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Grand Alpine Explorer

An exciting adventure at the top of Europe

From $ per person


Discover the incredible sights and landscapes of Bavaria, the Austrian Lakes, and the Alpine landscapes of Switzerland with visits to Neuschwanstein Castle and Salzburg, as well as journeys on some of the most iconic Swiss rail routes.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights

What’s included

Days 1-2 - London and Munich
Munich

Our adventure begins at St Pancras International, where we meet our group at our dedicated Departure Office, before joining the Eurostar to Brussels. Here we change trains and continue by high-speed rail to Munich where we have a two night stay. Located within sight of the Alps, lively Munich is the capital of Bavaria, as well as one of Germany's best-loved cities.

On Day 2 we discover more of Munich. With a rich culture and heritage, the city has a wonderful collection of museums, galleries and architectural treasures. We enjoy a guided tour to introduce the highlights of the city, before time to explore.

Days 3-4 - Salzburg and the Austrian Lakes
Salzburg

Leaving Munich behind, today we take the train into Austria. We arrive in Salzburg, a city with a wealth of musical heritage, known the world over as the birthplace of Mozart, and the setting for Rogers & Hammerstein's 'The Sound of Music'. On arrival, we enjoy a guided tour. Spread out below the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the churches, squares and alleyways of Salzburg's beautiful Old Town are incredibly well preserved, dominated by fabulous Baroque spires, and are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the tour, you are free to discover more of the city. Day 4 is at leisure.

Day 5 - Austrian Lakes and the 'Sound of Music'
St Wolfgang

Today we explore the stunning Austrian Lake District. We head first to the remarkable Kaiservilla, a stately home of Emperor Franz Joseph I, before continuing to Lake Wolfgang where we enjoy a gentle cruise across the serene waters to St Wolfgang, a charming, historic town. We then travel to pretty Mondsee, made famous by the wedding scene of 'The Sound of Music'.

Days 6-7 - Innsbruck and the castles of Bavaria
Neuschwanstein Castle

We transfer by coach to Prien am Chiemsee to visit the remarkable Herrenchiemsee Palace before driving to Innsbruck for two nights.

On Day 7 we cross back into Germany, visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The wonderful castles of Bavaria are some of the most famous in the world thanks to their fairytale design, wonderland landscapes and cinematic heritage. Our day today is spent visiting 2 of the finest, beginning at glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. A magnificent structure built into the mountains, it stands proudly above the surrounding forests, its turrets and halls a resplendent white against a backdrop of green. Hohenschwangau is a more laid-back affair, with pretty interiors and wonderful gardens. We also embark on a journey on the cheerful Zugspitze Railway (Standard Class), ascending to the summit of Zugspitze Mountain.

Day 8 - Through the Alps to Switzerland
St Moritz

We start our day with a walking tour of Innsbruck before boarding the train to Sargans. Afterwards, we board a train and travel alongside the Rhine and its dramatic scenery to Chur. We continue our ascent through the majestic mountain peaks, overlooking the lush meadows running down to the valley floor. We then arrive in the elegant lakeside resort of St Moritz.

Days 9 -10 - The Bernina Express
Bernina Express

Today we take a journey on the superb Bernina Express, which passes glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled Alpine meadows. The railway has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage status - as a testament to the incredible engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the scenery through which it passes. During our journey, we travel across the spiralling viaduct at Brusio. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past waterfalls to more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Later we arrive in Tirano in Italy. You have some free time in Tirano before our return journey. Day 10 is at leisure. Perhaps visit the Badrutt's Palace Hotel for a traditional 1930s Swiss high tea, or stop by the Segantini Museum.

Day 11 - The Glacier Express and Interlaken
The Glacier Express

We take the famous Glacier Express along the iconic route from St Moritz to Brig, enjoying the incredible views through the panoramic windows of our First Class carriage. Our journey takes us through Switzerland's classic landscapes; from jagged mountain peaks to sprawling vineyards and over the famous Landwasser Viaduct. The train climbs steadily and steeply up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, and spirals down past little villages before reaching Brig. Here we change trains and travel to Interlaken.

Day 12 - The Jungfrau Railway
The Jungfrau Express

Today we travel to Jungfraujoch (Standard Class) - Europe's highest railway station. Our ascent takes us through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we join the Jungfrau Railway for the final leg of the journey. During our time on board, the train pauses at two observation stops; windows hewn out of solid Alpine rock between the tunnel and the infamous north face of the Eiger, with spectacular views down the valley. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe'. We descend via charming Grindelwald.

Days 13-14 - Interlaken, Zurich and London
Interlaken

Your day is free in Interlaken. On Day 14, we take the train to Zurich airport, where we board our flight to London Heathrow.

Departure Dates

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.

Trains
Bernina Express
Bernina Express arriving in Tirano

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.

Eurostar
Eurostar

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
Glacier Express

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.

Jungfrau Railway
Jungfrau Railway

The wonderful train journey up to Jungfraujoch is the highlight of a number of our holidays and includes travel on the Bernese Oberland Railway, the Wengernalpbahn and the Jungfrau Railway. Providing visibility is good, passengers not only enjoy spectacular views from Jungfraujoch, but also throughout the journey itself. The sections that follow describe each stage of this journey in turn.

For customers starting in Meiringen, our journey begins as we travel along the valley to picturesque Lake Brienz, before closely following the lake's northern shore through the village of Brienz to Interlaken.

TGV
TGV

Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.

The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.

Thalys
Thalys

Thalys is a brand run by two companies, Thalys International, whose shareholders are French, Belgian and German rail companies, with Dutch Railways (NS) as a privileged partner, and also The Railway Company THI Factory, 60% of whose capital is held by SNCF, and 40% by SNCB.

It runs rail services linking Paris and Brussels with Amsterdam or Cologne. The trains are similar in design to French TGVs and can reach up to 190mph (305km/h) when travelling on dedicated high speed lines.

Comfort 1 (First Class) passengers benefit from spacious seating and are usually served complimentary light refreshments once underway. Both Comfort 1 and Comfort 2 (Standard Class) passengers have access to the Thalys Bar, which serves a selection of snacks, meals and hot and cold drinks during most journeys.

Hotels
Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken
Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken

The 4-Star Hotel Interlaken is situated on the city's Höheweg, within walking distance of the centre and Interlaken Ost railway station. The hotel has been welcoming guests for over 600 years, some of the most notable including the 19th century poet, Lord Byron, and composer Felix Mendelssohn. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, lounge, a sun terrace and a Japanese garden. The comfortable rooms feature a telephone, television and a hairdryer.

Maritim Hotel, Munich
Maritim Hotel, Munich

The 4-Star Maritim Hotel in Munich is set in a tranquil courtyard close to the railway station, and is ideally situated for exploring the city on foot. Leisure facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and solarium, as well as a fitness area. There is also a restaurant and piano bar. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, satellite television, telephone, safe, minibar and a hairdryer. 

Steigenberger Hotel München, Munich
Steigenberger Hotel München

Set in the heart of Munich's elegant Schwabing borough, the 4-Star Steigenberger Hotel München allows its guests to discover the city from a relaxed and residential base. At the hotel, there's a restaurant that serves local cuisine and a bar that offers a wide selection of craft beers, as well as a breakfast buffet served daily. The fitness and spa area includes a Finnish sauna, a steam room, and a bio-sauna. Guests rooms are air-conditioned and come equipped with a television, a minibar, and tea & coffee making facilities.

Goldenes Theater Hotel, Salzburg
Goldenes Theater Hotel, Salzburg

The 4-Star Goldenes Theater Hotel in Salzburg offers a comfortable base in the vibrant city, within easy reach of many of the main attractions. Guest rooms are well-equipped with a television, Wi-Fi and a minibar, and are furnished with modern and chic decor. On site, there's a lobby bar and lounge that serves a selection of drinks, and a breakfast buffet is served daily.

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz
Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

The 4-Star Hotel Schweizerhof is situated in the centre of St Moritz with superb views over the lake from the front of the hotel and within walking distance from the Chantarella funicular station. The original Belle Epoque surroundings and modern comforts include the Acla restaurant famous for its boiled beef, piano bar and spa. Rooms are comfortably furnished with a television, telephone and minibar. All rooms have a queen size bed and rooms with a view of the lake are available at a supplement.

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
Baggage Upgrade

To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices)Please call for more details.

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London Hotels
London hotels

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

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. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/grand-alpine-explorer/#APG21 on 6 March 2021.
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