THE MAGIC OF SWITZERLAND

June 30th – July 12th

13 Days – 12 Nights

Switzerland offers it all, jaw dropping views, thrilling adventures, charming villages and vibrant cities. Bejeweled by snow-capped mountains, stunning waterfalls, and serene lakes, Switzerland is the perfect vacation, offering something for everyone. Our Swiss guide will show you the real Switzerland, while introducing you to traditions, customs and “must sees” combined with hidden treasures. Your trip will be unique, filled with surprises and unforgettable!

ITINERARY

Day 1: Geneva – Montreux – Chillon Castle

Arrive at Geneva airport in the AM and transfer to the beautiful Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic located in the aristocratic 19th-century resort town of Montreux. On the way we will stop at some viewpoints on the Lake of Geneva and the Lavaux vineyards.

The rest of the day is free to relax or explore Montreux on your own or with the group. The walk along the flower-lined lakeshore promenade is beautiful. In the late afternoon, you will have the option to go to Chillon Castle, a 13th-century jewel. Walk through its unending maze of courtyards, towers and halls filled with priceless art. Built by the house of Savoy, this romantic castle with its rich history and spooky dungeons was immortalized by Lord Byron and many other famous artists. Tonight we will meet for an included welcome dinner at Le Museum, a traditional Swiss restaurant.

Day 2: Bern – Cheese – Chocolate

After breakfast we will drive to the hilltop of Gruyere, home of Switzerland’s most famous cheese. We will see how they make the cheese and then sample some as well.

Our next stop is the village of Broc where the renowned Maison Cailler has raised chocolate production to an art form. We will be taken through the manufacturing process and end with tastings of this delectable treat. You can take home the chocolates too!

Then we will drive to the small city of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, which is situated on a cliff surrounded on 3 sides by the stunning Aare River. We will have a private walking tour of Bern and then you will enjoy some time at leisure in this beautiful medieval city with its many fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets, bridges, statues and the famous clock tower. You can also enjoy the museums, Botanical Garden and Bear Park. There is also fantastic shopping under the old arcades which line the streets.

Tonight, we will drive to Interlaken, the capital of the Bernese Oberland which straddles glittering Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. We will check into our wonderful Hotel Krebs, our home for the next four nights.

Day 3: Interlaken – Lauterbrunnen – St. Beatus Caves – Staubbach and Trummelbach Falls – Jungfrau – Mt. Schilthorn

After breakfast, we will go to the St. Beatus Caves and Museum. There are many pathways leading through tunnels and chambers. Explore deep into the very heart of them. The rock formations themselves create a truly indescribable atmosphere. The story goes that this is where all the dragons took shelter centuries ago.

Next, we will start a spectacular drive that will first take us to Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is situated between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks with its 72 thundering waterfalls. Stand before roaring Staubbach Falls that plunges dramatically from an overhanging rock.

The highlight of the day will be Mt. Schilthorn above Murren. One of the best mountain experiences, it offers close up views of the surrounding mountains including Mt. Jungfrau, deep views into Germany and France, and a fun James Bond Museum. There is also a revolving restaurant on top of Mt. Schilthorn. We will head back down to Interlaken around 4-5pm.

Day 4: Giessbach Falls – Lake of Brienz – Aare Gorge

Today we will drive along Lake Brienz to the Aare Gorge. We will stop to admire the stunning Giessbach waterfalls and experience walking under the falls. We will then take a beautiful relaxing boat ride on the turquoise Lake Brienz which is unforgettable. Option of going to Iseltwald village to walk around and/or Mt. Harder on your own (with detailed instructions). At night we will enjoy dinner and a folk show at the Restaurant Spycher in Interlaken.

Day 5: Interlaken – Grindelwald

After breakfast we will go to the village of Grindelwald. The First Cliff Walk by Tissot is a spectacular experience. The entrance includes the cliff walk and observation platform.When we finish you can either go back to Interlaken, or enjoy one of the wonderful hikes that Grindelwald has to offer for all different levels of hiking. For example, the Bachalpsee hike is easy and scenic, and the Flower Trail or Faulhorn Mountain is a much longer hike.

*You can also have a free day on your own for many activities that Interlaken is known for if you want to pre-book. Otherwise, explore Interlaken, shop and relax.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Kayaking, paragliding, jet boat, white water rafting, electric bike, ATV ride from Daniel’s Fun Rental.

Day 6: Interlaken – Zermatt

After breakfast we will take a spectacular ride through the mountains to the south part of Switzerland and the car-free resort of Zermatt where we will check into the delightful Hotel Pollux. This idyllic village nestles amongst fabulous scenery of mountains and glaciers and offers visitors a fantastic panorama of 38 four-thousand meter peaks. You can even ski in the summer if you choose. Virtually every region has its “must” – and in the Alps it is the Gornergrat. We will take a cogwheel train to Gornergrat. Afterward, there will be free time to take a walking tour of Zermatt, or explore and shop on your own. Overnight in Zermatt.

Day 7: Zermatt – Centovalli – Ascona – Locarno

After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a scenic drive from Zermatt to the Italian Riviera of Switzerland, Ascona. Here, the language is Italian! Along the way, we will stop at the mountain pass and drive through the beautiful Centovalli. We arrive in Ascona in the early afternoon. Ascona is famous for its mild climate, its Old Town and a lake promenade, which is dotted with street cafes. The heartbeat of Ascana can best be felt in the town square called the Piazza. Free afternoon to tour Ascona on your own or join a group walking tour. We will drive to the next town, Locarno, and check into the Hotel Belvedere, a luxury hotel offering views of the mountains and Lake Maggiore in the evening. Overnight in Locarno.

Day 8: Verzasca Valley – Locarno

After breakfast, we will go to the Verzasca Valley to see the Verzasca Gorge and the highest dam in Switzerland. Enjoy the turquoise water, charming stone villages and the famous Devil’s Bridge. The Verzasca Valley is the most picturesque valley in the Ticino district, with crystal clear waters flowing down from the mountains through large, deep gorges.

In the afternoon, we will have free time to explore Locarno. I will have a list of places to see and activities for us to choose.

Day 9: Locarno – Andermatt – Glacier Express Train to St. Moritz

Continue to Andermatt where we will board the Glacier Express Train to St. Moritz. This is Europe’s highest open-air cogwheel railway, a technical masterpiece. You will be awed by the wondrous picture-postcard scenery as the train winds slowly over dramatic bridges, tunnels, forests and mountain lakes. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramas from the comfortable dome observation car. Food and drinks are available for purchase.

Check into the chic Hotel Steffani in San Moritz. Nestled on a sparkling aquamarine lake and blessed with hot mineral springs, this town is known for the rich and famous. The main street is packed with fashionable boutiques and charming cafes. Overnight in St. Moritz.

Day 10: St. Moritz – Cauma – Bad Ragaz

After breakfast, take a short walking tour around the town of St. Moritz and lake. We will check out of the hotel and go to Films to see the picturesque Cauma Lake and the Rinalta viewpoint – another hidden gem! We will arrive at Bad Ragaz, a picture-perfect spa town and check into the Sorell Hotel Tamina. We will arrive around 3:30 PM. Overnight in Bad Ragaz.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Tamina Therme Hot Baths – Tamina Therme is a spa oasis, perfect for regenerating the body, mind and soul. You can choose to relax in all the pools or arrange in advance for spa treatments. The Hotel Grand Resort is open until 9 PM. The price for just the spa is around $35.00.

Day 11: Bad Ragaz – Wildkirchli Aescher – Zurich

We will drive to the Wildkirchli Caves and Aescher and admire the panorama – one of the most dramatic and beautiful in Switzerland. We will take the cable car to the Ebenalp and walk up through the beautiful countryside. Choose from a range of walks from simple to challenging to bring you back down to the valley, voted one of the must see places by National Geographic.

We will then drive to Zurich and check into the Hotel Alexander. Then we will enjoy a private walking tour of Zurich in all of its aspects like the business and shopping center (famous Bahnhofstrasse) and the old town. Continue to the vantage point Lindenhof. Beneath this elevated square in the city center are the ruins of a Roman customs post and a late Roman fortress. This spot also offers magnificent views over the old town. Continue to Neumarkt (New Market), a beautiful and picturesque medieval alley in the old town, and Spiegelgasse, which was once the home of Lenin. You will also see the Grossmunster, the symbol of the city with its distinctive twin towers and St. Peters, the biggest church clock face in Europe. See the Town Hall, Zurich’s baroque town dating back to 1694. The tour will also bring you to the Schipfe, a street of artisans on the river Limmat in one of Zurich’s oldest districts. Overnight in Zurich.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Visit Heidiland, which is right next to Bad Ragaz. This is the original site of the world-famous Heidi story. Experience more dramatic Swiss scenery.

Day 12: Lucerne

After breakfast, we will take a short drive to Lucerne with its pristine lakeside setting and gorgeous mountain panorama. We will then take a walking tour to visit the inspirational Lion Monument and the 14th-century medieval Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest covered bridges in Europe. Explore the historic houses in the well-preserved medieval old city before stopping for lunch.

Next, we will enjoy the exciting tour to Mt. Pilatus by cable car, cogwheel train and boat.

Tonight we will have a group farewell dinner at a great restaurant in Zurich.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Visit the Giant Sonnenberg Bunker built between 1970 and 1976, where you realize how fears of nuclear bombs prevailed during the Cold War. The civilian bunker, built to provide shelter for one third of the population, was equipped with a subterranean building that houses communications, medical, and control offices. The price of this tour is $215.00 USD to be split among whoever wants to go.

Day 13: Depart Zurich

Take an early guided tour of Zurich on your last day, shop for chocolates, cuckoo clocks or just relax and people watch at an outdoor café. Transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule and have a safe flight home.

The Magic of Switzerland

Double Occupancy: $4699.00
Single Supplement: $850.00
Deposit: $500.00
Balance Due: March 30th

INCLUDED

12 Nights Accommodations
Breakfast Daily – 1 Lunch – 2 Dinners
Guided Tours, Activities, and Admissions per Itinerary
English-Speaking Tour Guide and Leader
Airport/Hotel Transfers on Tour Dates

NOT INCLUDED

International Airfare
Gratuities
Optional Activities
Travel Insurance