By high-speed train and Glacier Express from the Med to the heart of the Alps

The Rhone

ON THE BANKS OF THE GREAT RIVER
ARLES  |  AVIGNON  |  LYON  |  LAUSANNE  |  ZERMATT  |  GLACIER EXPRESS  |  CHUR

11-night individual journey
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First-class rail travel on direct trains
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Privately guided city walks with local insiders
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VIP arrival service with local guides and drivers
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Four-star boutique hotels
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Flights from and to London
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ONLY  £2800*
*per person when two travelling together

Rhone-map

Roman amphitheaters. World-class vine-yards. A Papal palace. Mighty glaciers and snow-capped peaks. One of Europe’s grandest rivers flows by it all, and Silver Tray invites you to experience it all as you travel from the Rhone’s mouth to its source: From the Med to the heart of the Alps.

The Greeks named the great river after their island of Rhodes, and this makes sense – at first – as you luxuriate in the warm and rich culture of ancient cities like Arles, Avignon and Lyon, and see buildings so majestic and well-preserved that it is hard to believe that they hail from antiquity or middle ages.

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Travel in grand style on direct
high-speed TGVs and the
Glacier Express
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But then the river and the landscape grow wilder as you follow it on mountain railways into the Alps. At the foot of the Matterhorn, you witness the glacier-fed torrents that feed the fledging river, and as the grand finale of this epic journey, you will travel on the legendary Glacier Express right past the river’s source in the Rhone Glacier.

Travelling on the Rhone used to be an arduous undertaking, but you will do it in grand style: First-class on high-speed trains and panoramic mountain railways. The moment you arrive at the station of your next destination, your private guide stands ready to escort you to the waiting chauffeured car. In a few moments, you are checked-in at your four-star boutique hotel.

Then, experience each destination’s true treasures on privately guided city-walks with local insiders who will be more than happy to tailor-make the walks to your interests and desires.

This 12-day Grand Tour starts with an included flight from London to Marseille and concludes with a flight home from Zurich. In between it includes first-class rail travel, four-star hotels, VIP transfers and private guides. You travel independently – on any departure date you wish.

The journey

Arles – Avignon – Lyon – Lausanne – Zermatt – Glacier Express – Chur
Flights from and to London
From only £ 2800

You fly from London to Marseille and enjoy a private chauffeured car from the airport to Arles. Over the coming days you spend two nights in Arles, Avignon, Lyon, Lausanne and Zermatt, and one final night in Chur before you fly home from Zurich.

You travel first-class on high-speed TGV trains in France, and on the legendary Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur. Enjoy VIP arrival service with private guides and chauffeurs in every city except car-free Zermatt. City walks with local insiders in every city. Stays at four-star boutique hotels with breakfast included.

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Day 1
Arrive to Arles from London

Arrive from London on your included flight to Marseille. You’ll be greeted by your private chauffeur and driven straight to your four-star hotel in Arles, about one hour from the airport.

Chauffeured car from airport to your hotel in Arles
Day 2
Arles

Charming Arles is situated on the plain where the Rhone River divides to form its delta on its final stretch to its Mediterranean mouth. This is a city with some serious history: She was a leading city of the Western Roman Empire, when the Romans used her as a naval base (Arles to this day remains a significant river port on the Rhone). Later, Arles was ruled by the Visigoths and conquered by Muslim invaders, before she enjoyed a few proud years as first the capital of the kingdom of Burgundy and later as an independent city state.

Arles never fails to remind you of her proud past. Portions of the wall around the old town are Roman, and a Roman arena dating to the 1st century that seated more than 20,000 spectators is still used for plays. In her more recent past, Arles was home to Vincent van Gogh during one of his most productive periods.

See the huge Roman amphitheatre
Visit one of Provence's finest food markets
Day 3
Arles – Avignon

Welcome onboard Europe’s original high-speed train, the flagship of the French railways. Many TGV trainsets today are double-deckers, and your spacious first-class seat may well be on the upper deck, offering great views as well as an intimate cabin. As you would expect in France, the seats are stylishly designed. A café-car offers snacks and light meals.

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 TGV service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 4
Avignon

This medieval town in scenic Provence was for a few precious years the centre of the universe: The Vatican-on-the-Rhône when a 14th-century Pope moved his entire court from Rome to here. The fortress-like Papal palace with its imposing stone halls still dominates the old centre; ancient ramparts still ring old Avignon; and walking in the pedestrianised centre with its leafy squares can feel quite medieval – unless you’re here during the Avignon Festival in July, one of the most important contemporary performing art events in the world. We’re sure Clement V would not have approved.

Avignon is a great foodie destination with great restaurants. For an authentic and local experience, a visit to the colourful and aromatic market at Les Halles is a must. You’ll be greeted by a giant, living wall as you enter the market. Once inside there’s a huge range of vendors selling a delicious selection of Provincial foods which make for a great picnic spread to enjoy beside the river.

 

Medieval town with amazing history
Great foodie destination
Day 5
Avignon - Lyon

Welcome onboard Europe’s original high-speed train, the flagship of the French railways. Many TGV trainsets today are double-deckers, and your spacious first-class seat may well be on the upper deck, offering great views as well as an intimate cabin. As you would expect in France, the seats are stylishly designed. A café-car offers snacks and light meals.

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 TGV service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
Day 6
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for the finest food in the country. Considering the country we are talking about, that is high praise indeed. With stunning buildings, Roman ruins, medieval quarters, and churches dating back thousands of years, there are also plenty of non-culinary reasons to visit the city. The sky over the city twinkles with a galaxy of Michelin stars, but the true glory of the place is that you can taste the dedication to great food everywhere: In its bouchons – the simple restaurants with local fare, in its fine chocolate shops, and in its great bakeries.

Lyon is placed at the confluence of two of the finest rivers in France, the Saone and the Rhone. Between meals, stroll through the atmospheric neighbourhoods along the two rivers, each with their own look and charm. The medieval quarter north of the cathedral is filled with narrow cobblestone lanes and quiet little courtyards. Both riverbanks are a must-see. There are a bunch of boats that are converted to restaurants and cafes along the Rhône, so do enjoy an afternoon treat or coffee on the river.

 

 

 

The finest dining in all of France
Roman ruins and medieval quarters
Day 7
Lyon – Lausanne

From Lyon, the course of the Rhone veers sharply to the east, heading towards the Alps. (On a clear day, you can even glimpse the mountains in the horizon). Your train takes the same course, rail engineers clearly having opted for the same wide valleys that carve their way through the Alps. After a few pleasurable hours with beautiful scenic views, you arrive at Geneva where you quickly and easily change trains for the regional service to Lausanne. This stretch of the journey is something to be savoured – you travel alongside Lake Geneva, the largest and most stunning lake on the course of the Rhone. If the weather is clear, you may even get a view of the summit of Mont Blanc shortly after departing from Geneva.

Upon arrival in Lausanne, 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.

 

Views of the Alps and Lake Geneva
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Private city walk with local insider
Day 8
Lausanne

Would you like to view the grandeur of the Alps from the comfort of a lakeside restaurant? In Lausanne you can enjoy a stunning Alpine panorama while sipping on a fine glass of local wine. And after lunch, visit the vineyard (where the view is just as amazing).

Lausanne is one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland with cobbled lanes, beautiful squares and 17th century buildings. Plus, of course, that view: You’ll never tire of the lake and the mountains in the background. The city cascades down a hill from the original medieval centre at the top, to the modern marina and the shoreline of Lake Geneva at the bottom. The old town is completely car-free, which is not surprising when you discover how staircase-steep some of the narrow streets are.

As the sun sets, head for the Flon district where you will find cool cafes, eclectic bars and nightlife. However, some of your finest experiences will actually be away from Lausanne. Hopping on board one of the historic steamers that sail from town to town along the lakeshore is a must.

Stunning views over lake and Alps
One of the prettiest towns in Switzerland
Terraced vineyards just outside the city
Day 9
Lausanne – Zermatt

Get ready for a day in the mountains. This journey is a never-ending joy. First you travel alongside Lake Geneva. Note the steep terraces of the Lavaux vineyards on your left, marvel at the views over the lake below you on the right, and don’t miss the romantic Chillon Castle that is located on an island just off the shore.

You then enter the wide Rhone Valley, but soon you will arrive at Visp for a quick and easy change of trains. This is the highlight of the journey, as you board the mountain railway that rises steeply and slowly up through the Mattertal Valley, the peaks on either side getting ever mightier. (Matterhorn will remain elusive throughout the trip, however – you’ll only see her when you have arrived at Zermatt).

Tiny Zermatt is car-free, so chances are your private guide will simply walk with you the short distance to the centrally located 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.

Stunning panoramic views
Mountain railway to the foot of the Matterhorn
VIP arrival service with private guide
Private city walk with local insider
Day 10
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 11
Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur

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 12
Fly home from Zurich

Zurich Airport is merely one and a half hours away from Chur. You travel alongside the Rhine – still at the very early stages of her long journey to the sea – and pass a number of beautiful lakes as you exit the Alps and head for flatter terrain. In Zurich you quickly and easily change to the airport train – and will soon be airborne and on your way home.

Rail service to Zurich Airport

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.

TGV

Europe’s original high-speed train, the flagship of the French railways. Many TGV train sets today are double-deckers, and your spacious first-class seat may well be on the upper deck, offering great views as well as an intimate cabin. As you would expect in France, the seats are stylishly designed. A café-car offers snacks and light meals.

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
  • + Travel on high-speed TGVs in France
  • + Glacier Express Zermatt – Chur
  • + Flights from London to Marseille and Zurich to London
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
  • + 24/7 emergency hot-line
  • + Cancellations, delays and all other disruptions covered by Silver Tray
VIP arrival service
  • + 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
  • – other than complimentary city walks

Travel all days year round, except a few blackout dates. Price is per person, based on two persons travelling together.

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