Across the Spine of the Alps
- Travel from Zermatt in Switzerland to Lake Bled in Slovenia
- The world-famous Glacier Express in Switzerland.
- Arlberg Pass from Switzerland into Austria
- Lake Bled: picturesque Slovenian village resort
- Overnight stop on the return journey in the charming city of Heidelberg
- Decide when you would like to travel
- Adapt the route to suit your plans
- Upgrade hotels and rail journeys
- Add extra nights, destinations and/or tours
- Standard Class rail travel with seat reservations
- 11 nights’ handpicked hotel accommodation with breakfast
- City maps and comprehensive directions to your hotels
- Clearly-presented wallets for your rail tickets, hotel vouchers and other documentation
- All credit card surcharges and complimentary delivery of your travel documents
Depart London St Pancras in the morning bound for Paris. After a comfortable 2¼-hour journey, you will transfer across the busy city to Gare de Lyon, where you will take a connecting service down to Basel in northern Switzerland. Here, you change onto the Swiss network for the scenic journey south to the resort-town of Zermatt.
Check in at the Garni Testa Grigia Hotel (or similar) for a 2 night stay, at the foot of the Matterhorn.
One of the Alps’ premier resorts, Zermatt is popular year round with skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The resort is equipped with a range of lifts, which are popular with hikers in summer and skiers in winter. The huge peak of the Matterhorn looms large over the town, which marks your most westerly point of the mountain range.
You can also take a trip on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway, offering panoramic views of not only the Matterhorn but also the surrounding ranges.
You will be treated to stunning scenery as you depart on the Glacier Express, the world’s slowest express train, for the journey to Chur. You will be able to gaze out of the panorama windows that stretch across the roof of the train and sample delicious local cuisine served to your seat, while you enjoy commentary on headphones that complement your journey.
On arrival in Chur, make your way to the Ambiente Hotel Freieck (or similar) where you will stay for 3 nights.
Chur is one of the oldest settlements in Switzerland, with a history dating back to the third millenium BC. The restaurants, boutiques and galleries of the medieval Old Town give the city a Mediterranean feel.
On one of your two days here, you will have a return trip on the Bernina Express, which runs down to Tirano in Italy before returning in the afternoon. You’ll travel across viaducts, alongside rivers and through some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in Europe.
Depart Chur after breakfast and head back to the station for your next rail journey, making an easy change at the small station of Sargan to connect with an Austrian RailJet train, which takes you through the tiny principality of Liechtenstein and over the dramatic Arlberg Pass, a trading route for thousands of years.
Arriving into the Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck, you will check into your hotel, the Hotel Innsbruck (or similar) for a 2-night stay.
Spend a full day exploring the city and surrounding area. Wander the cobbled lanes and charming open squares of the old town centre, or strike out to the surrounding hills in what is unofficially dubbed “the capital of the Alps”.
TMR RECOMMENDS: DAY TRIP TO GARMISCH. Take the ultra-scenic ride through the Austrian Tyrol to the German ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The train passes through some of the Alps’ finest scenery and an array of shops, bars and restaurants await you in Germany’s premier mountain resort.
One of Europe’s lesser known scenic rail journeys takes you east this morning from Innsbruck, through Tyrolean villages and alongside lakes and glacial streams, connecting with the main line at the junction station of Schwarzach-St Veit.
The subsequent service, an Intercity train from Salzburg and Munich, whisks you through the heart of the Austrian Alps and through the Karawanken Tunnel into Slovenia. Shortly after emerging into Slovenia, your train will pull into the town of Lesce Bled, where you will transfer through to the Hotel Lovec (or similar) on Lake Bled, for a 3 night stay.
One of the most picturesque spots in Europe, Lake Bled covers only half a square mile, but features a beautiful island complete with 17th-century church. The lake is popular with swimmers, fishermen and boat-lovers, who flock from Slovenia and neighbouring countries during the summer. A number of hikes are possible in the nearby Triglav National Park, which contains over 340 square miles of protected flora and fauna.
Try the local custard and cream cake, Kremšnita, as well as fresh fish from the lake. 1906 Restaurant in the Hotel Triglav, is an eatery well-worth a visit during your stay!
Shortly after 10am, the once-daily service to Heidelberg leaves from Lesce Bled station. Take your seat and enjoy the views unfold as you race through the Austrian countryside towards Salzburg.
On entering Germany, you leave your final Alpine vistas behind as the rolling hills of Bavaria take over. Before you know it, you will have arrived in the pretty riverside city of Heidelberg, where you check into the Hollander Hof Hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay.
Depart Heidelberg at lunchtime for a last scenic journey, as your train twists and turns along the beautiful Rhine Gorge route, past the Loreley Rock and a plethora of castles and charming villages.
An easy platform change at the cathedral city of Cologne delivers you to the Eurostar terminal at Brussels, where you connect with your final train, transferring you back to London St Pancras in just under 2 hours.
Typical hotels on this itinerary
The Garni Testa Grigia is located on Zermatt’s main shopping street, within easy walking distance of the station and the Gornegratbahn. The 33 stylish bedrooms feature plush carpeting and solid wooden beds. Facilities include balconies, coffee machines and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.
Situated inthe heart of Chur’s medieval old town, the Ambiente Hotel Freieck offers comfortable accommodation in quiet, car-free location. Bedrooms are traditionally furnished, with a seating area and private bathroom. After a day out exploring the Graubünden region, relax with a drink in the Apero Bar.
The Hotel Innsbruck is located in the old town area of the city, close to the famous ‘Golden Roof’. The hotel offers modern bedrooms with air-conditioning, safe and flat-screen TV as well as an indoor swimming pool and two spa areas, one on a roof terrace overlooking the city. Enjoy local and international cuisine in the hotel’s onsite restaurant.
This hotel provides guests with deluxe modern accommodations in an intimate, relaxing setting surrounded by beautiful gardens. Located in the centre of charming Bled. Each well-appointed room at the cozy, full-service hotel features cable satellite television and mini-bar. Guests are welcome to a full breakfast each morning and relax in thehotel’s indoor swimming pool, whirlpool and saunas.
Located directly beside the Alte Brücke, this historic three-star hotel in Heidelberg’s quaint Old Town district offers classical-style rooms and views of the spectacular Philosophers’ Way.
The spacious rooms feature free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a minibar, and a safety deposit box. Most provide air conditioning and/or views of the River Neckar.
Upgrade your accommodation
Situated in the heart of St Moritz, the majestic Kulm Hotel offers stunning views over Lake St. Moritz. Facilities include an extensive spa and wellness area and a gourmet restaurant. One of the finest hotels in Switzerland, the Kulm is an ideal retreat for your stay in St Moritz.
Conveniently located across the road from the station in Innsbruck, the Grand Hotel Europa is a luxurious property combining modern comforts with an elegant Italian design and Tyrolean warmth. Bedrooms are equipped with flat screen TVs, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi access.
Located on the shore of Bled Lake with a panoramic view of the lake’s island and the surrounding Alps, Grand Hotel Toplice provides thermal pools and a wellness centre with saunas, massages and a solarium. Traditionally decorated air-conditioned rooms have a TV, a safe and private balcony, some with a lake view.
This modern, stylish hotel offers comfortable accommodation and excellent facilities, all within 5 minutes’ walk of Heidelberg’s historic Old Town. Bedrooms feature air-conditioning, satellite TV and tea & coffee making facilities. There is also an indoor swiming pool and well-equipped gym facilities.