Discovering Switzerland

Enjoy guided walks and hikes of Switzerland's Alpine landscapes and visits to enchanting villages and fascinating cities on this exciting tour

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 View of the Matterhorn in the Pennine Alps between Switzerland and Italy. Credit: Ricardo Lepatan Jr.  Zurich  Street scene in Zurich in the evening

Tucked into the cultural and geographic heart of Europe, Switzerland is an alpine idyll that stirs the soul. One soon finds the mountains have their own magnetism, calling you to the high country by a variety of mountain lifts. Guided walks of varying levels of ease provide opportunities to view the splendor of alpine meadows, iridescent glaciers, crystal lakes and broad vistas. Visit captivating Swiss villages and towns and their historic old quarters. Against the incredible backdrop of the majestic Alps, traverse scenic mountain trails and verdant pastures. Soak up magnificent panoramas as you sail Switzerland’s glassy lakes. From mountain summits to the lush valleys below, the majesty of Switzerland’s landscape unfolds before your eyes.

July 8 & 9 — Depart the U.S., Meiringen
Depart for an overnight flight to Zurich, Switzerland. There is a morning flight arrival in Switzerland, then transfer to the Alpin Sherpa Hotel in the quaint town of Meiringen. Located in the Haslital Valley, Meiringen offers a view of traditional Swiss life coupled with majestic vistas of mountains, waterfalls and pastoral valleys. Explore your new surroundings with a walking tour of Meiringen. This evening, travelers get together for a Welcome Reception and dinner. (D)

July 10 — Meiringen
Start the day with an orientation lecture and introduction to Switzerland. Ride a cable car to the Mägisalp, a mountain plateau high above Meiringen. Enjoy this beautiful introduction to the Haslital Valley. Discover the high alpine meadow on a leisurely escorted walk. Return to Meiringen via cable car. A stop will made for lunch at a local inn, followed by a visit to the Aare Gorge, a section of the river Aar that carves through a limestone ridge near the town of Meiringen. Walk down to the Reichenbach Falls, the place where Sherlock Holmes met his death in a struggle with his archenemy Professor Moriarity. From there, take a funicular and then walk back to Meiringen. Those who wish may take the local post bus service to Meiringen. (B,L,D)

July 11 — Meiringen
Board the morning train to the Lauterbrunnen Valley for a visit to the mountain village of Murren where auto traffic is not allowed. Walk the flower trail at Allmendhubel, and enjoy the spectacular views of the Jungfrau, Monc, and the Eiger mountains. An optional excursion to the Schilthorn is offered this afternoon. The Schilthorn is a 10,000-foot high summit in the Bernese Alps. It is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass. Mountain climbing is the subject of an informative evening lecture. (B,D)

July 12 — Meiringen and Lucerne
Lucerne is our destination today. Motor to this enchanting city on Lake Lucerne, where you will enjoy a guided walking tour of the historic town center. Continue aboard a lake steamer for full panoramas of this enchanting town and its environs. The afternoon is free to explore covered bridges, picturesque watchtowers and quaint shops on your own. Return to Meiringen with fellow travelers via rail or linger and return on your own. (B)

July 13 — Meiringen and Grindelwald
Board a local train this morning and travel to the town of Grindelwald, a Swiss town famous as both a ski and summer resort, lying at the base of the Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger mountains. Enjoy time at leisure and then take a local bus to Grosse Scheidegg, a high mountain pass connecting Grindelwald and Meiringen. Take advantage of one of the hiking options including an exciting hike through the sculpted rock walls of the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge. (B,D)

July 14 — Meiringen and Bern
Explore the Swiss capital city of Bern today. The buildings in the Old City, dating from a variety of periods, include 15th-century arcades and 16th-century fountains. Most of the medieval town was restored in the 18th century but it has retained its original character. Visit the shopping arcades and tour the historic quarter. Later, take a leisurely cruise by paddle wheel boat on Lake Thun that offers wonderful views of the Alps. The boat will make stops at the picturesque villages along its shores. (B,D)

July 15 — Meiringen and Environs
Your Berner Oberland Regional Rail Pass offers many options for independent exploration during this leisure day. There is the opportunity to visit Interlaken and explore the lakeside village of Brienz. Continue on to Rhothorn, before returning to Meiringen. (B)

July 16 — Meiringen and Villars-sur-Ollon
Travel by bus to the beautiful town of Gstaad. An internationally renowned resort, Gstaad offers a charming ambience, with panoramic views of the Alps. Continue the drive to the village of Villars-sur-Ollon, in the French speaking part of Switzerland, for our stay at the Hotel du Golf. Situated on a sunny, south-facing terrace high above the Rhone valley, the holiday resort of Villars-sur-Ollon in the heart of the Vaud Alps enjoys breathtaking views of the Dents-du-Midi and Mont Blanc and beyond to Lake Geneva. The hotel affords panoramic views from all of its rooms and provides a perspective of Switzerland different from the equally beautiful region of Meiringen and the Bernese Oberland. Discover the town of Villars during an orientation tour of the village. Dinner will be served at the hotel. (B,D)

July 17 — Villars and Montreux
Discover Montreux today on a morning excursion. Located on the banks of Lake Geneva, Montreux is a beautiful city with gardens and fountains lining the lakefront. Enjoy a cruise on a traditional lake steamer to the Chateau de Chillon made famous by Lord Byron’s epic story of the Prisoner of Chillon. Those who wish can take leisurely walk back to the train station along the shore of Lake Geneva enjoying the sights of the magnificent gardens, homes and hotels. Learn about the art of Swiss wine making at an educational lecture. (B,D)

July 18 — Villars and Glacier 3,000
A visit to Glacier 3000 provides a view of 24 majestic mountain peaks including the Matterhorn, Jungfrau and the tallest peak of the Alps, Mount Blanc. At Glacier 3000 there are opportunities for bobsled runs, hikes, and other adventures. (B,D)

July 19 — Villars and Geneva
Travel by rail, to Geneva, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. There, discover the sight of the city center on an escorted walking tour. There is time to continue to explore independently. Historically, the city was the home of the League of Nations and is currently headquarter city of the International Red Cross, and many of international organizations and businesses. Geneva affords many opportunities to explore and discover. (B)

July 20 — Villars and the Chocolate Train
Exploration today begins in Montreaux on the Swiss Riviera and then takes you by train to Gruyeres, home to the renowned Gruyeres cheese. While there, visit a cheese factory and then continue on to Gruyeres Castle. The castle is one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. It towers majestically above the medieval town. A tour of the castle offers a walk through eight centuries of architecture, history and culture. There is free time to explore and have a delightful, local lunch on your own before proceeding to Broc. In Broc, you’ll visit the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory where you’ll be tempted and sample delicious chocolate treats. (B,D)

July 21 — Villars and Zermatt
Today we motor from Villars to Zermatt. On a clear day, Zermatt offers an opportunity to see the majestic Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is located in the Pennine Ridge, on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is over 14,000 feet high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. There is an optional excursion to take a cog railroad to the Gornergrat Ridge where at over 10,000 feet there is a magnificent view, not only the Matterhorn, but glaciers, waterfalls, and the mountain flora. (B)

July 22 — Villars
Enjoy a full day to explore on your own. Take the local train where there are opportunities to discover some of the mountain areas surrounding Villars. For those who wish to walk or hike, there are many mountain trails which afford magnificent views with relatively easy access. Fellow travelers gather this evening for a Farewell reception and fondue dinner in the hotel’s specialty restaurant Feu de Bois. (B,D)

July 23 — Depart for the U.S.
Drive to Geneva this morning for return flights to the U.S. (B)