Arrive Zurich and on to Lucerne
Tour begins: 4:00 PM, Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern. A transfer is included from Zurich International Airport to the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern, nestled in the Alps beside snow-capped Mount Pilatus. Meet your Tauck Director and your fellow adventurers in the lobby of your grand hotel in the Old Quarter for a walking tour of Lucerne's cobblestone streets and colorful medieval architecture. Tonight, join us for a private Tauck Bridges welcome reception and dinner at Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern, 2014 winner of the Milestone Award, Swiss tourism's top accolade. Under the project titled "Wo Luzern Geschichte(n) schreibt" (Where Lucerne writes history/stories), every guest room has been allocated a guest with a unique story. They include great personalities such as thinkers, artists, politicians, athletes, musicians and crowned heads as well as unknown guests, whose stories are part of the hotel's history.
Cog railway to Mt. Pilatus and fun at Fraekmuentegg
Lucerne's famous Löwendenkmal (Lion Memorial) pays tribute to the Swiss Guards who gave their lives in defense of the French king centuries ago; after visiting this Swiss national monument, head out to Alpnachstad to ride the world's steepest cogwheel train up to the summit of Mount Pilatus. The mountain is a place of myth and legend; some say there be dragons living in the caves here... as well as the ghost of Roman governor Pontius Pilate! Later, descend via aerial cableway to Fraekmuentegg, where major fun awaits you at Switzerland's biggest rope park*, the country's longest summer toboggan run*, or a thrilling (but safe) giant tubing slide!* After riding a gondola to Kriens, head back to Lucerne to spend the evening as you please.
Cruise Lake Lucerne and take the Glacier Express to St. Moritz
Poets love to write about the beautiful scenery of Lake Lucerne; you'll see why on this morning's cruise across the lake to Stansstad! Once ashore, we'll drive to Andermatt to board the famous Glacier Express for more jaw-dropping views as the train winds its way through spectacular Alpine passes and past lakes, steep cliffs, forests and mountain villages. Your destination today is St. Moritz, one of the most glamorous ski resorts in the world. Dine à la carte tonight at your grand old hotel, nestled at the foot of the snow-capped Alps.
Climbing, cycling & more in the Engadin Valley
Enchantment awaits in the Swiss Alps today beginning with a cable car ride up Piz Diavolezza for head-turning vistas of the Engadine Alps. Ride back down for a short drive to the Morteratsch Glacier, looking very much like an "immense white tongue" of ice and snow. We'll take an easy hike to the foot of the glacier, take a few steps on its surface, and then experience the Alps like the Swiss do - rock climbing*, hiking* and abseiling* (descending by rope) with local guides. Catch your breath during lunch in a mountain meadow where you just might want to pose and say "cheese" as you learn all about making Swiss cheese at an Alpine cheesery. You'll also have the opportunity to try your hand at some traditional forms of Alpine sportsmanship, including cross bow and ski racing activities. If you wish, join us for an adventurous bicycle ride* back to your resort where the rest of the day is free.
Ski jumpers, Neolithic life & Tyrolean fun in Innsbruck
Say goodbye to Switzerland and head across the Alps into Austria. Arrive at Innsbruck - the 15th-century capital of Emperor Maximilian I's Habsburg Empire, and more recently the host of two Winter Olympic Games in the 20th century. Join your local guide for a walking tour of this idyllic Alpine city, during which you just might "meet" old Emperor Max and his wives. The afternoon takes you to Innsbruck's high-tech Bergisel ski-jump complex, designed by star architect Zaha Hadid, for a demonstration of the difficult and daring art of ski jumping. Then it's on to your Alpine spa hotel in Längenfeld - the AQUA DOME - offering aquatic fun for the whole family with a pool, waterslides, spa, sauna, thermal baths and fitness center. Tonight, enjoy an after-hours visit to Oeitzidorf, an open-air museum and archaeological site in the Oetzi Valley, interpreting village life during the time of "Oetzi" - the Neolithic Age of about 5,000 years ago - followed by dinner and a memorable evening of Tyrolean fun, games and activities!
Whitewater & water park fun at Area 47
Bring your bathing suit, towel, sunscreen and adventurous spirit as you prepare to get wet at Area 47, "Europe's ultimate outdoor playground," in the Ötztal Valley. Put on a neoprene suit and helmet for a whitewater river-rafting adventure,* and then spend time swimming, water-sliding and enjoying Europe's biggest outdoor water park. We'll head back to the hotel late this afternoon for time at leisure and dinner.
Alpine hike or Ettal Abbey & Bavarian fun in Munich
Depart Austria and cross the German border into Bavaria, where you'll arrive in the village of Ettal this morning for your choice of a guided mountain hike of the area with a park ranger, or a visit to Ettal Abbey. A Benedictine monastery established in 1330 and later rebuilt in the Baroque style after a fire in the 18th century, the abbey is one of Europe's largest Benedictine residences; your family's visit (should you choose it) includes tours of the abbey church, as well as its distillery and brewery (with tastings for the adults). After lunch, continue on to Munich, Bavaria's capital city. Cap your memorable family Alpine vacation with tonight's farewell dinner in the historic Palais Keller - once a 15th-century salt store - beneath your landmark hotel in the heart of the city, the Bayerischer Hof... a perfect base from which to explore more of Munich as you please.
Tour ends: Munich. Fly home anytime. Transfers are included from the Bayerischer Hof to Munich Airport; allow a minimum of 3 hours for your flight check-in.