Dramatic scenes of snow-capped mountains and lovely towns guide the way on this independent journey through the Swiss Alps, featuring rides aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express and the Centovalli Train.
Some of the world’s most impressive panoramas beckon on this expedition through Switzerland. Lucerne, Lugano, Zermatt and the Bernese Oberland are highlighted as you travel through the country aboard fantastic scenic rail lines, such as the Gotthard Panorama Express, which travels to Lugano, and the Centovalli Railway for a journey through the Hundred Valleys to Domodossola, Italy. In each destination, sightsee at your own pace, taking in the rich history and Swiss traditions as you meander through historical cities and visit wonderful museums. Equipped with your Swiss Travel Flex Pass, you may also ride aboard Switzerland’s famed railways or embark on mountain excursions. From medieval city squares to the “Top of Europe” and everything in between, leave no mountain pass undiscovered on this exceptional independent adventure.
8-day Swiss Travel Flex Pass featuring unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat plus select mountain excursions and admission to more than 500 museums
Two scenic rail excursions: Gotthard Panorama Express and the Centovalli Train
Arrive in Zürich and make your way to the train station for your journey to Lucerne. The train ride is just over 1 hour in length and includes views of Zürich, Zug and beautiful blue lakes along the way. On arrival in Lucerne, soak in the amazing views of snow-capped mountains against Lake Lucerne as you make your way to your hotel. The evening is yours to begin your explorations of this medieval city. Overnight Lucerne.
With your Swiss Travel Flex Pass in hand, spend the day taking in the marvelous city of Lucerne and its surrounding region. Your pass provides free admission to more than 500 museums throughout the country, as well as unlimited transit by boat, train and bus and half-price admission for several mountain excursions. Do not miss the city’s iconic footbridges, the Chapel Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge, and the centuries-old structures of Old Town. There are lovely chapels throughout the city and an abundance of museums and galleries, including the Swiss Museum of Transportation and the Modern Art Museum. You may wish to venture outside the city to visit Mount Rigi and ride aboard the Vitznau – Rigi Kulm Cogwheel Railway or elect to venture to Mount Pilatus or Mount Titlis. Overnight Lucerne. (B)
A day of wondrous vistas lies ahead as you travel from Lucerne to Lugano aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express. The journey begins as you board a paddle steamer for a scenic cruise across Lake Lucerne to Flüelen. With the Alps and charming lakeside villages as your backdrop, this cruise is an idyllic first leg of travel. As the steamer docks in Flüelen, walk to the nearby train station and board the Gotthard Panorama Express. This railway is truly a marvel of engineering and its intricacies are presented as the train moves across the Reuss River Valley, around three spiral loops and through the amazing Gotthard tunnel. The 9-mile tunnel is the gateway to what is seemingly another world. As the train emerges, you are now in Italian-speaking Switzerland. The climate is warmer, and there are vineyards and palm trees in the distance. Enjoy a few more spiral loops and views of castles and Lake Maggiore before arriving in Lugano in southern Ticino. Make your way to your hotel upon arrival and enjoy the surrounding mountain views shrouded in the evening glow. Overnight Lugano. (B)
The day is yours to take in the magnificent sights of Lugano. Wander through Old Town, with its pretty pastel buildings and sloping pedestrian streets. Nearby is Piazza della Riforma, the town’s main square, which is chock-full of restaurants, bistros and charming shops. Perhaps take a walk along the lakefront at Parco Civico or visit one of the beautiful villas and chapels in the region. A true highlight of Lugano is Monte San Salvatore, and climbing this mountain by its funicular railway is an experience to remember. You also have the option to cruise Lake Lugano to one of the famous grottos and learn to make traditional risotto with a professional chef. Overnight Lugano. (B)
This morning, board the Centovalli Train for a scenic voyage through the “Hundred Valleys” to Domodossola, Italy. Attractive snow-capped mountains sit in the background as the train travels across dozens of bridges, through deep gorges and past winding rivers. As the train arrives in Domodossola, board a local train bound for Zermatt, Switzerland. Make your way to your hotel upon arrival in Zermatt, and begin sightseeing in this world-famous resort town. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Zermatt during your free time today. The village is absolutely charming, with its car-free streets and traditional architecture. In the Old Village, there are over 30 traditional “Walser” houses and beautiful old buildings. Restaurants and bistros line the streets, and the ambiance is undeniable. Perhaps visit the Matterhorn Museum or meander through the touching Mountaineer’s Cemetery. Don’t miss a ride aboard the Gornergrat Railway, an open-air railway that presents the unbelievable beauty of the imposing Matterhorn. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Departing Zermatt this morning, travel to either Wengen or Grindelwald, depending on your departure date. Both destinations are set approximately 3 hours from Zermatt, leaving plenty of time for explorations upon arrival. Wengen is a charming mountain village complete with beautiful timber chalets. Grindelwald is a stunning mountain resort town in the Bernese Alps. Each destination is lovely in its own way and offers the perfect gateway to the Jungfrau Region. Overnight Wengen/Grindelwald*. (B)
Spend your day at leisure enjoying your mountain destination. Both towns offer easy access to the Jungfrau Railway, which travels to the “top of Europe,” the Jungfraujoch. Additionally, the mountainous nature of these destinations makes them perfect bases for hiking and mountain excursions. Overnight Wengen/Grindelwald. (B)
Your adventure through the stunning Swiss Alps concludes this morning as you board your train for your return journey to Zürich or Basel or continue on with your adventures throughout Switzerland. (B)
Moderate Hotels are centrally located 3-star properties such as Hotel De la Paix, Lucerne; International au Lac Hotel, Lugano; Hotel Excelsior, Zermatt; and Hotel Alpenrose, Wengen/Hotel Bernerhof, Grindelwald. Seat reservations are in second class. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities.
Superior Hotels are centrally located 4-star properties such as Hotel des Balances, Lucerne; Hotel Lugano Dante Swiss Quality, Lugano; Hotel Alpenhof, Zermatt; and Sunstar Alpine Hotel, Wengen/Hotel Eiger, Grindelwald. Seat reservations are in second class. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities.
Gotthard Panorama Express Previously named the Wilhelm Tell Express, the Gotthard Panorama Express is a wonderful piece of railway engineering with many spiral loops, bridges, and tunnels. The journey includes travel by train and boat offering very diverse scenery with snow-capped mountains and palm trees along the way.
Centovalli Train The Domodossola–Locarno railway, also known in Switzerland as the Centovalli railway and in Italy as Valle Vigezzo railway, is a meter-gauge railway negotiating the dramatic mountainous terrain between Domodossola, Italy, and Locarno, Switzerland. The scenic route runs through the Centovalli (meaning "100 valleys" in Italian) and shows another kind of Switzerland: rocky gorges, quaint stone villages, and many waterfalls.
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Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Hotel and Rail accommodations listed above, are subject to change based on availability at the time of booking. Prices are in USD, based on an exchange rate as of 1/21/2020 *April, May, & October departures will overnight in Grindelwald. June – September departures will overnight in Wengen.
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