During the tour, you will have a Tell Pass which covers much of the transportation we use and gives flexibility when options exist.
We meet at St Pancras to board a lunchtime Eurostar for Paris, where we dine together in true Parisen style with our friends near the Gare de L’Est before heading by direct TGV to Colmar and our overnight stay at the Grand Hotel Bristol, an Inside Track favourite!
We complete our journey to Lucerne by lunchtime, enjoying ever more spectacular scenery as we head into Switzerland. After a short familiarisation tour, the rest of the afternoon is spent at the splendid Verkehrshaus Transport Museum, home to full size planes, trains, automobiles and a paddle steamer and a bit – and much more!
We head for the heights today on the world’s steepest rack Railway, the Pilatusbahn, which is due to have new trains for the 2023 season. After time at the top enjoying amazing views over Lake Lucerne and beyond, we speed by modern trains to the far end of the lake for a leisurely full-length cruise back to base, pausing at the birthplace of the Swiss federation on the way!
Further up and further in, we board the Zentralbahn Engleberg Express and head by metre gauge to the top of the valley – and the top of the world up the Titlis by cable car – conventional and revolving – and pretty much guaranteed snow! Then, back to Stans and the Stanserhorn Funicular – the original 19th Century for the lower stage and the world’s first double deck, open top cable car to the top. More stunning views, right across to the Eiger range on a clear day, or back down into the valley and the Pilatus Aircraft factory – used as Goldfinger’s factory in the iconic film!
It’s the Interlaken Express this morning – metre gauge and part cog railway over the Brùnig Pass through remote towns and villages before cruising back on Lake Brienz aboard an historic paddle steamer. Then a holiday highlight – steam up the Brienz Rothorn for unsurpassable views over the lake to the Eiger range of mountains. We return via exploring what’s afoot in Meiringen, where Sherlock Holmes seemed to meet his fate, then dine together before retracing our steps to Lucerne.
Another holiday highlight today – one of many! – as we meet ourselves coming back when we ride the route of the Glacier Express! Following the historic Gotthard Pass climb to Göschenen, literally cork-screwing around to climb the Alps. Here we switch to another metre gauge system and join the route of the Glacier Express at Andermatt to enjoy this high Alpine Valley and make our way through the modern Furka Tunnel. We then return over the old route on the Furka Pass Cog Railway by spectacular and very hard working cog steam! Our drive back to Lucerne takes in some of Switzerland most modern yet scenic roads (and a long tunnel!) along Lake Lucerne.
For our final day, the highlight of the holiday – and the ‘Queen of the Mountains’ – the Rigi! Actually a range of mountains, served now by 2 cog railways but once with a third, adhesion worked line along the range. Our flexible itinerary takes us by paddle steamer to Vitznau before ascending to the summit where there will be time to take in the unrivalled views in all directions. Then, options abound for exploring the Rigi range, including walking the track-bed of the adhesion worked line, taking a cable car to Weggis or just riding the Rigi rails before we all head back via the other cog line to Arth Goldau for a final meal together in Lucerne.
Homeward bound today, as we travel back to France and, via Paris, take the Eurostar home for a tea-time arrival back at St Pancras.
This four star rated hotel is a firmly established Inside Track favourite, being ideally situated in medieval Colmar, opposite the station and within ten minutes of the lovely town centre.
All rooms are of a good quality, featuring all the usual amenities, and the hotel boasts a popular brasserie.
New for 2023 to Inside Track, you don’t get better located than this historic hotel – overlooking one of the symbols of Lucerne, the Kapellbrùcke. This 3-star, locally run, establishment has been a hotel for over 100 years but the building dates back to the 16th century at least. All the rooms are in the historic buildings and feature all the expected facilities while the restaurant and breakfast room offer stunning views across the river. It is also conveniently located to explore the city centre restaurants and bars – there is even an English pub next door!