A tranquil journey through the mountains and a culinary expedition to remember, this week-long introduction to Switzerland presents the best of the country from north to south.
About the Tour
Feast your eyes on pristine Alpine settings and your stomach on the traditional gastronomic offerings in Switzerland, a destination that is beloved for its food and its views. This independent journey presents the best of both, offering memorable opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and ample time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere that is cultivated amongst the mountains. Begin in northern Switzerland in a city that is equally hailed for its modern conveniences and its historical relevance: Zurich. After an overnight, continue by train to lovely Lucerne. Situated on a lake by the same name, this waterside destination is brimming with adventure. Enjoy a walking tour of the city and a scenic cruise on the lake before the vacation moves on to Mount Rigi, a serene destination favored by locals. Your time here is marked by a horse-drawn carriage ride through the picturesque landscape and a visit to a mountainside dairy farm that produces cheese from cows that graze right on Mount Rigi. Travel down the mountain by cogwheel train and join the world-famous Gotthard Panorama Express to Lugano. This southern locale is beloved for its warmer climate and Italian inspiration and is the final stop on this scenic tour. Learn how to make a traditional risotto here, and let the stress of everyday melt away as you embark on a sunset cruise on Lake Lugano. Armed with a Swiss Travel Pass for the duration of your vacation, your time in Switzerland can be as eventful or as relaxing as you desire.
- 8-day Swiss Travel Pass featuring unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat plus select mountain excursions and admission to more than 500 museums
- Scenic rail excursion on the Gotthard Panorama Express
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 9 meals, including a sunset dinner cruise on Lake Lugano
- Lucerne walking tour
- Lake Lucerne scenic cruise
- Horse-drawn carriage ride around Mount Rigi
- Excursion to an Alpine dairy farm
- Lake Lugano cook and cruise tour
Day 1 - Arrive in Zurich
Arrive in Zurich today, and transfer independently to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to get acquainted with the city. You may wish to stroll along the Lake Zurich promenade or meander through the narrow streets of Old Town, lined with charming little cafes and beautiful 17th-century buildings. Overnight Zurich.
Day 2 - Zurich to Lucerne by Train
After breakfast this morning, make your way to the Zurich train station to board your train to Lucerne. The route takes approximately an hour to complete. As you arrive in Lucerne, check-in at your conveniently located hotel ahead of an in-depth walking tour around the city. This 2 ½-hour excursion highlights Lucerne’s beauty through storytelling and visits to the city’s most popular sites. You may see the iconic Chapel Bridge, the octagonal water tower, Lucerne Castle or any number of other points of interest while you navigate the streets alongside an intimate tour group. Today also brings a look at Lucerne from the water as you embark on a leisurely cruise on Lake Lucerne. You may select an elegant lunch cruise or join a sunset gourmet dinner cruise, based on your day’s itinerary. Overnight Lucerne. (B, L or D)
Day 3 - Lucerne to Mount Rigi
Your journey through Switzerland comes to a climax today as you travel from Lucerne to Mount Rigi by rail. The route travels along Lake Lucerne, and as the massive mountain comes into view, you have arrived. The Rigi area is incredibly scenic, with lush green meadows, deep forests and the towering behemoth in the backdrop. On arrival, make your way to the Kräuterhotel Edelweiss, the herbal hotel, your home for the next two nights. This high-end establishment is renowned for its unique amenities, including its onsite organic garden from which the hotel’s meals are sourced. After you get settled, feel free to begin sightseeing in this scenic destination. With your Swiss Travel Pass in hand, enjoy unlimited boat, train and bus rides throughout Switzerland. If it is awe-inspiring vistas you seek, you may wish to join a mountain excursion to the summit of Mount Rigi. Look over Lake Lucerne, the Alps, surrounding plains and meadows, and even catch glimpses of Germany far in the distance. Tonight, a delicious dinner is served at the hotel. Overnight Mount Rigi. (B, D)
Day 4 - Mount Rigi Explorations
Get an up-close look at Mount Rigi today as you embark on two exciting excursions that highlight the beauty and culture of the region. Begin with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the foothills of Mount Rigi. This traditional mode of transportation allows you to slow down and really soak in your surroundings. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and let your gaze climb slowly from the vibrant green meadows to the summit of Mount Rigi. Following your ride, enjoy a visit to an authentic Alpine dairy to learn about everybody’s favorite dairy product, cheese. Learn the cheesemaking process from milk to plate and sample freshly made products directly from the dairy.
The remainder of the day is yours to continue your explorations. You may wish to set out on one of the hiking trails on the mountain or ride one of the seven aerial cable cars. There is also a renowned spa on Mount Rigi, the Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad, which is an idyllic place to waste the day away. Overnight Mount Rigi. (B)
Day 5 - Gotthard Panorama Express
After breakfast at the hotel, descend Mount Rigi by cogwheel train, and begin your journey to Lugano on the Gotthard Panorama Express. This renowned route commences with a cruise across Lake Lucerne by paddle steamer. Soak in breathtaking views of the Alps, steep cliffs and lakeside villages while the boat proceeds to Flüelen. As the boat docks, take a short walk to the train station to board your train bound for Lugano. The train follows a highly scenic course that is truly a feat of engineering. Travel through the valley of the River Reuss, wind through spiral tunnels and pass through the impressive Gotthard Tunnel. Emerge from the tunnel in a warmer climate - a place where palm trees and wine are grown. Look upon a castle and several lakes as the train approaches its final destination.
On arrival in Lugano, make your way to your hotel for check-in, then feel free to begin discovering this new destination. From the pretty squares to the diverse eateries found in the city center, there are plenty of options to fill your day. Overnight Lugano. (B)
Day 6 - Lugano Sightseeing and Culinary Delights
The city of Lugano is a treat to discover on foot, with its beautiful parks and historic buildings. Take the morning to uncover the delights of Lugano’s town center and beyond independently. There are also many impressive villas to explore throughout the region that you may wish to visit.
Late this afternoon, enjoy a cooking and cruising experience on Lake Lugano. Board your boat in the harbor, and begin the excursion with a risotto-making demonstration. Headed by a skilled cook, learn all the best techniques for making and serving this traditional dish. After, kick back and relax as the boat glides through the water and the sun goes down over the lake. Soak in magnificent scenes from every angle while savoring a glass of wine and a sumptuous dinner. Overnight Lugano. (B, D)
Day 7 - Lugano
Your relaxing vacation through Switzerland concludes after breakfast this morning. (B)
Hotels commonly used are the Hotel Adler, Zurich; Hotel Alpina, Lucerne; Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss, Rigi; and Hotel Colorado, Lugano. Rail reservations are in second class. Upgrades to first class are available upon request.
Hotels commonly used are the Glockenhof, Zurich; Hotel des Balances, Lucerne; Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss, Rigi; and Hotel De la Paix, Lugano. Rail reservations are in second class. Upgrades to first class are available upon request.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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