Snow-bound views and stunningly seasonal scenery have made the Glacier Express famous at this time of year, while glistening winter peaks and sugar-frosted forests provide a picture-postcard backdrop as we explore local resort towns over the Christmas period.
After meeting at London St Pancras, we board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing by highspeed rail to Strasbourg for an overnight stay.
Your morning is free to visit to Strasbourg's famous Christmas market, set on the Grande Île near Strasbourg Cathedral and Place Kléber. Enjoy walking through the warren of festive stalls, sampling the delicious home-made food and drinks and admiring the traditional decorations. Afterwards, we take the local railway for a wonderful journey over the imposing Kander Viaduct, through the old Lötschberg tunnel and past soaring mountain peaks to the town of Brig. A historic town in the Valais canton, Brig dates back to the Roman era and we enjoy a three-night stay here. With free time in the afternoon, the cob- blestones of the Stadtplatz are well worth visiting, capped by the remarkable Stockalper Palace - built in the 17th century by a prosperous silk merchant.
We visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt, where we board a narrow-gauge train heading south through wintry vineyards and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. From here, we join the mountain track for our steep journey to Zermatt. The spectacular approach takes us through eight tunnels and across forty-two bridges as the Matterhorn comes into view. On arrival, you're free to spend your time as you choose. One option is to make the ascent to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway. Running for just under six miles, the route travels to the mountain's peak where you can enjoy stunning views across to the Matterhorn. Alternatively, you could visit the town's fascinating climbing museum.
Day 4 is free in Brig and you could make the most of your Swiss Travel Card by taking the train along the Rhône Valley to Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Here, you can join either the GoldenPass Line panoramic train to Gstaad or the Centovalli Railway for a journey across '100 valleys'.
We leave Brig, travelling on the iconic Glacier Express to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town and our base for four nights. Switzerland's striking natural beauty is revealed on our journey which, at this time of year, is transformed into a picture-postcard landscape of snowy meadows, frozen streams and white mountaintops. The Glacier Express passes icy forests and frozen rivers, all playing their part to create a jaw-dropping winter wonderland setting, as we marvel at the Alpine scenery from our panoramic windows. Unmissable views come as we travel over the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the route, and make our way through the Rhine Gorge to Disentis.
We make our way by rail to Lucerne, situated on the shores of Lake Lucerne at the foot of the Swiss Alps and known for its cobbled streets and ornate churches. The festive atmosphere here adds an almost magical touch, as we take in the illuminated streets and decorated plazas. Your time in is free to explore, so why not enjoy a stroll through the town to see the famous Kapellbrücke, a 14th-century wooden bridge that separates Lucerne's Old and New Town? The Old Town is situated north of the River Reuss and has a rich history. Houses decorated with frescoes line the picturesque squares, with several half-timber structures and the remnants of the old town walls a reminder of just how old Lucerne is. The Jesuit church, dating from the 17th century, is regarded as Switzerland's first baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape. Alternatively, travel on the Pilatus or Rigi mountain railways or enjoy a paddle steamer cruise across Lake Lucerne using your Swiss Travel card for 50% fare reductions. Back in Chur this evening, the celebrations begin with a special five-course dinner, accompanied by wine and followed by carols around the Christmas tree.
Christmas Day is free for you to look around Chur, a destination with a history dating back over 5,000 years. Its quaint Old Town boasts some fantastically-preserved medieval buildings and is entirely traffic-free, making it the ideal place to explore on foot. It's here you'll find the city's 800-year-old Cathedral of Assumption, as well as the terracotta-fronted Bishop's Palace. And once you've marvelled at the historical landmarks and wintry mountain setting, back at the hotel we sit down to a traditional festive dinner with all the trimmings
We take the Bernina Express to Poschiavo on Boxing Day, enjoying a festive journey over the Alps, admiring views of ancient castles and the magnificent, mountain-ringed Lake Bianco as we wind above deep ravines and past idyllic waterfalls, emerging from the Albula Tunnel and crossing the mighty Bernina Pass.
Departing Chur by train, we travel to Paris via Basel for the Eurostar back to London St Pancras.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
|19 December 2021||From £2,295|
|20 December 2021||From £2,295|
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The narrow-gauge Bernina Express connects northern and southern Europe and offers a spectacular means of crossing the Alps. The route runs through the ancient landscape of Switzerland's beautiful Grisons/Graubünden region and provides essential links to the Italian-speaking population in the south.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
The Glacier Express is undoubtedly Switzerland's best known train. The 181 mile (290km) trip from Zermatt to St Moritz lasts around eight hours winding its way through some of Europe's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.
Beginning in Zermatt, a pretty Alpine resort close to the Matterhorn, the Glacier Express glides northwards from under the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn and follows the Matter Vispa River and the Rhône Valley to Visp. The train then heads east to Brig, before climbing through Betten, Grengiols and Oberwald on its journey to the 9¼ mile (15km) long Furka Base Tunnel.
The train emerges and makes its way to the village of Andermatt, before beginning its ascent towards the Oberalp Pass which at 6,670 feet (2,033m) is the highest point on the line. It then makes the steep descent towards Disentis, where the train is attached to an RHB locomotive. From here we pass the historic town of Ilanz, descending to the stunning Rhine Gorge where we continue on to the attractive cantonal capital of Chur.
The 4-star Hotel Ambassador in Brig is set within an art deco style building, conveniently located close to the railway station and town centre. The hotel boasts an elegant restaurant, cosy brasserie and delightful garden terrace, while each of the stylishly renovated rooms is equipped with a flatscreen television, free Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities.
A traditionally Swiss hotel, the stunning Hotel Stern has stood for 360 years in central Chur and is just a short walk from the train station. A property that perfectly blends rustic heritage and modern convenience, the well-established, on-site restaurant specialises is delicious Swiss cuisine and you can access the rooftop terrace for wonderful views across the stunning surrounding countryside.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices), Please call for more details.
Many of our holidays include a final stopover in Cologne en route to London. Why not extend your holiday by enjoying an extra night or two in this attractive city, returning to London in your own time?
The Wyndham Cologne or TRYP by Wyndham Cologne City
Both hotels are well appointed 4-Star hotels with a bar, lounge and restaurant. Room facilities include en suite bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities (available on request), minibar with free soft drinks, cable TV, hairdryer and telephone. A laundry service is available at both hotels.
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.
We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.
For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.