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Self-guided Best of Switzerland (Independent Switzerland sightseeing tour)

="see Length: 8 days, 7 nights
Dates:   Anytime
Standard Tour Cost: $2690 per person
$300 single supplement
Deluxe Tour Cost: $3690 per person
$400 single supplement

Swiss tour reservation

If you only have time for a quick trip to Switzerland, and would like to see as much as possible while you're there, our 8-day Best of Switzerland self-guided tour may be just the tour for you! We've put together what I think is the best week-long introduction for independent travel to Switzerland. It combines stays in two of Switzerland's prettiest and most interesting cities - Lucerne and Zürich - along with visits to 2 of the most incredible mountain areas anywhere - the Matterhorn region (Zermatt) and Jungfrau region (your choice of Wengen or Mürren). It's a good balance of seeing as much as you can, without feeling like your whole trip is spent on trains.

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. In the mountains you'll finish with a multi-course dinner at your hotel restaurant, while in the cities we've left evenings free for you to explore some of the many restaurants in Lucerne and Zurich.

Choose between a deluxe option with luxurious 4-star hotels and a 1st class railpass (5-star hotels and suite upgrades are also available), or our standard option with more modest inns, 3-star hotels, and a 2nd class railpass. 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. 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 The Matterhorn rises above the beautiful village of Zermatt, one stop on your independent Swiss tour gets the most out of your week in Switzerland!

Day 1 Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train 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, or just enjoy the ambiance of the village with great restaurants and hotels, and a lively shopping district. (Zermatt)
Day 2 You have a second day in Zermatt to take in the sights. The historic cogwheel train ride of up the ridge at 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. (Zermatt)
Day 3 A beautiful 4 hour train ride brings you to the Bernese Oberland to the Jungfrau region, where you'll stay in your choice of car-free villages, Wengen or Mürren. Wengen is slightly larger and more convenient to the Jungfraujoch, an unforgettable train ride that tunnels through the Eiger to upper reaches of the Jungfrau mountain. Mürren is quieter, with slightly better mountain views, hiking trails in all directions, and is the perfect place to unwind and slow down. (Wengen or Mürren)
Day 4 A second day in either Wengen or Mürren gives you a chance to fully appreciate this incredible region, my favorite in Switzerland. This is the Switzerland of fairy-tales, with soaring mountains, flower-munching cows, quaint villages and countless waterfalls. Ride the Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn cablecar, see the Yosemite-like Lauterbrunnen valley, or take a beautiful alpine walk. (Wengen or Mürren)
Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch are Day 5 The scenic Goldenpass train route takes you through Interlaken, past beautiful glacial-fed lakes, and into Lucerne (called Luzern in German), Switzerland's prettiest city. Stay in Lucerne's charming Old Town center and see the Chapel Bridge, the Lion of Lucerne, and perhaps an excursion to Mount Pilatus. (Lucerne)
Day 6 A second day in Lucerne gives you a chance to further explore this beautiful city and region. Visit one of Lucerne's many museums, take a boat ride along the lake, a full-day excursion to Lugano, or a daytrip to the nearby mountain village of Engelberg. (Lucerne)
Day 7 Take the train back to Zurich, Switzerland's main city with a surprisingly quaint and walkable city center. Lose yourself in a maze of narrow, winding streets filled with shops, cafes and restaurants, and enjoy a fantastic dinner on your last night in Switzerland. (Zurich)
Day 8 A 10-minute train ride from the city center brings you to the airport for your post-tour destination.

Swiss tour reservation

Arrival and Departure: This tour is designed for arrival and departure in Zurich. Geneva can be accommodated by changing the last night from Zurich to Geneva.

Prefer a guided tour? Consider our guided Jungfrau + Matterhorn tour or ask about a private guide for your family or group.

Self-guided Best of Switzerland, details: stroll the waterfront of Lucerne

Our self-guided prices are per person, based on two people sharing a standard double room and include:
Standard tour: 7 nights prepaid 3-star hotels, 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 2nd class 8-day Swiss Saverpasses good for 8 consecutive free days of rail travel and free museum entrance plus 50% discounts on most mountain trains and cablecars.
Deluxe tour: 7 nights prepaid 4-star hotels, 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 1st class 8-day Swiss Saverpasses.

Both self-guided tour versions include hiking maps and detailed route descriptions for optional hikes in Murren and Zermatt, 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 or Zurich, 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 13-day Swiss Sampler 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

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For info on train tours of Switzerland,
call toll free: (888) 509-7810
or direct: (503) 459-3940
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