An adventurous twin-centre Swiss rail holiday
This adventurous twin-centre rail holiday provides ample opportunity to explore the majestic Swiss Alps cloaked in their winter finery, and to enjoy our trip on the famous Glacier Express, surely the slowest, and certainly one of the most scenic 'express' trains in the world.
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras before boarding the Eurostar to Paris. We change for the high-speed service to Strasbourg where we stay for the night.
We leave Strasbourg by train for Switzerland. Our journey takes us across the border and travelling via Basel, we join the superb Swiss railway network, famous for its efficiency and punctuality. We make our way to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town with over 5,000 years of settlement history for you to explore.
Your day is free to explore historic Chur and the surrounding region. Take time to stroll through the medieval cobbled alleyways and squares of the Old Town, and visit the 12th century cathedral, a blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles. Today is a superb chance for you to discover the area by mountain railway using your included Swiss Card for 50% fares. The wild, rugged and rocky landscape of the glorious Graubünden region is waiting to be discovered, with superb railway journeys available from Chur that take you over, around and across the dramatic valleys that make this one of the most attractive cantons in Switzerland. A journey on the Arosa Line to lakeside Arosa, surrounded by dramatic snowy peaks, is a popular option for today. Alternatively, visit Lucerne, an historic lakeside city of cobbled streets, squares and ornate churches. Whilst in Lucerne, see the famous Kapellbrücke covered bridge or perhaps visit the Swiss Transport Museum.
Today's excursion takes us on the historic Bernina Express - a railway journey on the superb Bernina Line that passes mighty glaciers and sloping Alpine meadows laden with snow. 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 recognisable Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural treasure. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past frozen 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. Enjoy the views of the snow-capped peaks as we descend, entering the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland before arriving at our destination. Pastel-coloured houses line the streets of picturesque Poschiavo, where we have time for lunch before enjoying the journey in the opposite direction.
We leave Chur today, travelling from the rocky landscape of the Graubünden canton to the fantastic 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; beautiful, snow-covered pastures, and frosted forests rising up the hillsides 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 snowy 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 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 Lotschberg 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 Victoria.
Today we travel to the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We travel to Brig to join a narrow-gauge train, heading south through dramatic valleys and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. From here we join the mountain track for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The spectacular approach to Zermatt takes us through 8 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 snowy tilted peak of the instantly recognisable Matterhorn. In Zermatt you are free to explore.
Today is free for you to explore Kandersteg, renowned for its breathtaking views and scenic trails. You could take the cable car up to the stunning Oeschinen Lake. The lake is frozen in winter, and offers incredible vistas. Or, explore the wider region using your Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares. We particularly recommend travelling along the Rhône Valley to Montreux. From here you can enjoy a cruise on Lake Geneva or join the GoldenPass Line panoramic train for the journey over the Golden Pass to Spiez. Otherwise travel to Interlaken, a charming town situated between Lakes Thun and Brienz.
We depart from Kandersteg, and travel by train via Brig and along the shores of shimmering Lake Geneva, before joining a direct TGV service to Paris. After crossing Paris by coach we connect with Eurostar to London.
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
An adventurous twin-centre Swiss rail holiday