A ten-day jaunt through the countryside and cuisine of Switzerland is the ideal way to see (and taste) all things Swiss. This small nation packs a punch with its mountainous landscapes, glacial lakes, picturesque cities and food staples that are so tough to beat. Beginning in Zurich, head to historic St Gallen, lakeside Lucerne, adrenaline-filled Interlaken and cheese-obsessed Gruyeres before finishing in the nation's quaint capital, Bern. Here, the outdoors has never looked so good and chocolate has never tasted so smooth, so it’s time to test it out yourself.
Day 1 - Zurich
Welcome to Switzerland, the land of the neutral that you'll only feel positive about. There is much to see and do in Zurich, so we recommend you book some additional nights prior to the trip's start. This afternoon meet your group at 5pm for an important welcome meeting. Afterwards take an evening orientation walk with your leader around Zurich to take in the river and lake front by night.
Day 2 - Zurich / St Gallen
Spend a free morning in Zurich, then head towards St Gallen, arriving around lunch for a chance to taste a renowned St Gallen sausage. In the afternoon, you'll visit the famous Abbey of St Gall and its incredible library. The entire abbey precinct was declared a World Heritage-listed Site in 1983, and the Abbey Library hosts a collection of medieval texts and important documents dating back to the eighth century. What you do with your evening is up to you – a trip to the surroundings hills for a view of entire city is not a bad idea at all!
Day 3 - Lucerne
Travel by train to Lucerne – a small city known for its mountainous backdrop, located next to Lake Lucerne. The city is a popular destination for those visiting central Switzerland thanks to its proximity to many outdoor activities, its breathtaking natural beauty and historic architecture. Take a walk past 15th-century frescoed houses and quaint wooden bridges and climb to the top of the medieval towers along the city walls for spectacular views of this picturesque city and its surroundings. In the tiny streets of the old town (Altstadt), there’s often a craft market and dozens of shops full of unique handmade goods. Perhaps you'd like to book in on a sunset canoeing tour – a fantastic way to see the town from a different perspective.
Day 4 - Mt Pilatus / Lucerne
It's tour time! Hop on the Golden Pilatus tour – a trip taking you to the most spectacular spots on Mt Pilatus, including its summit, by boat, cogwheel railway, aerial cableway and gondola. The trip starts in Lucerne with a boat trip on the lake before heading to Alpnachstad, where you'll board the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, which takes you to the summit at 2132 metres. Buy yourself some lunch with a panoramic view of the alps, before descending via the aerial cableway and gondola. Return to Lucerne and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Naps, strolls along the lake, cheesy food and beer are always a good way to go.
Day 5 - Interlaken
Today, travel to Interlaken and enjoy a free day in this picturesque mountain paradise. You might like to spend the day in Interlaken or catch a short train ride to Lauterbrunnen village and explore the stunning valley in which it's nestled. Or why not take a train ride up Jungfraujoch to what's known as the Top of Europe. If you're feeling fit and keen to get out there, there's also the option to tackle some of the trails around the monumental Eiger Mountain. There are plenty of trails to choose from, from flat and easy to certified heart-pumpers – just be sure to wear your good shoes and bring some wet-weather gear as mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable.
Day 6 - Interlaken / Bulle
Enjoy another free day in and around Interlaken. A boat cruise on one of the two lakes on either side of Interlaken (hence the town's name) is a great way to take in the mountainous panorama. In the late afternoon catch another train to Bulle, located in La Gruyere district. Bulle is the town of your medieval dreams and, yes, it’s the home of the cheese too. Lush green fields dotted with dairy cows and mountain peaks stretch as far as the eye can see. Tonight it's your choice – you might want to stroll the quaint streets of Bulle and sample some cheese.
Day 7 - Gruyeres / Bulle
Today head out of town to visit La Gruyere cheese factory to learn more about this world-famous cheese and how it is produced. Then its time for another iconic Swiss product. You’re off to a chocolate factory! If you haven't heard, Swiss chocolate is the real deal and one of the most delicious of all the chocolates. Take a tour of a local chocolate producer and learn some of their secrets – with some samples, of course – before a free afternoon to relax. You could head down head down to Lake Gruyere for some fresh air and some happy snaps with the mountainous backdrop. Or return to Bulle for a stroll around town and to continue tasting the local cheese.
Day 8 - Bern
Travel to Bern – Switzerland's capital and arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. After checking into your hotel, grab a quick lunch and head off for an included e-bike tour around town. Bern is a very cycle-friendly city, bike paths are widely available, and e-bikes are just too easy to ride even uphill. Cycle through the Old Town, explore the area where Einstein lived and developed his Theory of Relativity at the start of the 20th century, check out the famous Bern Clock and don’t forget to stop to check out Parliament House. In the evening, why not get some of your crew together to explore the food and drink scene in Bern – from typical Swiss dishes to world-wide cuisine, Bern is a great place for dining.
Day 9 - Bern
Today is free for you to explore on your own. Exploring the Old Town further is not a bad idea, given there are several small craft breweries spread around. If you are looking to get out of the city, there are plenty of tours to choose from. The Emmental Valley is just around the corner and can be explored in a whole range of ways – walking tours, e-bike tours and even cheese tastings! Take a view at the beautiful panorama of the city and perhaps walk back down into town for some dinner and drinks – your group leader will know of some great places to go.
Day 10 - Bern
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave any time after breakfast. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time in Bern, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).