Switzerland is home to majestic mountain ranges and the yummiest chocolate in Europe. In cities like Lucerne and Zurich, you'll enjoy the historical architecture common to European towns. In the mountain ranges of the Swiss Alps, you'll see the once-in-a-lifetime mountain views and enjoy hair-raising skiing.
A trip to Switzerland requires special planning, particularly if you want to go up into the mountains. Cost is also an important consideration when traveling there. Don't let that deter you. A Switzerland tour will be full of unforgettable experiences and landscapes, especially if you like winter sports.
The powdery slopes of the Swiss Alps are the best reason to take a tour in Switzerland. Ski tours include some of the country's most picturesque villages, like Zermatt, which is nestled under the legendary Matterhorn. Even if you don't ski, a tour excursion up to Gornergrat ridge will give you an incredible view of the surrounding mountains, including the Matterhorn.
Another popular ski tour destination is Jungfraujoch, a point in the Bernese Alps that is over 11,000 feet above sea level and connects two peaks in the range. Aside from hair-raising skiing and other winter activities, Jungfraujoch features an observatory with an epic observation deck and restaurants with panoramic views.
Switzerland's incredible landscapes provide an endless source of activities for nature lovers. You might find yourself hiking through the Bernese Oberland or cycling across the lush countryside, with views of Mont Blanc as your backdrop. Nature tours can typically be booked with overnight camping or traditional accommodations.
A Switzerland tour is also not complete without a relaxing stay in an idyllic town on Lake Lucerne. Tours typically include boating on the lake, which is surrounded by mountains. You can also enjoy hiking up in one of the surrounding mountains like Mount Pilatus, which allows you to get a view of the irregularly shaped lake from above.
Food & Culture Tours
From Geneva to Zurich, Switzerland offers a world-class cuisine that prominently blends the flavors of neighboring countries like France, Italy, and Germany. A food and culture tour of Switzerland can take you along the cobbled streets that wind through beautiful Zurich Old Town to some of the city's best restaurants, and of course, chocolate shops. At the Lindt-Sprüngli Shop, you can even enjoy a chocolate-tasting experience.
Tours through the wine region of Geneva include visits to local vineyards and wineries, like the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lavaux Vineyards. Dairy farms and cheesemaking excursions are also popular as part of your culinary discovery of Switzerland. You'll visit the pastures of Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park, which is the center of cheesemaking in the country.
Planning Your Trip
A successful Switzerland tour involves a lot of planning, especially during high season when trains and hotels can get booked up far in advance. If you plan ahead, you'll have the time of your life.
Best Time to Visit Switzerland
To really enjoy the country's natural beauty and its world-class ski resorts, Switzerland is best seen in the winter. The snow-covered Alps are an incredible sight, especially when you're enjoying them from a cozy cabin. Whether you ski or not, the views are well worth the visit. During the holiday season, you'll find magical Christmas markets in cities all over the country.
What to Look for in a Tour to Switzerland
Since so much of the country's beauty is in remote areas, taking a tour is a simple way to avoid the headache of figuring out train schedules and getting to small towns in Switzerland. A good tour will include transportation throughout the country, as well as good accommodations during the busy season. You should consider what places and activities are best suited for you and whether you want special tour add-ons like a dairy farm visit.
Typical Tour Cost
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, and tour prices reflect that. A week-long tour of Switzerland can be upwards of $2,500, though many tours include everything you need to have a stress-free vacation.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
If you're going on a ski vacation to Switzerland, your packing will require a lot of care and consideration. Aside from all-weather ski suits that are appropriate for the cold and the activity, you'll need winter accessories like hats, gloves, and boots. If you're very particular about your ski equipment, you may want to pack your skis and poles from home, though you'll have to pay to fly them there.
You can also rent your gear at your resort or any ski equipment shop in town. If you're visiting one of the popular ski destinations in Switzerland, there will be plenty available. You should consider the cost of equipment rental when you budget for your trip.
Other Tips for Travel in Switzerland
Switzerland is an expensive place. It's easy to think that once you've paid for the base price of a tour that the spending money you'll need for meals and gifts is negligible. In Switzerland, this is something you have to consider and budget for carefully, or you'll be unpleasantly surprised when you find yourself paying $50 for a drink and an entree.
Health & Safety
Food and water in Switzerland is as safe to eat and drink as it is back home. You shouldn't have to worry about any health concerns that you wouldn't normally be worried about. Nonetheless, it's always a good idea to be up to date on your vaccines including the annual flu shot.
Any sports activity is inherently hazardous, especially skiing. If you're going to be hitting the slopes on your Switzerland tour, it's a good idea to have travel insurance to be covered in the event of injury. Other than that, Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crime or muggings are very unlikely, but you should be aware of potential pickpockets in bigger cities.