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Stresa, Lucerne & The William Tell Express

(Tour code: WTJ6)A Swiss rail holiday with a distinctly Italian flavour

Fabulous scenery, impeccable Alpine views, excursions by mountain railway and a journey by paddle-steamer and train along the route of the William Tell Express all come together on this superb 10-day tour, during which we stay in the charming Swiss city of Lucerne and the delightful Italian lakeside resort of Stresa.

Tour Highlights
  • Lucerne
  • Mount Rigi Railway
  • Picturesque Interlaken
  • Journey by boat and train along the route of the William Tell Express
  • Stresa and Lake Maggiore
  • Centovalli Railway
  • Cruise on Lake Maggiore
  • GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
    Heritage Rail Excursions
  • 3-4* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • All Transfers Included
    Selected Porterage
    Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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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.

Day 1

London to Colmar by First Class rail

We meet today at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated departure office in London St Pancras International, before departing by Eurostar to Paris. Here we transfer to the high-speed TGV service for Colmar where we spend one night and enjoy dinner together.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2

Colmar to Lucerne by First Class rail

We depart Colmar and our journey continues to Basel, just over the Swiss border at the point where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. Here we change trains and join the efficient Swiss rail network taking us on a scenic journey through the lush green pastures of the Emmental cheeseproducing region to the historic city of Lucerne. Our hotel for four nights is the wonderful Hotel Wilden Mann, which enjoys a fabulous location in the Old Town.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3

A day at leisure exploring Lucerne

You are free to explore Lucerne at your leisure today. Take a stroll through the cobbled streets and squares of the city, past ornate churches, medieval buildings with painted façades and the famous Kapellbrücke covered bridge. Enjoy a steamer cruise on the lake or perhaps visit the Swiss Transport Museum. This is also an excellent opportunity to discover the surrounding area by bus, train, funicular or cable car, taking advantage of 50% fares with your GRJ First Class Swiss Travel Card.

  • Breakfast
Mount Rigi Railway
Day 4

Lake cruise and Mount Rigi Railway

Today's excursion takes us into the mountains that surround Lake Lucerne. We first take to the water, travelling by boat to Vitznau, a town across the lake from Lucerne. In Vitznau we board the Mount Rigi Railway, Europe's oldest rack-and-pinion railway dating back to 1871, for a journey to the summit of the Rigi Kulm. From here we enjoy magnificent views across Lake Lucerne and the surrounding region, before descending the opposite side of the mountain to Arth Goldau. We make the journey back to Lucerne by local train.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
GoldenPass Line
Day 5

Exploring the Bernese Oberland

We travel by mountain railway on the GoldenPass Line to Interlaken, with dazzling views of shimmering lakes and soaring mountain peaks along the way. Interlaken is superbly situated between Lakes Thun and Brienz, and is set against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery. Your options here include a visit to the Alpine Gardens along the Schynige Platte Railway, or the ultimate mountain railway journey to the highest station in Europe, the Jungfraujoch (supplements payable).

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursion
William Tell Express
Day 6

Along the route of the William Tell Express

Today we enjoy a fabulous journey on the William Tell Express. First, we board a historic paddle-wheel steamer in Lucerne for a journey on the nostalgic ship, gliding past sleepy bays, picturesque villages, and soaring mountains to Flüelen. In Flüelen we board a train and travel along the world famous Gotthard Line, which swiftly begins to climb towards Göschenen. During the journey we pass the church in Wassen three times as we circle higher up the mountain, before travelling through the Gotthard Tunnel. We emerge to the terrific scenery of Ticino in the Italian-speaking area of southern Switzerland. We continue to Locarno, from where we transfer by coach along the shores of Lake Maggiore and into Italy. We reach the relaxing lakeside town of Stresa where we stay at the elegant Grand Hotel Bristol.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursion
Day 7

A day at leisure in Stresa

Today you are free to relax in Stresa, taking the opportunity to enjoy this fantastic Italian resort. Enjoy a walk along the attractive, flower-filled promenade, lined with impressive villas and neatly terraced gardens, or take a boat to the colourful botanical gardens of Villa Taranto and the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina del Sasso, nestled in a rocky overhang on the lake. You could cruise across the lake to visit the beautiful Borromean Islands. Isola dei Pescatori is a permanently inhabited island of narrow cobbled alleyways and pretty buildings. It boasts a fine selection of restaurants in which to enjoy lunch, with many menus loyal to the island's rich fishing heritage. Isola Bella is home to the sumptuous Borromeo Palace, a magnificent Baroque structure which dominates the island. You can take a tour of the lavish rooms and alluring Italian-style gardens. For those feeling less energetic, you can make use of the excellent facilities at the hotel for a thoroughly relaxing day.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
The Centovalli Railway
Day 8

Lake Maggiore and The Centovalli Railway

Our excursion today takes us on the Centovalli Railway (Standard Class), a highlight of any visit to this region. From Stresa we travel by train to Domodossola, where we change onto the fantastic Centovalli Railway. This narrow-gauge line winds its way across 'a hundred valleys' after which the line has been named, all the while passing through outstanding scenery and idyllic landscapes. We pass over deep ravines and gushing waterfalls, and alongside thick forests and through sleepy villages during our journey to Locarno. We have time to explore Locarno at leisure, a picturesque Swiss Old Town with a very Italian feel, with sub-tropical gardens filled with palm trees, exotic flowers and lakeside promenades. Finally, we cruise across Lake Maggiore, stopping at small villages and islands before arriving back in Stresa.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
Day 9

By train to Germany in First Class

We leave Stresa this morning and begin our journey home, starting with a short coach transfer to Domodossola. From here we enjoy a train journey travelling along the scenic Rhine Gorge. The gorge produces its own microclimate and so has fantastic conditions for wine growing and agriculture passing through rugged valleys, verdant forests and along the shimmering banks of the Rhine river itself, bound for the ancient German city of Cologne, where we spend the night.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Eurostar to London
Day 10

To Brussels and London in First Class

Today we depart Cologne and join the high-speed service to Brussels, where we connect with Eurostar to London. We enjoy a light meal and drinks on board before our arrival into St Pancras International.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Get in touch with one of our Travel Specialists

Helping you plan your holiday...

Kathryn Cambridge
Lynne Broadley
Lori Mcclaren
Julie Longfield



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