Highlights of Western Switzerland in Winter

Friday 22nd March to Thursday 28th March 2019
7 - Days


Prices from: £1725


Discover scenic mountain railways travelling on private charter trains, sightseeing famous peaks such as the Zermatt, Gornergrat and Matterhorn on this highlight-crammed holiday to Western Switzerland.


Departure Date: 22-Mar-2019
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You’ll be comfortably accommodated in Vevey, next to Lake Geneva, for the duration of your tour, from where you’ll enjoy an attraction-packed holiday. Journey in classic Pullman coaches over the famed ‘Golden Pass’ line from Montreux to Zweisimmen and savour a 1940s vintage charter train up the Rochers-de-Naye panoramic peak, with spectacular views of the Swiss and French Alps. ‘Peak hopping’ to breath-taking vantage points by rack railway, funicular and aerial cableway is one of the main features of this tour, but there’s much more, including an exclusive charter ride on the semi-streamlined 1930s railcar ‘Blue Arrow’ through the Bernese Oberland and the Lavaux vineyards. Enjoy refinement as only the Railway Touring Company provides, with historic trains running exclusively for your enjoyment. It’s the ideal introduction for first-time visitors to Switzerland, or alternately an exciting opportunity to re-visit a beautiful part of Europe for more seasoned travellers.

Friday
London to Vevey
You travel on Eurostar and TGV via Paris to Geneva, then by SBB train to Vevey, situated on the north shore of Lake Geneva. Here you check in to the 4-star Hotel Astra, your base for the entire tour. A welcome dinner will be served at your hotel tonight. (D)

Saturday
Swiss Riviera and Mountain Magnificence at Mont Pelerin and Rochers de Naye
Your holiday starts with a relaxed exploration of Vevey and Lake Geneva’s ‘Swiss Riviera’. Take a stroll to the nearby market square and lakeside promenade or use your complimentary, hotel-issued public transport rover ticket to take the trolleybus route to Montreux and see the famed, mediaeval Chillon Castle. From close to your hotel you can also catch a funicular into the terraced vineyards high above the lake, to a formidable observation point atop Mont Pelerin.Afterwards, in early afternoon, you board a private charter train aboard a vintage 1940s railcar from Montreux to the summit of Rochers de Naye, 2042 metres above sea level. From the top you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the French and Swiss Alps. You return to Montreux in the late afternoon, with time for a further look around town or a ride on one of the local funiculars. Dinner tonight will be served at your hotel. (B D)

Sunday
Mountain Railway to Les Diablerets and Leysin; Berneuse Peak
After breakfast you’ll travel by privately chartered 1914 vintage train on the superb Aigle – Le Sépey – Les Diablerets (ASD) line. Marvel at the amazing scenery in the heart of the Swiss Alps as you go off the beaten path, and journey through terraced hills and past the impressive Aigle Castle before ascending the mountains on the narrow-gauge branch line and crossing two major viaducts. Along the way your train will stop for scenic photo and film opportunities, before returning to Aigle. From there you take the other local branch line up to Leysin. This route street-runs tram-style through the town centre, before reversing and making using of rack gear to climb up steep gradients to the alpine spa resort of Leysin. You change onto the aerial cableway and journey up to Berneuse, where the ‘Kuklos’ revolving restaurant sits 2048 metres above sea level. Here you stop for refreshments and the breath-taking views. In the afternoon you return to Vevey, where dinner is once again at your hotel this evening. (B D)

Monday
Over the Golden Pass in Pullman coaches; Rinderberg cableway; legendary Blue Arrow railcar
A tour highlight awaits today as you travel in sumptuous style on the iconic Golden Pass Classic train in elegant ‘Belle Epoque’ Pullman coaches over the route of the same name. From Montreux via Gstaad to Zweisimmen, the train climbs to the highest point of the entire Golden Pass line, near Saanenmöser, at 1279 metres. In Zweisimmen you transfer onto the local aerial cableway, which takes you to the summit of Mount Rinderberg, and some of the finest views in the Bernese Oberland. After lunch-time refreshments at the top, you return to Zweisimmen station where a star attraction of Switzerland’s railways awaits you for your next private charter. The iconic 1930s BLS ‘Blue Arrow’ railcar features luxurious passenger accommodation and open cab vestibules, allowing you to sit beside or stand behind the driver. The route winds through the tranquil Simmental Valley to Spiez and along Lake Thun to Bern. From there you reverse and make your way over lofty viaducts and the Gruyere foothills to Lake Geneva. You descend through the terraced Lavaux vineyards on the breath-taking journey from Puidoux back to Vevey, on one of the most spectacular main line routes in Switzerland. You’ll have a free evening tonight, allowing you to savour a lake-side venue of your own choice. (B)

Tuesday
Scenic railway in the Jura Mountains; Lake Geneva Fondue Cruise on historic Paddle-Wheeler
Today you venture once more off the beaten path for one of the best kept secrets in Western Switzerland, the delightful narrow-gauge railway from Morges to Biere. This rural line rises above Lake Geneva and runs through the foothills of the Jura Mountains, passing the fairy-tale Vufflens Chateau along the way. There’s a bit of extra excitement for gricers and track collectors today, as the private charter of historic rolling stock travels over the freight-only branch line to Biere Caserne. Lunch time refreshments will be served directly on the train. On the return to Morges the train will also travel on the short branch to L’Isle, which now only has a sparse public service. After clearing the entire narrow-gauge network and marvelling at the views down onto Lake Geneva, it’s time for a languid cruise on Western Europe’s largest lake. Your private charter vessel is one of the finest ships in Switzerland, the legendary 1907 paddle wheeler ‘Vevey’. Recently refurbished, this authentic paddler has a stately Belle Epoque salon, where you’ll be treated to a delicious fondue, a choice of either cheese or meat, with complimentary wine. Enjoy some genuine refinement and luxury as you gently glide over the lake and watch the sun set. (B L D)

Wednesday
Glacier Express route to Zermatt; Gornergrat Railway; Matterhorn
A big tour highlight has been saved for your last day as you board an SBB train at Vevey station and travel through expansive vineyards and past the historic castles of the Rhone Valley to Visp. There you change onto a panoramic narrow-gauge train to journey over the final section of the famed Glacier Express. The route winds through rocky valleys and past steep inclines to Zermatt. Here you transfer to the Gornergrat Railway, ascending to a height of 3089 m above sea level, on Europe’s second highest railway, eclipsed only by the Jungfrau. During the ascent to Gornergrat you’ll be amazed at the elaborate engineering required to overcome the rocky environment. From the high Alpine summit, enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding glaciers and a front view of the Matterhorn. You pause for refreshments at Gornergrat and take advantage of wonderful line siding locations to film the passing trains in their characteristic chocolate-brown livery. Returning to Zermatt there’s ample time to explore this resort village, known for its countless chalets and car-free streets, before journeying back to Vevey on the Glacier Express and Valais routes. To cap your tour in fine fashion, there’s a last group dinner scheduled tonight at a local pizzeria in Vevey. Please note that passengers booked on the First-Class holiday option will travel today in First Class on SBB as well as MGB service trains from Vevey to Zermatt and back (all trains from Zermatt to Gornergrat just have one class of travel). (B D)

Thursday
Return to London
You return to London on TGV and Eurostar via Geneva and Paris. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class £2145
  • Standard Class £1925
  • Single supplement £295
  • Ground only (Vevey – Vevey) £1725

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • 6 nights accommodation with breakfast in 4-star Hotel Astra
  • 8 day Swiss pass in your chosen class of travel
  • 1 lunch and 5 dinners
  • All privately chartered vintage trains and paddle boat cruises as detailed in the itinerary
  • All visits as detailed in the itinerary
  • All transfers
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!