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The Golden Eagle - Swiss Rail Spectacular

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From the legendary rails of Switzerland’s historic and scenic train lines, look upon the imposing peaks of the Swiss Alps as they encroach on charming alpine destinations on this spectacular journey through a country renowned for its natural beauty.

13 days From $22,995 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2023 Tour code: GE-SRSE-23

About the tour

Some landscapes lend themselves to adventure and exploration, and those of Switzerland fit the bill to a T. The gorgeous Swiss Alps and their rolling foothills lead to glacier-fed lakes and sweeping valleys where picturesque towns and villages and gleaming metropolises make their mark on the land. One of the best ways to explore Switzerland's varied landscapes is by train. Luckily, train are plentiful and notable routes come standard.

This Swiss rail spectacular explores some of the best railways in Europe. Your tour begins in Basel, where you join the opulent private rail carriages of the Prestige Continental Express for the journey toward St. Moritz. And this is just the beginning. Watch amazing alpine scenes unfold as you travel to cities like Tirano and Lake Como in Italy and Gletsch, Zermatt, Brig, Interlaken, and Zurich in Switzerland aboard magnificent railways large and small. From the Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express to the Furka Steam Railway, the Glacier Express, the Jungfrau Railway, and rack railways, including Schynige-Platte Bahn Rack Railway and the Brienzer-Rothorn Steam Rack Railway, this thoughtfully composed trip is rife with memorable rail journeys.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Basel

Transfer on own Basel Airport to the GAIA hotel in the city centre. Tonight we enjoy a dinner in a local restaurant in Basel for all guests. Overnight Basel.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Basel via Zurich to St. Moritz

This morning we join the Prestige Continental Express private train either in Basel SBB Station or in Zürich Flughafen (Airport) station.

Once on board we will have lunch as we depart for the Swiss city of Landquart, where we change to the narrow gauge Rhaetian Railway (RhB) and the Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express for the journey up to the exclusive alpine resort of St. Moritz.

Our travels will take us through the Albula Pass between Filisur and St. Moritz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today our three-coach train will be hauled by the historic 108-year-old RhB electric locomotive Nr 353. Overnight St. Moritz.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - St. Moritz to Tirano

Today we travel along Switzerland's famous Bernina Line to Tirano, Italy. From St. Moritz we travel in the Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express cars hauled by a unique and historic Bernina 'Crocodil' electric locomotive Nr 182, built 1928.

During the final 17km of the journey we will cross the incredible spiral stone viaduct at Brusio. Once in Tirano, Italy we spend time enjoying the Valtellina Valley and visit the Triacco Winery where we will have lunch, before retracing our steps by bus back to St. Moritz.

Tonight we will enjoy a traditional Swiss dinner near to the Morteratsch Glacier. Overnight St. Moritz.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - St. Moritz to Andermatt

This morning we depart St. Moritz for Andermatt on the Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express. Once again, we will enjoy the hospitality of the RhB's historic Pullman train but today hauled by RhB 'Crocodil' Nr 414 or 415, built 1929.

Our travels will take us by train through the Rheinschlucht Gorge, very close to the source of the Rhine River and across the Oberalp Pass to Andermatt, our stepping-stone for the Furka Pass.

After checking-in to the exclusive five-star Chedi Andermatt hotel our guests can either take advantage of the hotel's extensive Spa & Wellness facilities or take an option to travel by bus along the Gotthard Pass to visit the huge Sasso Da Pigna Fortress that guarded it from 1943 onwards. Closed in 1998 it re-opened as the Gotthard Museum Sasso in 2012.

Tonight we will have dinner in the town of Andermatt. Overnight Andermatt.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Furka Mountain Pass

Today we cross one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the world, the Furka Pass. The Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke (Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway) is a largely volunteer operated heritage railway which operates a partially rack and pinion operated line across the Furka Pass which peaks at 2,160 metres (7,086 feet) above sea level.

The Furka Dampfbahn has been gradually brought back into service using original equipment and is now restored to its former glory. The 100-year-old steam locomotive will take us 740m (2,405ft) to the summit. We then descend under the Rhône glacier to Gletsch for lunch at the Hotel Castle Blitzingen, Niederwald. Mid-afternoon we join the modern Glacier Express (First Class) to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn. Overnight Zermatt.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

This afternoon we take an exciting journey on the Gornergrat Railway on the Glacier Paullman Express attached to a Rack electric train. We travel to a height of 3,135 metres (10,285 feet) for the most incredible view of the Matterhorn. The Gornergrat is located between the Gornergletscher and Findelgletscher and offers a view of more than twenty peaks over 4,000 metres (13,123 feet).

A raclette dinner will be taken at the Al Bosco Restaurant, Riffelalp Resort, at 2,222m (7,290 ft) before returning to Zermatt. Overnight Zermatt.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 - Bern & Interlaken

We start the day descending from Zermatt on the panoramic cars of the regular Glacier Express before re-joining the steam-hauled Prestige Continental Express in Brig. From Brig we take lunch during our journey over the Lötschberg Pass before arriving into Bern. Here we enjoy a three hour tour of the city, including one hour by historic steam tram.

From Bern we continue under steam haulage on board the Prestige Continental Express to Interlaken. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Interlaken - Jungfrau Region

Interlaken will act as our base for the next few days as we visit the magical Jungfrau alpine region of Switzerland. Today we will join a private steam train on the Ballenberg Dampfbahn to Meiringen and Innertkirchen.

From here there is the choice to walk 2 km through the spectacular Aareschlucht Gorge, followed a trip by Funicular to Reichenbach Falls, made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle as the spot where he killed off both Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, before a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen then re-joining our steam train which will return us to Interlaken.

A second group has a more leisurely day by going straight from Innertkirchen to Reichenbach Falls, then visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum and some free time in Meiringen before returning to our train back to Interlaken. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 - Jungfrau & The Top of Europe

Today we depart Interlaken by regular trains for Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg. Once at Kleine Scheidegg we have the choice of a leisurely morning with stunning Alpine views or transfer to the Jungfraubahn and the final leg of our trip up to a height of 3,454 metres (11,332 feet) above sea level, making this the highest railway station in Europe. Weather permitting you may be able to venture out onto the glaciers.

There will be time at the top of the mountain before descending back to Kleine Scheidegg where we will have lunch and then continue down the mountain to Wilderswil where we have a special steam charter train on the Schynige-Platte Bahn Rack Railway. At the summit we will visit the Alpine Garden before returning to Wilderswil and then back to the hotel. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10 - Brienz & Brienzer-Rothorn Bahn

Today we leave Interlaken by bus for the Brienzer-Rothorn Steam Rack Railway. The town of Brienz has been known for centuries for its wood carving. as well as the sBrienzer-Rothorn Bahn, the fourth highest railway in Switzerland that reaches a height of 2,244 metres (7,360 feet).

Following lunch by the lake we cruise from Brienz returning to Interlaken on the 1914 paddle steamer SS Lötschberg. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - Lake Como

Today we depart on the Prestige Continental Express from Interlaken over the spectacular St Gotthard pass to Chiasso and transfer to nearby Lake Como, in Italy. We will tour the town and have a cruise on the lake before having dinner at our hotel. Overnight Lake Como.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Pilatus Kulm & Zurich

This morning we depart Chiasso on the Prestige Continental Express for Lucerne, changing to a narrow gauge train for the short journye to Alpnachstad.

From here we travel on the Pilatus Bahn, which is the steepest rack railway in the world, with a maximum gradient of 48% and takes 30 minutes to the peak at Pilatus Kulm passing alpine meadows and striking rock formations on its route.

We will return down the mountain and enjoy our farewell gala dinner in the opulent Prestige Continental Express dining cars as we make our way back to ZurichFlughafen Station. From the train we will walk to the hotel, which is connected to the Airport Terminal. Overnight Zurich.

 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - Zurich

After breakfast, free time until departing flights from the adjacent terminal or train connections from the station beneath the terminal.

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

Furka Railway
Gornergrat Mountain Railway
Jungfrau Railway
Schynige Platte Railway
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