Welcome to Switzerland. Arriving from the UK by international flight, you can check into your hotel or get out exploring straight away. Cradled around the tip of Lake Zurich, the city sprawls attractively, bordered by the bank of the River Limmat. Wander the narrow lanes of the Old Town and district of Niederdorf with its bars and restaurants or sightsee Zurich’s historic buildings including the eye-catching twin-towered Grossmünster, built in the 16th century.
There’s a culturally-rich art scene here too with hundreds of galleries and exhibitions to discover, plus shopping is a great draw – whether that’s a crafted timepiece from the world’s best watchmakers, artisan chocolates or finds in the flea market. Wherever you go, the Alps frame your backdrop – a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come.
All Aboard to Zermatt
Today you’ll board your first train on your altitudinous foray into the Swiss Alps. From Zurich, you’ll head to Visp, to change onto the mountain train that will take you all the way to Zermatt. Sit back and enjoy the ride – watch how the scenic landscapes takes in vineyards, lakes and mountains. Once in car-free Zermatt, settle into your hotel where you’ll stay for two nights or explore glamourous Zermatt – overlooked by the mighty Matterhorn, over 4478 metres high.
The following day, you’ll board the Gornergrat Cog Railway, the world’s first fully electric cog-railway, which winds its way up to 10,000 feet in 33 minutes. At the top, the iconic shark-tooth profile of the Matterhorn is on show for you to admire at close range, a spectacular sight, as well as the ice-covered panorama over the glacier fields. In the evening treat yourself to some Swiss cuisine in Zermatt – maybe a cheese fondue, raclette or potato rösti.
For your final Alpine train journey, you’ll enjoy the highlight of your trip – the experience of being a passenger aboard one of the most renowned and comfortable train journeys in the world, the Glacier Express, matched with breath-taking scenery that swirls around you from all angles. Over the seven hours of this train journey, you will cross over an astounding 291 bridges and go through 91 tunnels as you traverse the three cantons of Valais, Uri and Graubünden. With a guaranteed window seat, your remarkable perspective will give you a first-class view onto charming Alpine villages with onion-turreted churches, the Matterhalm valley cut through by icy mountain streams, and the dramatic snow-blanketed Oberalp Pass, 2,033 metres above sea level and the highest point on the line. Look out for the much-photographed Landwasser Viaduct which winds its way dramatically from a cliff edge in to a tunnel.
As you will be travelling in Excellence Class, expect a high level of service with champagne served followed by a five-course meal with wine. On board, a concierge helps with luggage and is a helpful source of knowledge about the surrounding peaks and valleys as you continue your way to Saint Moritz.
Glitzy St Moritz
On your last full day, spend time soaking up the chic atmosphere among the international jet set crowd that frequent this Alpine ski resort. As well as boutique shopping and people-watching, you can explore the mountain terrain on a network of funicular and cable cars which will get you up into the crisp, fresh air, either for skiing or winter hiking or perhaps for lunch at a mountain restaurant.
Back in town, take a stroll around the lake, or have high tea or a cocktail at famed St Moritz institution Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. Sadly, this will be your last night so make it count with a wow-factor meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant or load up on Swiss cuisine with a cheese and meat platter sourced from the mountains or sweet treats like apple strudel. In the morning, you’ll be picked up and taken to the airport, with a final farewell to the dramatic mountain peaks that have accompanied you on your journey in Switzerland.
Trip idea / Switzerland
A Railway Route
Through the Swiss Alps
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