19447
Austria/Switzerland
Switzerland and Austria: Jewels of Alpine Europe
Journey from the French-speaking region of Switzerland, past iconic peaks to Innsbruck and Salzburg in Austria as you discover the essence of European alpine culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19447RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
4,775
Flights start at
1,275
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15 days
14 nights
35 meals
13 B 9 L 13 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Bern
L,D
Hotel Alpenblick

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Lunch: At the airport or in the hotel dining room. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program are typically either a two-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Afternoon: Time to relax at the hotel or for a short independent exploration of Bern. We meet for an introduction to the program and to get to know each other at 4:00 PM. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Hotel dining room. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a three-course set menu, or a buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Introduction to Switzerland & Bern
Bern
B,L,D
Hotel Alpenblick

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led lecture on "Switzerland's Cultural Regions, Geography, History and Current Affairs."

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Discover Bern, the capital of Switzerland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, during an expert-led excursion by public transportation and on foot. The Old Town takes you back in time to the 16th century. Pass by such sites as the Rose Garden, the House of Parliament, the Martkgasse with its medieval arcades, and the Ogar fountain. Then enjoy some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet or on the Road Scholar website. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: We gather to view an optional video about Switzerland.

DAY
4
Interlaken, Jungfrau Area, Cruise on Lake Thun
Bern
B,L,D
Hotel Alpenblick

Activity note: 5-minute walk and some stairs down to the waterfall.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Learn about the Alps during a lecture entitled "The Alps - Nature, History and Challenges." Enjoy a field trip to the Lauterbrunnental and visit the Lauterbrunnen waterfalls.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Grindelwald.

Afternoon: Enjoy wonderful views of the most famous peaks of the Swiss Alps (Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau) during a cruise on Lake Thun.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Geneva, Lausanne, Gruyeres
Bern
B,D
Hotel Alpenblick

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Field trip to Geneva, where we will visit the old town on foot. Pass by such sites as St. Peter's Cathedral which was the center of Calvin's Reformation movement, the famous Reformation Wall, the headquarters of the United Nations, and the town hall and ancient arsenal. If the weather is good, we will also be able to see the Jet-d'Eau. On the bus hear a lecture about "Geneva's International Role and the Red Cross."

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a scenic ride along Lake Geneva to Lausanne, a picturesque old town with a wonderful Gothic cathedral. Expert-led visit of the cathedral. Then take a panoramic drive along Lake Geneva with its very old vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reach Gruyeres, a tiny medieval town on top of a hill, and enjoy time to explore on your own.

Dinner: Tonight enjoy fondue or raclette in Gruyeres.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Emmental, Lucerne, Walensee
Walenstadt
B,D
Hotel Seehof

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We will enjoy an expert-led lecture called "Switzerland and Austria: Alpine Neighbors, Similar but Different." On the way to Lucerne, enjoy the lush farming area of the Emmental. Learn how the most famous Swiss cheese is made during a stop at the Show Cheese dairy in Affoltern/Emmental. Then visit the famous lion monument.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Field trip to Lucerne with an expert-led visit of the old town. See such sites as the Chapel Bridge, and the beautiful baroque Jesuit Church. Transfer to Hotel Seehof in Walenstadt, directly on the lakeshore.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Zurich
Walenstadt
B,D
Hotel Seehof

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We set off for a field trip to Zurich. Enjoy the bustling life in Switzerland's largest city, which is not only the economic center but offers many cultural activities as well. You still find a picturesque old town with an interesting merge of medieval and modern buildings on both banks of the Limmat River. An expert-led visit by bus and on foot will bring us to Fraumuenster to see the stained glass windows by Marc Chagall.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: A few hours of free time in Zurich. You may wish to visit the world-renowned Kunsthaus Zurich, the Museum of Fine Art. Drive back to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
St. Gallen, Appenzell
Walenstadt
B,L,D
Hotel Seehof

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Field trip to St. Gallen to explore the Baroque Abbey District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The convent here is a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery. Its library is one of the oldest in the world and contains precious manuscripts.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Take a scenic drive through the beautiful rural Appenzell area, and stop for a brief walking visit of the picturesque town of Appenzell with its painted houses.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner in the hotel dining room. Enjoy local wine tastings and Swiss folklore music.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Transfer through the Alps to Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck
B,L,D
Hotel Innsbruck

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A spectacular drive to Davos, over Fluela-Pass and along the Inn-River down the Engadin Valley to Innsbruck.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Scuol in the Lower Engadin Valley.

Afternoon: Arrival in Innsbruck, capital of the Austrian federal State Tyrol. Settle in at our hotel, and take some time to rest. In the late afternoon, take an orientation walk through the Baroque Old Town along some of the most important landmarks, including The Golden Roof and the Baroque Helbling House, outstanding examples of bourgeois grandeur in the Old Town.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: We have an introduction to Innsbruck, a thriving Alpine city. For nearly a millennium, Innsbruck has been an extremely important center of commerce. Its strategic location at the junction of two major Alpine routes first assured this status. Later, the Hapsburgs transformed the town into a booming cultural and economic center which still thrives today. Innsbruck has been able to combine this rich cultural legacy with modern functional architecture (Zaha Hadid, Dominique Perrault) and has created a city atmosphere and life style that make visiting a pleasure!

DAY
10
The Baroque Old Town of Innsbruck, Bergisel Ski Jump
Innsbruck
B,L,D
Hotel Innsbruck

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning you will visit the Imperial Palace with its splendid imperial apartments and the Hofkirche (Court Chapel) with the Cenotaph of Habsburg Emperor Maximilian, the most impressive imperial monument. Then the bus will take you to the Wilten Basilica, one of the most splendid churches in the Tyrol in Baroque and Rococo style. From Baroque and Renaissance, you move right to modern as you visit the Bergisel ski jump designed by Zaha Hadid.

Lunch: Let's have lunch up in the jump tower!

Afternoon: This afternoon you have free time to explore the town on your own and to enjoy the appealing atmosphere of the inner city. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet or on the Road Scholar website. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Great Contemporary Architecture
Innsbruck
B,L,D
Hotel Innsbruck

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A morning lecture on "Ambitious Tyrolean Contemporary Architecture." Over the last decade, Innsbruck has been continuously changing, practically transforming itself. You will be introduced to the modern face of the city created by internationally renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid and Dominique Perrault. After this introduction you will take the Hungerburg cable car up to a height of 860 m (2800 feet). The four stations are designed by Zaha Hadid.

Lunch: At Seegrube, the top station of the Nordkettenbahn. It is at an altitude of approximately 6000 feet, and has an awesome view over the valley and mountain ranges.

Afternoon: This afternoon you will leave the town and drive to the southern part of Tyrol, handed over to Italy with the treaties at the end of WWI. Enjoy an expert-led visit to the Archaeological Museum of Bozen dedicated to the "Iceman," the 5000 year old mummified body found by accident in 1991 on the mountain border between Italy and Austria. Enjoy a free hour on your own in the charming alpine town.

Dinner: Enjoy typical Tyrolean in a local restaurant on the way back to Innsbruck.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Tratzberg Castle, Transfer to Salzburg
Salzburg
B,L,D
Hotel Elefant

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We depart for Salzburg. On the way to Salzburg, we will visit the Tratzberg Castle, a real Renaissance gem. With its shingle roof, the Renaissance courtyard is now one of the most important cultural monuments of Austria.

Lunch: In Rattenberg, a little town en route to Salzburg.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel, in the center of the Old Town, and take some time to settle in.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: Salzburg's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, represents one of the best examples of Baroque town planning anywhere in Europe. Nestled among stunning mountain landscapes, Salzburg is an homage to both Baroque architecture and Mozart, its famous son. Church spires, palaces and concert halls, narrow cobbled streets, passages and spacious squares, small shops and historic restaurants and cafés such as famous Tomaselli and Kaffee Furst - together they create a very romantic ensemble. Take a short walk around the area.

DAY
13
The Baroque Old Town of Salzburg
Salzburg
B,D
Hotel Elefant

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning take an expert-led walking field trip through the city center, home to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Pass Hagenauer Haus, Mozart's birthplace, and visit the Salzburg Cathedral and the festival area. During the morning, we will have a coffee break at Kaffee Furst. Its founder, Paul Furst, created his famous Mozart chocolate balls in 1890. Enjoy one of the delicious cakes served with a nice cup of coffee or tea. Back in the hotel hear a lecture about Salzburg's history and its most famous son, Mozart.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: This afternoon you have free time to discover the town on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet or on the Road Scholar website. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Mozart Autograph Collection, Lake District
Salzburg
B,L,D
Hotel Elefant

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We begin the day with a private visit to the Mozart Autograph Collection. The collection, which can only be viewed through exclusive appointments, includes 190 original letters written by Mozart, 370 letters by his father, and over 100 of Mozart's hand-written sketches, drafts and original scores. It is the most comprehensive Mozart library in the world. A local expert will introduce us to approx. 20 of the autographs. After this event we board the coach for an excursion into the Salzkammergut - the lake district in the Salzburg countryside already a popular retreat during the emperor's time. Its sparkling lakes are sprinkled among mountains and forests, offering the perfect escape. You will visit St. Wolfgang and its Parrish Church with the unique Gothic winged altar, sculpted by Michael Pacher, and St. Gilgen, home to Mozart's mother.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue the field trip through the lake district. We return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner in the restaurant of St. Peter's Abbey, right in the heart of the old town, a place which dates back to the year 803.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Departures
Salzburg
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the Salzburg W.A. Mozart airport (SZG) for international departures. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.