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SWITZERLAND & AUSTRIA SWISS RAIL JOURNEYS DESTINATIONS LEFT:


Glacier Express


RIGHT: Golden Pass


w BEST FOR… EPIC SCENERY If clients want jaw-dropping cinematic vistas, they really are spoilt for choice in Switzerland, with several routes that meander past precipitous glaciers, emerald fields and bubbling mountain streams. The Glacier Express is Switzerland’s best-known train, famed for its panoramic views and for being the slowest express in Europe, travelling an average of 24mph over seven- and-a-half hours. When the view is this


impressive, though, clients will be glad to relish every second of the journey, which begins in Zermatt, glides northwards from under the shadow of the Matterhorn and climbs 2,253 metres over the


Albula Pass to St Moritz, crossing 291 bridges and chugging across some head-spinning chasms in the process. There’s no danger of bagging a bad seat and missing out on the view, either: all carriages are kitted out with glass roofs, and in summer months there’s air conditioning to keep things comfortable. Alex Roberts, group marketing and sales director at Great Rail Journeys, says: “While the Glacier Express is known for being a winter holiday, it is becoming increasingly popular to take this trip in other seasons – which makes it into a completely different experience – though still offering the spectacular views Switzerland is known for.”


If clients want jaw- dropping cinematic vistas, they really are spoilt for choice in Switzerland


w BEST FOR… TWIN CENTRES Equally impressive and boasting another glass roof is the Bernina Express, on a narrow-gauge scenic railway that runs from Chur and St Moritz in eastern Switzerland across the Italian border to the northern town of Tirano, making it perfect for those who want to tick off more than one destination on a trip. The journey traverses 55 tunnels and offers a spectacular way of crossing the Alps, past waterfalls, glaciers and deep ravines, and with a journey time of four hours, it’s a sensible option for those with no time to spare who want stunning views. The engineering skills that


weave the track through perilous terrain are so impressive that the Bernina Express has also become a Unesco World Heritage Site. Riviera Travel combines trips


LEFT: Lucerne


to St Moritz and Lake Como with a scenic train journey on the Bernina Express from £849 for eight nights.


w BEST FOR… OLD-WORLD GLAMOUR For clients seeking a nostalgic rail experience, suggest the Golden Pass Classic, with its vintage, Orient Express-style carriages adding an element of romance to the journey, making it perfect for weddings, anniversaries or other special occasions. The famed route connects the


historic central Swiss town of Lucerne with the green valleys of resort town Montreux, on the eastern end of Lake Geneva. Clients can toast the spectacular views that creep past their window with a glass of red from the train’s wine-tasting cellar coach.


w BEST FOR… FOODIES It’s the eternally divisive dessert quandary: chocolate or cheese? Hungry clients can throw caution to the wind and have both after a journey aboard The Chocolate Train, which departs from the lakeside town of Montreux, ascends to Gruyères, home of the eponymous cheese, and continues to the municipality of Broc, where the Nestlé/Cailler chocolate factory stands. Various itineraries give guests the chance to visit the cheese factory in Gruyère before moving on to sample chocolate treats in Broc. Railbookers has one such trip, which also tags on a night in historic Dijon, from £929 per person for four nights.


21 July 2016 travelweekly.co.uk 47


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