Stay at a hotel only accessible by cable car on a tour of the spectacular Alpine landscapes of Western Switzerland. The round-trip tour from Zurich includes Switzerland's highest mountain, deepest valley and most stunning lakes.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Dollar Thrifty
Vehicle: Volvo V40 or similar (CDAR)
Location: Zurich Airport (Desk at Airport)
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.
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.
In the beautiful village of Andermatt, directly on the Reuss river and close to the Gotthard massif, stands the 300-year-old building which now houses a boutique hotel.
During its renovation, the old charm was consciously preserved – old materials such as wood panelling, beams and masonry were combined with modern elements in high-quality design. Each of the three categories offers rooms that have been furnished with a lot of attention to detail. Their design was influenced by Feng Shui and their alpine environment. In the morning a rich Breakfast buffet with many local products awaits and provides a perfect start into the day. In the bar of the hotel, one can not only choose from 30 types of whisky, but there are also regular special events around the topic of single malts.
Although located just 25 km south of Lake Lucerne, the Alpine town founded in 1120 exists in a completely different world and is suitable for longer stays. Mount Titlis soars above the picturesque mountain valley to the south, while Mount Hahnen dominates the skyline to the east of the town, creating a fork in the valley. Numerous cable cars and ski lifts lead up the mountainside, especially in the area around Titlis. During the summer months, a network of marked trails of various levels of difficulty await hikers. Other possible activities include mountain climbing and paragliding.
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.
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.
The spectacular route leads through the Furka Pass in the Upper Alps to the Rhone Glacier, which is only a few minutes' walk from the Hotel Belvédère.
Just below the glacier the Rhone River begins its 800 km journey to the Mediterranean Sea. You will follow the course of the river through Upper Valais to Visp, then turn off into a side valley leading to Zermatt.
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.
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.
Red and zebra is the surprisingly attractive colour combination that greets guests to this tastefully decorated hotel, in which every room is different, and every room features a carefully coordinated colour scheme.
As guests will happily discover, the entire property has been thoughtfully designed to please the body and soul, from the gourmet restaurant in the warm, wood-panelled dining room to the full three levels of swimming pool and spa facilities. The extraordinary hotel endeavours to make a stay there an intrinsic part of the Zermatt experience. And it succeeds.
The valley in the extreme northwest of Italy is an independent region – by far the smallest in Italy, but also one of the most beautiful. The valley is surrounded by the highest mountains in Europe. To the west the Mont Blanc, to the north the Matterhorn and the Monterosa group, to the south the Gran Paradiso massif. While the largest glaciers in Europe lie at the top, wine and palm trees grow at the bottom. The large and the small St.-Bernhard-Pass have been opening up the valley for many centuries. Numerous customs castles and mountain fortresses have been preserved along the medieval trade routes.
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.
The mighty castle does not lie on a cliff, but only on a hill. Apparently it did not serve as a defense, but was from the outset the prestigious residence of the Challant family. Since the 14th century, a magnificent courtyard has been built around the keep, decorated with murals depicting Saint George as a dragon slayer and a group of wise men and prophets.
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.
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.
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.
French lifestyle, international culture and an unsurpassed beautiful location on the lake with the same name makes Geneva one of the most livable cities in Switzerland – but also one of the most expensive!
World history was written in Geneva during the Reformation, when the reformer Calvin introduced a harsh and strict church discipline in the city. While dancing, drinking and singing were banned, Calvin allowed an interest-based economy, which was forbidden to Christians in Catholic surroundings at that time. As a result Geneva became an important trade- and banking center. Today, 200 international organizations have their headquarters in Geneva. More than 40% of the inhabitants are foreign nationals. Landmarks in Geneva are the lakefront and the Rhone, on whose bank the three-towered cathedral is located.
The B&B is situated on a large green plot in a rural atmosphere in Petit-Saconnex, a quiet part of Geneva. Alain and Sylvie first renovated the former home of Sylvie's grandparents in 2012, which was built in 1923 and is now a listed building like many other houses in the neighbourhood.
After moving in with their children in 2013, they decided to convert an outbuilding into a guest house. Today, the hosts offer three tastefully furnished rooms, whose design takes up typical Swiss themes (mountains, lakes and pastures). All rooms are equipped with a kitchenette, in addition a common kitchen can be used; in the morning a freshly filled basket with Breakfast ingredients is brought to the rooms. In a neighbouring villa two apartments are also available for self-catering. The city center with shopping and business districts and the lake can be reached quickly.
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.
The stretch will take you across the central Swiss Plateau past Bern with the Jura Mountains on your left and the Alps on your right.
The Swiss capital is definitely worth a stop. The city's medieval core was destroyed by a fire in 1405 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. The unique collection of Renaissance buildings in the city centre is now a World Heritage Site.
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.
Like the entire town of Mürren in which it is located, the unique mountain hotel is only accessible by cable car. It stands right next to the cable car station and offers 26 rooms with sensational views of the Bernese Alps.
The restaurant with its panoramic view terrace serves cheese fondue and other Swiss specialities. The in-house sauna and the local indoor swimming pool are available to guests at no charge. Local activities include a thrilling ride on the cable car to the top of Mount Schildhorn, hiking on any of numerous marked paths, and a visit to nearby Trümmelbach Falls. A ride on the historical train that runs along the top of the valley from Mürren to the Lauterbrunnen cable car station is also recommended.
Mürren is situated in the heart of the Bernese Alps and faces the towering peaks of mounts Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The car-free town with a population of 450 is nestled on a sunny mountain terrace high above the spectacular Lauterbrunnen Valley, one of Europe’s deepest valleys lined by over 500 m steep limestone cliffs. Mürren can only be reached by a cable car system that continues in three more stages to the peak of Mount Schilthorn (2,970 m). On a clear day the view from the top extends to Mont Blanc in the south and the Black Forest in the north. The revolving restaurant on the summit was once used for a scene in a James Bond movie. A number of walking paths start from Mürren. A particularly scenic route leads from the Grütschalp via Winteregg to Mürren. The view of the surrounding mountain peaks is absolutely stunning on clear sunny afternoons.
The saddle between the Mönch and the Jungfrau (both mountains are 4,000 meters high), is covered with snow year-round. Around 600 meters east of the Jungfraujoch stands the Sphinx (3,454 m), a distinctive peak with an observation deck and an observatory. Since 1912, it has also been the final station of the Jungfrau railway, making it the highest train station in Europe. The railway, which runs from Scheidegg near Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch, attracts countless visitors thanks to the phenomenal view it provides of the Bernese Alps. In Summer, you can hike from the station to the Mönchsjoch hut.
The hike starts just behind the Schilthorn cable car and leads up to the Spielbodenalp. We continue downhill in the direction of Gimmelwald. At the next junction follow the sign “Sprutz”. The descent down to the waterfall is steep and often a little slippery, so be careful. Since the path leads behind the waterfall, the experience is often associated with a small refreshment. All around it drizzles, splashes and roars. With a rain jacket you will like to stay here for a little while, it is dangerous only for the camera. You won't meet the masses that gondola up to the Schilthorn here. (round trip: 6.7 kilometers, 3:30 hours, up and down: 456 meters)
The first section leads to Gimmelwald and provides a comfortable start. Afterwards it descends to the Sefinental. In the valley the hiking trail “Sefinen Lütschine” leads to Flirten. From there its a continual climb of around 400 metres in altitude, up to the Oberberg. The path continues to the Rotstockhütte. After a well-deserved break, the descent needs to be tackled. There are several possibilities: The fastest one leads past Bryndli down to the Spielbodenalp (steep). The last part however is a pleasant end to the hike. A small detour from the Spielbodenalp to the waterfall “Sprutz” is worthwhile. (round trip: 15.1 kilometers, 5 hours, up and down: 809 meters)
In the open-air museum you can find over 100 original, centuries-old buildings from all parts of Switzerland, 250 native farm animals, mainly endangered breeds, as well as historical useful plants (vegetables, herbs, cereals). In addition, demonstrations of traditional crafts and special events take place, which give insight into the former life. The museum is supported by a private charity founded in 1968.
Located in the heart of old Switzerland, Lake Lucerne borders on and is surrounded by the three original Swiss cantons: Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden.
The area around the lake played an important role in the national and political myths and legends, among others those of the Swiss national hero Wilhelm Tell. Due to the reflection of the Alpine mountains in the water, Lake Lucerne is widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in Switzerland. The best way to experience the cross-shaped lake, originally formed by a glacier, is by taking a ride on one of the paddle steamers or cruise boats that connect Lucerne, Brunnen and Flüelen. A number of marked hiking paths of varying length and difficulty are located on the southern side of the lake at the foot of the Alps. Highly recommended are the cable car or cogwheel railway to one of the viewpoints on the summits of Mount Pilatus, Rigi or Stanserhorn.
The unique hotel was constructed of seven carefully restored buildings in the medieval old town of Lucerne. Every room in the inn has a character of its own, which makes guests feel as if they were staying in a private home rather than a hotel.
The restaurant specializes in French cuisine, and during the summer months meals are served on the rooftop terrace overlooking the irregular medieval townscape of Lucerne and the lake beyond.
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.
A thousand steps lead to the pilgrimage chapel in Hergiswald, which was consecrated in 1662. It is simple on the outside, but unique on the inside. The picture of the Black Madonna and a vaulted wooden ceiling with 324 sections amaze and enthuse art historians. Kaspar Megglinger, the creative artist, was particularly known in the Baroque period for his Marian symbolism. After all, the more than 300 images of the Virgin Mary are regarded as the only cycle in the world to have been designed in this form.
The rugged mountain massif south of Lucerne is Switzerland's most famous vantage point. From above you have a fantastic view of Lake Lucerne, Lucerne and the Central Alps. Earlier generations regarded it not as a sublime local mountain, but as an uncanny place of dragons and ghosts that sent weather plunges and mudslides into the city. No wonder there are so many tales and legends about Pilatus. From Kriens a cable car leads up the mountain, from Alpnachstad a rack railway. The historic Hotel Pilatus-Kulm awaits you at the top.
Location: Zurich Airport (Desk at Airport)