It was a trip of a lifetime—So much more than I expected. - J.P. - Ohio


Day 1 – Arrival in Luzern, and off to Basel

On arrival in Zurich, take the short train ride to Lucerne in the heart of scenic central Switzerland and set on Lake Luzern. After checking into the hotel, we depart for an afternoon and evening in Basel. With the Rhine River flowing through it, Basel has a rich history. It's is a center of European art and was a seat of learning and a focal point of the Northern Renaissance. We cross the Rhine on reaction ferry to arrive at Basel's Munsterplatz for our first Christmas market. The three borders of Switzerland, France and Germany come together here, and we'll have a fine view of each country from the Munster. Basel is also home to Switzerland's oldest and most popular Christmas Market where you'll meet the locals and learn of life in Basel. Then it's just a couple blocks to Barfüsserplatz for Basel's largest Christmas market, considered the most beautiful in Switzerland. We enjoy dinner at Basel's oldest guildhouse before returning to Luzern. D 

Day 2 – Lugano and Luzern

We head south through the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world, and making the shortest link between northern and southern Europe, and enter Switzerland's Italian-speaking region. We visit the 14th-century Bellinzona Castles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before continuing to Lugano where the medieval city center is decked with lights.  Return to Luzern where we'll dine in a 500-year-old inn—Luzern's oldest restaurant and adjacent to Luzern's Christmas market—to provide an authentic introduction into Swiss life. BD


Day 3 – Luzern to Bern - Kussnacht Klausjagen

A morning train ride takes us to the capital city of Switzerland in Bern. This 12th century UNESCO World Heritage Site city retains all its charm from the middle ages on. We stroll the limestone covered walkways which create the longest covered shopping arcade in all of Europe. With its two Christmas markets and rich history this city will surely take your breath away. This evening we take a dinner cruise across Lake Lucerne to participate in one of the most amazing and traditional Christmas celebrations in Europe—the Kussnacht Klausjagen.  BD

Day 4 – Luzern to Basel and on to Montreux

We'll take a short walking tour of old Luzern with its famous bridges and cobblestone squares. Departing Luzern we cross the scenic heartland of Switzerland Bernese Oberland along the Lake Brienz and the Lake Thun. We take the panoramic GoldenPass line through the beautiful pre-alp villages of Gstaad and Chateau d'Oex to arrive in Montreux, in Switzerland's Frech-speaking region, and home of Switzerland's largest Christmas market with its captivating lakeside setting. BD

Day 5 – Montreux, Vevey

Here we visit the lovely lakeside Marché de Noël and the 12th-century Castle of Chillon which inspired Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, and Rousseau. It will surely inspire you. We'll have an afternoon chocolate workshop at Läderach, one of Switzerland's premier chocolatiers, where you'll learn to make  chocolate truffles. Dinner at your lakeside hotel and restaurant in Montreux. BD

Day 6 – Montreux to Zermatt

Departing Montreux we ascend the Rhone Valley, Switzerland's larget wine region wehre terraced vineyards line the steep slopes. No visit to Switzerland is complete without an excursion to the car-free village of Zermatt to the see the majestic Matterhorn. Zermatt is the quintessential Swiss mountain resort. We'll have time for strolling the charming town and connecting with it's historic and legendary past. We stay at a beautiful spa hotel with Matterhorn views. BD

Day 7 – Zermatt

We take the historic cogwheel railway to the Gornergrat summit for breathtaking views of Switzerland's highest peaks set in a glacial paradise. On the return back to Zermatt we can get off the train to descen from Rotenboden to Riffleberg by sled along a safe and well groomed sled run. When you're not out exploring the mountain scenery and lively shopping scene in Zermatt, you'll certainly enjoy time in the spa, sauna, and heated indoor/outdoor pools. BD

Day 8 – Zermatt to Zurich

Our concluding day in Switzerland takes us back to Zurich with its Christmas Market set in the medieval town center as well as Europe's largest indoor Christmas Market in the main train station. We have our final dinner together to reflect on the many wonderful memories we have created. Evening in Zurich. BD

Day 9 – Departure

We say our goodbyes and hopefully Auf Wiedersehen as we head off to our morning departure from Zurich to catch our flights home. B

Swiss holiday decorating and Christmas Markets

Activity Level

Alpenwild Adventures are designed for people who are energetic, active and filled with a spirit of adventure. We rate this trip as easy. You should be capable of walking about two to four miles per day, often on cobblestone streets and with potential compacted snow and ice (so be careful). On one day, a mountain railway will take you to an elevation of 10,200 feet.