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Grand Alpine Explorer

An exciting adventure at the top of Europe on Switzerland’s superb mountain railroads

14 days    $4,570

About the Tour

Find yourself surrounded by the immeasurable beauty of Europe’s alpine countries on this voyage through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The scenery is brought to life through visits to unique destinations and beautiful resort cities, where we enjoy fascinating tours and memorable excursions, such as a cruise on Lake Achensee. Further, we enjoy rides on six of the most scenic rail journeys in the Alps, including the Zugspitzbahn, Bernina Express, Glacier Express, and Jungfrau Railroads. The journey begins in Munich, Germany and continues into Austria, where we visit Salzburg, Traunkirchen and Seefeld before traveling into Switzerland to the cities of St. Moritz, Interlaken and Zurich. Surrounded by rolling alpine meadows, beautiful bodies of water and stunning vistas in every direction, this journey through the Alps is what dreams are made of.

Highlights

  • Four scenic rail excursions including: Zugspitzbahn, Bernina Express, Glacier Express and Jungfrau Railroads
  • Hotel accommodations for 13 nights
  • 20 meals including a farewell dinner in Interlaken
  • Guided tours of Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck
  • Visit the castle of Neuschwanstein
  • Cruise on Lake Achensee
  • Swiss Travel Card
  • Transportation aboard a deluxe motorcoach
  • Services of a professional Tour Manager 
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Itinerary

  • Days 1-2 - Munich

    Upon arrival at Munich International Airport, collect your luggage and meet your driver to transfer to the Pullman Munich Hotel, where we have a two night stay. Located within sight of the Alps, lively Munich is the capital of Bavaria, as well as one of Germany's best-loved cities. A welcome reception with your group and tour manager is included at the hotel this evening. On Day 2 we discover more of Munich. With a rich culture and heritage, the city has a wonderful collection of museums, galleries, and architectural treasures. We enjoy a guided tour to introduce the highlights of the city, before time to explore. (Day 1 - D; Day 2 - B)

  • Days 3-4 - To Salzburg and the Austrian Lakes

    Leaving Munich behind, today we take the train into Austria. We arrive in Salzburg, a city with a wealth of musical heritage, known the world over as the birthplace of Mozart, and the setting for Rogers & Hammerstein's 'The Sound of Music'. On arrival, we enjoy a guided tour. Spread out below the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the churches, squares, and alleyways of Salzburg's beautiful Old Town are incredibly well preserved, dominated by fabulous Baroque spires, and are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the tour, you are free to discover more of the city. Later we travel by coach to Lake Traunsee, a spectacular lake which resembles a fjord, for three nights in the lakeside village of Traunkirchen, at the Hotel Post. Day 4 is at leisure. (Day 3 - B, D; Day 4 - B)

  • Day 5 - Austrian Lakes and the 'Sound of Music'

    Today we explore the stunning Austrian Lake District. We head first to the remarkable Kaiservilla, a stately home of Emperor Franz Joseph I, before continuing to Lake Wolfgang where we enjoy a gentle cruise across the serene waters to St Wolfgang, a charming, historic town. We then travel to pretty Mondsee, made famous by the wedding scene of 'The Sound of Music'. (B, D)

  • Day 6 - To Seefeld

    We transfer by coach to Prien am Chiemsee, and cross by boat to the island of Herreninsel, sat proudly across the mirrored waters of Chiemsee. Here there is a chance to visit the remarkable Herrenchiemsee Palace, constructed by the fairytale king, Ludwig II of Bavaria. From here, you could also cross by ferry to another of the smaller islands, which offer some charming views of the mountains beyond. Later, we continue to our next hotel in the timeless surroundings of the famous town of Seefeld, nestled among the peaks. (B, D)

  • Day 7 - Neuschwanstein Castle and Zugspitzbahn Railroad

    Today we cross back into Germany, visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The wonderful castles of Bavaria are some of the most famous in the world thanks to their fairytale design, wonderland landscapes, and cinematic heritage. Our day today is spent visiting 2 of the finest, beginning at glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. A magnificent structure built into the mountains, it stands proudly above the surrounding forests, its turrets and halls a resplendent white against a backdrop of green. Hohenschwangau is a more laid-back affair, with pretty interiors and wonderful gardens. We also embark on a journey on the cheerful Zugspitze Railroad (Standard Class), ascending to the summit of Zugspitze Mountain. (B)

  • Day 8 - Through the Alps to Switzerland

    On leaving Seefeld today, our coach cuts through the mighty Alps, which dominate the skyline. We are taken to Innsbruck where we disembark for a guided tour. Afterward, we board a train and travel alongside the Rhine and its dramatic scenery to Chur. We continue our ascent through the majestic mountain peaks, overlooking the lush meadows running down to the valley floor. We then arrive in the elegant lakeside resort of St Moritz. (B, D)

  • Days 9-10 - Bernina Express

    Today we take a journey on the superb Bernina Express, which passes glaciers, rushing mountain streams, and flower-filled Alpine meadows. The railroad has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage status - as a testament to the incredible engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the scenery through which it passes. During our journey, we travel across the spiraling viaduct at Brusio. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past waterfalls to more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Later we arrive in Tirano in Italy. You have some free time in Tirano before our return journey. Day 10 is at leisure. (Day 9 - B, D; Day 10 - B)

  • Day 11 - The Glacier Express and Interlaken

    We take the famous Glacier Express along the iconic route from St Moritz to Brig, enjoying the incredible views through the panoramic windows of our First Class carriage. Our journey takes us through Switzerland's classic landscapes; from jagged mountain peaks to sprawling vineyards and over the famous Landwasser Viaduct. The train climbs steadily and steeply up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, and spirals down past little villages before reaching Brig. Here we change trains and travel to Interlaken. (B, L, D)

  • Day 12 - The Jungfrau Railroad

    Today we travel to Jungfraujoch (Standard Class) - Europe's highest railroad station. Our ascent takes us through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we join the Jungfrau Railroad for the final leg of the journey. During our time onboard, the train pauses at two observation stops; windows hewn out of solid Alpine rock between the tunnel and the infamous north face of the Eiger, with spectacular views down the valley. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe'. We descend via charming Grindelwald. (B)

  • Days 13-14 - Interlaken

    Your day is free to spend at leisure in Interlaken. After breakfast on Day 14, you will take the train to Zurich airport, where your tour concludes and you are free to get your flight back home. (Day 13 - B, D; Day 14)

Accommodations

Pullman Munich Hotel, Munich
The 4-Star Munich Pullman Hotel, is our base in Munich. Located close to the Englischer Garden, and near some excellent public transport links to easily transport you into the center of this lively city, this is the perfect hotel for our time here. This hotel offers some wonderful facilities, including a restaurant that offers delicious seasonal food, and a bar, perfect for relaxing in after a full day. The rooms are decorated in a pleasant monochrome style, with amenities such as air-conditioning, a television, tea & coffee-making facilities, an en-suite bathroom, and complimentary Wi-Fi, making your stay that much more comfortable.

Hotel Post, Traunkirchen
The 4-Star Hotel Post in Traunkirchen is set in a central location close to the shores of Lake Traunsee. The building was originally a tavern and occasional guesthouse for the nearby monastery, and its reputation as a hotel has grown ever since. Family-run for the last three generations, the hotel boasts an a la carte restaurant as well as a sun terrace and a garden. The hotel also offers free bike hire to its guests. Rooms are equipped with a telephone, television, radio, minibar, safe and a hairdryer.

Hotel Residenz Hochland, Seefeld
This quaint, family-run 4-Star hotel is situated in the beautiful highlands of Austria, surrounded by lush meadows and situated on the "Geigenbühel Sun Slope". The hotel's amenities invite relaxation, with the spa area fitted out with a swimming pool, whirlpool and sauna facilities. There is also a chance to experience a range of treatments, such as a traditional Thai massage or mud compress (payable locally).

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz
The 4-Star Hotel Schweizerhof is situated in the center of St Moritz with superb views over the lake from the front of the hotel and within walking distance from the Chantarella funicular station. The original Belle Epoque surroundings and modern comforts include the Acla restaurant famous for its boiled beef, piano bar, and spa. Rooms are comfortably furnished with a television, telephone, and minibar. All rooms have a queen-size bed and rooms with a view of the lake are available at a supplement.

Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken
The 4-Star Hotel Interlaken is situated on the city's Höheweg, within walking distance of the center and Interlaken Ost railroad station. The hotel has been welcoming guests for over 600 years, some of the most notable including the 19th-century poet, Lord Byron, and composer Felix Mendelssohn. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, lounge, a sun terrace, and a Japanese garden. The comfortable rooms feature a telephone, television and a hairdryer.

Hotel accommodations listed above may vary by departure. Speak with a rail specialist for details.

Zugspitze Railroad
We enjoy a journey on the narrow-gauge Zugspitze Railroad. The line takes us from the charming Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on an 11-mile journey to the peak of Germany's highest mountain - overcoming a height difference of 2,897ft. From the base of the mountain, the scenery becomes ever-more dramatic, with the spiky, snow-covered peaks towering over dense patches of woodland below. After pausing at Eibsee station, our journey continues into the mountains, using a series of wide curves to gain height. Zugspitze Railroad then passes through Höllental or 'Hell Valley' named for its dramatic slopes and narrow gorge that made climbing the mountain difficult. We then run through an area thick with pine trees before disappearing onto a long tunnel built to protect the railroad from the most extreme weather. We emerge near the summit of Zugspitze, where the views out over Bavaria and Austria are incredible.

Bernina Express
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.

Glacier Express
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.

Jungfrau Railway
Prized for taking its passengers to the “Top of Europe,” the Jungfrau Railway dates back to the late 1800s. This mountain rack railway climbs over 3,450 meters to the highest railway station in Europe during each of its many daily trips. Passengers enjoy mountain views and a journey through a long tunnel as they make the 9-kilometer ride up the Jungfraujoch.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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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Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking. Hotels & Accommodations are subject to change based on availability.
Please note: One of the excursions on this tour is at high altitude. If you have any medical conditions or concerns that could impact this part of the tour, we recommend you seek medical advice and talk to us. We want to make sure that any vacation you book is right for you.
Itinerary and accommodations may vary for 2021 departures, please speak with a rail specialist for details.
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