Switzerland’s breathtaking scenery and picturesque cities are magical at any time of year, but never more so than in the run up to the festive period, when the twinkling lights and bustling Christmas markets are the focal point of their central squares. This holiday takes you to three cities - Basel, Bern and Montreux - with time allowed in each to soak up the festive spirit, as you enjoy mugs of glühwein, delicious warm snacks and the chance to do some Christmas shopping. In Lausanne, the Lumières Light Festival will be in full swing; and from Montreux, excursions will take you up into the mountains for breathtaking views and to Lake Geneva’s beautiful island castle - Château de Chillon.
7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Zurich. On arrival, we transfer to Basel and the Hotel Basel (4T), where dinner is included this evening.
Discover Basel on a guided walking tour, taking in the Old Town where medieval streets are decorated with the occasional modern sculpture, and the bright red façade of Basel Rathaus adds historical character to Marktplatz. We also see the charming wooden chalets of Switzerland’s largest Christmas market, right in the city centre. It is an ideal place to return to later in the day, when the lights give a warming glow to rustic huts full of gifts, grilled sausages, waffles, glühwein and delicious Swiss raclette. With 40 museums to choose from and plenty of leafy spots, from the banks of the Rhine to the Botanical Gardens, there are plenty of other ways to fill your afternoon.
Basel - Bern
This morning we journey by coach to Bern for a guided walking tour of Switzerland’s picturesque capital, with a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town of cobbled streets, miles of covered arcades (the longest in Europe) and 16th century fountains. You have time at leisure afterwards to enjoy the Christmas markets which fill Waisenhausplatz with traditional gifts, while the Cathedral sets the scene for stalls selling regional arts, crafts and baked goods in Münsterplatz. Or, for great views across the city, you may like to stroll up to the beautiful Rose Garden or climb up inside the cathedral tower. We stay at Hotel Allegro (4T) and dinner is included this evening.
Today is at leisure to enjoy Bern, perhaps return to the Christmas markets for some festive shopping. Or maybe visit the Bern Historical Museum, one of Switzerland's most important cultural and historical museums, including a separate museum on the life and work of Albert Einstein. You may also like to visit Einstein House, where the great physicist lived with his wife from 1903 to 1905 and developed his Theory of Relativity. Today the apartment is furnished in the style of his time, and documents his life here.
Bern - Montreux - Lausanne - Montreux
Our journey today takes us to Montreux, a picturesque town set against the breathtaking backdrop of the snow-covered Alps. Our hotel, the Grand Swiss Majestic Montreux (4T), overlooks the lakefront promenade which is said to be the finest in Switzerland and is home to one of the best European Christmas markets. This afternoon you have time to explore and shop. This evening we visit Lausanne, just a short train ride away. This lakeside city has a story that can be traced back over two millennia, but it always has an eye on the future. We have free time to explore the town, enjoy some regional cuisine and see the creative illuminations which are part of the Lumières Light Festival, before returning by train to Montreux.
Today we travel on the GoldenPass line to Gstaad, with some time to explore before travelling by coach to Col du Pillon, where we board a modern cable car up to the famous Glacier 3000. Experience the Peak Walk or the Alpine Coaster if you’re feeling brave, or just explore the summit on foot. From almost 3,000m above sea level, there are stunning mountain views. On our return to Montreux, you have time to explore its fabulous Christmas market, set against the backdrop of Lake Geneva and the mountains.
Rochers de Naye - Château de Chillon
The mountains of Rochers de Naye are today’s exciting destination, as we board the cog railway up to over 2,000m above sea level, where spectacular views await. Travelling back down the mountain, we’ll make a stop at Glion for a funicular ride to Territet and transfer onward coach to the exquisite Château de Chillon. It was this island castle on Lake Geneva that inspired Lord Byron to write ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’ and we explore the romantic setting with an included audio tour. Dinner is included this evening.
Day 8 Montreux - Geneva - London
We transfer to Geneva Airport for our direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.