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

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person off the 2019 departures when you book by August 31, 2018!

Overview

Tucked into the cultural and geographic heart of Europe, Switzerland showcases breathtaking mountains, crystalline lakes, and crisp Alpine air. Explore the Bernese Oberland by train, boat, and on foot, as you enjoy fine Swiss hospitality. 

Highlights Include:

  • Charming Cities: Visit Lucerne with its charming covered bridges and enjoy a lake cruise on a 19th–century paddle steamer. Take a walking tour of the bustling historic Swiss capital of Bernwald and visit the historical museum.
  • The Alps: Take a mountain lift from Kandersteg to beautiful Lake Oeschinen and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the Bernese Alps.
  • Train Travel: Stop in the wood-carving center of Brienz, then take an antique steam train to the top of the Rothorn in the Valais Alps. Ride an Alpine train or hike along the flower trail at Allmendhubel for spectacular mountain views, continuing to the car-free mountain village of Murrën, accessible only by train and cable car. 
  • Accommodations: Our 2018 itinerary stays at the charming Hotel Carlton-Europe in Interlaken, our 2019 itinerary stays at the Hotel Freienhof, located in delightful Old Town Thun.

2018 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 – Depart the U.S. and Arrive Zürich

Smithsonian Travelers depart the U.S. for Zürich via overnight flights. After a morning arrival at Zurich's Kloten International Airport, travel to Interlaken, a 90-minute drive, and check-in at the Hotel Carlton-Europe. Each traveler will receive a welcome kit containing a map of Interlaken and information on the Jungfrau and Bernese Oberland regions. Your Smithsonian Journeys travel director will be on hand to assist you with settling in. There’s time to relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director for an orientation tour of the city. This evening join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 – Kandersteg

Start each morning with a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel. Take a local train to the town of Kandersteg, then continue by mountain lift to Lake Oeschinen for a walk around this magnificent lake and inspiring views of the surrounding mountains. Return to Kandersteg for lunch featuring local specialties. Travel back to Interlaken by rail where the balance of the afternoon is free of planned activities. (B,L) 

Day 4 – Lucerne

Lucerne is a lovely town located on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Join an expert local guide on a walking tour to see the city’s major points of interest. Board a lake steamer for a cruise on Lake Lucerne to see the town and environs from a different perspective. Enjoy a lunch of Swiss specialties then make a visit to the Rosengart Collection of modern art. The collection includes the works of Picasso, Klee, Miró and Braque as well as other prominent artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. (B,L)

Day 5 – Brienz and the Rothorn

After breakfast, board a train for the excursion to the Swiss wood-carving center of Brienz. One of today’s highlights is the ride on an antique steam train to the Brienzer Rothorn where you’ll have a panoramic view of the most impressive peaks in the Valais Alps.

After lunch on the Rothorn, return to Brienz for a boat ride on Lake Brienz to Interlaken. In the late afternoon, attend an engaging presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,L)

Day 6 – Lauterbrunnen and Mürren

Begin the day’s adventure with a rail trip to the town of Lauterbrunnen, situated in a magnificent alpine valley. From here, continue by mountain train or choose to hike along the flower trail at Allmendhubel and marvel at the beauty of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. After lunch at leisure and free time, take a cable car down to Stechelberg and Lauterbrunnen and return to Interlaken and the hotel. Dine out this evening at a popular local restaurant where you'll enjoy local musical entertainment. (B,D)

Day 7 – Bern

This morning set out on an excursion to the Swiss capital city of Bern where you’ll meet an expert local guide for a walking-tour of the city highlights. Visit the Bern Historical Museum, then follow your own path and explore on your own. It may seem incongruous, but Switzerland is a major producer of fine wines. This afternoon, a local wine expert will give an engaging presentation on Swiss wines. It’s said that local wines are not well-known because the Swiss drink all but 1% of what they produce. The Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner is open this afternoon, so get together with fellow travelers for informal discussion. (B)

Day 8 – Grindelwald and the Rosenlaui Glacier

Set-off on a morning train for an exciting day-trip to the famous year-round resort of Grindelwald, situated at the base of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. After leisure time, take a bus to Grosse Scheidegg, a high mountain pass that connects Grindelwald and the village of Meiringen. Enjoy a typical Swiss lunch at the Rosenlaui Hotel, one of the oldest Alpine lodges in Switzerland. The hotel is a treasure-trove of historic paintings and photos of past mountain climbing expeditions. After lunch, enjoy a hike along the Weissenbach River in the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 – Return to the U.S.

After an early breakfast, transfer to Zürich’s Kloten International Airport for the flight to your U.S. gateway city. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2019 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. / Arrive Zürich

Depart the U.S. for Zürich, Switzerland via overnight trans-Atlantic air service. Upon arrival at Kloten International Airport, clear brief Immigration and Customs formalities and travel to the charming town of Thun for check-in at the upscale Hotel Freienhof. Each traveler will receive a Welcome Kit containing a map of Thun and information on the remarkable Bernese Oberland region. You’ll also receive a custom 1st class Swiss rail pass for use during your stay.

The Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be on hand to assist in any way possible. There’s time to relax and settle in before joining your fellow travelers for a walking tour of the city that showcases magnificent views of the Alps, the Old Town Square of the city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception, program briefing, and dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 — Oberhofen / Spiez

Start each morning with a hearty American-style buffet breakfast at the hotel. Board a boat for a cruise on Lake Thun to Oberhofen, a charming lakeside town with a castle that dates to the 13th-century.

Continue by boat to Spiez, a storybook town nestled amidst vineyards, rolling hills and dominated by a lovely castle. Enjoy lunch on the lake and time at leisure in Spiez. Return to Thun where the balance of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 4 — Bern

This morning, set out on an excursion to the Swiss capital city of Bern where you’ll meet an expert local guide for a walking tour of the city highlights. Visit the Bern Historical Museum as well as the Einsteinhaus, former home of Albert Einstein.

Later, follow your own path and explore on your own. It may seem incongruous, but Switzerland is a major producer of fine wines. This afternoon, a local wine expert will give an engaging presentation on Swiss wines. It’s said that local wines are not well-known because the Swiss drink all but 1% of what they produce. (B)

Day 5 — Kandersteg

Take a local train to the town of Kandersteg, then continue by mountain lift to Lake Oeschinen for a walk and inspiring alpine views. Return to Kandersteg for lunch featuring local specialties.

Travel back to Thun by rail where the balance of the afternoon is free of planned activities. In the early evening, join fellow travelers in Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L)

Day 6 — Lauterbrunnen / Mürren

Begin the day’s adventure with a rail trip to the town of Lauterbrunnen, situated in a magnificent alpine valley. From here, continue by mountain train or choose to hike along the flower trail at Allmendhubel and marvel at the beauty of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains.

After lunch at leisure and free time, take a cable car down to Stechelberg and a bus to Lauterbrunnen for your return to Thun. This evening, gather with fellow travelers for “A Swiss Night Out” at a popular restaurant complete with a performance by a local folkloric group with singing and playing of the Alpenhorn. (B,D)

Day 7 — Lucerne

Lucerne is a lovely town located on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Join an expert local guide on a walking tour to see the city’s major points of interest. Board a lake steamer for a cruise on Lake Lucerne to see the town and environs from a different perspective.

Enjoy a lunch of Swiss specialties then make a visit to the Rosengart Collection of modern art. The collection includes the works of Picasso, Klee, Miró, and Braque as well as other prominent artists. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore this lovely lakeside city with its covered bridges, picturesque watchtowers, and quaint shops.

Enjoy a leisurely return to Thun by rail. Join fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert this evening for an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L)

Day 8 – Brienz and the Rothorn

After breakfast, board a train for the excursion to the Swiss wood-carving center of Brienz. One of today’s highlights is the ride on an antique steam train to the Brienzer Rothorn where you’ll have a panoramic view of the most impressive peaks in the Valais Alps.

After lunch on the Rothorn, return to Brienz for a boat ride on Lake Brienz to Interlaken and Thun. This evening, get together for a farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Return to the U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to Zürich’s Kloten Airport for the flight to your U.S. gateway city. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)