Alpine Splendor: Switzerland and Austria
As your small group, limited to 24 travelers, discovers mountain villages and European cities, rides the famed Glacier Express, cruises on glassine lakes, and ascends snowcapped summits, borders disappear and the region’s history – and beauty – enchant one and all. This captivating 14-day Swiss and Austrian exploration begins with lovely Lucerne, its namesake lake, and a ride up Mt. Pilatus on the world’s steepest cogwheel train. After scenic overload here, board the legendary Glacier Express, following the fabled Rhône to Zermatt, gateway to the Swiss Alps. Ride the Gornergratbahn, Europe’s highest open-air railway, to the Gornergrat’s summit for spectacular views of the majestic Matterhorn. Crossing into northern Italy, visit Stresa along lovely Lake Maggiore’s shores. With three nights in lakeside Lugano, explore Switzerland’s Ticino region, including medieval Bellinzona and its iconic Castelgrande castle, a UNESCO site. At a grotto restaurant, enjoy lunch alfresco then visit picturesque Ascona. Take a leisurely cruise around Lake Lugano. Traveling on to Austria by way of Liechtenstein, stop in Maienfeld, setting for the novel Heidi, and enjoy a tasting at Schloss Salenegg, Europe’s oldest winery. With a two-night stay in charming Seefeld, tour postcard-worthy Innsbruck and ascend the Nordkette mountains by cable car. Reaching Austria’s riverside jewel of Salzburg for a three-night stay, attend an intimate Mozart concert in the famed Mirabell Palace and visit Hohensalzburg, one of Europe’s finest castles. In nearby Berchtesgaden, tour the Nazis’ Eagle’s Nest retreat. Savor Austria’s beloved capital of Vienna at your own pace with an optional 4-day/3-night post-tour extension.