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Enjoy the spectacular Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express
The Alps might not be the world's tallest mountain range, but they are certainly one of the most beautiful. The autumn months bring a new beauty to the area, with the changing colours of the trees of the Alpine valleys set majestically against the snow-capped peaks, while winter, when a fresh layer of snow has fallen, the towns dotted along the Alpine valleys are unforgettably romantic.
On our five-day, no-fly tour of the Swiss Alps, you'll stay in a charming hotel in Interlaken, visit Lucerne and Bern, cruise across picturesque Lake Thun, and ascend Mount Rigi on a traditional cogwheel railway. You'll also spend a day on the Glacier Express, enjoying a leisurely three-course lunch while you climb slowly and steadily higher up into the mountains, travelling through the mighty Oberalp Pass.
This trip departs in 2023 - click here for 2024 departures.
Ride the Glacier Express
After a short train journey to Chur, in East Switzerland, you'll board the iconic Glacier Express for one of the most unforgettable days of your tour. The 'slowest express train in the world' has been in operation since 1930, though it now boasts modern, comfortable and airy carriages. Large windows offer panoramic views of the surrounding fantastical landscapes, as you inch your way through snow-coated woodland and up into the Oberalp Pass, standing 2,033 metres above sea level. During the journey, you'll be served a delicious three-course lunch, and in the evening, you'll return to Interlaken for a relaxing evening at your hotel.
Sitting in a narrow valley between two lakes, Interlaken, in central Switzerland, is a classic Alpine resort town with a picturesque, olde-worlde feel. Timberclad buildings line the streets - one of which, the Hotel Carlton-Europe, will be your base for five days. With an on-site spa, vintage décor and a restaurant serving a menu of traditional Swiss dishes, it will give you a real sense of life up in the Alps. You'll also be close to the emerald waters of Lake Thun, and the mountains, forests and meadows of the Bernese Oberland region.
Lake Thun cruise
Day four of your tour will feature an afternoon cruise on Lake Thun, one of Switzerland's most scenic spots, surrounded on all sides by dramatic landscapes, including quaint mountain villages, historic churches and 12th-century Thun castle. You'll also be able to spot the distant peaks of the region's most famous summits - the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Mount Rigi and Lake Lucerne
A visit to the colourful lakeside city of Lucerne will be a chance to breathe in plenty of fresh mountain air. Following leisure time to explore the city's shops, cafes and squares, you'll take the train to nearby Arth-Goldau, where a traditional cogwheel railway will lift you slowly to the summit of Mount Rigi - from where you'll be rewarded with sweeping views across the surrounding mountains and glittering Lake Lucerne below.
The morning of your final full day will be spent exploring the fascinating Swiss capital Bern, where the carefully preserved, pedestrianised Old Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its many fountains, narrow streets, ancient spires and ornate public buildings still stand proud decades, and in some cases centuries, after their construction. Most famous among these building is Bern Cathedral, a magnificent example of Gothic architecture, and the intricate 13th-century Zytglogge (clock tower). The arrival of each new hour sets off an incredible mechanical puppet show, including roosters, dancing bears, a jester and the Ancient Greek god of time, Chronos. The city's mountainous skyline adds to its romantic appeal.
Reasons to book
Ride the Glacier Express
Lake Thun cruise
Mount Rigi and Lake Lucerne
Hotel Carlton-Europe stay
- Take the Eurostar and a high-speed train from London to Interlaken (return)
- Spend four nights at the historic Hotel Carlton-Europe in Interlaken, including breakfast and porterage
- Join the Glacier Express from Chur to Brig
- Enjoy a three-course lunch on board the Glacier Express
- Travel by second class rail within Switzerland
- Visit Bern and explore Lake Thun by rail and boat
- Discover Lucerne and Mount Rigi by rail and boat
Day1London – InterlakenInterlaken, Switzerland
Journey from London to Paris by Eurostar, followed by an onward connection to join the high-speed train to Strasbourg and onward train to Interlaken, Switzerland. Check in at the Carlton-Europe Hotel for a relaxing evening.
Day2Lucerne via GoldenPass Line – Mount RigiLucerne, Switzerland
Today you'll travel along a section of the GoldenPass Line to Lucerne, where colourful pitched roof buildings perch on the edge of a blue lake, framed by a magnificent mountain range. After some free time you'll take the train to nearby Arth Goldau and then join the cogwheel railway up Mount Rigi for breathtaking panoramic views across the Alps and of Lake Lucerne below.
Day3Glacier ExpressChur, Switzerland
This morning you'll travel by rail to Chur and join the Glacier Express for a memorable journey along the broad valley before climbing through pasture and woodland. Enjoy a delicious three-course lunch on board as the train spirals its way towards the Oberalp Pass, the highest point of the route at 2,033 metres, before descending to the Rhône valley and stopping at Brig. You'll then continue by rail, returning to Interlaken in the early evening.
Day4Bern – Lake Thun CruiseBern, Switzerland
The capital of Switzerland, Bern, is your destination this morning. This charming city is perfectly preserved, with many fountains, facades, narrow streets and ancient towers. Traffic is kept out of the old town, so it's a delight to explore with the added beauty of the Aare river and surrounding mountains. In the afternoon you can enjoy dramatic scenery with a cruise on Lake Thun, whose deep blue waters are framed by quaint villages and historic castles, right up to the peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Day5Interlaken – LondonInterlaken, Switzerland
Depart this morning, retracing your route to Paris where your Eurostar connection returns us to London.
Close to the emerald waters of Lake Thun lies the Hotel Carlton-Europe, an 120-year-old adult's only vintage hotel
With an on-site spa, vintage décor and a restaurant serving a menu of traditional Swiss dishes, the Hotel Carlton-Europe will give you a real sense of life up in the Alps. Some of the rooms and the legendary Johnny's dancing bar were recently renovated to enhance its alpine-chic look. All rooms are individually designed using unique furniture and are equipped with a flat screen TV, a telephone, a safe, Wi-Fi, hairdryer, an electric kettle and either a shower or a bathtub.