From our base in the quintessentially Swiss town of Meiringen, we enjoy journeys by mountain railway and lake steamer, crowned with an excursion on the Jungfrau Railway to the 'Top of Europe.'
After meeting your group and Tour Manager at our St Pancras Departure Office, we take the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Strasbourg for the night.
Please Note: For departures MEJ2001, MEJ2002, MEJ2004 & MEJ2006 you will overnight in Colmar
Please Note: For departure MEJ2003 you will overnight in Basel
We enjoy a morning at leisure in Strasbourg, giving us the opportunity to explore the historic Old Town, dominated by the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. Later, we continue to Meiringen, travelling by rail, via Basel. A small town dating back to the early Middle Ages, Meiringen became famous thanks to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels in which a climactic battle was set at the nearby Reichenbach Falls.
Enjoying a glorious location nestled along the Haslital Valley, the town of Meiringen benefits from mountain vistas in all directions. The nearby Aare Gorge is a spectacular sight and is well worth exploring. This thin and deep chasm, splitting a limestone ridge, channels the river through this rocky terrain, with the gorge itself bored through by millions of years of relentless water crashing against the limestone.
This morning, we travel by funicular mountain railway to the Reichenbach Falls and the platform where the dramatic final duel between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty took place. From the falls, we have the option of exploring the area on a signposted walk. Later, we head up to the Alpen tower* by cable car, where spectacular views greet us. Located high in the mountains, surrounded by the Bernese and Central Alps, there are few better places in the world to enjoy a bite to eat or a drink than from the Alpen Tower restaurant with its 360-degree panorama. This attractive building is designed to make the most of its magnificent surroundings, and from here, away from the crowds, we enjoy a stretch of mountain peaks for which Switzerland is so famous. Breathe in the crisp mountain air and enjoy the views of the valleys, towns and lakes below before we return to Meiringen where you have free time before dinner.
*Please note: on our 28th May departure you visit Interlaken and enjoy a journey on the Harder Kulm funicular instead.
Your day is free, perhaps to explore with your Swiss Travel Card which gives a 50% discount on most trains, buses and lake steamers in the area. You could travel to Brienz and visit the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum, or walk along the picturesque promenade, complete with its vivid flower beds and trees. Alternatively, you could take the Giessbachbahn funicular railway, the oldest of its kind in Europe, and travel up to the impressive Giessbach Falls. The city of Thun is nearby, located at the point where the River Aare flows into the shimmering waters of Lake Thun.
We head west by train along the Brünig line to Brienz, located in the middle of charming mountains at the eastern end of the turquoise-coloured Lake Brienz. The cosy village is our starting point for excursions to the Bernese Oberland, and it is here that we begin an excursion by steam mountain railway, climbing to over 5,000 feet (1,524m), to the summit of Rothorn.* The summit offers fabulous views of the deep-blue lakes below and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, including one of the highest mountains in Europe, the Jungfrau.
On our return to Brienz, we enjoy a cruise on Lake Brienz to Interlaken. This is an excellent opportunity to simply sit back and take in the marvellous surroundings. The remarkable colour of the pure Alpine waters are the perfect contrast to the green slopes of the mountains which border this enormous lake. From the boat, we can enjoy the towns and village which dot the shores of the lake, many of which reside under the shadow of a church steeple. Later, we return to Meiringen.
*Please note: On our May departure, we will ascend halfway up the mountain to the station of Planalp.
Today we take a train to the town of Lucerne, known for its cobbled streets and ornate churches. Your time in Lucerne is free to explore. Enjoy a stroll through the town to see the famous Kapellbrücke, a 14th-century wooden bridge that separates Lucerne's Old and New Town. Alternatively, travel on the Pilatus or the Rigi mountain railways or enjoy a paddle steamer cruise across beautiful Lake Lucerne using your Swiss Travel card for 50% fare reductions.
Today we enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our stay in the Bernese Oberland, as we travel on the Jungfrau Railway to the Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station. We begin on the Bernese Oberland Railway, trundling through the foothills of the Alps from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, through flower-filled pastures and past pretty villages. Over the course of the route, the line climbs 1,532 feet above sea level, passing isolated chalets and small farming cabins.
In Lauterbrunnen we join the Wengeralp Railway, continuing our ascent through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we join the Jungfrau Railway for the final six miles of our journey. Climbing further from Kleine Scheidegg, the distinctive string of red and yellow carriages of the Jungfrau Railway disappear into the tunnel through the Eiger Mountain. During the journey the train pauses at two separate observation stops; windows hewn out of solid Alpine rock between the tunnel and the infamous north face of the Eiger, with spectacular views down to the valley below. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe', located at 11,332 feet above sea level.
With free time at the summit station, you will have plenty of time to explore the Ice Palace and its many ice sculptures. You can spend time on the Sphinx Terrace, enjoying superb views onto the Aletsch Glacier, which, at 14 miles is the longest ice stream in the Alps, and provides a sharp contrast to the lush meadows and Alpine pastures of the lower lying hillsides near the valley floor. You can also enjoy the walking plateau, which is eternally covered in snow. After time to explore and to enjoy lunch, we descend via the charming mountain resort of Grindelwald.
We leave Meringen for Lausanne, joining the high-speed service to Paris and there continuing on to London St Pancras via the Eurostar.
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 Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway is notable for a number of reasons. To name a few, it is powered almost entirely by steam engines, it is one of the steepest railways in Switzerland - and of course it passes some truly wonderful scenery on its route from Brienz to the peak of Rothorn Mountain.
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.
Probably one of Europe's finest high speed trains, the jewel in German Rail's crown is the InterCityExpress or ICE.
Linking all Germany's major cities and selected destinations outside Germany, the ICE trains offer some of the most comfortable and well-designed accommodation around, so you can really get the most out of your journey.
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.
At Interlaken Ost station we change for the distinctive blue and yellow carriages of the historic Bernese Oberland Railway, which has been in operation since its opening in 1890. On leaving Interlaken, the train crosses the Bödeli and heads up a narrowing valley to Zweilütschinen. From here, the train follows the White Lütschine River valley to Lauterbrunnen, a village flanked by two sheer walls of rock. We leave the Bernese Oberland Railway at Lauterbrunnen to connect with the Wengernalpbahn.
As well as offering Switzerland's longest continuous stretch of rack railway at 12 miles (19.2km), the Wengernalpbahn was built to different gauge to the Bernese Oberland Railway and the Jungfraubahn. This means that we make two changes of trains during our journey up to Jungfraujoch, giving us the opportunity to stretch our legs and take in the magnificent Alpine scenery.
Work on the Jungfrau Railway from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch began in 1896. Built in stages so that ticket revenue could be used to fund construction, the line up to Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest railway station at 11,333 feet (3,454m) was finally completed in 1912.
We ascend in lifts to the Top of Europe Glacier restaurant, the Sphinx observation hall and terrace to take in the awe-inspiring scenery. The views over the Aletsch glacier are absolutely superb and on a particularly clear day it is possible to see as far as Germany's Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains in France.
There is plenty to do during your time at Jungfraujoch. Snow and ice cover the ground all year round, giving you the opportunity to take a snowy walk on the plateau or a husky-drawn sledge ride (payable locally). There is also a High Alpine Research Exhibition - and don't forget to leave time to visit the Ice Gateway and the Ice Palace, with its icy labyrinth of tunnels and sculptures before we re-board the Jungfrau Railway to begin our descent.
The 4-Star Hotel Alpbach is situated right in the heart of the town of Meiringen, just a short walk away from the railway and cable car stations. The friendly, family run hotel is a traditional Swiss house, and features tastefully furnished rooms which are well appointed with a television, safe, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel also boasts a spa area and a welcoming à la carte restaurant, which serves both Swiss and International specialities.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!