During our Swiss adventure, we enjoy thrilling mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous.
About the Tour
Stunning scenery and spectacular views are enough to take your breath away as we travel by rail through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the world-famous Glacier Express train. During our Swiss adventure, we enjoy thrilling mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- Rail travel on the high-speed Eurostar between London & Paris
- Scenic rail excursions on the Bernina Express and Glacier Express
- Mountain railway excursion to Zermatt
- Hotel Accommodations for 7 nights
- 12 meals including a farewell dinner in Kandersteg
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated departure office in St Pancras Station, London
- The services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - By Train to Strasbourg
We meet in St Pancras International Railway Station at your exclusive departure office, then travel by Eurostar to Paris. Here, we change for the TGV high-speed service to Strasbourg. Overnight Strasbourg. (D)
Day 2 - Rhine Gorge into Switzerland by Rail
Enjoy a morning at leisure in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg, before we begin our onwards journey into Switzerland, to Basel and onwards to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town at over 5,000 years old. Overnight Chur. (B, D)
Day 3 - At Leisure in Chur
Your day is free to explore historic Chur and the surrounding region, making it the perfect opportunity to discover the area by mountain railroad. The wild, rugged and rocky landscape of the glorious Graubünden region is waiting to be discovered, with superb railroad journeys available from Chur that take you over, around and across the dramatic valleys that make this one of Switzerland's most attractive cantons. Chur itself, as the first settlement in Switzerland, has a wealth of history to discover, from the days of the Roman Empire to Chur today, the capital of the wonderful Graubünden region. The Old Town, which harks back to medieval times, brushes shoulders with an old Roman neighborhood, and in various sites across the city there are a number of museums detailing the varied and storied history of Chur. Overnight Chur. (B)
Day 4 - The Bernina Express to Poschiavo
Today's excursion takes us on the historic Bernina Express - a railway journey on the superb Bernina Line that passes mighty glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled Alpine meadows. The railway line is over 100 years old and has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage Status as a testament to the incredible civil engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the breathtaking scenery through which it travels. From Chur we head south, travelling through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges, including the instantly recognizable Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural treasure. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past idyllic waterfalls. Looping and spiralling through the rugged landscape of the Engadine Valley, our ascent takes us through the Albula Tunnel and over the Bernina Pass to an altitude of more the 7,000 feet. We then begin our descent towards colourful Poschiavo, entering the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland before arriving at our destination. Pastel-colored houses line the streets of picturesque Poschiavo, where we have time for lunch before our journey in the opposite direction, arriving back in Chur in time for dinner. Overnight Chur. (B, D)
Day 5 - The Glacier Express to Kandersteg
We leave Chur today, travelling from the rocky landscape of the Graubünden canton to the fantastic sunny Valais on the iconic Glacier Express - 'the slowest express train in the world'. Our entire journey is accompanied by views of the scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous; sloping meadows, broad vineyards lined with lush greenery and dense forests rising up the hillside beside the track towards towering snow-capped peaks. We travel along the beautiful Rhine Valley, climbing steadily and then steeply as we make our way up and over the Oberalp Pass, the distant peaks of the Italian Alps in view to the south. At 6,670 feet, the Oberalp Pass is the highest point of the route. From here we descend past the countless small villages that line our route, nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains, before travelling through the Furka Base Tunnel and into the flourishing Rhône Valley. The final part of our journey on the Glacier Express takes us through expansive vineyards that line the surrounding hillsides to the small town of Brig. Here we take the local railway for a wonderful journey over the imposing Kander Viaduct, through the old Lötschberg tunnel and past soaring mountain peaks to the town of Kandersteg. The resort of Kandersteg is one of Switzerland's truly unspoilt gems - a picturesque destination surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. We check in for three nights at the Hotel Bernerhof. Overnight Kandersteg. (B, D)
Day 6 - Mountain Rail Excursion to Zermatt
Today we visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We travel to Brig to join a narrow-gauge train, heading south through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. From here we join the mountain track for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The train clings to the track as we wind left and right, ascending past small clusters of houses and tiny hamlets that together form the region's village communities. The spectacular approach to Zermatt takes us through eight tunnels and across 42 bridges, the gradient of the ascent requiring cogwheels to be engaged. Finally we reach the grandiose scenery of Zermatt, nestled below the tilted peak of the instantly recognizable Matterhorn. In Zermatt you are free to spend your time as you choose. One option that you will find hard to resist is the ascent to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway (payable locally). Running for just under six miles, the route travels from Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat, some 10,135 ft above sea level. Overnight Kandersteg. (B)
Day 7 - Oeschinen Lake
We travel today to the crisp and peaceful waters of Oeschinen Lake near Kandersteg, cradled in the Oeschinen Valley. An oasis of calm at the heart of the Bernese Oberland, this is Switzerland at its pristine best. To get here, we board the Oeschinensee cable car which carries us up through the mountains, offering staggering views below as we rise above the peaks. We walk from our departure point to the lake, where you have free time to soak in the Alpine panorama which surrounds you. Overnight Kandersteg. (B, D)
Please note: Lake Oeschinen cable car does not operate until mid-May. Departures before 10 May will enjoy a day trip to Interlaken by rail.
Day 8 - Return to London
We depart Kandersteg today for Paris, via Brig and Lausanne. Once in Paris, we join the Eurostar service for the return to London St Pancras. (B)
Hotel Freieck, Chur
The friendly, 3-Star Hotel Freieck in Chur is situated in the heart of the Old Town. It is under the personal supervision of the Stockmann family and is a popular choice amongst our customers. The hotel features a renovated vaulted restaurant, a cozy bar, and a Wintergarden-café. Rooms are furnished in traditional Swiss style and are equipped with a television, telephone, hairdryer and a safe.
Hotel Bernerhof, Kandersteg
The 3-Star Hotel Bernerhof is idyllically located over-looking meadows in the heart of the small village of Kandersteg. This tranquil setting is the perfect location from which to explore the Swiss Alps boasting superb views of the surrounding mountainous Alpine scenery. The hotel is owned, managed and run by the Lehmann family and is built in typical Swiss style. Facilities include a restaurant, small gym, sauna, and steam room. Rooms are comfortable and well-equipped with minibar, hairdryer and television. All twin/double rooms have a balcony with views of the mountains.
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
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.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium. Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which are arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop-down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
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.
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