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Country Roads of Switzerland

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Tour Style: Premium
15 Days from $4,365 per person

An intimate journey of discovery amid stunning Alpine panoramas. This itinerary includes riding on the famous Glacier Express and staying in some of Switzerland's most enchanting hotels.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Switzerland, a land of snow-capped summits and romantic lakes that has attracted poets, musicians and travellers over the years. On arrival at Zürich Airport, transfers will leave for your hotel in Lucerne at 09:30 & 13:30. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception with the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Astoria, Lucerne (2 nights).
  3. Step aboard a funicular railway and open-top cable car for a spectacular journey to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Admire unrivaled views of the surrounding mountains and, on a clear day see as far as Alsace in France and the Black Forest in Germany. Meet a Swiss Ranger and learn about working in this serene area filled with wildlife and natural beauty. Return to the beautiful 14th century city of Lucerne to see its storybook wooden bridges, Baroque church and sorrowful Lion Monument. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure to walk along the lake or perhaps shop for a special timepiece or chocolate.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Astoria, Lucerne.
  4. Join a local historian in Bern to see the Bear Pits, Cathedral of St. Vincent, Federal Palace and floral displays. Gather at the clock tower to watch the mechanical procession of painted figures before viewing the Ogre Fountain. Continue to Montreux, where your quayside hotel awaits.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Montreux (3 nights).
  5. Enjoy a morning at leisure before ascending into the wide, green valleys of the Vaud Alps with snowy summits filling the horizon. Continue through vineyards and alpine meadows to the fortified town of Gruyères, that gives its name to the well-known cheese. Enjoy time on your own to explore the pretty main street and 13th century castle. Move on to the great arc of Lake Geneva, where a Local Expert will show you the medieval Chillon Castle, former home to the Counts of Savoy, immortalized by Byron's 'Prisoner of Chillon.' Along the shores of Lake Geneva, visit Domaine Bovy and admire the stunning panorama overlooking the lake. Savor a tasting of these tantalizing, local wines and delight in a delicious Farm-to-Table dinner.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Montreux.
  6. Follow the shores of the lake to the international city of Geneva, seeing the Jet D'Eau, Floral Clock and Reformation Monument. Next, relax in first-class comfort on the waters of Lake Geneva during a highlight cruise. Then have time at leisure on the promenades of your lakeside resort.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Montreux.
  7. Journey into the upper Rhône Valley to Martigny to view the Roman Amphitheater. Continue to the town of Sion, dominated by two rocky peaks, each crowned with episcopal fortresses, and see the cathedral and Old Town Hall. Complete your journey via cogwheel train to the traffic-free mountain resort of Zermatt. This evening take your pick from a selection a local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Hotel Alex/Schlosshotel, Zermatt (2 nights).
  8. Zermatt in summertime is a Shangri-La of leisure time possibilities. Spend the day relaxing in the clean dry mountain air or shopping for luxury goods along the famous Bahnhofstrasse or little lanes and alleys. Perhaps take a trip to the Kleiner Matterhorn, see the Matterhorn from the church bridge, take a short hike or sample the delicious cakes known as Kuchen?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Alex/Schlosshotel, Zermatt.
  9. Descend to Täsch and rejoin the coach. Drive through Brig to commence your ascent of the Simplon Pass, taking in magnificent views over the Alps from the 2,000-meter summit. Cut through northern Italy, stopping on the gentle shores of Lake Maggiore. The afternoon is your free time - why not join an excursion to the stunning Isola Bella?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Simplon, Baveno.
  10. Journey along the shores of Lake Maggiore, and head north to the three castles at Bellinzona, capital of Italian Switzerland. Meet your Local Expert for a fascinating insight into this World Heritage site. Continue through the Grison region, travelling via San Bernardino and the town of Tiefencastel, as you follow the young Rhine River through Heidi Country. Head east to the Julier Pass and the glamorous resort of St. Moritz, set in the Engadine Valley with the majestic Grisons Alps towering above.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Crystal Hotel/Schweizerhof Hotel, St Moritz (2 nights).
  11. The day is free to jostle with the jet-set in the elegant boutiques or take an exciting train journey over the Bernina pass. To help you make the most of your day, your Travel Director will provide you with a mountain railways pass, offering free travel on all cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts (when available) in Engadine St. Moritz.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Crystal Hotel/Schweizerhof Hotel, St Moritz.
  12. Board the Glacier Express – one of the world's great railway journeys. Cross the Landwasser Viaduct before heading down through the Oberalp Valley to rejoin the coach at Andermatt. Drive through the dramatic Schöllenen Gorge past the Devil's Bridge. Marvel at the Wetterhorn Peaks as you travel along the Grindelwald Valley. Follow the sparkling Lütschine River to Lauterbrunnen, at the head of the ‘Valley of Waterfalls', and see the Staubbach Falls plunge 300 meters from the plateau above.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof, Grindelwald (2 nights).
  13. The day is free to explore Grindelwald further. Consider taking a cogwheel train ride to the summit of the Jungfrau mountain.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof, Grindelwald.
  14. Take in the spectacular lake views, as you journey to Brienz, famous for its woodcarving traditions. Visit the Jobin Swiss Woodcarving Center to trace the history of the trade back to the early days of the 19th century. Continue over the Brünig Pass and drive alongside the lakes of Lungern and Sarnen to return to Zürich. See the Bahnhofstrasse, Grossmünster, River Limmat and Frauenmünster on an orientation of the city with your Travel Director. Join your travel companions at a local restaurant, to delight in the typical Swiss dining experience of fondue. Your Celebration Dinner is accompanied with wine - raise your glass to toast your adventures.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Radisson Blu, Zürich Airport.
  15. Your stylish hotel is conveniently situated five minutes away from the airport. Bid farewell to your travel companions, as you make your way to Zürich airport which is a stroll from your hotel.

    meal(s):BB
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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.
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This tour briefly enters Italy for which some passengers may require visas.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $720 p.p.

Triple Room Discount $140 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $158 per person.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

INCLUDED QUALITY DINING

13 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 5 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Stanserhorn:

  • A spectacular journey by a funicular railway and a cable car to the summit of the Stanserhorn for expansive mountain views. Meet a Swiss Ranger and learn about the local wildlife.

Bern:

  • Your exploration with a local historian through Switzerland's capital includes seeing the floral displays, Bear Pits, Cathedral of St.
    Vincent, Federal Palace, clock tower and Ogre Fountain.

Lake Geneva:

  • Led by your Local Expert, visit Chillon Castle, set on a rocky islet in the lake. Following his walk through the dungeons in
    1816, Lord Byron wrote the poem 'The Prisoner of Chillon'. Look out for his name, which he carved into a pillar.
  • Enjoy first-class seats as you cruise on the serene waters of the King of Lakes, inspiration to the early Romantic movement.

Swiss Countryside:

  • Travel along valley floors covered with rich meadowland, to the pretty town of Gruyères.

Zermatt:

  • Ride the shuttle trains of the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway up to the traffic-free Alpine resort.

Bellinzona:

  • Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the capital of Italian Switzerland, with your Local Expert.

St. Moritz:

  • If you think that there's no such thing as a free ride, you're wrong! With your inclusive pass, travel on 13 cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts and some public transport (when available). The crisp Alpine air is included in the deal.

Glacier Express:

  • Travel on-board the world-famous Glacier Express, through looping tunnels and dizzying viaducts. Have a glorious adventure in the scenic heart of the Swiss Alps, only possible by rail.

Reviews

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Grand European always gets it right (our 8th tour through them) using Insight Vacations
Vacation : Everything was great except for the Hotel Rooms. The hotels were wonderful but our rooms were in attics or basements in a couple of stops. This never happened before. In one hotel we were in the Attic with a 6 x 12 inch beam at the bottom of the bed coming from the ceiling of our room to the floor. This was unacceptable and unsafe. We had to ask for a room change. I am wondering if Insight Vacations is lowering their standards trying to move people to Insight Gold. This never happened before. The rest of the tour and people were great including the tour director.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : would recommend
Vacation : would recommend this tour
  • U.S. citizens traveling to Switzerland must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Switzerland.

  • The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). While the country is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros to help travelers compare prices. Some Swiss merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back will most likely be in Swiss francs. While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive in Switzerland, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Switzerland. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Swiss cuisine is a flavorful blend of German, Italian, and French influences and a wide variety of regional offerings.  Specialty dishes include fondue and raclette (cheese dipping dishes), sausages and rösti (fried potato), bündnerfleisch (air-dried beef) and fondue bourguigon (cubes of steak with various sauces). Swiss pastries and desserts are excellent. There are also spirits made from fruit; the most popular are Kirsch, Pflümli and Williamine. And don’t miss out on the world-class selection of Swiss chocolate.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. It is important to bring comfortable walking shoes and a waterproof jacket. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • A service charge is typically included in the bill at restaurants in Switzerland.  While there is no need to leave an additional tip, you can round up to the next franc for service if you choose.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Lucerne

Carriages & Countryside

Adult Price: CHF 67.00

In a typical rural community, meet local farmers for a delightful horse-drawn ride. Clip-clop your way through bright green pasture, where the angular spire of a traditional white church shoots skyward and rickety old wooden storehouses still dot the landscape. Call in at a local farm where a wonderful spread of homemade drinks and snacks is served.

Lake Lucerne Cruise

Adult Price: CHF 40.00

A chance to take in the wonderful mountain scenery from a different perspective. Enjoy a leisurely lake cruise, for fine views of the town and it's surroundings. The serene beauty of Lake Lucerne on a summer's day is a joy to behold, made even more enjoyable by the encompassing snow-capped mountains, green pastures and dense forests.

Secret Switzerland

Adult Price: CHF 46.00

Incredibly, Switzerland provides all its citizens protection in case of nuclear disaster or war. Go behind the scenes for a unique tour of one of the world's biggest civilian fallout shelters! Cold War secrets of the Swiss will be revealed by our expert guide.

Swiss Evening

Adult Price: CHF 99.00

There's nothing better than convening with friends around a pot of bubbling fondue with a glass of chilled white wine and having a good yodel! Join us for a tasty Swiss meal in a typical restaurant. While you dine, enjoy a lively folklore show of flag throwing, yodelling, Alpenhorn blowing and other great Swiss entertainment.

Montreux

Charlie Chaplin's World

Adult Price: CHF 59.00

Tread in the footsteps of the “Little Tramp” at the genius’s former mansion, perched breathtakingly amongst the vineyards over Lac Leman. All our senses are indulged as we take a journey through replica sets of his greatest films at the Hollywood-style studio. Then, we'll spend time in his family home and round it off with a peaceful walk in the glorious gardens.

French Fondue Style Dinner

Adult Price: CHF 97.00

First enjoy a drive along the Swiss Riviera as we travel past the Olympic city of Lausanne. Then, enjoy a three-course meal of classic Swiss meat fondue, served in an historic restaurant with local wines.

Zermatt

Klein Matterhorn Excursion

Adult Price: CHF 112.00

A unique electric taxi service will drive us to the foot of Zermatt's highest and most spectacular mountain experience. Enjoy stunning views as we ascend to Furi and Trockener steg before boarding Europe's highest cable car to arrive on the snow-capped top of the world at 3883 m (12,740 ft). A magnificent panorama of the highest peaks in Switzerland, Italy and France will make this an unforgettable experience - one not to be missed.

Italian Lakes

Lake Maggiore Experience

Adult Price: € 84.00

A short hop on our private motor launch brings us to the world-renowned hanging gardens of Isola Bella, where white peacocks preen. In the Borromean Palace, our local expert reveals the grottoes and masterpieces lovingly nurtured by this wealthy Italian dynasty. Our island hopping continues to the quaint Fisherman’s Island where we are treated to a typically local Italian meal - Buon Appetito!

St Moritz

Bernina - Express Excursion

Adult Price: CHF 53.00

Enjoy one of the most exciting train rides in Switzerland as you cross the Bernina Pass to the Alp Grum. Spectacular views of the Alpine peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, green valleys and mountain villages. We then descend to Poschiavo to reboard our touring coach.

Interlaken

Jungfrau Excursion By Cog-Wheel

Adult Price: CHF 185.00

A once in a lifetime chance to travel to the Top of Europe.  Our round trip cog railway trip will take us from Grindelwald through the world famous Eiger Mountain to Europe's highest railway station at 3454 m (11332 ft)! Enjoy spectacular views, explore the Ice Palace which is carved inside the biggest glacier in Europe!

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