Immerse yourself in the majestic mountain scenery of Switzerland, Italy, and Austria as you explore the history, arts, traditions, and classic trains of the Alps.

Starting at: $7,392 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Innsbruck, nestled amid the Alps  Historic Swiss train with the Matterhorn in the distance  View of Lake Lucerne, the town of Lucerne, and Mt. Pilatus in the distance  The charming Swiss town of Lucerne with its famous bridge  View of the Matterhorn. Credit: Ricardo Lepatan Jr.  The <i>Gornergrat Bahn</i>, highest cog railway in Europe, with the Matterhorn  Matterhorn peak in the Swiss Alps  The <i>Glacier Express</i> traveling through a tunnel in the Alps  Street in Switzerland's Bellinoza  The Simplon Pass with view of the Alps  Lake Lugano with village of Morcote  The village of Stresa, located on Lake Maggiore  View of charming Salzburg  Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg  Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg

Treasures of the Alps: Swiss Trains and Italy's Lake District

14 days from $7,392 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Immerse yourself in the majestic mountain scenery of Switzerland, Italy, and Austria as you explore the history, arts, traditions, and classic trains of the Alps.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

With their multitude of craggy, snow-dusted peaks and their sweeping valleys dotted with timeless villages, the Alps inspire a sense of awe and a sense of peace. Experience some of the gems of these legendary mountains as you travel by train, ferry, coach, and cable car to charming medieval towns, historic medieval resorts, and sky-high summits in Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. Ride the Glacier Express to Zermatt and cruise to isolated villages on the shores of Lake Lugano. Wind through the lovely Italian Lake District on a scenic drive, spend a morning exploring German World War II sites, and attend a concert in the ornate palaces of Salzburg.

Highlights Include

  • Legendary Swiss Trains: Gaze upon extraordinary mountain views from the legendary Glacier Express and the Pilatus Railway. Aboard the Gornergrat Bahn, Europe’s highest open-air railway, take in dramatic vistas of 29 Alpine peaks, including the majestic Matterhorn.
  • Charming Swiss Towns: Stay in lakeside Lucerne, with its medieval old town and distinctive covered bridge, and the alpine retreat of Zermatt, gateway to the Matterhorn.
  • Ticino and the Italian Lake District: During three days on Lake Lugano, visit castles and gardens, cruise to remote villages, and set off on a scenic drive to Stresa and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lake District.
  • Innsbruck and Salzburg, Austria: Enjoy a walking tour of charming Innsbruck, and take a cable car into the mountains for a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding Alps. Then travel through the stunning Tyrolean countryside to Salzburg and spend three nights in the hometown of Mozart. Explore the city’s historic sites, and attend a chamber music concert in the Marble Room of Mirabell Palace. Your final day features a trip to the cliff-top Eagle’s Nest, the Nazi Party’s Bavarian retreat.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S. for Zurich, Switzerland

Day 2 – Zurich and Lucerne

Arrive in Zurich and transfer by coach to Lucerne. After checking in to your hotel, meet for a briefing about the journey ahead, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 3 – Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus

Situated on the shores of the sapphire Lake Lucerne in a cradle of Alpine peaks, the town of Lucerne has captivated many a visitor, from Queen Victoria to Mark Twain. Stroll among the half-timbered houses of the medieval Old Town, and cross the Kapellbrücke, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, which spans the Reuss River. There’s time for lunch on your own before you climb aboard the world’s steepest cogwheel train for a ride to the summit of Mt. Pilatus to take in stunning views. Descend by cable car and gondola and return to Lucerne for an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 4 – Lake Lucerne and Zermatt

Today’s scenic overload begins with a ferry ride on Lake Lucerne, where you pass numerous villages as well as Rütli meadow, where the independent state of Switzerland was created in the 13th century. Disembark at Flüelen and continue overland to Andermatt to board the celebrated Glacier Express train. This renowned railway sweeps through deep valleys, over gorges, past mountain hamlets, and along the fabled Rhône, traversing nearly 300 bridges and 91 tunnels. Traveling in glass-domed cars, you’ll be surrounded by an extraordinary panorama of views. Your final destination is Zermatt, the gateway to the iconic Matterhorn. Tonight, enjoy a Swiss fondue dinner together at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 – Zermatt / Gornergrat

An idyllic Alpine town of wooden chalets bright with flowerboxes in the summer months, Zermatt is surrounded on all sides by towering peaks. Get a unique perspective on this spectacular scenery this morning as you ascend to the summit of the Gornergrat aboard the Gornergratbahn, the highest open-air railway in Europe. From here, you’ll have a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of 29 Alpine peaks, including the twisted Matterhorn, which rises above the rest at 15,000 feet. The rest of the day is yours to explore Zermatt on foot or go for a hike.  (B)

Day 6 – Italian Lake District and Lugano, Switzerland

Travel by coach today through more superb Swiss scenery, and cross into northern Italy via the Simplon Pass, a narrow Alpine pass where, from 1801 to 1807, Napoleon constructed a road in order to transport arms into newly conquered parts of Italy. Late in the morning, reach the shores of lovely Lake Maggiore and enjoy lunch and time at leisure in the lakeside town of Stresa. A scenic afternoon drive through the Italian Lake District returns you to Switzerland, where you’ll check in to your hotel in lakeside Lugano. (B,D)

Day 7 – Bellinzona and Ascona

Today’s tour of Ticino, Switzerland’s southernmost canton, begins in medieval Bellinzona, known for its three World Heritage-listed feudal castles. Begin at Castelgrande, exploring the ramparts and expansive grounds of this central castle. Then sample regional fare as you lunch alfresco at a grotto restaurant built around mountain caves. In the afternoon, visit the artists’ colony of Ascona on the shores of Lake Maggiore before returning to Lugano. (B,L)

Day 8 – Lake Lugano

After a free morning in Lugano, board a motorboat for a private half-day cruise around Lake Lugano. Go ashore at Morcote, a town of cobbled streets, terraced gardens, and Mediterranean charm that was chosen by Swiss citizens as Switzerland’s loveliest village in 2016. Enjoy lunch together in town and time to explore before continuing your cruise to Gandria. Accessible only by water, this picturesque town of pastel facades is built against the steep slopes of Monte Brè. (B,L)

Day 9 – Maienfeld, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and Seefeld, Austria

Known for its medieval castles, alpine landscapes, and quaint villages, arrive in Liechtenstein this morning.  Enjoy free time to explore the scenic capital of Vaduz. Located along the Rhine River, the city is home to the reigning prince of Liechtenstein. After lunch on your own, visit the Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein, the prince's lush vineyard covering roughly 10 acres outside of Vaduz. Afterwards, drive to the charming mountain village of Seefeld, Austria and enjoy dinner together tonight at your hotel. (B,D)

Day 10 – Seefeld and Innsbruck

This morning, journey to nearby Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region and host of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. A walking tour highlights the postcard-worthy sights, including the baroque cathedral, a grand Habsburg palace, and pedestrian squares surrounded by pastel-colored façades—all set against the dramatic backdrop of steep Alpine slopes. Take a cable car to a lookout in the rocky Nordkette mountain range for enjoy panoramic views over Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains. Enjoy free time back in Innsbruck before returning to Seefeld for dinner. (B,D)

Day 11 – Tyrol and Salzburg

Travel through the Tyrolean countryside, a crossroads of Western Europe with its own distinctive culture. Stop to visit the Museum of Tyrolean Farms, an interactive outdoor exhibit featuring dozens of preserved farmhouses dating from the 15th century onwards. Continue to Salzburg, the city of Mozart and The Sound of Music, set on the banks for the Salzach River. The remainder of the afternoon is yours to get acquainted with this gem of a city. After dinner together at a local restaurant, attend a baroque chamber music concert in the Marble Room of the historic Mirabell Palace, where Mozart once played. (B,D)

Day 12 – Salzburg

Soak up the beauty of Salzburg on a morning walking tour that includes the  17th-century Mirabell Gardens, the setting for several scenes of The Sound of Music, and the World Heritage-listed Old Town. Visit the Salzburg Cathedral and medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved castles. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 13 – Salzburg and Berchtesgaden

Venture just inside Germany this morning on an excursion to the Bavarian resort town of Berchtesgaden. On high bluffs above town lies the clifftop Kehlsteinhaus, or Eagle’s Nest, the Nazi Party’s alpine retreat. Ascend by the original 1930s brass elevator, and tour the chalet given to Hitler on his 50th birthday and captured by the Allies in the closing days of WWII. After lunch together, take a walking tour of Berchtesgaden, once a residence of the Bavarian royal family. Then celebrate your Alpine journey at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Depart for the U.S.

Transfer to the Munich airport for your return flight home. (B)

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