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Oktoberfest: Jewels of Alpine Europe

13 days Special Event
Journey from Switzerland’s mountain-lined Lake Lucerne to France’s inspiring Lake Annecy. Take in the picturesque Charmonix Valley, stroll Italy’s Lake Como, cross Liechtenstein and hit the winter wonderland of Innsbruck. End your adventure in Munich, the lively capital of Bavaria, where you’ll join thousands of beer lovers from around the world in celebrating Oktoberfest.

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

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 1 hour daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with few hills and stairs.

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 $115pp* 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: $125)

Annecy 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Annecy via Bern

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel through the Alps, taking in stunning scenery as you pass Lakes Sarnen, Brienz and Thun. 

• Stop in Interlaken to catch a glimpse of Jungfraujoch, or the “Top of Europe”

• Cross the Aare River, a tributary of the Rhine, and discover the Swiss capital of Bern with your Tour Director

• Walk by the Gothic cathedral on a tour of Bern’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site

• Pass through the vineyards of Lausanne and Lake 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

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 Como Cathedral

• 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 $79pp* 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. This excursion is seasonal and runs from 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 that dates 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 of 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 $99pp* 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, 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, 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: Oktoberfest in Munich

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Munich today to join thousands of others in celebrating Oktoberfest. Enjoy special admission to an Oktoberfest tent, where you can sample Bavarian delicacies along with steins of Munich’s famous beer.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Munich

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Get to know the Bavarian capital on a guided tour. 

• Travel past the Englischer Garten and fashionable Schwabing district 

• Enter the Nymphenburg Palace, the Baroque-style former home of Bavarian royalty 

• Walk from Odeonsplatz through the nearby Hofgarten to view the Residenz, once home to the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria

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

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

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 $399 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 the 17th-century Salzburg Cathedral, built in the Baroque style

• Pass the home where Mozart was born

• Take the funicular to the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of Europe’s largest medieval castles

Enjoy a free afternoon in Salzburg or add an excursion.

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

Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, located within St. Peter’s Abbey. Enjoy an evening of fine dining and music. 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.

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 $105pp* 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. Take an underground boat ride on Mirror Lake before enjoying free time for lunch. Continue to Obersalzberg, where a scenic bus ride along steep gorges offers beautiful views of the snow-capped Alps. Enter the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, a museum with an exhibition on the history of Nazi dictatorship. Then, take a gilded elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest, an Alpine retreat built for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday. On your way back down, stop at a distillery to sample a liqueur made from Alpine flowers. 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 and runs 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.

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, 4 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 $115pp* 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: $125)

Annecy 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Annecy via Interlaken & Bern

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel through the Alps, taking in stunning scenery as you pass Lakes Sarnen, Brienz and Thun. Visit the Swiss cities of Interlaken and Bern en route to Annecy, France.

• Stop in Interlaken to catch a glimpse of Jungfraujoch, or the “Top of Europe”

• Cross the Aare River, a tributary of the Rhine, and discover the Swiss capital of Bern with your Tour Director

• Walk through Bern’s charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, passing the Gothic Bern Cathedral

• Pass through the vineyards of Lausanne and Lake 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

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 $79pp* 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. This excursion is seasonal and runs from 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: Train ride to St. Moritz

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Tirano, where you’ll board the Bernina Express. Enjoy a scenic train ride through the stunning, UNESCO-recognized landscapes of the Alps to St. Moritz, a prestigious Swiss resort town and 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 $99pp* 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, 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, 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: Oktoberfest in Munich

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Munich today to join thousands of others in celebrating Oktoberfest. Enjoy special admission to an Oktoberfest tent, where you can sample Bavarian delicacies along with steins of Munich’s famous beer.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Munich

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

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

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 $399 pp

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 the 17th-century Salzburg Cathedral, built in the Baroque style

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

• Take the funicular to the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of Europe’s largest medieval castles

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

Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, located within St. Peter’s Abbey. Enjoy an evening of fine dining and music. 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.

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 $105pp* 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. Take an underground boat ride on Mirror Lake before enjoying free time for lunch. Continue to Obersalzberg, where a scenic bus ride along steep gorges offers beautiful views of the snow-capped Alps. Enter the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, a museum with an exhibition on the history of Nazi dictatorship. Then, take a gilded elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest, an Alpine retreat built for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday. On your way back down, stop at a distillery to sample a liqueur made from Alpine flowers. 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 and runs 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
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 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).

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.

How's the weather?

  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Annecy, France
  • Como, Italy
  • St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Munich, Germany
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 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).

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.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/21/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful trip to the Alps

Our trip, Jewels of the Alpine and Jens our tour director surpassed all my expectations. This was our first tour with Go Ahead Tours . We had a small friendly cooperative group of 17 people. We quickly became comfortable with each other . Our tour director,Jens was very flexible and personal. He made many wonderful suggestions and allowed us as a group to make decisions about what we would like to do. As a result we had many more experiences then expected. Oktoberfest as promised was a highlight of the trip. Jens' enthusiasm was infective. His love of the countries, cultures and people encouraged us to meet the locals and interact. This is a very valuable aspect of traveling. Our trip to the top of Mont Blanc during our free time is an experience I will never forget and will always treasure.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best Tour Director EVER

Juergen was awesome. He managed to keep us on track, well informed, interested and amused all at the same time! Annecy was a wonderful small village with lots of history as well as beauty. Mount Blanc was a spectacular once in a life time scene. ( pay the extra to go to the top.). We loved the atmosphere at Octoberfest, as well as the beer. The weather wasn't great, but we got a great trip on Lake Como in, as well as dinner overlooking the lights of the lake. We took the extension to Salzburg and saw a wonderful view from Eagles Nest. My husband and I do quite a bit of traveling and have never done a Go Ahead tour, but we are already researching our next.

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