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Switzerland by First Class Rail

grand tour of
SWITZERLAND
by
First Class Rail

5/5

Discover Switzerland's most scenic rail journeys

1st class rail & 4 Star Accommodation throughout

choose from 7 to 11 nights' accommodation including breakfast

Lötschberger, Centovalli, Gotthard Panorama Express & Golden Pass line

Journey across Switzerland and enjoy fabulous contrasting scenery from bustling cities & stunning lakes and mountains to picture-postcard towns and villages by First Class rail

*7 night / 8 day itinerary

Departures between mid-April and mid-October

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Grand Tour Of Switzerland

Holiday Highlights

A Grand Tour of Switzerland by First Class Rail

Journey across Switzerland and enjoy fabulous contrasting scenery from bustling cities to stunning lakes and mountains, picture-postcard towns and villages on this wonderful 11-night holiday, which features the Lötschberger scenic route from Bern to Brig, the Centovalli railway from Domodossola to Locarno, the Gotthard Panorama Express from Bellinzona to Lucerne and the Golden Pass line from Lucerne to Montreux.

7 night day holiday from £1,995 per person

or

11 night holiday from £2,550 per person (featured itinerary)

Your holiday includes a stay in the country’s charming capital followed by the best in Swiss lakes and mountains scenery on Lake Maggiore, Lake Lucerne and Lake Geneva, plus the opportunity to enjoy some of Switzerland’s most scenic rail journeys.

Experience a delightful mix of Swiss, German, Italian and French cultures with stays in the charming lakeside town of Locarno at the northern end of Lake Maggiore, Lucerne on the shores of lovely Lake Lucerne, along with majestic Montreux on stunning Lake Geneva, where you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy wonderful lake cruises. 

Incomparable Swiss Scenery Awaits

The Lötschberger turns the scenic ride along the historic Lötschberg mountain route from Berne to Brig into an extraordinary experience.

Railway and nature enthusiasts enjoy many lovely views into the Kandertal Valley and the breathtaking rides over the viaducts at the north and south ramps. The narrow gauge Centovalli Railway runs from Domodossola across the Italian border to Locarno, taking you across viaducts and bridges through, as its name suggests, a hundred different valleys.

The Gotthard Panorama Express is a quintessentially Swiss journey by train and lake-steamer. You travel by train from Italian speaking Locarno on Lake Maggiore to Flüelen. Here you board the William Tell Express
lake-steamer for the cruise along Lake Lucerne to German speaking Lucerne.

The Luzern-Interlaken Express and Golden Pass line takes you over the Brűnig Pass through the beautiful Bernese Oberland, passing alongside lakes and beneath towering mountain peaks and thundering waterfalls, before reaching Interlaken.

From Interlaken you continue westwards, snaking alongside sparkling Lake Thun. Then relax in the comfort of your seat as the Golden Pass climbs to more than 4,000ft above sea level, passing traditional Swiss chalets to Zweisimmen. Here a feat of engineering allows your train to change gauge.

Gaze at majestic views of the Swiss Alps as you pass through valleys dominated by cattle-farming and cheese-making, past the glamorous resort of Gstaad before the final spectacular leg to Montreux with breath-taking views of the French Alps as the train makes its spiralling descent towards Lake Geneva.

Grand Tour of Switzerland Holiday Itinerary

Day 1 – By rail to Switzerland


Your holiday begins as you stroll into beautifully restored London St Pancras International station.

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 Paris at speeds of up to 186mph. 

Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in Standard Premier Class (Eurostar’s 1st class for leisure travellers). On arrival at the Gare du Nord your private taxi will take you across Paris to the Gare de Lyon to continue your journey by TGV through France into Switzerland. Arriving in Basel just across the Swiss border, you change trains and continue to Bern, Switzerland’s charming capital.

Here you spend four nights at the welcoming, highly-rated Hotel Baren am Bűndesplatz (4 star).

Day 2 - At leisure in Bern

Enjoy a full day to take in the medieval air of the Swiss capital. Highlights include the elevated rose garden above the Bear Park. Perhaps wander among the pretty galleried streets and arcades, watch the fascinating Astronomical Clock as it changes on the hour or climb the 101 metre-high cathedral tower, which offers the best views of the old town round which the River Aare flows.

Should you wish to venture further afield, then you might consider the ‘Chocolate Express’ journey to the Cailler Chocolate factory at Broc and perhaps take the opportunity to visit nearby Gruyères with its famous cheese, pretty village and castle.

You may like to travel via both Lauterbrunnen and Mürren, using an enticing combination of cogwheel railways, funiculars, and cable cars, to the summit of the Schilthorn (supplements apply).

There is time at the top 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.

There are further attractions at the summit, which you can explore before making your descent via Stechelberg.

There is also the option to journey onwards and upwards from Interlaken, past the famous resorts of Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg aboard the spectacular Jungfrau Railway (supplements apply) as it conveys you to the highest railway station in Europe at 11,333ft. Savour the experience from the ‘Top of Europe’, which is all the more majestic when covered in snow, before a dramatic descent via Grindelwald.

Day 3 – Bern to Locarno along the Lötschberger and Centovalli Railway

Today you return to the station and bid farewell to the Swiss capital. Here you board the Lötschberger train.

The scenic journey takes you south to Spiez near Lake Thun. At the town of Frutigen in the Kander valley, the route passes over wide loops and through a handful of smaller tunnels, climbing along the rugged scenic pathway to Kandersteg, almost 3,000 feet higher in elevation, in a narrow valley of craggy cliffs.

From here you leave the Bernese Oberalp region, passing Goppenstein and the Lötschen valley into the Valais on the other side of the ridge.

Here you’ll see the characteristic sun-weathered timber houses of the mountain slopes as the southern grade of the nearly 100-year-old Lötschberg mountain rail line heads down into the valley of the Rhone River with glorious vistas spreading out into the distance.

Here your journey takes you through the scenic Simplon Pass to Domodossla on the Italian border.

Here you can enjoy another truly unforgettable journey as you travel along the narrow gauge Centovalli Railway from Italy back into Switzerland, across viaducts and bridges, through a hundred different valleys.

You arrive in the delightful town of Locarno, where warmer climes nurture more exotic plants and palm tree lined promenades on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore, Italy’s second largest lake. Your hotel for the next 3 nights is the highly-rated Hotel Belvedere (4 star).

On arrival at Locarno station you can either walk uphill, take a taxi or transfer to your accommodation by funicular (a novel way to arrive)!

Days 4 and 5 – Locarno and Lake Maggiore

You have 2 days to explore the pretty lakeside town of Locarno with its charming mix of Swiss and Italian cultures or venture further afield on Lake Maggiore and into Italy.

You might like to take the opportunity to travel by ferry along Lake Maggiore to the charming Italian resort of Stresa, en route be sure to stop awhile in pretty Ascona to admire the stunning vistas.

Why not visit Lake Maggiore’s stunning islands, including Isola Bella, on a relaxing lake cruise (payable locally). You might choose to visit Isola Bella and the gorgeous Borromeo Palace with its lovely Italian gardens and perhaps one of the other islands on this spectacular lake.

There is also the option to visit nearby Bellinzona with its pretty castle and the attractive town of Lugano on Lake Lugano. Alternatively spend some time relaxing in around your hotel and make the most of its excellent facilities.

Day 6 – The Gotthard Panorama Express to Lucerne

This morning after breakfast make your way to Locarno station.

Here you board the train and take your seat in the panorama carriage for the journey to Flüelen. The route of the Gotthard Panorama Express, between Locarno and Lucerne, takes you from the warmer shores of Lake Maggiore, in the Italian-speaking Ticino region, into the snow-capped heart of the Swiss Alps.

From Lake Maggiore you travel up and over the impressive Gotthard Pass and through the Gotthard Tunnel – once the longest railway tunnel in the world.

You continue through horseshoe tunnels and over bridges, eventually arriving in Flüelen. Here you walk the short distance from the train station to the ferry terminal, where you board the historic Gotthard Panorama Express steamer for the cruise along beautiful Lake Lucerne to Lucerne.

Lunch may be available on board (payable locally) as you cruise through spectacular scenery. On arrival in Lucerne make your own way the short distance to your hotel for the next 3 nights, the highly-rated Cascada Boutique Hotel (4 star), conveniently situated just a short walk from the lake and the old town.

Days 7 and 8 – Lucerne and Lake Lucerne

You have 2 full days to enjoy the scenery on stunning Lake Lucerne.

So why not take a lake steamer for wonderful views of the surrounding mountain?

Perhaps take the Mount Pilatus cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad to the summit of the Pilatus Kulm.

When you reach the top of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway there is a magnificent panoramic view of Lucerne, its sparkling lake, and the Alps beyond (Pilatus railway operates from mid-May to October).

Alternatively you could travel up the delightful Rigi cog railway to Rigi-Kulm with fabulous views of Mount Rigi and Lake Lucerne.

After time for lunch at the top you can descend to Lucerne by cable car and lake-steamer
(all journeys payable locally).

Day 9 – Golden Pass Panoramic Express to Montreux

Today you leave Lucerne for one of the highlights of your holiday – a fabulous journey on the Golden Pass line.

The first leg of the journey passes through the beautiful Bernese Oberland, passing alongside lakes and beneath towering mountain peaks and thundering waterfalls, before reaching Interlaken.

From Interlaken you continue westwards via Spiez, snaking alongside sparkling Lake Thun.

Then relax in the comfort of your seat* as the Golden Pass Panoramic Express climbs to more than 4,000ft above sea level, passing traditional Swiss chalets with their detailed painted façades as you travel through the delightful Simmental Valley to Zweisimmen.

Enjoy the option of lunch 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 spectacular journey to Montreux you can also take ‘VIP’ seats at the very front of the train, enjoying the same exceptional views as the driver. Revel in the breath-taking views of the French Alps as the train makes its spiralling descent towards Lake Geneva.

On arrival in Montreux, your hotel for the next three nights is the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (4 star superior), perfectly situated a few steps from the station and overlooking the lake.

Montreux luxury holidays by planet rail

Days 10 & 11 – Exploring Montreux

You have two full days in Montreux to discover more of the town and this corner of Switzerland.

You might like to stroll around Montreux and stretch your legs or board the trolley bus for the short journey to the stunning medieval Château de Chillon (payable locally).

As you marvel at the spectacular setting, between the sparkling lake and breath-taking mountains, spare a thought for the prisoners of this 13th century castle, considered to be one of the best-preserved in Europe.

Whilst staying in Montreux why not 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’?

You might fancy a trip along the lake to Vevey and a visit of the Charlie Chaplin Museum (payable locally) or a day trip to the spectacular Glacier on the fabulous mountain train via Aigle to Les Diablerets.

Day 12 – Montreux to London – Homeward bound

Today you return to Montreux station and continue your journey to Lausanne to board the TGV to whisk you to Paris.

Watch the charming scenery flash past or reminisce on the wonders of the past few days.

After arriving in the French capital, your taxi transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord to connect with the Eurostar to London.

Let the train take the strain as you stretch out and relax over a light meal and drinks in your Standard Premier Class seat.

At 186mph the landscape is a blur at times, though memories abide as you return to St Pancras International ahead of the final leg of your journey home.

lake-geneva-from-montreux

Further information

YOUR HOTELS

BERN

Located in the heart of Bern’s Old Town, the comfortable Hotel Baeren am Bundesplatz (4 star) is ideally placed both for the railway station and for the attractions of the Swiss capital.

Located just 50 metres from the Bundesplatz and the Federal Palace in Bern, this highly-rated hotel offers free Wi-Fi, free bicycles and free access to its fitness room and sauna.

All of the 57 en-suite rooms at the hotel feature coffee and tea, electric kettle and work desk, and each is equipped with an electronic safe, hairdryer, cable TV and telephone.

The hotel provides a 24-hour reception and a trendy bar decorated with scenes of Bern’s famous Bärengraben (Bear Pit), which is located a 20-minute walk away.

LOCARNO

The Belvedere Hotel (4-star) is situated in a privileged position on a beautiful sunny slope above Locarno and offers spectacular views of Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains.

All of the hotel’s 81 comfortable ensuite rooms & suites are all generously equipped, decorated in warm colours and furnished with attention to detail.

The hotel benefits several restaurants and a bar, including alfresco dining on the garden terraces next to the outdoor pool.

Facilities include a splendid indoor pool with open air section, surrounded by a luxurious garden with table tennis, pétanque, badminton, huge chess game and a small, but well-equipped gym centre with sauna, laconium and steam bath, and a complete program of massages & cosmetic treatments.

LUCERNE

The Cascada Boutique Hotel (4-star) is centrally located close to Lucerne railway station, a few minutes’ walk from Lake Lucerne and the old town.

All rooms feature air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, TV and en-suite facilities. In every room you can find a wall painting of a Swiss waterfall.

The rooms facing the inner courtyard are especially quiet, whereas the rooms on the upper floors facing the Bundesplatz boast superb views of the Swiss mountains.

The Bolero restaurant serves Spanish and Mexican specialities whilst a variety of cocktails and wines are served in the lounge bar.

MONTREUX

The Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (4-star superior) is a traditional Belle-Époque hotel, originally built in 1870 and located right in the centre of Montreux, just a few steps from the Railway Station.

The hotel has 140 rooms and benefits from fabulous views of Lake Geneva and the Alps from its summer terrace.

All the comfortable en suite rooms in this stylish hotel feature air conditioning, TV, minibar, radio and telephone.

What's Included

First Class rail travel from London to Bern, Locarno, Lucerne and Montreux and return as described above (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar)

Journeys on the Lötschberger scenic route from Bern to Brig, the Centovalli railway from Domodossola to Locarno, the Gotthard Panorama Express from Bellinzona to Lucerne and the Golden Pass line from Lucerne to Montreux

11 nights’ accommodation with breakfast at highly-rated 4 star hotels in Bern, Locarno, Lucerne and Montreux

Taxi transfers in Paris

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