Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search

Mountaintops of Switzerland

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
9 days From £2,995 £2,895 per person
4.4 stars(32 reviews)

Stay in some of Switzerland’s most spectacular hotels as we journey on the country’s spellbinding mountain railways for a memorable holiday of incredible views.

Save up to £150pp

Save up to £150pp on selected Europe 2024 holidays when you book by 31st October 2023.

View terms and conditions

Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: MTS24

About the tour

Enjoy having your head in the clouds as we stay in a selection of Switzerland's best mountaintop hotels, all with sweeping views of mountains and lakes.

The Belle Époque Grandhotel Giessbach is located on Lake Brienz and is only accessible to the public via boat and its own funicular railway, while Pilatus Kulm lies at the top of a mountain accessed by the steepest cogwheel railway in Europe.

Experience the country's most magnificent rail journeys as we board the iconic Glacier Express to St Moritz, the awe-inspiring Bernina Express across the Alps to Italy, and the charming Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway for incredible views of Lake Brienz and the surrounding mountains.

Unforgettable experiences

Stay at the Pilatus Kulm mountaintop hotel
Stay at the Pilatus Kulm mountaintop hotel
Witness the sunset and sunrise from the incredible location provided by the Pilatus Kulm hotel. Accessed by cogwheel railway, this historic hotel is nestled between two peaks nearly 7,000ft above sea level and offers stunning panoramic views of mountains and lakes.
Enjoy exquisite views from the historic Grandhotel Giessbach
Enjoy exquisite views from the historic Grandhotel Giessbach
Overlooking the turquoise Lake Brienz, our Belle Époque hotel at the top of its own funicular offers tranquility in exquisite surroundings, with a mountain forest and an impressive waterfall in addition to the lake views.
Glacier Express in First Class to St Moritz with lunch
Glacier Express in First Class to St Moritz with lunch
Embark on one of the world’s greatest rail experiences on a First Class journey with two-course lunch through awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks and alpine valleys as we travel in panoramic carriages from Brig to St Moritz.
Bernina Express across the Alps to Italy
Bernina Express across the Alps to Italy
Travel First Class on the UNESCO-listed Bernina Express from St Moritz to the charming Italian town of Tirano. The route passes the enchanting Palü glacier before twisting its way down to Italy, spiralling around the circular Brusio viaduct before arriving in Tirano.
Ride the steam-hauled Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway
Ride the steam-hauled Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway
Glide over the lake from your hilltop hotel to ride this delightful steam-hauled mountain railway to an altitude of more than 7,000ft, where you can witness beautiful views of glistening Lake Brienz and a panorama of impressive peaks.
Explore lakeside Lucerne
Explore lakeside Lucerne
The vibrant ‘City of Lights’ stands on the shore of the expansive lake which shares its name. Historic Lucerne contains two covered wooden bridges, including Kapellbrücke the oldest one in Europe, and its old town is brimming with decorative frescoed buildings.

What’s included


Day 1 - London to Basel: Straight to Switzerland

We meet our fellow travelling companions at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar in Standard Premier Class, enjoying a light meal at our seats on the way to Paris. In the French capital we take the direct train to Basel - the quickest route to Switzerland. This sleek journey transports us through Jura and Alsace before arriving in the Rhine-side city of Basel. Our hotel near the station is popular with our passengers and we have some time to explore this typically Swiss city with an old town of beautifully characterful buildings before gathering at the hotel for our first dinner together.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar light meal
Day 2 – A lake cruise to our spectacular Giessbach hotel

Leaving our luggage to be transferred to our next hotel, we take a short walk to the train station this morning for our journey to Interlaken. From here, we board a boat to cruise across Lake Brienz. Sailing through the heart of scenic Switzerland, the brilliant turquoise tones of the glacial waters contrast with the green mountain slopes. During the cruise, we can spot picture-book towns and idyllic villages dotting the shores of the lake.

As we disembark, the Giessbach funicular railway is ready to transport us to our hillside hotel, the stunning Grandhotel Giessbach. On arrival, we enjoy a welcome drink as a local expert tells us about the history of this unusual hotel. From its secluded setting, the hotel has views across the sparkling lake and onto the cascading Giessbach waterfall. We have time to explore our new surroundings before enjoying a three-course dinner together at the hotel in the evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - A steam-hauled heritage railway up the Rothorn mountain

After breakfast, we set sail from our idyllic hotel to the town that gives Lake Brienz its name. Here, we board the charming steam-hauled Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway. This rack-and-pinion line was opened in 1892 and traverses steep and rocky mountain trails and verdant alpine meadows - all while providing beautiful views of glistening Lake Brienz below. A real heritage rail experience, the delightful small steam engine chugs, huffs and puffs its way up this dramatic route to its destination at an altitude of more than 7,000ft above sea level. On a clear day, the scenery from this vantage point is spectacular as we are only a few miles from the lakeshore as the crow flies. Viewing Lake Brienz from a different perspective really brings out the remarkable colour and you may even be able to make out the Grandhotel Giessbach.

Returning to Brienz, we have time to explore this pretty Swiss town with its traditional wooden chalets, most notably the quaint geranium-decorated buildings on the curved and cobbled Brunngasse. You may wish to indulge in one of the town's many coffee shops and bakeries before we glide back across the water to our hotel in the late afternoon. There is time to relax or explore before reuniting for a three-course dinner in the restaurant with views across Lake Brienz.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - First Class to St Moritz on board the iconic Glacier Express

Today is a highlight of any holiday in Switzerland. Taking the train to Brig, we then board the incredible Glacier Express to St Moritz. The 'slowest express train in the world' traverses incredible mountain passes, with views of picturesque villages and valleys, before it delves into the Rhine Gorge. Our panoramic First Class carriages provide a front-row seat to the 'Swiss Grand Canyon' as the emerald river winds its way past limestone cliffs. Enjoying a two-course lunch, the breathtaking scenery is constant. After Thusis, the route is UNESCO-listed as it clings to mountain edges on the Albula Line, zigzagging and spiralling its way round mountains and over bridges, including the curved Landwasser viaduct, before arriving in the chic mountain resort of St Moritz.

Our hotel is in the centre of this stylish and popular town and the terrace offers great views of the serene lake - as do our lakeview rooms. With glamorous St Moritz on the doorstep, this evening might be a great opportunity to explore shopping streets such as Via Serlas, where world-famous fashion brands have boutiques, or enjoy one of the town's many restaurants.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 – The Bernina Express: Crossing the Alps in elegance

Dubbed the rail experts' best-kept secret, crossing the Alps into Italy on the UNESCO-listed Bernina Express is an incredible experience. From our First Class panoramic carriages, the exceptional alpine scenery continuously impresses as we wind our way up to the summit at Ospizio Bernina before being greeted by the jaw-dropping views of the Palü glacier. This stunning route twists its way down the mountains, spiralling round the corkscrew viaduct at Brusio.

Free time allows us to explore the narrow, cobbled streets and characterful piazzas of the charming Italian valley town of Tirano, where we can enjoy local delicacies in one of the town's delightful trattorias. We return to St Moritz on a local train in First Class in the afternoon before enjoying a three-course dinner at our hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Lake views on the journey to our mountaintop hotel

This morning we leave St Moritz for Chur, before passing many beautiful lakes on our way to Lucerne. From our First Class seats, we see Lake Walen, Obersee and Lake Zurich before travelling southwest past Lake Zug to Lucerne. As the fourth most populus city in Switzerland, Lucerne is an important and historic city draped across the north-western inlet of the expansive Lake Lucerne.

We have time to wander independently round the picturesque old town. One of the most striking landmarks in Lucerne is the 14th-century Kapellbrücke. Separating Lucerne's Old and New Town, the oldest wooden bridge in Europe was constructed to help protect the city from attacks. Inside the gables of the bridge, a series of paintings from the 17th century relay the city's history.

Our hotel for the next two nights, the Pilatus Kulm, is reached by way of the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. Reaching a gradient of 48%, the half-hour ascent takes us up past alpine meadows and rocky outcrops to a land above the clouds. With such a jaw-dropping location nestled between two peaks, the Pilatus Kulm provides utterly stunning views across the soaring mountains of central Switzerland. Due to its position, there are unforgettable sunrises and sunsets weather permitting - and we arrive in good time for the latter, before enjoying a three-course dinner in the glorious restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Sunrise over the ‘City of Lights’

If you wake in time, you may be fortunate enough to witness a sensational sunrise that gradually illuminates the mountainous surroundings in dramatic and wondrous style. While today is spent exploring independently, you might not want to leave this heavenly location. However, with a complimentary return ticket on the Pilatusbahn, you could head down the hills to explore Lucerne or beyond. According to local legend, Lucerne was formed after an angel beamed a light on to the spot where a chapel should be built. The 'City of Lights' has a charming old town with plenty of interesting attractions, from ornate churches to frescoed historic houses, while its cobbled streets embody tradition and culture with their well-preserved medieval architecture. Set on the crystal-clear lake, lively and vibrant Lucerne is a great place to wander and find somewhere to eat at one of the many cosy cafés and restaurants.

Alternatively, you may want to explore further afield. With your Swiss Travel Card, you receive a 50% discount on rail, boat and most mountain railways, so you could hop on a boat for a cruise across Lake Lucerne to Vitznau. The Rigi Mountain Railway, Europe's first mountain railway, has been departing from here since 1871 and still offers beautiful views across to Mount Pilatus and the southern peaks as it travels up Mount Rigi.

Returning back to the hotel via the Pilatusbahn there is another opportunity to delight in the sunset as we indulge in a three-course dinner.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – From Lucerne to the Alsace city of Strasbourg

After breakfast, we descend the mountain ready to catch a late-morning train from Lucerne in First Class. We arrive at our destination in mid-afternoon, so there is the opportunity to explore the Alsace capital of Strasbourg after we check into our 4-Star hotel. With an interesting blend of German and French culture, Strasbourg's architecture ranges from Gothic to modern and there is a sparkling verve to the atmosphere.

Located on an island, the historic old town is dominated by the spectacular 13th-century Notre Dame Cathedral with its renowned astronomical clock. Attracting tourists, shoppers and people seeking a relaxing meal or drink, Place Kléber is the city's main square lined on one side by the imposing l'Aubette. This 18th-century building was redecorated in the 1920s by three avant-garde artists and has since been known as the 'Sistine Chapel of abstract art'.

La Petite France is one of Strasbourg's most popular attractions. In the Middle Ages, it was home to the city's millers, tanners and fishermen but today draws in tourists with its colourful half-timbered buildings gathering round narrow lanes, and bridges criss-crossing peaceful canals.

In the evening, we gather for a three-course dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Homeward bound

After our final breakfast, we leave Strasbourg for Paris. In First Class seats, we travel through the historic duchy of Lorraine and pass the vineyards of the Champagne region before arriving in the French capital. Changing to Standard Premier Class on the Eurostar, we enjoy a light meal and recall the spectacular mountainous scenery that accompanied our fantastic Swiss adventure and the incredible hotels that welcomed us with their warmth and wonderful views.

Arriving back at London St Pancras in the early evening, we say farewell to our fellow travellers grateful for the lovely memories that will stay with us.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar light meal

Additional information

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.


Grand Hotel Giessbach

Grand Hotel Giessbach, Giessbach

View hotel

Hotel Pilatus Kulm

Hotel Pilatus Kulm, Kriens

View hotel

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

View hotel


Bernina Express
Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway
The Glacier Express
Mount Pilatus Railway

Enhance your holiday


London Hotels
UK rail connections
Luggage Service


4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 32 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mrs L Parker

5 stars

Submitted 20/Sep

Excellent holiday and tour manager. Fantastic hotels and trains.

Collected by Trustpilot

G Washer

5 stars

Submitted 2/Sep

A brilliant holiday that shows the best of Switzerland.

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 30/Aug

Wonderful Tour Manager - Emilie - who was very professional, efficient and reliable. Emilie enabled the group to bond and make lasting friendships. A Great adventure!

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 22/Aug

Fantastic. Hotels, trains, tour manager all first class.

Collected by Trustpilot

L Falk

5 stars

Submitted 25/Jul

A wonderful holiday magnificently led by our tour leader-not an easy task given the number of train changes and complexity of the tour.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mrs M Naylor

5 stars

Submitted 21/Jul

Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The weather was amazing therefore able to view scenery at its best. Totally recommend it.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews
Europe by Rail 2024

Europe by Rail 2024

Pre-order our definitive guide to our 2024 summer rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe.

Download brochure

Tailor made for you

Customise this tour with Great Rail Journeys Independent

Related inspiration from our journey blog