Journey to the source of the Rhine

The Rheingold

TWO MILLENNIA OF HISTORY
LONDON  |  AMSTERDAM  |  COLOGNE  |  BASEL  |  CHUR  |  GLACIER EXPRESS  |  ZERMATT

 

11-night, first-class journey
______________________________________________________________________
 Four-star boutique hotels
______________________________________________________________________
VIP arrival service with private guides and drivers
______________________________________________________________________
Private city walks with local insiders
______________________________________________________________________
Flight home to London
______________________________________________________________________

 

Departure every day  ONLY £ 2750*
* per person when two travelling together

Rhinegold-map

The Rhinegold is a name that opens the door to grand adventures. Opera lovers know it as Wagner’s romantic drama with Rhinemaidens guarding the Rhine’s magic gold. For travel buffs, it is the name of the legendary luxury express train that travelled alongside the river towards the Alps. In other words, it is the perfect name for this epic journey that follows the great river all the way to its source in the high Alps.

The Rhine is one of Europe’s greatest rivers, shaping both nature, history and culture through the ages. You will experience all this from high-speed trains and panoramic expresses on a route that flirts with the mighty river: The romance of the Middle Rhine with its castles and vineyards, the dramatic scenery of Switzerland’s Rhine Gorge, and the historic river-cities of Cologne, Basel and Chur.

You travel in great comfort and style: In first class, always direct, and never for more than several hours at a time. In each city on your journey, private guides stand ready at the train stations to welcome you, escort you to your four-star hotel, and then invite you on exclusive city walks.

The first time you see the Rhine is from your Standard Premiere seat in the Eurostar service from London to Amsterdam, as you pass the river in Rotterdam. Admittedly, by strict geographical logic this ought to be your first destination, but we think you’ll agree with our choice of two nights in beautiful and charming Amsterdam.

_____________________________

Panoramic journey
on the banks of
the Middle Rhine

_____________________________

After one night in Cologne, one of the most scenic rail journeys in Europe awaits, as you board a first-class panorama car that will travel right alongside the Middle Rhine in Germany with its dozens of castles and fortresses from the Middle Ages. Here you will also gaze upon the terraced vineyards on the steep hills, originally planted by the Romans in the days when the river marked the outer frontier of the Roman Empire.

When you arrive at Basel for a two-night stay in this historic city, a local insider will not only walk you down the narrow alleys of the old city centre, but also be happy to help prepare you for a Basel river experience that is beloved by the locals: A swim in the Rhine, where you let the strong current float you though the city.

Hike the spectacular Rhine Gorge

From Basel, a Swiss Intercity train will whisk you into the Alps to two nights beautiful Chur, the oldest city in all of Switzerland, founded on the Rhine some 5000 years ago. You could easily spend a day exploring the old centre, but if you like hiking, we recommend that you take a local train a little distance out of town to the Rhine Gorge, a dramatic cleft in the mountains that locals call Switzerland’s Grand Canyon, and where you will find wonderful trails with great views.

You’ll see the gorge again when you board the world’s most famous panoramic train, the Glacier Express. The 8-hour journey to Zermatt takes you over spectacular bridges, over the iconic Landwasser Viaduct, and through spiral tunnels that slowly gain height. When you reach the 2.000-meter-high Oberalp pass, you are yards away from the source of the Rhine.

_____________________________

Arrive om the Glacier Express
at the foot
of the Matterhorn

_____________________________

A few hours after having bid farewell to the Rhine, you arrive at Zermatt. If you know mountains, you also know that Zermatt is the most sacred of halls to worship them. The village kneels in front of the Matterhorn, one of the most revered mountains in the world, and she is encircled by a string of mighty peaks. 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.

After three nights in Zermatt, a mountain railway will bring you down into the Rhine valley, where a train will transport you on a final, beautiful journey to Geneva Airport and your included flight home.

The journey

London – Amsterdam – Cologne – Basel – Chur – The Glacier Express – Zermatt
Includes flight from Geneva to London
From only £2750

This ten-night journey includes two nights in Amsterdam, Basel and Chur; one night in Cologne; and three nights in Zermatt. You travel first-class in direct trains only. In every city, you are met at the station by your private guide who will escort you to your four-star boutique hotel and then treat you to a two-hour city walk. On your twelfth and final day you travel by train from Zermatt to Geneva Airport and return home on your included flight.

Expand all
Day 1
London - Amsterdam

Welcome onboard one of the most important and historic rail journeys in Europe – the fulfilment of the centuries-old dream of connecting England with the continent. You travel under the Channel at high speed and in great comfort. We seat you in first class – called Standard Premier here. During the journey, your steward will serve you a light meals and drinks at your seat.

Upon arrival 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. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Travel first-class under the Channel on Eurostar high-speed train
Light meal and drinks served at your seat
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 2
Amsterdam

To Amsterdammers, it seems perfectly natural that a kindergarten is in the middle of the red-light district, and that a statue of a prostitute stands right in front of a church. Europe has other historic cities with picturesque canals, charming squares, and beautiful old buildings, but nowhere else does a 17th century fairy-tale collide with a 21st century free-spirited mind-set like in Amsterdam. This is what elevates the Dutch capital from quaint to unforgettable.

At first, it’s hard to realize how modern and progressive Amsterdam is, because the city is all dressed up in a very charming old-world way. But you soon notice the cannabis café just around the corner from the museum with the Van Gogh masterpieces.

You need to go to Venice to find a city with more canals, and the similarity does not end there: Both were constructed during periods of great wealth when their trading ships ruled the world. For Amsterdam, this was in the 1600s, and all the gabled houses, architectural treasures, and legendary painters, hail from that golden age.

One of Europe's most charming cities
Great museums and historic sights
Day 3
Amsterdam - Cologne

Settle down in your spacious and comfortable first-class seat on Thalys – the international high-speed TGV service between the Benelux countries. The train offers a bar with drinks and sandwiches.

Upon arrival 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. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

 

 

High-speed international TGV service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 4
Cologne - Basel

There is a high-speed line from Cologne, but we ensure that you travel on a slow train on the old line. Because these tracks faithfully follow the undulating course of the Rhine for mils and miles, offering you an ever-changing fairy-tale view of medieval castles, terraced vineyards, charming riverside-towns, and of course the mythic Lorelei Rock.

Not only do you travel in first class, but because of our insider knowledge we can do even better for you: We place you in a Swiss panorama car with curved windows that offer perfect views of the hillsides rising above you. An extra benefit is that the car feels very airy and inviting. Right next to your car you will find the dining car.

When you arrive in Basel, your Silver Tray guide stands ready right at your train car to welcome you, escort you to your waiting car, and follow you to the hotel. Once you are checked in, she will treat you to a private city walk in Basel’s Old Town.

Swiss first-class panorama car
Dining car
VIP arrival service with guide and chauffeur
Day 5
Basel

The Rhine has always been one of the defining features of Basel. The city is the last important town on the navigable stretch of the river, and Basel has built its fortune on its strategic position. In medieval times, the city prospered by building a bridge where traders could cross. This bridge from the 13th century has been replaced by a newer version, but you can still get a sense of history as you stand here and take in the view of Basel’s beautiful riverfront.

It’s easy to spend all day wandering the cobbled streets of the old Altstadt, and to visit some of the many great museums and galleries in the city. But if you truly want to experience Basel like the locals (and if you are here on a warm summer-day) take a leap of faith and jump into the Rhine with them. The strong current will whisk you through the city center, until you make your exit at a designated point. Your local insider will be glad to explain you the practicalities.

 

 

Historic city will beautiful centre
Day 6
Basel-Chur

Travel in first-class on a comfortable Swiss intercity train directly to Chur, alongside beautiful lakes and with the Alps looming ever higher above you.

At Chur you will be met at the train platform by your private guide who will escort you the few steps to your modern and comfortable hotel. Then, she will invite you on a privately guided walk of the city, the oldest in all of Switzerland.

 

Swiss Intercity train
Dining car
VIP arrival service with private guide
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 7
Chur

Chur is the oldest city in all of Switzerland, founded thousands of years ago by the shore of the fledging Rhine. The city seems surprisingly modern when you first encounter it at the train station, but just a few minutes away lies the old town with its winding cobblestone alleys and immaculate buildings. A cable car can quickly whisk you up the local mountain for some fine walks, but the high-point for hikers here is the Rhine Gorge, reachable in just a few minutes by local train.

Switzerland's oldest city
Hike the stunning Rhine Gorge
Day 8
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 9
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
Zermatt - Geneva Airport and flight home

Your final journey to the airport is one to remember: First you retrace your path down the Mattertal valley, bidding a final farewell to the 4000-meter peaks of the Valais. Then, you easily change trains and travel through the Rhone Valley and alongside Lake Geneva with views of castles and terraced vineyards. The train terminates at Geneva Airport for your flight home to London.

Panoramic train and regional express to Geneva Airport
Panoramic views of the Zermatt valley and Lake Geneva

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.

Thalys

Settle down in your spacious and comfortable first-class seat on Thalys – the international high-speed TGV service between the Benelux countries. The train offers a bar with drinks and sandwiches.  

Glacier Express

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 stretch to or from 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.

Your Silver Tray service includes

First class rail travel on direct Trains
  • + First class rail travel
  • + Eurostar to Amsterdam
  • + Special panoramic car alongside the Rhine
  • + Glacier Express to Zermatt
Private city walks
  • + Two-hour city walks by local insiders.
  • + Fully customizable experiences
  • + Insider advice about local restaurants and hidden gems
Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Highly rated and carefully selected
  • + Perfectly located in city centers
  • + Breakfast included
Travel with confidence
  • + Private guide waiting at your train car upon arrival
  • + Private transfer to hotel (where necessary)
  • + Private transfer from hotel to train station upon departure
Sorry, this is not included
  • – Food and drinks other than breakfast
  • – Catering on trains, unless specified
  • – Local excursions

These journeys may also interest you

The Rhone
From the Med to the heart of the Alps
Danube Explorer
Journey from Budapest to the source of the Danube
The Grand Tour
The classic journey from London to Rome