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Mountaintops of Switzerland

4.5 stars(22 reviews)
Small Group

Spend nine days with your head in the clouds

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9 days From £3,145 £2,995 per person
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2023 Tour code: MTS23

About the tour

Spend your holiday with your head in the clouds as we enjoy journeys aboard many mountain railways, including the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express and the Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway. Staying in some of Switzerland's most unique mountaintop hotels makes this holiday extra special.


What’s included


Day 1 - London and Basel

After meeting at London St Pancras, we travel to Paris on the Eurostar, changing trains for Basel, where we spend the night.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Giessbach

We take a short walk to the train station then travel by rail to Interlaken, where we board a boat to cruise Lake Brienz. Sailing through the heart of scenic Switzerland, the brilliant turquoise tones of the glacial waters contrast with the green mountain slopes. We cruise past picture-book towns and villages dotting the shores of the lake, many in the shadow of a church steeple. As we disembark, the Giessbach funicular railway is ready to transport us to our mountaintop 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 up to the cascading Giessbach waterfall.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway

We board the steam-hauled Brienz-Rothorn Mountain Railway, a rack-and-pinion line which traverses steep and stony mountain trails. For much of the route, the glittering waters of Lake Brienz can be seen, and as we climb further, the view becomes yet more dramatic. Before long, we reach the first of three passing loops for oncoming locomotives, travelling through woodland and a series of tunnels hewn from the rock. We then arrive at the second passing loop, where some of the older steam engines pause to take on water. Finally, we reach the line's terminus at the summit of Rothorn, 7,362 feet above sea level, and just a few miles from our starting point in Brienz.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - The Glacier Express

Leaving Giessbach, we travel by rail and coach to Brig for one of the world's most unique rail experiences, a journey aboard the Glacier Express. Famed as the 'slowest express train in the world', the distinctive red and white carriages - matching the colours of the Swiss flag - make their way across hundreds of bridges and viaducts, and through 90 separate tunnels. Using cogwheels at the steepest points, we enjoy views of green valleys, picturesque villages and the Alpine lake on the Oberalp Pass. We enjoy lunch on board before reaching St Moritz where we stay in lake view rooms at the elegant Hotel Schweizerhof.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – The Bernina Express

Connecting Switzerland and Italy via one of the highest mountain railways in the Alps, the Bernina Express. Rising to the challenges presented by such steep gradients, this is a journey of breathtaking beauty through the iconic Alps. Joining the train in St Moritz, we travel to an altitude of more than 7,000 feet, enjoying views of snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes as we make our way to Italy, traversing the spiralling Brusio Viaduct enroute. In the pretty town of Tirano, you're free to explore the old town, beside the flowing river, before we make the return trip to St Moritz.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – The Mount Pilatus Railway

We make the most of the efficient Swiss rail network again today, travelling to Lucerne where there's some free time before we board the Mount Pilatus Railway, the steepest cogwheel railway in the world with a 48% gradient. We take the breathtaking half hour ascent from lakeside Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm, up to our unique hotel, the Hotel Pilatus Kulm. We arrive in time to enjoy the sunset over the surrounding lakes and mountains.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Lucerne

We return to Lucerne for some independent sightseeing, you'll receive a 50% discount on the bus and boat there using your Swiss Travel Card. Set in an impressive location, overlooking the lake with the mountains of Pilatus and Rigi on the horizon, Lucerne's famous landmark is the Kapellbrücke Bridge, separating Lucerne's Old and New Town. The oldest wooden bridge in Europe, built in the 14th century, it was constructed to help protect Lucerne from attacks. Inside the bridge, a series of paintings from the 17th century display the city's history. There's plenty to explore in the car-free Old Town, from ornate churches to frescoed historic houses, its cobbled streets embody tradition, culture and offer a plethora of cosy cafés.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Strasbourg

We begin the journey back to London today, taking the train to Strasbourg for the night. Capital of the Alsace region, the city is an interesting blend of German and French culture, its architecture ranges from Gothic to modern and the atmosphere is decidedly young and energetic. Here you have some free time to explore the historic Old Town, dominated by the city's spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. Discover the half-timbered homes, bridges and towers of the charming riverside area of Petit France or visit the opulent 18th century Palais Rohan.

Please Note: For departures 19/09/2023 and 26/09/2023 you will overnight a the Grand Hotel Bristol in Colmar.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – London

We catch the train to Paris, where we join the Eurostar for our return journey to London St Pancras

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar 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

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Hotel Pilatus Kulm

Hotel Pilatus Kulm, Kriens

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Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

Hotel Schweizerhof, St Moritz

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

Enhance your holiday


Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 22 reviews

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

Mr Clive Andrew Richardson

5 stars

Submitted 30 Oct 2022

Well organised

Collected by Trustpilot

David Webber

5 stars

Submitted 28 Oct 2022

This was a wonderful trip but exhausting, with one particular day involving 6 trains and 2 funiculars with all the inevitable platform changes. However the experiences made up for it - The Glacier Express, The Benina Express, Rothorn Mountain Railway all with super scenery. All hotels were great in their own way. Giessbach truly Belle Epoque, but food okay if you like your meat rare, Romantik not quite as good but food 3 star Michelin and lift only went to Floor 1, so difficult if you had suitcases to take to floor 2. Pilatus-Alpnachstad an experience at 7000 feet. with spectacular scenery. Transit hotels in Basel and Strasbourg very good. Great restaurant in Strasbourg. We were lucky to have a small group of just 14, as end of season, and John the tour Manager succeeded in getting us everywhere on time. It would have been better if trip had gone via Brussels rather than Paris. Gridlock in Paris so we had to abandon the coach and walk between stations. TM made the difficult, but correct decision, to walk or we would have missed the train.

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5 stars

Submitted 23 Oct 2022

Fantastic holiday and Hotels with amazing views. well organised John was great. Highly recommend this holiday

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Dr Robert Johns

5 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2022

Fabulous hotels, wonderful scenery, exceeded all expectations.

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Liz Potter

4 stars

Submitted 16 Oct 2022

The scenery on this tour is second to none. The hotels, food, organisation, itinerary first rate. A mix up with First Luggage not picking up our luggage as expected caused a significant problem. First Luggage have told me it was an error by Great Rail Journeys, communication about this will doubtless continue. Without this issue I would have given the tour 5 stars.

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Andrew Plane

4 stars

Submitted 07 Oct 2022

Superb experience well led by Moray. Super views and amazing standard of rail journeys . Blessed with good weather . Could have done with extra rest day .

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Mountaintops of Switzerland

Spend nine days with your head in the clouds


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