Mountaintops of Switzerland
An intimate tour through arguably the most scenic mountain range in the world, this rail tour offers 9 days of Swiss beauty through train rides and visits to alpine towns.
An escorted tour catering to no more than 20 travelers at a time, this exclusive small group Swiss Adventure is one to remember. The tour begins as your Eurostar train travels from London to Basel and from Basel to Interlaken, where the first grand adventure awaits: a cruise on Lake Brienz. It is from this lake that we see the colorful villages and wondrous scenes of the Alps unfold. As we arrive in Giessbach, we board the Giessbach Funicular Railroad, the first of five scenic railways this trip has to offer. Moving on, the voyage through the mountaintops continues with rides aboard the Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railroad to Brienz; the Glacier Express to St. Moritz; the Bernina Express to Tirano, Italy and the Mount Pilatus Railroad to Pilatus Kulm. Each rail adventure boasts its own dramatic scenes, and each locale has offerings that introduce visitors to both the modern and historical sides of the country. Rounding out the tour with trips to Lucerne and Strasbourg before returning to London, this adventure through the clouds presents the most beautiful pieces of the Swiss Alps.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First Class rail travel throughout, Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys with a light meal and drinks
- Scenic rail excursions including Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railroad, Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Geissbach Funicular Railroad and Mount Pilatus Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 15 meals including 8 breakfasts and 7 dinners
- Lake Brienz cruise
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Smaller group size, with a maximum of 20 people
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Days 1-2 – To Basel, Giessbach
Meet your group and Tour Manager at St Pancras International where we travel to Paris aboard the Eurostar, enjoying the journey in Standard Premier Class. On arrival we take the train from Paris' Gare du Lyon to Basel* where we spend the night.
After breakfast on Day 2, we make the short walk to the railroad station, with our bags being separately transported so all we have to worry about is enjoying the journey. Our train takes us directly to Interlaken where we board a boat, sailing across Lake Brienz which delivers us into the heart of scenic Switzerland as we admire the remarkable color of the pure Alpine waters contrasting with the green slopes of the mountains. From the boat, we can enjoy watching the towns and villages which dot the shores of the lake, many of which reside under the shadow of a church steeple. Waiting for us as we disembark is the Giessbach Funicular Railroad which transports us in style to our mountaintop hotel, the Grandhotel Giessbach. (Day 1 - Eurostar meal, D; Day 2 - B, D)
Day 3 - Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railroad
Traveling back down the mountain and across the lake to Brienz, we make our way to the town's station where we board the steam-hauled, narrow-gauge Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railroad as it begins its steep ascent up the mountain. The rack-and-pinion line traverses a number of bridges, crossing the steep, stony mountain trails as it continues to climb. For much of the route the glittering waters of Lake Brienz can be seen, and as we climb further, the view becomes yet more dramatic. We continue through the undulating greenery, with views out to the surrounding jagged peaks. Before long, we reach the first of three passing loops for oncoming locomotives, before traveling through woodland and a series of tunnels hewn from the rock. We then arrive at the second passing loop where some of the older steam engines pause to take on water. Finally we reach the line's terminus at the summit of Rothorn, 7,362 feet above sea level, and four-and-a-half miles away from our starting point in Brienz. There's free time at both the summit of Brienzer Rothorn and back in the town of Brienz. (B)
Day 4 – The Glacier Express to St Moritz
Checking out of the Grandhotel Giessbach today, we travel by rail to Brig for one of the world's most unique rail experiences, a journey aboard the one and only Glacier Express. Famed for being the slowest 'express' train in the world, the distinctive red and white carriages - painted to match the colors of the Swiss flag - link Brig with St Moritz. Along the route the train makes its way across hundreds of bridges and viaducts, as well as through 90 tunnels, and one of the highlights comes as we climb the 6,669 foot Oberalp Pass. Using cogwheels in the steepest places, the train allows us unimpeded views across green valleys, picturesque villages and the high Alpine lake on the Oberalp Pass. We enjoy dinner on board before reaching our final destination and transferring to the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, accessible only by its own funicular railroad. (B, D)
Days 5-6 - The Bernina Express and the Hotel Pilatus Kulm
Connecting Switzerland and Italy via one of the highest mountain railroads in the Alps, the Bernina Express train rises to the challenges presented such steep gradients to delight passengers with a journey of breathtaking beauty through this iconic mountain range. Joining the train in St Moritz, we travel to an altitude of more than 7,000 feet enjoying views of the snow capped peaks and turquoise glacial lakes as we make our way to Tirano in Italy, traversing the spiraling Brusio Viaduct en route. In Tirano you are at leisure to explore before we make the return trip.
On Day 6 we utilize the efficient Swiss rail network once again, traveling to Lucerne where we board the Mount Pilatus Railroad, the steepest cogwheel railroad in the world. We spend a delightful half hour ascending almost two kilometres from lakeside Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm, where our unique hotel, the Hotel Pilatus Kulm, awaits. (Day 5 – B, D; Day 6 – B, D)
Day 7 - Lucerne
We return to Lucerne today, this time for some independent sightseeing. Set in an impressive location, overlooking the surrounding landscape with Mounts Pilatus and Rigi visible on the horizon. Lucerne's famous landmark is the Kapellbrücke (Chapel) Bridge, separating Lucerne's Old and New Town. The oldest wooden bridge in Europe, built in the 14th century, it was constructed to help protect the city of Lucerne against attacks. Inside, a series of paintings from the 17th century display the city's history. With its ornate churches, cobbled streets, chapel bridge and charming old town, Lucerne offers traditional culture as well as a plethora of cozy cafés. Back at our hotel this evening we enjoy a farewell meal together. (B, D)
Days 8-9 - To Strasbourg and home
We begin the journey back to London today, with the first leg of our travels delivering us to Strasbourg for the night. Here you have some free time. We sit down to dinner at a local restaurant before catching the train to Paris on Day 9. From here we join the Eurostar returning to London St Pancras, where our Swiss adventure comes to an end and you are free to make your way to the airport for your flight back home. (Day 8 – B, D; Day 9 – B, Eurostar meal)
Extend Your Vacation
Extend your rail vacation with new city packages in Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. Optional pre- or post-night packages include hotel accommodations for two nights and popular local sightseeing, and may be added to the beginning or end of qualifying rail vacations.
Look for the Extend Your Vacation icon to identify those vacations which offer new city stay packages. Ask your rail specialist for details about these pre- and post-night extensions.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Grand Hotel Giessbach, Giessbach
It's not many hotels that boast their own funicular railroad allowing you to make a grand entrance into an equally grand building. Perched at the top of a mountain above the glacier-like waters of Lake Birenz, the 4-Star Grandhotel Giessbach features outstanding views of the surrounding forests, Alpine meadows and the Giessbach waterfall. Inside, the Belle Époque decor adds an extra touch of grandeur.
Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, Samedan
Nestled in the heart of the Alps at over 8,000 feet above sea level with panoramic views stretching out over the Engadine Valley, the unique Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl can only be accessed by private funicular railroad The minimalistic rooms feature warm pine furnishings, something that has helped the hotel win a number of awards for being environmentally-friendly.
Hotel Pilatus Kulm, Kriens
Gondola lift and cogwheel railroad are the only way to reach the 4-Star Hotel Pilatus Kulm, which sits at the top of Mount Pilatus. This historic mountain lodge dates back to the 19th century and as well as its elegant and refined ambience, one of its most impressive features has to be the views; you'll be hard-pressed to find better sunsets and sunrises, and on a clear evening it can seem like you're at one with the stars themselves.
Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway
Chugging along Alpine meadows and through lush forests on the rack railway built in 1892, the Brienz Rothorn Railway has lost none of its original appeal. In roughly one hour, the small steam locomotives push the merry red panorama coaches from Lake Brienz up to the Brienzer Rothorn. On a clear day, the Rothorn offers you a magnificent view of no fewer than 693 peaks.
This train winds its way through the Swiss Alps, travelling through 91 tunnels, and crossing 291 bridges. Relax and enjoy the view through the panoramic windows at your seat, or take in a drink at the bar. You'll have views of snow-capped mountains, canyons, narrow valleys, and rushing waters.
Depart Switzerland and cross the border into northern Italy. The route passes through a variety of terrain including orchards, chestnut trees and vineyards on its way to Tirano. Cross the famous Brusio Circular Viaduct on this narrow-gauge train that begins in the mountains and winds down to street level. Pass through the town of Tirano as you reach the city's station.
Mount Pilatus Railroad
Opened in 1889, Lucerne's Mount Pilatus Railroad is the steepest cogwheel railroad in the world. Spend a delightful half hour ascending almost two kilometres from lakeside Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm. Mount Pilatus affords beautiful views of the Alps and Lake Lucerne, and is home to astonishingly diverse flora.
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.
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
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|20th June 2020||$4,385||Book Now|
|11th July 2020||Sold Out|
|15th August 2020||$4,245||Book Now|
|5th September 2020||$4,385||Book Now|
|19th September 2020||$4,385||Book Now|
|3rd October 2020||$3,955||Book Now|
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: Departs 20th June 2020 ($4,385), 11th July 2020 (Sold Out) 15th August 2020 ($4,245), 5th September 2020 ($4,385), 19th September 2020 ($4,385), 3rd October 2020 ($3,955)
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