Explore the stunning Swiss Alps by rail
Take advantage of our low deposit offer of £99 per person when booking your Europe, UK, Cruise & Worldwide 2018 holiday on or before 28th February 2018.
Stunning scenery and spectacular views are enough to take your breath away as we travel by rail through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the world-famous Glacier Express train. We enjoy thrilling mountain railways, charming towns and dramatic Alpine scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous.
After meeting at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras, we board the Eurostar to Brussels, continuing on by high-speed rail to Cologne, where we overnight close to the station and the famous Gothic cathedral.
Please Note: For departure GYJ1816 you will be staying at the Intercity Bonn Hotel.
This morning we continue our journey to Switzerland. Leaving Cologne, we travel by rail through the breathtaking scenery of the Rhine Gorge, crossing the border at Zurich and joining the service to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town at over 5,000 years old.
Your day is free to explore historic Chur and the surrounding region. Today is the perfect opportunity to discover the area by mountain railway, using your included Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares.
The wild, rugged and rocky landscape of the glorious Graubünden region is waiting to be discovered, with superb railway journeys available from Chur that take you over, around and across the dramatic valleys that make this one of Switzerland's most attractive cantons.
Chur itself, as the first settlement in Switzerland has a wealth of history to discover, from the days of the Roman Empire to Chur today, the capital of the wonderful Graubünden region. The old town, which harks back to medieval times, brushes shoulders with an old Roman Vicus or neighbourhood, and in various sites across the city there are a number of museums detailing the varied and storied history of Chur.
Today's excursion takes us on the historic Bernina Express - a railway journey on the superb Bernina Line that passes mighty glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower-filled Alpine meadows. The railway line is over 100 years old and has been rewarded with UNESCO World Heritage Status as a testament to the incredible civil engineering that was required to create the line, as well as for the breathtaking scenery through which it travels. From Chur we head south, travelling through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges, including the instantly recognisable Landwasser Viaduct, an architectural treasure.
The track clings to the mountainside as we wind our way above deep ravines and past idyllic waterfalls. Looping and spiralling through the rugged landscape of the Engadine Valley, our ascent takes us through the Albula Tunnel and over the Bernina Pass to an altitude of more the 7,000 feet.
We then begin our descent towards colourful Poschiavo, entering the Italianspeaking region of Switzerland before arriving at our destination. Pastel-coloured houses line the streets of picturesque Poschiavo, where we have time for lunch before our journey in the opposite direction, arriving back in Chur in time for dinner.
We leave Chur today, travelling from the rocky landscape of the Graubünden canton to the fantastic sunny Valais on the iconic Glacier Express - 'the slowest express train in the world'. Our entire journey is accompanied by views of the scenery for which Switzerland is justly famous; sloping meadows, broad vineyards lined with lush greenery and dense forests rising up the hillside beside the track towards towering snow-capped peaks. We travel along the beautiful Rhine Valley, climbing steadily and then steeply as we make our way up and over the Oberalp Pass, the distant peaks of the Italian Alps in view to the south. At 6,670 feet, the Oberalp Pass is the highest point of the route.
From here we descend past the countless small villages that line our route, nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains, before travelling through the Furka Base Tunnel and into the flourishing Rhône Valley. The final part of our journey on the Glacier Express takes us through expansive vineyards that line the surrounding hillsides to the small town of Brig.
Here 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 Kandersteg. The resort of Kandersteg is one of Switzerland's truly unspoilt gems - a picturesque destination surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. We check in for three nights at the Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria, a charming familyrun hotel surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Please Note: For departure GYJ1820 you will stay at the Hotel Bernerhof in Kandersteg.
Today we visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We travel to Brig to join a narrow-gauge train, heading south through picturesque vineyards and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. From here we join the mountain track for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The train clings to the track as we wind left and right, ascending past small clusters of houses and tiny hamlets that together form the region's village communities.
The spectacular approach to Zermatt takes us through eight tunnels and across 42 bridges, the gradient of the ascent requiring cogwheels to be engaged. Finally we reach the grandiose scenery of Zermatt, nestled below the tilted peak of the instantly recognisable Matterhorn. In Zermatt you are free to spend your time as you choose. One option that you will find hard to resist is the ascent to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway (payable locally). Running for just under six miles, the route travels from Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat, some 10,135ft above sea level.
Your day is free to explore this region using your Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares. We particularly recommend travelling along the Rhône Valley to Montreux. From here you can enjoy a cruise on Lake Geneva or join the GoldenPass Line panoramic train. The journey on the Centovalli Railway across 'a hundred valleys' to Locarno on the northern shores of Lake Maggiore is also an excellent choice for today. The much-loved railway is a popular tourist attraction, granting easy access to stunning Locarno.
Boasting palm trees and 2300 hours of sunshine a year, Locarno is a peaceful town with a Mediterranean climate, beautiful lakeside public gardens, a 15th century castle to explore as well as a picturesque Old Town, lakeside promenades and great shopping available under the arcades of the Piazza Grande.
We depart Kandersteg today for Paris, via Geneva and Brig. Once in Paris, we join the Eurostar service for the return to London St Pancras.
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
Enhancing your tour
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 40 verified reviews
So easy to trave with. Takes the hassle out of a rail holiday
Overall it was a lovely holiday but there were just a few issues that we will bring to your attention below, all of which were beyond the tour managers control. The tour managers efforts resulted in us rating the tour as "good" rather than average.
As usual a very high standard
Holiday was as expected apart from we didnt realise how arduous it would be changing trains/coaches so many times on one day.would have preferred a one base trip. The only other niggle was that there were a few set meals which turned out to be pork evey time. Got a bit tired of pork every night. More choice please. The tour manager (Colin Swettenham) was excellent, keeping us informed and vey helpful and entertaining.
The holiday overall was delightful, met some interesting, friendly people, scenery glorious. The only downside was the first two days spent travelling meant we arrived in Chur very tired, and there wasn't too much time to recover. Loved Chur and would have liked more time in Cologne.
Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, well organised, very good excursions and a brilliant tour manager.
Some minor problems with train travel, such as closed line and having to go by coach for quite a distance and missing the next connection. Also one journey when the booked carriage was not provided and therefore no booked seats.
One problem was your hotels not up to the standard I would expect.
Good arrangements and good balance between organised trips and free time
It was an excellent tour for a Railway Buff (like me). It was well organised and the Travel Manager (Oliver Stacy) was one of the best tour guides I have been with for many years, In fact, I have booked a Christmas Tour with a friend for the experience of visiting Switzerland in snowy conditions.
Explore the stunning Swiss Alps by rail