Experience the outstanding natural beauty of Switzerland on a tour to the Bernese Oberland, renowned for its myriad lakes and the most famous peaks in the Swiss Alps, including the towering Jungfrau and the Eiger.
The delightful mountain village of Wengen is your holiday base, from where you can explore the Bernese Oberland on Switzerland´s excellent railways. You’ll be issued with a Swiss Regional Pass, allowing unrestricted travel on Swiss trains and some other transport in free time during the tour. You’ll also enjoy extensive scheduled travel on mountain rack railways, including the Brienz Rothorn Railway and Jungfrau Railway to the ‘Top of Europe’. There’s a two hour steam tram tour of the Swiss capital, Bern to savour, and boat cruises on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, plus an excursion to the Schynige Platte mountain area, famous for its outstanding views and wildflower gardens. Book now for this exceptional tour and discover for yourself the unspoilt beauty and diverse nature of these stunning Bernese ‘Highlands’.
London to Wengen
You travel first class by Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord. Transferring to Paris Gare de l’Est you travel from there to Basel in Switzerland via Strasbourg. You change trains at Basel and join a high-speed service to Interlaken Ost, before continuing on the narrow gauge lines of the Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB) to Lauterbrunnen and the Wengernalp Railway (WAB) to Wengen. You check into the 4-star Sunstar Alpine Hotel in Wengen, located close to the railway station, where you’ll be based for the duration of the tour. A light dinner will be provided at the hotel this evening. (D)
Free day in Wengen
After breakfast the rest of your day is free for a choice of activities. There’s the option of relaxing at the hotel and making use of the leisure facilities there, which include an indoor swimming pool, steam bath and sauna. Another option is a morning stroll through the village where the British originated downhill ski racing, or some more energetic hiking to incredible local viewpoints. Your Regional Pass can be used to visit the Trümmelbach Falls, a series of ten illuminated glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel-lift. Take the train to Lauterbrunnen Station and a bus from there to the Falls. Alternatively, you can visit the car-free village of Mürren by cable and mountain railway from Lauterbrunnen, which features views of three famous Swiss mountains, the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. (B D)
Steam on the Brienz Rothorn Railway; Lake Brienz Cruise
After breakfast in the hotel you travel by train to Interlaken to enjoy a leisurely cruise on Lake Brienz on board a steamship to Brienz. Here you’ll join a steam train on the 800 mm gauge Brienz Rothorn Railway (BRB), Switzerland’s oldest rack railway. This line climbs 1,678 metres (5,505 ft) from Brienz, at the eastern end of Lake Brienz, to Rothorn Kulm Station, a little below the summit of Brienz Rothorn Mountain. En route there are outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and the lake below. You’ll have free time at the summit to enjoy lunch. On your return to Brienz there’s an exclusive visit arranged to the BRB depot to view the locomotives and workshop facilities. In the afternoon you return to Wengen by train where you can relax before your dinner is served in the hotel restaurant. (B D)
Excursion to Jungfraujoch & ‘Top of Europe’
There’s a real highlight in your programme today on a trip to the famous Jungfraujoch and the ‘Top of Europe’. Non-mountaineers can only reach the Jungfraujoch by travelling on the metre gauge Jungfrau Railway (JB) through a 7.3 km (4.5 mile) long tunnel, a significant achievement in engineering and construction. You travel on a WAB train to Kleine Scheidegg before joining a JB train en route to the highest railway station in Europe. The train stops twice at intermediate points where there are large windows in the rock face for passengers to admire the views. The ‘Top of Europe’ itself is a high-altitude building connected to the underground Jungfraujoch Railway Station by a tunnel. There are several restaurants where you can have lunch, and also a permanent exhibition about the Jungfrau Railway and the Alps. You return to Kleine Scheidegg then take a different route back to Wengen. A WAB train takes you to Grindlewald Grund Station where you take the aerial cable car to the Männlichen Mountain, a popular viewpoint over the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You then take the Wengen–Männlichen aerial cableway and return to your hotel for dinner. (B D)
Bern Steam Tram; Cruise on Lake Thun
Today you travel by train to Switzerland’s capital, Bern, for a chartered two-hour tour of the city by legendary steam tram. The metre gauge 0-6-0 tramway locomotive pulls a classic wooden carriage with open-ended balconies. You’ll pass many of Bern’s historic landmarks on the way, including the famous Zytglogge clock tower and the medieval city centre. In the afternoon there’s free time to visit the shops along the arcaded walkways, or the famous Bear Park and nearby River Aare. Later, you’ll take a service train to Thun to board a boat for the onward journey. Cruising along the length of Lake Thun you’ll savour the unsurpassable beauty of the Bernese Oberland, with views of famous mountain peaks including the Niederhorn, Niesen, and Jungfrau. You then disembark at Interlaken West Railway Station and return by train to Wengen via Lauterbrunnen. (B D)
Free day to use your Bernese Oberland Regional Pass; optional visit to ‘The Schilthorn’
Today is a free day to make more use of your Regional Pass and travel to places of your choice. An optional extra is also available, a trip to the summit of ‘The Schilthorn’, a 2,970 m mountain overlooking the valley of Lauterbrunnen. It’s the highest mountain in the Bernese range and is reached by a cable car from the village of Mürren. At the summit there’s a panoramic revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, once the location of a James Bond film, and free entrance to the Bond World interactive exhibition. A mountain excursion surcharge is payable for this trip but if booked in advance you can take advantage of our special discounted price. Alternatively, if you want to make the most of your regional pass, you can travel by train to Lucerne. The city is located on Lake Lucerne, within sight of Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi in the Swiss Alps. The journey is straightforward using WAB and BOB trains to get to Interlaken from where metre gauge Zentralbahn express trains go direct to Lucerne, a great experience in itself. The route follows the scenic Brünig Line beside Lake Brienz and the River Aare to Meiringen, where the train reverses and climbs over the Brunig Pass using a rack system. The terminus station at Lucerne is opposite the landing stage from which passenger boats, including paddle steamers, serve lakeside communities. The Chapel Bridge is a landmark of Lucerne and the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Other places of interest include the Old Town of Lucerne, the Lion Monument, and the Swiss Museum of Transport. (B D)
Excursion to Schynige Platte
After breakfast at the hotel you set out on an excursion to visit the Schynige Platte mountain area. You travel by WAB train to Lauterbrunnen and BOB train to Wilderswil, which is the junction for the Schynige Platte Railway. This 800 mm gauge electric rack railway climbs through forests and Alpine pastures providing fine views of the Bernese Oberland, eventually revealing the glistening giants of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains to the south. Schynige Platte is famous for its wildflower gardens and views of the majestic mountain scenery. (B D)
Return to UK
After breakfast in the hotel it’s time to say your farewells and take local trains to Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken. You then travel by express train from Interlaken to Basel before changing trains and continuing to Paris Gare de L’Est via Strasbourg. There you transfer to Paris Gare du Nord and take a Eurostar service back to London St. Pancras International. (B)
All prices shown are per person.
Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner