Spectacular views and stunning scenery have made the Glacier Express from Chur to Brig famous the world over. Discover Zermatt by mountain railway, visit Spiez Castle, take a journey on the Bernina Express, and explore the Alps at your own pace during this popular mountain holiday.
After meeting your group and Tour Manager at our St Pancras Departure Office, we board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing by train to Strasbourg for an overnight stay. The following day, we continue to Basel and then on to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town.
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.
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.
We board the iconic Glacier Express today, often referred to as 'the slowest express train in the world.' Leaving Chur, we leave behind the rocky landscape of the Graubünden canton as we journey towards sunny Valais.
The journey lets us experience some of the most impressive Swiss landscapes as the train traverses meadows, vineyards, and dense forests, with snowcapped peaks forming the backdrop of the entire journey. We travel along the beautiful Rhine Valley, crossing the Rhine Gorge or the 'Swiss Grand Canyon' - as tourists often fondly call it. We climb up to the Oberalp Pass, the highest point of our journey at 6,670 feet. From here we descend past hamlets before crossing the Furka Pass via the Furka Base Tunnel, and into the Rhône Valley. During our journey, we enjoy a 2-course lunch on the train.
The final part of our journey on the Glacier Express takes us through the expansive vineyards that line the surrounding hillsides of Brig. Brig is a historic town in the Valais canton and dates back to the Roman era. With a little free time here, the cobblestones of the Stadtplatz are well worth visiting, capped by the remarkable Stockalper Palace - built in the 17th century by a prosperous silk merchant.
Today we visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We 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 tiny hamlets that together form the region's village communities. The 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 an 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 10,135 feet above sea level. From here, there are uninterrupted views of the Matterhorn, a pyramid set against a crisp Alpine sky.
Your day is free to explore this beautiful region, using your GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card which gives 50% reduction on rail fares. We particularly recommend travelling along the Rhône Valley to Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. Here you can join the GoldenPass Line panoramic train to make the spectacular trip to the chic winter resort of Gstaad, a favourite destination of the rich and famous. Alternatively, a journey on the Centovalli Railway across 'a hundred valleys' is an excellent choice for the day.
Today we travel to Schloss Spiez or Spiez Castle, in the town of Spiez, overlooking the waters of Lake Thun. A Swiss heritage site dating as far back as the 10th century, this impressive castle and its decorative gardens play host to us as we wander its halls and enjoy the Alpine sunshine. In a special moment, we sit down to a wine tasting against a spectacular backdrop of mountains and the lake's blue surface.
Today we begin our journey home, walking to the station for the high-speed rail service to Paris via Geneva. Once in the French capital, we transfer to the Eurostar service to London St Pancras.
Please note: One of the excursions on this tour is at high altitude. If you have any medical conditions or concerns that could impact this part of the tour, we recommend you seek medical advice and talk to us. We want to make sure that any holiday you book is right for you.
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.
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.
The 4-star Hotel Ambassador in Brig is conveniently located close to the railway station and the town centre. The hotel boasts an elegant restaurant, cosy brasserie and delightful garden terrace. Each of the stylishly renovated rooms is equipped with a telephone, television and a hairdryer.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!