Alpine Adventure: Northern Italy/Switzerland and France
A true alpine adventure, with Northern Italy, German speaking Switzerland, the French Alps and the finish in French-speaking Switzerland. Transportation via train for long distance travel will give you full views of mountains, alpine villages with wooden chalets and flowering meadows. You will experience places where being a shepherd is still a part-time job during the summer months, leading happy cows or sheep, in their daily meanderings. Relax and savor it all.
Your Tour Includes:
8 nights of lodging
Breakfast every morning
Day trips listed
Cog rail to Gornergrat
Aiguille du Midi gondola ride
Train travel between Lugano and Zermatt and Zermatt and Chamonix
Shuttle from Chamonix to Geneva
Dinner cruise on Lake Geneva on the last evening
Services of a tour director 24/7
Services of local historians/guides in each new destination.
Your Adventure Awaits:
Day 1: Travel day.
Fly from Minneapolis to Milan. We will help you book your airfare. Keep in mind that the sooner you reserve airfare, the better the price.
Day 2: Lugano Switzerland
Upon arrival in Milan Malpensa airport, take a shuttle to the lakeside resort of Lugano in Switzerland. (More info to follow regarding shuttling.) The Malpensa airport is approximately halfway between Milan and Lugano. Upon arrival at our hotel, check-in and get refreshed before we head out on a walking tour. Dinner together. (Sleep in Lugano 2 nights.)
Day 3: Northern Italy with Lake Como and Bellagio
After a lovely breakfast, it is time to head out to the Italian lake region, with cruising on the lakes and visit of Bellagio village. There are good reasons why George Clooney bought a lake mansion there, see for yourself. Return to Lugano for some free time for you to meander along the lakeside walking path, stroll the old town crooked, neat as a pin streets.
Day 4: To Zermatt Switzerland
Today we will hop on the train, and head to Zermatt and its majestic Matterhorn peak. The scenic views during our train ride will be a highlight: mountain villages, tunnels, snow covered peaks and more peaks, all in the comfort of a train car, with restrooms, restaurant car and scenery to die for. No bus, no motion sickness with us. Enjoy the journey! Upon arrival in Zermatt, a lovely car free mountain village, we will check-in, and get ready for our walking tour. Savor the sites, their history before you head out to dinner for one of the local fares. (Sleep in Zermatt 2 nights)
Day 5: Cog train to Gornergrat
This morning, the plan is to take the cog rail train to Gornergrat together, for an up close and personal view of the Matterhorn. Hike back down the trail, and optional afternoon visit of the local museum for an in-depth lesson on mountaineering on the Matterhorn. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you wish.
Day 6: The French Alps with Chamonix
This morning we'll head west toward France, to the resort town of Chamonix, site of the first Winter Olympics. Our morning train ride will offer magnificent alpine vistas again.
Once arrived and checked in, we will follow our local guide via a spirited visit of our new destination.
We’ll spend the afternoon soaking in the French Alps ambience at the foot of Europe's highest peak (at 15,780 feet), the mighty Mont Blanc. Consider taking a gondola lift to Le Brévent for a spectacular view, and end your day enjoying a traditional dinner of raclette or fondue. Sleep in Chamonix (2 nights).
Day 7: Aiguille du Midi Dreamin’
Today is your day to enjoy the wonders of the French Alps. You can choose between several great hiking trails with stunning views of Mont Blanc and a supporting cast of Alps that seem to stretch forever. For one of Europe's great Alpine thrills (weather permitting), take Europe's longest vertical gondola ride up to the 12,600-foot Aiguille du Midi viewpoint. From there, mini-gondolas take travelers over the snowfields and on to Italy (and back)! Or, if you prefer, simply find a café table with a view in Chamonix, and savor the scenery. A local museum is also an option if you prefer to stay in the village, or if hiking is your cup of tea, there are many trails to follow.
Day 8: To Geneva
It is time to bid Chamonix adieu, and head to the International metropolis of Geneva. Located on Lake Geneva, and surrounded by mountain ranges (Jura, pre-Alps, and the Alps), this city offers delightful views, lakeside walks, and international destinations of interest to all. Upon arrival, we will take a walking tour of the old city, and the newer neighborhoods where the UN buildings and Red Cross are located. We will learn about Switzerland’s importance as a center for the Reformation, and its role in modern history as well. Free evening for you to enjoy
Day 9: United Nations & Red Cross
Morning guided visit of the United Nations, and optional visit of the Red Cross. Free time in the afternoon for biking or walking along lake Geneva. In the evening we’ll get together for a cruise and dinner on the Lake to celebrate our adventure together.
Day 10: Return home
With your transportation pass, hop on the train for a short 6 minutes commute to the Geneva airport. A great hub from which to return home, or continue with further European adventures. Au revoir et merci!
Departure: September 5-14, 2020 (Tentative dates)
*Based on double occupancy, airfare is additional.