Stunning scenery and spectacular views regale us as we travel by rail through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the world-famous Glacier Express. We enjoy mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery on this tour through the breathtaking landscapes of Switzerland.
After meeting at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras, we board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing on by high-speed rail to Strasbourg, where we overnight.
Enjoy a morning at leisure in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg, before we begin our onwards journey into Switzerland, to Basel and onwards to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town at over 5,000 years old.
Your day is free to explore historic Chur and the surrounding region. Today is the perfect opportunity to discover the area by mountain railway, using your included Swiss Travel 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 Switzerland's most attractive cantons.
Chur itself, as the first settlement in Switzerland has a wealth of history to discover, from the days of the Roman Empire to Chur today, the capital of the wonderful Graubünden region. The old town, which harks back to medieval times, brushes shoulders with an old Roman Vicus or neighbourhood, and in various sites across the city there are a number of museums detailing the varied and storied history of Chur.
Today's excursion takes us on the historic Bernina Express - a railway journey on the superb Bernina Line that passes mighty glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled Alpine meadows. 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 idyllic 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.
We then begin our descent towards colourful Poschiavo, entering the Italianspeaking region of Switzerland before arriving at our destination. Pastel-coloured houses line the streets of picturesque Poschiavo, where we have time for lunch before our journey in the opposite direction, arriving back in Chur in time for dinner.
We leave Chur today, travelling from the rocky landscape of the Graubünden canton to the fantastic sunny 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; sloping meadows, broad vineyards lined with lush greenery and dense forests rising up the hillside 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 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 flourishing 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 Lötschberg 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 Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria, a charming familyrun hotel surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Today we visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We travel to Brig to join a narrow-gauge train, heading south through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. 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 eight 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 (payable locally). Running for just under six miles, the route travels from Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat, some 10,135ft above sea level.
Your day is free to explore this 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. The journey on the Centovalli Railway across 'a hundred valleys' to Locarno on the northern shores of Lake Maggiore is also an excellent choice for today. The much-loved railway is a popular tourist attraction, granting easy access to stunning Locarno.
Boasting palm trees and 2300 hours of sunshine a year, Locarno is a peaceful town with a Mediterranean climate, beautiful lakeside public gardens, a 15th century castle to explore as well as a picturesque Old Town, lakeside promenades and great shopping available under the arcades of the Piazza Grande. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in Kandersteg.
We depart Kandersteg today for Paris, via Geneva and Brig. Once in Paris, we join the Eurostar service for the return to London St Pancras.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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.
Named after the famous British express service, InterCity trains are long-distance services operating in a variety of different countries, such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria. InterCity trains are distinct from Inter City Express (ICE) and EuroCity services in that they operate on domestic routes within country borders.
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 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.
The friendly, 3-Star Hotel Freieck in Chur is situated in the heart of the Old Town. It is under the personal supervision of the Stockmann family, and is a popular choice amongst our customers. The hotel features a renovated vaulted restaurant, a cosy bar and a Wintergarden-café. Rooms are furnished in traditional Swiss style and are equipped with a television, telephone, hairdryer and a safe.
The warm, welcoming, family-run 3-Star Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria is the oldest hotel in Kandersteg and is run by the charming Platzer family. The hotel has its own peaceful gardens and is located only a short walk from the railway station. Hotel facilities include an excellent indoor swimming pool, reading room, large lounge and residents' bar. The hotel's Art Nouveau restaurant enjoys terrific mountain views to accompany the mouth-watering cuisine. All rooms are equipped with a television, telephone, hairdryer, safe and tea/coffee making facilities.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!