The Swiss are renowned for many things: their neutrality during World War II; their invigorating blend of French, Italian, German and distinctly Swiss cultures; their precision of timing as embodied in carefully made Swiss watches; and of course the stunning scenery. Discovery Tours introduces you to this intriguing and magnificent nation during our new Swiss Alpine Jewels itinerary. Here are just seven reasons for you to join us on this unforgettable trip:
Treasures of Chillon Castle. Nestled on an island in the eastern waters of Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is brimming with legend and lore. Beloved for more than its scenic setting, it is a bastion of history that stretches back to the Roman Empire and the Counts of Savoy. Its six stalwart turrets strike a stately pose on the lake’s shores and its interior tells fascinating stories of dukes and their prisoners.
Breathtaking alpine vistas. The Alps stretch across Central Europe like a massive geological spine, from France to Slovenia. But the Swiss Alps are the tallest.
Its most famous pinnacle is the Matterhorn, soaring to 14,700 feet over the alpine town of Zermatt. Other snow-capped peaks that scrape the sky include Dufourspitze (15,200 feet), the Dom (14,900 feet) and the Weisshorn (14,800 feet). You will take in one of the world’s most dramatic mountain views when you journey over the legendary Simplon Pass.
Shimmering lakes. Switzerland’s glass-like lakes add to the pristine allure of Swiss beauty. Not only that, but they also double your fascination. Just when you thought the panoramas couldn’t be more magnificent, you can look to their pristine surface and see spectacular mirror images reflected in the waters.
Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge. Perhaps one of Switzerland’s most charming sites, the 672-foot Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge, is a covered pedestrian footbridge over the River Reuss. The span is the world’s oldest truss bridge, named for the city’s St. Peter’s Chapel. It is Lucerne’s most beloved monument, built around 1365 as part of a military fortification. But what really sets it apart are the 17th-century triangular paintings that adorn the bridge’s interior, lovely depictions of Lucerne’s history.
Delectable chocolate. From truffles to pralines, Switzerland is rightly known for its delicious chocolates. Production began in the 17th century and in 1819, one of its most famous chocolate factories was founded by François-Louis Cailler after he learned the fine art of chocolate making in Turin, Italy. In our Discovery Tours small group, we will visit this historic factory site, owned by Nestlé since 1929.
Dazzling Zermatt. Spread out at the foot of the Matterhorn, the alpine town of Zermatt boasts some of the cleanest air of any town in the world. Accessed by cogwheel train, the car-free city began as a village for mountaineers looking to scale the heights of the Matterhorn. Today, the town is a stroller’s dream, a delightful tapestry of chalet-style architecture, inviting cafes and stunning vistas.
Fantastic fondue. With so many lush green valleys and grazing cows, Switzerland is one of the world’s largest producers of cheese. And for the Swiss, there are few dishes as satisfying on a cool alpine evening as a caquelon, or fondue pot. The dish, in which diners dip bread into a communal pot of melted cheese, had its origins in the 1930s. Over the decades, fondue has expanded to included fruits dipped in chocolate and meats dipped in broth.