Tailormade tour By rail to Saanenland holiday Switzerland

7 nights/8 days

Geneva • Montreux • Schoenried • Gstaad

Spend seven nights in the idyllic Saanenland, in a cosy mountainside hotel. Explore chic Gstaad on foot, hike or cycle along mountain paths, paddle in Lake Lauenen, or ascend the summit of the Wispile and the Rinderberg by cable car.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,755 per person in the 4-star hotel, £2,990 in the 5-star hotel.

Luxury holiday to the Saanenland in Switzerland by train staying in or near Gstaad for seven nights

Highlights

Geneva • Montreux • GoldenPass Line • Schoenried • Gstaad • Lauenen • Zweisimmen

Day by day

Travel from London to Gstaad or Schoenried by rail on your first day. The Eurostar leaves in the early morning for Paris, where you change to a TGV train, arriving into Geneva in the mid-afternoon. Here, change for Montreux, and then change again for the GoldenPass Line to Gstaad or Schoenried, arriving in the evening. The GoldenPass journey winds its way from the lake-side at Montreux, up through the steep vineyards that hang to the shores of the lake, into the mountains, the Pays d’Enhaut and into the Saanenland, on the border of the French-German speaking regions. Check into your resort hotel. (You can choose to fly to Geneva and then take a train from Geneva airport to Montreux, where you take the GoldenPass Line. If you take an 11.30 flight from LHR, you can reach Gstaad just after 18.00 hrs).

Spend seven nights enjoying the highlights of the Saanenland, making the most of your eight-day rail pass to explore the surrounding villages and valleys. Gstaad sits in a glorious landscape of valleys and mountain pastures, with dramatic mountain peaks in the distance, and not far from the glacier at Les Diablerets. There are numerous summer mountain activities, especially hiking with access by cable-car to mountain tracks. The railway system allows you to travel to various starting points in the region. Places of interest in the Saanenland: • Schoenried central square – named after the world champion, Olympic medallist, and World Cup winner in Giant Slalom, Mike von Grunigen • Promenade – the main street in Gstaad, lined with boutique shops, chic bars, and stunning chalets • Outdoor fondue – at one of the authentic restaurants serving alpine dairy products • Cable cars in the area take you from Zweisimmen to Rinderberg, Schoenried to Rellerli, Gstaad to Wispile, Rougemont to La Videmanette, Chateau-d’Oex to La Braye, Gsteig to Sanetsch, Reusch to Oldenegg, and Col du Pillon to Glacier 3000 • Glacier 3000 – the only glacier area in the Bernese Oberland • Guided tours of Saanen, Zweisimmen, and Rougemont • Museums of local history at Saanen and Zweisimmen • Cheese-tasting and cellar tours at La Maison de l’Etivaz • Fondation de l’Espace Ballon at Chateaux-d’Oex • Swiss Open – this tennis tournament is held in Gstaad at the end of July each year • Yehudi Menuhin Festival of Classical Music – hosted each year in the 15th century Mauritius Church in Saanen and a dedicated marquee in Gstaad Local sports suggestions include: • High-altitude hiking from the Rinderberg to the Horneggli • Flower trail on the Horneggli • Hiking from Rellerli to Sparenmoos • Hiking from Mount Wispile to Lake Lauenen • Walking along the shores of the reservoir at Sanetsch • Flora and fauna hike at Oldenegg • Glacier 3000 walking trail • Cycling through Gstaad • Swimming • Tennis The abundance of available activities, from cultural and historic tours to scenic walks and hiking, will ensure that each of your days in the Saanenland area is unique and memorable. This seven-night rail holiday allows you to make the most of this variety and get to know the region in-depth.

On your eighth day, board an early morning train from Schoenried or Gstaad to Montreux, Geneva, and Paris, arriving in London in the evening. (If you want to fly back from Geneva, you can take a train at about 11.30 to connect with a flight arriving back into LHR at just after 18.00 hrs).

Holiday price guide From about £1,755 per person in the 4-star hotel and £2,990 per person in the 5-star hotel based on two people sharing a double room and including for second-class rail travel. First class and standard premier supplement about £400 per person.

Holiday Code CHBR12

Luxury holiday to the Saanenland in Switzerland by train staying in or near Gstaad for seven nights

Holiday price guide From about £1,755 per person in the 4-star hotel and £2,990 per person in the 5-star hotel based on two people sharing a double room and including for second-class rail travel. First class and standard premier supplement about £400 per person.

Holiday Code CHBR12

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● Private car transfers from the station to your hotel, and from your hotel to the station
● 7 nights' bed and breakfast in a Standard ‘Relllerli’ double room at the Hotel Alpenrose, Schoenried in the Saanenland or in a Superior mountain view room at the Park Gstaad
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Swiss Francs 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in Paris
● Optional travel arrangements by air from the UK to Geneva

Holiday price guide From about £1,755 per person in the 4-star hotel and £2,990 per person in the 5-star hotel based on two people sharing a double room and including for second-class rail travel. First class and standard premier supplement about £400 per person.

Holiday Code CHBR12

Luxury holiday to the Saanenland in Switzerland by train staying in or near Gstaad for seven nights

Highlights of Saanenland

The Saanenland is based in the convergence of five valleys. Streams, lakes, forests, and verdant slopes therefore provide a 360 degree backdrop to your stay here. The isolated and little-known Lauenensee, for example, is a bubble of peace and tranquillity, with pathways around the lake shores that lead up to a waterfall that crashes between jutting rocks on its way down the mountainside. In the winter, the lake freezes over, and there is every chance you may be the first to leave your footprints in the snow. Gstaad is perhaps what makes the Saanenland so well-known and so deserving of its own individual place as a region in our overview of Switzerland. The traffic-free main promenade is lined with perfectly maintained, authentic Swiss chalets, complete with dark wood peaked roofs, shuttered windows, and balconies. These chalets contain intriguing boutique shops and some of Gstaad's 100 restaurants, which serve anything from Swiss raclette to gourmet, refined cuisine. In the landscape around Gstaad lie a huge range of summer sports opportunities. More than 300km of hiking paths take you up and around the mountains and deep into the valleys. Mountain-biking, paragliding, and golf also remain continually popular with seasonal guests. Schonried hosts a famous toboggan run, while exhilarating downhill scooter rides can be enjoyed from Wispile to Gstaad or Sparenmoos to Zweisimmen. On the River Saane, you can wrestle the torrent on a raft or in a canoe. Schonried, on the so-called ‘sun terrace' above Gstaad, is one neighbouring village that is of particular interest. Schonried is an excellent starting point for many hikes or long walks, due to its sublime scenery and many cableways and high-altitude railways. The picture-postcard village of Zweisimmen is known as the Gateway to the Saanenland. Most notably, however, it is an important station on the iconic route of the GoldenPass Line, and the railway line that links the Bernese Oberland to Montreux. You may wish to visit Zweisimmen for the Rinderberg cable car, which takes you up to one of the largest ski areas in the Saanenland in winter, and up to an intricate network of walking routes in the summer. Various themed trails take you through the different elements of the local culture, such as around the authentic farmhouses with their carved murals, or high up in the mountaintops. There are ten villages in total in the Saanenland, each of which is charming in its own right. Should you have time, we would not discourage visiting as many of these as possible to admire the scenery from multiple angles.

Festivals in the Saanenland

A lesser-known highlight of the area's winter sports opportunities is the Zweisimmen Snow Games in January, featuring a waterslide through the Rinderberg water, ski-cross races, downhill mountain biking, and freestyle parkour. February and March in Gstaad are made all the more enchanting by the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, a small classical music festival. The summer sees two large tennis tournaments come to Gstaad: the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad, and the Ladies Championship Gstaad. The Davidoff Saveurs Gstaad celebrates authentic local cuisine and wine in July. For more traditional celebrations, attend the Suufsunntig, an Alpine festival from July to August hosted on the nearby mountains. Also in the summer, from July to September, is the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, which honours the violinist and conductor after which it was named, with numerous performances of haunting classical music. The Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad in August sees jockeys from all over the world racing Arab horses. Something a little different can be enjoyed at the Country Night Gstaad in September. Across the border into the canton of Vaud is Chateau-d'Oex, which hosts the International Balloon Festival, the most important balloon event in the Alps.

Gastronomy in the Saanenland

As in much of Switzerland, cheese plays an integral part in the local gastronomy of Saanenland. In Chateau-d'Oex and Rougemont, be sure to try the Etivaz cheese, which is made in the cauldrons of Alpine huts. In a quaint gourmet restaurant in Gstaad or on the lush rolling pastures of Schonried, try the fondue or raclette in the environment in which it was intended to be eaten. Local farms, particularly dairy farms, offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner service, with the opportunity to try some of their homemade produce and watch as the cheese is made.

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