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Grand Alpine Explorer

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4.4 stars(5 reviews)
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An exciting adventure at the top of Europe

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
14 days From £3,895 per person

2022 Tour code: APG22

About the tour

Discover the incredible sights and flavours of Bavaria, the Austrian Lakes and the Alpine landscapes of Switzerland. Take a beer tour of Munich and make visits to Neuschwanstein Castle and Salzburg, where we attend a glorious Mozart concert, enjoying journeys on some of the most iconic Swiss rail routes.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Munich

Our adventure begins at London St Pancras, where we join the Eurostar to Brussels. Next, we change trains, continuing by high-speed rail to Munich for two nights. Located within sight of the Alps, lively Munich is the capital of Bavaria as well as one of Germany's best-loved cities.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Munich

We enjoy the rich culture and heritage of Munich on a guided sightseeing tour. Walking through the historic streets, we admire the city's charming main square, Marienplatz, home to the Neo-Gothic Town Hall and the famous Glockenspiel which performs on the hour every hour. We'll also see the Church of St Peter and Munich's oldest beer house, Höfbrauhaus. Afterwards, we discover Munich's unique beer scene with a tour of its popular and historic beer halls. We sample different local blends, pairing them with delicious Bavarian snacks to the sound of traditional oompah bands.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Salzburg

Leaving Munich behind, today we take the train into Austria. We arrive in Salzburg for three nights, enjoying a guided walking tour past Hohensalzburg Fortress and through the beautiful Old Town, whose churches, squares and alleyways are incredibly well preserved and dominated by fabulous Baroque spires which are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterwards, we enjoy a dinner with a difference. Making our way to the Baroque setting of St Peter's, we sit down to a candlelit meal accompanied by the stirring music of Salzburg's most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Salzburg

You have a free day to continue exploring Salzburg at your own pace. A destination renowned for its musical and cultural heritage, you might like to visit the former residence of the Mozart's, who lived at Getreidegasse 9, from 1747 to 1773, before an afternoon at the refreshing beer-brewing museum or a walk along the river or through the Mirabell Gardens. Alternatively, you could head out of the city for a cable-car ride up Untersberg Mountain for spectacular views across the Berchtesgaden Alps.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – The Austrian Lake District

We head to the stunning Austrian Lake District today, making our first visit to the remarkable Kaiservilla, the stately former home of Emperor Franz Joseph I, before continuing to Lake Wolfgang where we enjoy a gentle cruise to St Wolfgang, an Austrian market town home to whitewashed, slate-topped houses which provide a striking contrast to the dark green of the surrounding mountains and the turquoise of Wolfgangsee's serene waters. We then travel to pretty Mondsee, set on the shores of Lake Mondsee whose most famous attraction is the 15th-century parish church which featured in the wedding scene of 'The Sound of Music'.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Innsbruck

We transfer by coach to Prien am Chiemsee where a boat takes us to Herrenchiemsee for some free time. Located on a 238-hectare island in the middle of Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, this intriguing royal complex was once the palace of Ludwig II, its construction modelled on the Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris. Never completed, the king only slept here for a handful of nights before mysteriously drowning but you can still take a look around the impressive gardens, galleries and state rooms which have been preserved to reflect their former glory. Also on the island, you'll find the site of an historic Augustinian monastery. We continue our journey to Innsbruck, home for the next two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – The Castles of Bavaria and the Zugspitze Mountain Railway

We cross back into Germany to soak in the wonderful castles of Bavaria, some of the most famous in the world thanks to their fairytale design, wonderland landscapes and cinematic heritage. Visiting two of the region's finest examples, we begin at glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. A magnificent structure built into the mountains, it stands proudly above the surrounding forests, its turrets and halls a resplendent white against a backdrop of green. Our next stop, honey-coloured Hohenschwangau, is a more laid-back affair, with pretty interiors and wonderful gardens. Afterwards, we embark on a journey aboard the cheerful Zugspitze Mountain Railway, ascending to the summit of Zugspitze Mountain for fabulous views.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Innsbruck and St Moritz

We start our day with a walking tour of Innsbruck. Located in the Inn Valley and set against the dramatic backdrop of the Alps, Innsbruck is known for its imperial buildings and quaint Old Town. Magnificently preserved, this area still reflects the Tyrolean capital's historic and cultural past, boasting wonderful Renaissance and Baroque buildings as well as traditional Tyrolean architecture. Along the way, we'll see Innsbruck's cathedral and Hofkirche, or court church, built by Emperor Maximilian I. Afterwards, we board the train to Sargans, continuing by rail via Chur to lakeside St Moritz, our base for three nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – The Bernina Express

We take a journey on the superb Bernina Express today, passing glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled 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 time aboard, we travel across the spiralling viaduct at Brusio. Here, the track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past waterfalls to more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Arriving into Tirano, Italy, you have some free time before making the return trip.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – St Moritz

Your day is free in St Moritz. Perhaps visit the church that the town was built around, the church of St Maurice, also known as 'the church of the springs', Badrutt's Palace Hotel for a traditional 1930s Swiss high tea or stop by the Segantini Museum, dedicated to the works of Alpine painter, Giovanni Segantini. Otherwise, you may want to make the most of your included Swiss Travel Card to take a journey along the UNESCO-listed Albula Railway. The line traverses the steep valleys in spiralling loops, offering incredible Alpine views over towering trees, rugged mountainsides and deep valleys.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - The Glacier Express and Interlaken

We take the famous Glacier Express along the iconic route from St Moritz to Brig, enjoying the incredible views through the panoramic windows of our First Class carriage. Our journey takes us through Switzerland's classic landscapes; from jagged mountain peaks to sprawling vineyards and over the famous Landwasser Viaduct. The train climbs steadily and steeply up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, and spirals down past little villages before reaching Brig. Here we change trains and travel to Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - The Jungfrau Railway

Trundling through the foothills of the Alps from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by rail, we pass flower-filled pastures and pretty villages before joining the Wengernalp Railway and continuing our ascent through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg. Here, we join the famous Jungfrau Railway. Climbing from Kleine Scheidegg, we travel through tunnels carved from mountains to arrive at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe', 11,332 feet above sea level. We're greeted by views across the eternally snowy Aletsch Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while on the other side is the Top of Europe building, where there are several restaurants and an exhibition on the history of the mountain and its railway. Further up is the Sphinx Observatory, an astronomical centre with a platform overlooking the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. During your time here, you could also visit the Ice Palace, home to some unique ice sculptures. We descend via charming Grindelwald.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 13 – Interlaken

With a free day in Interlaken, it's the ideal time to use your Swiss Travel Card for 50% off the 45 mountain railways, cable cars and chair lifts that lead into the surrounding mountains and which connect a dense network of hiking trails. For something more sedate, why not take a cruise by historic paddle steamers across the waters of Lake Thun or Lake Brienz?

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 – Zurich and London

Transferring to Zurich by train, we board our flight to London Heathrow, where, on arrival, our holiday comes to an end.

Includes
  • Breakfast

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 Innsbruck, Innsbruck

Hotel Innsbruck, Innsbruck

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Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken

Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken

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Maritim Hotel, Munich

Maritim Hotel, Munich

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Steigenberger Hotel München

Steigenberger Hotel München, Munich

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Goldenes Theater Hotel, Salzburg

Goldenes Theater Hotel, Salzburg

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Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

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Hotel Obermaier, Munich

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Trains

Bernina Express
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
Jungfrau Railway
TGV
Thalys

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 5 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (2)
  2. 4 stars
    (3)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mr M Ward

4 stars

Submitted 16 Aug 2018

The hotels were of variable standard. We felt the hotel in Traunkirchen was not of 4 star standard with regard to facilities, room, and the hotel was not particularly well situated. The dinners served in St Moritz were of poor quality and appeared to have been prepared on an extremely tight budget. However the hotel in Innsbruck was excellent and we would have preferred more time there than in Traunkirchen. The total porterage worked excellently which is why we give the holiday 4 and not 3.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr P Kindley

4 stars

Submitted 18 Oct 2017

Some of the trains were changed from 1st class after the tour was paid for. The itinerary could be changed, parts of the trip had two very long days back to back, then the third day would be free time. With a long day, free time day and a second long day would provide a rest day in between. I did not like that the trip ended in interlaken Switzerland with the recommended departure airport was in Zurich. I had to ask the agent how I was supposed to get to the airport and have hotel reservations made in Zurich. The hotel room was very small and in a not so desirable section of town. The company should have transportation options. The tour had to many people, this made it hard to change trains

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr A Parker

5 stars

Submitted 07 Oct 2017

A very good experience, from start to finish

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Millman

5 stars

Submitted 17 Jul 2017

Every thing we encountered was first rate. Hotel Accommodations: excellent, Rail travel: excellent (mostly first class accommodations). Plenty of time in each city we visited. But most of all our tour manager, Alex Green, was the most helpful in every way. He gave us many options on free days. Guided us to rail platforms and cars. I know this is his job but he appeared to sincerely enjoy his job. Thanks Alex.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr G McHugh

4 stars

Submitted 05 Jun 2017

A nice enjoyable trip, but let down by the behaviour of some of the other guests. Too noisy.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Europe by Rail 2022

Europe by Rail 2022

The definitive guide to our 2022 summer rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, these are available on the website.

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