Switzerland… snow much more than a winter holiday destination
Escorted and tailor-made rail holidays to the mountains and lakes hold year-round appeal
As winter’s blanket of snow starts to make way for spring flowers and pretty green meadows across the Alps, now’s the perfect time to plan a short break or longer holiday to spectacular Switzerland. And how better to enjoy its scenic splendour than by train, travelling in comfort across the country’s impressive rail network whilst watching the world – and breath-taking Swiss vistas in particular – go by?
Specialist rail operator Ffestiniog Travel has been offering holidays by train to Switzerland for over 40 years, choosing it as the destination for the company’s very first overseas itinerary back in 1974, and continuing to take its clients there ever since. And Switzerland’s popularity shows no signs of abating: quite the opposite, in fact, with Ffestiniog Travel having introduced additional departure dates across its escorted tours programme for 2015 to meet increasing demand from travellers wishing to experience the country’s myriad charms and efficient transport system for themselves.
Blending the assurance of travelling in an escorted group with the option to explore independently, each of Ffestiniog Travel’s Swiss itineraries is thoughtfully created to give clients ample free time whilst providing a dedicated tour leader throughout, to advise on local ‘must-see sights’ and arrange optional organised sightseeing trips. Each holiday also includes a first-class Swiss Pass, granting unlimited travel on trains, postbuses, lake steamers and many city buses and trams.
First to depart this spring is Swiss Alpine Holiday, a classic 15-day rail tour along the Rhine River through Germany to Switzerland that includes journeys on the world-famous Bernina and Glacier Express rail routes, as well as the scenic Gotthard North-South route and narrow-gauge Centovalli line – considered to deliver one of the most beautiful views from a train as it passes through the magical ‘Hundred Valleys’. Clients can also choose from optional excursions (no additional cost) to Arosa, Davos, Lugano, Lauterbrunnen, Brienz and Murten, or set off to explore the region under their own steam, using the Swiss Pass.
Departing 12 May & 8 September, Swiss Alpine Holiday costs from £2,240 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Pass, Bernina & Glacier Express supplements, 14 nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout.
Or why not spend Summer in the Alps, sampling some of very best that Switzerland and its neighbours have to offer? Enjoy Cologne, Interlaken, Chur and Aachen from the comfort of the centrally-located hotels that have been carefully selected for this ten-day holiday, feast your eyes on fabulous views from the train carriage as you travel on the Bernina and Glacier Express, and visit Zermatt, Mürren, Arosa and Davos on an optional escorted excursion (no additional cost).
Departing 13 June & 11 July, Summer in the Alps costs from £1,715 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Pass, Bernina & Glacier Express supplements, nine nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout.
Combining Swiss highlights with the irresistible scenic and cultural charms of Italy, Florence, Lake Garda & Swiss Alps is a sublime 15-day holiday that’s sure to appeal to lovers of La Dolce Vita and rail travel alike. Marvel at the Renaissance splendour of Florence, enjoy full-day escorted trips to Siena and Venice, and spend three nights in Desenzano, on the northern shore of Lake Garda, before travelling onwards to Switzerland to make full use of the first class Swiss Pass.
Departing 1 June & 14 September, Florence, Lake Garda & Swiss Alps costs from £2,375 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to Italy/from Switzerland, Global InterRail Pass for unlimited travel within Italy, first-class Swiss Pass, Glacier Express supplement, water bus day pass in Venice, 14 nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout.
Follow The Rhône from Sea to Source during a 14-day holiday that tracks this mighty river from France’s Camargue Delta to its source in the Swiss Alps, visiting the historic towns of Arles and Avignon, pretty Tournon-sur-Rhône and the delta itself – world-famous for its flocks of pink flamingos and herds of wild horses – before heading to Lyon and onwards to Switzerland, where Lake Geneva, Montreux and Andermatt await. The itinerary also includes full-day steam train excursions on the Furka Bergstrecke (which uses the original trackbed of the Glacier Express route) and, in France, the Vivarais Railway – from Tournon-Saint-Jean to Lamastre.
Departing 23 June, The Rhône from Sea to Source costs from £1,990 pp (two sharing) including travel to/from and within France, first-class Swiss Pass, Le Mastrou and Furka Steam train journeys, 13 nights’ B&B and tour leader services from London and throughout.
Prefer to travel independently? Ffestiniog Travel’s expert team can also provide a tailor-made service, assisting clients to plan a more personal journey through Switzerland and/or around the Alps. There’s also a dedicated Ticket-Only department on hand to arrange direct rail journeys for individuals and larger parties (including family travel and special interest groups) across Europe, adding accommodation and/or local excursions as required. For example…
Treat to the family to the joy of a journey by rail this summer, swapping the usual battle for sun loungers by the pool for a relaxing nine-day Swiss saunter that promises amazing scenery, impressive engineering feats and quality time together – with rides on the Bernina and Glacier Express routes, city sightseeing and much more. This tailor-made holiday costs from £3,050 pp for a family of four (two adults, two children under 12 sharing a family room) including return Eurostar to Brussels, onward rail travel to Basel, seat reservations, first-class Swiss Pass and eight nights’ B&B (one night each in Cologne and Luxembourg, and three nights each in Chur & Brig).
To discuss an escorted tour, tailor-made holiday or special interest itinerary to Switzerland, please call 01766 772 030 or visitwww.ffestiniogtravel.com. Ffestiniog Travel’s dedicated mini-brochure, Rail Holidays to Switzerland – Mountains & Lakes by Train can be viewed online here, and click here to read a recent blog by Ffestiniog Travel’s Mike Fletcher, in which he shares histop five favourite Swiss railway journeys.
Ffestiniog Travel’s 2015 Rail Holidays of the World brochure – featuring an array of destinations across the UK, Europe and worldwide – can be also viewed online here.