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Grand Rail Tour of Switzerland

This unique rail tour will transport us through some of the most majestic and stunning panoramic routes in the world! 
There is no better way to experience Switzerland than by rail.  Relax onboard and gaze through the large picture windows as our train climbs and winds its way through the Alps. Sometimes we will ascend to dizzying heights which offer some of the most spectacular views on earth, consisting of crystal clear mountain lakes nestled in pristine wilderness set against towering mountain ranges, and lakeside towns and picture-perfect villages dotting the landscape. To experience this from the comfort of a modern train is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Legendary trains during our tour:

   • Jungfrau Railway to Kleine Scheidegg - connects to Europe’s highest railway station - “Top of the World”.
   • Bernina Express - This UNESCO Heritage line from St. Moritz to Tirano passes over an incredible 196 bridges!
   • A chocolate experience aboard the Belle Epoque’s fin de siecle coaches.
   • Panoramic Express (part of the Golden Pass Line) -   From Lucerne we travel through Interlaken to Montreux, passing lakes, pastures, waterfalls and quaint chalets trimmed with flowerboxes, all nestled in picturesque valleys surrounded by jagged, snow-topped peaks. This is the quintessential Swiss experience.
   • Glacier Express - Perhaps the most popular route. Beginning in Zermatt and ending in St. Moritz, it takes us through mountain landscapes (including the mighty Matterhorn), deep gorges, 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges. The highest point of the trip is crossing the Oberalp Pass - over 6600 feet above sea level!
   • Mount Pilatus - Panoramic gondolas take us to the summit to view 73 mountain peaks of Central Switzerland. 

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We board our direct flight for Zurich.
We arrive in Zurich and transfer to the town of Vitznau, situated on Lake Lucerne. From here we enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains as we cruise to our hotel in Lucerne - our home for the next 3 nights. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
A guided walking tour takes us through the city’s Old Town. We’ll see the Hofkirche Church, wooden covered Chapel Bridge (the symbol of Lucerne) and the famous Lion Monument (carved into a sandstone cliff), followed by a visit of the interactive Swiss Museum of Transport. After some time at leisure to explore this beautiful city on our own, we’ll enjoy a wonderful Swiss dinner.
We board an aerial cableway and panoramic gondola, to reach the summit of Mount Pilatus. Known as the “Dragon Ride”, the cockpit-like cabin of the gondola has windows extending to the floor and provides breathtaking views in every direction.
Our scenic train ride on the Golden Pass Line and the Panoramic Express train takes us via the Bruenig Pass to Interlaken through the heart of the Swiss Alps. Our first stop is Brienz, set in the midst of towering mountains, for some free time. Then we cruise along the turquoise-coloured Lake Brienz to Interlaken, where we’ll board a steam mountain railway that whisks us up 5000 feet for fabulous views of the deep blue lakes below and snow-capped mountains in the distance, including one of Europe’s highest mountains – the Jungfrau!
We board the Jungfrau Railway and cable car to Kleine Scheidegg - home to Europe’s highest mountain, Jungfraujoch. We first take the Bernese Oberland Railway to Grindelwald, where we’ll board the brand new Eiger Express, (a tri-cable aerial cableway) and ascend in just 15 minutes. This state-of-the-art cabin takes us very close to the north face of the Eiger at 1800 metres, so the views are breathtaking. To descend, we take a combination of the Wengeralp and Bernese Oberland Railway to return to Interlaken.
The elegant Golden Train takes us from Interlaken to the shores of Lake Geneva. We’ll travel along Lake Thun and through the scenic Simme Valley to Zweisimmen, where we board the Golden Pass Panoramic to Montreux. We arrive in Montreux for a 2-night stay on the chic, palm-studded Swiss Riviera.
Our walking tour will include a visit of Chateaux Chillon. Located on a rock on the banks of Lake Geneva, this water-castle is Switzerland’s most visited historic building. For 400 years it was the residence of the Counts of Savoy, as well as where Lord Byron was imprisoned when he wrote “The Prisoner of Chillon”. Be sure to look for his name carved into his cell wall! Afternoon at leisure. You may want to visit the museum dedicated to the rock group Queen (where many recordings were done) and see the Freddy Mercury statue on the promenade!
We board the stunning Belle Époque Coaches to experience the Chocolate Train en route to La Gruyere, where we will have some free time and enjoy a typical fondue lunch at a local chalet! Then we continue to Broc, home to the famous chocolate factory - Cailler, where we’ll learn about chocolate production and taste some of the finest offerings. Later we’ll proceed by train to the pretty town of Visp, in the Zermatt area (known as the ‘Sun Terrace of Switzerland’), for a 2-night stay.
A short train ride takes us to Zermatt for a casual walking tour of this quaint village, with the rest of the day at leisure. The air here is clear and clean because only electric cars are allowed to operate in the village. You may wish to climb to Gornergrat on Europe’s highest open air cogwheel train. The train crosses impressive bridges and goes through tunnels with views of the majestic Matterhorn - the most photographed mountain in the world.
We travel aboard The Glacier Express (perhaps the most famous railway in the world) to Chur. The train meanders through untouched pristine mountain landscapes, deep gorges, breathtaking valleys, through 91 tunnels and across 291 impressive bridges!
Moritz / Chur. We board the Bernina Express for a truly spectacular rail journey. This 100-year-old heritage line has earned UNESCO World Heritage status for its ingenious engineering and the striking beauty of the scenery it winds through. Travelling past craggy mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls we make our way to Poschiavo, then before returning to Chur we stop in St. Moritz.
Our scenic train ride to Zurich passes by snowcapped mountains and sparkling lakes. Upon arrival we enjoy a guided walking tour of this beautiful lakeside city, followed by our Farewell Dinner.
We board our direct flight back to Canada.
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