Relax by Lake Geneva and explore the dramatic Swiss scenery
Relax by Lake Geneva and explore the dramatic Swiss scenery that surrounds our base in Champéry. From there, explore the expansive Alps aboard funicular mountain railways, lake steamers and efficient Swiss trains. Pass the mighty peak of Mont Blanc by rail and discover the history of the charming St. Bernard dog.
Meet the rest of the group at our dedicated St Pancras Departure Office, before boarding the Eurostar service to Paris. Upon arrival in the French capital, transfer across the city for the rail service into Switzerland, bound for the popular resort town of Champéry. Here, we check into our hotel, the Hotel Suisse.
Our first morning in Switzerland begins with a short journey to Vevey, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Here, you are free to explore the town or take a gentle stroll along the banks of the lake. After lunch we enjoy an excursion by boat to the Château de Chillon, which rises dramatically from the waters of Lake Geneva against a backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery. We cross the wooden drawbridge and are taken on a guided tour of the 13th century Gothic château, considered to be one of Europe's best-preserved medieval castles. We discover the magnificent baroque architecture as we wander through the main rooms in the medieval castle before our return journey to the hotel.
Today is at leisure to explore the area around our mountain resort of Champéry, a traditionally Swiss resort where chalets line the streets. You may wish to board a regional service to Aigle, known for its stunning castle or alternatively, venture further afield to the beautiful city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Here, there is an extensive historic centre and the Olympic Museum.
We board the vintage GoldenPass Line train for the scenic rail journey from Motreux to Château D'Oex. We travel in comfortable Belle Epoque-style carriages, based on the original 1930's Golden Mountain Pullman Express. As we travel, relax and admire the views of majestic snowcapped mountain peaks and deep, river-filled valleys as the train ascends slowly through dramatic valleys, en route to the traditional village of Château D'Oex. Here, we enjoy a demonstration of the processes behind traditional Swiss cheese making before tasting some of the delicious local produce. Later, we return to Champéry by coach.
Today we enjoy one of the Alps' most exciting railway journeys as we travel on the fabulous Mont Blanc Express - a tourist train designed purely to exploit the region's stunning views and mountain scenery. We begin with a journey around Lake Geneva to Martigny. Here we board the Mont Blanc Express train for the journey to Chamonix. The line climbs serenely as we pass through the lush vineyards covering the hillsides throughout the Rhône Valley. Before long, the line ascends into the mountains, climbing towards the jagged Alpine peaks.
The electric train makes its way upwards through the dense forest as the views across the valley become more impressive with every passing minute. The route takes us across the wild Trient Gorge, where water cascades past the flower-filled slopes. The mighty Mont Blanc soon towers above the train and dominates the skyline of the entire Chamonix Valley. We then reach Chamonix, a bustling town which rose in prominence with the opening of the Mont Blanc Express and cemented its place in history as the host of the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924. The town is one of Europe's most picturesque; majestic rock spires and towering peaks dominate the skyline. Chamonix's traffic-free centre has a selection of idyllic boutiques and street cafés, ideal for relaxing with a drink and watching the world pass by. Later we rejoin the Mont Blanc Express for the return journey.
Today is another chance to explore the wonderful Swiss countryside. Perhaps take the rack-and-pinion mountain railway journey up Les Diablerets from nearby Aigle. Les Diablerets, a popular resort village, sits at an altitude of 1,160m on the northern face of the mountain with which it shares its name.
Today we trace the history of one of the world's most celebrated dog breeds, the St Bernard, whose roots can be followed back to the alpine foothills that surround our hotel base. We first begin with a journey along the Great St. Bernard Pass, one of the country's highest mountain road passes. The pass is the oldest recorded route through the Alps and its usage by humans is thought to stem back to the Bronze Age. There are surviving elements of Roman trade roads and it is also the means by which Napoleon led his army into Italy in 1800. At the highest point of the road is the St. Bernard's Hospice, which has been providing respite to weary travellers and tradesmen since 1049.
The Hospice is more famous however as the birthplace of the St Bernard Mountain Dog breed. St Bernard's were cross-bred here and later used in Swiss mountain rescue in the latter part of the 17th century. The breeds used are thought to have come as donations from wealthy local families. The dogs were used in mountain rescue for their strength and impressive sense of smell. The last recorded rescue occurred in 1955 but dogs were kept at the Hospice for traditional purposes until 2004, when for financial reasons, the Hospice's remaining stock of 18 animals, was transferred to a specialised breeder in nearby Martigny. In the summer months however, some of the dogs do return to the Hospice and can be found in the Museum area.
Begin your journey home today with a journey around the shores of Lake Geneva, to Geneva itself. From here, we journey to Paris, where we board the Eurostar service back to London.
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.
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Exciting excursions and free time to explore
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Relax by Lake Geneva and explore the dramatic Swiss scenery