Here’s an example of a customized luxury self-guided tour of Switzerland. We received a request via email for a customized tour for a family of 4 (all adults) from the Philippines. Their initial request was fairly simple… 7 nights, stay in Switzerland, see the Alps, take the Glacier Express train, visit Lucerne, St Moritz and Zurich, and to travel by private car, if possible. They wanted 5-star hotels. A somewhat tricky aspect of the trip is they were arriving in mid-October, which is decidedly off-season in the Alps, when almost all of the hotels close for a couple months between the summer and winter seasons, but which can otherwise be a beautiful time of year there.
After further emails, they said they were arriving in Zurich and leaving from Geneva, that yes, they preferred a private driver even though they would need to take the train between St. Moritz and Zermatt (for the Glacier Express), and that yes, 5-stars were preferred over 4-stars despite the increase in price. They also wanted to visit the old town in Basel and to have private guided tours in some places, not for hiking, but for sightseeing.
Based on this, we suggested 2 nights in Pontresina, very close to St. Moritz, but mellower, and home of the lovely 5-star Grand Hotel Kronenhof, which had recently been honored as Tripadvisor’s Best Hotel in the World (the top hotels in St. Moritz were closed anyway). We suggested a private tour of St. Moritz, and arranged a private driver both to Pontresina, and to St. Moritz for the Glacier Express train to Zermatt, which we also booked. Then they would stay 2 nights in Zermatt, where all three of the 5-star hotels were closed for the season, but the wonderful 4-star Hotel Europe was still open, and is a friendly and luxurious home base. Then a private taxi up to Lucerne, staying at the 5-star Hotel Palace, which being on the lakefront, is I believe, the finest 5-star hotel choice in Lucerne. We included a private tour with a local tour guide that I know personally, and suggested not staying in Basel, but making a daytrip of it from Lucerne instead. Finally, we included a private taxi to Geneva and a night in the 5-star Hotel Angleterre there. There are many great hotels in Geneva, but the Angleterre is hard to beat – on the lake, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, luxurious rooms and a superb restaurant, and we included superior lake view room here. They made a few minor changes, but this is essentially the itinerary we arranged for them.
You won’t find this bespoke itinerary as one of our regular collection of tours. This trip was developed based our clients’ desire for specific stops, for 5-star hotels and private taxis, and taking into account the off-season dates and what was actually open and available. We offer a few similar self-guided tours, such as our Self-guided Grand Tour to Mürren, Zermatt and Pontresina (which can also be guided), our deluxe Self-guided Best of Switzerland to Zermatt, Wengen, Lucerne and Zürich, and our deluxe Self-guided Swiss Alps Sampler to Lucerne, Mürren, Montreux, Zermatt, St. Moritz and Zürich. All of these are luxury tours with 4 and 5-star hotels and 1st class rail travel.
Pontresina – Arrival in Switzerland, and transfer by private taxi to Pontresina, a mellow village in Switzerland’s traditional Engadine region, near the border of Italy and Austria. Stay in the 5-star Grand Hotel Kronenhof, honored as Tripadvisor’s Best Hotel in the World in 2014.
Pontresina – On their request, we arranged a private guide for a 3 hour tour of nearby St Moritz. Return 15 minutes to Pontresina to the 5-star Grand Hotel Kronenhof.
Zermatt – We reserved 1st class seats for the Glacier Express train from Samedan to Zermatt. Switzerland’s most famous train ride is relaxing and scenic and brings you to the car-free resort village of Zermatt. Stay in the friendly 4-star Hotel Europe.
Zermatt – You have a 2nd day in Zermatt to relax and see the sights, such as the historic cogwheel train to the Gornergrat ridge, for some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the Alps. Or the cable car to Klein Matterhorn, where you can walk through an ice cave carved into the glacier. Stay again in the 4-star Hotel Europe.
Lucerne – The 1st class rail pass would have given free travel to Lucerne, but this family preferred to travel by private car, so we arranged a driver to take them to Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s prettiest small cities. We arranged a private guide for a 2½ hour tour of Lucerne’s most famous sights. Stay in the lakeside 5-star Hotel Palace.
Lucerne – This family was particularly interested in visiting Basel, a perennially underrated city that has a beautiful old town, a beautiful riverfront, and numerous interesting museums. It’s 1 hr from Lucerne by direct train, a a self-guided visit to Basel was planned for today. Return to Lucerne to the 5-star Hotel Palace.
Geneva – We booked a private driver to pick them up at their hotel in Lucerne and take them to Geneva, where they stayed in lake-view king rooms at one of the very best hotels in Geneva, the 5-star Hotel Angleterre.
Depart – A driver to the airport the last morning concluded the trip.