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Switzerland, Alsace & the Black Forest

12 days
From Switzerland’s mountainous landscapes to Germany’s mystical Black Forest, impressive views are around every corner in this breathtaking region. Witness the iconic Matterhorn up close at Gornergrat, wind your way through Colmar’s charming streets in Alsace, then venture out into an ethereal land known for its fairy tales and decadent Black Forest cake.

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 2 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including cobblestone streets, paved roads and dirt paths, with some hills and stairs.

Explore festive Christmas markets on a special winter departure of this tour.

See itinerary

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 10 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 Lucerne via Zurich

  Included meals: Dinner

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

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Lucerne

  Included meals: Breakfast

With your guide leading the way, get to know lakeside Lucerne, the most populous city in Central Switzerland.

• Pass hand-painted facades along the cobbled streets of the Old Town

• View the Lion Monument, a tribute to the Swiss Guards who sacrificed their lives in Paris during the French Revolution

• See the Jesuit Church, the first large Baroque building of its kind to be built in Switzerland north of the Alps

• Cross the iconic Kapellbrücke, a covered wooden footbridge spanning the Reuss River, and view the Water Tower

Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Lucerne on your own 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)

Zermatt 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Glacier Express to Zermatt

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Pass through the Alps today as you make your way to the car-free mountain town of Zermatt. Finish your transfer to Zermatt aboard the Glacier Express, a famed train with cars specially designed for scenic viewing. Upon arrival, follow your Tour Director on a short orientation tour.

Day 5: Excursion to the Matterhorn Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out into the mountainous landscapes surrounding the Matterhorn today to visit Gornergrat, a ridge overlooking the Gorner Glacier.

• Board Europe’s highest open-air cog railway for a ride to the summit

• Take in spectacular panoramic views of the Matterhorn

Interlaken 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Interlaken via the Alps

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Bid adieu to Zermatt as you make your way north through the Bernese Oberland Alps to Interlaken, the gateway to the region’s towering mountains and pristine lakes.

Day 7: Excursion to Jungfraujoch

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, venture up to Jungfraujoch, a UNESCO-listed mountain pass over 11,000 feet above sea level.

• Journey to the summit on two different trains with plenty of photo opportunities

• Peruse the exhibits located at the summit and pay a visit to the Ice Palace

Strasbourg 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Strasbourg via Bern & Basel

  Included meals: Breakfast

Before crossing the border into France, make a stop in the Swiss capital of Bern for a sightseeing tour.

• Cross the Aare River and head to the iconic Bern Bear Park, home to a community of brown bears

• Stroll through the UNESCO-recognized Old Town, making your way past the Cathedral of Bern

Then head to Basel, Switzerland’s third-largest city, for free time before continuing on to Strasbourg, the capital of France’s Alsace region.

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Strasbourg

  Included meals: Breakfast

Explore Strasbourg, the capital of France’s Alsace region on a tour with a local guide. Then, take to the river for a short cruise. 

• Make your way through the Grande Île neighborhood, passing by Place Gutenberg, Cathédrale Notre-Dame and Palais Rohan, known as a miniature Versailles

• Continue your tour by boat, taking in the Petite France neighborhood from the water with views of Barrage Vauban and Ponts Couvert

This afternoon, enjoy free time to continue exploring Strasbourg on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Alsace Wine Tasting & Dinner $95pp* Details

Drive through the picturesque vineyards that dot the Alsace countryside to the Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr regions, known for their medieval villages. Here, you’ll take a tour of a traditional wine cellar before enjoying a tasting of four Alsatian varietals, including flowery Riesling and aromatic Gewürztraminer. Then, sit down to dinner in a local village restaurant for a taste of Alsatian cuisine, famous for its signature blend of German and French influences.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Black Forest Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Freiburg via Colmar

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to the Black Forest region, stop to explore the charming  city of Colmar, known for its impeccably preserved old town.

• Discover “Little Venice,” an area of town known for its canals

• Walk through the famous old town, seeing Maison Pfister and Saint Martin Church

• Enter the Bartholdi Museum, dedicated to the artist who designed New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty 

Continue on to the German town of Freiburg, known as the entry point into the fabled Black Forest. Here you’ll set out on a tour of the town with a local guide.

• Enter the Gothic Freiburg Cathedral, built during the 13th century

• Pass by the Historisches Kaufhaus, City Hall and Martinstor city gate

Day 11: Excursion through the Black Forest region

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out to explore more of the Black Forest region today. 

• Transfer to the town of Wolfach to learn how glass and crystal are made at the Dorotheenhütte Glassworks and Glass Museum

• Continue on to Triberg for a tasting of Black Forest cake, named for the tart cherry liquor that gives it its signature taste

• Marvel at regional artifacts inside the Black Forest Museum during free time

• Pay a visit the world’s largest cuckoo clock and view Triberg Waterfall, one of the highest falls in Germany

• Head back to Freiburg, stopping at Lake Titisee for free time along the way

Later this evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Zurich airport for your flight home or continue your trip to explore the Rhine Valley.

Add Rhine Valley Starting from $449 pp

Rhine Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Rhine Valley via Heidelberg

  Included meals: Breakfast

On your way to the Rhine Valley, stop in Heidelberg for a guided sightseeing tour.

• Walk through old Heidelberg, passing Market Square and Heidelberg University

• Take a funicular ride up to Heidelberg Castle and take in panoramic views of the Old Bridge and Rhine River

Day 13: Free day in the Rhine Valley

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day to explore the Rhine Valley on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Rhine River Cruise & Wine Tasting $95pp* Details

Known for its breathtaking landscapes and architecture from the Middle Ages, the Rhine River Valley is one of Germany’s most spectacular sites. Start the day by touring one of this remarkable region’s wineries, where you’ll learn about cultivation processes and explore either the vineyards or cellars (depending on the season). Afterward, you’ll enjoy a tasting of three different wines accompanied by lunch. Then, make your way through this UNESCO-recognized area on a cruise down the Rhine River, passing by six castles on your way from Boppard to St. Goar.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Frankfurt airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Interlaken, Switzerland
  • Strasbourg, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
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  • MAR
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Passport & visa requirements

This tour includes the following countries: Switzerland, France 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 home. 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; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

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

There are no major health risks associated with traveling on your tour. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and travel requirements.

Cuisine

Swiss cuisine varies by region. Many cities and towns have their own specialities, but larger cities like Lucerne and Lausanne also offer a range of international fare.  

Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafes. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular.

German food is hearty and substantial. Among the specialties are rich dumpling stews and sauerkraut cabbage, tasty thick sausages and smoked cheeses, dark breads and chocolate cakes. Bavaria produces some of the world’s purest beers and white German wines are exceptionally good.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive and depart from Zurich (and depart from Frankfurt on the tour extension). When you first arrive at the airport in Switzerland, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs and will escort you via private motor coach to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 

All other included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore Lucerne by public transportation. It is a walkable city, although frequent local buses are also available–Purchase tickets at tobacconists or vending machines.  

Electricity

Switzerland, France and Germany operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

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

Currency

The Swiss franc and the euro (in France and Germany) are the currencies you will 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 advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so 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 equivalency 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 equivalency 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.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 8/4/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Awesome

I thought this was a great tour. I highly recommend Go Ahead changing it though. It should start in Germany/France and end in Switzerland. There is so much to do and see.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Beautiful

The itinerary was very active. We saw so many beautiful sites. A great group to travel with. A tour guide who had actually been to these sites before or who was actually from Switzerland and spoke the languages would have been much better. We spent way too much time on the bus. We ate at Road Side stops 3 times. Because of lack of knowledge of the country and places to stop and have meals. We seemed to be lost and not sure where to go. If your not going to have a Swiss Guide, you should at least have more local guides to give us more info. Not someone reading and researching a country she had never been to before. We had way too much free time on our own with no recommendations on where to go. I felt as though we had to fen for ourselves way too much. The itinerary however was excellent. We saw so many beautiful sites and landscapes.

 

Dear Traveler, We're glad you feel the itinerary was excellent and that you enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of Switzerland. You're right that this tour is quite active and includes many sites, which is why there is a fair amount of time spent in transit. We regret, however, to learn that your Tour Director did not meet your expectations. One of our Quality Control team members reached out to you to discuss this point further. If you would like to speak with our Quality Control team, please give us a call back at 1-800-597-0350. Thank you for writing a review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 15, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: CT

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Swiss Gem!

My husband and I selected this tour primarily for the Swiss piece of the itinerary, and it did not disappoint! Spending three days at various mountains within the Swiss Alps was my favorite part of the trip, and I highly recommend booking the optional excursion to Mt. Pilatus while in Lucerne. I will say that we got very lucky with the weather on each of these days - warm temperatures and clear skies. It is my understanding that some of the trains and cable cars do not run in inclement and rainy weather. I think that we would have had too much free time if we weren't able to visit the mountains. While the "Top of Europe" Jungfrau was a highlight for me, I do think that Go Ahead needs to figure out how to improve or do away with the Interlaken leg of the trip. I felt that the hotel accommodation here was well below Go Ahead's standards, and didn't particularly love the town or the small selection of restaurants there. Strasbourg and The Black Forest regions were nice additions to the itinerary, and allowed us to experience different cities, cultures, and food. Overall, I felt that the value of this tour was quite fair. I personally was expecting better hotel accommodations in Switzerland, but understand that the inclusion of the mountain excursions was likely a good portion of the cost of the tour. I would love if Go Ahead created an all Switzerland trip that would spend time in cities like Zurich and Geneva.

 

Hi Amanda! We’re so pleased to learn that you enjoyed your time in Switzerland – weather and all! We appreciate your feedback on the time spent in Interlaken. We regret that the accommodations and restaurant selection did not meet your expectations. We will be sure to share this with our Product Development team. We also appreciate your suggestion to create a new Switzerland itinerary and will definitely share that as well. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 10, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great tour.

The Alps are magnificent. Especially loved the Gornergat and Junfreau. Glacier Express wonderful and the trip through Sustenpasse fantastic. Hotels great. Breakfast great. Provided meals....some ok others not. Overall tour, a beautiful experience.

 

Hi Marsha! We agree that the Alps are magnificent! We regret to hear that some of the included meals did not meet your expectations and will be sure to share that with our Operations team. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 08, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Breathtaking!

I wanted to do this tour because it included Alsace, the region my Dad's family members came from. Little did I know how amazing beautiful the Swiss portion of this tour would be. By the time we got to Alsace, we were ready for some French food. Jürgen, our tour director, helped me actually locate and visit the small village where my family had lived since the 1700's. Needless to say, this was the highlight of the tour for me. The last portion in Germany was lovely. I highly recommend the extension in order to see Heidelburg and the Rhine river valley. The only negative overall was the quality of the food served at some of the included dinners. I trust Go Ahead is working to improve these based on the feedback our group provided. Don't hesitate to choose this tour, you will not be disappointed!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

This is my second tour with Go Ahead. The itinerary is great. Inclusion of Lake Geneva was an excellent idea. Tour director Jorgen is especially excellent. He arranged some tour on our free time which I enjoyed immensely. He took good care each and everybody in the group. Hotel quality is mixed. Hotel in Zermatt was excellent. In Interlaken, it was not good at all. Meals were good except in Interlaken. One major disappointment is that we were suppose to see lake Titisee, which was never happened. Too much time was given to see the glass blowing factory and very little time for Triberg.

 

Hi Anusri! We’re so glad you enjoyed your second Go Ahead tour. Thank you for the feedback on various aspects of the itinerary, as well as your Tour Director. We regret to hear that the meals in Interlaken did not meet your expectations and will share this feedback with our Operations team. We are also sorry that you did not have time to see Lake Titisee. Occasionally, itinerary changes are necessary depending on factors such as weather, time frames, traffic, and the desires of the group. We will be sure to communicate your thoughts on this missed site to your Tour Director and our Product Development team. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 11, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: PA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Alps are the best

Really enjoyed this trip. I do think Go Ahead should reverse the itinerary as the Alps were the outstanding part of the trip for me. France and Black Forest could not compare with the beautiful fantastic Alps. Also the meal at Des Alpes was only fair at best. Accommodations were excellent, especially enjoyed the room and view in Zermatt. I understand you do not normally use this hotel but would strongly recommend this hotel in the future. Also recommend some winter clothing be recommended such as wool cap and possibly gloves for the trips to glaciers. We were OK but a winter hat would have been nice. Had a wonderful time and highly recommend this trip.

1 / 1
 

Hi Wayne! We’re delighted that you enjoyed your trip. We appreciate your suggestion to reverse the itinerary and will be sure to share this with our Product Development team. We regret to hear that your meal at Des Alpes did not impress, and we will definitely take another look at how we can improve it. Thank you for your thoughts on accommodations, particularly the hotel in Zermatt. We will also let our Product Development team know that you recommend it. We agree that some warm clothing items can come in handy, and we thank you for providing that great tip. We’re thrilled that you highly recommend this tour, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 12, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: PA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Breathtaking Scenery

My favorite part of this tour was in The Alps. I almost wish the tour schedule was reversed so the most dramatic part of the trip is at the end. We were very lucky as the schedule was altered and we were able to stop at Montreux during our travels. Also loved the 3 mile "walk" above Zermatt that our tour director added to those who wanted to come. Rode up one station on a gondola from Zermatt and then walked back to town. Stopped at a small inn which seemed in the middle of nowhere for some refreshments. I loved every part of the Switzerland part of this trip. Also enjoyed the rest but nothing could compare to the Alps which are so beautiful and unlike anything I had seen before.

1 / 8
 

Hi Linda! We can understand how the Alps would be the highlight for you! We appreciate your thought to reverse the itinerary and will be sure to communicate that to our Product Development team. The walk above Zermatt sounds like a beautiful experience, and we’re so glad you were able to have it. Thank you for your valuable feedback, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 12, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 8

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A Wonderful Trip

How great it was to be in the sparkling clean countries of Switzerland, Germany and the Alsace in France. Switzerland has flowing water in the rivers, stream and fountains. Several times our tour director said to fill our water bottles from the flowing fountains and we did!! The scenery was magnificent. What a variety of places we visited. We cruised in boats, went up the world's steepest cogwheel railway, rode the Glacier Express to the Matterhorn region, visited the Black Forest, and ended our journey on the Rhine River. Our guide was good, the food delicious, and a tour I'm glad I signed on!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 8

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome Trip

Switzerland is my new favorite place. I really could not pick a favorite part of the trip. I was initially apprehensive about such a large group (33) but it was fine. It was a great group of people. Our tour director, Atto was great. He is personable and has wealth of knowledge about the area we visited. He managed to meet everyone's needs. We started in Lucerne, a beautiful and clean city steeped in history. The excursion to Mt Pilatus was definitely a highlight. The gondola ride to the top provided breathtaking views. Lake Geneva in Montreux was lovely and I wish we could have spent more time there. Zermatt was a unique car free town and we enjoyed the Glacier Express. The train to Gornergrat allowed a view of the Matterhorn. This was the only place we saw a mountain goat. We next went to Interlaken, another beautiful town. The excursion to Jungfraujoch was exciting. You will feel the altitude. The ice palace is striking and interesting. Then there was a visit to a waterfall--I can't remember the name. Again, all the excursions were a must. Leaving Interlaken, we stopped briefly in Bern and Basel before heading to France. The wine tasting and dinner excursion in France was delightful. From France we went to Germany. The Black Forest area was lovely. My favorite thing there was the visit to to the glass factory. My only suggestion would be to have lunch in Montreaux.

1 / 2
 

Hi Kay! Switzerland is one of our favorite places too! We’re glad that you enjoyed your tour, group, and Tour Director. It sounds like most aspects of your experience exceeded your expectations, and we’re happy to hear it. We completely agree that all the optionals are fantastic, as they offer some very unique experiences. We appreciate your feedback regarding lunch in Montreaux and will be sure to pass that along to our Product Development team. Thank you for your wonderful review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 01, 2016