Breathtaking views from Swiss mountain railways
Take in some of Switzerland's finest winter scenery on this magnificent holiday. From our base in the wonderfully unspoilt town of Meiringen, we visit the lakeside town of Lucerne, ride a carriage in the mountain village of Grindelwald, and take a trip to the 'Top of Europe' on the famous Jungfrau Railway.
We depart St Pancras International by Eurostar for Paris in Standard Premier Class, enjoying a light meal and drinks during the journey. We continue from Paris by First Class south through the French countryside to the delightful Alsatian town of Strasbourg where we enjoy dinner and stay overnight.
Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore the delightful streets and half timbered houses of Strasbourg, before we continue in First Class into Switzerland, to Basel. We continue on the efficient Swiss rail network past Lake Thun to Interlaken, where we change for the narrowgauge train to the small, charming town of Meiringen. Our hotel in Meiringen is the Hotel Alpbach, where we stay in well-appointed deluxe rooms for six nights and on arrival we enjoy hot mulled wine. The hotel is set against a magnificent backdrop of towering snow covered peaks and situated just a short walk from the town centre.
One of Switzerland's best-kept secrets, the town of Meiringen remains unspoilt and typically Swiss. The author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle loved the town and was so taken with it that he let his famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, plunge to his death at the impressive Reichenbach Falls nearby. This morning we take a cable car ride to the Alpen Tower where we experience dramatic panoramic views of the surrounding peaks from a height of over 7,300 feet (2,225m). In the afternoon there is time to visit the small Sherlock Holmes Museum, with its replica of the detective's study. You have some further free time to explore the town. Make sure you don't miss Meiringen's other claim to fame; the meringue, available in many varieties throughout the town.
Today's excursion is by mountain railway to the historic lakeside city of Lucerne, one of Europe's most charming cities. Our route takes us through some truly magnificent scenery, over the dramatic Brunig Pass and alongside the emerald green waters of Lake Lucerne. In Lucerne you have plenty of time to discover the cobbled streets lined with pretty, frescoed buildings, picturesque squares and the famous Kapellbrücke Bridge, a beautiful covered wooden bridge originally built in 1333, and containing many beautiful interior paintings dating to the 17th century. The Swiss Transport Museum, with its fascinating collection of artefacts relating to land, air and sea transportation, is also well worth a visit.
Our excursion today is one of the highlights of any visit to the Bernese Oberland, as we travel through snowcovered meadows and winter ski resorts before boarding the Jungfrau Railway to Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station at 11,333 feet (3,454 m). The route from Interlaken takes us firstly to Lauterbrunnen on the Bernese Oberland Railway. This narrow-gauge line was opened to the public in 1890, and is 12 miles in length. Over the course of the route we pass snowy forests, charming wooden chalets and attractive farming cabins. At Lauterbrunnen, the Wengeralp Railway runs to Kleine Scheidegg. Due to the steep area through which the railway runs, the line is actually the world's longest continuous rack railway, and on this particular stretch of the route, the views are absolutely outstanding. The final section of the journey is on the famous Jungfrau Railway itself, which runs the remaining six miles to just below the peak of the Jungfrau Mountain. This distinctive string of red and yellow carriages sets out across the wintry landscape, passing through meadows covered in a layer of snow, before approaching the base of the mountain itself. Much of the line is in a tunnel with huge windows carved into the rock, looking out to the infamous north face of the Eiger, and providing spectacular views down to the valley below. On emerging from the tunnel the train arrives at Jungfraujoch - known as the 'Top of Europe'. We have plenty of free time at the summit to enjoy the incredible views over the Alps. We also visit the Aletsch Glacier, a 12-mile river of ice, with its labyrinth of ice caves and sculptures carved inside. We return to Interlaken via the mountain resort of Grindelwald, before continuing to Meiringen.
We travel to the pretty Alpine village of Grindelwald, a delightful town nestled at the foot of the imposing north face of the Eiger, and surrounded by wonderful Alpine landscapes. Grindelwald is one of Europe's oldest mountain resorts, also surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Monch and Jungfrau. Its name is derived from the old German word 'grindel', meaning a piece of wood that serves as a barrier, and the 'wald', a forest closed off from the rest of the world. At this time of year, the idyllic town is covered in snow, making it a haven for skiers. We enjoy a horse and carriage ride, followed by warming glühwein and gingerbread. You are then free to explore the village.
Your day is free, giving you the opportunity to use your GRJ Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares. Perhaps return to Interlaken or travel to Mürren, a delightful mountain village, where the Schilthorn, with its revolving restaurant, offers breathtaking views and is just a cable car ride away. Alternatively, the Swiss capital of Bern can also be reached by train. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a delight to explore. Take in the ambience of the pedestrianised old town as you wander through the medieval streets and arcades.
We leave Meiringen and travel to Basel, where we transfer to Paris for the Eurostar service back 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
Breathtaking views from Swiss mountain railways