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

Starting at: $4,340 * Price includes special offer 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 $4,340

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


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 and boat, and feel exhilarated after walks through the countryside. Stroll through picture-perfect towns, where flower-filled window boxes adorn gingerbread chalets. Discover the fairy-tale cities of Bern and Lucerne, where red-tile roofs and delicate church spires fill the skylines. See the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, the Bernese Alps’ trio of iconic peaks, and ride a steam train to the highest peak of the Emmental Alps. Enjoy the fine Swiss hospitality of the Hotel Freienhof, ideally located overlooking Lake Thun. 

Highlights Include:

  • Thun: Enjoy a stay in a traditional Swiss town with views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. From here, take local trains to many of your outings.
  • 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.
  • Glacial Lakes: Cruise the sparkling turquoise waters of lakes Thun, Lucerne, and Brienz. Hike around scenic Lake Oeschinen.
  • 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. 


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

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.

Excursion: 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. (R,D)

Day 3 — Lake Thun / Oberhofen / Spiez

Start each morning with a hearty American-style buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Excursion: 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.

Independent Exploration: Return to Thun where the balance of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 4 — Bern

Excursion: 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.

Independent Exploration: Later, follow your own path and explore on your own. It may seem incongruous, but Switzerland is a major producer of fine wines.

Educational Focus: 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 — Brienz and Rothorn

Excursion: Today travel to Brienz, a village known for its wooden chalets and Alpine backdrop, is steeped in centuries of wood-carving tradition. You may encounter some of this storied practice, such as carved road signs and sculptures, during a walking tour through the town. At the fairy-tale Brienz Rothorn Railway station, board a steam train for a breathtaking ride past forests and meadows to the top of the Rothorn. Savor a delicious lunch of classic cuisine accompanied by a captivating panorama. Return to Brienz and cruise on the gentle waters of Lake Brienz to Thun.

Local Flavor: Enjoy dinner in Thun tonight as a folkloric singing group entertains you with local folk songs and the AlpenhornIn the early evening, join fellow travelers in Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Kandersteg

Educational Focus: Learn more about Mountaineering this morning, Switzerland enjoys a long tradition of mountain climbing. Join a local expert and discuss this popular pastime.

Excursion: Hop on a train to Kandersteg, where a gondola whisks you toward Lake Oeschinen, nestled atop the town at nearly 5,200 feet above sea level. Enjoy a hike along pastures filled with wildflowers and cows grazing on the lush, green grass to the turquoise glacial lake, where you can sit and enjoy the view. Return to Kandersteg via gondola and enjoy a hearty lunch.

After lunch, take the train back to Thun(B,L)

Day 7 — Lucerne

Excursion: 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. 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. 

Enjoy a lunch of Swiss specialties. 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 – Lauterbrunnen Valley and Mürren

Excursion: After breakfast, board a train for a journey to the idyllic Lauterbrunnen Valley. After a cable car ride to Grütschalp, hike to Winteregg and on to Mü̈rren, an attractive car-free town. On a clear day, you may witness the iconic North Face of the Eiger peak, as well as Mönch and Jungfrau.

This evening, get together for a farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,R,D)

Day 9 — Return to the U.S.

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

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