Traditional Glacier Express
Stunning scenery and spectacular views are enough to take your breath away as we travel by rail through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the world-famous Glacier Express train. We enjoy thrilling mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous.
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.
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.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 30 verified reviews
Excellent organisation by excellent tour manager. Chur hotel not a good experience. Kandersteg hotel better.
A very busy but enjoyable week. Unfortunately the hotel in Cher let the side down. The tour manager Martin Williams was a credit to your company. Will probably take another tour with GRJ
Superb scenery, excellent guide,reasonable group
It was a good itinerary. Single rooms were available without having to pay a supplement. I found the whole tour exhausting and felt tired for several days. People were friendly and as a single person I was able to find companions
Excellent train journeys thru out, weather lovely courier was excellent.
An excellent experience overall, with only a few minor problems. The itinerary generally worked very well, and thought some in the party found the hours of train travel excessive, I was in my element. The hotels in Chur and Kandersteg were excellent, that in Köln luxurious but less satisfying. A repeat of the same tour from 6 years ago - it didn't disappoint. GRJ's flexibility to allow me to stay in Switzerland rather than return with the party - and to refund me the value of the return journey - was much appreciated.
Most things went well and we met some lovely people, but we would do it again. Especially when on the return journey on the Eurostar we were all split up into different carriages and when we got back to the UK travelling on the underground and then having to transfer to a train replacing bus to get home.
The trip was extremely well organised and the tour manager was excellent. The Swiss scenery was absolutely stunning and to experience it from the comfort of a train was just wonderful.
Very enjoyable,weather perfect.Would have preferred a smaller group but Charles handled the group exceptionally well. Good hotels in good locations.
The travel and excursions were top rank, some of the hotel food was good but not as good as expected
Explore the stunning Swiss Alps by rail