Jewels of Alpine Europe Tour13 days
95.7% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Experience rich culture, impressive architecture and culinary delights against a backdrop of soaring alpine peaks. Journey from Switzerland’s mountain-lined Lake Lucerne to France’s inspiring Lake Annecy. Take in the picturesque Chamonix valley, before heading east to Italy’s Lake Como. Cross Liechtenstein and hit the winter wonderland of Innsbruck, Austria, before heading north to Munich, the lively capital of Bavaria.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
11 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Spectacular mountain scenery at every turn
Swiss chocolate, French pastries & German beer
Lovely lakeside villages with alpine views
The winter wonderland of St. Moritz
You’ll follow the footsteps of Olympians in Innsbruck
Munich—Bavaria’s food & culture capital
Overnight Flight1 night
Lucerne2 nights - hotel info
Discover the piece of stone Twain called the “saddest” in the world
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Zurich! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and accompanies you to the beautiful lakeside city of Lucerne, where you’ll be assisted with hotel check-in. At an included dinner this evening, meet your fellow travelers.
Cross the ancient Kapellbrücke and ascend soaring Mount Pilatus
Optional Excursion - Mount Pilatus
A guided tour introduces you to Lucerne. Stroll down the city’s winding streets and across the Kapellbrücke, a covered bridge whose history dates back to medieval days. The murals lining its walls are nearly identical to those painted in the 14th century. Be on the lookout for the colorful hand-painted facades as you venture down the streets of the Old Town. You’ll also view the Löwendenkmal, a sandstone lion statue commemorating Swiss Guards slain in 1792. After your tour, enjoy free time to explore the city as you please. Alternatively, opt to ascend Mount Pilatus for breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps.
Mount Pilatus $99* pp
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.
Annecy2 nights - hotel info
Get a glimpse of the Swiss capital before arriving in la belle France
Your first stop today is Bern, where your Tour Director leads an informal tour of the Swiss capital. Later, pass through Geneva before crossing into France’s Lake Annecy region. The rest of the day is free to walk along the canals of Annecy and search for the perfect croissant. Dinner is included tonight.
Cruise around Lake Annecy and be awestruck by the alpine scene
Lake Annecy cruise (seasonal)
Begin the day with a boat cruise (seasonal; some groups may enjoy a walking tour) around Lake Annecy, featuring panoramic views of the Alps as well as a close-up look at some of the villas on the lake’s shores. Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne found inspiration for his famous Le Lac d’Annecy after a visit here.
Lake Como Region2 nights - hotel info
Soar to the top and tunnel through the center of towering Mont Blanc
Explore Chamonix, a charming village at the base of Mont Blanc. Opt to take a cable car to a nearby peak for gorgeous views of the Chamonix valley. Later, travel through the Mont Blanc tunnel—Europe’s longest such passageway—into Italy. Arrive in the Lake Como region in time for dinner.
Embark on an Italian escapade around Lake Como
Optional Excursion - Lake Como Cruise & Bellagio
Begin the day with a visit to Villa Carlotta (seasonal; during the off-season, a funicular ride to Brunate may be offered instead). This elegant 18th-century Italian estate stands amid 14 acres of gardens, whose 500 plant species include azaleas, orchids, camelias, eucalyptus and banana trees. Continue to the town of Como and join your Tour Director for an informal tour. You’ll pass by the 15th-century Gothic duomo, the medieval quarter, and the 12th-century Porta Vittoria. Later, choose to join an optional Lake Como cruise, with a stop for dinner in the lakeside village of Bellagio.
Lake Como Cruise & Bellagio $75* pp
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.
St. Moritz1 night - hotel info
Bundle up to see the sights of St Moritz—the Swiss capital of snow
Returning to Switzerland, travel to St. Moritz. The snow and mountains of St. Moritz have inspired the invention of some of the world’s most popular winter sports, including bobsledding and curling. During free time, take in the views of the Engadin Valley and see St. Moritz’s leaning tower, which is all that remains of the 13th-century St. Mauritius Church. Dinner is included tonight.
Innsbruck2 nights - hotel info
Take a jaunt through tiny Liechtenstein
Travel into Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine principality dating back to the Holy Roman Empire and now best-known for its wines and postage stamp trade. Pass the royal family’s hilltop castle, still in use as a royal residence, as you visit Vaduz, Liechtenstein’s capital. Later today, cross into Austria and reach Innsbruck, where you will embark on a guided walking tour in the afternoon, including stops at the Golden Roof and the courtyard of the Hofburg Palace.
Admire the architecture and sample the sweets in age-old Innsbruck
Optional Excursion - Neuschwanstein Castle
Spend a morning in Innsbruck as you like. Site of two Winter Olympics and capital of the Austrian Tyrol, Innsbruck is a sparkling mix of centuries-old royal splendor and modern allure. The streets of Innsbruck are dotted with gems of Baroque architecture, including the pink stuccoed Helblinghaus. Save some time for browsing, pastry-sampling or a climb up to the Olympic ski jump. This afternoon, join an optional excursion to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle $99* pp
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.
Munich2 nights - hotel info
Hit the Bavarian capital for grand palaces and world-class beer
Travel to Munich today, where you’ll take a guided sightseeing tour of the city, with views of the Olympic Village, Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz and the Residenz. Continue exploring Munich on your own this evening.
Witness the horrors and heroics of Dachau concentration camp
Optional Excursion - Dachau
Spend a free day in Munich. Alternatively, opt for an excursion to Dachau, site of the first Nazi concentration camp. In the evening, say farewell to your travel companions at an included group dinner.
Dachau $25* pp
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.
Flight homefor a day
Extend Your Stay
Add Salzburg $299*
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.
Sing along to the Sound of Music
Optional Excursion - Mozart Concert & Dinner
Transfer to Salzburg, where a local guide leads you on a walking tour of the old town, including the university, Max-Reinhardt-Platz, churchyard of St.Peter, Kapitelplatz, Cathedral, Residenzplatz and Alter Markt, ending up in Mirabellgardens. Highlights of the tour include admission into the home where Mozart was born and some scenery featured in The Sound of Music. In the evening, opt to attend a Mozart concert and dinner.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Mozart Concert & Dinner $119* pp
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. Please note: This excursion requires advanced reservations and payment at least 20 days prior to departure.
Venture to the salt mine depths and the Eagle’s Nest heights
Optional Excursion - Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines
Spend a free day to explore Salzburg or join an optional tour into the Bavarian Alps. Stop for a tour of the Berchtesgaden Salt mines, before continuing to Hitler’s Alpine retreat, known as the Eagle’s Nest.
Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines $105* pp
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.
Passport & Visa
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.
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.
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 / Walking on tour
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.
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 and 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).
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.
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.
95.7% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
First timers on a tour
Our tour commenced on June 2nd. "Freddie" our tour director arranged for us and the other early arrivers to spend time in Zurich so that the bus can be available for those arrived late. We were very lucky in that our group was small (only 20), and I would welcome to share a tour with any of them in the future. Great people with whom to travel. My favorite part of the trip was taking a cable car to the top of Aguille Du Midi above Chamonix and the time spent in Annecy, France. Another highlight was Freddie allowing the group the option to take the Berina Express from Torano, Italy to St. Moritz instead of the bus. Beautiful train ride, with all of us leaning out the open windows taking in the scenery. Since every where we went was beautiful, its difficult to be critical. The paid for dinners did not allow for much choice and in our case the first two "paid for" dinners were essentiallly variations on the same dish, Chicken with mushroom sauce over rice. Tour director should make the travelers aware of what may be served on the group dinners, so you do not order the same thing on your own the previous night. We would take Go Ahead Tours again, mainly because you generally get two nights everywhere. I would highly recommend this tour.
My Jewels of the Alpines tour was wonderful from the moment I stepped off the plane in Switzerland. Our tour director Jurgen welcomed me with a big smile and was terrific and very helpful throughout the entire tour. I loved all of the countries that we visited and each one was more beautiful then the next. The hotels were nice and the food amazing. I couldn't be happier with Go Ahead. This was my first but definitely not last tour with them! I would definitely recommend!
One of the Best Tours and Tour Director
We had a wonderful tour with Jurgen. He made the trip most memorable with his knowledge and how he managed the time at each stop. Jurgen made many suggestions for the people of our group when they were on their free time in each city. This allowed everyone to do what they wanted. The group was very punctual when it came time to be at a particular place and this helped us see many things we might not have if people did not consider each other. Lucerne was a definite highlight of the trip. Jurgen suggested the cable car ride to the top of Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, this was a most unexpected surprise. . We had perfect weather to view Mt. Blanc and surrounding mountains. Standing in the glass enclosure at the top of mountain and looking down is beyond description. A must do!! Munich is a great city and the beer garden is also something you must do when in this town. Jurgen made riding on the bus interesting with his commentaries and surprise treats from the areas we were in. The picnic lunch in the Alps was superb idea on his part. I know everyone enjoyed it so much If you decide to go on this tour, please request Jurgen as your tour director, you will not be sorry. May was a beautiful time to visit and we had perfect weather during the whole trip. Snow on the top of the mountains and green in the valleys. Could not ask for anything more.
Great Tour and Best Tour Director
My husband and I just returned from the Jewels of Alpine Europe…….the trip was truly a fabulous experience. The scenery is spectacular and the tour was truly enjoyable. The success of the trip was made possible by our Tour Director, Jurgen. He is truly a professional in every sense of the word. His little extra touches, candy on the bus, a picnic in the Alps…….(and so many others) made our experience a trip of a life time.
The most amazing trip ever. I live in the Rocky Mountains, but the Alps were unbelievable. Another great Go Ahead trip.
This was a fabulous trip. The scenery was spectacular and I enjoyed all of the cities we visited. I appreciated the free time we had in each city. Hotel locations were good. Our tour guide and bus driver were wonderful. We were fortunate to have Frank as our tour guide. He was extremely knowledgeable and made the trip both fun and educational.
best tour director
You bet! Atto was the perfect combination of the "person in charge" with "just one of the gang." While he was as knowledgeable as any tour guide I have had, his flexibility and ability to mix well with everyone really made him the best I've had so far.
Best Tour Director
This was my first bus tour and walking tour. I didn't know what to expect. I traveled with my cousin who has taken many tours and this was a plus for me. Our hotel accomodations were clean and comfortable. Internet access was difficult in most of the hotels. Even though we were given instructions I had to go down to the desk and asked for help. Hotel staff was very accomodating with the help. A couple of the included dinners were not very good but there was never a difficulty in finding local restaurants close to the hotels. Our tour director, Atto, was excellent. He really made the tour experience for me. He was pleasant, personable, knowledgeable and caring. Atto made sure that the group knew their way around the cities by giving out city maps and explaining how to get back to the hotel so that those who wanted to explore on their own could do so. He also made sure that everyone knew where the ATMs were located. It was a nice group of people and Atto interacted well with everyone.
From the Alps to Italy
I've always wanted to visit Switzerland and this trip surpassed all my expectations. I didn't know I wanted to go to Innsbruck, St. Tropez, Gruyere and many other stops but I loved them all. I especially enjoyed the walking tours in each village. I have a memory of being in each place, not just a drive by. Juergen was a wonderful caring tour guide. His knowledge of this area is encyclopedic. There were many special moments. I was travelling alone but the group was friendly and generous and I always felt included. Neuschwanstein Castle was one of my favorite places.
Gentle Tour Director
Our Tour Director Jurgen was so sweet and he was extremely thoughtful toward the group[. The down side was that while the tour was rated a three in activity, there were many who didn't know that, and thought it was a lot more "leisurely". Our tour director was very kind to them; but it did keep those of us who had planned on being more "on the move" a bit tethered as a whole. It is important, I think, for Go Ahead to make sure when customers sign up for a trip that they are reminded of the activity level. It is not fair for those who wanted to get the "overview" first and go back on our own time and see what we wanted later, to be held up by "shoppers and photo takers" during the guided part of the trip. It was usually made clear that there would be time to go back later, but a lot of our free time was used up because the "guided" part ran over due to waiting for others who did not listen or able to keep up. Our Tour Guide in Innsbruck was wonderful. He kept the group moving but was so informative and, oh, so witty. The group we were with were lovely people and we really did enjoy ourselves very much. Jurgen was generous with his "special treats" of food and surprises and did take us on special little detours that were wonderful.