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Traditional Glacier Express

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During our Swiss adventure, we enjoy thrilling mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous.

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20222023
8 days From $2,295 per person
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2022 Tour code: GR-GYJA-22

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

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.

Includes
  • Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
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. 

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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion

We depart Kandersteg today via Brig to the airport in Geneva, Switzerland where your tour concludes.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please Note

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 holiday you book is right for you.

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.

Hotels

Hotel Freieck, Chur

Hotel Freieck, Chur

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Hotel Bernerhof, Kandersteg

Hotel Bernerhof, Kandersteg

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Trains

Bernina Express
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV

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Reviews

5.0 stars5.0 / 5 · 1 review

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James Z, Port Orange, FL

5 stars

Submitted 22 Aug 2018

Switzerland was beautiful. Must be seen by train

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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