Artistry in the Alps: Fine Art Tour of Switzerland

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Total Trip:

8 Days
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Countries Visited:

Switzerland
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Places Visited:

Zurich, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Basel, Weil am Rhein, Bern, Geneva
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Jump into the artistry of Switzerland as it is embodied by dominant mountain peaks, lush rolling meadows, and shimmering reflective lakes. Your custom tailored tour will encompass the natural scenery and world-class museums, welcoming art scenes and inspiring historical architecture. Sunlight pierces stained glass windows designed by Chagall to fill churches with colorful light as the bright facades of city centers reflect in the tranquil waters of rivers and lakes. Art exhibits show both the

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Day 1

Zurich – Arrive in Switzerland to Enjoy Zurich’s Vibrant Atmosphere

Your plane will descend into Zurich Airport, and you can see the sporadic clusters of houses that spread across the high altitude plains. The lush trees and red rooftops resemble a pastoral painting as your plane reaches the gate and your private transfer awaits your arrival at baggage claim. Zurich is a vibrant, efficient city set at the mouth of Limmat River that feeds into Zurich Lake. The city is Switzerland’s largest and wealthiest, encompassing an area of nearly 34 square miles and reaching an altitude of 2,858 feet above sea level at its highest point. The streets embody the city’s chic atmosphere, filled with contemporary cafes, artsy locals, and winding lanes.

Tall church steeples imitate the surrounding mountaintops as the government has converted old factories into cultural centers. Creative living spaces add to the vibrant community life even in the expansive cityscape as your private transfer will escort you from the airport to your luxurious hotel located in the heart of the city. Your introduction to the city and its artistry comes with a visit to the Fraumunster, a 13th-century Cathedral originally founded as a women’s abbey in the 9th century. The slender blue skyline adds vigor and life to the undulating towers of the city. Marc Chagall designed and produced the five windows along the choir stalls, and the stained-glass scenes depict Biblical tales, from Elijah’s ascent to heavens to an angel calling for the world’s end. When the sunlight spreads through the glass, the stories are iridescent.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

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Day 2

Zurich – Relish a Full Day Private Tour of Zurich to learn its Remarkable History

In the morning, the aroma of chocolate and coffee drift through the streets of Old Town. The Bar Odeon opened in the early 20th century and gave philosophers and politicians a place to arrange their thoughts, including Vladimir Lenin and Albert Einstein. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby eager to highlight the splendor of Zurich’s artwork and the city’s connection to the great Swiss masters. The familiar blue spire of Fraumunster rises above the calm waters of Limmat River as a group of college students rows along the water, pushing themselves against the current. The Romans first built the fortified settlement now referred to as Old Town, along with the tree-shaded street of Lindenhof.

The architecture of the historical city shapes the ambiance that emanates from the streets. A tall brick-edged building known as the Brunnenturm once housed the Lombard moneychangers in the 14th and 15th centuries.  In the 19th century, the structure provided schooling for the poor in the area. You will make your way to the Kunsthaus, the celebrated Zurich Fine Arts Museum. The gallery opened in the early 1900s, and the interior has preserved the original bas-reliefs and Greek Revival style. The temperate interior provides a perfect climate to protect the priceless works on display.

Your guide will lead you along the wall of famous paintings and stop at an oil painting by Edouard Manet. In the 1900s, many Swiss art lovers turned their attention to the rugged beauty and lifestyles of French artists as individual collectors brought stunning works from all over the world and eventually gifted their collections to the museum.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Zurich – Explore the Towns around Zurich, Including St. Gallen

In the morning, a small crowd will form inside a favorite café as the bittersweet aroma of dark chocolate drifts through the open doors. The celebrated chocolatiers have provided sweet and savory treats to visitors and locals for more than 150 years, continuing to serve the best and richest hot chocolate in the city. Your guide will meet you at your hotel to lead you away from the charming city for the day to stretch your legs in the small towns along the lake and mountains.

Old Town has a triangular shape with rows of burgher houses that line the streets. The Moorish-Gothic style of the Waaghaus provides a unique contrast to the surrounding Baroque facades. A large clock collection has a bright allure in the small town and showcases the variety of makers and styles across the country, proving that art can serve a function beyond aesthetics. The Sammlung Oskar Reinhart am Romerholz Museum seamlessly bridges the gap between traditional and modern art. A charming early 20th-century estate houses the collection, and part of the charm of the gallery is the way the works of Rembrandt and Cezanne juxtapose more modern pieces, contributing to Reinhart’s collecting philosophy that focused on color and light.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Basel – Transfer to Basel and Discover the Beauty of Old Town

You will have come to relish the mornings in Zurich as business people make their way along via the passing streetcars. The cobblestone streets of Old Town fill with the aroma of chocolate, and freshly baked pastries as the scent of coffee emanate through the streets. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel to take you to the city of Basel, a city that overflows with culture and activity. Basel is Switzerland’s second largest city and boasts more than one museum per square half mile to exceed 40 museums in the entire city.

The wonder of the city is not contained inside the museums but is draped across the old and colorful facades that fill the Old Town area. The Rhine River brushes against the border of the city center as the stone streets wind between the water and the old city gate at Spalentor. Medieval churches rise above the small squares and sparkling fountains. Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely built a whimsical fountain in front of the historical stately houses around Theaterplatz, and the sculpture is shaped as a series of water-spouting pipes from scrap metal that creates elegant rainfall.  In the winter, the pipes and water freeze to form a graceful sculpture.

You will stop at Basler Munster, the highest point on Minster Hill. The brightly patterned roof tiles stand out as much as the soaring spires. Munsterplatz once held the Roman fort until the plaza’s restructuring in the 18th century. Red sandstone radiates in the sunlight as some of the original church from the 9th century remains inside the 14th-century edifice. The historical museum of Basel contains the treasures once hidden in the sacristy vaulting during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Stone carvings in the St. Gallus doorway in the north transept date back to the 12th century and exude Romanesque grandeur and remains one of the oldest figure-adorned doorways in German-speaking Europe.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Basel – Full Day Excursion to the Town of Weil am Rhein in Germany

The water of the Rhine River brushes against the wide pillars of the bridge that leads into Old Town. The bridge was originally constructed in the 13th century and maintains a resilience and splendor in its multi-arched design. After breakfast, your guide will lead you across the border into Germany to stop in the town of Weil am Rhein, located on the east bank of the Rhine River, close to where Switzerland, France, and Germany meet. The town first appeared in historical documents in the 8th century, with a name believed to derive from Roman origins. The town renovated its abandoned industrial areas to bring new companies to the historical space, bringing shopping and restaurants to change the townscape into an active, vibrant atmosphere.

Your guide will lead you to the Vitra Design Museum, located on the international border. The institution is considered a part of Basel and Germany and holds the title of the most significant design museum in the world. The landmark building has spectacular modern style, using rounded edges to create a twisting exterior design. The exhibits change bi-annually to keep a constant eye on historical and contemporary trends. The museum also houses the world’s largest collection of modern furniture design, ranging from the 19th century onwards. The museum embodies artistry, from the architecture to the artifacts, once again proving that art, in and around Switzerland, is everywhere. Before returning to Basel, you can stop at the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut to view another example of art in architecture and absorb the contours of Le Corbusier’s 1950s construction.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Geneva – Visit Bern to Tour the Old Town Architecture and Museums

The Kunstmuseum in Basel has the finest collection of paintings in the country, with works by old masters and 20th-century Impressionists, Gauguin to Grunewald. The colors leap off of the canvas and offer insight into Switzerland’s connection to its bordering countries. After exploring it all, you will leave the charms of Basel behind and travel to Geneva, stopping en route in the capital city of Bern. The city stands on a sandstone ridge surrounded on three sides the turquoise waters of the Aare River.

Bridges link the city to the higher ground of the right bank as contemporary buildings add modernity to the historic city center. Meandering arcades from the 17th and 18th centuries reflect the city’s collective wealth as the inherent character immediately charms you. The red-tiled roofs of Old Town slope down and point you to the cobblestone streets. Cafes, bookstores, and restaurants fill with locals eager to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

The clock tower, known as Zytglogge, was erected in the 13th century. It first served as a guard tower upon its construction. The clock remains a strong symbol of the city, along with a major attraction for visitors from around the world. Upon the hour, the bronze bells chime in the cupola and echo down the streets as the great hour bell has remained in the tower since 1405 with a diameter of 50 inches and weight of nearly 1,400 pounds. You can see a gilded figurine holding a hammer, moving its arms to strike the bell. The bearded figure is a representation of Chronos, the Greek Titan.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Geneva – Half-Day Tour of Geneva’s Art and History Museums

Wake up to the sleek and cosmopolitan city of Geneva, filled with international headquarters, luxury jewelers, and decadent chocolate shops. Promenades wind along the lakeside as the Jet d’Eau arches into the air off of the harbor and spray water nearly 460 feet high. The unfinished dual towers of Temple Saint-Pierre cast a shadow over Place du Bourg-de-Four, one of the oldest squares in the city. The square encompasses the former Roman forum where the market started in the 9th century. Cafes and restaurants encircle the square and fill the edges with umbrella-clad tables surrounding the 18th-century fountain.

The Museum of Art and History is one of Switzerland’s largest museums with an exceptional collection that encompasses archaeology, Greek treasures, weapons, and even Egyptian funerary art. Archeologists in the area have discovered evidence of settlement around Geneva that date back to the Paleolithic and Iron Ages. The museum has an elegant ambiance housed inside a turn of the 20th-century mansion. Your guide will lead you through the exhibits eager to showcase Konrad Witz’s, “The Miraculous Draft of Fishes,” painted in the 15th century. The work portrays Jesus walking on the waters of Lake Geneva and catching 153 fish as stated in the Gospel of John. The lifelike rendering of the characters in the painting adds to the color and beauty of the captured moment.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Geneva – Depart for Home

In the morning, the quiet waters of Lake Geneva will reflect the bright facades of Old Town. The Jet d’Eau returns to its arching form along the shoreline as a pillared gateway frames the Promenade de la Treille. Chestnut trees shade the walkway and open to views of the nearby mountains. Beneath the walkway, set in the Parc des Bastions, you will find the early 20th-century Reformation Monument, acknowledging Geneva’s leadership in the Protestant Reformation. The statues depict four prominent figures of the movement, accentuated by a bas-relief depicting scenes of the Calvinist movement. After one last wander and when you are ready, your private transfer will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and escort you to Geneva Airport for your flight home.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Visit Switzerland’s largest collection of international art at the Kunstmuseum in Basel with both old masters and modern impressionists
  • Explore The Museum of Art and History, the third largest museum in Switzerland, with archeological artifacts and stunning artwork
  • Walk along the cobbled streets of historical city centers for a view of the fabulous, preserved architecture
  • Cross the border into Germany to visit the Vitra Design Museum and in Weil am Rhein for insight into the vibrant culture of design
  • Enjoy the sensational architecture of the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in the French town of Ronchamp
  • See the stunning stained glass windows designed and created by Marc Chagall
  • Discover Bern, the capital of Switzerland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its collection of art and architecture 
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Detailed Description

Artists attempt to capture nature’s beauty through any discipline accessible to them, from paints to clothing, stained glass to pastels and your 8-day tour of Switzerland will bring you on a colorful tour of the towns, cities, and countryside across Switzerland to highlight all types of art. Museums feature works by painters and sculptors inspired by the Alps, lakes, rivers, and culture it inspires. You will land at Zurich Airport where your private transfer will await your arrival, and then you can enjoy the comforts of your luxury hotel located in the heart of the city before venturing out on an introductory tour of the city.

The next day, your private guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and take you on an engaging full day tour of the city to take in the architecture of the Old Town and the art that overflows from the various museums around town. The Swiss National Museum features panel paintings, wooden sculptures, and Gothic art that depicts chivalrous knights. The following day, you will have a private excursion to the surrounding towns near Lake Zurich, and then you will visit the small, atmospheric streets of Winterthur for the combination of historical and contemporary artworks at Sammlung Oskar Reinhart am Romerholz Museum.  In St. Gallen, you can visit the 16th-century library that is filled with books masterfully bound and exhibited in the grand rococo architecture.

The following day, you will leave Zurich behind for the beautiful streets of Basel, home to a celebrated contemporary art fair, along with dozens of popular art museums. Tour Old Town and take in the fabulous architectural landmarks. The next day, cross into Germany to the town of Weil am Rhein, home to the Vitra Design Museum as the building is as unique as the items in the exhibits. Continue to Ronchamp in France to see the distinctive architecture of the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut.

Travel next to visit the capital city of Bern and enjoy the tranquil, historical streets en route to Geneva. Indulge in your full day tour of Geneva the next day, home to a fantastic collection of museums, including the third largest museum in Switzerland. The city combines cosmopolitan flair with national pride and highlights the history of the bordering countries and Geneva’s connection to the greater world. Conclude as your private transfer will collect you at your hotel and bring you to the Geneva Airport for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$3195 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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