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Grand Alpine Explorer in Winter

(Tour code: APW17)The Austrian Lakes & Swiss Alps

Stretching across much of mainland Europe, the wild and rugged Alps are home to some of the world's most magnificent winter landscapes. On this marvellous tour we discover the incredible Austrian Lakes and Switzerland's superb mountain railways.

Tour Highlights
  • UNESCO-listed Salzburg
  • Traunkirchen, Lake Traunsee
  • Imperial Innsbruck
  • The Stubai Valley Railway
  • The Bernina Express
  • The Glacier Express, ‘the world’s slowest express’
  • Interlaken
  • Jungfrau Railway to the ‘top of Europe’
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Meal
    Heritage Rail Excursions
  • Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • All Transfers Included

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.

Day 1

London to Stuttgart

Our adventure begins at St Pancras International, where we meet at our dedicated Departure Office and join the Eurostar to Paris. Here we change trains and continue to Stuttgart, where we overnight

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2

To Salzburg

Leaving Stuttgart behind, today we take the train into Austria. We arrive in Salzburg, a city with a wealth of musical heritage, known the world over as the birthplace of Mozart, and the setting for Rogers & Hammerstein's 'The Sound of Music'. On arrival we enjoy a guided tour. Spread out below the grand Hohensalzburg Fortress, the churches, squares and alleyways of Salzburg's beautiful Old Town are incredibly well preserved, dominated by fabulous Baroque spires, and are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the tour, you are free to discover more of the city. Salzburg's squares are delightful, filled with cosy cafés that tempt passers by with the aromas of strudel and coffee. Another popular option is the Getreidegasse, which offers retail therapy in the most splendid setting. Otherwise, take a stroll through the spacious gardens, watched over by the dazzling Mirabell Palace. Later we travel by coach to Lake Traunsee for two nights in the lakeside village of Traunkirchen, at the Hotel Post.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Tour of Salzburg
  • Lake Traunsee
St Wolfgang
Day 3

Exploring the Austrian Lakes

Today we explore the stunning Austrian Lake District. We head first to St Wolfgang, a charming, historic town on the northern shore of Lake Wolfgangsee, before continuing to St Gilgen, overlooked by the majestic Schafberg Mountain. Full of Baroque and Rococo character, here the picturesque streets are lined with charming frescoed houses. Our final call before returning to Traunkirchen is at pretty Mondsee, whose 15th century church featured in the wedding scene of 'The Sound of Music'.

  • Breakfast
  • St Wolfgang
  • St Gilgen
  • Mondsee
Days 4-5

Innsbruck & the Stubai Valley Railway

We transfer by coach to Salzburg, where we join the rail service for the journey into the Tyrol. The route takes us past the towering peaks of the rugged Austrian Alps, before arriving in Innsbruck. Our base for two nights is the Hotel Innsbruck. After settling in, your afternoon is free for you to explore the Tyrolean capital; perhaps visit the maze of cobbled alleyways in the Old Town, which reflect the city's historic and cultural past with its Renaissance and Baroque buildings. On Day 5 we take a trip on the superb Stubai Valley Railway or Stubaitalbahn, a narrow-gauge tram line, first opened in 1904, which connects Innsbruck to the surrounding snow-covered mountain hamlets. Our scenic journey takes us past icy forests and Alpine meadows laden with snow, ascending more than 1,000 metres at the line's peak.

  • Day 4 - Breakfast
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5 - Stubai Valley Railway
Day 6

Through the Alps to Switzerland

Today's journey takes us into the spellbinding scenery of Switzerland. On leaving Innsbruck, the train cuts through the mighty Alps, which dominate the skyline. The journey continues through attractive Liechtenstein and into the Swiss town of Sargans. From here, we continue our ascent through the majestic mountain peaks, overlooking the frosted meadows running down to the valley floor. The line uses a series of loops, spirals and switchbacks to gain altitude. We then arrive into Switzerland's oldest town, Chur, for three nights.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Chur
Bernina Express
Days 7-8

The Bernina Express

Today we take a journey on the superb Bernina Express, which passes glaciers, frozen mountain streams and snow-covered Alpine meadows. The railway has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage status, as a testament to the incredible engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the scenery through which it passes. During our journey we travel across the spiralling viaduct at Brusio, which was opened in 1908 and built to reduce the railway's slope to 7%, and in doing so eliminated the risk of the train 'slipping' while ascending the line. The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines to more than 7,000ft above sea level. Later we arrive in Tirano in Italy. You have some free time in Tirano before our return journey. Be sure to see the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Tirano, a pretty Renaissance-style church that was built in 1513. Day 8 is at leisure; perhaps explore the glamorous nearby resort of St Moritz. Alternatively, a popular option for today is a journey on the stunning Arosa Line to the lakeside town of Arosa, surrounded by dramatic snowy peaks.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Bernina Express
  • Day 8 - Breakfast
  • Day 8 - Free Day
Glacier Express in Winter
Day 9

The Glacier Express and Interlaken

We take the famous Glacier Express along the iconic route from Chur to Brig, enjoying the incredible view through the panoramic windows of our First Class carriage. Our journey takes us through Switzerland's classic winter landscapes, from the jagged mountain peaks topped with snow to the frozen vineyards. On leaving Chur we travel into the upper Rhine Valley, enjoying a two-course lunch at our seats whilst watching stunning scenery pass slowly by. The train climbs steadily and steeply up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, and spirals downwards past little villages, before reaching Brig. Here we change trains and travel to Interlaken, for a two-night stay at the Hotel Interlaken.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Glacier Express
Jungfrau Railway
Day 10

The Jungfrau Railway

Today we travel to the Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station. The train begins by trundling from Interlaken through the foothills of the Alps to Lauterbrunnen, where we join the Wengeralp Railway. Our ascent continues through the increasingly dramatic scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we join the Jungfrau Railway for the final leg of the journey. During the journey the train pauses at two observation stops; windows hewn out of solid Alpine rock between the tunnel and the infamous north face of the Eiger, with spectacular views down the valley. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe', 11,333ft above sea level. With free time at the summit station, you can explore the Ice Palace and its many ice sculptures. We descend via the charming mountain resort of Grindelwald.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Jungfrau Railway
  • Jungfraujoch
Day 11

Return to London

Leaving Switzerland behind today, we take the train to Basel, where we join the high-speed TGV service to Paris. Here we connect with the Eurostar back to London.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.


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