switzerland & Northern Italy

Day 1  Overnight flight

Day 2  Zurich – Lucerne

2 Ruijs Travel Switzerland - Lucerne - Old Town

Herzlich willkommen in der Schweiz! Arrival at Zurich airport. Meet your local driver and tour escort. Transfer to Lucerne, upon arrival in the city centre, enjoy a guided walking tour of the city on the magnificent Vierwaldstättersee. Your walk starts at the famous Lions Monument. Walk through the old town and pass the Kornmarkt and the Old Town Hall, a fine Renaissance building. You will spend some time at the Hirschenplatz  and the Weinmarkt, with its Old Pharmacy, the very heart of medieval Lucerne. Most of the old guild houses, boutiques and patrician homes that encircle the square, have preserved their elaborately painted façades. Walk the so well-known covered Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke) spanning river Reuss. The bridge with its Wasserturm (water tower) and red-tiled roof is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century. From here you  can see the Jesuit Church, one of the oldest and most beautiful Baroque buildings in Lucerne. Check in at the hotel and have some time to relax before dinner. Welcome dinner and overnight in Lucerne.

Day 3  Lucerne – Mount Pilatus Golden Roundtrip – Lucerne

3 Ruijs Travel Switzerland - Lucerne - Pilatus summit

Lucerne is renowned for Mount Pilatus. No mountain in the long northern arc of the Alpine foothills shows such a marked upwards thrust as Mount Pilatus on Lake Lucerne. Its rock consists of cretaceous sediment and Tertiary. The 4618-metre stretch of railway from Alpnachstad to the Pilatus Kulm (summit) was opened in 1889. With a 48% gradient, this is still the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. Today you will enjoy the Mount Pilatus Golden Round Trip; in the morning you will board for a cruise on Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Then you make a ride with the famous cogwheel train and visit the top of Mount Pilatus. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the stunning views from above! On the top you have some free time for lunch on your own. You will make your way downwards by Panorama Gondola and Aerial Cable car and again you will be amazed about the view. Return to Lucerne and remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight in Lucerne.

Day 4  Lucerne – Engelberg Monastery – Brienz – Trümmelbach waterfall – Interlaken

4 Ruijs Travel - Switzerland - Trümmelbach Falls

Today you will visit the unique Schaukäserei in Engelberg. This cheese dairy is located in an ancient monastery. Enjoy a guided tour and learn all about how the soft cheese is produced and ladled by hand into a mold. To conclude your visit you will be able to taste several different cheeses. The journey continues to Brienz, located in the midst of a beautiful mountain scenery at the eastern end of the turquoise colored Lake Brienz. The probably most romantic part of Brienz is the “Brunngasse” (Well Alley) which is awarded as the most beautiful street in Europe. Brienz has a long tradition in wood processing. To this day the city houses a school for carving and violin-making. Your next stop will be at the Trümmelbach Falls, behold this impressive natural phenomenon. These glacial waterfalls drain the glacial melt from the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch mountain, with up to 20.000 liters per second rushing through caverns cut into the mountain. Travel to Interlaken, beautifully situated between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Overnight in Interlaken.

Day 5  Interlaken – Jungfrau Railway – Interlaken

5 Ruijs Travel - Switzerland - Jungfrau Bahn

Today you will make a trip with the Jungfrau Railway; an unforgettable trip to the high-Alpine wonderland of eternal ice and snow is a true ‘highlight’ of your visit to Switzerland! At an amazing 3454 meters, Jungfrau is Europe’s highest-altitude railway station. This unique round trip by modern cogwheel train starts at Kleine Scheidegg at the foot of the notorious Eiger North Wall. From here the Jungfrau Railway climbs to the station at Eigergletscher. The trip continues through the Eiger tunnel to the stations at Eigerwand and Eismeer. Enjoy spectacular sightseeing through large observation windows hewn in solid Alpine rock. And then the arrival on the Jungfraujoch, in the heart of a glorious glacier world; the very roof of Europe! Superb views extend as far as the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany. In Jungfrau you will have free time and lunch on your own. The train will take you back to Lauterbrunnen where your coach driver will be waiting to take you back to Spiez.
Overnight in Spiez.

Day 6  Interlaken – Lake Como    

6 Ruijs Travel - Switzerland - Spiez

You leave the beautiful Swiss Alps behind and you will be travelling through stunning environment with majestic mountains. Your first stop will be Locarno, situated on the banks of the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore. Time at leisure to have lunch and to explore the charming village, with its beautiful palazzos and incredible views over Lago Maggiore. Take your time to enjoy the narrow cobblestone alleys, the pretty pastel-coloured houses  and the chic and unique boutiques and restaurants that surround the main square. Afterwards you will cross the border into Italy. You will arrive in Como in mid-afternoon. Remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight in Como.


Day 7  Lake Como    

7 Ruijs Travel - Italy - Lake Como - Bellagio

Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Como today. View the waterfront with palm trees and elegant pastel-colored villas, crowned by snowcapped mountains. Lake Como is the third largest Lake in Italy (after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore) and a popular retreat for wealthy people since Roman times; several famous people had or have homes on the shores of Lake Como. You will sail from Como to Bellagio. Bellagio is also known as the pearl on Lake Como and is one of the most beautiful villages in the region of Lombardy. Bellagio is located halfway between the two southernmost branches of the lake and is famous worldwide for its beautiful villas overlooking the water, like Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi. In this villa the composer Franz Liszt stayed together with his beloved, Countess d’Agoult. Enjoy some free time in Bellagio before sailing back to Como.
Overnight in Como.

Day 8  Lake Como – Lake Garda, Sirmione – Padua

8 Ruijs Travel - Italy - Lake Garda

Following breakfast, you will leave the Lake Como area for the the charming village of Sirmione on Lake Garda (largest Lake of Italy) which is surrounded by mountains and therefore has a nice temperate climate. A local guide will take you on a walking tour to see some historical monuments like the Scaliger Castle and Grotto di Catullo. Scaliger Castle is built in the 13th century to defend Sirmione against intruders it guards the only footbridge into town. Grotto di Catullo, now ruins of a Roman villa built at the beginning of our era and situated on the north end of the Sirmione peninsula. Journey onwards to Padua, the oldest city of Northern Italy with its Medieval palaces, churches and cobbled streets.
Overnight in Padua.

Day 9  Padua

9 Ruijs Travel - Italy - Padua

This morning, enjoy a guide tour of Padua. Padua is one of the most important Italian cities of art and is marked by centuries of history. There are numerous monuments to visit, particularly those built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the most flourishing period from the artistic point of view. A local guide will show you some of the best sights such as Scrovegni Chapel, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Baptistery. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure to explore this marvelous city on your own.
Overnight in Padua.

Day 10 Padua – Venice – Padua 

10 Ruijs Travel - Italy - Veneto - Venice - Rialto Bridge

Today you will visit Venice, a legendary city built on 117 islands, which are separated by 150 canals and 400 bridges. From the Venezian Tronchetto you will travel by boat to San Marco Square. Waterfront palaces and lavishly decorated facades give the feeling that you are sailing through the Grand Canal as if you were passing through a painting. Venice is without a doubt one of the most intriguing and romantic cities in the world. Meet your local guide at the famous San Marco Square with its iconic red-brick Bell Tower. During a guided walking tour you will visit the Byzantine Basilica of Saint Mark and the Doge’s Palace which was seat of government, the law court, and a prison as well. See the Bridge of Sighs, the former path of prisoners from the Doge’s Palace to the adjacent prison. The afternoon is free to explore the winding canals, the famous Rialto Bridge, the elegant shops and many art galleries and museums on your own. You will conclude this wonderful tour with a dinner in atmospheric Venice. Overnight in Padua.

Day 11 Departure

11 Ruijs Travel - Italy - Veneto - Venice - Gondola

After breakfast departure to Venice Airport for you flight back home.