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This may be one of the few neutral countries in the world, but you won't leave Switzerland feeling anything but positive about your experience. This small nation packs a big punch with friendly, non-punching locals, incredible mountain scenery and a luxurious gastro scene that priorities cheese. Start in Zurich then head to historic St Gallen, lakeside Lucerne, adrenaline-filled Interlaken and cheese-obsessed Gruyeres before finishing in the nation's capital, Bern. From picture-perfect towns to awe-inspiring peaks, you'll get the best of the indoors and the outdoors during this ten-day trip.
Day 1: Zurich
Welcome to Switzerland, the land of the neutral that you'll only feel positive about. Meet your group at 5 pm and take an evening walk around Zurich with the option to take part in a fondue tasting. Fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove, eaten by dipping bread into the gooey goodness. Need we say more?
Day 2: St Gallen
Spend a free morning in Zurich then St Gallen, arriving around lunch for a chance to taste the famous St Gallen sausage. In the afternoon you'll visit the famous Abbey of St Gall and its incredible library.The entire abbey precinct was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and the Abbey Library hosts a collection of medieval texts and important documents dating back to the 8th Century. Spend the evening as you wish. A trip to the surroundings hills for a view of entire city is not a bad idea.
Day 3: Lucerne
Travel by train to Lucerne, a small city known for its mountainous backdrop, located next to Lake Lucerne. The city is a popular destination for those visiting Central Switzerland thanks to the access to many outdoor activities, its breathtaking natural beauty and historic, medieval architecture. Take a walk past 15th-century frescoed houses and impossibly quaint wooden bridges, and climb to the top of the medieval towers along the city walls for spectacular views of this picturesque city and its surroundings. In the tiny streets of old town (Altstadt), there’s often a craft market and dozens of shops full of unique handmade goods. Perhaps you'd like to jump on a sunset canoeing tour (at your cost), a fantastic way to see the town from a different perspective.
Day 4: Lucerne
It's tour time. Hop on the Golden Pilatus tour, a trip taking you to the most spectacular spots on Mt Pilatus including its summit by boat, cogwheel railway, aerial cableway and gondola. The trip starts in Lucerne with a boat trip on the lake before heading to Alpnachstad, where you'll board the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, which takes you to the summit at 2132 metres. Enjoy your lunch (not included) with a panorama of the alps before descending via the aerial cableway and gondola. Return to Lucerne and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Naps, strolls along the lake, cheesy food and beer are always encouraged.
Day 5: Jungfrau region
Travel to Jungfrau region and enjoy a free day in this picturesque mountain paradise. The day is free for you to enjoy: you could stay in Interlaken or catch a short train ride to Lauterbrunnen village and explore the stunning valley in which it's nestled. Or why not take a train ride up Jungfraujoch to what's known as the Top of Europe. If you're feeling fit and keen to get out there, there's also the option to tackle some of the trails around the monumental Eiger Mountain. There are plenty of trails to choose from flat and easy to certified heart-pumpers, just be sure to wear your good shoes and bring some wet-weather gear as mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable.
Day 6: Bulle
Bulle, located in La Gruyere district, is the town of your medieval dreams and yes, it's the home of the cheese too. Lush green fields and mountain peaks stretch as far as the eye can see, dotted with dairy cows and the occasional cheese-filled tourist. Arrive in town and head off for a walk with your leader to get your bearings, then visit La Gruyere cheese factory to learn more about this world famous cheese. Afternoon visit to medieval town of Gruyeres is a must. Find out why there is a Tibet museum in the castle and visit the quirky Alien bar. Evening could be spend strolling the quaint streets of Bulle and sampling some more cheese. Fondue is particularly good here.
Day 7: Bulle
Today you'll find out what Switzerland is really famous for. Other than the cheese, trains, clocks, mountains, lakes, adorable villages, Roger Federer...you get the idea. But today you're off to a chocolate factory! If you haven't heard, Swiss chocolate is the real deal and one of the most delicious milky treats getting around. Take a tour of a local chocolate producer and learn some of their secrets before a free afternoon to relax. Stroll around town, continue tasting the local cheese and chocolate (when in Rome) or head down to Lake Gruyere for some even fresher air and some happy snaps with the mountainous backdrop.
Day 8: Bern
Travel to Bern, Switzerland's capital and arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. After check in to your hotel, grab a quick lunch and head off for an included e-bike tour around town. Fear not, Bern is most cyclist friendly city you can ask for, bike paths are widely available and e-bikes are just too easy to ride even uphill. Cycle through the old town, explore the area where Einstein lived and developed his Theory of Relativity here at the start of the 20th century, check out famous Bern Clock and don’t forget to stop at the Parliament House for some pictures. In the evening, explore the food and drink scene in Bern; starting from typical Swiss dishes to world-wide cuisine, Bern is a great place for fine dining.
Day 9: Bern
Today is free for you to explore on your own. Bern has plenty to offer on its own. Exploring old town further is not a bad idea, given there are several small craft breweries spread around. If you are looking to get out of the city, there is plenty of tours to choose from. Emmental valley (yes, cheese again!) is just round the corner and can be explored in numerous ways; from a walking tour, through e-bikes and cheese tasting tours. In the evening, ask your leader to show you a secret rose garden spot, just minutes away from your hotel. Take a view at the beautiful panorama of the city and perhaps walk down to the old town for your final dinner with the group.
Day 10: Bern
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you're flying out from Zurich, the train takes just over an hour. Alternatively, why not spend some extra time in Bern because really, is there such a thing as too much cheese?
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