Enjoy Switzerland's cultural traditions and experience the breathtaking mountains on easy hikes and special train rides during our stay program. 

Starting at: $4,190 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Spectacular scenery of the Swiss Alps  The charming Swiss town of Lucerne with its famous bridge  Medieval street and clock tower, Bern  A view of historic Bern

The Swiss Alps

A One-Week Stay

9 days from $4,190

Enjoy Switzerland's cultural traditions and experience the breathtaking mountains on easy hikes and special train rides during our stay program. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Hotel Carlton-Europe

Interlaken, Switzerland

Number of nights: 7

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Advanced


Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one town and region—and one hotel. Walking through villages, museums, and outdoor historic sites. Some local train trips and walking excursions are at higher altitudes with steep inclines and declines. You will encounter cobblestone streets, hills, stairs without handrails, and some buildings without elevators. We suggest you check with your physician to be sure you can tolerate higher altitudes prior to registering for this trip. Hotel centrally located at lower altitude with easy access to sites and restaurants during time at leisure.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with higher altitudes, longer days of touring (both walking tours, local trains and coach time).​

Reading List
La Place de la Concorde Suisse
By: John McPhee
La Place de la Concorde Suisse is John McPhee's rich, journalistic study of the Swiss Army's role in Swiss society. The Swiss Army is so quietly efficient at the art of war that the Isrealis carefully patterned their own military on the Swiss model.
The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond
By: Stephen O'Shea
“An entertaining, turbocharged race among the high mountain passes of six alpine countries.”―Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review For centuries the Alps have been witness to the march of armies, the flow of pilgrims and Crusaders, the feats of mountaineers, and the dreams of engineers. In The Alps, Stephen O’Shea (“a graceful and passionate writer”―Washington Post) takes readers up and down these majestic mountains. Journeying through their 500-mile arc across France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia, he explores the reality behind historic events and reveals how the Alps have profoundly influenced culture and society. 4 maps
Switzerland - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Kendall Hunter
There is far more to Switzerland than beautiful scenery, chocolate, watches, faceless bankers, and spotless cities. The real Switzerland is full of surprises and anything but bland. This small, rugged, landlocked country at the heart of Europe has been a confederation since the first three cantons came together in a defensive alliance in 1291. Four national languages are spoken within its borders. Its present twenty-six cantons are largely autonomous and retain their individual characters. In this grassroots democracy real power lies with the people, who exercise it directly through frequent referendums. “Swissness” is, above all, a spirit of independence and of communal involvement. Although it is a model of peace and multicultural cooperation, with one of the highest standards of living in Europe, Switzerland’s prosperity has been hard-won. Historically neutral, it maintains a semi-detached relationship within the European Union. In 2014, a national referendum supported quotas on EU migrants. Despite the several hundred thousand EU nationals living and working within its borders, and almost half a million Swiss working in the EU, this small, resource-poor country appears determined to retain its independence. Culture Smart! Switzerland provides an historical perspective, explores Swiss values and attitudes, and looks at the cultural continuity of festivals and traditions. It helps you navigate the workplace, the neighborhood, and the social scene. It offers crucial insights into Swiss business culture, and more generally on differences in communication style. Swiss people are not always easy to get to know. Proud, industrious, fair-minded, and creative, they respect the individual, which means that while they appreciate clear thinking and direct talking, they avoid confrontation. They will never intrude, yet will willingly help out if asked. Make the effort, and people will respond. Warmth, decency, intelligence, and wit are among the many hidden riches of this fascinating society.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Switzerland
By: DK Travel
Ski the Alps, explore the idyllic countryside, and take in the alpine scenery when you travel to Switzerland. See history, art, and more in this unique and vibrant country.From top restaurants, bars, and clubs to standout scenic sites and walks, our insider tips are sure to make your trip outstanding. Whether you're looking for unique and interesting shops and markets, or seeking the best venues for music and nightlife, we have entertainment and hotel recommendations for every budget covered in our Eyewitness Travel Guide.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Switzerland.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Switzerland truly shows you the country as no one else can.Recommended: For a pocket guidebook to Switzerland, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Switzerland, which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists, ensuring you make the most of your time and experience the best of everything.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.
Laminated Switzerland Map by Borch (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German Edition)
By: Borch
Folded road and travel map in color. Scale 1:400,000. Distinguishes roads ranging from motorways to country lanes. Legend includes roads closed to motor vehicles, toll roads, tunnels, railways, ferry lines, passes, gas stations, restaurants, motel and restaurants, snack bars, truck stops, checkpoints, sights, refuges, skiing areas, international airports, regional airports, national parks, places of interest. Includes inset map of Switzerland Political & Alps passes. Climate charts show the average daily temperatures, humidity, hours of sunshine and precipitation for each month. Legend in 5 languages including English.
Grand Tour of Switzerland 2016: HKF.126.GEN
By: Hallwag,Bern
Tour du Mont Blanc Panoramic Map with hiking routes
By: Panorama Rando
Panoramic map of the Tour du Mont Blanc trekking route through the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps
All Along the Rhine: Recipes, Wines and Lore from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Holland
By: Kay Shaw Nelson
Each chapter of this brilliant collection of over 130 recipes covers the culinary history and winemaking tradition of a different Rhine country. The literary excerpts, legends, and lore throughout the book accompany the reader-chef on a culinary cruise down one of the world's most famous rivers. Complete with b/w illustrations. "Cradle of European art, culture, history, and folklore for thousands of years, the Rhine River has an appeal for everyone along its verdant shores...In this representative collection of traditional and contemporary Rhine recipes may be found a wealth of culinary treasures, carefully evolved over the centuries by creative cooks. Because the cookery is derived from a jigsaw puzzle of peoples, customs and foods, there are some exotic and exciting contrasts. Indeed, the kitchens of these countries have produced some of the world's most cherished delicacies, as well as flavorful, down-to-earth hearty dishes that have enduring appeal."
Alpine Cookbook
By: Hans Gerlach
Alpine Cookbook combines original cooking traditions with modern ideas in more than 110 delicious recipes from the Alps.Packed with a mix of traditional culinary treasures and those beyond the classics, Alpine Cookbook includes more than 110 recipes from Bavaria, Austria, and Switzerland, and highlights the variety of dishes this regional cuisine has to offer.It features widely known favorites like potato pancakes and Austrian schnitzel, as well as modern twists on original cooking traditions from the region. From rich and meaty comfort foods to lighter vegetarian dishes, Alpine Cookbook contains a culinary delight for every palate.
Slow Train to Switzerland: One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years and a World of Change Apart
By: Diccon Bewes
In June 1863 an English lady set off by train on the trip of a lifetime: Thomas Cook's first Conducted Tour of Switzerland. A century and a half later, travel writer Diccon Bewes, author of the bestselling Swiss Watching, decided to go where she went and see what she saw. Guided by her diary, he followed the same route to discover how much had changed and how much hadn't. She went in search of adventure, he went in search of her, and found far more than he expected. Slow Train to Switzerland is the captivating account of two trips through the Alps: hers glimpsing the future of travel, his revisiting its past. Together they make a journey to remember.This is a tale of trains and tourists, of the British and the Swiss, of a Victorian traveller and a modern-day Englishman abroad. It is the story of a tour that changed both Switzerland and the world of travel forever.
Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island
By: Diccon Bewes
Swiss Watching is a light-hearted yet revealing journey around Europe's most individual country. From seeking Heidi and finding the best chocolate to reliving a bloody past and exploring an uncertain future, Swiss Watching proves that there's more to Switzerland than banks, skis, francs and cheese. One country, four languages, 26 cantons, and 7.5 million people (only 80% of whom are Swiss): there's nowhere else in Europe like it. Switzerland may be surrounded by land, but it is an island at the center of Europe. Welcome to the landlocked island.
The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland
By: Padraig Rooney
In the summer of 1816 paparazzi trained their telescopes on the goings on of poets Byron and Shelley - and their womenfolk - across Lake Geneva. Mary Shelley babysat and wrote Frankenstein. Byron dieted and penned The Prisoner of Chillon. His doctor, Polidori, was dreaming up The Vampyre. Together they put Switzerland on the map. Switzerland has always provided a refuge for writers attracted to it as an escape from world wars, oppression, tuberculosis... or marriage. While often for Swiss writers from Rousseau to Bouvier the country was like a gilded prison or sanatorium. The Romantics, the utopians (Wells, D. H. Lawrence) and other spiritual seekers (Hesse), viewed Switzerland as a land of milk and honey, as nature's paradise. In the twentieth century, spying in neutral Switzerland, spawned espionage and detective fiction from Conan Doyle to Maugham, Fleming, and Le Carré. Padraig Rooney finds the rooms crammed with curios: lederhosen and Lepidoptera, spas and spies, fool's gold and numbered accounts. Literary detective work and treasure chest, history and scandal, The Gilded Chalet will make you strap on your skis and go off-piste to find out the real Swiss story.
Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men And Mountains
By: Jon Krakauer
In this collection, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devil's Thumb.
Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps
By: Fergus Fleming
In a riveting narrative of daredevils and eccentrics, Fergus Fleming gives us the breathtaking story of some of history's greatest explorers as they conquer the soaring peaks of the Alps. Fleming recounts the incredible exploits of the men whose centuries-old fear of the mountain range turned quickly to curiosity, then to obsession, as they explored Europe's frozen wilderness. In the late eighteenth century French and Swiss scientists became interested in the Alps as a research destination, but in the 1850s the focus changed: the icy mountains now offered an all-out competition for British climbers who wanted to conquer ever higher and more impossible heights, and explorers fought each other on the peaks and in the press, entertaining a vast public smitten with their bravery, delighted by their personal animosities, and horrified by the disasters that befell them. "...excellent popular history, with its proper share of mad dogs and Englishmen....Fleming's rendition is dramatic and masterful." -- Anthony Brandt, National Geographic Adventure
Scrambles Amongst the Alps in the Years 1860-'69
By: Edward Whymper
Trieste Publishing has a massive catalogue of classic book titles. Our aim is to provide readers with the highest quality reproductions of fiction and non-fiction literature that has stood the test of time. The many thousands of books in our collection have been sourced from libraries and private collections around the world.The titles that Trieste Publishing has chosen to be part of the collection have been scanned to simulate the original. Our readers see the books the same way that their first readers did decades or a hundred or more years ago. Books from that period are often spoiled by imperfections that did not exist in the original. Imperfections could be in the form of blurred text, photographs, or missing pages. It is highly unlikely that this would occur with one of our books. Our extensive quality control ensures that the readers of Trieste Publishing's books will be delighted with their purchase. Our staff has thoroughly reviewed every page of all the books in the collection, repairing, or if necessary, rejecting titles that are not of the highest quality. This process ensures that the reader of one of Trieste Publishing's titles receives a volume that faithfully reproduces the original, and to the maximum degree possible, gives them the experience of owning the original work.We pride ourselves on not only creating a pathway to an extensive reservoir of books of the finest quality, but also providing value to every one of our readers. Generally, Trieste books are purchased singly - on demand, however they may also be purchased in bulk. Readers interested in bulk purchases are invited to contact us directly to enquire about our tailored bulk rates.
A Tramp Abroad (Modern Library Classics)
By: Mark Twain
In A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain’s unofficial sequel to The Innocents Abroad, the author records his hilarious and diverse observations and insights while on a fifteen-month walking trip through Central Europe and the Alps. “Here you have Twain’s inimitable mix,” writes Dave Eggers in his Introduction, “of the folksy and the effortlessly erudite, his unshakable good sense and his legendary wit, his knack for the easy relation of a perfect anecdote, and some achingly beautiful nature writing.”This Modern Library Paperback Classic reproduces the text of the first American edition and features new explanatory notes and a critical Afterword by Kerry Driscoll, professor of English at Saint Joseph College in Connecticut.
Coming Out Swiss: In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life
By: Anne Herrmann
Anne Herrmann, a dual citizen born in New York to Swiss parents, offers in Coming Out Swiss a witty, profound, and ultimately universal exploration of identity and community. “Swissness”―even on its native soil a loose confederacy, divided by multiple languages, nationalities, religion, and alpen geography―becomes in the diaspora both nowhere (except in the minds of immigrants and their children) and everywhere, reflected in pervasive clichés.             In a work that is part memoir, part history and travelogue, Herrmann explores all our Swiss clichés (chocolate, secret bank accounts, Heidi, Nazi gold, neutrality, mountains, Swiss Family Robinson) and also scrutinizes topics that may surprise (the “invention” of the Alps, the English Colony in Davos, Switzerland’s role during World War II, women students at the University of Zurich in the 1870s). She ponders, as well, marks of Swissness that have lost their identity in the diaspora (Sutter Home, Helvetica, Dadaism) and the enduring Swiss American community of New Glarus, Wisconsin. Coming Out Swiss will appeal not just to the Swiss diaspora but also to those drawn to multi-genre writing that blurs boundaries between the personal and the historical.
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
By: Bill Bryson
In the early seventies, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe—in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. He was accompanied by an unforgettable sidekick named Stephen Katz (who will be gloriously familiar to readers of Bryson's A Walk in the Woods). Twenty years later, he decided to retrace his journey. The result is the affectionate and riotously funny Neither Here Nor There.
Daisy Miller (Penguin Classics)
By: Henry James
Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behaviour leave her perilously exposed. In Daisy Miller James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Hotel Du Lac
By: Anita Brookner
In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question "Why love?" It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a psudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to resore her to her senses.But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love's casualties and exiles. She also attracts the attention of a worldly man determined to release her unused capacity for mischief and pleasure. Beautifully observed, witheringly funny, Hotel du Lac is Brookner at her most stylish and potently subversive.
The Theoretical Foot
By: M. F. K. Fisher
When Robert Lescher died in 2012 an unpublished manuscript of M.F.K. Fisher’s was discovered neatly packed in the one of the literary agent’s signature red boxes. Inspired by Fisher’s affair with Dillwyn Parrish -- who was to become her second husband -- The Theoretical Foot is the master stylist’s first novel. In it she describes the life she all-too-briefly had with the man she’d ever after describe as the one great love of her life.It tells of a late-summer idyll at the Swiss farmhouse of Tim and Sara, where guests have gathered at ease on the terrace next to the burbling fountain in which baby lettuces are being washed, there to enjoy the food and wine served them by this stylish American couple.But all around these seemingly fortunate people, the forces of darkness are gathering: The year is 1939; World War Two approaches. And the paradise Tim and Sara have made is being besieged from within as Tim -- closely based on Parrish -- is about to suffer the first of the circulatory attacks that will cause him to lose his leg to amputation.
The Walk (New Directions Pearls)
By: Robert Walser
Robert Walser's preferred alternate version of his classic tale. In a new translation by Susan Bernofsky, The Walk is an elegant consideration of walking and the philosophical musings it engenders. A pseudo-biographical “stroll” through town and countryside rife with philosophical musings, The Walk has been hailed as the masterpiece of Walser’s short prose. Walking features heavily in his writing, but nowhere else is it as elegantly considered. Without walking, “I would be dead,” Walser explains, “and my profession, which I love passionately, would be destroyed. Because it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker.” The Walk was the first piece of Walser’s work to appear in English, and the only one translated before his death. However, Walser heavily revised his most famous novella, altering nearly every sentence, rendering the baroque tone of his tale into something more spare. An introduction by translator Susan Bernofsky explains the history of The Walk, and the differences between its two versions.
Birds of Europe: Second Edition (Princeton Field Guides)
By: Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström, Killian Mullarney
Since it was first published a decade ago, Birds of Europe has become the definitive field guide to the diverse birdlife found in Europe. Now this superb guide has been brought fully up to date with revised text and maps along with added illustrations. Uniquely designed for easy use in the field, this expanded edition covers all 772 species found in the region as well as 32 introduced species or variants and 118 very rare visitors. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, voice, habitat, range, and size. More than 3,500 full-color illustrations depict every species and all major plumage variations, and color distribution maps provide breeding, wintering, and migration ranges for every species.Complete with an introduction to each group of birds that addresses major problems of observation and identification, this new edition is the ultimate field guide to Europe's fascinating birdlife.Expanded and fully updated Covers all 772 species found in Europe, 32 introduced species or variants, and 118 very rare visitors Features more than 3,500 color illustrations that depict every species Includes detailed species accounts Provides color distribution maps for every species Color plates face text and maps for at-a-glance identification
A Naturalist's Guide to Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe (Naturalist's Guides)
By: Andrew Cleave
A series of photographic wildlife identification guides. Each title features approximately 280 species that a keen amateur might expect to see in the field or garden. High quality photographs are accompanied by full species descriptions, giving identifying features, as well as details of size, habits, habitats and distribution.   Each title is written by an acknowledged expert in the subject with photographs supplied by Paul Sterry, a biologist whose interest in natural history spans more than 50 years.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes on-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included
  • For cruises and train journeys: Port charges and cruise line fees, gratuities for ship’s crew

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List


If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a wait list by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.  

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.