Duration
16 Days
Destination
Switzerland

Swiss Alpine Adventure by Rail

• ZURICH • MONTREUX • INTERLAKEN • BRIG • FILISUR • CHUR •
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Switzerland’s vertical landscape has long attracted romantics and travellers. The railway revolution of the nineteenth century saw little trains daring to ascend the highest peaks by ingenious and inventive methods of engineering, making some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery accessible to all. Train travel is central to Swiss life, and its rail network is one of the most efficient, and easily the most patronised network per head of population in the world. This finely tuned adventure, led by your experienced Switzerland expert Robert Kingsford-Smith, will take you through the heart of the Alps to explore a wonderful mix of the country’s key historical, cultural, and scenic destinations.

Some Details

Departure Location
Zurich, Switzerland
Return Location
Zurich, Switzerland
Tour Leader(s)
Robert Kingsford-Smith
Tour Date
15 Apr 2023 - 30 Apr 2023
Extras
Price: $9,985 Single Supplement: $1,980
Price includes
  • 15 nights accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Chartered coach, with luggage transport throughout the tour
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides
  • Daily breakfast, 3 lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Drinks included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Tipping and gratuities
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
  • Excursions listed as optional and extra in the brochure
  • International flights
  • Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Saturday 15 April:

ZURICH

Welcome to magical Switzerland! Join Robert and our fellow travellers for a tantalising welcome dinner.

Overnight: Townhouse Boutique Hotel, Zurich (D) 

Day 2 • Sunday 16 April:

ZURICH

We’ll start our day with a guided walking tour of the city’s atmospheric Old Town. Zurich’s origins date back as far as 15 BC which explains why the city is so full of rich, old-world charm. Our local tour guide will engage us with colourful stories and anecdotes whilst introducing some of the highlights including Bahnhofstrasse, Niederdorf, Grossmünster Cathedral, Lindenhof, and more. The tour finishes back at the station where we will depart for a short journey along the lake to Adliswil to connect with the cable car that takes us up to Felsenegg Peak. Here we’ll enjoy a lovely “Welcome” all-you-can-eat cheese fondue lunch at the mountain restaurant with its brilliant views of Lake Zurich and the Alps. A great way to start our wonderful Swiss adventure. 

Overnight: Townhouse Boutique Hotel, Zurich (B, L)  

Day 3 • Monday 17 April:

ZURICH – MONTREUX

Utilising our Swiss Rail passes, we depart Zurich and make our way to the charming town of Montreux on beautiful Lake Geneva. On this journey, we’ll begin to experience some of the breathtaking scenery this country has to offer. After checking in to our hotel right on the lake, enjoy a short trip to visit the magnificent Chateau de Chillon. A thousand years of history is contained in this iconic castle standing proudly on an island in the lake; truly a jewel of Switzerland. Our expert local guide, dressed in period costume, will help to paint a picture of the life and legends inside this labyrinth of rooms, dungeons, and halls. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel on the shore of Lake Geneva. 

Overnight: Hotel Du Lac, Montreux (B, D) 

Day 4 • Tuesday 18 April:

MONTREUX

After breakfast we’ll meet in the hotel lobby and board our train, climbing the scenic hills overlooking Lake Geneva to the beautiful old town of Gruyeres, the home of Alien creator H. R. Giger and the famous cheese factory. A three-minute bus ride takes us to the beautiful, historic town of Gruyeres Ville. Gruyères Castle and the picture-book village is a great spot to enjoy some free time for shopping and lunch. Built between 1270 and 1282, the castle is one of the most prestigious in Switzerland and towers majestically above the quaint medieval town below. 

Overnight: Hotel Du Lac, Montreux (B) 

Day 5 • Wednesday 19 April:

MONTREUX – INTERLAKEN

Today, we take the Golden Panoramic Express back over the renowned Golden Pass. A quick change at Zweissimen and we’re off to our destination at the lakeside town of Interlaken Ost. The route we take reveals stunning views of Lake Geneva and the ‘teeth of the Midi’, one of Switzerland’s most dramatic ranges. 

Upon arrival, we’ll check in to our hotel located directly on the waterway joining Interlaken’s two lakes, before taking a round trip by ferry on the turquoise Lake Brienz, set amid the spectacular mountain scenery of the Bernese Oberland. A boat ride on this typical alpine lake with its steep sides is a truly impressive experience. Dinner is at a local restaurant. 

Overnight: Boutique Hotel Bellevue, Interlaken (B, D) 

Day 6 • Thursday 20 April:

INTERLAKEN

Travel on the local service for a journey to the beautiful town of Lauterbrunnen, situated in one of the most impressive glacial trough valleys in the Alps, between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks. Following this, we’ll ride the longest rack railway in Europe to its highest station, the Jungfraujoch, where we’ll experience breathtaking views of Switzerland’s largest glacier. Take the elevator to “the Sphinx” observatory and brave the outside deck for amazing views of the Jungfrau, Monch, Eiger mountains, and the Aletsch Glacier. Return to Interlaken after taking a stroll through the village of Lauterbrunnen where the cascading waterfalls frame the town. 

Overnight: Boutique Hotel Bellevue, Interlaken (B, D) 

Day 7 • Friday 21 April:

INTERLAKEN

Today is a free day to explore the Interlaken area at your leisure. You might like to take the cable car to the top of Schilthorn Mountain, (made famous by James Bond’s 1969 movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’), ride the bus from Lauterbrunnen to the Trummelbach subterranean waterfalls, or the inclined railway to Harder Kulm for amazing views over the lake. This can all be done utilising your handy Swiss Rail Pass. 

Meet back at our hotel’s restaurant this evening to compare notes on the day’s activities.

Overnight: Boutique Hotel Bellevue, Interlaken (B)

Day 8 • Saturday 22 April:

INTERLAKEN – BRIG

After a leisurely start this morning, we’ll take the old railway route through the Kander Valley, the original Lotschberg Tunnel, and the thrilling descent of the Rhone Valley to Brig, a charming medieval city with an imposing 17th-century castle overlooking the town. 

After checking in to our hotel, take a stroll around the town and pay a visit to the Stockalper Palace, built in 1532 this baroque palace was built by the merchant Prince Kaspar Jodok von Stockalper and is one of the most important in Switzerland. 

Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner at our hotel. 

Overnight: Ambassador Hotel, Brig (B, D) 

Day 9 • Sunday 23 April:

BRIG

We board a local train this morning, and travel along the valley and up the gorge to Zermatt at the base of the awe-inspiring Matterhorn. It may not be Switzerland’s highest mountain, but it certainly is its most iconic. The famous Gornergrat rack railway, from Zermatt to the shoulder of Monta Rosa at 3135 metres, is the highest open-air railway in Europe. The spectacular viewing platform showcases views across 29 of the highest peaks of the Alps and the vast Gorner Glacier below. Enjoy the spectacular view from the summit; before returning on one of the regular trains to Zermatt for a leisurely look around, before returning to Brig. 

Overnight: Ambassador Hotel, Brig (B) 

Day 10 • Monday 24 April:

BRIG – CHUR

Today we will take the famous Glacier Express for a run over the Oberalp Pass to Chur. You’ll be glad of the fact that this is the world’s slowest express train, as we leisurely take in the stunning scenery and array of remarkable railway engineering feats. Soak up views of rugged cliffs, crystal-clear mountain lakes and quaint, picture-perfect villages. This is truly one of the greatest rail journeys of the world! This scenic trip will include lunch and commentary. 

Reaching Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland and the capital of the Canton of Graubünden, we check in to our hotel for the next four nights. Our luggage will be waiting for us upon arrival and after freshening up we head out a short walk to have dinner at Drei Könige (Three Kings), an authentic local Swiss restaurant that dates back to 1793. 

Overnight: Hotel Stern, Chur (B, L, D) 

Day 11 • Tuesday 25 April:

CHUR

After breakfast this morning we’ll embark on a guided walking tour of the city, through the old town and into the area of the Bishop’s Palace and the historic 12th-century church. We’ll have some time to enjoy lunch at a local café. In the afternoon we’ll ride the RhB down the main street and steep-climb to the lakeside resort village of Arosa, flying over the famous Langweiser Viaduct en route. This is, without doubt, the best short train ride you can take in Switzerland. Return to Chur later in the afternoon for an evening at leisure.  

Overnight: Hotel Stern, Chur (B, L)  

Day 12 • Wednesday 26 April:

CHUR – TIRANO – CHUR

An exciting and beautiful rail trip is scheduled today on board the Bernina Express to Tirano in Northern Italy, an exquisite trip that epitomizes Swiss rail. Our train will climb over the multiple Albula spiral tunnels and viaducts to the highest crossing of the Alps before rapidly descending over 1600 metres from the snow to the city of Tirano, a charming Italian town with a wonderful collection of cafés and restaurants. Here we’ll have some free time for a delicious local lunch before the train returns on this stunning railway back to our hotel in Chur, taking you from the snow to the palm trees.   

Overnight: Hotel Stern, Chur (B)  

Day 13 • Thursday 27 April:

CHUR

Today is a free day and there are a number of options on offer. Take a short train trip up to the nearby Davos and Klosters (keep an eye out for the Barentritt), have lunch and shop in St. Moritz, or see the Albula museum at Bergun. Intrepid explorers can take a walk down between the viaducts of the famous Albula Circus, where the railway circles over the soaring stone viaducts as it climbs over itself three times. 

Overnight: Hotel Stern, Chur (B)  

Day 14 • Friday 28 April:

CHUR – ZURICH

Following breakfast, we’ll ride the RhB train down the main street and steep climb to the lakeside resort village of Arosa, crossing over the famous single-track Longweiss Viaduct on route. This is, without a doubt, the best short train ride you can take in Switzerland. On return, we’ll catch the regional express to Zurich, running via the scenic Walensee Lake and Lake Zurich. 

The afternoon is free, with many options for you to continue exploring this wonderful and vibrant city.  

Overnight: Townhouse Boutique Hotel, Zurich (B)  

Day 15 • Saturday 29 April:

ZURICH

We begin our day with a ride on the express train to the lakeside village of Arth Goldau, where we’ll board Europe’s first mountain railway, the Rigi cogwheel train which operates over a 7% incline (1 in 14). We’ll then head over the mountain to Vitznau to take in the stunning views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains, before a short ferry ride to the charming city of Lucerne. Here we’ll pay a visit to the Swiss Transport Museum and experience the history of various forms of transportation used in bygone times, encapsulating planes, trains, boats, and automobiles! You can spend as long as you like here, with the option to explore the Old City and the famous Muenster bridge close by.

Later on, we’ll return to Zurich by train or take the option to spend a few more hours in Lucerne and look around this beautiful city, with its historic covered bridge and atmospheric old town. There are regular trains to whisk you back to Zurich. Later in the evening we’ll gather for a celebratory farewell dinner in our hotel’s restaurant – a great way to wrap up our wonderful Swiss adventure.   

Overnight: Townhouse Boutique Hotel, Zurich (B, D) 

Day 16 • Sunday 30 April:

ZURICH – DEPART (B)

After breakfast, we check out and say goodbye.
For guests returning home, Zurich airport is only a few minutes by rail from our station. These are regular services that do not require reservations. 

Switzerland’s vertical landscape has long attracted romantics and travellers. The railway revolution of the nineteenth century saw little trains daring to ascend the highest peaks by ingenious and inventive methods of engineering, making some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery accessible to all. Train travel is central to Swiss life, and its rail network is one of the most efficient, and easily the most patronised network per head of population in the world. This finely tuned adventure, led by your experienced Switzerland expert Robert Kingsford-Smith, will take you through the heart of the Alps to explore a wonderful mix of the country’s key historical, cultural, and scenic destinations.

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      Swiss Alpine Adventure by Rail

      Duration
      16 Days
      Destination
      Switzerland

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