The Glacier Express & Scenic Switzerland (Escorted Holiday) – 1st September 2017
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Escorted Holiday: 1st September 2017
Journey to the roof of the Alps and enjoy fabulous scenery from alpine meadows to stunning lakes and picture-postcard towns and villages on this wonderful 7 night holiday, including trips aboard the incredible Glacier Express, Bernina Express and Golden Panoramic Express. Your included Swiss tailor-made allows you to make the most of Switzerland’s majestic beauty and breathtaking scenic rail journeys. If you prefer a more independent form of holiday see our non-escorted Glacier Express Holiday.
Day 1 – By train to Germany
As you stroll into stunning London St Pancras International station let the holiday mood take over. Take your time to admire the magnificent glass roof. Then sit back, relax and watch the countryside glide past as you travel by Eurostar to Brussels at speeds of up to 186mph. Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in Standard Premier Class (Eurostar’s 1st class). When you arrive at Brussels Midi station you change trains and board the high-speed ICE or THALYS service to Cologne. On arrival in Cologne your hotel for the night is the Hotel Mondial am Dom (5 star), ideally located in the heart of the old town.
You might like to visit the world-famous cathedral with spectacular views from the top or perhaps later you could stroll through the old town or alongside the river Rhine. Dinner tonight is served at your hotel.
Day 2 – Through the Rhine Gorge to Switzerland by First Class train
Today you head south, leaving Cologne and Germany behind as you journey aboard a Euro City train, along the scenic Rhine Gorge via Basel into Switzerland before your arrival in Chur. Here you change trains and join the regional train for the lovely journey to St. Moritz. On arrival in the early evening the hotel transfer will take you the short distance for your three night stay at the attractive, highly-regarded Hotel Crystal (4 star superior). Once you have settled into your room dinner will be in your hotel this evening.
Day 3 – A free day to relax or explore…
You may decide to relax and make full use of the excellent facilities at the Crystal Hotel. You have free admission to the Crystal Wellfit with sauna, steam-bath, aromatic showers and a modern equipped fitness centre. There is also the possibility to book massages, body or sunbed treatments, aerobic and fitness lessons (payable locally). You will also your own lift ticket which will enable you to use the cable cars and public transport of the Upper Engadine valley. Alternatively use your Swiss tailor-made ticket to benefit from a 50% reduction on most of the Swiss Travel System (supplements apply on some mountain-top trains and cable cars).
You might simply like to take a stroll around the pretty town of St. Moritz or enjoy one of the local walks amid the spectacular scenery. This evening you are free to choose your restaurant for dinner.
Day 4 – The Bernina Express round trip to Tirano Italy
Board the Bernina Express in St. Moritz for fabulous, breathtaking views from your panoramic carriage as you travel over bridges and viaducts, through galleries and switch-back tunnels hewn into the rock, past waterfalls, ravines and rushing mountain streams. The Bernina Express Rail route spirals and loops from the Engadine Valley before climbing more than 7,000ft to the Bernina Pass without the help of a rack-and-pinion mechanism. Marvel at the snow-capped mountains as the train descends into the pretty, Italian town of Tirano with its different cultural feel.
There is time to relax and enjoy lunch in one of the town’s cafés or restaurants before the return journey to St. Moritz. You may have time to relax or use the hotel’s excellent facilities before dinner at your hotel this evening.
Day 5 – The Glacier Express
Excitement builds this morning as you bid farewell to St. Moritz and travel westwards on board the Glacier Express. Probably the slowest ‘express’ in the world, the Glacier Express narrow-gauge train takes you through the delightful Engadine valley and then climbs out of the pasture and woodland as you leave the broad valley of the Rhine. You continue up the Rhône Valley, past mountain peaks, tiny hamlets, babbling brooks, as your train spirals upwards and snakes its way over the Oberalp Pass at 6,670ft.
Lunch on-board the Glacier Express is included for you to enjoy at your First Class seat while you admire the scenery through the panoramic windows. On arrival in Brig you join the Inter Regio train for the onward journey to the elegant lakeside town of Montreux. Your hotel for the next 3 nights is the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, perfectly situated a few steps from the station and with fabulous views of the lake. This evening dinner is served at your hotel.
Day 6 – Schilthorn & Piz Gloria revolving restaurant & the Golden Panoramic Express
Today you embark on another wonderful highlight of your holiday as you travel through stunning scenery throughout the entire day, culminating at the summit of the Schilthorn. After breakfast you set off from Montreux travelling by train through the Rhône Valley, changing at Visp before heading to the heart of the Bernese Oberland.
Then enjoy a spectacular journey around Lake Thun before changing trains as you start your steep ascent to the summit of the Schilthorn. You continue via both Lauterbrunnen and Mürren, using an enticing combination of cogwheel railways, funiculars, and cable cars. There is time at the summit for you to have lunch in the revolving “Piz Gloria” restaurant, which allows you to take in the stunning views. The Schilthorn is also famous for being the setting of the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and you might like to watch a short film at the summit showing further details of the making of the film. Your descent then takes you down from the Schilthorn via cable car, before heading to Interlaken through Stechelberg. At Interlaken relax in the comfort of your seat as the Golden Panoramic Express snakes alongside sparkling Lake Thun and climbs to more than 4,000ft above sea level. Enjoy the option of dinner in the restaurant car (payable locally) whilst you gaze at majestic views of the Swiss Alps as you pass through valleys dominated by cattle-farming and cheese-making, past the glamorous resorts of Château d’Oex and Gstaad.
On the last leg of this fabulous journey back to Montreux revel in the breathtaking views of the French Alps as the train makes its spiralling descent towards Lake Geneva. You are free to make your own arrangements for dinner tonight.
Day 7 – Exploring Lake Geneva
Today is free for you to relax in Montreux, and perhaps take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area at your leisure. A great idea for today is the optional excursion on the Chocolate Train, travelling on either a pullman, Belle Epoque carriage (circa 1915) or a modern panoramic car for the delightful journey from Montreux on the Swiss Riviera to Gruyères, home to the well-known cheese.
Enjoy the complimentary croissants and coffee en route before you travel into this attractive town by coach. Admission to the cheese factory and the stunning castle are included, and there is time for lunch before you transfer by coach to Broc. Here you visit the famous Nestlé chocolate factory where you have the opportunity to sample some of its delights! You then make the scenic journey back to Montreux in time for a final farewell dinner in a local restaurant specialising in regional cuisine.
Alternatively, you could take a cruise on the sparkling waters of Lake Geneva – a fantastic way to admire the surrounding scenery – or use your complimentary Montreux-Vevey Riviera Card to visit the imposing Château de Chillon. As you marvel at the spectacular setting, twixt sparkling lake and breathtaking mountains, spare a thought for the prisoners of this 13th century castle, considered to be one of the best-preserved in Europe.
Day 8 – Montreux to London – Homeward bound
This morning, if you are an early-riser why not make the most of your Swiss tailor-made ticket and enjoy a lake cruise or make the most of the marvellous Swiss mountain trains and take the rack railway up Rochers-de-Naye for stupendous views and a chance to visit the ‘Marmot Paradise’? Then just before lunchtime you make your way back to Montreux station as you join the Inter Regio train to Lausanne where you change trains and board the TGV Lyria to whisk you back to Paris. Watch the rolling hills flash past or reminisce on the wonders of the past few days as you enjoy your at-seat 3 course meal. Your transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord and the last leg of your journey. Here you join the Eurostar and let the train take the strain as you stretch out and savour the light meal and drinks included in your Standard Premier service. At 186mph the landscape is a blur at times, though memories abide as you return to London St. Pancras International and the final leg of your journey home from your Glacier Express and Scenic Switzerland escorted holiday.
Swiss Tailor-Made Ticket
A Swiss Tailor-Made Ticket is included in the price of this holiday giving you complete freedom to explore the entire Swiss Travel System (apart from on Day 3 when you receive a 50% reduction on most trains)
Please note that supplements apply on some mountain-top trains and cable cars.
History of the Glacier Express.