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Glacier Express in Winter

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An adventurous twin-center Swiss rail vacation

8 daysSold out

2020 Tour code: GYW20

About the tour

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - By train to France

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

Includes
  • Dinner
To France
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Chur
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Chur
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
The Bernina Express
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
The Glacier Express
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Zermatt
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 and Brienz.

Includes
  • Breakfast
GoldenPass Line
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Eurostar

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Recommended airports

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 end point.

Airport waiting room
Visa Requirements

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.

Departure times

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.

Hotels

Hotel Freieck, Chur

View hotel

Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria, Kanderstag

View hotel

Mercure Hotel Strasbourg Center Gare, Strasbourg

Mercure Hotel Strasbourg Center Gare, Strasbourg

View hotel

Trains

Bernina Express
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV

Reviews

100% of travelers would recommend this tour

Based on 8 verified reviews

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Ms C Hill

Submitted Apr 25, 2019

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.

Anonymous

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!

Mr P Bentley

Submitted Feb 05, 2018

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.

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