Discover Zermatt, Interlaken and Poschiavo
Spectacular views and stunning scenery have made the Glacier Express from Brig to Chur famous the world over. Shimmering winter peaks and sugar-frosted forests provide a picture-postcard backdrop to our wonderful winter rail adventure, taking in some of the very best that Switzerland has to offer.
We depart St Pancras International by Eurostar for Paris after meeting at our dedicated Departure Office. Travelling in Standard Premier Class, we enjoy a light meal and drinks served during the journey. In Paris, we change trains and continue to Strasbourg where we spend the night.
Spend a morning at leisure in Strasbourg. This excellent city, located on the border between Germany and France takes its cultural and architectural cues from both nations, adding a unique flavour to its bustling streets. Dominated by a striking 15th century Gothic cathedral with a famous astronomical clock, Strasbourg has a wealth of narrow medieval streets, charming crooked houses and vibrant town squares.
After our time in Strasbourg, we travel south into Basel, Switzerland. Here we transfer by rail to Kandersteg for a four-night stay. Kandersteg is in many ways a quintessential Swiss town, high up in the Bernese Oberland and surrounded by resplendent scenery of noble mountains and fl owering meadows. The glorious valley in which the town is found, is well know for its wide range of delightful trekking paths.
Today we experience the first mountain railway journey of the holiday as we travel to the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We walk the short distance to the railway station to board our narrow-gauge train, heading through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône. 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 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 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 (supplement payable locally). At over 10,000 feet (3,048m), the Gornergrat is a truly spectacular place to visit in winter, offering dramatic vistas over the valley below.
Today we travel to Interlaken, which enjoys an unparalleled location in the heart of the Bernese Oberland region between Lakes Thun and Brienz, and at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Your time here is free to explore, with many varied options available. You could take the cable car to the summit of the Schiltorn, or enjoy the ultimate mountain railway journey to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, situated at 3,454m above sea level (supplements payable locally). Alternatively, Interlaken itself is a delightful town, where you can explore the Höheweg, the town's charming main street, as well as the historic casino and selection of shops.
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.
We leave Kandersteg today, travelling on the iconic Glacier Express. We make the journey in First Class, enjoying unspoilt views through panoramic windows - views of the snow-covered scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous, intricate vineyards and frosted forests rising up the hillsides towards towering mountain peaks. The scenery is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow during the winter months - mountain vistas are truly spectacular when the sun shines and bounces off the fresh snow. 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 Rhône Valley and climb towards and through the Furka Base Tunnel. We continue past the countless small villages that line our route, nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains, before our steep ascent over the Oberalp Pass - at 6,670 feet 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 three nights at the Romantik Hotel Stern.
Today, the narrow-gauge Bernina Express takes us from Chur over viaducts and bridges, past frozen waterfalls and deep ravines before ascending the Albula Pass. The ascent loops into the Engadine Valley before climbing even higher over the Bernina Pass to more than 7,000 feet (2,134m), often above the clouds which hang in the snow-frosted valley below. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks as we travel to Poschiavo, a picturesque town in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. You have some free time here to discover the delightful town before we return.
Set against a breathtaking backdrop of towering mountains, Chur is the oldest town in Switzerland and a pleasure to explore. Alternatively, use your GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card for a 50% reduction on rail fares, perhaps to make the spectacular train journey on the Arosa Line to the mountain resort of Arosa, or to travel to the lakeside city of Lucerne.
We leave Chur and travel by train via Basel to Paris. From here, we connect with the Eurostar back to London St Pancras International, where our tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
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 all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Discover Zermatt, Interlaken and Poschiavo