11 nights/ 12 daysLake Geneva – Saanenland – Bernese Oberland – Lake Lucerne – Gotthard – Lake Lugano – Bernina Pass – Lake ZurichLinking together the most breath-taking and sublime lakes in Switzerland, this grand tour stops off beside the four main Swiss lakes, plus the lesser-known lakes of St Moritz, Sils, Silvaplana, Fallboden, Thun, and Brienz. We aim to capture in this rail touring holiday the various sides to these lakes as well as the diverse villages, towns, and cities that line their shores.Iconic rail journeys included: GoldenPass Line – Wilhelm Tell Express – Bernina ExpressThis grand tour of Switzerland’s lakes begins with your arrival by aeroplane or by train into Geneva. From here, you catch a train to Lausanne for your first two nights beside Lake Geneva, what might be Switzerland’s most popular lake. Then, move on into the Bernese Oberland via the GoldenPass Line for two nights in the chocolate box village of Grindelwald in the Lutschine Valley. This is the perfect opportunity to ascend the Jungfrau by rail to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Next, this tour takes you north via spectacular Interlaken to Lake Lucerne. Spend three nights here, taking in the impressive cultural sites, including the Chapel Bridge, the Water Spike, and the Water Tower. Enjoy a lake cruise, from which you can view the many picturesque villages that line the shores. Board the Wilhelm Tell Express boat to Fluelen from Lucerne on your eighth day, and then the Wilhelm Tell Express train from Fluelen to Bellinzona, and then on to Lugano. Enjoy the Mediterranean feel of Ticino for two nights, exploring the nearby mountain peaks as well as the colourful city itself. Then, you join the Bernina Express as the dedicated coach takes you across northern Italy, past Lake Como to Tirano. Board the Bernina Express train here and journey north to St Moritz at the foot of the Suvretta Mountain, and just a stone’s throw from many picturesque lakes, for your penultimate night. On your final full day, re-join the Bernina Express as it heads towards Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland, where you change for a direct train to Zurich. Spend your final night in your choice of luxury Zurich hotel after visiting the Grossmunster Church and appreciating the crispness of this historic area. On Day Twelve, return to the UK from Zurich by air or rail. Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.Sample pricesFlights to/from Switzerland and second class rail travel in Switzerland at 4 star hotels and 5 star in Grindelwald (eg Angleterre et Residence, Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald, Hotel Wilden Mann, Hotel Lugano Dante, Hotel Schweizerhof St Moritz and Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera), from £2,790 per personSupplement: First class rail in Switzerland £250 per personRail (standard class on Eurostar and second class on all other trains) from London and throughout back to London at 4 star hotels and 5 star in Grindelwald (eg Angleterre et Residence, Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald, Hotel Wilden Mann, Hotel Lugano Dante, Hotel Schweizerhof St Moritz and Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera), from £2,950 per personSupplement: Standard premier on Eurostar and first class on all other trains £380 per personFlights to/from Switzerland and second class rail travel in Switzerland at 5 star hotels and 4 star deluxe in Zurich (eg Beau Rivage Palace, Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald, Palace Luzern, Villa Castagnola, Suvretta House and Hotel Storchen), from £3,760 per personSupplement: First class rail in Switzerland £250 per personRail (standard class on Eurostar and second class on all other trains) from London and throughout back to London at 5 star hotels and 4 star deluxe in Zurich (eg Beau Rivage Palace, Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald, Palace Luzern, Villa Castagnola, Suvretta House and Hotel Storchen), from £3,920 per personSupplement: Standard premier on Eurostar and first class on all other trains £380 per personWhat’s included:• Scheduled flights from the UK to Geneva and Zurich to the UK OR rail travel from London to Switzerland and back via Paris (first class can be booked at a supplement)• 8 days Swiss rail flexi pass (first class can be booked at a supplement)• 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Lausanne• 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Grindelwald• 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Lucerne• 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Lugano• 1 night’s bed and breakfast in St Moritz• 1 night’s bed and breakfast in ZurichOptionalExtra nights in Geneva at the beginning of your tour, or Saanenland between Lake Geneva and Grindelwald. Additional nights can also be added in any of your stopovers. What’s not included:Transfers in ParisTransfers in Switzerland station to hotel unless offered by your hotelClick the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.
Day-by-Day ItineraryLake Geneva – Saanenland – Bernese Oberland – Lake Lucerne – Gotthard – Lake Lugano – Bernina Pass – Lake Zurich DAYS ONE TO TWO:Arrive into Switzerland and spend two nights in LausanneTravel by rail or by air from London to Geneva on your first day. Perhaps spend an hour or two exploring the city, home to fine watch-making, the headquarters of the UN, and the Jet d’Eau fountain. Wander around the Vielle-Villa, the largest Old Town in Switzerland, stopping at the St Pierre Cathedral. From Geneva, catch a train along the northern shore of the lake to Lausanne, where you will spend your first two nights. On your one full day in Lausanne, seek out the impressive historic monuments as well as the new, modern additions. Lausanne Cathedral is believed to be one of Europe’s most beautiful Gothic monuments, crowned by spires of unusual purple and orange hues. A brand new Olympic Museum has recently opened in the heart of Lausanne’s Old Town; three levels depict Olympic history in all its colourful grandeur. The placement of this new museum comes as a result of the Olympic Committee Headquarters being in Lausanne. The Olympic Park is adjoined to the museum, and is dotted with artworks, sports sculptures, and well-maintained flowers and trees. Beside the Olympic Park is the promenade at Ouchy Harbour, which, when lit up in the evening, will be one of the highlights of your trip. The promenade takes you from the gardens along to the Haldimand Tower, the Bellevrie Swimming Pool, the Chateau d’Ouchy, and the port. Enjoy dinner in this beautiful area before returning to your choice of luxury hotel.DAYS THREE TO FIVE:Travel via Montreux from Lausanne to Grindelwald, where you will spend the next two nightsThe next leg of your journey takes you to the eastern point of Lake Geneva, past the Lavaux Terraced Vineyards, to Montreux, home to Chillon Castle, Switzerland’s most popular historical monument. In Montreux, change trains to the GoldenPass Line and zig-zag your way up to higher ground as you begin the journey to Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland. The distinctive golden carriages of the GoldenPass Line take you first through the villages above Montreux, where the houses become sparser and have more individualistic architecture. Pass the turquoise waters and wooden bridges of Montbovon and enter Saanenland in Chateau d-Oex, where the mountain chalets begin to become more prominent. Emerge from a gently curving valley into the flat plains around Gstaad that are formed by the convergence of five valleys. Ascend to Schoenried, and then to Zweisimmen, the so-called ‘gateway’ to the Saanenland. The landscape here becomes jagged as severe bluffs and mountain peaks burst out of areas of thick, rich forest. The Stockhorn Rock between Boltigen and Erlenbach im Simmental marks your entrance to the Bernese Oberland. Pass through flourishing natural beauty in the Nature Park of Diemtigtal and trace the shores of Lake Thun before you reach Interlaken, where you change trains for Grindelwald. The journey takes around three hours in total, bringing you into Grindelwald in the early afternoon. Spend two nights at a hotel of your choice in this enchanting chocolate box village, scattered across the gentle green slopes of the Lutschine Valley. The nearby village of Wengen, accessible via two cable cars, by bus, or by train, sits at the base of the Jungfrau. Your stay in Grindelwald is therefore perfectly placed for enjoying the most iconic attraction of the Bernese Oberland. Travel by funicular railway up to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe, to appreciate the stunning views. For hiking trails, take cable cars up the Monch and the Eiger, or simply follow the softer trails that lead out of Grindelwald. The picturesque Lake Fallboden makes for idyllic and relaxing afternoon and evening walks. Complete or begin your stay in Grindelwald with a self-guided stroll between the rustic wooden chalet houses.DAYS FIVE TO SEVEN:Catch the train from Grindelwald to Lucerne, and spend three nightsLeave Grindelwald at midday on your fifth day, changing trains at Interlaken, to arrive into Lucerne at around 3pm. A three night stay here affords you plenty of time to enjoy Lucerne and the lakeside. An essential visit on any stay in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge, the city’s main landmark and the most photographed monument in Switzerland. Walk along the bridge, taking in the views of the Reuss River, the so-called Water Spike, and the Water Tower. For both historical significance and architectural beauty, visit the 17th century Jesuit Church, which overlooks the water and is topped by two droplet-shaped domes. Above the city is the Musegg Wall, a 14th century structure that once protected the city within. Though the city now sprawls outside of this wall, the nine defensive towers still remain, three of which are open to the public. On your second day, enjoy lunch in a pavement café on the Kornmarkt Square, beside the colourful Pfistern Guildhall, the Hirschenplatz Square, or the Weinmarkt Square, where Lucerne swore its federal oath with Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden. To see some exemplary Swiss culture, visit the prestigious KKL Luzern gallery, the Rosengart Collection of works by Picasso and Klee, the Wagner Museum in Tribschen, and the Swiss Museum of Transport. On your second day here, you may wish to visit some of the villages that line the lake shores, including Vitznau and Weggis. Weggis is recognisable from the water (should you take a lake cruise) by its red-topped church spire that sits at the village’s highest point. Finish your days with a sumptuous dinner back at your hotel, or in one of Lucerne’s many gourmet restaurants.DAYS EIGHT TO NINE:Journey via the Wilhelm Tell Express from Lucerne to Lugano for the next two nightsOn your eighth day, you adopt a different form of transport in order to cross Lake Lucerne. The Wilhelm Tell Express begins with either a salon motorboat or a steamboat, which docks at various places mentioned in the legend of the Swiss National Hero of Liberty, Wilhelm Tell. See the site where Tell reputedly jumped from the bailiff’s ship before pushing it and its crew back into the stormy lake waters, and the meadows of Rutli, where Friedrich Schiller set his popular recounting of the tale. When you reach Fluelen, perhaps take the time to wander along the narrow promenade that separates the harbour from the lake, before boarding the Wilhelm Tell Express train on your way to Lugano. Here, the railway track runs along the Reuss River, across wide, flat valleys until the track gains altitude and chocolate box villages dot the hillsides. Navigate the Gotthard Loop Tunnels, passing through the complex rail network of Goschenen, and entering the province of Ticino at Airolo through the Gotthard Strassentunnel. The train now follows the River Ticino past the waterfalls of Biasca, the Italianate architecture of Faido, and the historic solitary chalets. When you reach Bellinzona, disembark for an alternative train to Lugano. This is the most Italianate town in Switzerland, distinctive because of its three medieval castles that stand on hilly bluffs and form a united UNESCO World Heritage Site. The journey from Bellinzona to Lugano is an incredibly short one, bringing you into Lugano at around half two in the afternoon. Spend two nights in Lugano, exploring the Mediterranean-esque lakeside, lined with colourful houses, small marinas, and palm trees. Enjoy lunch in one of the picturesque waterside restaurants. Ascend Monte Bre in the afternoon by funicular railway from Casserate to appreciate the stunning views across the lake and San Salvatore. Parks, grand villas, and sacred buildings line the streets, blending a definite Mediterranean feel with the reputation and glamour of a world-class city. Over 30 different lake cruises are available, as well as more active pursuits in the mountains.DAY TEN:Catch the Bernina Express from Lugano to St Moritz, where you spend one nightYou depart Lugano by yet another mode of transport: the Bernina Express coach. The Bernina Express bus from Lugano to Tirano in Italy leaves at around 10am, arriving three hours later and passing Lake Como and the picturesque villages of northern Italy on its way. In Tirano, you have an hour to enjoy the charming combination of Italian architecture and Alpine backdrop. Perhaps stop off at the Santuario della Madonna di Tirano on the quiet central square, or seek out the historic monuments and paintings dotted around the town. Then, embark on the final part of your Bernina Express journey, ready to arrive into St Moritz two hours later. This stretch takes you past thriving orchards and vineyards, over the unique Brusio viaduct as it spirals back on itself to compensate for the changing altitudes, and into Le Prese over the Swiss border. Continue on through the Bergamo Alps, through grand and regal Poschiavo and the Val Poschiavo, to Alp Grum, the only restaurant to be exclusively accessible by rail. If time permits, perhaps stop here for a light lunch before continuing with your tour. The Bernina Express now begins its ascent to the highest point on the Rhaetian Railway in Ospizio Bernina. Before arriving into St Moritz, you will pass two of the most famous sights on this railway: the Montebello Curve and the Morteratsch Glacier. The Curve itself allows you plentiful time to appreciate the views of the glacier. Arrive into St Moritz for your penultimate night in Switzerland, perhaps using the time to reach the best viewing point of the Suvretta Mountain by cable car, or to visit Lake Sils, Lake St Moritz, or the windy Lake Silvaplana. The neighbouring mountains, including the Piz Corvatsch, Chantarella, and Corviglia, can all be explored by rail.DAY ELEVEN:Travel from St Moritz to Zurich via Chur for your final nightOn what may be the final rail journey of your holiday, travel from St Moritz to Zurich via the oldest town in Switzerland: Chur. This route takes you first to Chur, past the Cresta Run in Celerina, the Albula Railway Museum in Bergun, the towering Landwasser viaduct in the Domleschg Region, the popular resort of Davos, the stone bridges and ochre houses of Tiefencastel, and the sublime Ruinaulta, before arriving in the ‘Alpine City.’ Change to a direct train to Zurich, which takes just over an hour and skirts around Lake Walen and Lake Zurich on the way. Spend your final night at a luxury Zurich hotel, taking a river or lake cruise on Day Eleven, enjoying a drink in a Badi-Bar on the lakefront, and climbing to the top of the Karlsturm, one of the Grossmunster Church’s two iconic towers. The oldest district in Zurich, and home to the silk-making industry, is Schipfe; perhaps enjoy the luxuries at one of the bathhouses here or seek out the boat-builders’ workshops. Visit the Lindenhof District to see the site of a 4th century Roman Fort as well as Charlemagne’s grandson’s 9th century palace. Complete your stay in Zurich with dinner in an authentic restaurant in the Niederdorf District, a ride on the Little Red Train up to the Polyterrasse, a visit to the Kunsthaus Art Museum, or a walk around the city joining the dots between some of the 1,200 water fountains. DAY TWELVE:Catch your return train or flight to the UKOn your final day, enjoy a relaxing morning at your choice of hotel before heading to Zurich International Airport for your return flight or to the station for your rail journey home. Click the 'Hotel Information' tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary.Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.
Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.
These are the luxury hotels that are featured in this vast touring holiday. Choose your ideal combination, and one of our personal travel specialists will put together an individual price for you.LausanneHotel Angleterre et Residence – 4 starIn the sought-after area of Ouchy, the Hotel Angleterre et Residence combines the cosiness of an English cottage, the sleek stylishness of contemporary modern design, and the charm of a Swiss chateau. Each of its buildings is strikingly different from the outside, but with the same elegant interiors and fantastic service. L’Accademia is reputedly the best Italian restaurant in Lausanne.Hotel Beau Rivage Palace – 5 starThis elegant spa hotel has a stunning, palatial façade, beautifully grand, ornate rooms, and convenient tennis facilities. Diverse internationally-inspired dining options provide plenty of indulgent options for evening meals. From the outdoor pool, guests can see Lake Geneva, and the mountains on the other side. This hotel is just a short walk from Ouchy Harbour.GrindelwaldRomantik Hotel Schweizerhof – 5 starThis attractive, traditional hotel has an abundance of authentic Swiss character, from the dark wood chalet exterior, to the rich, cosy colours of the interiors. A ‘stubli’ style restaurant serves guests a range of Swiss specialities, a comfortable lounge and a picturesque garden provide hours of relaxation, and the idyllic spa offers a place to relax after a day exploring the mountains of the Bernese Oberland.LucerneHotel Wilden Mann – 4 starHotel Wilden Mann has been hosting guests for over 500 years; first as a bar, then as a tavern, and now as a luxury hotel. Inside, the original winding corridors and traditional elements remain, adding further quirkiness to the building that clings to the edge of the river. The lovingly decorated rooms have antique furnishings, abundant character, and a very classical style.Palace Luzern – 5 starThe lakefront Palace Luzern is in a very prestigious area, flanked by houses equally as palatial as the hotel itself. Light airy rooms follow either a traditionally elegant style, an art deco design, or are sleek and modern. Higher category rooms feature works by Miro, Kandinsky, and Chagall. The gourmet restaurants are unique in Lucerne; one serving exclusively seafood. A highlight is the tempting and luxurious spa.Hotel Waldstaetterhof – 3 starThis centrally-located hotel offers sleek, bold accommodation that strikingly contrasts the fairy-tale appearance of its 20th century townhouse exterior. Polished wooden floors, white walls and bedsheets, and bold reds, blues, or greens create a very warm feel, which is complemented by the sharp lines, feature colours, and unique ornaments of the restaurant and bar. Weggis (optional replacement for Lucerne)Hotel Park Weggis – 5 starA majestic Swiss chateau on the banks of Lake Lucerne, the Hotel Park Weggis offers its guests spa facilities, fantastic views, a lakeside veranda for dining, and light, sophisticated accommodation. This is a peaceful village alternative to accommodation within Lucerne, but still with excellent access to the city itself. LuganoHotel Lugano Dante – 4 starBuilt around traditional Swiss elements, this hotel provides simplistic luxuries in an area rich with gourmet restaurants. Inside the hotel, guests experience cosy, warm rooms, sleek, monochrome suites, and an unrelenting attention to detail.Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola – 5 starHoused within a late 19th century mansion, the Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola channels aspects of Mediterranean culture in its pale-peach façade, its summery garden, and the dining experiences on offer. Guestrooms have wholly unique touches to ensure that every stay here is different, and the swimming pool, lounges, and bars encourage guests to keep returning. St MoritzHotel Schweizerhof St Moritz – 4 starDating from over 100 years ago, the Hotel Schweizerhof St Moritz is a sophisticated hotel built in the Belle Epoque style. Fresh, bright, and luxurious rooms are accompanied by multiple dining options, including a picturesque garden and a selection of relaxing spa facilities.Suvretta House – 5 star superiorAt the foot of the mountain that gives it its name, Suvretta House is a stunning, palatial hotel that offers its guests excellent regional cuisine, including some Swiss favourites, a tranquil spa with 25m swimming pool, and spacious, refined accommodation with a regal touch.ZurichHotel Ambassador a l’Opera – 4 star As a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, the Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera prides itself on the high quality of its service, its seasonal and locally-sourced food, and the very particular, serene style of the rooms. It is well-placed for enjoying Lake Zurich, the Limmat River, and the small marina at the end of the street.Hotel du Theatre – 3 starThis three star option in the centre of Zurich offers sophisticated and quirky accommodation in a hotel that adopts a cinema theme. Rooms are therefore suitably glamorous, with wholly unique features and excellent access to Lake Zurich and the city’s important cultural sites.Hotel Storchen Zurich – 4 starSince the beginning of its hospitality 650 years ago, the unique and charming Hotel Storchen Zurich has offered an authentic insight into Swiss culture, design, and lifestyle. A pavement café lines the riverside, and behind the distinctive pink façade are high-ceilinged, tastefully decorated rooms, and the Rotisserie Restaurant, the ceiling of which is decorated in frescoes.Hotel Baur au Lac – 5 starSet on the banks of Lake Zurich, the Hotel Baur au Lac is equipped with a Michelin-starred restaurant, extensive tranquil parkland, and a rich, warm interior design. Guests can enjoy the beauty of the lake from the promenade or from a boat cruise, before returning to the hotel to enjoy the serene gardens, the chic luxurious indoor spaces, and the circular restaurant the juts out across the water.Click here to download a full PDF itinerary.
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