World’s longest railway tunnel
Switzerland: home to the world’s longest railway tunnel…
Experience the new Gotthard Base Tunnel on its opening weekend, as well as an array
of escorted and tailor-made Swiss itineraries, with rail holiday specialist, Ffestiniog Travel
Due to be opened officially on 1 June, the Gotthard Base Tunnel will be the world’s longest railway tunnel, surpassing the current record holder, Japan’s Seikan Tunnel. A testament to the Swiss precision, engineering, innovation and reliability that has created this 57 km masterpiece – which has cost £6.5 billion and taken 20 years to complete – the Gotthard Base Tunnel will transport passengers between Zurich and Milan in under three hours, shaving an hour off the current journey time.
Be one of the first to experience it on a tailor-made, four-day Gotthard Tunnel Opening Festival Break with rail holiday specialist, Ffestiniog Travel. Timed to coincide with the weekend of public celebration that will follow the official opening ceremony, visitors can look forward to a programme of events ranging from interactive multimedia exhibitions, shows and music to tunnel rides on the Gotthard shuttle train (travelling at up to 200 km/hr) and the chance to inspect the maintenance and intervention centres, and to see a fire & rescue train in action.
Departing 3 June from London St Pancras, the price is from £790 pp (two sharing) including return rail travel to Andermatt, three nights’ B&B and a four-day standard-class Swiss Travel Pass. N.B: As Gotthard Tunnel Opening Festival admission costs have yet to be confirmed in Switzerland, these are not included in the package price.
Adept at creating fun and fascinating escorted tours and tailor-made itineraries to Switzerland for over 40 years, Ffestiniog Travel offers an array of holiday options to this delightful destination, where an impressive and efficient rail network whisks travellers across the country in comfort, against a backdrop of spectacular scenery. And what better time than now to start planning a Swiss escape, as winter’s blanket of snow melts away to reveal pretty landscapes carpeted in colourful spring flowers and dotted with postcard-perfect Alpine villages?
Combining the assurance of travelling in a companionable group with the option to explore independently, each of Ffestiniog Travel’s escorted Swiss itineraries features an element of free time whilst also providing a dedicated tour leader – who accompanies the group from the UK and throughout the holiday – to assist as required, offering advice and arranging optional sightseeing trips. Each of the following holidays also includes a first-class Swiss Travel Pass, granting unlimited travel on trains, postbuses, lake steamers and many city buses and trams.
- First to depart this spring is Swiss Alpine Holiday, a classic 15-day rail tour along the Rhine River – starting in Cologne – that highlights some of the very best Alpine scenery. Journeys on the world-famous Bernina and Glacier Express routes are included in the itinerary, as is the option to join escorted excursions (at no additional cost) to Arosa, Davos, St Gallen, Mürren, Engelberg, Rigi and Zermatt.
Departing 18 May & 7 September from London St Pancras, the price is from £2,195 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Travel Pass, Bernina & Glacier Express supplements, daily optional excursions, 14 nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout the tour.
The Bernina and Glacier Express also feature in Swiss Alps & Lakes, a ten-day tour with ample free time woven in to explore using your first-class Swiss Pass or simply to relax in some stunning settings. Based for four nights in picturesque Chur (Switzerland’s oldest city) and three nights in Thun (gateway to the Bernese Oberland) – both of which are ideally located for day trips and excursions – the itinerary also features two overnight stays in the spa town of Aachen, Germany’s western-most city, on the outbound and return journey.
Departing 8 June & 5 October from London St Pancras, the price is from £1,655 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Travel Pass, Bernina & Glacier Express supplements, daily optional excursions, nine nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout the tour.
- Enjoy memorable rail journeys through breath-taking scenery, blended effortlessly with leisurely sightseeing, on a 14-night tour of France and Switzerland: Lake Annecy, Chamonix & Swiss Alps. Staying in Lyon, Annecy, Chamonix, Brig, Chur and Basle, highlights include a boat trip to the elegant lakeside town of Talloires, an escorted excursion to the Mont Blanc Tramway and optional visits to Zermatt, Mürren, Arosa, Davos and Appenzell.
Departing 13 July from London St Pancras, the price is from £1,940 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Travel Pass, InterRail Pass in standard class for unlimited travel within France, Bernina & Glacier Express supplements, 14 nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout the tour.
- Aimed at the railway connoisseur and NEW for 2016, Swiss Trams & Trolley Buses explores the urban tram networks of some of Switzerland’s largest cities. Train enthusiasts can look forward to travelling on the tram systems of Basle, Zurich, Berne and Neuchâtel as well as the trolley bus systems of Lucerne, Montreux and Vevey, and visits to the Zurich Tram Museum and the heritage railway and museum at Blonay Chamby.
Departing 16 September from London St Pancras, the price is from £1,775 pp (two sharing) including rail travel to/from Switzerland, first-class Swiss Travel Pass, transfers in Paris, ten nights’ B&B, and tour leader service from London and throughout the tour.
Also joining Ffestiniog Travel’s programme for the first time this year is a selection of Rail Holidays Direct: relaxing one-centre, fully escorted short breaks to destinations that can be reached the same day by rail, without the need for a stopover. Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne (departs 12 June, price is from £1,210 pp) is a five-night holiday based at the Hotel Waldstätterhof (close to the station, steamer quay and city) that includes three lake cruises, the ascent of two mountains by train and rail journeys on the Brünig and Gotthard Passes, and a standard-class Tell Pass – giving unlimited travel within the Lake Lucerne region.
Or visit Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland (departs 20 September, price is from £1,415 pp), a seven-night stay at the Hotel Bären in Wilderswil that includes excursions to Kleine Scheidegg, Lucerne, Thun, Zermatt and the Rothorn Mountain, as well as a standard-class, eight-day Swiss Travel Pass – giving unlimited travel throughout Switzerland.
Prices for both holidays are based on two sharing and include rail travel to/from Switzerland, half-board accommodation, transfers in Paris, excursions, travel passes as indicated and tour leader service from London and throughout the tour.
Prefer to travel independently? Ffestiniog Travel’s expert team also provides a tailor-made service, assisting clients to plan a more personal journey through Switzerland and/or around the Alps. Choose from sample itineraries such Classic Switzerland by Rail, Railways & Lakes, Swiss & Italian Alps and Family Tour of Switzerland – adding and adapting elements to create a holiday that perfectly suits your particular requirements – or talk to the team to arrange your very own Swiss sojourn from scratch. There’s also a dedicated Ticket-Only department to assist with rail journeys for individuals and larger parties (including family travel and special interest groups) across Europe, adding accommodation and/or local excursions as required.
To discuss an escorted tour, tailor-made holiday or special interest itinerary to Switzerland, please call 01766 772 030 or visit www.ffestiniogtravel.com.
Ffestiniog Travel’s 2016 Rail Holidays of the World brochure – featuring escorted tours to destinations across the UK, Europe and worldwide – can be also viewed online here.
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When I first started out travel writing, twenty years ago, I was writing a weekly round-up for The Independent. The first PR agency I ever tapped into for their clients' holiday ideas was Travel PR; they were always full of great suggestions for the column and responded quickly. Over the years, I've worked with them on many occasions and their close association with AITO has always paid dividends. Nothing has changed; some of the best story ideas I get herald from them, and their response time remains very speedy. They are a pleasure to work with.Mark Stratton, Freelance Travel Writer
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