Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps

Experience idyllic Switzerland — storybook villages, craggy mountains and turquoise lakes — on this seven-night program ideal for active travelers. Venture out on daily adventures, including hikes, funicular and gondola rides, and a visit to the Swiss capital of Bern. Listen to cowbell serenades, stop at fountains to fill your bottle with pure, mountain spring water and breathe pristine Alpine air. A Swiss wine tasting and enriching lectures about Swiss culture and mountain sports balance this program’s activities. Enjoy first-class accommodations in the delightful town of Thun.

Trip Itinerary:

July 3 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Zürich, Switzerland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: ZRH.

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

July 4 Zürich, Switzerland/Thun

Arrive at Zürich Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Hotel Freienhof. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Discovery: Welcome to Thun!
Thun, a classic Swiss town in the Bernese Oberland, is ideal for exploring on foot. Become acquainted with the town during a walking tour. Stroll by the medieval castle, the town hall and other highlights.

Gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

July 5 Lake Thun/Oberhofen/Spiez

Enrichment: Introduction to Switzerland.
Join a local lecturer and discover the history of Switzerland. Learn what makes this mountainous country unique among its European neighbors.

Discovery: Encounter Lake Thun.
Cruise on crystal-clear Lake Thun to the village of Oberhofen. Relax in the crisp air while cruising by fishing villages, castles, Swiss chalets and bucolic landscapes. Disembark in Oberhofen and see the town’s 13-century castle, which features Neo-Gothic and Turkish architectural styles. Continue to lovely Spiez and enjoy lunch with a view as you settle lakeside. After lunch, take advantage of time at leisure to see the sites of this quintessential Swiss town, including a castle and a 1,000-year-old Romanesque church. You may wish to take a stroll along the promenade or enjoy the ambience of the picturesque marina.

Free Time: Upon arrival back in Thun, you are welcome to spend the remainder of the day at leisure. You may wish to claim a seat at one of the many welcoming cafes lining the river to enjoy a tea or afternoon snack.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

July 6 Bern

Discovery: Bern.
Visit the Swiss capital of Bern and enjoy a guided walking tour of this historic city. Some of the city’s most popular sites include the Clock Tower, Einstein House and the Cathedral of Bern, a stunning example of late Gothic architecture.

Enjoy free time for lunch in Bern. The city’s iconic choice of cuisine is the Berner Platter, a dish consisting of a variety of meats, sauerkraut, beans and potatoes. For a taste of something sweet, try meringue, which is usually served with whipped cream in Bern. After lunch, spend some time exploring the city on your own.

Enrichment: Wines of Switzerland.
Sample Swiss wines as you learn about the country’s wine industry from a local lecturer. Nearly all Swiss wine remains in Switzerland, so it is difficult to find it outside the country.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast

July 7 Kandersteg

Enrichment: Mountaineering.
Switzerland enjoys a long tradition of mountain climbing. Learn about this popular pastime, which draws enthusiasts eager to tackle the challenging peaks of the Swiss Alps.

Discovery: Lake Oeschinen.
Hop on a train to Kandersteg, where a gondola whisks you toward Lake Oeschinen, which sits above the town at nearly 5,200 feet above sea level. Enjoy a hike along pastures filled with wildflowers and cows grazing on the lush, green grass to the turquoise glacial lake, where you can sit and enjoy the view.

By now, you’ve surely worked up an appetite. Take the gondola back to Kandersteg, where a hearty lunch awaits you.

After lunch, take the train back to Thun.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

July 8 Lauterbrunnen Valley/Mürren

Discovery: Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Enjoy a train journey to the idyllic Lauterbrunnen Valley. Then take a cable car to Grütschalp. From here, hike to Winteregg and on to Mürren, a pretty car-free town, for some time to explore on your own. Mürren sits on a plateau 2,788 feet above Lauterbrunnen. On a clear day, see the iconic North Face of the Eiger peak, as well as Mönch and Jungfrau. If you are a James Bond fan, you may want to take the cable car (at an additional cost) up the Schilthorn, which was featured in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Descend from Mürren by aerial cable car and take in the majestic scenery.

Tonight, enjoy a group dinner out in Thun. The cuisine of Switzerland is influenced by the country’s neighbors, including Germany, France and Italy. While dining in Switzerland, you may encounter a range of delectable flavors such as cheese fondues; Älplermagronen, a classic dish of potatoes with cheese and cream; lamb or pork stews with cabbage; and polenta mixed with cheese and served with rabbit. Of course, no meal is complete without a taste of Swiss chocolate!

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

July 9 Thun

Free Time: Join today’s Elective Activity to Lucerne or enjoy a full day at leisure in Thun. You may wish to create your own Alpine adventure. Head to nearby Meiringen, for a hike to the Aare Gorge. Meiringen is also the location of the Reichenbach Falls, made famous by Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Another alternative is to take the funicular up Harder Kulm, the mountain overlooking Interlaken and lakes Brienz and Thun; walk to the edge of Two Lakes Bridge for a sweeping view of the turquoise lakes.

Elective Activity: Lucerne.
Begin the day with a train ride to Lucerne, where cobblestone streets and slender spires evoke the storybook image of a Swiss town. Enjoy a guided tour of the medieval Old Town and the covered bridges. Then enjoy some time at leisure exploring Lucerne on your own. The city is filled with old churches, charming shops and restaurants with alfresco seating. You are free to return to Thun with the group or on the train of your choice. Available at an additional cost.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast

July 10 Brienz/Rothorn

Discovery: Brienz and the Rothorn.
Brienz is world-renowned for its wooden chalets and Alpine backdrop. The village is steeped in centuries of wood-carving tradition and you may encounter some of this storied practice, such as carved road signs and sculptures, during a walking tour through the pretty town. At the fairy-tale Brienz Rothorn Railway station, built in 1892, board a steam train for a breathtaking ride past forests, meadows, and rock walls to the top of the Rothorn.

Relax over lunch with a view! Breathe in fresh mountain air and take in gorgeous panoramas of glittering lakes and mountains during a tasty meal with your fellow travelers.

Return to Brienz and take a cruise on Lake Brienz to Interlaken.

Tonight, celebrate the end of an exciting journey as a folkloric singing group entertains you with local folk songs and the Alpenhorn at a special Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – Hotel Freienhof
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

July 11 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Zürich Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

NOTE: Itinerary schedule may change due to local conditions. Many excursions in this program involve an element of walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths or other uneven surfaces.

Map:

Testimonials:

This was my third trip to Switzerland and it was HANDS DOWN the best.

- John Winkler, 2015

This was my first tour, and it was a wonderful experience!

- Paula Novak, 2015


Back to all trips