Swiss Lakes, Mountains & the Golden Pass Railway

Swiss Lakes, Mountains & the Golden Pass Railway

Cheese, chocolates, cruises, trains & castles enjoy them all on our 11 day tour to scenic Switzerland

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Cheese, chocolates, cruises, trains & castles enjoy them all on our 11 day tour to scenic Switzerland

Gruyeres

In the heart of Switzerland, the charming & picturesque medieval town of Gruyères offers a cultural and gastronomical journey. This pedestrian town invites you to take a gentle stroll, with its cobblestones and its fountains. The town gave its name to the region La Gruyère and its delicious cheese, Gruyère AOP.

The 13th century castle, visible from a distance, dominates the town. A multimedia show takes the curious on a captivating journey through time. The knights' hall impresses, the towers, ramparts, and gardens are an unforgettable experience . The museum and bar of Oscar-winning artist H.R. Giger shows the fantastic works of the creator of Aliens. 

Gruyeres Cheese Dairy

Twice a day 36 farmers deliver their milk to the fromagerie (cheese dairy), milk from cows that graze the lush grass and fragrant flora of alpine meadows situated between 800 and 1600 m above sea level (2400-4800 ft). Under the watchful eyes of visitors the masters cheese-makers and their team produce up to 48 wheels of Gruyère a day, observing the stingent AOP (appellation d’origine protégée) specifications.

The cheese dairy is equipped with four vats with a capacity of 4’800 litres, and a cellar used to mature 7’000 wheels of cheese.

The cheese is produced 2 or 4 times a day, between 9 and 11 am and between 1 and 2.30pm, according to the season, by Master Cheesemakers Jacques and Nicolas Ecoffey. The duration a cheese production takes is 2 and a half hours.

La Maison Cailler

La Maison Cailler welcomes visitors to one of Switzerland’s oldest and most important chocolate factories, Cailler has been producing chocolate since 1819 (in Vevey) and since 1898 in Broc. During the factory tour visitors learn how chocolate came to Europe and how the Swiss refined the product. A small-scale, but still surprisingly large, chocolate production line can be seen in action while sampling is largely unsupervised. A large Cailler shop sells the locally produced chocolate while a small café serves marvellous hot chocolate and small snacks. A nearby Nestlé Factory Outlet Shop has bargains on chocolates and foods produced by various companies in the Nestlé Group. 

 

Leysin

Located in the Vaudoises Alps, Leysin is a sunny alpine resort village at the eastern end of Lake Geneva in proximity to Montreux, Lausanne, and Geneva. In prior years, Leysin was known for the health giving properties of its air; today its spectacular Alpine views across the Rhône Valley towards the Dents du Midi invite year-round mountain sports and recreation.

The Berneuse Cable-Car

The views on the ride up are nearly as spectacular at those from the top. On a clear day you can take in Mt. Blanc, the Eiger, and Lausanne from this perch above Lac Leman. The Kuklos revolving restaurant, just a few short steps away from the arrival station, is unique in French-speaking Switzerland. Not only can you admire all the surrounding mountains as the restaurant gently rotates but you can also sample some wonderful cuisine.

 

Montreux

Montreux is a traditional resort town on Lake Geneva. Nestled between steep hills and the lakeside, it's known for its mild microclimate and the Montreux Jazz Festival, held in July. The town's promenade is lined with flowers, sculptures, Mediterranean trees and grand Belle Époque buildings. Offshore is a medieval island castle, Château de Chillon, with ramparts, formal halls and a chapel with 14th-century murals.

The GoldenPass MOB Belle Epoque Train

The GoldenPass MOB Belle Epoque train that runs on the Montreux–Zweisimmen line offers a journey with a romantic, retro style ambiance. Its coaches are inspired by the Golden Mountain Pullman Express from the 1930s, a luxury train in the style of Orient Express that was short lived due to the economic crisis of the period. The current train is a reproduction of the Belle Époque style of its predecessors, in which you will travel like a king. You can even find a coach that houses a wine cellar in which you can taste wines from the area in a warm, convivial atmosphere.

 

Thun & Lake Thun

The city of Thun, which is located at the lower end of Lake Thun, is the gateway to the Bernese Oberland. The historic Old Town is situated about one kilometre from the shore of the lake, on the river Aare. There is a castle in the center of the Old Town that dates back to the 12th century and boasts a museum. The castle and city church proudly dominate the late-medieval Old Town.

Lake Thun took its name from the city on its northern shore. It is one of the loveliest and largest lakes in Switzerland and very much appreciated by tourists and locals alike. The Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau rise majestically across Lake Thun, over which glides a historic paddle steamer. We enjoy a cruise to Spiez a major destination on the lake with a lovely small castle, Romanesque church, a pleasant town centre. Strolling along the lakeshore from Spiez to Faulensee is probably the most pleasant short walk in the region.

 

The Wengernalp Railway

The Wengernalp Railway is an 11.87 miles long rack railway line running from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald via Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg, making it the world's longest continuous rack and pinion railway. The name refers to the seasonal mountain pastures above Wengen. The line is normally operated in two sections, with trains from either direction terminating at Kleine Scheidegg. Ten modern low-floor panorama trains have been running on the Lauterbrunnen-Kleine Scheidegg route since 2014. With the current rolling stock, the travel time from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg it is 42 minutes. Spectacularly situated on the saddle of rock between the Lauberhorn and the Jungfrau, Kleine Scheidegg offers some wonderful views of Grindelwald and Mürren as well as the awe-inspiring peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Grindelwald

As far as postcard-perfect settings go, Grindelwald comes up trumps. This pretty Swiss town is blessed with stunning surroundings and is the ideal place to enjoy Switzerland’s natural beauty and charm.

 

Friday 24th May

We travel from Cumbria to Hull and the overnight sailing to Rotterdam.

Saturday 25th May

From Rotterdam our journey takes us south through Holland towards Maastricht and into Belgium and then Germany and our overnight hotel the Mercure at Saarbrucken. Dinner in the hotel.

D

Sunday 26th May

After breakfast we head towards the Swiss Border at Basel, then on through Switzerland past Berne to our resort of Leysin and the Central Residence Hotel. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Monday 27th May

Today we head to Gruyères for some free time to explore the village. We then discover how Gruyère cheese is made with a demonstration at La Maison du Gruyère cheese dairy. In the afternoon we make our
way to Broc, home of the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory. Here we will find out all about the chocolates made here, with tastings of course. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Tuesday 28th May

Enjoy a day at leisure in Leysin. Relax at our hotel, making use of its extensive leisure facilities or take the Berneuse Cable Car to the summit of the mountain for perfect views of Geneva and Mont Blanc on a clear day. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Wednesday 29th May

After checking out of our hotel this morning, we head to Montreux. Take a stroll along the flower-bordered lake promenade and enjoy a bite to eat before we embark on the unique Belle Époque train for a journey to Zweisimmen. Whilst onboard you will take in some of the most glorious scenery in Switzerland, including the Pays d’Enhaut Mountains, Lake Geneva and the UNESCO Lavaux vineyards. After disembarking in Zweisimmen, we join our coach for the journey to our hotel, the Aeschi Park on Lake Thun for the next 3 nights.

B, D

Thursday 30th May

Today we drive to the historic old town of Thun, with its characteristic raised pavements, castle and museums. We will enjoy a 90 minute guided walking tour of the old town and the mighty medieval Schloss Thun. After lunch, we embark on a 1 hour cruise across Lake Thun to Spiez where our coach will meet us and return us to our hotel in time for dinner.

B, D

Friday 31st May

Today we travel to Lauterbrunnen to embark on the world's longest cog railway, the Wengernalp Railway. We make the journey to Kleine Scheidegg which can be found nestling at the foot of the towering North face of the Eiger, at an elevation of 2061m, we will marvel at the breathtaking views. We make our way back down the opposite valley to Grindelwald where we enjoy some free time before heading back to our hotel for dinner.

B, D

Saturday 1st June

We leave our hosts at the Aeschi Park Hotel for the journey back to Saarbrucken and our overnight stop at the Mercure hotel. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Sunday 2nd June

North towards Rotterdam and the overnight sailing to Hull.

B

Monday 3rd June

From Hull we return to Cumbria, arriving home early afternoon

B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Hotel Central Residence

The 3-star hotel Hotel Central Residence Leysin offers free WiFi, and free access to its spa and fitness centre. All rooms have a south-facing balcony overlooking the Alps and the glaciers.

The Central Résidence’s 500 m² spa area includes an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, and hammam. Massage treatments are available on request. Guests can play table tennis and billiards. In summer, the garden features volleyball and pétanque facilities.

The spacious rooms at Hotel Central Résidence all have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a balcony, direct dial telephone, safe and a bathroom with hairdryer. Some rooms have the mountain views.

The restaurant serves traditional Swiss cuisine, international dishes, and regional specialities such fondue and raclette. A wide range of fine wines is available. Guests can relax in the lobby bar or the library, and use an internet terminal.

 

Hotel Aeschi Park

The Hotel Aeschi Park is located above Lake Thun with an impressive view of the lake and mountains, away from mass tourism and through traffic. 

Four interconnected houses in the chalet style with the names Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau and Breithorn are well-suited to the landscape. The 50 spacious rooms are equipped with bath or shower, hairdryer, telephone, radio, satellite TV, minibar and have a balcony or terrace. 

The restaurant Mignon serves Swiss and Mediterranean cuisine. Guests can relax and enjoy a wide range of drinks at the Thunersee Bar. The two garden terraces overlook Lake Thun and the mountains.

The Aeschi Park’s spa facilities include a steam bath and several Finnish and bio saunas. Free Wi-Fi is provided in public areas.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites

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