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Switzerland by Rail: Glacier Express, Jungfrau & Bernina Express

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Join the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express, and impressive local rail lines to discover the immense beauty of Switzerland, a country known for its alpine wonders and layered history.

7 days From $1,709 per person
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2023 Tour code: WE-SEER-23

About the tour

Soaring snow-clad peaks frame charming cities steeped in history, and sprawling valleys lead to crystalline glacier-fed lakes in stunning Switzerland. Sit back and relax as these elements are brought to life aboard some of the world's most famous rail lines, including the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express, on this independent journey.

The best of Switzerland is yours to behold as your trip kicks off in the bustling city of Zurich with a free day to explore before transferring by train to Interlaken, nestled between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. This resort town is ideally situated in the Bernese Oberland and makes the perfect base for adventures, including a cable car ride to the summit of the Schilthorn and a train trip to the Top of Europe on the Jungfrau Railway.

The one and only Glacier Express whisks you through the Alps to your next incredible destination, Chur. As the oldest city in Switzerland, there is no shortage of medieval buildings and narrow, winding streets to uncover. One last specialty train trip, this time aboard the century-old tracks of the Bernina Express, takes you on a day trip to northern Italy before your Swiss expedition concludes with a return train ride to Zurich.   When it comes to the rugged landscapes of Switzerland, there is no better way to get an intimate perspective than aboard the country's trains.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Zurich

Arrive in Zurich, the country's financial capital and a booming metropolis filled with modern amenities and historic buildings, and make your way to your centrally located hotel. Spend the rest of your day getting your bearings in your new surroundings. Look upon distant views of the Alps while seeking out sites like the 12th-century Grossmünster cathedral or the elegant shops of the Bahnhofstrasse. Overnight Zurich.

Day 2 - To Interlaken By Train

After breakfast at your hotel this morning, transfer on your own to Zurich's train station, where you board a train to Interlaken. The journey takes just over two hours to complete, venturing through the heart of the country while pursuing Lakes Thun and Brienz in the Bernese Oberland. Interlaken is located between the two bodies of water and offers stunning views from all angles. Evergreen forests sit aside turquoise waters, and snow-capped giants loom in the backdrop. The destination is a proper resort town with so much to offer. See what you can discover during your free day here. Overnight Interlaken. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - The Schilthorn

You may recognize today's views from the big screen, as the 007 mountain, the Schilthorn, is on the itinerary for the day. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then walk to the train station to join your train from Interlaken to Murren. Your ascent up this 9,744-foot behemoth begins as you board the first in a series of cable cars on arrival. The views increase in magnitude with elevation, allowing you to look out over many of the impressive peaks of the Bernese Alps while continuing up the mountainside. Switch cable cars in Brig, and savor the views as you finish your climb up to the top.

At the summit, visit Switzerland's first rotating alpine restaurant, Piz Gloria, to soak in wondrous 360-degree panoramas, including prominent views of Mounts Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch, from its Skyline View platform. On clear days, the line of sight reaches Germany's Black Forest! You may also wish to dine at this exquisite restaurant, surrounded by windows and amazing views, during your time here. Bond enthusiasts will appreciate the ties to the film throughout the summit facilities. Highlights include the Walk of Fame, on which cast members of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" left their marks; an OHMSS Spy World interactive exhibit; and a movie-viewing area that shows clips of the movie filmed in your current location. There is also a gift shop in which to buy souvenirs. Need a moment to soak in the surrounding scenery in peace? There are three small lounges down from Piz Gloria on the Schilthorn ridge. Return to Interlaken after your adventure with the remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Jungfrau Railway to the Top of Europe

Some of Switzerland's most dramatic scenery lies ahead as you venture to the Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch, aboard the Jungfrau Railway. Your trip begins after breakfast, at which time you depart from your hotel in Interlaken and ride aboard a local train to Grindelwald. On arrival, join the Wengernalp Railway, the world's longest cog railway, to continue climbing in elevation up to Kleine Scheidegg. The views are amazing no matter which side of the train you sit on. Finally, in Kleine Scheidegg, join the Jungfrau Railway for the final miles of the climb to the top. Soak in mountain views while you can; much of the ascent occurs via a mountain tunnel inside the north face of Eiger. After a couple of brief stops during the nearly 10,000-foot climb, you arrive at Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe.

Breathe in the cold mountain air while looking over some of the tallest peaks in the Swiss Alps from the Sphinx Observation Deck. The panoramic vistas are astounding - including those of the Aletsch Glacier. Other things to do at the summit include tasting hand-made sweets at Lindt Chocolate Heaven, walking through the impressively carved Ice Palace, admiring the love and care that went into creating Alpine Sensation, and marveling over a film representation of the 360-degree views around Jungfrau at the Jungfrau Panorama. You may also wish to venture out to the Glacier Plateau, dine in one of the restaurants, shop for traditional Swiss wares in the shops, or create lasting memories at Snow Fun Park before making your descent down the mountain. Join the Jungfrau Railway for the first stretch of your return journey, then switch to the Eiger Express cable car at the Eigergletscher station within the mountain. Enjoy a last look at the mountains from overhead as the cable car follows its course to Grindelwald, where you board a train for the final stretch back to Interlaken. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Glacier Express

All aboard the world's slowest express train, the Glacier Express, for a journey to remember as you travel from Brig to Chur today. Join a local train for the hour-long trip to Brig after breakfast at the hotel. This beautiful Alpine town is set in southern Switzerland and makes for an idyllic starting point for your journey.

Aboard the Glacier Express, the incredible views start immediately. The train crosses the Rhone River shortly after the trip commences and presents lovely views of the Upper Rhone Valley. Soak in views of lush evergreen forests and quintessential Swiss villages from the comfortable seat of your refurbished panoramic carriage as you travel. A highlight of the journey comes as the Glacier Express passes through the Furka Base Tunnel and begins climbing the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the route. This stretch of the course showcases barren alpine landscapes where nature takes over. It is all downhill from here - literally. The route descends through the Rhine Valley, eventually entering the gorgeous Rhine Gorge, also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon. River-carved rocks adjoin the mountainous scenery, providing an excellent finale for your train route. Arrive in Chur, the lowest point on the Glacier Express's route, shortly after passing through the gorge.

Transfer on your own from the train station to your hotel in the center of Switzerland's oldest city. Impeccably preserved medieval buildings backed by soaring peaks make for incredible scenery as you walk. Spend the remainder of the day getting acquainted with your new surroundings. Car-free Old Town is the ideal place to explore on foot, and there are plenty of fantastic museums, including those focused on art, history, and nature, to pique your interest. Overnight Chur.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Bernina Express

Marvel at great contrasts in scenery today as you join the iconic Bernina Express for a journey from the mountain scenes of Switzerland to the palm trees of Tirano , Italy. Your trip begins after breakfast at the hotel when you independently make your way to the train station. Take your seat in the panoramic carriage and settle in for a UNESCO World Heritage route filled with breathtaking sights. The route takes approximately four hours to complete, and as you traverse the landscape, travel through 55 tunnels and across nearly 200 bridges and viaducts, including the impressive Landwasser Viaduct. Twist and turn through valleys and climb alongside forested mountains. Marvel at views of the Rhine River and the Morteratsch Glacier, among other fantastic natural sights. Another major highlight of the route comes as the train crosses the Brusio Spiral Viaduct right before crossing the Italian border. When palm trees, vineyards, and colorful buildings enter your line of sight, the Bernina Express has arrived in Tirano. Take a few hours here to sightsee and explore in Italy. You may wish to grab lunch at a sidewalk café or visit the town's 16th-century cathedral before rejoining the train and following the stunning route in reverse. By day's end, it will be clear why the Bernina Express is one of the world's most scenic train journeys. Overnight Chur. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – Chur to Zurich by Train

Your Swiss adventure concludes this morning after breakfast at the hotel. Join a local train at the Chur rail station and return to Zurich. Consider adding a post-tour extension in Zurich if you wish; otherwise, you are free to return home at leisure. 

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Bernina Express
The Glacier Express
Jungfrau Railway
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