ARRIVE ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city and one with a well-deserved reputation for offering a quality of life on par with any other in the world. You are met and transferred to your hotel, where you meet your fellow guests this evening for a welcome briefing, followed by dinner.
ZURICH | Chocolate Workshop
Enjoy a guided walking tour of Zurich this morning, taking in its alluring mix of modern and Old World architecture while strolling its wide, pedestrian-friendly avenues. Zurich is known for its churches, and your walk incorporates visits to several noteworthy ones, including the Grossmünster, supposedly founded by Charlemagne and later to play a key part in establishing the Reformation in Switzerland. Visit Fraumünster Church, with its renowned stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti, and a series of frescoes by Paul Bodmer. After time for lunch at leisure, gather for a sweet finish with a chocolate workshop at Lindt.
LUCERNE | Peaks of the Alps
This morning, travel to Lucerne, on the shores of its beautiful lake, and stroll the streets of this medieval jewel. The city’s most famous landmark is the Chapel Bridge, the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. Its interior is decorated with vivid paintings, many of which date back to the 17th century and depict events from the city’s history. You also visit Corn Market Square and the nearby Old Town Hall, built in 1602. Spend the rest of the day exploring this scenic city at leisure.
BERN | Capital City
Drive to Bern, named for the bears that may still be seen in the European wilderness, and discover its charms on a walking tour. See the city’s namesake animal at the Bärengraben and nearby BärenPark, where bears have been kept since the mid-19th century. You also view the clockworks of the medieval Zytglogge (clock tower). After lunch, stroll the capital’s delightful old streets before returning to Lucerne for an evening at leisure.
INTERLAKEN & BRIENZ | Play the Alphorn
Cross the Brünig Pass to the pretty mountain village of Habkern, and partake in a Swiss treat: a lesson in the history of the famous alphorn. In former days, these massive horns were used by herdsmen on the mountain slopes to communicate with people in the valleys below; today they are played and enjoyed as musical instruments, and your lesson includes the opportunity to play one yourself. Visit beautiful Interlaken, named for its location between the Brienzersee and Thundersee lakes, with time to explore and enjoy lunch on your own. This afternoon, pause in Brienz, a center of Swiss woodcarving, and learn more about this traditional craft. This evening, ascend the slopes of the Stanserhorn on the world’s first cable car with an open observation deck on top. Enjoy dinner surrounded by the matchless beauty of the Swiss Alps before descending back to Lucerne.
ZERMATT | All Aboard the Glacier Express
Begin your day with a scenic cruise along Lake Lucerne, taking you through four of Switzerland’s 26 cantons (states). The lake is made up of several arms extending in several directions, making for an especially varied and scenic shoreline. After disembarking, board the famous Glacier Express and settle into your first-class carriage to enjoy lunch as you traverse the majestic scenery, arriving in the mountain town of Zermatt.
ZERMATT | The Mighty Matterhorn
This morning, ride the Gornergrat Railway to a height of 10,135 feet for spectacular views over the Alps, the Gorner Glacier and the Matterhorn. One of the world’s most renowned peaks, the Matterhorn has a pyramid-shaped summit with four distinct faces, making it an endlessly fascinating sight. It is also a formidable technical challenge for mountaineers — the first successful summit in 1865 cost the lives of four climbers. After a scenic lunch on the mountain, descend to Zermatt, one of the most popular waypoints for adventurers exploring the Alps, and a charming destination in its own right. Stop in a local microbrewery for a tasting of beer brewed from the purest Alpine water. The rest of your day is at leisure.
STRESA, ITALY | Shores of Lake Maggiore
A short train ride takes you out of Zermatt today. Pause just down the valley in Brig to tour the 17th-century Stockalper Palace, built by a wealthy silk merchant and the largest private residence in Switzerland at the time. Enjoy lunch before crossing the Simplon Pass to the Italian Lakes District and the beautiful resort of Stresa, nestled on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Ernest Hemingway set portions of his World War I novel A Farewell to Arms here, although he didn’t actually visit in person until 1948. Settle into your palatial hotel before a fine dinner.
STRESA | Picturesque Island
Drive to nearby Orta San Giulio, a charming medieval town named for the lake on which it sits. The town occupies a promontory commanding wide views over the lake and farther shore, and its shaded streets are made for wandering. Take a boat to the island of San Giulio to see its Benedictine monastery and church; its frescoes date from the 14th to the early 16th centuries. Return to Stresa in the afternoon.
STRESA | Lush, Alpine Lake Maggiore
This morning, relax and enjoy the amenities at your hotel, stroll the local market in Stresa, or just sit in a café and watch the world go by. Later, board a private boat for a tour of Lake Maggiore and its islands, renowned for their impressive gardens. On beautiful Isola Bella, enjoy a special farewell dinner with your fellow guests as the sun sets over the surrounding mountains.
Transfer this morning to Milan Malpensa airport for your onward travel.