Swiss Rail Spectacular (2018)

Experience the unparalleled beauty of Switzerland’s mountainous landscapes in luxury and style, as we travel on the country’s most exquisite and historic trains during our ten-day tour. Travelling by day on board the luxurious Orient-Express style Prestige Continental Express and other historic trains, we marvel at some of Europe’s most breathtaking alpine vantage points.

(London - Paris) - Zurich - Basel - St. Moritz - Rheinschlucht Gorge - Gotthard Fortress - Furka Pass - Gornergrat - The Matterhorn - Interlaken - Jungfrau - Brienz - Brienzer-Rothorn - Lake Lucerne - Mount Rigi - Zurich

Tour Schedules

July 2018

Pre-Tour London to Basel via Paris

Optional Pre-Tour Extension

For those wishing for something additional, join us for our optional pre-tour extension. We check in to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing. The next day we will board the Eurostar (Business Premier Class) for our journey below the English Channel to Paris where we dine at the iconic ‘Le Train Bleu’ restaurant in the heart of the Gare de Lyon. Built in 1901, the restaurant was given Historical Monument status in 1972 and has just reopened after a painstaking renovation. We spend the night at the Mercure Gare de Lyon. The next day we transfer to the French TGV for a speedy ride to Basel, Switzerland to be the first to board the Prestige Continental Express as we head for Zürich to meet with the rest of our fellow travellers.

15 July - Arrive to London any time. Overnight at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (Meals - own arrangements).

16 July - Board the Eurostar bound for Paris, France. Overnight at the Mercure Gare de Lyon.

17 July - We continue our journey into Basel, Switzerland. Once in Basel we board the Prestige Continental Express for Zürich where we are joined by our fellow travellers and continue our journey.

Day 1 Basel & Zurich

Switzerland

This morning we join the Prestige Continental Express private train either in Basel at 10:55* or in Zürich Flughafen (Airport) station at 12:30*. Our train will comprise of our deluxe dining cars and the piano bar car “Le Diamant” complete with live piano music. Once on board we will have lunch as we depart to the Swiss city of Chur, where we change to the narrow gauge Rhatische Bahn (RhB) and their Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express for the journey up to St. Moritz. Our travels will take us through the Albula Pass between Filisur and St. Moritz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today our three coach train will be hauled by the historic 100-year-old RhB electric locomotive Nr 353.

*Provisional Departure Time

Overnight in St. Moritz, Grand Hotel Les Bains

Day 2 St Moritz

Switzerland

Today we travel Switzerland’s famous Bernina Line to Tirano, Italy. From St. Moritz we travel in the Glacier & Bernina Pullman Express cars which, as far as Poschiavo, will be attached to a regular service train. In Poschiavo we detach from the service train and our cars are hauled for the remainder of our journey by a unique and historic Bernina ‘Crocodil’ electric locomotive Nr 182, built 1928. Our private train will allow us the freedom to make some photo stops along the way. This section of the Bernina Line is home to the incredible spiral stone viaduct at Brusio. Once in Tirano, Italy we spend time enjoying the Valtellina Valley and visit the Triacco Winery where we will have lunch, before retracing our steps back to St. Moritz.

Overnight in St. Moritz, Grand Hotel Les Bains

Day 3 Rheinschlucht Gorge & Gotthard Fortress

Switzerland

This morning we depart St. Moritz for Andermatt. Once again we will enjoy the hospitality of the RhB’s historic Pullman train but today hauled by RhB ‘Crocodil’ Nr 414, built 1929. Our travels will take us by train through the Rheinschlucht Gorge, very close to the source of the Rhine River and across the Oberalp Pass to Andermatt, our stepping stone for the Furka Pass. After checking-in to Hotel Chedi, either take advantage of the hotel’s spa facilities or travel to the St Gotthard Pass and visit the huge Fortress that guarded it from 1929. Closed in 1998 it re-opened as the Gotthard Museum Sasso in 2012.

Overnight in Andermatt, Hotel Chedi

Day 4 Furka Pass

Switzerland

Today we cross one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the world, the Furka Pass. The Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke (Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway) is a largely volunteer operated heritage railway which operates a partially rack and pinion- operated line across the Furka Pass. Culminating at 2,160 metres above sea level, it is an old mountainous section of the Furka Oberalp Bahn (FOB) that was abandoned after the construction of the tunnel that made it obsolete. The Furka Pass has been gradually brought back into service by the Verein Furka-Bergstrecke with the use of the original, historical equipment restored to its former glory, with the entire line completed in 2010. The 100-year-old steam locomotive will take one hour to climb to the summit up a gradient of 1 in 81⁄2 (11.8%) where a traditional Swiss BBQ lunch of Bratwürste will be taken. We then descend under the Rhône glacier to Oberalp where we join the modern Glacier Express to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn.

Overnight in Zermatt, Hotel National

Day 5 Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

Switzerland

This morning we take an exciting journey on the Gornergrat Railway. We travel to a height of 3,135 metres for the most incredible view of the Matterhorn. The Gornergrat is located between the Gornergletscher and Findelgletscher and offers a view of more than twenty peaks over 4,000 metres. Lunch will be taken on the descent at the Riffelalp Resort.

Overnight in Zermatt, Hotel National

Day 6 Interlaken

Switzerland

Our travels today will take us from Zermatt in the Canton of Valais to Interlaken. We start the day descending from Zermatt on the Panoramic cars of the Glacier Express before re-joining the Prestige Continental Express in Brig. From Brig we enjoy lunch during our ascent over the Lötschberg Pass and into Interlaken in the Canton of Bern.

This afternoon is either free time in Interlaken or to enjoy the Spa at the world famous Victoria Jungfrau hotel.  Alternatively change trains on arrival to our waiting special steam train on the Zentralbahn which will take us to Meiringen then onto the MIB to Inerkirchen.  Here we transfer the short distance to the entrance to the spectacular Aareschlucht Gorge.  From the exit from the Gorge, re-join our steam train for the journey back to Interlaken or transfer to Willingen and take the Funicular to Reichenbach Falls, made famous Arthur Conan Doyle as the spot where he killed of both Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty.  Return to Interlaken by bus, stopping on the way to visit the small Sherlock Holmes Museum in Mieringen.

Overnight in Interlaken, Hotel Victoria Jungfrau and Spa

Day 7 Jungfrau & The ‘Top of Europe’

Switzerland

We depart Interlaken for Wilderswil, where we join our charter steam train on the rack railway that climbs 1400 metres (4,600 feet) to Schynige Platte. After descending we join a train for Grindelwald and our ascent to the top of Europe. Once at Kleine Scheidegg we have the choice of a leisurely lunch with stunning Alpine views or transfer to the Jungfraubahn and the final leg of our trip up to a height of 3,454 metres (11,332 feet) above sea level, making this the highest railway station in Europe, as well as one of the highest places you can be.

Once here we will have access to a high Alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rock. You can visit the Sphinx Terrace, walk into the heart of a glacier known as the Ice Palace and, weather permitting, venture out onto the glaciers.

There will be one hour at the top of the mountain before descending to re-join the main group in Kleine Scheidegg (there will also be an option to stay longer at the summit of the Jungfrau and return to Interlaken independently). The region Jungfrau-Aletschgletscher (longest glacier in the Alps) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Kleine Scheidegg we return to Interlaken via Wengen.

Overnight in Interlaken, Hotel Victoria Jungfrau and Spa

Day 8 Brienz & Brienzer-Rothorn

Switzerland

Today we leave Interlaken by scheduled train for the Brienzer- Rothorn Steam Rack Railway. The area around Lake Brienz has been known for centuries for its wood carving. The town of Brienz is the headquarters for the trade as well as the stepping stone for the Brienzer-Rothorn Bahn, the fourth highest railway in Switzerland that reaches a height of 2,244 metres (7,360 feet.

Following lunch on the mountain we will return to Brienz and cruise to Interlaken on the historic paddle steamer SS Lötschberg , built in 1914.

Overnight in Interlaken, Hotel Victoria Jungfrau and Spa

Day 9 Lake Lucerne & Mount Rigi

Switzerland

This morning we depart Interlaken on our very own Prestige Continental Express for Lucerne, arriving for a cruise on Lake Lucerne on one of the classic paddle steamers to Vitznau. Here we have yet another steam special, this time up Mount Rigi, Queen of the Mountains. Our steam special will take us up to Rigi Kulm. From Kulm station we will descend to Art- Goldau on the ‘Rigi Pullman’ a historic electric railcar where we will return to the Prestige Continental Express for a spectacular evening run up to the St Gotthard Pass tunnel. During our run to the summit and back, we will enjoy our farewell gala dinner in the opulent Prestige Continental Express dinning cars.

Overnight in Zurich, Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport

Day 10 Zurich

Switzerland

After breakfast free time until departing flights from the adjacent terminal or train connections from the station beneath the terminal.

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