Spectacular views and stunning scenery have made the Glacier Express from Brig to Chur famous the world over. Shimmering winter peaks and sugar-frosted forests provide a picture-postcard backdrop to our wonderful winter rail adventure, taking in some of the very best that Switzerland has to offer.
We depart St Pancras International by Eurostar for Paris after meeting at our dedicated Departure Office. Travelling in Standard Premier Class, we enjoy a light meal and drinks served during the journey. In Paris, we change trains and continue to Strasbourg where we spend the night.
Spend a morning at leisure in Strasbourg. This excellent city, located on the border between Germany and France takes its cultural and architectural cues from both nations, adding a unique flavour to its bustling streets. Dominated by a striking 15th century Gothic cathedral with a famous astronomical clock, Strasbourg has a wealth of narrow medieval streets, charming crooked houses and vibrant town squares.
After our time in Strasbourg, we travel south into Basel, Switzerland. Here we transfer by rail to Kandersteg for a four-night stay. Kandersteg is in many ways a quintessential Swiss town, high up in the Bernese Oberland and surrounded by resplendent scenery of noble mountains and flowering meadows. The glorious valley in which the town is found, is well know for its wide range of delightful trekking paths.
Today we experience the first mountain railway journey of the holiday as we travel to the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We walk the short distance to the railway station to board our narrow-gauge train, heading through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône. From here we join the mountain track for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The train clings to the track as we wind left and right, ascending past small clusters of houses and tiny hamlets that together form the region's village communities. 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 tilted peak of the instantly recognisable Matterhorn. In Zermatt, you are free to spend your time as you choose. One option that you will find hard to resist is the ascent to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway (supplement payable locally). At over 10,000 feet (3,048m), the Gornergrat is a truly spectacular place to visit in winter, offering dramatic vistas over the valley below.
Today is at leisure, so why not use your GRJ First Class Swiss Card for 50% of fares? Alternately, you can take the cable car to climb the mountains to see the Oeschinensee Lake.
Today we travel to Interlaken, which enjoys an unparalleled location in the heart of the Bernese Oberland region between Lakes Thun and Brienz, and at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Your time here is free to explore, with many varied options available. You could take the cable car to the summit of the Schiltorn, or enjoy the ultimate mountain railway journey to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, situated at 3,454m above sea level (supplements payable locally). Alternatively, Interlaken itself is a delightful town, where you can explore the Höheweg, the town's charming main street, as well as the historic casino and selection of shops.
We leave Kandersteg today, travelling on the iconic Glacier Express. We make the journey in First Class, enjoying unspoilt views through panoramic windows - views of the snow-covered scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous, intricate vineyards and frosted forests rising up the hillsides towards towering mountain peaks. The scenery is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow during the winter months - mountain vistas are truly spectacular when the sun shines and bounces off the fresh snow.
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'. We follow the Rhône Valley and climb towards and through the Furka Base Tunnel. We continue past the countless small villages that line our route, nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains, before our steep ascent over the Oberalp Pass - at 6,670 feet the highest point of the route and where the views south include the distant peaks of the Italian Alps. Our descent from Oberalp takes us along the beautiful Rhine Valley and into Chur - Switzerland's oldest town, for three nights at the Romantik Hotel Stern.
Today, you are free to begin exploring at your own pace. On Day 8, the narrowgauge Bernina Express takes us from Chur to Poschiavo, a picturesque town in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Connecting Switzerland and Italy via the highest mountain railway in the Alps, the Bernina Express rises to the challenges presented by snow, ice and steep gradients to delight passengers with a 4-hour journey of breathtaking beauty.
Of the 55 tunnels and 196 bridges that help the train negotiate the trickier natural elements of the route, Solis Viaduct and the famous Landwasser Viaduct are particularly spectacular. On arrival, there's free time in Poschiavo to discover the delightful town before we make the return journey.
Please Note: For departure GEW2002 Day's 7 and 8 have swapped around.
We leave Chur and travel by train via Basel to Paris. From here, we connect with the Eurostar back to London St Pancras International, where our tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The narrow-gauge Bernina Express connects northern and southern Europe and offers a spectacular means of crossing the Alps. The route runs through the ancient landscape of Switzerland's beautiful Grisons/Graubünden region and provides essential links to the Italian-speaking population in the south.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
The Glacier Express is undoubtedly Switzerland's best known train. The 181 mile (290km) trip from Zermatt to St Moritz lasts around eight hours winding its way through some of Europe's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.
Beginning in Zermatt, a pretty Alpine resort close to the Matterhorn, the Glacier Express glides northwards from under the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn and follows the Matter Vispa River and the Rhône Valley to Visp. The train then heads east to Brig, before climbing through Betten, Grengiols and Oberwald on its journey to the 9¼ mile (15km) long Furka Base Tunnel.
The train emerges and makes its way to the village of Andermatt, before beginning its ascent towards the Oberalp Pass which at 6,670 feet (2,033m) is the highest point on the line. It then makes the steep descent towards Disentis, where the train is attached to an RHB locomotive. From here we pass the historic town of Ilanz, descending to the stunning Rhine Gorge where we continue on to the attractive cantonal capital of Chur.
A traditionally Swiss hotel, the stunning Romantik Hotel Stern has stood for 360 years in central Chur and is the perfect blend of rustic heritage and modern convenience. The well-established onsite restaurant specializes is delicious Swiss cuisine and there is also a rooftop terrace that provides wonderful views of the surrounding natural environs. The Romantik Hotel Stern is just a short walk from Chur's regional station.
The 3-Star Hotel Bernerhof is idyllically located over-looking meadows in the heart of the small village of Kandersteg. This tranquil setting is the perfect location from which to explore the Swiss Alps boasting superb views of the surrounding mountainous Alpine scenery. The hotel is owned, managed and run by the Lehmann family and is built in typical Swiss style. Facilities include a restaurant, small gym, sauna and steam room. Rooms are comfortable and well-equipped with minibar, hairdryer and television. All twin/double rooms have a balcony with views of the mountains.
Over the years, the Hotel Bernerhof has won a number of Great Rail Journeys' awards, which are based solely on customer feedback. Awards include a Bronze and a Silver Award for outstanding customer service, a Gold Award in the category of 'Best Hotel in Switzerland & Austria', and most recently a Gold Award in 2013 for outstanding Customer Service.
Typical meal arrangements when dining at the hotel:
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
We can book UK rail tickets from your local station to and from the starting/finishing destination of your tour, such as York, London, Edinburgh, and Harrogate. Please call one of our Tour Advisors to discuss your requirements.
Why not extend your holiday by enjoying an extra night or two in Brussels, returning to London in your own time? We can arrange accommodation at the Park Inn Brussels Midi and your return rail tickets.
Park Inn Brussels Midi
The 3-Star Park Inn Brussels Midi is conveniently situated adjacent to Brussels Midi station, and is just a 10-minute train ride from the city centre. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and a fully-equipped fitness room. The rooms come with individual climate control, as well as a telephone, flat screen television, tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Please call to discuss your requirements.
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
|Pullman London St Pancras||From £110 per person|
|Studios2Let, Cartright Gardens||From £55 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject
to availability, and per room per night based on two people
sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the
hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Whether as an added luxury, or essential to your enjoyment of the tour, door-to-door luggage collection and delivery services can really enhance your holiday experience. Travelling across Europe by train is so much more relaxing without the burden of your suitcase, and we can help arrange for your case to be collected from home prior to the holiday and for it to be waiting for you at your first main hotel in Europe.
We are pleased to provide the services of the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man, offering luggage transport from as little as £160 for one suitcase and £260 for two suitcases.
Please contact us for details of this service.