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Highlights of Switzerland

Explore the many delights of Switzerland

From £1,375 per person


Discover the joys of rail travel through the Alps and spend a picturesque eight days exploring the many delights of Switzerland. You'll also have the chance to savour journeys aboard two of the worlds most famous railway line, the Glacier Express and the Jungfrau Railway.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Day 1 - To Lucerne
Lucerne

Journey by air or rail to Lucerne today, where you will stay for two nights. This German-speaking city is the gateway to central Switzerland, situated on the shores of Lake Lucerne at the foot of the Swiss Alps. The Canton of Lucerne's capital is set in an impressive location, offering spectacular mountainous views overlooking the surrounding landscape with Mount Pilatus, Rigi and the Alps in the distance. With its ornate churches, cobbled streets, Chapel Bridge and charming Old Town, Lucerne offers traditional culture in the heart of Switzerland.

Day 2 - Mount Pilatus Railway
Mt Pilatus Railway

Opened in 1889, Lucerne's Mount Pilatus Railway is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. Spend a delightful half hour ascending almost two kilometres from lakeside Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm. Then at the summit, Mount Pilatus affords beautiful views of the Alps and Lake Lucerne and is home to astonishingly diverse flora.

Day 3 - St Moritz
St Moritz

Transfer to the railway station today for the service to St Moritz, a prestigious resort that also claims to be one of the first towns in Europe to popularise winter sports. You'll enjoy accommodation here for one night.

Day 4 - The Glacier Express
Glacier Express

Today take the famous Glacier Express narrow-gauge train along the iconic route from St Moritz to Zermatt, enjoying the incredible views through the panoramic windows of your carriage. The journey takes you through the classic landscapes which have made Switzerland famous; from jagged mountain peaks and flower-filled meadows below, to sprawling vineyards and dense woodland. The train benefits from large panoramic windows, so each picture-postcard settings becomes un-missable, including the beautiful Rhône Valley and Oberalp Pass - the highest point of the line at 6,670 feet.

The approach to Zermatt takes you across 42 bridges and through 8 tunnels, before finally reaching the grandiose scenery of this tranquil mountain town, nestled below the tilted peak of the Matterhorn. Spend the next two nights in this famous mountain town.

Day 5 - Gornergrat Mountain Railway
Gornergrat Mountain Railway

Today you will ascend the Gornergrat Mountain via the Gornergrat Mountain Railway. Opened in 1898, it is the highest open-air cogwheel railway in Europe and during your time on board it will climb to the summit which sits 10,134 feet above sea level and offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn; on a clear day at the top you can see 29 snow-capped peaks spread out over more than 4000 metres.

Day 6 - Interlaken
Interlaken

Board the train to Interlaken today, your base for the next two nights.

Day 7 - Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch

Today enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of your stay in the Bernese Oberland, travelling on the Jungfrau Railway to Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station. 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, providing spectacular views down to the valley below. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe', located 11332 feet above sea level.

Day 8 - The journey home

Say goodbye to Switzerland today as you begin the journey home, travelling by air or rail.

Please note

The itinerary above is just a suggestion and you are free to make adjustments to suit your exact requirements. Please call 01904 734 358 to speak to one of our Tailor-Made Holiday Specialists about tailoring your holiday with GRJ independent.

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
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.

Gornergrat Mountain Railway
Gornergrat Mountain Railway

The Gornergrat Mountain Railway runs for just less than six miles from the pretty town of Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat some 10,135ft above sea level. It is the highest railway in Europe to run and mostly in the open air (the Jungfrau Railway runs to a higher point but is predominantly in a tunnel).

The journey on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway begins as the electric train leaves Zermatt and begins its ascent - eventually overcoming a height difference of 4,873ft across the route. Crossing over the Findelbach River, the train soon reaches its first intermediate station in Findelbach. The cogwheel mechanism is then put to use as the line continues climbing sharply. The railway passes through a series of short, curved tunnels to gain height amongst the imposing mountain landscape, before arriving at Riffelalp station. This idyllic hamlet boasts wonderful vistas over the towns lower in the valley. From here the journey commences across an increasingly dramatic landscape; the line twists and turns through the rocky crags on its upward path. The train then passes through the freight station at Riffelberg and ascends past other mountain peaks - often covered with snow at this altitude - to reach Rotenboden, and ultimately the summit station of Gornergrat. With views over 29 other mountains in the Alps, the panorama is often tremendous.

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.

Mount Pilatus Railway
Mount Pilatus Railway

Opened in 1889, Lucerne's Mount Pilatus Railway is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. Spend a delightful half hour ascending almost two kilometres from lakeside Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm. Mount Pilatus affords beautiful views of the Alps and Lake Lucerne, and is home to astonishingly diverse flora.

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.

Hotels
What's included

This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

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!

Rail and Hotel Upgrades
ICE train

Please call one of our Tour Advisors on 01904 734 358 to discuss upgrading your rail travel to First Class and/or upgrading your hotel to a 5-star option.

Flight upgrades
Flight upgrades

Flight upgrades are available. Please see the information regarding the types of upgrades offered by the various airlines we use in the Add-ons section of 'Things you should know' or call us for details.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/grj-independent/holidays/highlights-of-switzerland/#INDHLS on 3 December 2021.
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