Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Journey along three of Switzerland’s most iconic railways—the Glacier Express, Gornergrat Bahn, and Bernina Express—with a National Geographic expert.
  • Board a private boat for a scenic cruise across Lake Como, and tour the Como Cathedral with a private guide.
  • Meet an Italian chef for a cooking demonstration in picturesque Varenna, and enjoy a private chocolate tasting at a patisserie in St. Moritz.
  • During a special visit to the Matterhorn Museum, hear a local mountaineer and an Alpine historian recount stories of the earliest attempts to conquer Switzerland’s most iconic peak.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Climb aboard Switzerland’s legendary trains to experience some of the most spectacular scenery in the Swiss Alps, from the twisted peak of the Matterhorn to the breathtaking vistas of the Bernina Pass. Soar high above Zermatt in a gondola, and enjoy a choice of hikes, walks, and tram rides through beautiful mountain landscapes. Then cross the Alps into Italy and cap off the trip on the shores of stunning Lake Como.

Days 1-2: Zürich, Switzerland/Zermatt
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Arrive in Zürich this morning and board a train to the charming Alpine village of Zermatt, off-limits to cars. Check in to our hotel and gather for a welcome dinner tonight. The next day, take a guided walk through Zermatt village; then ride gondolas up to Glacier Paradise for a fascinating walk through the inside of a glacier. Return to Zermatt by gondola, or opt to hike back into town.

Meals Included:Day 1 (Dinner) / Day 2 (Breakfast, Lunch)
Accommodations:Hotel National Zermatt
Day 3: Zermatt/Gorner Glacier
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Climb aboard the Gornergrat Bahn cogwheel railway, the highest train in Europe, and ascend to a summit far above Zermatt to experience one of the best viewpoints in the Alps. Admire a gorgeous vista that includes Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, and the Gorner Glacier. Hike down past Alpine lakes to Riffelberg, where we will catch the train back to Zermatt. Pay a visit to the Matterhorn Museum, where a local mountaineer and Alpine historian will recount stories of early attempts to conquer the Matterhorn and other climbing adventures.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel National Zermatt
Day 4: Glacier Express/St. Moritz
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Take your first-class seat on the world-famous Glacier Express and set off on a breathtaking journey across three high-mountain passes, over 291 bridges, and through 91 tunnels. Enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the train as we soak up magnificent vistas of skyscraping, glacier-glazed peaks on our way to the Upper Engadin Valley. Disembark in St. Moritz and settle into our hotel for the evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

Crystal Hotel St. Moritz

Day 5: St. Moritz
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Start the morning with a private tour of the Segantini Museum, housing the many works of Alpine artist Giovanni Segantini. Afterward, take a funicular to the top of Muottas Muragl, admiring the breath-taking landscapes that Segantini once painted. Enjoy lunch at leisure at the mountaintop restaurant, then head to the village of Sils to explore its picturesque town center, or hike the paths that wind through the surrounding alpine landscapes. Back in St. Moritz, visit a local patisserie to sample delectable chocolates during a private tasting.

Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:

Crystal Hotel St. Moritz

Day 6: Bernina Pass/Poschiavo
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Today, ride the legendary Bernina Express, the highest mountain railway in the Alps, to the heart of Italian-speaking Switzerland. Take in extraordinary views of the Morteratsch Glacier from the train’s panoramic windows as we climb to the highest point at Ospizio Bernina, 7,578 feet above sea level. Descend to the town of Poschiavo, where we meet a local guide for a tour of its charming historic center. Return to St. Moritz via the Bernina Express late this afternoon.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:

Crystal Hotel St. Moritz

Day 7: St. Moritz/VARENNA
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A spectacular drive through Alpine valleys brings us into the Italian Lake District today. The countryside is dotted with villas in hues of terra-cotta, pink, ochre, and gold, and strewn with tropical vegetation and lush gardens. Our destination is the lovely village of Varenna, perched on the eastern shore of the vast and beautiful Lake Como. Settle into a historic 19th-century hotel overlooking Lake Como, where famous guests including Queen Victoria of England have stayed.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Hotel Royal Victoria
Day 8: Lake Como
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Board a private boat for a picturesque cruise and soak in the beauty of Lake Como’s lakeside towns. Behold a panorama of colorful waterside villages and elegant estates, fringed by palms and pines and backed by soaring mountains. Visit Villa del Balbianello, first founded in the 13th century as a Cistercian monastery and later owned by Italian explorer Guido Monzino. Continue to the delightful town of Bellagio and explore at leisure. This evening, learn secrets of Italian cooking during a demonstration by a local chef, followed by a delicious dinner accompanied by a selection of local wines.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Royal Victoria
Day 9: Lake Como
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Spend the day enjoying the treasures and charms of Como. Discover Como’s historic center, its sunny piazzas, and the Teatro Sociale. Then join a private guide for a tour of the Como Cathedral. Later, return to our hotel and relax on the terrace, taking in the view before we gather to celebrate our journey with a farewell dinner in the home of a local family.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Royal Victoria
Day 10: Milan
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After breakfast, transfer to Milan’s Malpensa Airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast