Celebrate Christmas on stylish Lake Geneva
A superb combination of memorable Christmas celebrations in one of our favourite hotels and unforgettable excursions by train as we climb on narrow-gauge and mountain railways to reach the dizzy heights of the frosted Alps.
We depart St Pancras International by Eurostar for Paris, travelling in Standard Premier Class. After crossing Paris by coach, our journey continues by First Class TGV Lyria through France to Lausanne. We change trains and travel along the shores of Lake Geneva to Vevey, where our base for seven nights is the welcoming 4-Star superior Astra Hotel. Vevey is a genteel market town boasting a medieval Old Town, elegant arcades and picturesque squares. As well as being the home of Nestlé, who began manufacturing chocolate here in the 17th century, Vevey is also known for its famous former resident, Charlie Chaplin, whose statue overlooks the lake.
On our first morning we travel by trolley-bus to the elegant Château de Chillon, which rises dramatically from the waters of Lake Geneva and sits against a backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery. We cross the wooden drawbridge for a guided tour of the 13th century château, considered to be one of Europe's best-preserved medieval castles and a fine example of early Gothic architecture. Following our visit, we make our way to the delightful stalls of Montreux's fabulous Christmas Market, which line the lake shore and offer a great selection of decorations, gift ideas and local culinary treats. Back at the hotel we are served cakes and mulled wine.
Our excursion today takes us by narrow-gauge railway from Vevey to a quiet, charming mountain village. The train makes its way up the sweeping, thickly-wooded valley, using horseshoe bends in places to gain height as it climbs through the increasingly dramatic scenery on its way to Les Diablerets. A lovely Alpine village of wooden houses and traditional farm buildings situated high in the mountains, Les Diablerets is an idyllic place that remains popular with visitors. A local guide describes the flora, fauna and geology of the area to us, and takes us on a gentle guided walking tour through the wintry Alpine meadows. Following our walk, we enjoy a fondue lunch in the Auberge de la Poste, a typically welcoming Swiss mountain inn, before we return to Vevey for dinner.
Today we enjoy a journey on the Mont Pèlerin Funicular Railway. Departing from Vevey, the line climbs steadily up the mountainside, passing sweeping forests all dusted with snow. We arrive at the summit station, where you can admire the excellent views over your beautiful surroundings, including the mighty Alps and a magnificent panorama of Lake Geneva. After time to explore we descend back to Vevey, where we enjoy a four-course gala Christmas Dinner.
Today we enjoy one of the Alps' most exciting rail journeys as we travel on the fabulous Mont Blanc Express - a tourist train that maximises on the region's stunning views and mountain scenery. We begin with a short journey around Lake Geneva to the pretty town of Martigny. Here we board the Mont Blanc Express train for the journey to Chamonix. The line from Martigny climbs serenely as we pass through the pretty vineyards covering the hillsides throughout much of the Rhône Valley. The small electric train then begins its ascent into the mountains, climbing steeply towards the snow-capped Alpine peaks. The train continues effortlessly upwards through the forest; the views becoming increasingly impressive. The route takes us across the wild, rugged Trient Gorge as the train clings to the mountainside, crossing over countless bridges and through dozens of tunnels. In winter, the Trient Gorge is a snow-bound landscape with frozen waterfalls and cosy villages encased by snowdrifts. As we approach Chamonix, the mighty Mont Blanc towers above the train and dominates the skyline of the Chamonix Valley. We then reach Chamonix, a bustling town which became famous with the opening of the Mont Blanc Express and cemented its place in history as the host of the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924. Later we rejoin the Mont Blanc Express for the spectacular return journey.
Today is free for you to enjoy Vevey and its beautiful scenery, or perhaps explore the local area further. Vevey is home to a number of interesting museums, otherwise, the lakeside town of Montreux is just ten minutes away by trolleybus.
Today we visit Gruyères, and the Maison du Gruyère, for a tour and tasting of the famous cheese that is produced here. We also explore Gstaad, before travelling to Montreux on the GoldenPass Line panoramic train. On Day 8 we leave Vevey, returning to the UK by rail and Eurostar. On arrival in London, your tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Celebrate Christmas on stylish Lake Geneva