A Sublime Tour of Switzerland’s Treasures & Charm

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Total Trip:

12 Days
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Countries Visited:

Switzerland
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Places Visited:

Zurich, Lucerne, Mount Pilatus, Hergiswil, Emmental, Bern, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Jungfraujoch, Ascona, Brissago Island, Zermatt, Gornergrat, Lavaux

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Reveal the charms of Switzerland as you indulge in the rich aromas that emanate from the many renowned restaurants and spectacular comforts of five-star hotels. Listen to the legends of the Matterhorn on a scenic train ride beneath Alpine summits, and then linger beneath the frescoed ceilings that are bathed in natural light. Blocks of wood take great shape in the hands of master woodcarvers as waterfalls carve into the mountainside and corkscrew down into the valley while hidden vineyard terraces

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Lucerne – Arrive at Zurich Airport and Transfer to the Charms of Lucerne

Your flight will land at the Zurich Airport, and you will be surrounded by verdant grass, pockets of towering evergreens, and red-tiled rooftops that are encircled by sky-piercing mountain peaks. Your private transfer will await your arrival and meet you at the baggage claim to escort you into the inviting atmosphere of Lucerne. The city stands alongside the shores of Lake Lucerne, and your luxurious hotel will have a panorama of the mountains. The wooden medieval Chapel Bridge winds through the heart of the city as the preserved old walls continue to keep the city well fortified with nine towers that rise above the cobbled streets. You will easily settle into the comforts of your hotel surrounded by the dazzling splendor of Lucerne.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

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Day 2

Lucerne – Immerse Yourself in Lucerne on a Walking Tour and Visit Hergiswil

The sunlight shines across the city and filters through the windows of the historical half-timbered homes and shines over the frescoes while the twin spires of the Hofkirche Church imitate the jagged mountain peaks outside the city. Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you along the cobblestone streets of Old Town for an engaging walking tour to start the day. The nearby Jesuit church was erected in the 17th century, and scholars regard the structure as the Switzerland’s first of the sacral Baroque style. The gorgeous interior contains faux marble altars and a mesmerizing painted ceiling that includes a depiction of the Glory of Saint Francis.

In the afternoon, you will make your way to the Hergiswil Glassworks Factory for an introduction into the trade and grounds of a company started in the 19th century. The production site stands alongside the river with a view of the mountains and the cool air of the countryside alleviates the heat from the furnace. Make your way through the museum to find the Formed by Fire exhibition, which gives a complete history of glassmaking in the region. The sounds of production, from the tinkering metal to the sizzling glass, add to the excitement. Each room contains a distinct style and reflects the development of the craft and styles that have been in demand throughout the decades. Immerse yourself in the Glass Labyrinth to find a palace of shimmering material created by refracted light and glass walls.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Grindelwald – Enjoy a Cheese Tour at Emmental and Discover Bern

Boats set out along the waters of Lake Lucerne in the early morning, filled with visitors eager to catch the sunlight as it drifts over the mountaintops. You can take one last stroll beneath the painted frames of the Chapel Bridge before your private transfer escorts you to the factory of Emmental. Villages sprout along the scenic road to the factory as the mountain slopes rise and fall in the short distance that leads to taller peaks and tree-filled valleys. The Emmental dairy encompasses an area of 188,368 square feet and offers a personalized look at the how the famous cheese is made. The village emanates traditional character as it overlooks the undulating hillside as manicured pastures meet the half-timber homes that peek out of the trees.

Your guide will take you on a fascinating tour of the factory from the grazing grounds of the cows to the combination of traditional and modern production techniques used in the dairy. Your guide will bring you into a room with a vat of heating milk to separate the curds and then splay them into a separate area to smooth the cheese together. After explaining the process of cheese making, your guide will let you try as you put on some gloves and dig your fingers into the curds to create a one of a kind cheese alongside your master-cheese instructor.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Grindelwald – Explore the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Trummelbach Falls

The village of Grindelwald looks out to the chiseled texture of the north face of Eiger Mountain. The icy tongues of Oberer and Unterer Glaciers shimmer in the spreading sunlight as geraniums blossom on the windowsills of the chalets that line the main street as verdant pastures blanket the countryside. After breakfast, you will make your way deep into the Lauterbrunnen Valley to visit the Trummelbach Waterfalls. At the base of the foothills, you will enter a funicular that rises the dark tunnel pass as the rock walls open to a view of the meandering cliffs and sporadic trees of the valley.

Staubbach Falls trundles off the precipice in the distance near the edge of the town of Lauterbrunnen. Follow the footpath up the stone stairway to the corridors of the 10th chute and notice the various angles from which you can see the waters of the Trummelbach Falls. The glacial meltwater feeds the river that is nestled deep in the rock for a subterranean route. A faint rainbow often grows out of the lunar-like glow around chute eight. As you descend the mountain, you can hear the thunderous roar of the water as it echoes off of the granite walls. The water corkscrews below and bounces off the face of the rock before reaching farther downstream. The falls carry up to 20,000 liters of water per second, beginning at the Jungfrau Massif and moving boulders and soil with it.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Grindelwald – Venture to the Ballenberg Open Air Museum for a Guided Tour

More than 190 miles of walking trails spread across the valleys and mountains around Grindelwald. The high-altitude walk along the Bachalpsee leads to Faulhorn Mountain Hotel for an open vista of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau peaks. You can see the snow glinting off the peak of the Jungfrau as it reaches an elevation of more than 11,330 feet. After breakfast, you can venture to the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum for a look into the culture and life of Switzerland. The museum has more than 160 acres of land with approximately 250 farm animals located on the property that brings the grounds to vibrant life. More than 100 residential and agricultural buildings provide insight into the way the Alpine ancestors lived and worked, spanning history and modernity.

A loud puff and wheeze emanates from the nearby sawmill and forms a rhythm that pulses around the museum grounds. You can watch the sawyers take the wood and carve out the showpieces using traditional methods as water shoots out from the channel above the building and sets the cogwheel in motion to power the frame saw. For a better understanding of the heritage, you can take part in a bread baking class. The farmer’s wives once spent hours at ovens owned by the local community, but today everyone enjoys the activity. Knead your dough and transfer it to the communal ovens as the fire is kept roaring and produces approximately 22,000 bread loaves a year.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Ascona – Revel in the Culture at Brienz and Cross the Tremola Pass Road

In the morning, you will find the enticing aroma of fresh hot chocolate accompanying your breakfast, and the rich flavor and smooth texture will have a soothing effect. After breakfast, you will make your way to Lake Brienz and its nearby village. Your guide will lead you through the quiet streets to view the 17th-century chalets as flowerpots decorate the window frames of the upper-levels. The village remains known for its fabulous woodwork as steam powers the cogwheels of the railway that ferries tourists to Rothorn’s Summit.

Make your way to the Woodcarving School and Museum, and then follow the carved wooden signs found around town. The school opened in the 19th century and provides instruction for local and international students, the only vocational school in Switzerland that teaches woodcarving. Watch as students create handcrafted and personally designed works, from statues to chairs. For a brief moment, you become a student in the school and take part in a decoupage course to turn paper into the poetic tradition. Use scissors to carve out meticulous lace-like patterns in a single piece of black and white paper while traditional styles favor alpine scenes with cattle, cheese, and wooden houses. After crafting, cross the Alps in search of deer and mountain goats as they graze on the hillsides.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Ascona – Travel Across the Lake to the Brissago Islands

The sunlight will wash over the town of Ascona, Switzerland’s lowest lying town at a less than 645 feet above sea level. The mild climate and charming cobblestone streets of the Old Town have turned the city from a sleepy fishing village to a cherished resort area at the beginning of the 20th century. Palm trees and pastel-colored homes line the lakeshore promenade as the glassy water of Lake Maggiore crosses the border into Italy, surrounded by rugged green mountains and peppered with Michelin-starred restaurants.

Board your small boat and cruise to the Islands of Brissago near the village of Ronco. The larger island features a Mediterranean garden filled with more than 1,500 species of exotic plants arranged by geographical origin. The sunlight bounces off of the glassy surface of the lake and warms the region, allowing the subtropical plants to thrive. Baroness Antonietta Saint Leger began the garden collection in the 19th century and cataloged each plant in detail. The aroma of tomatoes falters beneath the sweet scent of orchids that blossom in the shade. Stroll along the nature trail for a full view of the collection of medicinal herbs, crops, and tropical flowers.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Ascona – Ride a Cable Car to the Secluded Monastery of Madonna del Sasso

The tranquil shores of Lake Maggiore shimmer in the morning light as the aroma of fresh espresso drifts out of the corner cafes. After breakfast, you will make your way to the funicular at Via Ramogna below the Locarno train station. The ride will bring you along a steep slope that is framed by evergreen trees. At the top station, you will reach the outskirts of Madonna del Sasso and overlook the reflective waters of the lake and the snow-capped peaks that spread across the skyline.

The view from the station looks down onto the sunlit arcade of the main entrance. The lake glistens blue behind the opulent edifice as the interior features a 16th-century fresco by artist Bramantino entitled, Flight into Egypt. The work contains diagrammed walls with stiff figures in perspective of the space and shines light over the landscape. Return to Ascona with the remainder of the day at your leisure to delight in the beauty of the town or discover the enchantment of the rural villages nestled in the mountains.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Zermatt – Travel the Simplon Pass and Enjoy the Scenic Ride to Zermatt

Today you will leave the cobbled streets and soothing waters of Ascona behind to make your way over the Simplon Pass. The scenic route takes you along a switchback road that winds down the mountainside as the high-altitude grass looks more like moss as the short blades cling to the rugged boulders and rocks as you keep your eyes on the mountain crags in search of ibex clinging to the precipices. Pass the villages and vineyards around Tasch before boarding the train car for a scenic trip that will lead you to the foot of the mighty Matterhorn and the town of Zermatt.

The original character of Zermatt remains intact, with half-timbered buildings, narrow lanes, and access to 54 mountain railways and lifts. The Matterhorn Museum contains artifacts from the 19th century and showcases the equipment used during the climbers’ first attempt at ascending the famous mountain. The nearby village of Findeln has the highest rye crop fields in the country at an altitude of nearly 6,890 feet. The drama of the landscape and the beauty of Zermatt are relaxing as you can enjoy a view of the mountains from every angle.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Zermatt – Traverse the Landscape around Zermatt and the Matterhorn

The Matterhorn shapes the skyline over Zermatt as the beautiful peak stands like a cathedral over the massif, visible from the town center near the entrance of the Matterhorn Museum. Zermatt forms a frame that guides your eyes towards the mountaintop, no matter the bend in the road, the centuries-old stores, or the narrow lanes that lead away from the main street. A funicular in the heart of town climbs along a tunnel to the Sunnegga Sun Terrace, located at an altitude of 7,510 feet. A restaurant emits the aroma of melted cheese, roasting garlic, and decadent stewed meats as people linger at the edges of a marmot watching station waiting for the furry mammal to peak its head out of the tiny burrows.

Hiking trails lead out into the jagged peaks in the summer and gondolas ferry skiers to the slopes in the winter. From the viewing deck, you can linger in the presence of the Matterhorn as its peak towers above the sporadic puffs of passing clouds. The air is crisp and cold as the distant trees at the mountain base look tiny in the distance. For another scenic tour, you can step aboard the Gornergrat Railway, Europe’s highest mountain railroad, which leads to the summit of the Gornergrat at 10,134 feet above sea level. You will then have a lateral view to the leaning peak of the Matterhorn as you stand above the icecaps of the Gorner Glacier.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 11

Zurich – Visit Castle Chillon and Lavaux Wine Region around Lake Geneva

Today you will descend the mountainside and leave Zermatt for the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. Your scenic drive will bring you along the Rhone River Valley to pass vineyards, orchards, and the shores of Lake Geneva on your way. Stop at Castle Chillon, made famous by a narrative poem written by Lord Byron, and your tour will take you through the background to add to the luster and drama of the 13th-century structure. Period furniture highlights the elegance of noble families, the Dukes and Counts of Savoy, who once resided in the castle until the 16th century. Towers and courtyards create a maze that exhibits former arms and artwork.

After touring the castle grounds, you can continue to the gorgeous setting of the Lavaux wine region, home to preserved winegrowers from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Locals continue to frequent the antique wine cellars and traditional pubs that are situated in the heart of villages that overlook the hillsides and the lakeshore. You can experience the traditions of old at Auberge de l’Onde in the St-Saphorin-Lavaux as the inn serves refined vintage cuisine on all three floors, emanating an indulgent, savory aroma through its main doors. You can sit with a view of the water and enjoy the dark cherry scent of a dynamic glass of Chasselas.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 12

Zurich – Depart for Home

Zurich buzzes with activity in the morning as locals and visitors alike walk to work along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town and board the electric tram and venture to the train station. The spire of St. Peter’s Church rises above the shady street of Old Town as a 13th-century Romanesque choir is situated beneath the soaring tower. The original 9th-century foundation peeks out from underneath the chancel as the clock on the tower features the largest dial in Europe with a diameter of 28 feet. Zurich blends the old world and contemporary lifestyle with ease, and after one last morning to take it all in, your private transfer will meet you in your hotel lobby and escort you to Zurich Airport for your flight home.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Learn to make bread in a traditional oven while learning the heritage of the Alps at the Ballenberg Museum
  • Delight in a hands-on experience as you make cheese at one of the most celebrated dairies in Switzerland
  • Enjoy a scenic train ride around mountain summits for a pristine view of the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s most famous peak
  • Visit a secluded historical monastery that overlooks Lake Maggiore to find staggering views and priceless frescoes
  • Witness subterranean glacial waterfalls as they carve through the mountainside
  • Relish the vivacious colors and graceful designs of glass sculptures at Hergiswil, and take part in a glassblowing lesson
  • Sip regional wine in the Lavaux wine region for an introduction to the historical villages, magnificent scenery, and countless tiers of beautiful vineyards
  • Learn the basics of woodcarving during a private tour of the Brienz Woodcarving Museum and Trade School and make a personalized decoupage
  • Indulge in the luxuries of five-star accommodation and private tours across the stunning Swiss landscape 
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Detailed Description

Bask in the beauty of Switzerland on your 12-day luxury tour that will reveal the natural splendor of the mountains, lakes, and woodlands. Your journey will begin with your arrival at Zurich Airport as your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim and escort you on a scenic drive to the stunning lakeside city of Lucerne. The next day, your guide will lead you on a private walking tour of Lucerne to bring you along the cobbled streets and across the covered bridges to see the charms of the city. In the afternoon, venture next to the Glass Factory of Hergiswil to see the historical warehouse and workshop before enjoying your personal glass blowing lesson.

Wake the next morning and depart for the village of Grindelwald, with a stop first in the hilly village of Emmental. The Emmental dairy produces some of Switzerland’s most celebrated cheese, and you can tour the factory and engage in traditional cheese making instruction with a private instructor before visiting the capital city of Bern. You will quickly discover the inherent charms of the city of Bern, located on a sandstone plateau. In the evening, you will settle into the comforts of your accommodation in Grindelwald. The next two days will give you time to revel in the splendor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the surrounding mountains. Travel to the top of Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest point and traverse the walkways along Trummelbach Waterfalls. As you move on to visit the open-air museum of Ballenberg, you can also bake bread in a communal oven the way local villagers once did.

The next day will bring you across the Alps, first stopping at the woodcarver village of Brienz. Take a moment to see the magnificent woodwork of the students at the Brienz Woodworking School and Museum before trying your hand to create a traditional piece of art. Move on that afternoon to travel across St. Gotthard Mountain Pass, and then relax in the luxury of your resort in Ascona. The next several days are yours to traverse the landscape around Lake Maggiore to cruise the water to the Brissago Islands and trek to the mountaintop over Locarno to visit the Monastery of Madonna del Sasso. If you prefer, you can cross the border into Italy for a day trip to Lake Como. The following day, you will travel over the Simplon Pass and board the funicular to the village of Zermatt, known for its proximity to the famous Matterhorn Mountain.

The next day is yours to enjoy the scenery around Zermatt. In the summer, hiking trails crisscross the valley and mountains while in the winter, ski slopes are full of thrill seekers from all around the world. For a sensational view of the Matterhorn, you can take the train up to the Gornergrat Summit and luxuriate in the perfect panorama. Descend the mountaintops of the Alps the following morning to traverse the Rhone River Valley. Tour the dramatic grounds of Castle Chillon and then stroll along the trails of the Lavaux wine region to taste the sensational local varietals. You can also stop in the village of Gruyeres to visit the chocolate factory and cheese factory located in view of the soaring castle towers before returning in Zurich. Your private transfer will meet you in the lobby of your hotel the next day and escort you to the Zurich airport for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$4795 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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