ARRIVE ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Upon arrival in Zurich, you are met by your A&K representative and transferred to Lucerne, the stunning “city of lights.” Check in to your luxury landmark hotel overlooking the cobalt-blue Lake Lucerne. This evening, meet your fellow guests and gather for a festive welcome dinner.
With so many breathtaking views, it’s no wonder that hiking is practically a Swiss national sport. Set out today on an easy walk along the well-maintained wanderweg (hiking trails), stopping to visit a historic country chapel and eco-friendly farm — or just to snap a photo of a postcard-worthy Alpine scene. In the late 13th century, early alpine shepherds honed the practice of yodeling, alternating their voices between natural and falsetto pitches to communicate and round up cattle. Today, after lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a private lesson in this venerable Swiss art as taught by a yodeling pro.
Cross the Brünig Pass to the town of Brienz, a renowned center for the Swiss tradition of woodcarving. Join in a workshop that introduces you to this craft. Continue to one of Switzerland’s most spectacular peaks, Schilthorn — sometimes known as “James Bond Mountain,” owing to its prominent use as a location in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Ride Like a Local when you ascend the peak by cable car to visit the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant. Situated at an elevation of almost 10,000 feet, this location offers 360-degree, blockbuster views across the heart of Switzerland’s Bernese Alps. After lunch, ascend in a funicular up the rugged alpine valley of Reichenbach, enjoying another chance to Ride Like a Local. Discover Reichenbach’s thundering, cascading namesake waterfalls as well as Trummelbach, Europe’s largest subterranean system of waterfalls. Later, drive to the nearby alpine village of Grindelwald, where you check in to your hotel.
Drive to pretty Habkern, a small and secluded mountain village where local customs and traditions remain largely unchanged. Visit a family-owned workshop, one of few remaining that produces the iconic alphorn, a large wooden horn first used in the 16th century by mountain dwellers. See how these massive wind instruments — which range in length from 11 to 13 feet — are made, then learn to play with a lesson taught by one of the craftsmen. After lunch at local restaurant, visit the St. Beatus caves. Explore the caverns on a guided tour, discovering dramatic stalagmites and underground lakes, while learning of the sixth-century lore that says St. Beatus battled a dragon here. Enjoy time to explore Interlaken before returning to your hotel in Grindelwald.
The rivers of Europe were once the highways of trade, especially in the difficult-to-traverse mountain regions. This morning, take to the water for an exciting rafting trip on the Aare River, during which you float into Bern, capital of the Swiss Confederation. Enjoy time to explore this provincial-feeling capital on your own before dinner tonight at a local restaurant.
Pay a visit to the bears for which Bern is named, finding the creatures both in city emblems and at its famous bear park. Then visit nearby medieval Burgdorf, the bustling little town crowned by an imposing 12th-century castle. Then, drive into the nearby mountains to the village of Emmental, home to a world-famous variety of cheese. Visit a dairy facility to explore the process of Swiss cheese manufacturing and stay for lunch. Return to Bern and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Switzerland is world famous for its chocolate, and in Zurich, you discover some of the country’s finest. The city saw its first chocolate factory open in 1845 and is now home to the famous Lindt & Sprüngli. This morning, enjoy a sweet look at Zurich’s vast range of chocolate makers when you set off on a chocolate-themed guided tour and Family Foodie Experience. The rest of your day is at leisure to explore the country’s largest and most modern metropolis as a family. Tonight, join your Resident Tour Director and fellow guests for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, board your homebound flight.