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I adored Switzerland! I loved hiking along hearing the cow-bells ringing. Roberta was such an inspiration. She showed us all that even at 72 the fun never ends. Thanks for an amazing experience. — De N, NZ
|Swiss Alps, Europe||June 19 – 25, 2015||$3,595|
Our week in the Swiss Alps is a dream-come-true for those with a taste for amazing scenery and cool mountain air in June. Wander the beautiful medieval towns of Bern and Lucern. Visit Interlaken and stay in Lauterbrunnen, the prettiest valley in the Alps. Hike to an overnight stay in an alpine hut watching the sun set on the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau. White water raft exhilarating rapids, hike beside a glacier and toboggan down mountains. Marvel at Swiss engineering as cog railways and cable cars haul us up steep inclines while we watch waterfalls tumble down from snow capped peaks. Cuckoo birds, cow bells and the odd train are the only sounds in the Alps. Who knew an adventure vacation could be so peaceful?
Your guide will meet you outside the arrivals hall at Zurich Airport at 8.30am. We will drive to the capital city, Bern and walk the cobbled-stoned streets of this beautiful 16th century town. The Aare River snakes through the medieval city and offers beautiful views from a myriad of vantage points. We’ll discover Bern’s ornate fountains, monuments, cathedral and clock tower on our walking tour of the city. Enjoy lunch at an outdoor café then drive to Thun near Interlaken. We’ll take a short tour of this 800 year-old castle and see armor, weapons, furnishings and dungeons. There are great photos to be had as you can imagine. Drive up to the Lautebrunnen Valley set in a beautiful hanging valley. Check in and dine on the balcony of our charming hotel.
Breakfast at our hotel before visiting nearby Trummelbach, which is a series of glacier waterfalls inside a mountain. Climbing through this mountain, you’ll be amazed by tunnels carved out by water and gravity. Drive into the beautiful city of Interlaken for lunch. Back up in the Lautebrunnen Valley we’ll change into hiking boots and ride a cable car to 5000’. We’ll hike up through woods and pastures to the alpine hut called Lobhornhutte at 6,500’. This is a two-hour hike through forest and meadow and we take our time and go at a pace that suits our group. Sometimes we hear the cuckoo bird calling in the fields! Your hard work is rewarded with the views as the sun sets on the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau. Dinner is a typical hearty Swiss mountain stew and dessert. We sleep dorm style typical of Swiss huts and we’re cozy under plenty of blankets. (Note: there may be no showers this evening.)
The worst day in Switzerland beats the best day in Baltimore! Fantastic. — Sharalyn L, MD
After a typical Swiss hut breakfast we’ll hike back down to the cable car and return to Lautebrunnen. Drive to Kandersteg and board the vehicular train taking us through the mountain to Goppenstein. The wonders of Swiss engineering never cease! Drive to the hot mineral pools of Leukerbad for a soak and lunch. It’s great to relax in these sublime pools. Drive to Tasch and board a train for a short ride to Zermatt. Check into our accommodations for a two-night stay. You’ll have time before and after dinner to shop and explore this town of the rich and famous, lying at the base of the Matterhorn.
This morning take a cog-rail train ride up to Gornergrat offering us sweeping views of not only the magnificent Matterhorn but also Gorner Glacier and Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Switzerland. Our hike down to Riffelberg offers great photo opportunities of the Matterhorn. These world-class vistas make for indelible travel memories. If it’s a clear day we’ll see 29 of Switzerland’s 35 highest summits. We’ll lunch in Riffelberg then hike down to Riffelalp and catch the train back down to Zermatt. You’ll have time before and after dinner to enjoy the great shopping and local highlights like seeing children leading sheep though the streets.
Having everything written into the price is so perfect. It completely takes away from the burden of having to worry about what you can or can’t afford while on the trip. — Sandy R, DC
After breakfast we’ll catch a train out of this carless village, re-board our van and it’s a short drive to Moerel. Board a cable car up to Reideralp and another cable car to Moosfluh at 7000’ high above the mighty Aletsch Glacier which forms on the Jungfrau Mountain. You can hike a one-hour loop seeing different views of the glacier or you can hang out at the top and enjoy a picnic lunch. On the ride back down you’ll have views of all the tiny villages on the other side of the valley. This afternoon we head east through the heart of the Alps with a stop at a cheese factory where we can watch the cheese being made. We’ll climb twisting mountain roads over high passes and see glaciers and tumbling falls. Drive along picturesque valleys right out of Heidi, with cows at peace in the fields. There will be stops for irresistible pictures along the way. Our destination is Laax where we’ll stay in a charming country hotel. Dinner will be at our hotel.
After breakfast today we’ll raft the Vorderrhein River near the headwaters of the Rhein, the longest river in Europe. The six-mile trip includes some class 3 rapids and spectacular views as the river winds through a limestone gorge. Afterwards is lunch, and later that day we drive to Lucern, the most beautiful city in Switzerland. This is a free evening to wander the streets, explore the old town and the famous lion statues, cross the covered bridges and to eat when and where you choose.
I love your sense of humor, organization and a deep sense of holistic life. — Deb G, MN
After breakfast today, our adventure to 8000’ Mt Pilatus, offering panoramic views of Lucern, involves five different forms of transport. We’ll take a two-hour ride on a steamer across Lake Lucern to Alpnachstad. This is so relaxing and affords great photographic opportunities. Next we’ll board the cog-railway with an impossibly steep track all the way to the top of Mt Pliatus. Likely there will be locals entertaining up there with the famous alphorns. This is a perfect place to lunch outside. Later, we’ll take the cable car down to Frakmuntegg. Here we’ll ride Switzerland’s longest toboggan (luge) track. It takes us through tunnels and we can go as fast or as slow as we like. An ingenious pulley system hauls us slowly back up to the start and its fun to pass only feet away from cows clanging their bells as they munch grass. Then we cable car down to Kriens and catch a bus back to Lucern. It’s a two-hour ride back to Zurich where we check in at our hotel near the airport. Farewell dinner is at our hotel.
After breakfast, feel free to use the hotel shuttle to transfer to the airport to board flights back to North America; or extend your stay as you like.