This adventurous twin-center rail vacation provides ample
opportunity to explore the majestic Swiss Alps cloaked in their
winter finery, and to enjoy our trip on the famous Glacier Express,
surely the slowest, and certainly one of the most scenic 'express'
trains in the world.
You meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure
Office at St Pancras before boarding the Eurostar to Paris. We
change for the high-speed service to Strasbourg where we stay for
the night at the Mecure Strasbourg Gare Centrale Hotel.
Please note: For Departures GYW2002, 03
& 04 you will overnight in Colmar with the morning at
leisure on Day 2
Day 2 - Onward to Switzerland
We leave Strasbourg by train for Switzerland. Our journey takes
us across the border and traveling via Basel, we join the superb
Swiss railroad network, famous for its efficiency and punctuality.
We make our way to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town with over 5,000
years of settlement history for you to explore.
Day 3 - A day at leisure exploring Chur
Your day is free to explore historic Chur and the surrounding
region. Take time to stroll through the medieval cobbled alleyways
and squares of the Old Town, and visit the 12th century cathedral,
a blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles. Today is a superb chance
for you to discover the area by mountain railroad using your
included Swiss Card for 50% fares. The wild, rugged and rocky
landscape of the glorious Graubünden region is waiting to be
discovered, with superb railroad journeys available from Chur that
take you over, around and across the dramatic valleys that make
this one of the most attractive cantons in Switzerland. A journey
on the Arosa Line to lakeside Arosa, surrounded by dramatic snowy
peaks, is a popular option for today. Alternatively, visit Lucerne,
an historic lakeside city of cobbled streets, squares and ornate
churches. Whilst in Lucerne, see the famous Kapellbrücke covered
bridge or perhaps visit the Swiss Transport Museum.
Day 4 - Over the Bernina Pass to Poschiavo
Our excursion today takes us on the Bernina Express, a journey
on the superb 100 year old Bernina Line that passes mighty glaciers
and sloping Alpine meadows laden with snow. We travel over the
incredible Landwasser Viaduct, and cling to the mountainside,
winding above deep ravines and past frozen waterfalls. We have time
for lunch amongst the pastel coloured houses of quaint Poschiavo,
before our return journey to Chur.
Day 5 - The iconic Glacier Express to Kandersteg
We leave Chur today, traveling from the rocky landscape of the
Graubünden canton to the fantastic 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; beautiful, snow-covered pastures, and
frosted forests rising up the hillsides 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 snowy 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 traveling through the Furka Base Tunnel and into the 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 railroad for a
wonderful journey over the imposing Kander Viaduct, through the old
Lotschberg 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.
Day 6 - Narrow-gauge mountain railroad to Zermatt
Today we travel to the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. We
travel to Brig to join a narrow-gauge train, heading south through
dramatic valleys and alongside the River Rhône to Visp. From here
we join the mountain track for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The
spectacular approach to Zermatt takes us through 8 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 snowy tilted peak of the instantly recognisable
Matterhorn. In Zermatt you are free to explore.
Day 7 - A day at leisure in the Eastern Swiss Alps
Today is free for you to explore Kandersteg, renowned for its
breathtaking views and scenic trails. You could take the cable car
up to the stunning Oeschinen Lake. The lake is frozen in winter,
and offers incredible vistas. Or, explore the wider region using
your Swiss Travel Card for 50% fares. We particularly recommend
traveling along the Rhône Valley to Montreux. From here you can
enjoy a cruise on Lake Geneva or join the GoldenPass Line panoramic
train for the journey over the Golden Pass to Spiez. Otherwise
travel to Interlaken, a charming town situated between Lakes Thun
Day 8 - Through France to London by rail
We depart from Kandersteg, and travel by train via Brig and
along the shores of shimmering Lake Geneva, before joining a direct
TGV service to Paris. After crossing Paris by coach we
connect with Eurostar to London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature
the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from,
London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London
Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point,
and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport,
visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your
itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot
travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with
any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses
which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any
passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime
after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available
between 16:00 and 18:00. However,
if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before
dinner from 19:00.
A wonderful full itinerary, well organized and planned. The hotels were a great contrast...one in a town and one in a small village of typically Swiss wooden houses surrounded by mountains, and only accessible by train. The country was expensive, but the provided meals were good and local. Our group was friendly and a good mix of pleasant people, who all got on well. The weather couldn’t have been better....five days of sunshine for all the trips on the glacier and Bernina Express, so amazing views, then snow on the last day for a wonderful woodland walk from the chairlift above our last hotel.
One of the best tours we have had with Great Rail.
Mrs B Bone
Submitted Apr 09, 2018
Good organisation Office open on time at St Pancras. Very friendly helpful staff. Better positioning of the office at St Pancras. Where it was when we went before was a bit crowded and squashed.
Mrs S Wainwright
Submitted Feb 13, 2018
Very good and well organised trip, plenty to see. Bad weather stopped the glacier express and cut off Zermatt though.
Submitted Feb 05, 2018
The weather caused a few disappointments and travel problems. Whilst these were not the fault of the company, they did do their best to recompense for the disappointment. The majority of the vacation went to plan and was wonderful. We can't fault GRJ on their response to the problems whilst we were there, or their reply to our correspondence once we were home. We will be traveling with them again soon!
Although two out of the three excursions were cancelled due to poor weather conditions, we still thoroughly enjoyed the week. Your tour operator was most helpful and attentive even though she had a number of difficult decisions to make.
Mrs B Glanville
Submitted Feb 05, 2018
Excellent tour, even when the weather tried to foil the itinerary the tour manager sorted everything out with the minimum inconvenience to us. Allows just the right level of independence and although a few things did go wrong, it didn't detract from the overall experience.