From Vienna and Salzburg to the Matterhorn

The Transalpine Express

FROM VIENNA TO THE MATTERHORN
VIENNA  |  SALZBURG  |  ZURICH  |  ST MORITZ  |  ZERMATT


11-night individual journey
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Premium first-class rail travel
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Glacier Express Excellence Class
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Four-star boutique hotels
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VIP arrival services with private guide and driver
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Private city walks with local insider
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Flights from and to London
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Departure any day – ONLY £3200*
*per person when two travelling together

 

transalpine-map

This grand traverse of the Alps from East to West takes you over some of the great Alpine passes to historic cities and mountain villages. You travel alongside glaciers and through deep gorges and valleys to the foot of the Matterhorn in the very heart of the Alps. The historic route there is on tunnels, bridges and viaducts that were engineering marvels in their time, and that remains amongst the most scenic rail journeys in Europe.

From Vienna to the Matterhorn

Through the Arlberg Pass and on the Glacier Express

This grand traverse of the Alps from East to West takes you over some of the great Alpine passes to historic cities and mountain villages. You travel alongside glaciers and through deep gorges and valleys to the foot of the Matterhorn in the very heart of the Alps. The historic route there is on tunnels, bridges and viaducts were engineering marvels in their time, and that remains amongst the most scenic rail journeys in Europe.

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Visit a few of the greatest
cities, towns, and mountain villages
of the Alps

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As you leave behind the undulating hills and vineyards of Eastern Austria, the snow-capped peaks of the Alps slowly reveal themselves, and eventually completely overwhelm you, as you enter the realm of Europe’s mightiest mountains. Along the way, you visit some of the greatest cities, towns, and mountain villages of the Alps. This is a journey where the refined pleasures of Vienna’s palaces and Salzburg’s elegant squares may be followed by sweaty exertion in the high mountains (if you feel so inclined).

The journey follows the same route through Austria’s famous Arlberg Pass as the original Orient Express and later sees you boarding the Glacier Express. In other words, it is a route that has been travelled by some of the world’s most legendary trains, and this Silver Tray journey pays homage to them by ensuring that you travel in premium first-class much of the way, with some of the best comfort and finest service available on a 21stcentury modern train.

Indeed, your journey on the Glacier Express is in the world’s arguably finest first-class on any train in regular service. The Excellence Class is above and beyond the Glacier Express’ normal first class. As you take in the Alpine vistas from an exquisitely comfortable seat (there is one+one seating across the carriage), a waiter will serve you a superb meal with Champagne and wine. Later, mingle with your fellow travellers in the Excellence Class’ private cocktail bar.

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Experience the Glacier Express
with superb service
on Europe’s finest first-class

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All this old-world luxury is complemented with grand views of the winding Rhine Gorge, the 2.000-meter high Oberalp Pass, the iconic Landwasser Viaduct, and spiral tunnels that slowly gain height. The final stretch to Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn is so steep that it is a rack-and-pinion railway.

While not at the same level of luxury, your RailJet trains from Vienna to Salzburg, and later from Salzburg to Zurich, are some of Europe’s most comfortable. You travel in Business Class, a step above first-class, with plenty of space and personal service at your seat.

We believe that rail journey should be relaxed and comfortable, never strenuous or tedious, So, your entire adventure through the Alps is on direct trains only, and never for more than a few hours at a time (except the all-day Glacier Express extravaganza).

Silver Tray’s mission is to reimagine the romance of travel, and we believe that the art of arriving at a new destination is an important part of that. Therefore, whenever your train pulls into a train station, a private guide awaits you right at the train. She escorts you to a chauffeured car and follows with you to your perfectly located four-star boutique hotel. Then, she invites you for a two-hour private city walk, giving you a personal and authentic introduction to her city.

The journey

Your itinerary

This is your day-by-day itinerary. You can travel any day year-round (availability allowing) –  the price always remains the same.

Your journey includes first-class rail travel (with premium first-class on Austria’s RailJet and the Glacier Express.) Four-star boutique hotels. VIP arrival services with private guides and drivers in every city. Privately guided city walks with local insiders. And flights from and to London.

Expand all
Day 1
Arrive to Vienna from London

The all-powerful Habsburg emperors and archdukes ruled much of continental Europe from Vienna. It all came to an end when one of them got shot and in the process started WWI, but imperial life goes on, just without either empire or emperors, in the grandest palaces in Europe.

The Vienna Boys’ Choir still sings Sunday Mass in the Hofburg Palace, Lipizzaner stallions still trot in the famed Spanish Riding School, chandeliers still sparkle in the Imperial Apartments, and summer life is still relaxed in the mere 1441 rooms of the Schloss Schönbrunn summer residence.

Vienna is much more than imperial pixie dust, however. The city is consistently voted the most liveable in the world, with locals enjoying cakes in the opulent coffee-houses, sniffing fine Austrian wines in vaulted wine cellars, or buying local delicacies in the famed food market. Follow the locals to the Brunnenmarkt – Vienna’s largest street market, and recently a colourful and fashionable district has come to life around it. Numerous artists have set up shop here, as have some of Vienna’s most exciting restaurants.

 

 

Grand palaces and imperial history.
Have a cake in an opulent coffee-house.
Day 2
Vienna

The all-powerful Habsburg emperors and archdukes ruled much of continental Europe from Vienna. It all came to an end when one of them got shot and in the process started WWI, but imperial life goes on, just without either empire or emperors, in the grandest palaces in Europe.

The Vienna Boys’ Choir still sings Sunday Mass in the Hofburg Palace, Lipizzaner stallions still trot in the famed Spanish Riding School, chandeliers still sparkle in the Imperial Apartments, and summer life is still relaxed in the mere 1441 rooms of the Schloss Schönbrunn summer residence.

Vienna is much more than imperial pixie dust, however. The city is consistently voted the most liveable in the world, with locals enjoying cakes in the opulent coffee-houses, sniffing fine Austrian wines in vaulted wine cellars, or buying local delicacies in the famed food market. Follow the locals to the Brunnenmarkt – Vienna’s largest street market, and recently a colourful and fashionable district has come to life around it. Numerous artists have set up shop here, as have some of Vienna’s most exciting restaurants.

 

 

Grand palaces and imperial history.
Have a cake in an opulent coffee-house.
Day 3
Vienna-Salzburg

Your journey through the gently rolling hills of Eastern Austria is on the Austrian Railway’s Railjet flagship, and we have upgraded you to premium first class, here weirdly known as Business Class. The train carries a bistro, but as a VIP passenger, you may choose to order and be served right at your spacious seat (you still must pay, though). As the train approaches Salzburg after a couple of hours, Alpine peaks begin to rise in the horizon.

Upon arrival at Salzburg, you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel. Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk on the same cobblestoned streets that Mozart roamed on as a youth.

 

Premium first-class on RailJet
Bistro and at-seat service
VIP arrival service with private guide
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 4
Salzburg

Reaping a fortune (and its name) from nearby salt mines, the independent city state of Salzburg showcased its wealth with palaces, churches, grand buildings, and fashionable squares, as well as an imposing cliff-top fortress to safeguard it all. This is what Salzburg looked like to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, when he roamed the narrow streets as a kid, and this is what Salzburg looks like today.

With that kind of architecture, and a magnificent setting with the Alps towering behind the city, it was easy to turn Salzburg into one big film set for The Sound of Music. But even though it all looks like a storybook, Salzburg is very much alive with jazz clubs, galleries, wonderful restaurants, and a stunning museum of modern art.

Stroll through the old town, admire the domes and spires and squares, sample the museums and the art scene, relax in the manicured parks, and take in a classical concert in a baroque palace at night. One attraction that is impossible to miss is the impressive fortress of Hohensalzburg: It towers over the city, occupying the summit of the Mönchsberg.

 

 

A small town with grand buildings and squares, looking just as in Mozart's childhood
Historic, yes, but also with jazz clubs, galleries, and wonderful restaurants
Day 5
Salzburg-Zurich

This is a great train, travelling through great scenery. The RailJet is the flagship of the Austrian Railways, and we have booked you in premium first class (known as Business Class here). The seats are extra spacious, and you do not even have to visit the next-door bistro – your steward will be happy to serve you at your seat (although you do have to pay for your order). The high point of the journey comes as your RailJet travels though deep valleys and the Arlberg Pass, with Alpine peaks high above you.

The moment you arrive at Zurich and exit the train, your Silver Tray guide stands ready to welcome you. She will escort you to your hotel, and then invite you on a private two-hour city walk.

Premium first-class on Austria's flagship train
Travel through the Arlberg Pass
Bistro car and at-seat service
VIP arrival service with private guide
City walk with your private local insider
Day 6
Zurich

It’s quite understandable if your gut reaction is that this must be a rather cold and boring place. Zurich is, after all, a global powerhouse for bankers and financiers. But the funny thing is, Zurich is actually charming and attractive, a delightful and fascinating place to visit, with superb art and incredible shopping.

Much of the ancient centre of Zurich has been kept lovingly intact, with winding lanes and tall church steeples, a beautiful riverfront, and blocks of medieval and Renaissance buildings. The old town also hosts a 13thcentury church, and a visit here gives you a very good idea about the city’s artistic side: The stunning stained-glass windows in the choir were made by Chagall in 1971, and another window was created a few decades earlier by the world-famous abstract sculptor Giacometti.

You’ll see this embrace of contemporary trends everywhere in Zurich. Old factories are converted into cultural centres and museums are just generally world-class. The Kunsthaus is one of Europe’s top art museums, with superb collections of especially Monet and Chagall.

 

Charming and attractive city
Ancient centre with winding lanes
Day 7
Zurich-St Moritz

You board a comfortable and modern Swiss Intercity train with a bistro and travel alongside Lake Zurich and yet another beautiful lake before making several encounters with the fledging river Rhine. At Chur you make a quick and easy change of trains (this is Switzerland, remember) and soon snow-capped peaks begin to rise before you. The entire journey is little more than three hours.

Upon arrival at St Moritz, you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel. Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk of this exclusive resort.

 

Change of trains at Chur
VIP arrival service with private guide
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 8
St Moritz

It is a common misperception that St Moritz is all about celebrities in Lamborghinis cruising down the exclusive shopping street. In reality, this is not so at all: Some of them drive Ferraris.

Seriously, St Moritz is not all show. The real attraction is the fabulous outdoors with Alpine peaks and glaciers.. The Engadin area is blessed with sunny skies almost all year round, so that even the mountain lakes heat up to over 20 degrees in summer. Climb aboard the enchanting vintage Muottas Muragl funicular railway and whisk to a summit with a panorama that’s impressive even by Swiss standards.

But a little glamour never hurt anyone, and this place does have that in spades. It may not be very big, but this is one of the original, historic Alpine resorts, and St Moritz has hosted the Winter Olympics twice. St Moritz is the kind of village, that when they want to renovate an Olympic pavilion from 1905, they call in starchitect Norman Foster and have him turn it into an outstanding restaurant, lounge and bar (it’s called the Kulm Country Club, and you really have to visit).

High society: Head for the peaks.
Mingle with the rich and the beautiful.
Day 9
The Glacier Express to Zermatt

The Glacier Express is the world’s most legendary panoramic train. The 8-hour journey takes you over spectacular bridges, over the iconic Landwasser Viaduct, and through spiral tunnels that slowly gain height. You will travel through the winding Rhine Gorge – the Grand Canyon of Switzerland – and over the 2.000-meter-high Oberalp pass. The final stretch to Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn is so steep that it is a rack-and-pinion railway.

You travel in first class. The train carries a full-service kitchen and you may order a three-course lunch to be served at your seat (at quite reasonable prices). Here is also a good wine list with local products. If you order a grappa, schnapps, or some other digestif, the head waiter will perform a little show for you, pouring the spirit from an alarmingly high altitude.

In car-free Zermatt, your private transfer will be by electric buggy.

The world's most legendary panoramic train
Through the Rhine Gorge and over the Oberalp Pass to the foot of Matterhorn
Order a three-course lunch from the full-service kitchen
Day 10-11
Zermatt

As your train approaches Zermatt, the views keep getting ever more impressive as Alpine peaks start towering high above you. But only when you walk down Zermatt’s main street does the most beautiful mountain in the world finally reveal itself. The Matterhorn has attracted climbers for 150 years, and the local cemetery (a must-visit) is crammed with gravestones commemorating souls who perished while attempting to reach its peak (a few of them just featuring an ice pick, as the body was never recovered).

Zermatt is a wealthy town, with great shopping and superb dining. But everyone is here for the mountains, not for the shopping. If you’re here, you’ll probably also want to hit the heights. You could certainly go hiking – the possibilities are endless, and we really recommend heading for a lofty mountain hut where you can enjoy lunch with a beer (usually brought in by helicopter), before heading down to the valley again.

The throne room of the Alps.
Have lunch in a lofty mountain cabin
Take the mountain railway to Gornergrat.
Day 12
To Geneva Airport and flight home

Your final day is one to remember. First, you retrace the Glacier Express route through the Mattertal valley down to the Rhone Valley, savouring a last glimpse of Weisshorn and the other 4000-meter peaks towering above the train. At Visp you change trains and speed through the wide valley, soon travelling alongside the picturesque Lake Geneva. Note the steep terraces of the Lavaux vineyards on your right, marvel at the views over the lake below you on the left, and don’t miss the romantic Chillon Castle that is located on an island just off the shore.

The train terminates at Geneva Airport for your included flight back to London.

Mountain railway to Rhone Valley, change for direct train to airport
Stunning panoramas of mountains and Lake Geneva
Included flight to London

Four-star boutique hotels

Stay in charming, comfortable and centrally located four-star boutique hotels carefully curated by Silver Tray. Breakfast is included, as are transfers between the train station and the hotel.

Your trains

Silver Tray has curated Europe's best trains and finest routes for you. See a few of the trains you will experience on this journey.

Railjet

This Austrian RailJet is is supremely comfortable. Especially so in Business Class – a class above and beyond first – where you can luxuriate in peace and quiet. The train carries a nice and informal Bistro, but as a VIP-passenger you may also choose to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Glacier Express Excellence Class

Your journey on the Glacier Express is in the world’s arguably finest first-class on any train in regular service. The Excellence Class is above and beyond the Glacier Express’ normal first class. As you take in the Alpine vistas from an exquisitely comfortable seat (there is one+one seating across the carriage), a waiter will serve you a superb meal with Champagne and wine. Later, mingle with your fellow travellers in the Excellence Class’ private cocktail bar. 

Your Silver Tray service includes

Premium first-class rail travel

+ Travel in premium first-class from Vienna to Zurich
+ Travel in Excellence Class on the Glacier Express with lunch, wine, and cocktails
+ Flights from London to Vienna and Geneva to London

Four-star boutique hotels

+ Four-star boutique hotels
+ Highly rated and carefully selected
+ Perfectly located in city centres
+ Breakfast included

Private city walks

+ Two-hour city walks by local insiders.
+ Fully customizable experiences
+ Insider advice about local restaurants and hidden gems

VIP arrival service

+ Private guide waiting at your train car upon arrival
+ Private transfer to hotel
+ Private transfer from the hotel to train station upon departure

Per person when two sharing a double room.

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