Highlights of Switzerland in Autumn

Monday 7th October to Sunday 13th October 2019
7 - Days


Prices from: £1825


Experience the Alpine splendour and scenic railways of Eastern Switzerland during the most colourful time of the year.


Departure Date: 07-Oct-2019
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Based in Chur for the duration of the holiday, you’ll explore the gorgeous autumn landscapes and snow-capped pinnacles of the Swiss mountains, travelling on iconic railway routes such as the Albula, Bernina and Oberalp Pass, as well as discovering best-kept-secrets like Schöllenen Gorge. Go peak hopping on rack railways, funiculars and aerial cableways, and see the little red trains of the Rhaetian Railways against the backdrop of stone-arched viaducts and Italian palm trees. Enjoy a private cruise on Lake Constance aboard a luxurious motor yacht of 1950s vintage and see Lake Lucerne from the spacious decks of a genuine paddle steamer dating from the early 20th century. Historic locomotives and Art Deco Pullman coaches also feature prominently in our programme. This package holiday offers outstanding value, either as an introduction to Switzerland for first-time visitors or an exciting opportunity to re-visit favoured spots for more seasoned travellers.

Monday 7th October
London to Chur
Your tour begins on a Eurostar train from London St. Pancras International or Ebbsfleet to Paris Gare du Nord. There you transfer to Paris Gare de l’Est and journey on to Basel in Switzerland via Strasbourg. You change trains at Basel and use a Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) service to Chur via Zurich before checking in to your comfortable and charming hotel in Chur. (D)

Tuesday 8th October
Rhaetian Railway from Chur to Arosa by private Pullman coach; Ascent to the Weisshorn
Today you’ll experience the very best of the famous Rhaetian Railway in a privately chartered 1930s Pullman car. Its large windows offer outstanding views of the mountainous landscape as you travel down the impressively-engineered 25 kilometre branch line from Chur to Arosa. The route climbs 1155 metres via several tunnels and bridges, including the 284 metre long Langwieser Viaduct – a Swiss heritage site first opened in December 1914. On arrival in Arosa you take the cableway to the summit of the 2653 metre Weisshorn, for superb views from the top and a fine restaurant in which to take lunch. You return to Arosa in the afternoon to explore the town or stroll along the picturesque lake. Later, you return by RhB train and Pullman car to Chur, where you’ll have free time to explore the city before dinner is served at the hotel. (B D)

Wednesday 9th October
Mountain Magnificence in Davos and heritage train with a classic ‘Crocodile’ locomotive
This morning you have a day-trip to the famed ski resort of Davos, with a visit to both of its funicular railways for incredible panoramic views from the summits. This includes the Parsennbahn, which takes you in two stages to an altitude of 2663 metres above sea level, and the Schatzalpbahn, to a height of 1864 metres. Marvel at the rugged scenery and panoramic views in the expansive valley below you. In the afternoon, you continue south by special RhB heritage train on the so-called ‘Davos Circular’ to Filisur. The train is formed of historic coaches and is hauled by a chocolate brown ‘Crocodile’ locomotive dating from the 1920s. This icon of Swiss railways will pull your train over the spectacular Wiesen Viaduct as one of the signature moments of the holiday. At the junction station of Filisur, you connect with another RhB panoramic train and then travel northbound over the world-famous Albula line, with its distinctive horseshoe curves and stone-arched bridges. You arrive back to Chur by early evening and are then free to select a dinner venue of your choice. (B)

Thursday 10th October
Mountain railways in the Appenzell and scenic cruise on Lake Constance
Today you experience the iconic little red trains of the Appenzell as they wind their way up into the foothills of Mount Säntis. First, you travel from Chur on an SBB service train to Rorschach, before changing onto the scenic Rorschach-Heiden rack railway, dating from 1875 and one of the oldest mountain railways in Switzerland. Today you’ll travel on a private charter train hauled by a 1930 vintage electric locomotive. As the line winds high above Lake Constance into the rural countryside of Appenzell, you’ll have unobstructed views over to Austria and Germany. At the summit in Heiden there’s time to look around this historic little resort town, before returning back down to Rorschach and continuing by SBB service train along the banks of Lake Constance to the port town of Romanshorn. There you break for lunch at the attractive harbour restaurant, before another major tour highlight awaits, a languid cruise along the Swiss shore of Lake Constance aboard the luxurious vintage 1956 motor yacht ‘Säntis’. This is one of the most refined and elegantly appointed heritage ships anywhere in Western Europe, and as the serene landscape of Eastern Switzerland unfolds before you, clear skies (hopefully) will afford direct views of snow-capped Mount Säntis. Complimentary cake, coffee and tea will be served aboard your stylish white-funnelled vessel, before you return to Romanshorn. From there you return by rail to Chur, taking the Voralpen-Express scenic train via St. Gallen, Herisau and Pfäffikon for more outstanding Swiss scenery ‘off the beaten path’. (B L)

Friday 11th October
Oberalp Pass, Schöllenen Gorge,Gotthard Panorama Express, Lake Lucerne Paddle Steamer
It’s another tour highlight today on one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world. You’ll travel the famed Glacier Express Route by private Pullman Coach from Chur along the Surselva Region up the Rhine Valley to Disentis. Changing trains, you continue through the very heart of the Swiss Alps on the legendary Oberalp Pass. After spiralling down into the cauldron-shaped Urseren Valley, you change trains and experience the steeply graded and impressively-engineered rack railway through the Schöllenen Gorge. You arrive at the narrow-gauge terminus Göschenen and change onto SBB’s famous ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ with accommodation in outstanding glass dome observation coaches for the descent down the Gotthard North Ramp. The train traverses several horseshoe curves and passes the little church at Wassen three times before reaching Flüelen on the shores of Lake Lucerne. There you transfer onto a genuine paddle steamer and make the spectacular cruise to Lucerne, one of the world’s finest steamboat journeys. On arrival in Lucerne you have time for a walk over the famed wooden chapel bridge before returning to Chur by service train. (B L)

Saturday 12th October
Bernina Express by private First Class coach to Tirano
Arguably the best tour highlight has been saved for last today, as you travel the Bernina Route, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only Swiss trans-alpine railway that climbs over the ridges between north and south without the use of a tunnel. Conquer the Swiss Alps and note how this line is completely different to the other railways you’ve explored this week. Highlights include the ascent to the summit at Alp Grüm, the spiralling descent to Poschiavo and street running there along the lake, before the famed circular viaduct is reached at Brusio and you finish your journey amidst palm trees in Italy. In the beautiful Italian town of Tirano, dominated by its massive stone basilica, you dine for lunch (wine included) and have time for a stroll, before the trip continues back north to Chur. You get to enjoy the Bernina experience in the most comfortable way possible, in a private First Class coach with plenty of room and the chance to lower windows and take magnificent mountain photography! (B L D)

Sunday 13th October
Return to London
You return to London by way of Zürich and Paris on SBB, TGV and Eurostar trains. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class Eurostar, TGV and other SNCF service trains £2095
  • Standard Class Eurostar, TGV and other SNCF service trains £1945
  • Single supplement £195
  • Ground only (Chur – Chur) £1825

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • First or Standard Class rail travel from London St. Pancras International to Chur and return
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Standard Class travel whilst in Switzerland
  • 3 dinners and 3 lunches
  • First class travel on the Bernina Express in a private carriage
  • First class travel on the Gotthard Panorama Express
  • All rail trips as detailed in the itinerary
  • All seat reservations and transfers
  • The services of a tour manager

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

 

Map feature coming soon!