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  • GoldenPass Line Holiday

    Lucerne. Credit: Switzerland Tourism

    Gstaad. Credit: Switzerland Tourism

    Lavaux Vineyards near Montreux. Credit: Switzerland Tourism

    Montreux. Credit: Switzerland Tourism

    GoldenPass Line holiday – iconic Swiss rail journeys

    4 nights/5 days
    Geneva – Lausanne – Montreux – GoldenPass Line – Gstaad – Simmental – Zurich
    The GoldenPass Line travels a relatively short distance of 191 kms but encompasses a variety of experiences: two languages, five Swiss cantons and eight lakes as well as providing views of some of the most varied and beautiful scenery in Switzerland.


    This train journey begins in Geneva, after your arrival from the UK. First, take a train to Lausanne for your first night in Switzerland, before your experience of the GoldenPass Line starts in earnest. On the morning of your second day, travel past the Lavaux Vineyards to Montreux, board the GoldenPass Line, and make your way to Gstaad and Schoenried in the Saanenland. Spend two days and three nights enjoying the scenery, the chic boutique shops and cafes, and the abundant walking and cycling paths in this area. On your fifth day, you will re-board the GoldenPass Line and travel on to Zweisimmen, from where you catch a separate train to Zurich for your return flight or train. We have included flights into Geneva and back from Zurich but the whole holiday can be taken by rail too, travelling from London to Lausanne on the first day and then returning from Lucerne to London on the last day.

    Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.

    Sample Prices
    Rail (standard class on Eurostar and second class on all other trains) from London and throughout back to London at 4 star hotels (eg Hotel Angleterre et Residence, Lausanne and Hostellerie Alpenrose, Schonried), from £1,460 per person
    Supplement: Standard premier on Eurostar and first class on all other trains £360 per person

    Flights to/from Switzerland and second class rail travel in Switzerland at 4 star hotels (eg Hotel Angleterre et Residence, Lausanne and Hostellerie Alpenrose, Schonried) from £1,480 per person
    Supplement: First class rail in Switzerland £190 per person

    Rail (standard class on Eurostar and second class on all other trains) from London and throughout back to London at 5 star hotels (eg Hotel Beau Rivage Palace, Lausanne and Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad), from £1,970 per person
    Supplement: Standard premier on Eurostar and first class on all other trains £360 per person

    Flights to/from Switzerland and second class rail travel in Switzerland at 4 star hotels (eg Hotel Beau Rivage Palace, Lausanne and Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad), from £1,990 per person
    Supplement: First class rail in Switzerland £190 per person

    What’s included
    Flights from UK to Geneva and back from Zurich OR rail travel London to Switzerland and back via Paris (first class can be booked at a supplement)
    4 day Swiss rail flex pass (first class can be booked at a supplement)
    1 night’s bed and breakfast in Lausanne
    3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Schoenried in Saanenland

    What’s not included
    Optional extra nights in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad, Zurich, the Bernese Oberland, or Lucerne
    Transfers in Paris (applicable if travelling to Switzerland by train)
    Transfers in Switzerland station to hotel unless offered by your hotel
    A luggage transfer service is available within Switzerland – please contact us for further details.

    Dates
    This rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.
    For more information regarding rail services to and within Switzerland, view our train guide.

    Day-by-day Itinerary

    Geneva - Lausanne - Montreux - GoldenPass Line - Gstaad - Simmental - Zurich

    DAY ONE:
    Begin your GoldenPass touring holiday by arriving into Geneva, either by air or via Paris by rail. Take an hour or so to explore the old town of this beautiful city and to see the Jet d’Eau erupting out of the waters of Lake Geneva. Then, board a train to Lausanne, where you will spend your first night. Perhaps use the rest of your day or part of the next morning taking in the sight of the fine cathedral, the old town, and port area of Ouchy, home to the Olympic Museum, numerous restaurants, and a scenic waterside boulevard. If staying longer on Lake Geneva, you can take boat trips on the lake, or rail journeys along the shore, both of which provide and excellent means of viewing the famous Chateau Chillon, jutting out from the rocks across the water’s surface.

    DAYS TWO TO FOUR:
    In the late morning of your second day (around 11am), take the short train journey from Lausanne to Montreux, ready to board the GoldenPass Line about 45 minutes later. Choose from the panoramic coaches that allow exceptional views or the Belle Epoque classical carriages that provide an authentic Swiss experience. This train zig-zags up from the lake, passing the Chamby steam railway, and reaching higher ground at Les Avants, passing through the mountains, and into forested valleys. As you get closer to Gstaad, Schoenried, and the convergence of the five valleys, you will pass startling turquoise water and old wooden bridges in Montbovon, the idyllic Chateau d’Oex set against imposing mountainscapes, and numerous creaking glaciers. Finally, pass the delightful chic resort of Gstaad, before reaching Schoenried, at around 13:14, where you will spend the next three nights. View the 'About the Train' tab above for a more detailed description of the GoldenPass Line route. Spend the next two and a half days enjoying all that this beautiful area has to offer. Explore the Alpine meadows on foot, trail the hiking paths across the slopes, and seek out the hidden waterfalls and streams that vein the landscape. From Schoenried, you can enjoy all this, and more, in one sweeping glance. Visit the glacier at Les Diablerets, and take the cable car up to the Rellerli or the chairlift up to the Horneggli for a long, satisfying walk. In Gstaad, make the most of the menagerie of unique boutique shops and try out many of the gourmet restaurants, styled on the traditional Swiss chalets.

    DAY FIVE:
    On your fifth day, after three nights in Gstaad and Schoenried, re-board the GoldenPass Line for the short journey to Zweisimmen, the gateway from the Saanenland into the Bernese Oberland. From here, either change trains and head north via Basel to for trains back to London via Paris, or continue along the GoldenPass extension through Interlaken and Lucerne to take a later flight or next-day train home from Zurich.

    Optional
    It is possible to add extra nights in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad, or Zurich. Alternatively, increase the length of your stay with additional nights in the Bernese Oberland or Lucerne.

    Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.

    Hotels

    At both Lausanne and the Saanenland, you can choose from a range of different luxury hotels, details of which can be found below.

    Lausanne 
    Hotel Angleterre et Residence – 4 star

    This timeless hotel sits opposite the green portside, and is surrounded by buildings reminiscent of Swiss chateaux. Guests here can choose between fairytale, traditional style and strikingly contemporary accommodation, thanks to the four hotel buildings. With many dining options, including the best Italian restaurant in Lausanne, tennis courts, two swimming pools, and spa facilities, this is the perfect stop-off point when staying on Lake Geneva.
    Beau-Rivage Palace – 5 star
    On the banks of Lake Geneva in Lausanne, the Beau-Rivage Palace is a building equally as stunning as its location. Just a short distance from Ouchy, and with beautifully regal interiors, multiple dining options, and a well-equipped spa, this is the ultimate luxury address in Lausanne.

    Saanenland
    Hotel Alpenrose – 4 star

    A boutique property housing cosy and elegant accommodation, the Hotel Alpenrose is a consistently popular option for clients staying in the Saanenland. Rustic facilities compliment the Alpine setting, making the spa, restaurant, bar, and guestrooms all the more homely and comfortable.
    Le Grand Bellevue - 5 star
    Just a short walk from Gstaad’s main boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, Le Grand Bellevue is a highly convenient hotel immersed in the picturesque lifestyle of the Saanenland. Its pale yellow façade is palatial in design, with a distinctive tower that shapes some of the hotel suites. Equipped with a Michelin starred restaurant and an indulgent spa, this is a luxurious property in which to spend two or three nights while you explore the Saanenland.

    Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.

    The GoldenPass Line rail journey

    A personal favourite of ours, this might be the epitome of the iconic rail journey in Switzerland.

    Route Length: 5.08 hours or 190km from Lucerne to Montreux
    Stops: Lucerne, Sarnen, Sachseln, Giswil, Kaiserstuhl OW, Lungern, Brunig-Hasliberg, Meiringen, Brienz, Interlaken Ost, Interlaken West, Spiez, Wimmis, Oey-Diemtigen, Erlenbach im Simmental, Boltigen, Zweisimmen/ Saanenmoser, Schonried, Gstaad, Saanen, Rougemont, Chateaux-d’Oex, Rossiniere, Montbovon, Les Avants, Chamby, Chernex, Montreux
    Facilities: A dining car is available for the first 1/3 of the journey, and panoramic carriages are available throughout

    In the iconic golden panoramic carriages, the GoldenPass Line takes you across central Switzerland, from the lakeside Lucerne to Montreux, overlooking the French border. Pass the sublime Alpine lakes and peaks, stopping off in chocolate box villages and grand, picturesque towns, always with breath-taking views in every direction.

    The GoldenPass Line begins in Lucerne, on the banks of the lake of the same name. Take your time here to soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and to visit the famous watch shops, nestled into the impressive streets and housed within the grand chalet-esque buildings. You may also choose to visit the Swiss Museum of Transportation before heading further outside the city to witness the cable cars and railways for yourself. Titlis is the only glacier within reasonable distance, but is definitely worth visiting as it also offers sensational views of snow-capped mountains and Alpine meadows from its above-glacier metal bridge. The green Rigi Mountain captures views across 13 nearby lakes, the Swiss Mittelland, and even directs the eye across the borders into France and Germany. Cog railways from Vitznau and Goldau will take you up to Rigi, or a panoramic cable car can be taken from Weggis. Pilatus Mountain, perhaps the best known mountain in the area, is the site of many legends of dragons, giants, and ancient royal graveyards, and offers views over 73 Alpine peaks.

    Your journey begins in earnest with the Brunig Line, which links Central Switzerland with the Bernese Oberland, from Alpnachstad to Brienz. The track becomes very steep in places, often introducing a rack system in order to negotiate the changing gradients. As well as providing passengers with beautiful views and a thrilling rail experience, it also provides a further insight into the history of transportation in Switzerland, built as it was 128 years ago (as of 2016).

    From here, the GoldenPass Line passes through Sarnen, a town smattered with homely chalets, joined by a circular network of roads, looking out onto Lake Sarnen. Next, pause in Sachseln to witness its beautiful central chateau and gardens. Then, the train travels on to the small, traditional village of Giswil, and the lush, rippling agricultural terraces of Kaiserstuhl, which offer a wholly unique landscape that will not be matched in intrigue and innovation elsewhere in Switzerland. Lungern moulds to the irregular outline of Lake Lungern, set on an undulating plain and sparsely spread between small clusters of evergreen trees. Next, the train takes you on to Brunig-Hasliberg, a lesser-known destination for winter sports.

    Before reaching Brienz, the train stops off in Meiringen, beside the Aare Gorge, where limestone has given the Aare River waters an ethereal translucency. Then, progress on to Brienz, on the shores of Lake Brienz. Here the disused farmhouses, stables, bakehouses, and barns of Switzerland are faithfully rebuilt using their original bricks and designs in the charming Ballenberg Open-Air Museum. Stopping here will give you a chance to visit the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn, which covers a huge 1678m altitude difference in less than one hour, skirting sheer cliff faces, with the train’s engine characteristically situated at the back of the train.

    Between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, at the foot of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau peaks, Interlaken is one of the most well-known stops on this route. Perhaps stop off for a night here, taking the opportunity to witness some of the spectacular natural attractions of the area, including the grottos and pools of the St Beatus Caves, reputedly home to a dragon 2,000 years ago before Beatus the monk drove him away. Perhaps also enjoy the boat trip that takes you over to the Bernese Oberland, or climb up to Harder Kulm to see the stunning views across the region. Lauterbrunnen, the valley of 72 waterfalls is also nearby, quilted in Alpine meadows, punctuated by hidden inns, and recognised as the largest nature conservation area in Switzerland. The GoldenPass Line stops at both the east and west stations in Interlaken before moving on.

    Venture on next to Spiez, characterised by the church and castle that stands on the marina peninsula, jutting out into Lake Thun. Slightly further inland, the GoldenPass Line stops off in Wimmis, crowned by a white-washed, dark-roofed castle, which sits high above the town, half-obscured by trees. The flourishing natural beauty continues at Oey and the Nature Park of Diemtigtal, where verdant fields are cloaked in purple flowers. In Erlenbach im Simmental, you may wish to alight to visit the 13th and 15th century murals in the Erlenbach Church, or the Stockhorn Rock that marks the entrance to the Bernese Oberland. The rock itself is distinctive and recognisable from the ground, but also provides excellent views from the top, particularly across Thun, the Aare Valley, Bern, and Jura. Alternatively, remain on the train to admire the tonal patchwork of fields that sweep the countryside from your panoramic carriage.

    From here, the GoldenPass Line will continue through Boltigen, passing the unusual peaks that burst out from thick forest. Then, it will stop in Zweisimmen, the gateway to the Gstaad-Saanenland winter holiday region, where you change to the Bernese Oberland Railway in order to head towards Montreux. In Saanenland, the first stop is Schonried, Gstaad’s peaceful neighbour, to which skiers flock in the winter months. In the summer, the slopes are lined with Alpine paths, which can be reached on foot or by cable car. After visiting Schonried, enter the famous town of Gstaad. Though internationally renowned, Gstaad has maintained the authenticity of its Alpine character, with quaint streets lined by wooden chalet buildings, small, intimate cafes, and boutique shops. A trip up to so-called Glacier 3000 will afford you stunning views of 24 snow-capped mountains, each reaching above 4000m, including Mont Blanc. On your way out of this popular area, the train stops in the small village of Saanen, a haven for serene strolls, with an abundance of pretty houses and a quaint church.

    The GoldenPass Line will now pass through Rougemont and on to Chateau-d’Oex, where the mountainscapes are dotted with old chalets; an image typical of the Pays-d’Enhaut. The next leg of this journey is dominated by pretty, idyllic villages, each with a particular style to their architecture, and each nestled into the slopes at the foot of the Alps, cushioned by abundant trees. Stop in Rossiniere before reaching the startling turquoise water and wooden bridges of Montbovon. Houses become sparser and more individualistic as you move towards Les Avants, which assumes a higher ground and is the beginning of a funicular railway.

    Montreux and Lake Geneva will come into sight on the horizon as you zig-zag down into Chamby, home of the Chamby steam railway, and Chernex. Sonzier, home of an octogenarian named Heidi who has lived in the railway bend for over 30 years and still waves every train past, is you last stop before reaching Montreux.

    Finally, you alight in Montreux, known for its Mediterranean climate. Vineyards surround the city and snow-capped Alps provide a constant dramatic backdrop. Though famous for the Montreux Jazz Festival, the city has much more to offer, including the railway that takes visitors across meadows to Rochers-de-Naye at over 2000m above sea level. Occasionally, the Jet d’Eau Fountain in Geneva can be seen from this route. Chillon Castle is perched on a rocky outcrop on Lake Geneva, unmissable for its fairytale beauty, and recognised to be Switzerland’s most popular historical landmark. For a taste of the Swiss chocolate tradition, take the Swiss Chocolate Train to the Maison Cailler to explore the history of chocolate production while letting you craft some chocolate of your own. The train itself is characterised by its Belle Epoque design and original carriages. It travels from Montreux to medieval castle-topped Gruyeres, where 3 museums, characterful cobbled streets with townhouses that have shuttered windows, and pavement cafes await. Back in Montreux, be sure to take the time to visit or observe the Lavaux Terraced Vineyards that stretch across 800 hectares of lakeside land. Perhaps finish your railway journey across Switzerland with the Vineyard Train (or S31) that takes you through the vineyards from Vevey to Puixdoux-Chexbres.

    Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.

    GoldenPass Line Holiday Map


     GoldenPass Line Touring Holiday Map

    GoldenPass Line Route Map


    GoldenPass Line Route Map 

    Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.

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