Combine one of the world's most iconic train journeys with the towns and cities of the meandering Moselle. Explore some of Switzerland's most famous Alpine destinations before boarding the panoramic Glacier Express train.
We meet at London St Pancras ahead of our Eurostar journey to Paris. From here, we continue by rail to Trier. Transferring to the waterfront, we board our ship and are welcomed with a cocktail ahead of dinner. Later tonight, our ship casts off and begins sailing to Remich.
From Remich, we board a coach to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in the world. In the capital, Luxembourg City, we enjoy a guided walking tour that introduces us to the local history and attractions. We see Constitution Square, a beautifully maintained public space dedicated to fallen soldiers of WWII, the Grand Duke's Palace, the residency of Luxembourg's Grand Duke to this day, and the Kirchberg Plateau. Located in the city's business district, this elevated area overlooks this historic centre and the scenic Pfaffenthal Valley. Our final stop is the train station, surrounded by an impressive array of stunning Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings. Returning to the ship for lunch, we cruise to Grevenmacher, on the German-Luxembourg border, where you have free time to look around. You could take a relaxed stroll through this quaint riverside town or head to one of the local Moselle wine makers.
We moor in Piesport and board a coach that returns us to Trier for a tour of Germany's oldest city. Dating back to the Roman period, there's plenty to see as we explore with our local guide. The immense Porta Nigra guards the entrance to the northern part of the city and was built by the Romans around 200 AD. It's now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, along with St Peter's Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady, which we also see. We continue sailing to Bernkastel-Kues as we enjoy lunch on board, arriving mid-afternoon. We get to know Bernkastel-Kues on a guided tour that includes insights into some of the town's more unique aspects. Sat in the heart of the Moselle Valley, Moselle wines are a particular speciality here and we enjoy a stroll through a nearby vineyard and a special tasting of different vintages, including the world-famous Bernkasteler 'doctor wine'. With a town motto that translates as 'wine and health', we also learn about the supposed restorative properties of this popular drink.
Arriving into riverside Zell, you have free time after breakfast to explore. Centred around its wineries, you can do some shopping in the quaint Old Town or make a visit to the 16th-century castle or black cat fountain in the town's market place. You'll see black cats everywhere you look in Zell, as they're the official town mascot. In the afternoon, we continue to Cochem, nestled in the Moselle Valley and surrounded by lush vineyards. The town, in particular its old quarter, is dominated by a Gothic castle, the Reichsburg, which we tour with our local guide. With a fantastic viewpoint from the castle's turrets, take a moment to admire the topography of the Moselle Valley with its dreamy forests, wild meadows and sprawling vineyards. There's also a preserved mustard mill that was built around 1810 and is the only surviving example of its kind in Europe, while the old quarter of Cochem is where you'll find well-preserved sections of the ancient town walls; there's even a fascinating arts centre housed in Cochem's former monastery.
Sat at the meeting point of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, Koblenz takes its name from its position at their 'confluence'. The modern town has ancient roots that go all the way back to the Romans, who established a strategic settlement and military stronghold here in 8 BC. We uncover the area's history on a walking tour, wandering the charming streets between the St Castor Basilica and the Liebfrauenkirche (the Church of our Beloved Lady). Next, we take a cable car ride over the Rhine to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for unforgettable views over the Rhine Valley. After sailing through the Rhine Gorge, our evening is spent in Rüdesheim, where the unique Winzerexpress train takes us from our mooring point to the centre of town. This is the starting point of our walking tour and from here we make our way along the world-renowned Drösselgasse - a street lined with traditional pubs and wine cellars - to the market square, surrounded by noble courtyards and half-timbered buildings from the 16th century. We end with a warming cup of Rüdesheimer coffee, a local specialty featuring the town's own-brand brandy, 'Asbach'.
We enjoy a walking tour of lovely Speyer today, home to a beautiful Old Town. Among the highlights we take in include the city's cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A basilica with four towers and two domes, it was founded by Conrad II in 1030, then remodelled at the end of the 11th century, and is still one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. It's also been the burial place of German emperors for the last 300 years and its network of arcades, added in the 1200s, was a first in architectural history.
Disembarking the ship at the end of our cruise, we travel by rail to Zermatt, checking into our hotel for two nights. A pretty resort town, Zermatt offers up quintessential Swiss charm in abundance, with carfree streets lined with traditional wooden chalets all set against the backdrop of the striking Matterhorn.
We enjoy our first heritage rail journey today, travelling on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway. Our journey begins as the electric train leaves Zermatt and begins its ascent, overcoming a height difference of 4,873 feet across the route. Crossing over the Findelbach River, the train soon reaches its first station in Findelbach before climbing sharply. Passing through a series of short, curved tunnels to gain height amongst the imposing mountain landscape, we arrive at Riffelalp station. This idyllic hamlet boasts wonderful vistas over the towns lower in the valley. From here, the train continues across an increasingly dramatic landscape; the line twisting and turning through the rocky crags on its upward path as we approach the summit station of Gornergrat. With views over 29 other mountains in the Alps, including the mighty Matterhorn, the scenery really has to be seen to be believed. We return to Zermatt where we get to know the town a little better on an insightful guided tour of its main sights.
We board the magnificent Glacier Express for a spectacular journey that offers unparalleled views of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges in the world. We spiral up the mountains, crossing enormous viaducts, burrowing through tunnels and rising above the clouds. We travel alongside the River Rhône to Visp, where we change tracks on our way to Chur, home for the night, which takes us through eight tunnels and across 42 bridges, the steep ascent requiring cogwheels to be engaged. Leaving the lofty scenery of Zermatt behind, enjoy free time on arrival to soak up the atmosphere of Switzerland's oldest town.
We make the journey home today, travelling via Basel and Paris on our way to London St Pancras.
|15 August 2022||From £3,195|
|15 August 2022||From £2,895|
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 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 Gornergrat Mountain Railway runs for just less than six miles from the pretty town of Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat some 10,135ft above sea level. It is the highest railway in Europe to run and mostly in the open air (the Jungfrau Railway runs to a higher point but is predominantly in a tunnel).
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
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.
The 4-Star Hotel National is located in the very centre of Zermatt, only five minutes' walk from the railway station. The hotel has a superb spa including a 360 metre-square indoor swimming pool, sauna and gym, as well as other facilities including a restaurant, bar and garden terrace. All rooms are south facing with balconies and include a mini bar, bath robes and slippers, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi internet access and tea/coffee making facilities.
The spectacular 5-star MS Amadeus Brilliant boasts impressive on-board facilities, including a fitness room, a hairdresser and spa facilities. There's also a panoramic lounge and bar where you can admire the passing scenery. Cabins are beautifully appointed with a plush en suite bathroom, a telephone, flat-screen television and a safe. Cabins on the Strauss and Mozart decks also have a French balcony.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
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.