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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 Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Zurich today.

Lucerne 2 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)

Annecy 2 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 Region 2 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. Moritz 1 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.

Innsbruck 2 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)

Munich 2 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.

Salzburg 2 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 accompanied by opera singing 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
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  • OCT
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  • 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: 8/3/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

First Go Ahead Tour

We really enjoyed this tour, loved the tour director Sylvana and the people we traveled with. If you do all of the options, plus what Go Ahead had scheduled, it could be a very tiring tour. I could not do everything, but Slyvana made sure that I could rest when needed. She even arranged for me to check in to the hotel in Munich early, when I could not do the city tour. My wife was able to do the tours, so I did not really miss it. Most of the hotels were located near city centers and most rooms were nice. There were some down sides that could not be helped, such as the heat wave, traffic jam or the twin beds in one hotel. As an experienced traveler, you just learn to deal with it and go on. We would definately recommend Go Ahead tours.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 8/3/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful experience.

This "Jewels of the Alpine" trip was everything promised, and then some. Our bus provided great viewing of the cities, countryside and breathtaking vistas in the mountains. Our tour director, Sylvana, took care of all the details, never let us worry about a thing. Her energy and good humor were infectious. All of our hotels were quite nice and well located. I didn't give accommodations overall a "5" because a few hotels turned off the a/c at night and the stuffiness woke us up. Europe is experiencing a heat wave this year so this energy saving practice might not normally be a problem. It was a problem this year. Meals were good with just a couple of exceptions. We did have some free time to explore on our own. The extra excursions were well worth their cost (especially Lake Lucern/Mt. Pilatus).

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 31

From: NH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful Scenery

The Tour Director can make or break a trip. Our TD, Juan G., was outstanding. He was very organized....friendly.....a very nice person. I would be delighted to travel with him again. I love being in the mountains and was not disappointed by the scenery. There were several opportunities to take cable cars to the tops of mountains in our free time. Once up there....I enjoyed short easy walks...and of course the views. I found our city walking tours to be interesting...as well as our boat rides. Overall, our accommodations were excellent. However, we were in Europe during a heat spell...with temperatures in the 90s. Our hotel in St. Moritz did not have Air Conditioning. I guess that they normally do not need it. Fortunately, we were only in this hotel for one night. Breakfasts were all good. Dinners were okay....but, certainly not memorable. I do recommend this trip.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director!!

This excellent itinerary was made even better with our fantastic tour director who was knowledgeable, kind, patient, and an all around great guy. Also, the hotels booked were perfect and the bus was very comfortable. It was a great trip, Go Ahead did everything right.

review photo review photo review photo review photo
1 / 4

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

First time tour

This was our first tour ever and it was a fabulous experience. We enjoyed meeting other people on the tour. The sites and the hotels were a great choice. There were lots of adventures and flexibility with free time or optional actives. Juan was a knowledgable and fun tour director.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

I wish it hadn't ended!

Wow, what a trip. Our Jewels of Alpine Europe not only had a beautiful and exciting itinerary, it was a very fair price. We've done some traveling in Europe on our own and always end up spending more than planned. However, one of the keys to our successful trip was Juan, our tour director. Not only does Juan speak 6 languages, he he intimately knows the local culture and politics of everywhere we visited. Additionally, Juan took a personal interest in everyone's well being. With the ample time we all had to explore on our own, he always had tips and suggestions for us. Often some of our fellow travelers appeared apprehensive to venture independently so Juan gave up some of his own personal time to accompany them. If the other Go Ahead tour directors are as thoughtful and well trained as Juan, your trip will surely be a success. One other gem in our package was Vicenzo, our bus driver. Oh man, what a skilled driver!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 13

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful Alpine Tour

I have been on 13 Go Ahead tours and this was one of the best. Stunning scenery every day, not an excess of time on the bus, and fabulous sights, both man made and natural. Seeing other countries in close proximity was great as well. Our guide Juergen was wonderful. I highly recommend this tour.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

AWESOME TOUR !!

This trip through the alps was by far the best one I've taken!. Juergen, our tour director , was outstanding at explaining the history and local cultures of all 6 countries we visited, each with their own distinctive attributes. He offered suggestions of how we might spend our free time, and was genuinely focused on making sure we all had the best experience possible! Our skilled bus driver Domenico navigated the hairpin turns through the Alps , making sure we had panoramic views of mountains , lakes and waterfalls and made stops along the way in quaint towns. Highlights included Innsbrook, Bern, Lucerne and Chamonix . Visiting the top of Mt Blanc was a lifetime experience!! Visiting historic Munich and Dachau were also enlightening ,yet solemn. This tour has something for everyone, and had a great mix of guided tours and time for exploration on your own.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Mountain Lovers

I cannot even begin to put into words how truly amazing this trip was for my wife and I. To start, we had a fantastic tour guide names Yurgen. He was, and I'm not kidding here, the PERFECT guide. He made extra stops along the way, outside of the itinerary for us to enjoy lunch, mountainous views, etc. He bought us chocolates and candies in nearly every country we visited so we could try their sweets. He was funny and had an abundance of knowledge. He recommended where to eat (elegant, middle-price, and a quick and cheap meal) if the lunch/dinner wasn't included. He did it all and made our trip even that much better! Secondly, Go Ahead Tours was well organized and efficient, providing excellent customer service along the way. This company makes these trips affordable, while accommodating its travelers to its full potential. I ended up choosing Go Ahead Tours because of the price and because the other company I had chosen wasn't organized. They were an answer to our prayers. The scenery was phenomenal! My wife and I are HUGE mountain-lovers. This was one of the reasons we chose this tour. The Alps were everywhere. We did not see the Matterhorn, but who cares, we rode a cable car up Mount Blanc (the tallest of the Alps) 15,000 feet. What a view! Each city/country offered something unique. We were able to try the country foods and drinks, while experiencing the scenery and encountering wonderful people from Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. We saw castles and beautiful bodies of water. If you are curious about the excursions as I was, let me give you my opinion. Definitely do Mount Pilatus and the Neuschwanstein Castle. If you're interested in seeing Bellagio and having a wonderful Italian dinner, while visiting the Villas, choose this excursion as well. Some people don't like to see Villas, which is why I offered this insight. Also- Dachau was incredible. It's very grim, however, I went to pay my respects as well as learn more about history and to remind myself how important it is to live each day to its fullest. Choose wisely on this one, because some may not be up for the emotional challenge it may present. This is a long review, however, I always find it helpful to read reviews that provide a lot of insight into what a tour may entail. I do highly recommend this tour and rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am very picky and rarely ever give anything a 100%, so this rating is excellent according to my standards. I travelled with a wonderful group of people, which always makes the trip more exciting as well. If you enjoy scenery and walking, you'll enjoy this tour. FYI- You do walk quite a bit on this tour, but nothing outrageously challenging or extensive. I would say about a 2.5 out of 5 when it comes to difficulty. Sometimes we went up several steps, which was a little challenging for some, but it really isn't too tough. Believe all of the walks were well worth it. I hope this review is helpful and I honestly do hope that you choose this tour. It was a safe, fun, and exciting tour.

2 / 5

2 / 5

Traveled On: 5/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Poor tour director lowers value of tour experience

A tour director will make or break a trip. What could have been a really good tour was not, due to a deficient tour director. Friedemann is a poor communicator, unclear in giving directions and explanations. We were a small group of 9 and more than once, someone was misled in making a transportation connection at a specific meeting point because of the tour director's lack of clarity. "Freddie" did not see that he was at fault, nor seem to care. He also lacked enthusiasm in the limited information he did give us about cities and their inhabitants and all in all, was either incapable of or disinterested in working to provide us a quality tour experience. It's too late for our tour group, but we would hope a tour company would care enough not to re-hire someone like this for the important job of tour director.

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback about your tour, The Jewels of Alpine Europe. We are disheartened to learn that you did not have a wonderful experience with your Tour Director Friedemann in regards to his enthusiasm and guidance. Here at Go Ahead Tours we pride ourselves in working with Tour Directors who will help make your time on tour truly memorable and enjoyable. We want to assure you that we have brought this situation to the attention of our Director of Tour Directors and are actively working with him to remedy the situation for future tour experiences to ensure that we are keeping with the high quality standards that we have set at Go Ahead Tours. We do hope that you will give us the opportunity to welcome you back on tour with us again. If you have any questions or wish to discuss anything further, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-597-0350. Thank you!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 05, 2015

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