Grand Tour of Switzerland
- 13 Days
- From £1,999
- Take a stunning loop through the best of Switzerland with return rail travel via Germany and France
- Golden Pass Route from the shores of Lake Geneva to Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland
- The full journey aboard the spectacular Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz
- The full journey aboard the Bernina Express, including the Bernina bus route to Lugano (February to November)
- 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 where required
- 12 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
PLEASE NOTE: The Glacier Express does not run between mid-October and mid-December. Between these dates, you can still make the journey of the Glacier Express using public trains.
Catch a mid-morning Eurostar service from London St Pancras and transfer in Brussels onto the high-speed ICE service to Cologne. You’ll arrive into Cologne in the late afternoon and check in at the Hotel Mondial am Dom – MGallery (or similar) for an overnight stay.
The station in Cologne is right in the heart of the city, next to the famous twin-spired cathedral on the River Rhine. Spend an evening exploring the Old Town area and perhaps enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants on offer.
This morning, take a direct rail service which will take you across the Rhine and down along the shores of the river past Koblenz and the pretty villages of Boppard and Bingen. Look out for hilltop castles and vineyards as you continue down close to the border with France to Basel, across the Swiss border.
The train continues to Interlaken where you disembark for a 2-night stay at the Hotel Beausite (or similar).
Interlaken is a popular base for exploring the surrounding mountains of the Bernese Oberland. Why not take a mountain railway up to the top of one of the nearby peaks, such as the famous Jungfrau Railway or the steam-hauled Brienz Rothorn? Your interrail pass will give you a 25-50% discount on these journeys and other mountain excursions such as the Schilthorn, one of filming locations for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Alternatively, for a relaxing afternoon, why not take a cruise on nearby Lakes Brienz or Thun? These are also free with your Swiss Pass.
Leave Interlaken this morning and make your way to the Ost station for a scenic journey down via Spiez and Zweisimmen to Montreux on the Swiss Riviera. The last leg of this journey can be made either aboard a modern train with panoramic windows, or by vintage style ‘Belle-Epoque’ carriages. Let us know which you would prefer!
On arrival in Montreux, head to the conveniently located Suisse Hotel Majestic (or similar), where you will be spending the next 2 nights.
Enjoy a day at leisure on the Swiss Riviera, where you can walk, swim, cruise or even paddle-board around Lake Geneva, with its fantastic backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
From Montreux, you can walk along a promenade fringed with flowers to the lovely Chateau de Chillon (pictured) which is free to enter with your Swiss Pass. You can also take a boat to other lakefront towns including Vevey, Lausanne and Geneva. If you fancy another day on the rails, there’s also a scenic train, the Rochers de Naye, taking you up into the hills for sweeping panoramic views of the lake, mountains and nearby vineyards.
It’s time to leave Lake Geneva today and head through the Swiss canton of Vaud and then across into the canton of Valais. After a quick change in Visp, the Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn will take you up to 5,250 feet above sea level and the mountain-ringed village of Zermatt.
You will be spending 2 nights here, at the Sunstar Style Hotel (or similar). Settle into your centrally located hotel before heading out to eat in one of Zermatt’s many restaurants.
You have a free day today in the resort town of Zermatt, which is a haven for skiers and snowboarders in the winter and a base for other outdoor pursuits like hiking and mountain biking at other times of the year.
You can take the opportunity to climb aboard the Gornergrat Mountain railway so that you can get up close to the distinctive peak of the Matterhorn. Alternatively, enjoy a walk on one of the well-signposted hiking trails or simply relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Board the Glacier Express this morning for your stunning journey across Switzerland to St Moritz. Watch from the panoramic windows as the train snakes alongside the the Rhône at its source, and across to Andermatt, before climbing to over 6,560 feet at the Oberalp Pass. You will follow the course of the Rhine as you make your way into St Moritz. Commentary is provided along the way and a lunch is served on board (payable locally).
On arrival, check in for an overnight stay at the San Gian Hotel (or similar), with the rest of the afternoon at leisure in St Moritz.
After breakfast this morning, it’s time for another beautiful journey as you head south to Tirano, just across the Italian border. After time for lunch here, return to the station for the second stage of your journey, which takes you past Lake Como and the picturesque landscape of Valtellina to Lugano. During December and January, you can make this last stretch of the journey by train.
On arrival in Lugano, check in for a 2-night stay at the Dante Swiss Quality Hotel (or similar).
Lugano is located on the lake of the same name, which becomes Lake Maggiore across the Italian border. This sunny corner of Switzerland has a distinctly Mediterranean feel, with palm trees, lovely piazzas and al fresco dining.
For breathtaking views of the lake and mountains, take a funicular train to the top of Monte Bré or Monte San Salvatore. Alternatively, you can easily reach other lakefront resorts like Locarno or Ascona by rail and other public transport – all freely accessible with your pass.
Your last stop on the Grand Tour takes you to the shores of Lake Lucerne. Catch a train back across the Alps to Lucerne, where you will have 2 nights at the Waldstaetterhof Hotel (or similar).
Enjoy a full day at leisure here. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town and the city’s famous wooden bridges, take a cruise on the lake or perhaps visit the stunning Lion Monument, which commemorates the massacre of the Swiss Guards during the French Revolution.
You have open tickets today from Lucerne to Strasbourg (via Basel) so you can choose to leave whenever you would like. Spend some more time exploring the pretty streets of Lucerne or catch a train after breakfast and arrive in Strasbourg in time for lunch.
Your hotel for the night is the Maison Rouge Hotel (or similar). Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est (Alsace) region, with a mixture of French and German influences. Take a stroll through the picture-postcard Petite France district or enjoy a tarte flambée at one of the pretty restaurants around the imposing Cathedral.
The journey back to Paris today is just 2 hours so just sit back and relax onboard your comfortable train and then, once you arrive, there’s a 10-minute walk from the Gare de l’Est to the Gare du Nord for your connecting Eurostar service back to the UK.
Typical hotels on this itinerary
Hotel Mondial am Dom Cologne MGallery by Sofitel is located right in the centre of Cologne, close to the famous cathedral and the main station. All of the modern bedrooms feature air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar and satellite TV. The hotel also boasts a restaurant overlooking the cathedral, a sauna, a steam room and a fitness room.
The Hotel Beausite is a traditional style property, within easy walking distance of Interlaken West station. Bedrooms offer views over the surrounding mountains along with flat-screen cable TV and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. There is also a restaurant serving Swiss specialities along with a sun terrace and garden.
This charming, traditionally-Swiss chalet hotel is situated in the heart of this car-free resort.
All the rooms are compact and individual with modern fittings. The bath or shower forms an integral part of the main room, which is what gives them their very special and unique style.
Occupying an ideal location opposite the station and directly on the lakefront, the Suisse Hotel Majestic offers elegant accommodation in a beautiful setting. Bedrooms are furnished in a classic style, some with balconies overlooking the lake. Enjoy an al fresco breakfast or relaxing dinner on the outdoor terrace in good weather.
The 4-star superior Hotel San Gian offers various massages and relaxation treatments in its spa, free WiFi, and two restaurants to choose from. Decorated with contemporary furniture, each room has a flat-screen TV, a minibar, a seating area, and a bathroom. Bathrobes and slippers are provided for all rooms.
The Hotel Lugano Dante is located on the quiet Piazza Cioccaro, in the historical heart of the city, close to shops, cafés and restaurants. The modern bedrooms come with tea & coffee making facilities and a mini bar with complimentary soft drinks. The lakefront is only a 3-minute walk away.
Conveniently located just 5 minutes’ walk from Lucerne’s main station, the Waldstaetterhof is the perfect base for a stay in this lakeside city. Bedrooms are spacious and furnished in a classic style with flat-screen TVs and tea & coffee making facilities. You can also enjoy a delicious menu of local and international dishes in the hotel’s on site restaurant.
Situated in the pedestrian area around Place Kléber, the historic Maison Rouge features ancient stained-glass windows and rooms decorated with individual character. The rooms at Maison Rouge feature a minibar and satellite TV. Each is serviced by the hotel’s traditional lift and has an en suite bathroom with a bath or shower.