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First Class Glacier Express at Christmas

(Tour code: GEX17)Enjoy the beautiful landscape of Switzerland

Our festive rail holiday is a fantastic way to experience exciting train journeys on the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. Enjoy wonderful excursions and explore the beautiful winter landscapes of Switzerland.

Tour Highlights
  • Historic Brig
  • Zermatt and the Matterhorn
  • Journey on the iconic Glacier Express, including lunch
  • Chur, Switzerland's oldest town
  • Christmas Eve in Lucerne
  • Five-course Christmas Eve dinner and carol singing
  • Christmas Day on the Bernina Express
  • Four-course gala Christmas dinner
  • GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 3-4* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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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.

Days 1-2

Strasbourg and Switzerland

We depart our St Pancras International Departure Office by Eurostar for Paris, travelling in Standard Premier Class, with a light meal and drinks served during the journey. In Paris we change trains and continue through the French countryside to Strasbourg. Here we overnight. Spend a morning at leisure exploring the half timbered houses of Strasbourg's historic centre on Day 2, before we travel south into Switzerland to Basel. Here we join the famously efficient Swiss rail network, which takes us on a wonderful journey into the Swiss Alps to Brig for a four-night stay at the welcoming Hotel Ambassador. Brig is a small town situated at the foot of the Simplon Pass, and is an excellent base from which to explore.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3

By mountain railway to Zermatt

Today we experience the first mountain railway journey of the holiday as we travel to the charming, traffic-free resort of Zermatt. We walk to Brig railway station to board our 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 FIRST CLASS GLACIER EXPRESS AT CHRISTMAS OR NEW YEAR of houses and tiny hamlets that together form the region's village communities. The spectacular approach to Zermatt takes us through 8 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 peak of the instantly recognisable Matterhorn. In Zermatt you are free to spend your time at leisure. One option that you will find hard to resist is the ascent to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway (payable locally). At over 10,000 feet (3,048m), the Gornergrat is a truly spectacular place to visit, offering dramatic vistas over the valley below.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4

A day exploring the Western Alps

You are free today to explore the area at leisure, enjoying 50% fares using your included Swiss Card. We particularly recommend travelling down 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 resort of Gstaad, a favourite destination of the rich and famous. Alternatively, the wonderful journey on the Centovalli Railway across 'a hundred valleys' is an excellent choice for today.

  • Breakfast
The Glacier Express
Day 5

First Class on the Glacier Express

We leave Brig today, travelling from the pretty Valais to the rocky landscape of the fantastic Graubünden canton on the iconic Glacier Express. We make the journey in First Class, enjoying unspoilt views through panoramic windows - views of the scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous, all covered in a thick blanket of snow; sloping snowy meadows and frosted forests, rising up the hillsides beside the track towards towering mountain peaks. A two-course lunch is served at our seats during the journey, followed by tea and coffee - the perfect accompaniment to our time on board 'the slowest express train in the world'. We follow the wintry Rhône Valley and climb towards and through the Furka Base Tunnel. We continue past the countless small villages that line our route, decorated for the festivities and nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains, before our steep ascent over the Oberalp Pass - at 6,670ft the highest point of the route and where the views south include the distant peaks of the Italian Alps. Our descent from Oberalp takes us along the beautiful Rhine Valley and into Chur - Switzerland's oldest town, for four nights at the Romantik Hotel Stern.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6

A day at leisure exploring Chur

Set against a breathtaking backdrop of towering mountains, Chur is Switzerland's oldest town, and a pleasure to explore. Take time to stroll through the medieval alleyways and tranquil squares of the Old Town, and visit the beautiful 12th century cathedral. Alternatively, use your GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares, perhaps to make the spectacular train journey on the Arosa Line to the scenic mountain resort of Arosa.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7

Christmas Eve in Lucerne

On Christmas Eve we travel by train to Lucerne, an ancient lakeside city of cobbled streets, squares and the famous Kapellbrücke bridge. In the evening we begin our celebrations with a five-course dinner with wine, and carol singing by the Christmas tree.

  • Breakfast
The Bernina Express
Day 8

Christmas Day on the Bernina Express

On Christmas Day the narrow-gauge Bernina Express takes us from Chur over viaducts and bridges, past frozen waterfalls and deep ravines and ascends the Albula Pass, on an amazing route which enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. The ascent loops into the Engadine Valley before climbing even higher over the Bernina Pass to more than 7,000 feet (2,134m). Enjoy the breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks as we travel to Poschiavo, a picturesque town in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. We return to the hotel where we enjoy drinks followed by our four-course gala Christmas dinner with wine.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
The Rhine
Days 9-10

Along the scenic Rhine Gorge to London

We leave Chur and travel by First Class train via Zürich and Basel into Germany. Our journey continues up the stunning Rhine Gorge, past fairytale castles and vineyards to Cologne. We arrive late afternoon and spend one night at the Grand City Hotel, situated close to the Rhine and the city's magnificent Gothic Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On Day 10 we leave Cologne and travel on the high-speed rail service to Brussels, where we join the Eurostar, enjoying a light meal and drinks on board before arriving at St Pancras International.

  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Eurostar Meal

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.


Get in touch with one of our Travel Specialists

Helping you plan your holiday...

Julie Longfield
Lynne Broadley
Phil Conde
James Eaton



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