(guided Switzerland sightseeing tour)
Length: 13 days, 12 nights
|Standard Tour Cost:|| $4190 per person |
|$400 single supplement |
|Deluxe Tour Cost:|| $5690 per person |
|$500 single supplement |
From soaring mountains to gorgeous lakes, thriving cities to timeless villages, Switzerland is one great surprise after the next. Our 13-day Swiss Sampler tour is the best way to fully explore this amazing country! No busses and no hassles... just great train rides, fantastic destinations, charming hotels, and the best sights Switzerland has to offer. This tour combines stays in 3 of Switzerland's prettiest and most interesting cities - Lucerne, Lugano and Montreux - along with visits to 3 of the most incredible mountain areas anywhere - the Matterhorn region (Zermatt) and Jungfrau region (Mürren), and the Engadine (St. Moritz). You'll travel every 2nd day, a sensible pace that gives you enough time to soak in the sights at each stop.
Our deluxe option pampers you with distinctive inns, 4-star hotels and a 1st class rail pass (5-star hotels and suite upgrades are also available), while the standard option includes more modest inns, 3-star hotels, and a 2nd class rail pass. We'll take care of all the details: get you the most appropriate rail pass, find the best hotels, recommend our favorite sights, and link them together in an itinerary that gets the most out of your time in Switzerland. All of the tours include breakfast each morning, and 6 dinners, in Mürren, Zermatt and St Moritz.
As always, you can count on your hotels being the best in their class - charming, family run inns with perfect locations, great food, and professional service. Your typical day will start with a buffet breakfast at your inn - delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice - giving you a good start for a full day of sightseeing. Then you'll be out, seeing the sights such as Lucerne's Chapel Bridge or Mount Pilatus, Switzerland's highest train station - the Jungfraujoch, or breathtaking Gornergrat in Zermatt. Many days will include a scenic train ride between villages such as the Goldenpass route, Chocolate train (optional), Glacier Express and Bernina Express - all wonderful train rides that link the German, French and Italian sections together in an itinerary that gets the most out of your time in Switzerland.
Day 1 Arrive in Zurich and travel one hour to Lucerne, perhaps Switzerland's prettiest city, where your tour will begin. You'll be right in the heart of Lucerne's historic Old Town center, with cobblestoned, car-free roads presided over by ornate buildings and ringed by ancient city wall. See the famous Chapel Bridge, the Lion of Lucerne, and local museums, or perhaps take the cablecar and cogwheel train up to the views from Mount Pilatus. (Lucerne)
Day 2 A second day in Lucerne gives you a chance to further explore. Take a boat ride along Lake Luzern and visit the nearby mountain village of Engelberg, with magnificent views from the Titlis cablecar, or take a walk along the lakeside promenade to the impressive transport museum. (Lucerne)
Day 3 Maybe you'll get a chance to visit the Lucerne farmer's market (held continuously by the river for over 800 years!), before catching the Goldenpass train on a beautiful 4 hour trip to the Bernese Oberland's Jungfrau region, where you'll stay in the car-free village of Mürren. Mürren is a fairly-tale landscape of huge mountains and waterfalls, flower-munching cows, and quaint villages. It's the perfect place to unwind and slow down. Take a short hike or ride the cablecar to Schilthorn for the region's best views. (Murren)
Day 4 A second day in Mürren gives you a chance to fully appreciate this incredible region, my favorite in Switzerland. Ride the Jungfraujoch train to the Aletsch glacier - Europe's largest, see the Yosemite-like Lauterbrunnen valley, or take a beautiful alpine walk. (Murren)
Day 5 Continue the Goldenpass route with a train ride through the pastoral Simmen valley to Montreux, your base on the shores of lovely lake Geneva. Take a walk along the lakeside promenade, or just enjoy Montreux's ambiance in your only stop in French-speaking Switzerland. (Montreux)
Day 6 Among your many options for your second day in Montreux are a daytrip on the Chocolate train - a classic Pullman train that takes you on a ride through the gentle hills of the Gruyeres region to tours of both a chocolate factory and cheese dairy. Or stay in town for an intimate look at medieval life with a visit to the Chillon castle, and take a trip through the vinyards of Switzerland's wine country. (Montreux)
Day 7 Today marks the end of the first part of our tour, the Sampler Goldenpass, and the beginning of the second half, Sampler Glacier Express. A morning transfer by train through the Rhone valley brings you to Zermatt, the atmospheric mountain village nestled up at the foot of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is Switzerland's most recognizable monument, a massive and distinctive mountain surrounded by dozens of fine, glacier-clad peaks. Ride a cablecar up to stunning viewpoints, take a memorable mountain walk, or just enjoy the ambiance of the village with great restaurants and hotels and a lively shopping district. (Zermatt)
Day 8 You'll have a second day in Zermatt to take in the sights. The historic cogwheel train ride up the ridge to Gornergrat is a must, with gorgeous views of Monte Rosa (Switzerland's highest mountain), the Gorner glacier, Matterhorn and more. If you want to get out, there are many walks from easy strolls to challenging hikes to choose from, or check out the fine Matterhorn museum in town. (Zermatt)
Day 9 Ride the famous Glacier Express train across Switzerland to St Moritz in the Engadine region. St Moritz is a stylish and chic village in the Upper Engadine, a pretty town set on a gorgeous lake, and a great base in this region for mountain views, lakeside walks, and sightseeing trips to nearby villages. (St Moritz)
Day 10 A second day in St Moritz gives you a chance to explore this beautiful and peaceful region. There are hikes from your hotel, cablecars and cogwheel trains to speed you to great viewpoints, or quaint villages straight out of another century, such as Guarda and Soglio, to be explored throughout the valley. (St Moritz)
Day 11 The Bernina Express route is one of Switzerland's prettiest rides and brings you by train to Italy, then by bus along the shores of lake Como to Lugano, Switzerland's sun-drenched, lakeside pearl. This Italian-speaking region brings a distinctly mediterranean feel, with charming outdoor markets on narrow, cobblestoned streets. Lugano is a tidy and vibrant city, and our hotel sits just across from the lake in the pedestrian-only core of the city. (Lugano)
Day 12 The options for our 2nd day in Lugano include boat rides along the lake, walks from nearby fishing villages, or a more adventurous journey to the valleys above Locarno. Return to Lugano for a final night. (Lugano)
Day 13 Arrivederci, and depart by direct train to Zurich or other post-tour destinations.
|Arrive:|| Plan to arrive the day your tour begins at the latest (flights from the US would depart the day before). The closest airport is Zurich, where there is a train station at the airport that will take you to Lucerne in 1 hour. |
|Depart:|| Plan departure for the day after your tour finishes at the earliest. Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city if you have a morning flight. Let us know if you would like us to add a final night in Zurich or Geneva to your tour. A rail pass is included with this tour. |
Our self-guided prices are per person, based on two people sharing a standard double room and include:
Standard tour: 12 nights prepaid 3-star hotels, 12 breakfasts, 6 dinners, 2nd class 15-day Swiss Saverpasses good for 15 free days of rail travel and free museum entrance in a 30 day period plus 50% discounts on most mountain trains and cablecars, Glacier Express and Bernina Express reservations, optional Goldenpass reservations.
Deluxe tour: 12 nights prepaid 4-star hotels, 12 breakfasts, 6 dinners, 1st class 15-day Swiss Saverpasses, Glacier Express and Bernina Express reservations, optional Goldenpass reservations.
Both self-guided tour versions include hiking maps and detailed route descriptions for optional hikes in the mountain villages, rail maps, sightseeing suggestions for each stop, train schedules and lots of useful information to help ensure a successful trip. You'll also have a local contact to call if you have any questions or problems during your trip.
Not included are lunches, drinks with dinners, dinners in Lucerne, Lugano or Montreux, extras (such as laundry, phone calls from the room, etc), or transportation outside this itinerary.
We also offer our self-guided 11-day Switzerland's Scenic Trains tour and 8-day Best of Switzerland tours. If you'd like to lengthen or shorten any of these tours, add destinations, or create a customized tour of Switzerland from scratch, let us know. We have extensive experience all over Switzerland, and will be happy to work with you to build the vacation that best suits your needs.
Learn more about custom and self-guided tours