The awe-inspiring Alps have drawn visitors to Switzerland and Austria throughout history. This exciting new journey spotlights the region's history and its Alpine trains. 

Starting at: $6,492 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The charming Swiss town of Lucerne with its famous bridge  Historic Swiss train with the Matterhorn in the distance  The <i>Glacier Express</i> traveling through a tunnel in the Alps  View of Lake Lucerne, the town of Lucerne, and Mt. Pilatus in the distance  View of charming Salzburg

Treasures of the Alps

14 days from $6,492 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

The awe-inspiring Alps have drawn visitors to Switzerland and Austria throughout history. This exciting new journey spotlights the region's history and its Alpine trains. 

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

The awe-inspiring Alps have drawn visitors to Switzerland and Austria throughout history. This exciting new journey spotlights the region's history and its Alpine trains. 

Highlights Include: 

  • Historic Swiss Trains and Charming Towns: Gaze upon panoramic mountain views from the legendary Glacier Express and Pilatus Railway. Aboard the Gornergrat Bahn, Europe’s highest open-air railway, absorb the dramatic vistas of 29 Alpine peaks, including the majestic Matterhorn (at 15,000 feet). Enjoy stays in charming Lucerne, with its pristine lake and distinctive covered bridge, and Zermatt, gateway to the Swiss Alps.
  • Ticino and the Swiss Lake District: During three days along Lake Lugano, take in nearby castles, gardens, and magnificent landscape. Plus, take a scenic drive to Stresa and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lake District.
  • Austria’s Innsbruck and Salzburg: Enjoy a walking tour of charming Innsbruck, then take a cable car into the mountains for a panoramic view of the city and the Alps. Traveling through the stunning scenery of the Tyrol, arrive in Salzburg for a delightful stay in the home town of Mozart. Here you’ll visit the Baroque Old Town, the cathedral, medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, and Mirabell Gardens (as seen in The Sound of Music), and attend a chamber music concert. Your final day features a trip to the cliff-top Eagle’s Nest, the Nazi Party’s alpine retreat.

Please note: Guests on the August 13 and August 20, 2020 departures will have the opportunity to be in Salzburg during the Salzburg Festival, classical music and performing arts festival (no formal activities are planned).

Itinerary

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

Day 2 – Arrive Zurich / Lucerne

Arrive in Zurich and transfer by coach to Lucerne.

After checking in at your hotel, meet for a briefing about the journey ahead, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 3 – Lucerne / Mt. Pilatus

This morning encounter historic and alluring Lucerne, surrounded by mountains and sitting on its namesake lake. Visit the medieval Old Town; and cross treasured Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge, the oldest covered bridge in Europe.

There’s time for lunch on your own before riding the world’s steepest cogwheel train to the summit of nearby Mt. Pilatus for stunning views across the surrounding countryside. After descending by cable car and gondola, return to Lucerne. (B)

Day 4 – Lake Lucerne / Zermatt

Today’s scenic overload begins with a ferry ride on Lake Lucerne, where you pass numerous villages as well as Rütli meadow, legendary “birthplace of Switzerland.” Disembarking at Flüelen, coach to Andermatt to board the celebrated Glacier Express train, renowned for its panoramic views as it sweeps through striking valleys, past mountain hamlets, and follows the course of the fabled Rhône.

Your adventure on this famed route ends in Zermatt, the gateway to the Swiss Alps in the shadow of the Matterhorn. Tonight, enjoy a Swiss fondue dinner together at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 – Zermatt / Gornergrat

Sitting in a low-slung notch, Zermatt is surrounded on all sides by towering slopes. Get a unique view of the spectacular scenery this morning as you ride the Gornergratbahn, the highest open-air railway in Europe, to the summit of the Gornergrat. Atop this rocky ridge, a dramatic tapestry unfolds all around you: 29 Alpine peaks, each over 13,000 feet, including the majestic Matterhorn standing alone at nearly 15,000 feet.

After admiring the jaw-dropping scenery, begin your descent by train to Zermatt, where the remainder of the day is free to explore this very walkable village as you wish. (B)

Day 6 – Zermatt / Stresa, Italy / Lugano

Travel by coach today through more superb Swiss scenery, and cross into northern Italy via the legendary Simplon Pass through the Alps where, from 1801 to 1805, Napoleon constructed a road in order to expand his empire.

Late morning, arrive in Stresa, Italy, along the shores of lovely Lake Maggiore, where there’s time to explore and enjoy lunch on your own.

Then a scenic drive through the famed Italian lake district returns you to Switzerland and your hotel in lakeside Lugano. (B,D)

Day 7 – Lugano / Bellinzona / Ascona

Today’s tour of Ticino, Switzerland’s southernmost canton, begins in medieval Bellinzona, with its three feudal castles, all World Heritage sites. Here visit Castelgrande, the iconic central castle where you explore the ramparts and expansive grounds, then enjoy regional fare as you lunch alfresco at a local grotto restaurant built around mountain caves.

This afternoon, coach to 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 to explore Lugano independently, board a motorboat for a private half-day cruise around Lake Lugano. Put ashore at Morcote, a town barely a mile square whose cobbled streets, terraced gardens, and Mediterranean charm led Swiss citizens in 2016 to name it the nation’s loveliest village.

After lunch together and time to explore, continue on your cruise with a stop in Gandria, whose stucco façades seem to cling precariously to the side of Monte Brè. (B,L)

Day 9 – Lugano / Maienfeld / Vaduz, Liechtenstein / Seefeld, Austria

You’re bound for Austria today by way of the tiny sovereign nation of Liechtenstein. Late morning arrive in the border town of Maienfeld, Switzerland, setting for the beloved novel Heidi. Here enjoy a tour and tasting at Schloss Salenegg, Europe’s oldest winery (c. A.D.1068).

Continuing north, cross into the Principality of Liechtenstein, the fourth-smallest European country. Stop for lunch on your own in the capital of Vaduz then continue on to the mountain village of Seefeld, Austria, and your hotel, where you dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 10 – Seefeld / Innsbruck

This morning coach to nearby Innsbruck, host of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. A walking tour highlights the postcard-worthy sights, including the many pedestrian squares surrounded by pastel-colored façades.

Then take a cable car to a lookout in the Nordkette, the “mountain at the heart of Innsbruck,” where you enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding Alps. You have time on your own in Innsbruck before returning to Seefeld. (B,D)

Day 11 – Seefeld / Tyrol / Salzburg

Today travel through Tyrol, a crossroads of Western Europe, en route to Salzburg. Stop to visit the Museum of Tyrolean Farms, an interactive outdoor exhibit featuring dozens of preserved farmhouses dating from the 15th century onwards.

Then continue on to Salzburg, Austria’s riverside jewel and city of Mozart and The Sound of Music. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure; tonight dine together at your hotel. (B,D)

Day 12 – Salzburg

Your walking tour this morning features the geometrically-styled Mirabell Gardens, dating to the 17th century; the Baroque Old Town, now a World Heritage site; and visits to Salzburg Cathedral and medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved castles.

The remainder of the day is at leisure for independent exploration and dinner on your own. (B)

Day 13 – Salzburg / Eagle’s Nest / Berchtesgaden

Travel today to the Bavarian resort town of Berchtesgaden, site of the clifftop Kehlsteinhaus or Eagle’s Nest, the Nazi Party’s alpine retreat. Arriving by the original 1930s brass elevator, tour the chalet given to Hitler on his 50th birthday and captured by the Allies in the closing days of WWII.

After lunch together, enjoy a walking tour of Berchtesgaden, once a residence of the Bavarian royal family. Return to Salzburg, where you attend an intimate chamber concert performed by the Salzburg Mozart Players then celebrate your splendid journey at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Depart for the U.S.

Transfer today to the Munich airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

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