Jemma's tour of Switzerland and the Glacier Express

20 July, 2018

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In October 2017, I was lucky enough to experience Travelmarvel in conjunction with Great Rail Journey’s, tour of Switzerland. Travelmarvel’s 12 Day Glacier Express & St Moritz exceeded my expectations and how efficient is the Swiss Rail System!  As seamless and well organised as the Swiss themselves! What a way to see the picturesque countryside of Switzerland from the comfort of your first-class rail seat.

Nestled in among the beautiful Swiss Alps is a lake side town called St Mortiz. What a beautiful place to be.  My first introduction to Switzerland was here.  The hotel we stayed at was hotel Schweizerhof, a beautifully refurbished ‘old style’ hotel that was centrally located with stunning views over St Moritz Lake. Not to mention the best breakfast omelette I have ever eaten in my entire life! Delicious!

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St Moritz is mostly known for its famous ski slopes. Whilst I was there it was a very quiet time for a thriving seasonal town. With no ski fields open, I really enjoyed the quietness and the stillness of this place, and the autumn colours and foliage made it really special!

The next morning we boarded the historic railway named The Bernina Express from St Moritz to Tirano. There is not many occasions in my life when I can say “I’m just popping over to Italy for some lunch..” but in this case it was true! Going to a tiny village in Italy like Tirano for some real authentic Italian Pasta and wine was so surreal! What a magnificent journey it was on board the Bernina Express.

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In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine how beautiful Switzerland could be. The snow capped mountains and beautiful turquoise waters. Felt like I should have been in Canada!! Seeing this magnificent landscape in Switzerland took my breath away.

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I was very excited to board the Unesco World Heritage listed Glacier Express the following day. After first hand experiencing the beautiful scenery onboard the Bernina. A full day’s train Journey, with an included two course lunch on route to a town called Zermatt. The first-class rail ticket was luxury, the service impeccable. This was so relaxing and the scenery every step of the way through large panoramic picture windows was never boring!  Exceptional is an understatement.

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Now I had very little expectations of Zermatt and even one of the guests on board said to our tour director “Wouldn’t it be better to start in Zermatt and end at the beautiful St Moritz?” the tour director just replied “Well once you have been to Zermatt, please let me know if you would still prefer this way..”

Zermatt was ABSOLUTELY my most favourite place on this trip. This beautiful town has NEVER had vehicles that produce gas emissions. Even today, they only allow electric vehicles into Zermatt, or bicycles as a mode of transport, and boy was the air clear!!

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No spoilers,  but the hotel Travelmarvel use in Zermatt is indescribably beautiful. Four days here on this tour is perfect. Plus let’s not forget the Famous Matterhorn that looks out over the town like a fierce protector.

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I am no rail buff but this holiday really set a new travel standard for me. Rail is a really efficient way to not only see the countryside of a place you are visiting but to reach places you would never really go without the train line in place.

Travelmarvel along with Great Rail Journeys did an exceptional job guiding this tour. Switzerland is more than its beautiful cities like Zurich and Basel. It is full of unscathed, uncommercialized, natural beauty. It is so traditional with its beautiful local farmers and their Swiss cows with bells that take the entire road when necessary. It almost seems impossible to me now to even get a glimpse of any of this without travelling by rail around Switzerland. I would never have imagined Switzerland before my tour, the way I picture and reminisce about it now.

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That, to me,  is the best outcome from a holiday anyone could hope for.

Jemma Rosen
Jemma Rosen Global Journeys