Europe by Rail with the Glacier Express
Europe is full of magnificent train rides, so why not come with us and hop aboard as many of them as you can? Over 13 days, you’ll go from London to Paris via the Eurostar and Paris to Switzerland on the TGV while admiring picturesque scenery zooming by. Take in the alpine sights by way of the famous Glacier Express, and disembark in Germany to fill up on beer and bratwurst in Munich. With additional train rides to Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest, this is your one-stop – okay, multiple-stop – shop for seeing Europe by rail.
Eurostar ride through the Chunnel. Paris orientation walk. TGV train. Lausanne orientation walk. Zermatt stay. The Glacier Express train with lunch onboard. Dachau tour (Munich). Salzburg orientation walk. Vienna orientation walk. Budapest orientation walk. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Travel across Europe by train, explore tiny villages and big capital cities, soak in gorgeous Alpine scenery from the window of the Glacier Express, sample cuisine in six different countries.
1. LOCAL GUIDES
It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.
In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in train stations, hotels or other public places. We use public transport on this trip, which means you will need to carry your luggage from platform to platform, in and out of trains and buses etc. and also possibly up several flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to stow your luggage safely on trains and buses. It is therefore essential that you pack light and bring luggage which is compact and lightweight, and which you can easily transport. The carrying of your luggage remains your responsibility at all times. We highly recommend travelling with a backpack or duffel bag over any wheeled luggage options.
Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Trains, subway, walking
About our Transportation
Intercity transport on this trip will be by train. The train systems in Europe are generally good, with seat reservations and toilet/snack facilities on longer journeys. You will notice trains run according to the schedule more stringently in some regions and not-so-stringently in others. Pack a book, some music and your sense of adventure.
Please note that you MUST be comfortable carrying your own luggage as there will be a lot of up and down stairs on this trip due to the nature of station layouts in Europe (very few are equipped with escalators or elevators). Between public transport and hotels you may be required to carry your luggage short distances (up to 15 mins walk), in larger cities you may travel by metro or city bus, and occasionally the group will take taxis to and from hotels.
Hotels/pensions (12 nts).
It is important to note that accommodation in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but houses of the rich, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather “thin” walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.
On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.
Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures UK office (manned UK 8am – 8pm)
+44 (0) 2072439878
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from within Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from within Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from within New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on public transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs.
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sturdy walking shoes or boots with good grip
•Watch or alarm clock
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work – check with your bank. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros and cards is best.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
For this trip you will be in regions using the British Pound (GBP), Euro (EUR), Swiss Francs (CHF) and the Hungarian Forint (HUF).
It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2).
Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program, and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from €3-5 per day, depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €30-40 per person, per week can be used.
Your local guide or CEO will recommend different optional activities, feel free to ask him/her for more information.
Eiffel Tower – €8-€13
Louvre Museum – €9
Musee d’Orsay – €8
Palace of Versailles – €13.5
Palace of Versailles Gardens – free
Arc de Triomphe – €9
Catacombs – €7
Notre Dame towers -€8
Centre Pompidou – €12
Napoleon’s Tomb – €8
Sainte Chapelle and Conciergerie – €7.5
Picasso Museum – €6.5
Rodin Museum – €6
Da Vinci Code walking tour – €20
Bike Tour – €24
All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Trip Specific Safety
Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals.
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD490-640 for meals not included.
12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 0 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: EEBR, ID: 22589
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 London
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 London/Paris (1B)
Board the famous Eurostar train for the journey through the Chunnel to Paris.
Enjoy an orientation walk and free time to visit the Eiffel Tower, dozens of museums, Luxembourg Garden, wander the banks of the Seine or sip wine and eat cheese at a sidewalk café like a local.
Train (2.50 hour(s))
Day 3 Paris (1B)
The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Rodin Museum are all worth a visit. Stop by Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur to add some spirituality to your day. Shop on the Champs-Élysées or explore the Left Bank.
Day 4 Paris/Lausanne (1B)
Take a morning TGV train to Lausanne, Switzerland. Spend the afternoon in this charming town.
Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Lausanne/Zermatt (1B)
Board another train for the journey to Zermatt, a tiny village in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Enjoy the afternoon in the auto-free centre or hiking in the nearby mountains.
Train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Zermatt/Chur (1B, 1L)
Board the Glacier Express for a slow and stunning ride through the Alps. Pass meadows, rushing streams, bridges, villages and massive mountains as the train heads towards Chur. Arrive in the evening after a full day of soaking in the scenery.
Board the Glacier Express and enjoy the stunning view out of the domed glass roof.
Train (5.00-6.00 hours)
Day 7 Chur/Munich (1B)
Take a full day to reach Munich, in the heart of Bavaria. Arrive in time for an optional evening out at a local brewery with a few steins of beer and some typical German fare.
Train (5.00-8.00 hours)
Day 8 Munich (1B)
Explore the city or head further afield to visit Füssen and the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Day 9 Munich/Salzburg (1B)
Visit the concentration camp of Dachau, right outside the city centre. Learn of the atrocities of war and the triumph of the human spirit.
Return to the city for a short train ride to Salzburg, Austria. This charming city is brimming with history and character. Known for the nearby salt mines, Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg has plenty to pack into a day and a half.
Dachau Concentration Camp Visit
Train (1.50 hour(s))
Day 10 Salzburg (1B)
Make the most of a free day in Salzburg. Opt to visit the salt mines or take the famous Sound of Music tour.
Day 11 Salzburg/Vienna (1B)
Continue by train to Vienna. Opt to visit the famous opera house, join a city tour or visit world-class museums.
Train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 12 Vienna/Budapest (1B)
Journey by train to Budapest, the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. The city, split into Buda and Pest by the river, retains its eastern charm with Buda Castle and Turkish-style thermal baths.
Depending on arrival time, opt to visit some city sights or soak in one of the famous baths.
Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 13 Budapest (1B)
We highly recommend booking extra time in this vibrant city.