Classic Glacier Express GEJ21
|Resort:||Classic Glacier Express GEJ21|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
About the tour
Spectacular views and stunning scenery have made the Glacier Express famous the world over. Discover the Alps by mountain railway and sample unique Swiss wines amid the atmospheric setting of Spiez Castle on a holiday that also includes relaxing lake cruises and a jaunt to Italy.
Days 1-2 – London and Chu
After meeting at our London St Pancras Departure Office, we board the Eurostar to Paris. Making our way to either Strasbourg or Colmar for the night, on Day 2 we continue to Chur by rail (Standard Class), Switzerland’s oldest town. We spend the next three nights here.
Days 3-4 – The Bernina Express
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.
Day 5 – The Glacier Express
We board the iconic Glacier Express today, leaving behind the rocky landscape of the Graubnden canton as we travel towards sunny Valais. Our journey takes us through undeniably Swiss scenes of meadows, vineyards, dense forests, and snow-capped mountains. We amble along the beautiful Rhine Valley aboard the ‘slowest express train in the world’, soaking up the scenery from our panoramic carriages as we crossing the Rhine Gorge and climbing up to the Oberalp Pass, the highest point of our journey at 6,670 feet. After descending past isolated hamlets, we emerge from the Furka Base Tunnel into the scenery of the lush Rhne Valley and the vineyards surrounding Brig. We walk to our hotel from the station, checking in for a 4-night stay at the family-run Hotel Ambassador.
Days 6-7 – Zermatt
Today we visit the charming, car-free resort of Zermatt. Joining the narrow-gauge train (Standard Class) south, we travel alongside the River Rhne to Visp, where we change tracks for the steep ascent to Zermatt. The approach takes us through eight tunnels and across 42 bridges, the gradient of the ascent requiring cogwheels to be engaged. Finally, we reach the lofty scenery of Zermatt, nestled below the tilted peak of the instantly recognisable Matterhorn. Enjoy some free time to look around, a popular option is a ride to the summit of the Gornergrat by funicular railway (payable locally). From the top, admire uninterrupted views of the Matterhorn, a pyramid set against a crisp Alpine sky. You could also visit the fascinating climbing museum, chronicling both successful and unsuccessful attempts to scale the Matterhorn.
With free time on Day 7, make the most of your Swiss Travel Card and perhaps take the train along the Rhne Valley to Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Here you can join either the GoldenPass Line panoramic train to Gstaad or the Centovalli Railway for a journey across ‘100 valleys’.
Days 8-9 – Spiez Castle and London
We take the train (Standard Class) to Spiez Castle today, in the town of Spiez and overlooking the waters of Lake Thun. A Swiss heritage site dating back to the 10th century, this impressive castle and its decorative gardens play host to our unique Swiss wine tasting, enjoyed on a private terrace against a backdrop of the surrounding lakes and mountains. This is followed by a scenic cruise on Lake Thun as the evening draws in.
Our holiday comes to an end on Day 9. After breakfast, we take the highspeed train to Paris, travelling via Geneva (Standard Class). In the French capital, we join the Eurostar back to London St Pancras.
Please note:One of the excursions on this tour is at high altitude. If you have any medical conditions or concerns that could impact this part of the tour, we recommend you seek medical advice and talk to us. We want to make sure that any holiday you book is right for you.