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A TRAVERSE OF THE GREAT ALPS

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Vienna
  • Salzburg
  • Zell Am See
  • Cortina D’Ampezzo
  • Bolzano
  • St Moritz
  • Zermatt
  • Montreux
  • Lucerne

21 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 20 Jun 2020

When you’re heading for Europe’s hills there are some things you just can’t miss. Conquering the roof of Europe is one of them. Zooming up through the Dolomites in a cable car is another. Then there are the dreamy, slow-moving train trips through the clouds. This new take on one of our all-time favourite journeys will also see us arrive in Montreux just in time for the annual jazz festival.

Map

Itinerary

An exploration of the great mountains of Europe. Before we head for lofty peaks, we ease into our journey in one of Europe’s most ravishing cities. We base ourselves at Hotel Sacher Wien, sampling gourmet Austrian and international offerings at one of the hotel’s restaurants after a round of drinks in a private function room.

We stroll through the city on a guided walk that recalls its history. Schönbrunn Palace is our next stop, a popular yet unmissable site. Choose to take a trip to the Wachau Valley, home to some of Austria’s best wines, then visit Melk Abbey and the ruins of Dürnstein Castle. Alternatively, embark on a river cruise along the Danube, with lunch atop the Danube Tower in Vienna.

In Salzburg, we pay homage to its most famous resident with a visit to the composer’s birth house, before visiting filming locations from The Sound of Music. From Zell am See, we set out for the Eagle’s Nest, Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat. With a drink in hand, we enjoy views of the snow-capped Bavarian Alps from the Eva Braun room. A cable car then takes us over mountains and meadows to the top of Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.

We arrive at Hotel Cristallo in time to appreciate the peaks surrounding Cortina d’Ampezzo veiled in a soft pink light. Centred around a single street, the town’s 18th-century buildings house cafes and luxury boutiques, while the mountain backdrop raises our gaze at every opportunity. We visit the open-air museum on Monte Piana, dedicated to the battle fought here during World War I.

Green valleys and mountains make for a stunning drive into Bolzano. We stop at the Museum of Archaeology to see Ötzi, a mummy discovered after being frozen in ice for over 5,300 years. The region’s five-star hotel awaits us on a mountainside high above the town of Merano. A cable car ride from the middle of Bolzano/Bozen takes us up to Soprabolzano/Oberbozen. From there, we board the Renon/Ritten Railway to the heart of the Renon/Ritten Plateau.

Another great train journey, aboard the Glacier Express, takes us from St Moritz to Zermatt. We arrive in Zermatt and check in to the Chalet Hotel Schönegg, where each of us is guaranteed a room with striking Matterhorn views. We tour the streets on foot then ride the mountain train to Gornergrat, at an altitude over 3,000 metres. At the top, 20 surrounding peaks await our company, including the Monte Rosa massif and the Gorner Glacier.

Our journey takes us to Montreux, set around Lake Geneva. It’s no coincidence that we have timed our trip during the Montreux Jazz Festival, the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world. A free morning offers the perfect chance to soak up the atmosphere along the waterfront promenade. A boat ride then takes us across Lake Geneva to Chillon Castle. We return to Montreux for dinner, followed by an evening filled with live music.

The GoldenPass Express takes us from Montreux to Interlaken, where there is an opportunity to board a helicopter for a flight around the towering mountains of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, as well as Europe’s largest glacier, Aletsch. Back on the ground, we head to Grindelwald, gateway to the Bernese Alps. Jungfrau overlooks the entire expanse of the Swiss Alps and we make the train journey to its peak – also the highest railway station in Europe.

A cruise on Lake Brienz takes us past fishing villages, castles and the ever-present mountains. We then board a steam train to the peak of Mt Rothorn. After a walk around the summit, we return to Brienz, before continuing by rail to Lucerne. We board an historic cogwheel train for the trip up Mt Rigi, then return to the foot of the mountain via cable car. Back in Lucerne, we meet for drinks before our Farewell Dinner at Scala Restaurant.

We make the most of our final morning, enjoying a relaxing breakfast with lakeside views. It’s then time to farewell Switzerland as we travel to Zürich and board our flight home. Touching down on home soil, we are feeling refreshed after over three weeks of crisp alpine air.

Brochure

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