Stunning views on a classic rail journey
Dramatic mountain scenery and beautiful lakes provide the setting for this magnificent tour, as we take the iconic Glacier Express through the Swiss Alps, staying in glamorous St Moritz, and Zermatt, where we enjoy breathtaking views of the Matterhorn.
After meeting your Tour Manager, we board the Eurostar at our St Pancras Departure Office, travelling to Brussels before continuing on to Cologne in First Class, where we overnight.
Today we depart Cologne and travel to Basel , before we start the scenic ascent through the Alps to St Moritz, set at 6,000 feet amidst majestic mountain peaks. We travel through countless tunnels and across numerous bridges, including the instantly recognisable Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural treasure. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past rushing waterfalls. Looping and spiralling through the rugged landscape of the Engadine Valley, our ascent takes us through the Albula Tunnel then down to the Upper Engadine valley.
On arrival in St Moritz we walk to the Hotel Schweizerhof for a three-night stay. Situated in the centre of St Moritz, this beautifully appointed 4-Star hotel benefits from a piano bar, spa and original Belle Epoque surroundings. It is the perfect base for exploring this wonderful region.
From St Moritz we join the historic narrow-gauge Bernina Express, a railway journey on the superb Bernina Line which passes mighty glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled Alpine meadows. The railway line has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage status for the incredible civil engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the breathtaking scenery through which it travels.
Our ascent takes us over the Bernina Pass to an altitude of more than 7,000 feet. Enjoy breathtaking views of the snowcapped peaks and turquoise glacial lakes as we travel to Tirano in Italy, traversing the spiralling Brusio Viaduct en route. You have some free time in Tirano before we return to St Moritz.
Today could begin by exploring St Moritz by cable car, free of charge using your included St Moritz Travel Card. Alternatively, go and see the mountains further afield with 50% fares using your Swiss Travel Card. Each village, town and railway station has something to offer, whether it is an insight into how the Alpine populations live amongst these glorious surroundings, or a hidden gem in the shape of various mountain walking trails.
Today we take the famous Glacier Express narrow-gauge train along the iconic route from St Moritz to Zermatt, enjoying the incredible views through the panoramic windows of our First Class carriage. Our journey takes us through the classic landscapes which have made Switzerland famous; from the jagged mountain peaks to the flower-filled meadows below, and from the sprawling vineyards to dense woodland dotted along the hillsides. The train benefits from large panoramic windows, so every piece of the picture-postcard surroundings is unmissable, including the beautiful Rhône Valley and the Oberalp Pass - the highest point of the line at 6,670 feet.
On leaving St Moritz we descend towards the valley floor, emerging from a rock tunnel to cross the famous Landwasser Viaduct and into the upper Rhine Valley. A two-course lunch is served at our seats during the journey, followed by tea and coffee - the perfect accompaniment to our time on board 'the slowest express train in the world', whilst you watch stunning scenery pass slowly by.
The train climbs steadily and steeply up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, and spirals downwards past countless villages, before crossing the spectacular gorge at Brig. From Brig we ascend once more, as we wind left and right, passing small hamlet communities, rushing mountain streams, and spectacular waterfalls. The approach to Zermatt takes us across 42 bridges and through 8 tunnels, before finally we reach the grandiose scenery of this tranquil mountain town, nestled below the tilted peak of the Matterhorn. Our base here for the next four nights is the fabulous Parkhotel Beau Site.
Today we ascend via Gornergrat Mountain Railway, opened in 1898, the highest open-air cogwheel railway in Europe. The train climbs to the summit of the Gornergrat at 10,134 ft and offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn; on a clear day at the top you can see 29 snow-capped peaks of more than 4000 metres. After some time at the top to enjoy the scenery and views over the Gornergletscher, the second largest glacier in the Alps, we descend and enjoy a guided tour of beautiful Zermatt. The pretty town is a car-free zone, with timbered buildings and an English church dating back to 1870, and is known as a popular ski resort.
Today we travel by train to Domodossola in Italy, where we take a coach to Stresa, on the shore of Lake Maggiore. On arrival, we take a cruise across Lake Maggiore to the charming island of Isola Pescatore, a wonderfully atmospheric rustic fishing village boasting some fantastic restaurants and shops.
The island measures just 350 metres in length and is 100 metres wide, and only has a population of around 50 people. Take some time here to visit the beach or take a stroll along the main street against the small piers and minute harbours which jut out into Lake Maggiore. Of particular note is the pretty chapel of San Vittore. We return to Zermatt for dinner this evening.
Today is free for you to explore Zermatt. Perhaps relax and take advantage of the hotel's excellent pool and spa facilities, enjoy a walk along one of the many marked trails or climb the Kleine Matterhorn by regional cable car.
Another option is to use your First Class Swiss Travel Card to explore further afield. The card allows 50% fares on most trains, buses and lake steamers. Among the most popular options available to you is a journey 'across a hundred valleys' on the Centovalli Railway, a narrow-gauge line that winds over high bridges and past sleepy villages to the town of Locarno, located on the shores of delightful Lake Maggiore.
Today we begin our journey home. We travel via Visp to Basel, then join the onward service to Colmar, where we spend the night. On Day 10 we travel through France to Paris. Here we connect with Eurostar to London.
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.
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
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 27 verified reviews
We were downgraded on the Glacier Express because of overbooking. This was not the fault of GRJ. At the last minute we were reinstated for most but not all of it. It meant we had to travel on later trains to the group. The train journey from Cologne to St Moritz was tiresome and involved changes of stations, trains etc due to the problems on German Rail. This was not the fault of GRJ. However, the journey took 13.5 hours. Our tour guide was brilliant, he did his utmost to get us there as quickly as he could. He was constantly cheerful no matter what was thrown at him. He is a credit to GRJ. Overall the holiday was superb. Lovely scenery, hotels.
The holiday was all that I had expected, well organised, well led and the weather allowed us to see all the views.
Everything was first class, except the London hotel
Excellent holiday throughout!
The rail jurneys were the best i have been on in your great tours,plus first visit to Zermatt wonderfull
Good weather, scenery, and hotels! The situation of the hotel in St. Moritz was fantastic, with views overlooking the lake and mountains. Enjoyed the excursions and the trip on the Bernini express. The hotel in Zermatt could not have been better with views of the Matterhorn from our balcony. Enjoyed our trip up Gornagratt and on the Glacier Express and made the most of our free day by exploring the surrounding countryside. Although the weather forecast hadn't been good, we were exoecting rain, in fact we had glorious sunny days! Even had snow during the night in St Moritz! Perfect!
Your best tour in my opion
It was an excellent and well led tour
A well organised tour with a good balance of organised and free time. The hiccups were not the fault of the company and were well handled by the tour manager. Good hotels in St Moritz and Zermatt. Worth every penny!
Lots of moving the group’s luggage from train to train on travel days. Not all were able to do this without assistance. Arranged porters would have been appreciated. More choice in hotel dinners would have preferred. Some hotels were not 4 star :(
Stunning views on a classic rail journey