Welcome to Zurich! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Enjoy an orientation walk of Zurich’s well-preserved OLD TOWN with its medieval guild houses, and taste the traditional CHOCOLATE PRALINES at the famous Sprüngli Confectionery. Next, a scenic drive following Lake Zurich and Lake Walen through the high Alps to the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein. After a break in its capital, Vaduz, ascend the Rhine Valley into the mountainous Grisons, a canton where three of the country’s four languages are spoken. The 7,504-foot Julier Pass, an important Alpine road since Roman times, leads to the Engadine. This valley is considered by many as the most beautiful mountain area in the world, with deep-blue lakes, airy larch forests that turn golden in the fall, mountain peaks exceeding 12,000 feet, and quaint villages with massive white stone houses in the characteristic Grisons style. Afternoon arrival in ritzy St. Moritz.
A gradual change of scenery as you descend towards the enchanting shores of Italy’s Lake Como and continue on to the southern tip of Switzerland. The vegetation south of the Alps is Mediterranean: chestnut groves, vineyards, and olive and fig trees make you forget that earlier today you were within walking distance of glaciers. Afternoon arrival in the popular subtropical resort town of Lugano allows time for shopping under the arcades of Via Nassa or an espresso on flower-festooned Piazza Riforma. To truly appreciate splendid Lake Lugano, an exciting optional boat ride is available, followed by dinner at a traditional “grotto” restaurant.
From Lake Lugano to the Italian shore of Lake Maggiore for a break in elegant Stresa. An optional boat ride to enchanting Isola Bella can be arranged. Continue over lofty Simplon Pass into the Swiss Valais, an area renowned for its excellent wines and great mountain resorts. To reach the most famous of them, leave the coach behind in Täsch and board a MOUNTAIN TRAIN to climb the last few miles up to car-free Zermatt, a picturesque cluster of rustic chalets beneath the Matterhorn.
This morning, you can join an exciting optional excursion to Klein Matterhorn for spectacular views of the surrounding Alps. Later, motor through the vineyards and apricot groves of the lower Rhône Valley, and arrive at beautiful Lake Geneva for your overnight stay.
In the stately capital of Berne, your guided tour starts at the BEAR PARK, followed by a panoramic view of the city from the Rose Garden. Next, enjoy a walking tour through the beautifully preserved medieval Old Town. Witness the hourly parade of painted figures at the Clock Tower and take pictures of ornate, flower-adorned fountains. The highlight of the day is a special lunch at a traditional Swiss WORKING FARM, to give you a chance to see how people live in rural Switzerland. Over Brünig Pass to picturesque Lucerne. An optional dinner excursion is available to a folklore party with yodeling for a first-hand impression of Alpine merrymaking.
On your walking tour this morning, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution, and ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town, then cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Afterwards, another true Swiss experience: a trip to the top of Mount Pilatus, the “Guard of Lucerne,” where you get a special SOUVENIR CAP to always remember this experience! Tonight, a special farewell dinner awaits you at your hotel for a proper auf Wiedersehen.
Morning transfer to Zurich Airport in time for homebound flights leaving no earlier than 10 am. Extra nights are available in Zurich.
Welcome dinner; orientation walk of the Old Town; [LF] taste Sprüngli chocolate pralines
Visit the capital of Liechtenstein
SWISS-ITALIAN LAKE DISTRICT
By mountain train
Guided walking tour, stop at the Bear Park and enjoy a panoramic view from the Rose Garden; [LF] lunch at a working farm
Walking tour including the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge; [LF] Mount Pilatus excursion including a souvenir cap; farewell dinner
Headsets throughout tour.
On arrival at Zürich Airport, a complimentary transfer by hotel shuttle bus is available
Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 special lunch; 4 three-course dinners with wine, including a welcome dinner in Zürich and a special farewell dinner in Lucerne.