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Italian Lakes & Swiss Mountains: Criss-Crossing the Alps

A round-trip tour from Venice that includes not one but two inspiring Alpine tours on the way from Italy to Switzerland and back. Besides Europe's highest mountain, the Matterhorn, you will stop at three beautiful lakes: Lake Maggiore, Lake Geneva and Lake Garda. The tour could easily be amended to begin and end in Zurich.

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

Venezia

Arrival in Venezia

15 km | 18 minutes
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Venezia

Inspiration for artists, musicians and writers

This centuries-old city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Count­less churches and palaces bear witness to the power and unsurpassed wealth of this small republic.

The lagoon city was founded in northern Italy during the trou­bled times of the decline of the Roman Empire. The remains of the evan­gelist Mark were trans­ferred to Venice in 829. The streams of pilgrims that followed gave the city much added importance. Since then the sacred symbol of the lion has been the city's coat of arms. Vene­tian troops later occu­pied eastern Italy and, in 1204, even Constantinople. At the height of its power Venice ruled the Mediterranean. The demise of the “serrenis­sima repub­blica” began with the fall of Constantinople and the opening of the Western Hemi­sphere by Spain, Portugal and Holland. Venice's polit­ical importance declined after the Congress of Vienna and it was given to Austria. Returned to Italy in 1866, Venice has inspired gener­a­tions of artists, writers and musi­cians. More than a city, it is a symbol of wealth and beauty as well as death and decay.

Accommodation: A former school of painting near Saint Mark's Square

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The palace from the 17th Century is located behind SaintMark's Square, where the most elegant streets of Venice run. Once the seat ofthe Vene­tian school of painting, the building now houses a charming hotel with43 rooms, furnished by the Romanelli family with antiques from the 17th Century.

A green oasis in the city and valu­able retreat after busysightseeing is the court­yard with lots of shaded seating areas and a fountain.The inside features a bar in a retro style. The rich Breakfast (for Ital­ian­standards) is served in in the café or in the adja­cent garden. The staff makeyou feel at home and lift your spirits.

Veneto

Cultural landscape between Dolomites and Adri­atic Sea
The region in the north­east of Italy stretches from the Dolomites to the Adri­atic Sea. It includes a wide low mountain range and a lowland with rivers and canals. Lagoons are also typical for Veneto. The city that gave the region its name, Venice, also lies in such a lagoon. But also beyond the lagoon city there is much to discover: art treasures in cities that are unjustly over­shad­owed by Venice, above all Verona, Padua and Vicenza. They are situ­ated in a magnif­i­cent natural setting, where first-class wines grow. Not to forget the many thermal springs around which spas such as Abano, Montegrotto and Teolo have formed.

Padua

Glorious univer­sity, market square in the lake
According to Homer, the town 30 kilome­ters west of Venice was founded by sailors after the destruc­tion of Troy. Thus it would be one of the oldest in Italy and during the times of the Roman Empire it was certainly one of the richest cities in the world. Devasta­tion during the barbarian inva­sions, however, had left very little of it. In the late Middle Ages the city, which is connected by a channel system with the main rivers of the Po Valley, managed to rise once again. In part thanks to the glorious univer­sity, where Albertus Magnus and Galileo Galilei have taught. Worth seeing is the old market square, which is surrounded by water, and the Scrovegni Chapel, with frescoes of Mary and Jesus. The father of the builder, the noto­rious extor­tioner Reginaldo Scrovegni, is said to have met Dante in hell.

Interpreti Veneziani

Vene­tian music in the church San Vidal
Music from Venice has been an integral part of Euro­pean cultural history since the 16th century. Monteverdi and Vivaldi are the most famous names. The Vene­tian multiple choir gave deci­sive impulses for inno­va­tions in vocal and instru­mental music. Under the name “Violins in Venice” the chamber music ensemble Interpreti Veneziani gives concerts more than 200 days a year. They take place in the former church San Vidal. In addi­tion to Vene­tian music, the programme also includes works by Bach.

From Venezia to Cannobio

Rental car pick-up

From the hotel to the rental car station

9 km | 10 minutes

Rental car pick-up

Rental car pick-up
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Keddy by Europcar
Vehicle: Renault Clio or similar (EDMD)
Loca­tion: Venice (Railway Station)

From Venice to Cannobio

377 km | 4:30 h
You will travel west­wards through the Po Valley past some of the most beau­tiful Renais­sance cities in northern Italy. Verona, the romantic city on the River Adige at the foot of the Alps, is partic­u­larly worth a stop. At Milan you will turn north towards Switz­er­land.

Piemont

Cultural landscape at “the foot of the mountains”
This region's name means “the foot of the mountains.” It borders Switz­er­land to the North and France to the West. It includes the entire northwestern section of the Italian alps. Europe's highest mountains are located here: Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) is just a few kilome­ters across the French border. Monte Rose (4,618 m) is right on the border. The mountains end abruptly at the Po river valley. Rare languages are still spoken in the deep and inac­ces­sible valleys – including medieval Occitan and Walser German. South of the capital city, Turin, you will discover a charming and cultu­r­ally inter­esting region. Fine wines are made from vine­yards on the gently rolling hills around Asti. Truffles grow in the surrounding forests. This combina­tion attracts gourmets from all over the world.

Treviso

Arcades in the old town
Treviso's historic old town is surrounded by a city wall and honeycombed with idyllic canals. Among these features you will find patri­cian houses from the 12th and 14th centuries as well as arcades and tranquil squares, all dating to the city's heyday. A local culinary specialty is the red Radic­chio (a kind of leaf chicory).

Vicenza

City of the arts and archi­tec­ture at the edge of the Po Valley
This city of the arts, with a popu­la­tion of over 100,000, is located about 60 kilome­ters northwest of Venice. The city is famous for its jewelry and garments indus­tries as well as for the build­ings of the Renais­sance archi­tect Andrea Palladio, for which it has earned the status of a World Heritage Site. Vicenza is also among the wealth­iest cities in Italy. A stroll down the main avenue, the Corso Palladio, and across the Piazza dei Signori is like walking through an open-air museum.
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Lago Maggiore

Romantic lake between Ticino and Po Valley

In a part of Switz­er­land renowned for its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years.

While its northern tip is part of the Swiss Ticino, it reaches as far south as the Po Valley. The walks above the lake offer views which remind one of the Côte d'Azur near the heart of Europe, with the Alps as a backdrop. There is every­thing here: unspoiled nature, spectac­ular scenery, the best climate in Switz­er­land, major cultural events, beaches, lakeshores, an early spring, a golden autumn, wine and food special­ties, and an infi­nite number of possi­bil­i­ties for excur­sions and every kind of leisure activity, from golf to extreme sports like canyoning.

Accommodation: A 15th century mansion in Cannobio

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The histor­ical manor house sits in the medieval village of Cannobio, a resort on Lake Maggiore, a few kilome­ters south of the Swiss border.

Following an exten­sive resto­ra­tion it combines authentic medieval archi­tec­ture with all the comforts of a modern hotel. Orig­inal frescoes, vaulted ceil­ings and massive century-old stone pillars are comple­mented by period furni­ture. The twelve rooms vary in color and decor. Some over­look the lake, others the car-free Old Town. The Breakfast room seems to have emerged straight from the 18 century. The exclu­sive dining room on the first floor with an open fireplace provides the ideal setting for a relaxing evening over a glass or two of good wine.

Cannobio

Histor­ical place with waterfront
The picturesque town­ship on the western shores of Lake Maggiore has a beau­tiful waterfront, where a market is held every Sunday. It has a beach, a church from 1571 and a historic center. Located just west of the city, the Cannobino, a rushing mountain stream, has dug a deep gorge.

Centovalli

Chestnut forests, mule tracks and deserted villages
The Ticino valley stretches from Intragna on Lake Maggiore to Camedo in the west at the Swiss-Italian border. It owes its name to the numerous side valleys. There are not 100 but more than 150! Hiking trails along former mule tracks lead through the chestnut forests and on to ancient old villages, which are mostly deserted or inhabited by artists. The romantic valley is made acces­sible by the Centovalli Railway, which travels over 83 bridges and through 34 tunnels.

Locarno

Fash­ion­able resort town on Lake Maggiore
The Swiss resort on Lake Maggiore has received its town charter from Fred­erick Barbarossa. The medieval center of the posh town is the Piazza Grande where every Thursday a market takes place. Orig­inally the Piazza was right on the lake. Today the water's edge is far away with debris being washed up by the mountain river Maggia year after year. Also worth seeing is the Roma­nesque church of San Vittore, with its ornate crypt.

From Cannobio to Zermatt

119 km | 3:00 h

From Locarno you will travel through the romantic Centovalli, reaching the border to Italy near Camedo. The name Centovalli or “100 valleys” refers to the numerous valleys that branch off on all sides from the main one.

The route is dotted with picturesque mountain villages dosing in the sun. The route returns to Switz­er­land and the grand mountains of Valais via Domo­d­ossola and the rugged Gondo Gorge.

Simplonpass

High alpine pass between glaciers and Mediterranean ravines
With an eleva­tion of 2,005 meters, this pass connects the Rhône Valley in the Swiss canton of Wallis with the Val d'Ossola in the Italian province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. People have been using the pass since prehistoric times. It was even later used by Roman emperors. The influ­en­tial merchant Kaspar von Stockalper built the first road here in the 17th century, which is now a hiking trail. The modern road through the pass follows Napoleon Bonaparte's route. At the top of the pass there is a hospice. Coming down the southern side, you will find the Mediterranean-looking town of Simplon and the the romantically wild Gondo Gorge with the majestic, glacier-covered Fletschhorn towering above it.

Bettmersee

A stroll around the lakeshore
The short hike leads around the Bettmersee, boasting beautfiul views of the lake. Since the route can be completed in less than an hour, there is enough time in between to linger at the picnic areas along the way and enjoy the scenery. If you want to expe­r­i­ence the lake up close, during the summer months you can rent a rowboat as well as a board for stand up paddling.
(00:50 hrs, 2.3 km, eleva­tion change: 50 m)
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Zermatt

Car-free village at the Matterhorn

The town at the end of the Mattertal has around 5,000 inhab­i­tants and is situ­ated at 1,600 m (5,250 ft.) above sea level.

Zermatt's world-wide renown stems from its proximity to the Matter­horn, the mountain of mountains and most famous landmark in the Alps. Anyone who has ever stood before the mighty peak knows that even the most enthu­siastic descrip­tion will fail to capture its true majesty. The mountain was first scaled by a party of Brits using local guides in 1865. In their rush to beat another party to the top one of the climbers slipped and caused three others to fall to their deaths. The trio are buried in the church­yard next to an English chapel in Zermatt set aside for them and the numerous other Brits who subsequently died attempting to scale the mountain. Climbs to the peak of the Matter­horn are almost a matter of course today. About 3,000 mountai­neers attempt the ascent each year, some­times even leading to overcrowding on the main routes. The Gorner Valley south-east of Zermatt boasts the highest cog railway in Europe. The higher you go the more incred­ible the views of the Matter­horn become.
The town of Zermatt is closed to private vehicles. Visitors must leave their cars at the free car park and take the train to the city.

Accommodation: A family-owned hotel in Zermatt

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

Steeped in tradi­tion the hotel boasts a view of the Matter­horn. The house has been in family-owned ever since its opening in 1937 and has always been managed with great atten­tion and an astounding eye for detail.

With equal dedica­tion the family members also devote them­selves to the breeding of the famous Valais Blac­knose Sheep. The animals spend the entire summer free-range on their mountain pastures, in winter they are housed in the stable. Guests can visit the stables if they like. The wool is used, among other things, to weave warming blan­kets for guests.
While the area offers a variety of outdoor activ­i­ties, guests can als relax in the spa.

Bernese Ober­land

Between lake idyll and eternal ice
In 1798, a canton of Ober­land was created under Napoleon, but it was abol­ished five years later and incor­po­rated into the canton of Berne. However, the name “Ober­land” has been retained and today describes the magnif­i­cent landscape south of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. The high rainfall is all discharged from the Aare, which flows into the Rhine at Koblenz. To the south, the valleys rise steeply to the glaciated main ridge of the Alps, which reaches well over 4000 metres in alti­tude here. The most famous peaks are Eiger (3967 m), Mönch (4107 m) and Jungfrau (4158 m). They form the border with the canton of Valais.

Brig

At the foot of the largest Alpine glacier
This historic town with 5,000 inhab­i­tants is situ­ated on the southern shores of the Rhone between the Bernese and the Valais Alps. A few kilome­ters to the north lies the UNESCO world heritage site of the Aletsch area with the largest glacier of the Alps. Various cable cars lead to the glacier area. The best cable car ride to Belalp, a car free village, is from Brig. Because of its loca­tion at the foot of the Simplon Pass, an important connec­tion to Italy, the site was already settled in 7 B.C.(!) Brig has a picturesque historic old quarter with the Stockalper Palace.

Gorn­ergrat Railway

Pano­ramic drive to the Gorn­ergrat
With its alti­tude of 3135 meters, the Gorn­ergrat boasts a pano­ramic view of the Monte Rosa massif, the Liskamm and the Matter­horn – as well as approx­i­mately 20 other four-thou­sand-meter peaks. To get visitors up there as quickly and conve­niently as possible, engi­neers in the 19th century created the Gorn­ergratbahn as one of the first fully electri­fied rack railroads in Switz­er­land. Its first ride took place on August 20, 1898. The route leads along forested slopes ans across flow­ering alpine meadows stretching against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
The train leaves from Zermatt and runs over nine kilome­ters with a maximum gradient of about 20 percent.

Restautant “Zum See”

Local special­ties at the foot of the Matter­horn
In a hamlet above Zermatt lies the rustic restau­rant, that offers local special­ties and mediterranean dishes made out of fresh regional produce. You can combine the visit conve­niently with a short hike at the foot of the Matter­horn.
(01:30 hrs, 3.3 km, eleva­tion change: 250 m)

The hamlets of Alpenzù

Idyllic hike on the Walser Trail
The idyllic walk leads along the western side of the Gressoney Valley, through forests and along alpine pastures. The destina­tion are the hamlets of Alpenzù Piccolo and Alpenzù Grande, which are of special cultural and histor­ical importance. They were built centuries ago by the mountain people of the Walser and have been preserved almost entirely unchanged. Both settle­ments are located on the great Walser Trail, which has been used since the 12th century to descend over the mountains into the Aosta Valley. On the way back you can see the magnif­i­cent backdrop of the Monte Rosa massif.
(03:00 hrs, 7 km, eleva­tion change: 410 m)

From Zermatt to Lausanne

167 km | 2:30 h
The route will take you through the upper Rhone Valley to Lake Geneva. Along the way you will pass Sion. The former capital of the canton Valais is tucked in among vine­yards and has a quaint old town with a certain French feel to it.

Lake Geneva

Medieval towns and castles in front of dramatic alpine scenery
Also called Lake Léman, the cres­cent-shaped body of water at the southwest edge of the Swiss Plateau between the Alps and the Jura mountains covers an area of 600 square km (230 square miles). The match­less beauty of the lake has always made it a magnet for people form all over the world, including celebri­ties such as Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn and Phil Collins. Numerous picturesque villages, vine­yards and castles dot the banks of the lake that serves as a tempo­rary reser­voir for the River Rhone, which enters at the north-west tip and exits at Geneva. Visitors should be sure to spend an evening in one of the numerous “Caveaux des Vignerons”: In each village a wine cellar is open almost every evening where the local prod­ucts can be sampled in an unfor­gettable atmo­sphere.

Martigny

Roman town with French flair
This ancient town lies between vine­yards and woods in the Rhone Knee. The Gallo-Roman temple of Mercury, the foun­da­tions of which were only discov­ered in 1976, bears witness to the fact that the Romans already recog­nised the strategic importance of the town at the inter­sec­tion of important roads and passes. Today the Musée Gallo Romain displays the most important archae­o­log­ical finds of the area. Also worth seeing is the Bernar­diner Museum, dedicated to the legendary rescue dogs of the Great St. Bernard.

Chillon Castle

Medieval castle at Lake Geneva
Alround 1000 years ago Burgun­dian kings and a bishop laid the foun­da­tions of the moated castle on the old Roman road. They chose the site carefully. On a rocky island surrounded by the waters of Lake Geneva and against the backdrop of the Vaud Alps, Chateau Chillon today is one of the most photographed places in western Switz­er­land.

Pfyfoltru Trail

Hike along the Varen vine­yards
“Pfyfoltru” is a word from the Valais dialect and means “butterfly”. The small circular hiking trail around Varen is named Pfyfoltru Trail because of the great diver­sity of butterflies found in the area. The reason for this high diver­sity is a joint approach to sustain­able viti­cul­ture, employed by the local wineries. From a vantage point at the church, one walks along the wine terraces, which have been planted since the early 1990s according to the principles organic winemaking.

Cheese dairy path

Cow pastures and dairies between Pringy and Moléson
The hike leads through the country­side of Gruyère and gives an insight into cheese making, the most famous craft of the region. Starting at La Maison du Gruyère, where maps of the theme trail are also avai­l­able, you head towards Moléson Village. Along the way you pass stables, cow pastures and rustic alpine huts. Eventu­ally you reach the family-run alpine cheese dairy of Moléson-sur-Gruyères, where cheese is still made tradi­tion­ally in a caul­dron over an open fire.
(02:40 hrs, 6.4 km, eleva­tion change: 440 m)
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Lausanne

Capital of the Swiss Riviera

The Romans had already founded a settle­ment called Lusona on the sunny northern shore of Lake Geneva. Today Lausanne is the centre of the “Swiss Riviera” and attracts visitors from all over the world with its enchanting old town and interna­tional flair.

In a way, Lausanne is even the cradle of tourism. The hotel school is the oldest in the world. A jewel is the early Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame, which is consid­ered the most beau­tiful building from the pre-Swiss Habsburg period.

Accommodation: A port hotel in Lausanne

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The family-run inn is ideally located on the shores of Lake Geneva. The inte­rior of the 20 bedrooms is practical and comfort­able.

Guests can relax in the outdoor restau­rant and enjoy the beau­tiful lake­side views, which are also offered by many of the bedrooms. The city centre of Lausanne is just a seven-minute walk away. The friendly hotel repre­sents a rare find in this overly expen­sive city: A good value for the money. For the entire stay guests receive the Lausanne Trans­port Card.

Canton of Fribourg

Living tradi­tions in western Switz­er­land
The canton of Fribourg is located in western Switz­er­land. If you want to explore the region exten­sively, you better bring your hiking boots with you, because the picturesque mountain landscape offers numerous hiking opportu­ni­ties on pano­ramic routes and theme trails.
For many people living in Fribourg, ances­tral customs and tradi­tions still play a major role today. A lot about the cultural heritage of the region is taught in school. As a visitor it may feel as if you have been trans­ported to another time. One of the most famous festiv­i­ties is the so-called “Alpa­bzug” in September and October. After spending the summer in the mountains, the cattle herds return to the Unter­land. Dressed in tradi­tional costumes, the herdsmen drive their cows, deco­rated with colorful flowers and bells, through the villages.

Thonon-les-Bains

Spa with picturesque view
The health resort with 35,000 inhab­i­tants lies picturesquely on a terrace on the southern shore of Lake Geneva. From the spa you can see far over the lake into the Swiss Jura. All around, wine is grown that bears the designa­tion of origin Vin de Savoie. Thonon-les-Bains was the seat of the Dukes of Savoy until 1589. Their castle stood on a peninsula in the lake and has completely disap­peared today. Ripaille Castle now stands on the same site. It was bought and rebuilt by an Alsa­tian indus­trialist in 1892.

Nyon

Charming village on Lake Geneva
This charming village is located on the shores of Lake Geneva halfway between Geneva and Lausanne and surrounded by the vine­yards of the La Côte area. Three Corinthian columns standing on a hill in the lake­side park attest to the region's Roman history. After conquering Gaul, Julius Caesar decided to estab­lish a colony in the area which is now the city of Nyon. The colony was called Iulia Equestris and had its center in Noviodunum. This can be seen in the exca­va­tions on display in the Roman museum. In summer, the town is a paradise for nature lovers and water sports enthu­siasts.

Lavaux

Pano­ramic hike through a World Heritage Site
As early as the 12th century, terraces were laid out for viti­cul­ture on the north­east shore of Lake Geneva. In 2007, the 800-hectare wine-growing area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A walking trail leads through the vine­yards boasting views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.
(02:10 hrs, 7.3 km, eleva­tion change: 210 m)

From Lausanne to Zürich

237 km | 3:00 h

The route leads through the Swiss Jura, the heavily forested, low mountain range in northwest Switz­er­land. From Yverdon at the southern tip of Lake Neuschâtel you may want to take a detour to Mont Chas­seron. The walk to the summit of Mont Chas­seron starts at St. Croix and takes about 90 minutes each way. Those who make the effort will be rewarded with breathtaking pano­ramic views of Lake Neuschâtel, the Jura Mountains and the Alps.

The city of Bern is also worth a stop. The capital of Switz­er­land was founded in the 12th century, then destroyed by a disas­trous fire in 1405 and rebuilt in the Renais­sance style. Most of these build­ings still stand today, making Bern one of Europe's leading exam­ples of urban devel­op­ment during the late Middle Ages. The entire city centre has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Lake Zurich

Popular destina­tion for day trips
Lake Zurich stretches in an arc between Zurich and Rapper­swil, surrounded by wooded slopes. At Rapper­swil, an arti­fi­cial dam sepa­rates the so-called Upper Lake from the main part of Lake Zurich.
In summer, the lake is a popular destina­tion for day trips. Restau­rants and cafés line up along the shore and ferry compa­nies offer boat trips.

Solothurn Cathedral

A master­piece of the number eleven
The early neoclas­sical cathedral designed by archi­tects Gaetano Matteo Pisoni and Paolo Antonio Pisoni has become the city's most famous landmark. The building is dedicated to the city's saints, the two martyrs Urs and Victor, who according to legend belonged to the Thebaic Legion and were beheaded for their Chris­tian faith in the Solothurn fort.
The cathedral was built in a period of eleven years, between 1762 and 1773. Eleven bells hang in the tower, which is 66 meters high. If you climb the 33 steps of the open staircase and enter the inte­rior, you will find eleven altars. They are simulta­ne­ously visible from just one place in the nave: the eleventh black stone. Why exactly the number eleven is omnip­re­sent in the cathedral, and more­over in the entire city, is not entirely clear. However, anyone who walks through the city with open eyes will encounter it again and again. The love for Solothurn's “magic number” and its multi­ples has even been recog­nized by UNESCO as an Intan­gible Cultural Heritage.

Rhine bridge Waldshut-Koblenz

Europe's oldest cont­in­u­ously used railway bridge
The 190 m long bridge with its over­head track between Waldshut and Koblenz is the oldest cont­in­u­ously used railway bridge in Europe. It was inau­gu­rated in 1857. The bridge pier on the Swiss side contains an explo­sive chamber. It was installed when polit­ical tensions arose between Switz­er­land and Prussia and the Prus­sian army threat­ened to invade. Today the bridge is at risk again because Deutsche Bahn wants to replace it with a new bridge.

Verena Gorge Hermitage

Romantic rock garden in the Verena Gorge
In the 12th century, when the area around Solothurn was still wilder­ness, a chapel was built at the bottom of Verena Gorge. From the 15th century until today, hermits have lived there. At the end of the 18th century, the hermitage was transformed into a romantic landscape garden. You can get there via an idyllic footpath through the Verena Gorge.
(01:00 hrs, 3 km, eleva­tion change: 90 m)

Around the Küss­aburg

Between Wutach and Rhine to the striking Castle
This easy hike between Wutach and the Rhine leads through the foothills of the Black Forest to the Küss­aburg, the striking fortress high above the Rhine Valley. The starting point is in picturesque Tiengen. The way back leads through romantic river valleys.
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Zürich

Old Town with trendy cafes and pubs

The city at the northern end of Lake Zurich began as a Roman settle­ment called Turicum. Zurich didn't become a free city until the 13th century, and shortly after that joined the newly estab­lished Swiss Confed­er­a­tion.

The town's rise to promi­nence began during the era of Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli, who lived in Zurich from 1484 to 1531 and laid the foun­da­tion for the emer­gence of a Puritan-capital­istic culture. Today Zurich is one of the world's richest cities in terms of per capita income and its citi­zens enjoy the best quality of life in the world according to a survey conducted in 2007. Million­aires and billion­aires from around the globe have estab­lished a resi­dence in the city because of Swiss bank privacy laws and the country's low tax rate. Yet Zurich has much more to offer than secret bank accounts and low taxes: an attrac­tive old town with chic cafés and bars, over 40 museums, and the famous Bahnhofss­trasse, one of the most elegant shopping avenues in Europe.

Accommodation: A 16th century mansion in downtown Zurich

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The small hotel in the centre of Zurich prides itself as an “oasis of tranquillity” in the heart of the city, and indeed the ability to relax in the secluded garden next to the Neptune fountain dating back to 1770 is one of the many features that set this prop­erty apart.

The small hotel with 35 indi­vid­u­ally deco­rated bedrooms offers conve­nience and comfort on the highest level. Lovers of wine and gourmet cooking will appre­ciate the restau­rant's market-fresh cuisine and exquisite wine cellar. The pleasant oasis in the bustling city is the ideal refuge after a hard day of sightseeing in the nearby Old Town.

Fraumünster church

Famous cycle of windows by Marc Chagall
Fraumünster church is one of the four main churches of Zurich. Today it is known above all for the five large stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall in the 1970s, depicting various biblical scenes in expres­sive colours.

Museum Rietberg

Cultures of the world
The Museum Rietberg is one of the largest art museums in Switz­er­land and at the same time the only one dedicated to the art of Non-Euro­pean cultures. It is located in Rieterpark, in three 19th century villas, a coach house and a modern pavilion made of green glass.
The collec­tion includes tradi­tional as well as contem­po­rary works of cultures from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. The perma­nent exhi­bi­tion, as well as various events and special exhi­bi­tions, aim to appeal to a local as well as an interna­tional audi­ence. The main objec­tive is to provide an insight into the diver­sity of artistic forms of expres­sion and to contribute to an open dialogue between the cultures of the world.

Uetliberg

Above the roofs of Zurich
The Uetliberg is about 870 meter high and boasts a magnif­i­cent view of the city and the lake. The Uetlibergbahn takes you up to the summit. In summer the Planet Trail, an almost two-hour hiking route, leads over the Albis ridge to the south. 1978 it was designed as a path through our solar system, which is scaled down on a scale of 1:1 billion. The hike begins at the sun, a yellow sphere with a diam­eter of 1.39 meters.

(01:50 hrs, 5.4 km, eleva­tion change: 170 m)

From Zürich to Ander­matt

110 km | 2:00 h

The scenic journey will take you along the northwest side of Lake Zurich, the western shore of Lake Zug and the south­east end of Lake Lucerne on your way through the Canton of Schwyz.

You will then head high up into the Uri Mountains to the St. Gotthard Pass. If time allows you should take the old St. Gotthard Road (Route 2), an ancient trade route that runs parallel to the motorway.

Rigi Kulm

“The Queen of Mountains”
The Rigi is a mountain massif in central Switz­er­land surrounded by three lakes: Lake Lucerne, Lake Lauerz and Lake Zug. It's summit is about 1,800 meters high, boasting spectac­ular views over the nearby Alps and to the Swiss Plateau. In the 18th century Rigi Kulm became the “pioneer mountain of Alpine tourism” and ist attracted trav­ellers from all across Europe. Goethe was here, as well as Mark Twain and Tolstoy. In addi­tion to numerous hiking trails, the Rigi is served by several cogwheel railways as well as a modern cable car.

Swiss Museum of Trans­port

Discov­eries between earth and space
The Swiss Museum of Trans­port presents its perma­nent exhi­bi­tion on an area of around 20,000 square meters. It provides informa­tion on various topics related to trans­port, logis­tics and mobility. Inter­ac­tive exhibits and multi­media presenta­tions, e.g. a virtual space walk in the plan­etarium and a flight simu­lator, offer a fun expe­r­i­ence for the whole family.

Lucerne

Jewel of Central Switz­er­land
In the 7th century the Luciara monastery stood where the river Reuss leaves Lake Lucerne. A trading place grad­u­ally grew around the monastery, which was declared a town in 1178. The citi­zens and merchants benefited from the loca­tion on Gotthards­traße. When the Habsburg Duke Rudolph bought the town in 1291, the rebellious citi­zens joined forces with the orig­inal cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden to secure the survival of the young Swiss Confed­er­a­tion. Pros­perity and beauty are at home in all epochs of the city – in the medieval build­ings, the patri­cian houses of the Renais­sance, the Art Nouveau hotels and the bold build­ings of the present. The landmark is the Kapellbrück (Chapel Bridge) from the 14th century. It leads across the crystal clear lake, which reflects a magnif­i­cent mountain pano­rama.

Rigi pano­ramic trail

A stroll along the old railway line
The pano­ramic trail leads along the former railway line between Rigi Kaltbad and Rigi Schei­degg, which was in oper­a­tion from 1874 to 1931. Accompa­nied by a magnif­i­cent view over the Alps, Lake Lucerne and the Schwyz basin, you hike over old railroad bridges and through shady woods. The route remains quite flat most of the time, only towards there is a gentle ascent.
(03:50 hrs, 10.1 km, eleva­tion change: 360 m)

Culinary hike

Mountain pano­rama and cheese tasting
From Rigi Kulm, the hike leads to the Alpkäserei Chäserenholz, an alpine dairy, where a total of 15 different types of cheese are produced. The farm can be visited indi­vid­u­ally or as part of a guided tour with the owner, which, however, must be booked in advance. After the tour, a cheese platter awaits for tasting, accompa­nied by a glass of white wine. The next stop along the way is the BärgGnuss restau­rant, which is open in summer an offers mainly local special­ties. After a good meal you can cont­inue the hike. The trail leads in a loop to Rigi Kaltbad. The culmina­tion of the tour is a stop at the Chänzeli, a vantage point high above Lake Lucerne.
(04:00 hrs, 10.6 km, eleva­tion change: 550 m)
F

Andermatt

At the center of exciting mountain passes

For many centuries Ander­matt was situ­ated at the premier crossroads for both north-south and east-west traffic across the Alps.

The ancient Swiss town lies at the center of four key Alpine passes: the Gotthard Pass to southern Switz­er­land, the Gösch­en­eralp Pass to north-central Switz­er­land, the stunning Furka Pass to the Rhone Valley in the west, and the Oberalp Pass to the Rhine Valley. Many gorgeous Alpine drives of various length and diffi­culty can be taken from Ander­matt. A rela­tively unchal­lenging yet scenic excur­sion is the three-passes pano­ramic drive around the Rhone Glacier, either in your own car or in one of the canary-yellow Post buses. A truly unfor­gettable expe­r­i­ence is a ride on the Furka Steam Train from Realp to Oberwald.

Accommodation: An Alpine hotel near St. Gotthard

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The hotel is situ­ated near the histor­ical Devil's Bridge on what for centuries was the main trading route across the Alps.

Since comple­tion of the Gotthard Road Tunnel in 1980, however, it has grown nearly as quiet in these parts as it was when Goethe stayed in Ander­matt on his way to Italy over 200 years ago. The bedrooms in the tradi­tional Swiss hotel are bright and comfort­able. Regional Swiss special­i­ties are served in the wood-panelled dining room.

Ticino

Para­disiac lakes, remote mountain villages
Because of its warm climate, the south­ernmost canton of Switz­er­land is also called “sunroom”. Closed off to the north by the Gotthard massif, wine, figs, lemons and olives find perfect condi­tions over here. When after several waves of emigra­tion Ticino was heavily depop­u­lated in the early 20th century, painters, poets and anar­chists tired of civi­l­iza­tion discov­ered the para­disiac region around Lake Maggiore, among them Hermann Hesse. They were followed by tourists, attracted by the idyllic scenery and the 2,300 hours of sunshine a year. Around the Great Lakes lie the tourist centers of Ascona, Lugano and Locarno, which host several interna­tional music and film festivals. In a striking contrast to this rich and sophis­ticated holiday region are remote valleys such as Verzasca, Maggia- or Onser­none, whose wild chestnut forests, untamed rivers and magnif­i­cent rock forma­tions are only acces­sible to hikers. Everywhere one comes across abandoned Rustici, stone houses built without mortar, which testify to narrow, squalid living condi­tions of previous gener­a­tions in Ticino.

Furka steam locomo­tive

Over the pass with the cogwheel railway
After the Furka Base Tunnel between Realp and Oberwald was completed, the cogwheel railway over the pass was deemed to be closed perma­nently. However, ideal­ists and railway enthu­siasts ensured that the historic railway line over the mountain was preserved. From May to late September steam engines depart daily needing a good two hours for the 18 kilometer route.

Tremo­las­traße

Scenic road at the St. Gotthard Pass
This mountain road winds its way elegantly up the Gotthard Pass. It has been a protected landmark since 1832 and is consid­ered one of the “great drives of the Alps.” From the Middle Ages up until the 20th century, the pass was one of the most important routes over the mountains. Coaches would use the road in the summer, and sleighs in the winter. Today, it is preferred by nostalgic visitors; those in a hurry can simply drive straight through the mountain via the Gotthard tunnel.

From Ander­matt to Gardone Riviera

332 km | 4:30 h
G

Lago di Garda

Lemons and wine on Italy's largest lake

This is Italy's largest (370 sq. km) and undoubt­edly most beau­tiful lake. The northern end is surrounded by mountains (Mt.

Balbo), its southern end by gentle hills. The lake's climate is temperate and its flora is char­ac­teris­tically Mediterranean, a combina­tion that has made it famous and its small Riviera-like towns (Malce­sine, Bren­zone, Torri del Benaco, Bardolino, Lazise, Peschiera) highly frequented tourist stops since ancient times. There are several natural parks in the region of Peschiera and Casteln­uovo del Garda that rank among the most famous in Europe. However, this is also a region of fertile country­side with fine wine that once attracted kings, merchants and card­inals. Recre­a­tional activ­i­ties such as sailing, motor boating and water-skiing are offered.

Accommodation: A 15th century manor house

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The villa is a reno­vated 15th century manor house set on the green hill­side that slopes steeply down to Lake Garda.

The sensa­tional views will make your stay unfor­gettable. The well-appointed rooms contain a delicate blend of works of art and antique furni­ture. The stone house stands in a magnif­i­cent park where both body and mind can relax. The 80,000 square meter park contains lush vegeta­tion, broken here and there by natural water falls and gently shaded paths. A succes­sion of small clear­ings, fruit trees, orna­mental shrubs, flowers and aromatic herb gardens conveys a sense of peace and well-being.

Gardone Riviera

Waterfront with exquisite restau­rants and cafes
The picturesque town on the western shore is consid­ered the most elegant holiday resort at Lake Garda. Exquisite restau­rants and cafes await on the waterfront. Within the sizable botan­ical gardens (10,000 square meters) grow more than 2,000 plant species, including subtrop­ical ones thanks to the mild climate. The Vitto­riale degli Ital­iani was the resi­dence of the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzi. Today the complex is a spacious museum on an area of nine hectares.

Boating on Lake Garda

The most beau­tiful places in 30-minute inter­vals
Most Lake Garda towns feature a jetty where excur­sion- and speed-boats land. Informa­tion on times and prices can be obtained during a walk along the prom­enade. Gener­ally speaking it is not neces­sary to reserve, as the boats run approx­i­mately every 30 minutes to an hour. And if a boat is too crowded then you just take the next one.

Lago di Valvestino

Fjord-like reser­voir with crystal clear water
From Gargnano a steep pano­ramic road leads up to Lago di Valvestino. It travels through the romantic and wild landscape of the Parco Regionale Dell Alto Garda Bres­ciano. Along the way one cont­in­u­ally passes spots with great views of Lake Garda. The reser­voir itself looks more like a Norwe­gian fjord. Restrained by Monte Bagno, Monte Alberelli, and Monte Carzen it has crystal clear water. Around the lake are a number of marked trails.

From Gardone Riviera to Tessera

Rental car drop-off

From Gardone Riviera to Venice

188 km | 3:00 h

Rental car drop-off

Rental car drop-off
Loca­tion: Venice Airport (Desk at Airport)

13 days
from € 2,399.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)
  • Sunny Cars Permit for Switzerland (payable on site)

An- und Abreise: Flüge zum Selberbuchen finden Sie im Internet. Falls Sie mit der Bahn anreisen möchten, buchen wir gern das Ticket für Sie.
You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–September

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultant
Alina Frielingsdorf

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-25

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