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Jagged peaks, shimmering lakes, mountain villages and vibrant cities – these are only a few of the thrills you’ll experience on this journey through Switzerland that takes you to dizzying heights. With the train as your primary transport, gain new respect for the ingenuity and robustness of the Swiss transportation system which traverses some of the most difficult and spectacular terrain in the world. And no one is more equipped to guide you on your journey than tour host, Rene Schneeberger. A travel professional, Swiss native and former station manager with the Swiss Federal Railways, Rene has a deep knowledge of the Swiss train system's challenges, highlights and most scenic routes.
Your adventure begins in the charming lakeside city of Lucerne, a shopping mecca that still manages to epitomize the storybook image of a Swiss village. Here you'll get an introduction to modern transportation history on a guided tour of the Swiss Transport Museum. See the scenery from a different perspective on a vintage paddle-wheeler cruise of Lake Lucerne before a guided visit of Ballenberg Museum. This fascinating open-air museum features traditional, century-old buildings and demonstrations of local crafts from all over Switzerland. Then get ready for a truly unforgettable experience aboard the Glacier Express! Enjoy breathtaking views from the train's oversized windows as you ascend to the resort town of Zermatt. Set in a valley near the foot of the mesmerizing Matterhorn, you'll have a full day to explore Zermatt's picturesque chalets, medieval twisting alleys (no cars are allowed) and surrounding scenery.
Your journey continues with an afternoon in Bern, Switzerland's capital city. Explore Bern’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, en route to Basel, located in the three-country corner of Switzerland, France and Germany. From here, it's an easy day trip across the border to Mulhouse, France, where the largest car museum in the world, the Cité de l’Automobile, showcases 400 classic, prestige and racing cars. After a fascinating guided tour, conclude your immersion into all things transportation-related with a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Trace the entire history of the automobile from its very beginning in 1886 when Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz pioneered its invention. Two interlinked museum tours guide visitors through the innovative architecture of the museum building and the eventful history of the Mercedes-Benz brand, culminating with the most recent developments in transportation research, design and production.
• 8 nights in 4-star hotels: 2 nights in Lucerne, 1 night in Brienz, 2 nights in Zermatt, 2 nights in Basel and 1 night in Stuttgart
• Meals - Daily breakfast, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
• Hosted by Swiss expert and native, Rene Schneeberger
• Scenic rail journeys aboard narrow gauge and cogwheel steam railways plus the famous Glacier Express; also includes all first class rail between cities, airport transfers and public transportation
• Sights - Guided visits to the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne, Ballenberg Museum in Brienz, Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse and Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart
Note: Additional hotel nights in Switzerland can be added. Please inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 – Arrive at Zurich airport / Transfer to Lucerne
Upon arrival in Zurich, embark on a first class train ride to Lucerne. Check-in at your hotel where the rest of the day is free. Lucerne is the gateway to central Switzerland and is surrounded by an impressive mountainous panorama. Complete with gable paintings, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centerpiece of the townscape. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Wilden Mann - 2 nights
Day 2 – Swiss Transport Museum & Cruise on Lake Lucerne
After breakfast, depart for the Swiss Transport Museum for a guided tour. Opened in July 1959, the museum exhibits all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, aircraft and communications equipment. After the tour, take the train to Flüelen, an important point on Switzerland's transportation system near beautiful Lake Lucerne. Here we’ll board a boat for the return trip to Lucerne across the lake. To cruise on scenic Lake Lucerne in a nostalgic paddle steamer, to marvel at villas and castles and to discover culinary specialties - all these opportunities are offered on these lake cruises. The five restored paddle steamers on Lake Lucerne constitute the world's largest fleet of paddle steamers that sail on a lake.
Day 3 – Brienz & Ballenberg Museum
Today we depart Lucerne via a narrow gauge train to Brienz. Disembark for a visit to Ballenberg Museum, an open-air museum that displays traditional buildings and architecture from all over Switzerland. Take a guided stroll through the past as you experience more than 100 century-old buildings, 250 farmyard animals, traditional, old-time gardens and fields, demonstrations of local crafts and many special events that create a vivid impression of rural life in days gone by. Ballenberg is indeed unique! In the afternoon, return to Brienz where the rest of the day is free.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Giessbach – 1 night
Day 4 - Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway & Glacier Express
Depart early aboard the historical post bus to Realp where we board the Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway to Oberwald. As we wind through the mountain scenery of the central Alps, enjoy stunning views of summits and glaciers, and go past the area where the Rhone River originates. In Oberwald catch the train to Andermatt and there board the Glacier Express to Zermatt. The Glacier Express is the most famous railway in the world. The three-hour trip through untouched mountain landscapes, deep gorges, picturesque valleys, tunnels and over impressive bridges will delight you.
Accommodation: Zermatt Hotel Julen – 2 nights
Day 5 – Free Day in Zermatt
Today, the whole day is free to discover Zermatt at your leisure. Zermatt in the Matt valley is one of Switzerland’s most famous holiday resorts and a center of attraction for many international guests. Thirty-eight 4,000-meter peaks, dominated by the world-renowned Matterhorn, the world’s most photographed summit, rise to the heavens around the village. In spite of its high profile, Zermatt retains the charm of a Swiss mountain village. Electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs and sledges are the principal means of transportation in this car-free town.
Walking, cycling, climbing and high Alpine tours are popular activities in summer and autumn. Walking trails also guide guests who are not overly adept at climbing through the mountain scape around Zermatt. Highlights are The Gornergrat, a cog railway that goes to a height of 3089 meters offering magnificent views; Matterhorn Museum that houses the items of equipment used during the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865; The Glacier Paradise, Gorner Gorge and the small village of Findeln, original Valais settlement with a small chapel.
Day 6 – Zermatt to Bern / Bern Sightseeing / Basel
Today we take the train from Zermatt to Switzerland’s capital city, Bern, where you’ll have free time to explore. One of Bern’s secrets is its relaxed atmosphere, thanks to a combination of visionary modern architecture, a world-famous medieval quarter and the manageable size of the city. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts one of the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenades in Europe. Continue your journey in the late afternoon by train to Basel.
Accommodation: Basel Hotel Victoria – 2 nights
Day 7 – National Museum of Automobiles
Depart for a day excursion to Mulhouse, France, where the largest car museum in the world, the Cité de l’Automobile showcases 400 classic, prestige and racing cars and traces the history of the automobile. The Association of the National Car Museum, which manages the museum, works to ensure the ongoing preservation and enrichment of the Schlumpf Collection of Classic Cars, also housed here. After a guided visit return to Basel.
Day 8 – Basel to Stuttgart, Germany
Travel to Stuttgart in the morning. Following lunch, visit the remarkable Mercedes-Benz Museum for a journey through 125 years of fascinating automotive history – and on into the future. Trace the entire history of the automobile from its very beginning in 1886. This is the year that Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz pioneered the invention of the automobile. Few inventions have made such an impact on the human world. Two interlinked museum tours guide the visitor through the spectacular architecture of the building and the eventful history of the Mercedes-Benz brand, combining the key moments in contemporary world history with super sports cars, Silver Arrows and Gullwings. The two tours lead to the same end point: the innovations of the present. Here in the Fascination of Technology exhibition you will gain an insight into the latest developments from the worlds of research, design and production. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin – 1 night
Day 9 – Depart for home
After breakfast and hotel check-out, travel by public transport to the Stuttgart airport and your flight home.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
Stuttgart, Germany destination image: ©Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH. Mercedes-Benz Museum image: © Daimler AG.