Bern & the Schilthorn by First Class rail
Prices from $1,595 per person
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Situated on a curve in the Aare River, the delightful city of Bern is Switzerland’s capital and one of its best-loved cities. Looking out to the Alps, the city is packed with attractions and rewards exploration. Take the time to discover its UNESCO-listed centre and lively Bear Park and make the most of the opportunity to travel out the surrounding mountains and admire the superb views from the summit of the Schilthorn.
This 4 night / 5 day vacation including First Class rail travel throughout and a 4 night stay in a comfort room at the Hotel Allegro (4 star superior), is from $1,595 per person.
Alternatively, choose to stay in a charming room at the Hotel Schweizerhof (5 star) from $2,095 per person.
(Based on two people travelling together and sharing a room)
Day 1 – By rail to Switzerland
Your vacation begins as you stroll into beautifully restored London St Pancras International station. Take your time to admire the magnificent glass roof, then sit back, relax and watch the countryside glide past as you travel by Eurostar to Paris at speeds of up to 186mph. Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in Standard Premier Class (Eurostar’s 1st class for leisure travellers). On arrival at the Gare du Nord your taxi will take you across Paris to the Gare de Lyon to continue your journey by TGV through France into Switzerland. Arriving in Basel just across the Swiss border, you change trains and continue to Bern, Switzerland’s charming capital. Here you spend four nights at the welcoming Hotel Allegro (4 star superior).
Day 2 – Discovering Bern
Enjoy a day taking in the medieval air of the Swiss capital. The beautiful old town of Bern, with its flagstone cobbled streets, charming covered arcades and red-tiled roofs, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a joy to discover, set within a curve of the Aare River and home to many cellar shop and bars. Other attractions here include the eleven ornate fountains dating back to the 16th century. These beautifully decorated pieces are adorned with folk figures – perhaps the most striking is the giant snacking on children. Be sure to watch the fascinating Astronomical Clock as it changes on the hour.
The Gothic cathedral dates back to the 15th century and boasts the tallest spire in Switzerland at around 100 metres. You can climb the 344 steps to admire the incredible views of the surrounding hillsides and of course the old town below.
Day 3 – The Schilthorn
Today you have the exciting opportunity to travel to the summit of the Schilthorn, one of Switzerland’s most popular mountain viewpoints. From Bern you take the train via Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. Here you take a brief shuttle service to connect with the cable car to ascend to the peak. Be sure to admire the incredible scenery from the large panoramic windows as you are lifted from the valley floor and past charming Mürren to the top of the mountain – more than 9,700 ft above sea level.
Take the time to admire the scenery; on a clear day the views are practically unrivalled. The Schilthorn was used as a location in the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, and today there is an array of exhibits and attractions recognising this. Perhaps enjoy lunch at the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant, named ‘Piz Gloria’ in a nod to the film and discover the interactive exhibition.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can take one of the marked paths around the site; the Thrill Walk with its glass floor is not for the faint hearted!
Later as you make your descent, you may like to break your journey in traffic-free Mürren or stop at Stechlberg to visit the incredible Trümmelbach Falls. Nestled in a vast canyon, the falls are the largest underground waterfalls in Europe. Visitors can reach the falls by a series of lifts and tunnels, to admire the glacier-fed azure waters as they crash through the canyon.
Days 4 – A day at leisure
You have another day to continue exploring the charming Swiss capital. Other highlights include the Museum of Communication with its cutting-edge interactive exhibits, the Historical Museum which recounts the decade when Albert Einstein lived here, and the elevated rose garden above the Bear Park. Bears have lived in Bern since 1513 and are a much-loved symbol of the city.
Day 5 – Bern to London – homeward bound
This morning after breakfast you bid farewell to Bern as you return to the station and take the train to Basel, where you connect with the high-speed TGV service to Paris. Take time to reflect on the magnificent sights, sounds and tastes you have enjoyed over your vacation as you are whisked back to the French capital. On arrival your private taxi transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord where you join the Eurostar to London. Let the train take the strain as you enjoy a light meal and drinks served at your seat, ahead of your arrival at London St Pancras.