Small group guided tour with guaranteed departures, max size 14 people
Everything but the guide...custom tour design, hikes, and all the details.
When tourists first started coming to the Alps in the 1700 and 1800’s, their travels, known as “The Grand Tour”, were always first class and included stops in Europe’s most well-known destinations. Your Grand Tour is a private guided one, with first-class trains, and the best hotels in the best mountain villages in the Swiss Alps. Stay in distinctive, luxurious hotels like the 5-star Riffelalp Resort in Zermatt and acclaimed 5-star Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina. Take the famous Glacier Express. And let your guide worry about all the details. Your job is to show up, hike and relax.
Your private tour starts in Mürren, a gorgeous car-free village perched dramatically on top of a 3000 ft cliff in the Bernese Oberland. After 3 nights there, continue to Zermatt, the famous resort village nestled beneath the incomparable Matterhorn. Finally, ride the Glacier Express train on a scenic cross-country journey to Pontresina, the serene jewel of the St. Moritz lakes region. This is our most luxurious tour and we promise it will be a memorable one.
Mürren – The Grand Tour starts with arrival in Zürich and a train ride to Mürren, our home away from home in Switzerland. The trip takes about 4 hours.
Mürren is an idyllic, car-free village, perched atop a sheer 3000-foot cliff above the waterfall-filled Lauterbrunnen valley (picture Yosemite with a Swiss village on top), and we will stay at the elegant and scenic 4-star Hotel Eiger. You’ll have a 1st class rail pass for this trip.
Mürren – One of our favorite hikes starts in town, and gently meanders up the hills to the pastoral setting at Spielboden. Here we cross the Schiltbach stream, and start a steep and invigorating ascent to the local peak of Bryndli. We’ll take our lunch enjoying birds-eye views of Mürren and the Lauterbrunnen valley, perhaps with a soaring golden eagle for company.
From here the trail levels off, and becomes a relaxing stroll through flowery meadows to Rotstock hut, a quiet alpine hut in a beautiful meadow. Stop for a drink, take in the scenery. When you’re ready to head back, the return trail leads over a small ridge for more great views, before dropping back down to Mürren.
Mürren – =The Upper Lauterbrunnen valley is a true gem, and you’ll explore it at some point on your trip. A wild valley curls back beneath the white-capped Breithorn – considered by many to be the most perfect mountain in the region – with numerous waterfalls.
It’s also a nature preserve, and contains many wonderful hiking trails. One of our favorites takes us to the small farm at Obersteinberg, where the proprietors keep cows and make cheese by the same simple methods that have been used for centuries. This part of the valley also contains some of the area’s prettiest waterfalls. Dinner will be left free tonight so you can explore on your own.
Zermatt – We’ll hop on a 1st class train in the morning to Zermatt, a scenic 3½ hour journey through the mountains to the southern border. Once in Zermatt, you can either take a short hike, or use this time to explore the shops, museums and cafes in Zermatt.
Then we’ll take a the Gornergrat cogwheel train above town to check into our fabulous 5-star hotel, the newly renovated Riffelalp Resort. Perched just above treeline on the Gorner ridge, the Riffelalp is a quiet and welcoming oasis in the mountains. It’s one of our favorite hotels anywhere.
Zermatt – Taking quiet trails through scenic meadows, we will hike from Riffelalp up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe.
The enormous Gorner glacier stretches out before us, and behind that, Monte Rosa (the highest mountain in Switzerland), Lyskamm, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop. The Riffelalp has a fantastic wellness center with pools, saunas and full-service spa, so be sure to leave time for that!
Pontresina – It’s Glacier Express day today. After breakfast, we’ll say good-bye to the Matterhorn and board the famous Glacier Express train for Pontresina, a mellow and pretty resort town on the eastern edge of Switzerland. The trip is comfortable and fun, with views to the Swiss countryside and many exciting tunnels and bridges.
The hiking here is amazingly varied, and there are numerous hikes to choose from. Our home in Pontresina is the friendly and classy Hotel Kronenhof, with a great pool and spa and wonderful food. Enjoy a short walk through the village or relax at the pool and extensive hotel spa.
Pontresina – From Pontresina, one of our favorite hikes anywhere is the panoramic Muragl traverse above Pontresina. Ascending through a quiet back valley, we’ll hike up to the gorgeous views from Segantini hut.
Traversing from here, pass small alpine lakes on a scenic descent back to Pontresina. Boasting quiet wooded stretches, abundant wildlife, and surprising views of the giant Piz Bernina and the paternoster lakes of St. Moritz, this hike provides a wonderful farewell to the Engadine region. Return to the hotel for a final gourmet dinner.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, say good-bye to the Engadine region and depart for your post-trip destinations. Your 1st class pass will be good for the return journey to Zurich.
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