Oberalp Pass which at 6,670 feet (2,033m) is the highest point on the line. It then makes the steep descent towards Disentis, where the train is attached to an RHB locomotive. From here we pass the historic town of Ilanz, descending to the stunning Rhine Gorge where we continue on to the attractive cantonal capital of Chur.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionized train travel and meant that traveling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator,TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys,TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
Passport & Visa Requirements
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.
Dates & Prices
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Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.