Embrace the romance of the railway on this splendid alpine tour through Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Begin in Milan and enjoy picturesque lakeside towns before rolling on to Zermatt for alpine adventure and incredible views. Ride the steepest cog railway to Mount Pilatus and take in the German city of Munich as you enjoy regional food, historical sights and the relaxing environment of alpine communities. A relaxing and incredibly picturesque journey, you’re sure to be invigorated by the crisp mountain air on this unique European rail tour.
Arrive in Milan at any time, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. Meet your trip leader and your fellow companions at the welcome meeting. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner in one of the traditional restaurants near the hotel. After dinner, the rest of the evening is free for you to explore the town, or to rest up in preparation for tomorrow's early start.
Discover Milan, Italy's second largest city, an interesting mix of glamour and industry. Take an orientation walk and see the main sights, including the Duomo. Later, board the train to Stresa for the first leg of your journey. This small town is situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Maggiore. The three tiny Borromean Islands here, known for their terraced gardens and aristocratic villas, are well worth visiting. Perhaps reach one of them on an afternoon ferry across Lake Maggiore.
This morning will be an early start, but otherwise a leisure one, as you take another epic train to the top of Mount Pilatus via the famous Golden Circle route. Firstly you will take a short boat ride on Lake Lucerne, then board the world’s steepest cog railway to the top of the mountain. On some sections of the trip you may be exposed to the sheer drops and high bridges. Those prone to vertigo might want to refrain from looking down. Luckily the scenery is as gorgeous as it is dramatic. Enjoy panoramic views of the Alps (weather dependent) before taking the aerial cableway and gondolas down to Kriens, from where you will take a short drive back to Lucerne. An orientation walk in Lucerne on arrival will give you some ideas for where to dine this evening, but before that, you will enjoy a classy, private chocolate making show. Mixing a passion for chocolate with a pantry full of natural ingredients, a team of chocolate-making magicians will demonstrates their skills exclusively to our group.
Rise early this morning for another train trip. This time you will stop over in Zurich. An orientation walk around town will introduce you to some of its main sites. There will be plenty of time for you to have lunch in one of Zurich's great eateries. Carry on to Munich in the afternoon, arriving in the early evening to check into your hotel. The night is free for you to explore the Bavarian capital or simply relax.
Starting early morning we will go on private minibus trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein castle, nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau. The palace was built by the King Ludwig II, known to be very shy. The purpose of this beautiful construction was for the king to hide from the public. Learning about its history and soaking up the atmosphere of the place we will spend most of our day here. If you fancy feeling like a King or a Queen, try the horse carriage ride around the palace. You will also have a chance to enjoy a lunch in nearby restaurants (at your own expense) You will be back to Munich for late afternoon and dinner.
Today you will take another train journey, reaching further in to the Alps. Arrive at the famous mountain resort of Zermatt, a place famed for its mountaineering and excellent skiing. The views of the Swiss Alps are excellent from here if changeable alpine weather permits. At over 4,478 metres above sea level, with the mighty Matterhorn looming above, you might feel you have reached the heart of the Alps. Enjoy included guided walk and listen to the stories of various attempts at the summit; some tragic, some successful, but all fascinating and truly adventurous. Balance of the day is free for you to stroll around town.
Wake up this morning to a fresh, crisp Alpine air. The day is free for you to enjoy as you wish. The village of Zermatt itself is lovely and car-free, with old-fashioned brown chalets and winding alleys. Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse is lined with boutique shops, hotels and restaurants. Perhaps enjoy an easy day soaking in the atmosphere of the adventure that surrounds the place. Make sure you’ll join a line for a street grilled sausage and chunk of bread, a speciality of the region.
After a hearty breakfast at the foot of Matterhorn, it's time for a scenic train ride across the alps. The Glacier Express Train will take you from Zermatt through Andermatt to Chur (approximately 6 hours). This is a fascinating journey through scores of tunnels and bridges and over the Oberalp Pass (2,033 m). The train is a narrow-gauge train, known to be one of the slowest in the country. Sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery, which is only made better by the panoramic sightseeing windows on board. There will be lunch on the train – perhaps enjoy it with a glass of crisp Swiss white wine. On arrival to Chur, you will change trains and then continue to Lucerne, where the remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy.
After a peaceful morning we will take an Orientation Walk around Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Once you know your whereabouts, you may want to visit the Marianplatz, the Neues Rathaus (the New Town Hall), or perhaps the medieval city gates that still remain standing. Another must see is the Englischer Garten, one of the biggest urban parks in the world. Regroup in the late afternoon to enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers. Famous Munich beerhall are the best way to finish of a week of alpine adventure.
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no further activities planned and you are free to depart at any time.