Road Scholar : Home
Splendors of Switzerland By Rail

Program Number: 15879RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/12/2014 - 8/27/2014; 9/2/2014 - 9/17/2014; 9/22/2014 - 10/7/2014; 5/11/2015 - 5/26/2015; 5/28/2015 - 6/12/2015; 6/16/2015 - 7/1/2015; 6/26/2015 - 7/11/2015; 7/21/2015 - 8/5/2015; 8/11/2015 - 8/26/2015; 9/6/2015 - 9/21/2015; 9/23/2015 - 10/8/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Switzerland
Price starting at: $5,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 39; 14 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Switzerland’s rail network winds through 3,000 miles of meadows and mountains, making it the densest railroad system in the world. Travel classic routes through the Swiss Alps, ride the famed Glacier Express and experience the picturesque Swiss-Italian narrow gauge line. Hear German spoken in central Switzerland, Italian in Locarno and Romansh in St. Moritz as you compare the history and culture of these diverse areas.




Highlights

• Ascend Mount Rigi, the “Queen of the Mountains,” aboard Europe’s oldest cog railway.
• Take a field trip to an Alpine dairy farm to learn how Berner Alpkase cheese is made.
• Discover the architecturally stunning Zentrum Paul Klee museum.



Activity Particulars

Walking / hiking up to three miles per day on uneven, hilly terrain. Elevations of 6,000 feet. Must carry your own luggage on and off trains.




Date Specific Information

8-12-2014, 9-2-2014, 9-22-2014, 5-11-2015, 5-28-2015, 6-16-2015, 6-26-2015, 7-21-2015, 8-11-2015, 9-6-2015, 9-23-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Zurich; train to Lucerne, 3 nights; train and boat to Interlaken, 3 nights; train to Brig, 2 nights; train to Locarno, 3 nights; train to St. Moritz, 2 nights; train to Zurich, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Zurich
Train to Lucerne
3 nights

In the heart of Switzerland, survey the nation’s history and geography. Visit the National Transport Museum to learn how the country addressed unique transport challenges by building railways through the mountains. Journey to Mount Rigi and return to Lucerne by paddle steamer.



Train and boat to Interlaken
3 nights
Train to Brig
2 nights

Journey to Interlaken, the gateway to the mountains, where train routes extend in all directions into the high Alps. Discuss the human history of the Alps and the challenges of Alpine agriculture. Take a field trip to Bern, the Swiss capital, and explore its Old Town, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Continue by train through Swiss wine country to the banks of Lake Geneva. Explore the car-free mountain village of Zermatt to find centuries-old barns and traditional chalets. Take an underground funicular to a mountain overlook for a breathtaking look at more than 30 snowcapped peaks including the Matterhorn.



Train to Locarno
3 nights
Train to St. Moritz
2 nights
Train to Zurich
1 night
Departure

Ride onward to the lakeside town of Locarno in the Italian-speaking Ticino region. Learn about the history of Ticino and the future of the Swiss transportation system. Venture to Valle Verzasca, a remote valley in Northern Ticino, and go inside Castelgrande, the largest of the Three Castles of Bellinzona. Board the 130-year-old railway of Gotthardbahn, with its astonishing ramps and spirals, and enjoy breathtaking vistas of glaciers and the Italian Alps on the Glacier and Bernina Express lines. Study the ecology of the Engadine Valley, home to the legendary mountain resort of St. Moritz. Enjoy some free time in Zurich.




Switzerland

Switzerland is synonymous with one geographical entity: the Alps. Glaciers and rock formations abound throughout the country, along with pristine alpine lakes and pastoral meadows. What is more often overlooked, however, is Switzerland’s unique blending of cultures and moods. Mediterranean-style piazzas, bustling cities, Romanesque churches, cafes reminiscent of Paris, and small villages are all well represented.



Accommodations
Lucerne: Hotel overlooking Lake Lucerne. Interlaken: Hotel with spectacular mountain views. Brig: Hotel with castle and mountain views. Locarno: Beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Maggiore. St. Moritz: Historic Alpine hotel in Art Nouveau style. Zurich: Hotel near the airport.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Andrea John

Andrea John has worked as an educator throughout her professional life, both as a school teacher and in adult education. Born and raised in Basel, she moved in 1970 to the Canton of Aargau in the middle of Switzerland. In 1975, she graduated from the University for Special Education in Zurich. After teaching physically handicapped children and special education classes in primary schools for several years, Andrea started working in adult education and in teacher training for the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland. She specialized in the fields of social studies and basic music instruction. In the 1990s, she organized and co-led courses for an adult education center near Aarau. It was during this time when Andrea became involved with Road Scholar — nearly 20 years later, she continues to develop and lead Road Scholar learning adventures throughout Switzerland!
 
Esther Gloor

Esther Gloor grew up in the German speaking part of Northern Switzerland and moved to Basel for her university studies in 2007. She has been involved with Road Scholar since 2008, accompanying various programs across Switzerland and lecturing primarily on the Swiss Alps. She finished her studies in geography and history (Master of Arts) at the University of Basel in 2011. Presently, she is pursuing her doctorate in the field of urban planning at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel. Esther has many interests and hobbies, but she is most passionate about experiencing different cultures through travel.
 
Rauati Erni

Rauati Erni was born and raised in Basel as one of three children of an Indonesian-Swiss couple. Growing up in both cultures, Rauati developed a strong interest for exploring different countries, which eventually led to her travels throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. Rauati completed her bachelor studies at the University of Fribourg, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, in mass-media research and communication studies. After working in the fields of Human Resources Marketing and Communication, she decided to study Corporate Communication at the University of Lugano in the Southern part of Switzerland. At the same time, she began working on Road Scholar programs. Since then Rauati has enjoyed each Road Scholar assignment very much, and she looks forward to future lifelong learning experiences.
 
Julie Guidotti

Julie Guidotti, a Minnesota native, made Ticino her home in 1990. She appreciates the unique combination of Italian lifestyle and language mixed with Swiss efficiency in this southern-most canton. An educational excursion leader since 2003, Julie knows the region’s history, culture, and cuisine. She loves to show visiting groups, journalists, and other explorers the varied areas of the canton and just how much culture, history and nature Ticino has to offer in a relatively compact area. She speaks English, German, and Italian as well as the local dialect that is still spoken in many of the villages.
 
Béatrice Wüst-Täschler

Beatrice Wüst-Täschler was born and raised in St. Gallen, Switzerland and has lived in Sursee since 1976 where she began a career in hospitality. She and her husband owned and operated a hotel for 10 years after which she earned her degrees at the International School of Tourism in Zurich and at the Oekreal Management Center, respectively. More recently she has pursued studies in storytelling. For 16 years, she served as manager at an information center as well as on a travel board for the Canton Lucerne. She has enjoyed leading educational excursions throughout Switzerland. Though now retired, she still teaches courses in cooking and catering as well as excursion leading and story telling. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her husband and her pets. She has lectured for Road Scholar programs for over 15 years, with a focus on the Swiss Alps and the legends of the Valais region.
 
Peter Frey

Peter W. Frey was born and educated in Baden, Switzerland. During high school, he spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Freeport, Ill. After studying history, sociology and public law at the Universities of Berne and Zurich, he joined the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation as a reporter first in television, then in radio. During his career as a journalist he worked as newscaster, anchorman, editor, foreign correspondent, radio news director and newspaper producer. For five years, he worked as spokesperson for the cantonal (state) government of the Canton of Aargau. Since taking early retirement, he devotes his time to freelance writing, volunteer work for the International Amateur Radio Union (he has been a licensed ham radio operator since 1976), and to his historical interests in the Swiss emigration to the United States in the 19th century. He has lectured on Road Scholar programs for more than 15 years.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Royal
  Lucerne, Switzerland 3 nights
   Hotel Artos
  Interlaken, Switzerland 3 nights
   Schlosshotel Art Furrer
  Brig, Switzerland 2 nights
   Hotel Geranio au Lac
  Locarno, Switzerland 3 nights
   Hotel Soldanella
  St. Moritz, Switzerland 2 nights
   Hotel Welcome Inn
  Zurich, Switzerland 1 night
 Hotel Royal
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Royal is a three-star hotel situated on the lakeside of Lucerne. This cozy, family-run hotel enjoys an elevated, quiet position directly overlooking the famous bay of Lucerne and takes in the magnificent view of Pilatus, Bürgenstock and Rigi. It has a terrace overlooking the lake. The hotel is in walking distance of the old town. There are local buses stopping nearby that can take you into the heart of the modern city in a few minutes.
  Contact info: Rigistrasse 22
Lucerne,  CH-6006 Switzerland
phone: +41 41 419 46 46
web: www.hotel-royal-luzern.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a telephone, television with radio, and hairdryers are available.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a cafe, lounge, library, fax machine, free WIFI Internet access in the lobby, and a garden terrace with marvelous views over the city and the bay of Lucerne. A computer with printer is available in the lobby (for a small fee).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Artos
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Artos is a three-star hotel, centrally yet quietly located. All rooms are spacious, en suite with a balcony and offer a view to the mountains.
  Contact info: Alpenstrasse 45
Interlaken,  CH-3800 Switzerland
phone: +41 33 828 88 44
web: www.artos-hotel.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a balcony, radio, television, telephone, hair dryer, and a safe box or lockable closet.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a cafeteria-restaurant, lounge, library, fax machine, a computer with free Internet access and a printer, small shop at the front desk, free WIFI in public areas, laundry facility, a spacious garden, and a wellness area with whirlpools, perfume and massage showers, steam bath, sauna, and physiotherapy.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Schlosshotel Art Furrer
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Schlosshotel Art Furrer in Brig is located in the southern part of Switzerland, named canton Wallis, and is close to the old town and restaurants. This bed and breakfast is a comfortable and quietly situated hotel with a view of the Stockalper Castle and its beautiful garden.
  Contact info: Am Schlosspark
Brig,  CH-3900 Switzerland
phone: +41 27 922 95 95
web: www.schlosshotel.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, television, radio, fax/modem telephone, and WIFI Internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, a private garden with beautiful views to the Stockalper Castle, a library, free Internet station, mini bar in the cozy living room, laundry service (washing and drying CHF 25 per machine), and sauna.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Geranio au Lac
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located on the lakeside of Lake Maggiore, the newly renovated Hotel Geranio au Lac offers style and comfort in the midst of natural beauty. Enjoy magnificent views of the Swiss landscape from your bedroom window, along with close proximity to both the railway station and the city center.
  Contact info: Viale Verbano 13
Muralto Locarno,  6600 Switzerland
phone: +41 91 735 80 00
web: www.hotelgeranio.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, safe, balcony, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a lounge, library, fitness room, free coffee & tea all day in the breakfast room, computer in the lobby with Internet and free wireless Internet access in the rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Soldanella
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Soldanella is located in a quiet neighborhood in the town center of St. Moritz, 6000 feet above sea level in the Engadine Valley. The Engadine is a uniquely beautiful landscape with forests, majestic glaciers and crystal-clear mountain lakes. The hotel offers a great view to Lake St. Moritz and the surrounding mountains. Museums, restaurants, bars and the Corviglia hiking and skiing area are within walking distance. St. Moritz is a sophisticated spa town where the rich and wealthy meet, particularly in wintertime. Its center is dominated by luxurious shops and fancy 5-star hotels.
  Contact info: Via Somplaz 17
St. Moritz,  7500 Switzerland
phone: +41 81 830 85 00
web: www.hotel-soldanella.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, telephone, radio, safe, mini bar, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, Bacchus wine cellar, beautiful terrace overlooking the lake, wellness center, computer in the lobby and free wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Welcome Inn
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Welcome Inn is a modern middle-class hotel equipped with every comfort and offers a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel is conveniently located only 10 minutes from the Zürich Airport and is a 3-minute walk from the railway station of Kloten.
  Contact info: Holbergstrasse 1
Kloten,  CH-8302 Switzerland
phone: +41 44 804 75 75
web: www.welcomegroup.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, telephone, broadband Internet access, television, pay television, radio, mini bar, and a safe box.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers three restaurants, a computer with Internet access and printer in the lobby, laundry service, free tickets to the public indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and vouchers for free access to the gym at the partner Hotel Allegra which is within walking distance.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Lucerne, Switzerland. 4:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Royal that night.
  End of Program:
Zurich, Switzerland. Farewell dinner at hotel the night before departure. You will be staying at Hotel Welcome Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and public buses all over Switzerland on a regular (usually hourly) schedule, boats as public transportation on many lakes, city buses in all bigger agglomerations. Check the websites: www.sbb.ch (for trains) and the city websites.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lucerne
  Nearest city or town:  Lucerne
  Nearest highway: A 2
  Nearest airport:  Zurich
  Transportation to site: There are direct trains from the airport to Lucerne every hour (fee is 30 Swiss Francs CHF). Then take a taxi from the Lucerne train station to the hotel (fee is about 18 Swiss Francs CHF).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Zurich
  Nearest city or town:  Kloten
  Nearest highway: A 51 direction Zurich Airport
  Nearest airport:  Zurich
  Transportation from site: The hotel offers a free shuttle bus to and from the airport. Travel time is about 10-15 minutes.
Elevation Note: Mt Rigi (4500 ft), train to Kleine Scheidegg (6000 ft), St Moritz (5600 ft), Bernina Pass (7690 ft).

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Friday, June 26)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival and Orientation
(Saturday, June 27)
   
 Morning: Arrival Zürich-Kloten airport (ZRH). Transfer by direct Intercity-train from the airport to Lucerne (direct trains from the airport to Lucerne run every hour). Check-in at the hotel (luggage transport from the train station to the hotel provided).
 Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free time to relax. 4:00 PM Program Orientation and getting to know each other.
 Dinner: Welcome drink and dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Royal
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Swiss Transport Museum
(Sunday, June 28)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: “Introduction to Switzerland: Geography and Cultural Regions.” Coffee break. This will be followed by a short lecture on "The Swiss Transportation System."
 Lunch: Lunch at the museum's restaurant.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Swiss Transport Museum. Guided visit led by professional museum staff.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Watch videos about Switzerland.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Royal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lucerne / Mt. Rigi / Paddle Steamer on Lake Lucerne
(Monday, June 29)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: “Swiss History and Politics.” Excursion to the old town of Lucerne by public bus and on foot. You will see the famous sights and landmarks: the Lion Monument, the chapel bridge, the modern Congress and Concert Hall and the old town on both banks of the Reuss River. Before lunch, you board one of the five historic paddle wheelers that still run on Lake Lucerne. Cruise to Vitznau.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant on Mt. Rigi.
 Afternoon: Excursion by cog railway to Mt Rigi. You will enjoy the great panorama on an easy walk on top of Mt. Rigi. The way back is via Arth-Goldau. The cog railway Vitznau-Rigi is the oldest in Europe (but well maintained and equipped with beautiful modern cars). It was constructed by the same Swiss engineer who built the cog railway up to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Back in Lucerne, we will visit the Lion Monument.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Royal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Interlaken
(Tuesday, June 30)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture and question time: "Switzerland Today." Journey aboard the Golden Pass Express train and by boat to Interlaken via Bruenig Pass and Lake Brienz.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Arrival in Interlaken. Enjoy free time.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Lecture: "The Alps - History, Culture and Challenges."
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Bern / Muenster / Zentrum Paul Klee
(Wednesday, July 1)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: All day excursion by Intercity train to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland. Even though Bern is the capital of Switzerland, it is small. The old town, which is built into a bend of the Aare River, is very well preserved and still gives the impression of a town in the 17th century. The Muenster (cathedral) is one of the finest examples of gothic art. The whole old town is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. Guided visit to the old part of Bern and free time in Bern for strolling under the arcades.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Bern.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the new and excellent "Zentrum Paul Klee," the world's most important collection of paintings, water colors and drawings by Paul Klee. The museum was designed by star-architect Renzo Piano. We will take a late afternoon train back to Interlaken.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Cultural event or free time.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Jungfrau Region
(Thursday, July 2)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: We travel by train to Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg in the Jungfrau Region, followed by a field trip to the Grindelwald Museum. Learn about life in a mountain village today and in former times.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Grindelwald.
 Afternoon: The Jungfrau Railway will bring you up to Kleine Scheidegg on the foot of the famous Eiger north face. You can admire the mountains on a delightful, easy walk over the alpine meadows or during a coffee break on one of the restaurant terraces. We will take the Jungfrau Railway down to Lauterbrunnen in the "Swiss Yosemite Valley" where we can see numerous waterfalls, and then take the train back to Interlaken.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Cultural event or free time.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Artos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Zweisimmen / breathtaking views
(Friday, July 3)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Journey aboard the Golden Pass Panoramic train to Zweisimmen (1 ½ hrs). Enjoy delightful vistas of the Simmental and the surrounding mountains. We will enjoy a stop at an Alpine cheese dairy to watch how tasty Bernese Alpine cheese is made on a mountain farm (weather permitting as there can occasionally be snow in the mountains at this time of year). (Your luggage will be transported directly to the hotel in Brig.)
 Lunch: Eating "Raclette," a Swiss Cheese Specialty at the Alp Dairy.
 Afternoon: We continue our journey aboard the Golden Pass Panoramic Express from Zweisimmen to Montreux (1 hr 45 min). This route offers great views of glaciers, over the Rhone valley and Lake Geneva. It ends in mondaine Montreux on the bank of Lake Geneva where you have to change trains. The Intercity-train then takes you along the lush Rhone Valley, the main Swiss wine country, passing the towns of Sion and Sierre to historic Brig. Check in at the hotel in Brig (1 hr).
 Dinner: At a restaurant in Brig.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Schlosshotel Art Furrer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Brig / Zermatt / Matterhorn
(Saturday, July 4)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Short Lecture: "The Simplon Pass." Guided visit to Stockalper Castle. Late morning departure for Zermatt aboard the Glacier Express (1 hr 20 min).
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Zermatt.
 Afternoon: We will explore the car-free mountain village of Zermatt by walking down the main street or some of the quaint cobbled alleyways, where you will find ancient sun browned barns and traditional chalets. On a beautiful day you will take the underground funicular to a viewpoint where you can admire the breathtaking panorama of more than 30 snowcapped high peaks, including the famous Matterhorn. If there is bad weather, we will visit the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt instead. Late afternoon ride back to Brig to our hotel.
 Dinner: At a restaurant in Brig.
 Evening: Free time or listening to "Valais legends."
   
Accommodations: Schlosshotel Art Furrer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Centovalli
(Sunday, July 5)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Journey to Locarno via Domodossola (Italy) and the Centovalli. You will travel aboard the Cisalpino train through the Simplon Tunnel to Domodossola in Italy. There you change to the narrow gauge Centovalli-railway for the most spectacular part of the journey. The railroad winds through the picturesque Centovalli area, a valley with numerous side valleys (Centovalli means hundred valleys). Luggage will be transported on this transfer. Check in at the hotel.
 Lunch: Hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Free time before attending a late afternoon lecture: “Ticino, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.”
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: A walk along the Lake.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Geranio au Lac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Verzasca Valley
(Monday, July 6)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Guided walk in the old town of Locarno. Late morning: The postal bus (a modern public coach service) will bring you to the Verzasca Valley, a remote and very typical mountain valley of Ticino. You will explore Sonogno, the highest village in the valley with its archaic stone architecture.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical Ticino menu at a restaurant in Sonogno.
 Afternoon: You may have a look at the old baking house and visit the little Museum of Valle Verzasca with its eclectic collection reflecting rural life in the old days. Postal bus back to Locarno.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Evening activity or free time.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Geranio au Lac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Bellinzona castles
(Tuesday, July 7)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Excursion by train to Bellinzona, the capital of the Canton Ticino. The three castles in Bellinzona are on the UNESCO list as World Cultural Heritage Sites. The medieval town is very picturesque. You will look down to the old town from Castelgrande (the big castle) during our guided walk through the castle.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Bellinzona.
 Afternoon: We explore the Visitor Center at the impressive construction site of the new 35 mile long Gotthard base tunnel. The Pollegio Visitor Center is a striking building that used rock excavated from the Gotthard Base Tunnel for its construction. The construction of the tunnel and the new Gotthard rail link, as well as topics related to mobility, are attractively presented in the exhibition. Bus and train back to Locarno.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Geranio au Lac
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Gotthard Tunnel
(Wednesday, July 8)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: The Gotthardbahn takes you from Locarno along the Leventina Valley towards the Gotthard massif. This famous railroad line is 130 years old and includes the 9 1/2 mile long Gotthardtunnel and astonishing ramps with spiral tunnels to gain height on both sides. You will pass four of these “loops” near Biasca and the Piotta Canyon before passing through the Gotthard-tunnel. You will leave the train at the northern tunnel portal in Goeschenen and change to the narrow-gauge cog railway that climbs up the Schoellenen-gorge to Andermatt. From Andermatt, a first class train will take you along the Glacier Express route over Oberalp-Pass, along the Rhine and through the Rhine Canyon. In Reichenau-Tamins you will change to a beautiful dining car. (Luggage will be transported also on this transfer.)
 Lunch: In the elegant dining car on the Rhatische Bahn.
 Afternoon: The train takes you up to Berguen on the northern side of the Albula Pass. After the Albula tunnel the view suddenly opens up to the wide Upper Engadine Valley. 2:00 PM arrival in St. Moritz and check in at the hotel in St. Moritz. Free time.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Soldanella
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Village of Poschiavo
(Thursday, July 9)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Wrap up lecture about Graubuenden and Switzerland, and get the opportunity to ask any last questions. Excursion on the Bernina Panoramic Express and the postal bus from St. Moritz to Poschiavo. The Bernina Express travels along the highest and one of the most scenic railroad lines in the world. It passes the Morteratsch Glacier very closely. The railroad masters gradients up to 70% without a rack-and-pinion system. Enjoy countless breathtaking vistas to high mountains, glaciers and the Italian Alps.
 Lunch: In Poschiavo.
 Afternoon: Guided walk in the interesting village of Poschiavo, the Italian speaking part of the Grisons. Bernina Express back to St. Moritz.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Soldanella
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Transfer to Zurich
(Friday, July 10)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Zurich. Your last spectacular train ride with the Rhaetische Bahn takes you again back on the Albula line with its spiral tunnel and spectacular turns over two 90 meter high viaducts and through gorges down to Chur. The other direction offers totally different views than the way up. Change in Chur to the Intercity train to Zurich-Mainstation.
 Lunch: Picnic on the train.
 Afternoon: Local train to Kloten. Check in at the hotel. Free time for a visit to Zurich.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Welcome Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Saturday, July 11)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Individual departure to the Zürich-Kloten airport (ZRH) by hotel shuttle bus.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Lucerne Rosengart Museum
The Rosengart Museum displays works of Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and 21 other artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. For additional information, visit www.rosengart.ch
  Interlaken Jungfraujoch
From Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, journey to Jungfraujoch. Known as the "Top of Europe," Jungfraujoch is Europe's highest altitude railway station, at 3454 meters (11,332 feet). It offers visitors a high-Alpine wonder world of ice, snow and rock, and stunning views on a clear day. The train ride through the rock of the Eiger and Monch is an incredible experience. We recommend this only if the weather is beautiful. Train tickets from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch cost approx. CHF 110 and can be purchased that day. For additional information, visit www.jungfrau.ch
  Locarno Madonna del Sasso
The pilgrimage church of Madonna del Sasso is a holy place above Locarno with fantastic views over the town, lake and mountains. It can be reached in about five minutes by cable railway, which departs every 15 minutes. For additional information, visit www.ticino.ch
  St. Moritz Segantini Museum
Housing Segantini's monumental Alpine triptych "la vita-la natura-la morte" (life-nature-death), as well as paintings from all of his creative periods, the Segantini Museum in St. Moritz is the world's most extensive showcase of the work of this revivalist Alpine painter. Similar to artists Gauguin, van Gogh, Cezanne and Munch, Segantini is regarded as a precursor of modernism. His pictures portray human existence in harmonious accord with nature. For additional information, visit www.engadin.stmoritz.ch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Farewell to Arms


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during World War I, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver.



Birds of Europe


Author: Lars Svensson


Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide has been updated with revised text and maps.



Coming Out Swiss, In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life


Author: Anne Herrmann


Description: Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Anne Hermann’s passionate celebration of what it means to be Swiss intertwines personal revelation with cultural fact.



Culture Smart! Switzerland


Author: Kendall Maycock


Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to Switzerland's customs, etiquette and culture.



Eiger Dreams, Ventures Among Men and Mountains


Author: Jon Krakauer


Description: A collection of some of Krakauer's (Into Thin Air) best journalism, these stories and essays focus on the mindset and determination of world-class mountaineers, including Alpine and Himalayan climbers.



Hotel du Lac


Author: Anita Brookner


Description: Funny, stylish and spellbinding, Brookner's novel tracks the story of a romance novelist seeking evasive peace and quiet at the luxurious Hotel du Lac in Switzerland.



Insight Guide Switzerland


Author: Insight Guides


Description: This handsome guide gives a profusely illustrated overview of Switzerland, featuring concise essays by well-regarded authors on history, politics and culture, as well as hundreds of photos and maps and other practical information.



Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps


Author: Fergus Fleming


Description: Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn (where four of the seven-man team perished).



Scrambles Amongst the Alps: In the Years 1860-69


Author: Edward Whymper


Description: Edward Wymper's classic account of Victorian-era mountaineering captures the geography, beauty and allure of the Alps.



Slow Train to Switzerland, One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years - and a World of Change Apart


Author: Diccon Bewes


Description: Bestselling author Diccon Bewes (Swiss Watching SWZ73) follows in the footsteps of an 1863 tour group who traveled from London to Lucerne, Switzerland. In his trademark breezy, intelligent prose, Bewes traces how tourism and time have caused a sea of change in Switzerland.



Swiss Watching, Inside Europe's Landlocked Island


Author: Diccon Bewes


Description: An international bestseller. Diccon Bewees, a neutral Brit, covers cheese, chocolate, William Tell, bureaucracy and banks, all with humor and thorough research. His cultural portrait of the one-of-a-kind nation includes tips on local customs, greetings and etiquette. Second edition.



Switzerland Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic Maps


Description: A waterproof, tear-resistant map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:500,000. Includes detailed elevations and the locations of natural attractions.



Switzerland Map


Author: Michelin Maps


Description: A colorful, shaded relief map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:400,000.



The Walk


Author: Susan Bernofsky (Translator), Robert Walser


Description: In this classic novella by the Swiss modernist, freshly translated, Walser writes that "it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker."



Xenophobe's Guide to the Swiss


Author: Paul Bilton


Description: This irreverent pocket guide to cultural awareness is both insightful and entertaining.





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