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Jewels of Alpine Europe

13 days
Journey from Switzerland’s mountain-lined Lake Lucerne to France’s inspiring Lake Annecy. Take in the picturesque Charmonix Valley and stroll Italy’s Lake Como. Then, cross Liechtenstein and hit the winter wonderland of Innsbruck before heading to Munich, the lively capital of Bavaria.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Zurich today.

Lucerne2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Switzerland

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Switzerland! After arriving in Zurich, transfer to Lucerne to meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Lucerne

Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide introduces you to the charming lakeside city.  

• Explore Lucerne’s Old Town

• View the sandstone lion statue commemorating the Swiss Guards

• Stroll over Chapel Bridge, a 17th-century covered footbridge, for views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps

Enjoy a free afternoon in Lucerne or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Mount Pilatus $109*pp Details

This scenic excursion begins with a cruise on Lake Lucerne. After docking, ascend 7,000-foot Mount Pilatus on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. Legend holds that the mountain was named for Pontius Pilate, blown here by the devil after the Crucifixion. From the peak, the views of the Alps are stunning; on a clear day, you can see for 200 miles. Toward the end of your trip, you’ll return to the base of the mountain via gondola. Please note: The cruise and cogwheel railway only run from mid-May through October. During the winter months, this excursion includes the cable car ride only. If the cogwheel railway is unavailable, you’ll enjoy lunch on the mountain.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Annecy2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Annecy via Bern

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Annecy, France today, stopping en route to discover the Swiss capital of Bern on a walking tour.

• Cross the Aare River, a tributary of the Rhine

• Walk through the city’s charming Old Town, passing the Gothic Bern Cathedral

• Pass by the United Nations building in Geneva as you drive to Annecy

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Annecy

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know Annecy today with your Tour Director leading the way.

• Walk through Annecy’s Old Town

• Take in sweeping views of the Alps

• Get a close-up look at the villas on Lake Annecy’s shores during a cruise (Please note: From November through February, the cruise may be substituted with a walking tour.)

Lake Como Region2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Lake Como Region via Chamonix

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On your way to Italy, stop to explore Chamonix, a picture-perfect village at the base of Mont Blanc. Then, continue through the scenic Aosta Valley en route to the Lake Como Region.

Day 7: Como & Villa Carlotta

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the city of Como’s charming medieval quarter with your Tour Director.

• Pass by the 15th-century Gothic Duomo

• View the 12th-century Porta Vittoria, a defense tower overlooking the old city

• Stroll through the elegant gardens at Villa Carlotta, a palace completed in 1690 (Please note: From November to February you may alternatively take a funicular ride to Brunate.)

Enjoy a free evening in the Lake Como region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Lake Como Cruise & Bellagio $79*pp Details

Hop aboard a scenic cruise of Lake Como to soak in some of Italy’s most beautiful estates and gardens. Float past charming lakeside towns to Bellagio, a village whose scenery has inspired poets and young lovers for centuries. You’ll have time to take in Bellagio’s classic beauty before heading to a local restaurant, where you’ll sample cuisine from a carefully chosen menu. Please note: Your included meal may be lunch or dinner. In addition, this excursion is only offered March through October, and its departure time varies by season.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

St. Moritz1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Travel to St. Moritz

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Return to Switzerland today, making your way to St. Moritz, a prestigious resort town and scenic hub of wintertime sports.

Innsbruck2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Innsbruck

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel into Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine principality dating back to the Holy Roman Empire, and continue on toward the wintertime wonderland of Innsbruck, where you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour.

• Visit Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz, and pass the royal family’s hilltop castle, still in use as a royal residence

• Arrive in Innsbruck, site of two winter Olympic Games

• See the famed Golden Roof and the City Tower in Innsbruck’s historic Old Town

• Pass the Hofburg, a former Hapsburg Imperial Palace, and walk into its cobblestoned courtyard

• Enter the Baroque Cathedral of St. James

Day 10: Free day in Innsbruck

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Innsbruck or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Neuschwanstein Castle $99*pp Details

Spend your day discovering the regal Neuschwanstein Castle—the historic retreat of Bavaria’s “Fairytale King” Ludwig II, who was known for his reclusive tendencies. The castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Magic Kingdom Castle. On a guided tour, explore the residential areas of the castle, including the oak-furnished servants’ quarters and the king’s lavishly decorated staterooms. Afterward, take a horse-drawn carriage down the castle grounds and enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Munich2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Munich

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Munich, then get to know the Bavarian capital on a guided tour. 

• Travel past the Olympic Stadium and fashionable Schwabing district 

• View the Residenz, once home to the Wittlesbach dukes of Bavaria

• Enter the Nymphenburg Palace, the Baroque home to past Bavarian royalty

• Explore Marienplatz, Munich’s medieval heart, and see the famed Glockenspiel

Day 12: Free day in Munich

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend a full free day in Munich or add an excursion.

Say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner this evening.

Optional Excursion - Dachau $25*pp Details

Once a typical German town, Dachau served as the first Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Visit this somber site, which has since been transformed into a Holocaust memorial museum that serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. An audio guide will provide the narrative for your viewing of Dachau’s poignant exhibits, which are echoed by the memorials to the victims that adorn the grounds.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $35)

Day 13: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or continue on to Salzburg.

Add Salzburg $299 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Dubbed the 'Rome of the North' because of its many churches, Salzburg is a beautiful city filled with museums, mansions, parks and churches. Spend two days soaking up the city’s celebrated musical history.

Salzburg2 nights

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Salzburg

Included meals: Breakfast

Head to Salzburg, where a local guide leads you on a walking tour of the Old Town.

• View the University of Salzburg and the churchyard of St. Peter

• See the Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz and Alter Markt, in the city’s Old Town

• Enter Salzburg Cathedral and the home where Mozart was born 

• Pass through scenery from the beloved film “The Sound of Music”

• End your tour in the immaculate Mirabell Palace Gardens

Enjoy a free afternoon in Salzburg or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Mozart Concert & Dinner $109*pp Details

Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, the oldest restaurant in Europe located within St. Peter’s Abbey, for an evening of fine dining and Mozart. Mozart composed over 600 works in his short life, and tonight, you’ll hear his masterpieces as you sample local delicacies. Let the music carry you late into the night.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Day 14: Free day in Salzburg

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Salzburg or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines $105*pp Details

Drive through the Bavarian Alps to the mountain village of Berchtesgaden, where you’ll tour the 450-year-old salt mines that brought wealth to Bavaria and Salzburg. Continue to Obersalzberg, where a scenic bus ride along steep gorges offers gorgeous views of the snow-capped Alps. Here, you’ll take a gilded elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest, an Alpine retreat built for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday. Please note: The elevation of the Eagle’s Nest is approximately 5,500 feet, which may not be advisable for travelers with heart/lung problems or other altitude-related limitations. This excursion is seasonal from mid-May through late October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $115)

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Annecy, France
  • Como, Italy
  • St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Munich, Germany
  • Salzburg, Austria
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

This tour includes the following countries: Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, the principality of Liechtenstein (on the transfer) and Germany. In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return to the United States. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

Travelers should be aware of high-altitude conditions in this region. Chamonix is 3,400 feet above sea level, while some bus transfers may also pass through high altitudes. The tour also includes two optional excursions by rail or cable car to peaks of over 7,000 feet. Consult your doctor or health care provider for specific recommendations and up-to-date overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

Swiss food, influenced by surrounding countries, is varied and sophisticated. The most famous local dish is fondue, made from molten cheese, flavored with wine, garlic and liquor, into which pieces of skewered bread are dipped. Raclette is another delicious cooked cheese dish, served with roasted or boiled potatoes, air-dried beef and pickled onions. Sausages, breaded veal fillets and freshwater fish are also popular. Swiss dairy products are among the world’s finest, and full-cream milk is the essential ingredient for the exceptionally good chocolate produced here.

In France, a country that loves its fine foods, you’ll find a variety of cheeses, richly prepared meats and freshly baked breads and pastries.

Northern Italian cuisine is light and savory, emphasizing fresh pasta, simply prepared seafood and vegetables roasted with herbs.

In Austria, thick soups of paprika and onion, veal, beef and venison with cranberries are all popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. Fish lovers will find wild trout, roast carp and crayfish. Austrain desserts are perhaps the most memorable including, strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts, souffles and elegant chocolate cakes such as the world-famous Sachertorte.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Zurich and depart from Munich. Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, the best way to explore Alpine cities and towns is on foot, as most are small and built for walkers, with little public transportation. You can break up the walking with rides on city buses in Lucerne and Innsbruck. Keep in mind that taxis are usually costly in Switzerland.

Electricity

All destinations operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany are all one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6 p.m. on tour.

Currency

The euro (in Austria, France, Italy and Germany) and the Swiss franc (in Switzerland and Leichtenstein) are the currencies you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATM’s on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome Vacation, Fantastic Tour Director, Long-Winded Review

I'm so glad I chose this trip! I can't say enough how stress-free GoAhead & our Juergen, our tour guide, made the whole experience. My personality is very much “planner” and I have a tendency to stress out over details, so having experts plan out my vacation for me was extremely appealing. Once I got off the plane, the only decisions I had to make were food & shopping-related. In two weeks, I didn't even have to ask where the bathroom was or set my own alarm clock (although I did that anyway :-) ). Juergen made sure we were always aware of the schedule/what was coming up next without ever sounding rushed (a trick I have yet to master!). The bus rides never felt very long because they were all strategically broken up with interesting sites or scenic rest stops. The towns we visited were mostly places I wouldn't have ventured out to on my own, so it was really exciting just to be where we were; everything was beautiful, I took a million bad pictures, I learned some history, ate way too many pastries, and I completely forgot about work, so: vacation accomplished! I am a single traveler in my 30's and this was my first group tour, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm very independent and a bit of an introvert, and wasn't sure how much I'd look forward spending two weeks with (mostly coupled) strangers. Not a problem! Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and there was a good mix of group activity, opportunities to go off on your own, and, automatically people around willing to wander around the city at night with you. My advice to those considering this tour is to bring a flexible mindset: it hits a lot of locations in a relatively short period of time, so the probability of not everything going exactly as planned is high. I went off-season, which meant a number of things were closed; a bit disappointing, but the trade-off of almost nothing being crowded and having to wait in absolutely no lines the entire time (until the airport!) was well worth it for me. My suggestion to GoAhead is to please make it clearer that the optional excursions are not guaranteed unless a minimum number of people sign up for them. That came as a surprise to me; fortunately, the only excursion we had canceled was weather-related and Juergen really seemed to go out of his way to make sure we all got where we wanted to go, even taking us on public transportation to Dachau when not enough people signed up to reserve the bus. One more compliment: our bus driver was incredible! To weave so safely and confidently through those narrow roads she must have superhuman depth perception. I hope to sign up for another GoAhead tour sometime in the future...it's just a matter of where and when.

review photo
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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Wonderful Tour Director

Juergen was absolutely wonderful. He made sure we saw small towns while on our journey.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great trip overall

This itinerary is wonderful. The pace is perfect. You have a chance to experience each area visited both as a group and on your own. Our guide, Juergen, was fabulous. We had a small group due to our early November excursion which was nice. We had room to sprawl on the bus. Our weather was quite nice for this time of the year. Our driver, Ethel, was superb. If you are prone to motion sickness you may want to bring something for it due to mountains, switchbacks, etc. Annecy France was my favorite place visited. If I had anything bad to say it would be that the temperature in all the hotels was too warm. Air conditioning had been turned off for the season. The hotels all had sumptuous breakfast buffets and I was very impressed with the included dinners.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Disappointment

We were a little disappointed in some things that weren't in operation when we got to the site: the cable car up Mont Blanc, for example. It was closed for maintenance but our guide didn't find that out until we got to Chamonix, ready for the adventure. We thought he could have checked on that ahead of time.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/14/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Thomas Rocks!!

I really enjoyed this tour. Thomas was an excellent tour guide and being a history buff, he made it even more interesting with background on each city and their points of interest. Our group was exceptional and we all had a good time and enjoyed each other's company and became good friends. Our bus driver, Dominiqo (sp), was excellent in getting us through the Alps with all the snow coming down on very, very narrow roads. He can turn a tour bus on a dime!. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see beautiful countryside, green, green grass and experience eating the best chocolate there is!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/14/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Trip, some fine tuning needed

There are many things that simply were wonderful about this trip (Tour Director, Bus driver, most areas visited). However, the hotels each had one or several flaws: poor sound proofing, bad bedding, non working AC/Heat, poorly located from main activities, no free internet, few room outlets or poorly placed. If I would guess, several hotels were 3 stars out of five. The group meals (other than hotel breakfasts) also varied from GREAT (Lake Como) to really poor (Lucerne). It would be better for group meals to be allowed to order off a menu and give a "credit" for costs vs. all having the same selection which is bad if the selection is bad. Also, it would be better to stay 2-3 days in key cities vs. cramping some less interesting ones into the agenda. (more time in Innsbruck, etc.). But I would give the trip a 8.5/10 overall as it was truly FUN

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

terrific trip

Terrific itinerary, well run tour - Paula worked her butt off and the trip was well organized from the start. the itinerary was loaded with nothing but beautiful cities - it was impossible to take a bad picture. Surprisingly Annecy and Innsbruck were my favorites places. But the beauty of this and most GATs are the little out of the way stops that you make en-route to the primary cities. The places you may not find on your own. The hotels and the included meals were all more than adequate. - who wouldn't want chicken over rice a few times in a row or be in a hotel that was built over train tracks :) But seriously, I travel to see things I never did and be with people I would never ordinarily meet and it was a very nice and varied group. Being in Munich the day that Germany won the World Cup was an amazing bonus even if Munich was my least favorite city. Going up to the top of Mont Blanc in the middle of a snow storm was an adventure and then there was the night we spent shooting back shots of, who the heck knows what it was, in a local dive bar in Como at midnight - that was memorable? All in all a great trip and highly recommended

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/6/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

The trip was an active, fast-paste, wonderful adventure! Juergen was the most amazing, patient, story-filled director that took the time to make the trip enjoyable by inserting his knowledge and familiarity with the region. His little details of delicious wines, chocolates, the music and daily briefings made all the difference. His attention to detail are unmatched. Can we go back tomorrow???

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/23/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Such a blast!

Our group was phenomenal. We had such a wonderful time, laughing and enjoying our adventure. None of it could have been possible without our Tour Guide, LaLa. Multilingual and knowledgeable of all of the sites we visited - the Tour would have been lacking without her. She was such a joy!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/26/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Scenic Travels

The countries on this tour were on my bucket list for awhile and now I can check them off! The Alps were beautiful and the group was the best I've had on a tour.

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