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Classic Glacier Express

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Discover the majestic Swiss Alps

9 daysFrom £1,995 per person

2020 Tour code: GEJ20

About the tour

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - Chur

After meeting 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.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Eurostar
Day 3 - The Bernina Express

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Bernina Express
Day 4 - At leisure in Chur

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Chur
Day 5 - Aboard the Glacier Express to Brig

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Glacier Express
Day 6 - To Zermatt

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Zermatt
Day 7 - At leisure in Brig

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Centovalli Railway
Day 8 - Spiez Castle

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Spiez Castle
Day 9 - Return to London

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal
Eurostar

Additional information

Please note

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.

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel Ambassador, Brig

Hotel Ambassador, Brig

View hotel

Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur

Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur

View hotel

Trains

Bernina Express
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

97% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 31 verified reviews

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Mr D Webber

Submitted 27/10/2019

Great experiences, wonderful scenery, well organised, great Tour Manager, friendly group, no problems.

Mr H Woollacott

Submitted 22/10/2019

Absolutely fantastic. We enjoyed it from beginning to end. Paul our tour manager was superb with an extensive knowledge. Of Switzerland.

Mrs R Nicholls

Submitted 14/10/2019

This was our first trip with great Rail Journeys and it was an excellent experience. Paul Parmenter was a superb tour guide and was passionate about Switzerland which shone through. There was 32 people on the trip who all got on very well couldn't have asked for better.

BARBARA PITTAM

Submitted 13/10/2019

The tour exceeded my expectations in accommodation (except Strasbourg although their breakfast was one of the best. I just had a bad room - No.215.), In fact, everything first class. Other passengers on the tour were congenial, and the weather was perfect!!! Portering one's luggage, especially Paris between stations, was a bit tricky but not impossible.

Anonymous

Submitted 13/10/2019

Tour delivered everything it promised and more.

Mrs C Davis

Submitted 14/07/2019

So many beautiful rail journeys viewing magnificent scenery. Meeting welcoming people.and staying in hospitable hotels. Plenty of time to explore areas at own place. Our tour manger was superb.

Europe & UK by Rail 2020

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