NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT*
From our base in the quintessentially Swiss town of Meiringen, we enjoy journeys by mountain railway and lake steamer, crowned with an excursion on the Jungfrau Railway to the breathtaking 'Top of Europe.'
After meeting at our St Pancras Departure Office, we take the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Strasbourg for the night.
We enjoy a morning at leisure in Strasbourg, giving us the opportunity to explore the historic Old Town, dominated by the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. Later, we continue to Meiringen, travelling by rail, via Basel. A small town dating back to the early Middle Ages, Meiringen became famous thanks to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels in which a climactic battle was set at the nearby Reichenbach Falls.
Enjoying a glorious location nestled along the Haslital Valley, the town of Meiringen benefits from mountain vistas in all directions. The nearby Aare Gorge is a spectacular sight and is well worth exploring. This thin and deep chasm, splitting a limestone ridge, channels the river through this rocky terrain, with the gorge itself bored through by millions of years of relentless water crashing against the limestone.
This morning we travel by funicular mountain railway to the Reichenbach Falls and the platform where the dramatic final duel between Sherlock Holmes and archenemy Moriarty took place. From the falls, you have the option of exploring the area on a signposted walk.
Alternatively, enjoy lunch at the café above the stunning falls, before returning to Meiringen at your leisure. Your afternoon is free in this Swiss town. Historically, the town is known for its claims to have been the place where the meringue dessert was first invented. You may wish to visit the small Sherlock Holmes Museum, located in the basement of a former English church.
Your day is free, perhaps to explore with your Swiss Travel Card which gives a 50% discount on most trains, buses and lake steamers in the area. You could travel to Brienz and visit the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum, or walk along the picturesque promenade, complete with its vivid flower beds and trees. Alternatively, you could take the Giessbachbahn funicular railway, the oldest of its kind in Europe, and travel up to the impressive Giessbach Falls. The city of Thun is nearby, located at the point where the River Aare flows into the shimmering waters of Lake Thun.
We head west by train along the Brünig line to Brienz, located in the middle of charming mountains at the eastern end of the turquoise-coloured Lake Brienz. The cosy village is our starting point for excursions to the Bernese Oberland, and it is here that we begin an excursion by steam mountain railway, climbing to over 5,000 feet (1,524m), to the summit of Rothorn.* The summit offers fabulous views of the deep-blue lakes below and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, including one of the highest mountains in Europe, the Jungfrau.
On our return to Brienz, we enjoy a cruise on Lake Brienz to Interlaken. This is an excellent opportunity to simply sit back and take in the marvellous surroundings. The remarkable colour of the pure Alpine waters are the perfect contrast to the green slopes of the mountains which border this enormous lake. From the boat, we can enjoy the towns and village which dot the shores of the lake, many of which reside under the shadow of a church steeple. Later, we return to Meiringen.
*Please note: This railway does not operate in the early season. Departures before June will enjoy an excursion by rail to Bern and a cruise along the length of Lake Thun.
Today we enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our stay in the Bernese Oberland, as we travel on the Jungfrau Railway to the Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station. We begin on the Bernese Oberland Railway, trundling through the foothills of the Alps from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, through flower-filled pastures and past pretty villages. Over the course of the route, the line climbs 1,532 feet above sea level, passing isolated chalets and small farming cabins.
In Lauterbrunnen we join the Wengeralp Railway, continuing our ascent through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we join the Jungfrau Railway for the final six miles of our journey. Climbing further from Kleine Scheidegg, the distinctive string of red and yellow carriages of the Jungfrau Railway disappear into the tunnel through the Eiger Mountain. During the journey the train pauses at two separate observation stops; windows hewn out of solid Alpine rock between the tunnel and the infamous north face of the Eiger, with spectacular views down to the valley below. Finally, the train arrives at Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe', located at 11,332 feet above sea level.
With free time at the summit station, you will have plenty of time to explore the Ice Palace and its many ice sculptures. You can spend time on the Sphinx Terrace, enjoying superb views onto the Aletsch Glacier, which, at 14 miles is the longest ice stream in the Alps, and provides a sharp contrast to the lush meadows and Alpine pastures of the lower lying hillsides near the valley floor. You can also enjoy the walking plateau, which is eternally covered in snow. After time to explore and to enjoy lunch, we descend via the charming mountain resort of Grindelwald.
Our excursion today takes us by cable car up to the Alpen Tower. Located high up in the mountains surrounded by the Bernese and Central Alps, there are few better places in the world to enjoy a bite to eat or a drink from the Alpen Tower restaurant with its 360 degree panorama. This attractive building is designed to make the most of its magnificent surroundings, and from here, away from the crowds, you can enjoy a stretch of mountain peaks for which Switzerland is so famous. Breath in the crisp mountain air and enjoy the views of the valleys, towns and lakes below before we return to Meiringen where you have free time to explore before dinner.
Today we take a train to the town of Lucerne, known for its cobbled streets and ornate churches. Your time in Lucerne is free to explore.
Enjoy a stroll through the town to see the famous Kapellbrücke, a 14th century wooden bridge that separates Lucerne's Old Town and New Town. Alternatively, travel on the Pilatus or the Rigi mountain railways or enjoy a paddle steamer cruise across beautiful Lake Lucerne. Later today, we return to Meiringen, where we enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner together at the hotel.
We leave Meringen for Lausanne, joining the high-speed service to Paris and there continuing on to London St Pancras via the Eurostar.
This tour can be combined with Five-Star Rhine Cruise by Rail from only £3,380 per person. Please call for details.
Please call for further information. Only available on these departures: 23rd May 2019
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
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Discover Europe's highest railway station