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Best of Switzerland

Zurich,

Best of Switzerland

Hiking
·
Start: Zurich
·
End: Bern

From glacial lakes to snow-capped peaks, from gooey cheese to handmade chocolate

Activity
Hiking
LocationZurich,
Duration10 days
Start / EndZurich / Bern
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Zurich,

Best of Switzerland

Hiking·
10 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Zurich
·
End: Bern

Description

This may be one of the few neutral countries in the world, but you won't leave Switzerland feeling anything but positive about your experience. This small nation packs a big punch with friendly, non-punching locals, incredible mountain scenery and a luxurious gastro scene that priorities cheese. Start in Zurich then head to historic St Gallen, lakeside Lucerne, adrenaline-filled Interlaken and ...

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Itinerary

Day 1Zurich
Welcome to Switzerland, the land of the neutral that you'll only feel positive about. Meet your group at 5 pm and take an evening walk around Zurich with the option to take part in a fondue tasting. Fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove, eaten by dipping bread into the gooey goodness. Need we say more?
Day 2St Gallen
Spend a free morning in Zurich then St Gallen, arriving around lunch for a chance to taste the famous 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 UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and the Abbey Library hosts a collection of medieval texts and important documents dating back to the 8th Century. Spend the evening as you wish. A trip to the surroundings hills for a view of entire city is not a bad idea.
Day 3Lucerne
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 the access to many outdoor activities, its breathtaking natural beauty and historic, medieval architecture. Take a walk past 15th-century frescoed houses and impossibly 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 old town (Altstadt), there’s often a craft market and dozens of shops full of unique handmade goods. Perhaps you'd like to jump on a sunset canoeing tour (at your cost), a fantastic way to see the town from a different perspective.
Day 4Lucerne
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. Enjoy an included lunch with a panorama 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 encouraged.
Day 5Lauterbrunnen
Travel to Lauterbrunnen and enjoy a free day in this picturesque mountain paradise. The day is free for you to enjoy: you could stay in the village and explore the stunning valley in which it's nestled, or why not take a train ride up Jungfrau 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 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 6Bulle
Bulle, located in La Gruyere district, is the town of your medieval dreams and yes, it's the home of the cheese too. Lush green fields and mountain peaks stretch as far as the eye can see, dotted with dairy cows and the occasional cheese-filled tourist. Arrive in town and head off for a walk with your leader to get your bearings, then visit La Gruyere cheese factory to learn more about this world famous cheese. Afternoon visit to medieval town of Gruyeres is a must. Find out why there is a Tibet museum in the castle and visit the quirky Alien bar. Evening could be spend strolling the quaint streets of Bulle and sampling some more cheese. Fondue is particularly good here.
Day 7Bulle
Today you'll find out what Switzerland is really famous for. Other than the cheese, trains, clocks, mountains, lakes, adorable villages, Roger Federer...you get the idea. But today you're off to a chocolate factory! If you haven't heard, Swiss chocolate is the real deal and one of the most delicious milky treats getting around. Take a tour of a local chocolate producer and learn some of their secrets before a free afternoon to relax. Stroll around town, continue tasting the local cheese and chocolate (when in Rome) or head down to Lake Gruyere for some even fresher air and some happy snaps with the mountainous backdrop.
Day 8Bern
Travel to Bern, Switzerland's capital and arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. After check in to your hotel, grab a quick lunch and head off for an included e-bike tour around town. Fear not, Bern is most cyclist friendly city you can ask for, 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 here at the start of the 20th century, check out famous Bern Clock and don’t forget to stop at the Parliament House for some pictures. In the evening, explore the food and drink scene in Bern; starting from typical Swiss dishes to world-wide cuisine, Bern is a great place for fine dining.
Day 9Bern
Today is free for you to explore on your own. Bern has plenty to offer on its own. Exploring 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 is plenty of tours to choose from. Emmental valley (yes, cheese again!) is just round the corner and can be explored in numerous ways; from a walking tour, through e-bikes and cheese tasting tours. In the evening, ask your leader to show you a secret rose garden spot, just minutes away from your hotel. Take a view at the beautiful panorama of the city and perhaps walk down to the old town for your final dinner with the group.
Day 10Bern
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you're flying out from Zurich, the train takes 45 minutes. Alternatively, why not spend some extra time in Bern because really, is there such a thing as too much cheese?

More info

Last modified (date)

26 Nov 2018

Trip title

Best of Switzerland

Trip code

AMSS

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

This may be one of the few neutral countries in the world, but you won't leave Switzerland feeling anything but positive about your experience. This small nation packs a big punch with friendly, non-punching locals, incredible mountain scenery and a luxurious gastro scene that priorities cheese. Start in Zurich then head to historic St Gallen, lakeside Lucerne, adrenaline-filled Interlaken and che... Read more

Style

Original

Transport

Train

Physical Rating

2

Physical preparation

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Joining point

Montana Hotel

Joining point description

Hotel Montana is a 3-star boutique accommodation located in the heart of the town. Its perfect location allows the guest to reach major attractions of Zurich in a very short time. Hotel offers free Wi-Fi, 24 service, lounge bar, tea making facilities in each room, daily newspapers and free luggage storage should you arrive in early hours.

Joining point instructions

Hotel Montanta is conveniently located only 3 minuets away from Zurich main train station. Trains from the airport run regularly couple of times every hour. It only takes 10 minutes to arrive at the main station. Once here, locate platform 18 and from there cross the street at the traffic lights. Follow Radgasse street (behind Vorbahnhof restaurant) and turn in to Konradstrasse where Montana Hotel... Read more

Finish point

Hotel Alpenblick

Finish point description

Hotel Alpenblick Bern is a 3-star hotel in Swiss Urban Style situated in a quiet, residential area just a few minutes from the BEA exhibition grounds, the ice stadium and the Stade de Suisse (sports stadium). Bern’s charming old town is also very close by. Comfortable rooms are well equipped for a refreshing night’s sleep. Hotel provides free Wi-Fi throughout the building, free public transportati... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips in Europe are accompanied by one of our local European group leaders. ’Local’ in this context means a leader who lives in Europe. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations ma... Read more

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Find out why Fondue was once promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union

Is this trip right for you

Just as a heads up before you book: this trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’. Switzerland ma... Read more

Health

All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themsel... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat to... Read more

Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire ... Read more

What to take

PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. S... Read more

Climate and seasonal

SUMMER Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. SHOULDER SEASON In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher alt... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. Below link will take you to the feedback site: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsiblet... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of ... Read more

Accommodation notes

We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Europe may be different to the standards you are used to. Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges and in particular d... Read more

Transport notes

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possib... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

GROUP TRAVEL As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required fo... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights)
10days
€2,705per person
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May 5
Zurich
May 14
Bern
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Zurich
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Bern
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Zurich
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Bern
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Zurich
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Bern
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