Majestic Switzerland: Cultural and Painting Tours
Nestled in the heart of Europe, this small country of soaring mountains and sparkling
lakes is a gem. Swiss traditions and art de vivre have enchanted us, and we are eager to
share our secret findings with you!
You can choose our cultural tour or our painting tour
There is more to Switzerland than mountains and lakes. On this
unique trip, you'll also experience authentic Swiss traditions,
such as chocolate- and cheese-making and the
ancient art of paper cutting.
Day 1: Arrival in Switzerland
We’ll pick you up at the train station in Vevey, capital
of the Swiss Riviera at Lake Geneva, and drive you to our hotel.
Upon arrival, you’ll be able to unpack and get settled for
the week, rest and relax or explore this charming village
with its hilltop chalets and lakeside parks.
Before our dinner together,
you’ll meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception
and a short orientation meeting.
Day 2: Welcome to Heidi's country in Gruyères
We'll spend the day in medieval Gruyères, famous both
for its cheese and impressive hilltop castle.
Morning: Old tradition of cheese making
The French have their champagne and the Swiss have their Gruyère,
one of the world's finest cheeses. You’ll have a chance
to see how this specialty cheese is made the ancient way, in
a old chalet in the mountains. We will have lunch in this chalet
tasting the fresh cheese and other Swiss specialties.
Afternoon: The castle town of Gruyères
You'll be enchanted by this fortified town,
which has retained its character and charmed visitors for hundreds
Indulge in shopping in boutiques that sell what Switzerland
is known for: clocks, watches, knives, bells, cheese and more.
You can also immerse yourself in the world of Fantastic Art
at the museum of HR Giger. In 1980, this Swiss artist won the
Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his participation in the film
we’ll have dinner in a Swiss chalet restaurant in the
heart of the village.
Day 3: The art of papercutting: We'll try it.
Morning: The biggest chalet in Switzerland
We'll visit the Grand Chalet, the biggest chalet in Switzerland
and one of the largest wooden dwellings in Europe. Known
for its immense size and 113 windows, the chalet
was once home to modern artist Henri Balthus, whose work we'll
also see in the village museum.
Afternoon: Get your scissors out
Rougemont, the last stop before
entering the German-speaking cantons of western Switzerland, is
an attractive historic village with a 11th century Romanesque
church and dozens of wooden chalets: picture postcard views from
every vantage point, wooden doors, flowery balconies, grazing
cows and majestic mountain peaks.
We'll meet a local artist specializing in scherenschnitte,
the art of Swiss paper cutting and a specialty
of the area. Not only will she show you the secrets of this ancient
art but you will also have a chance to try out your skills and
design your own model.
Day 4: Swiss for a day
Visit to a local house and tasting of local
We believe a truly authentic travel experience includes meeting the
locals. Switzerland is known for its thousands of small family-run organic
farms, so today we'll meet a Swiss family who've opened
their home and hearts to us. You'll learn what it is like to be a farmer
in Switzerland and enjoy a typical Swiss lunch with fresh ingredients
and dishes prepared especially for you by our hostess.
Day 5: Breathtaking
Lake Geneva: Chocolate Making and Chateau Chillon
After exploring alpine villages, now it's time to see a more
bustling side of Switzerland. We'll spend one day in Vevey,
an exclusive Mediterranean-style resort along the shores of
Home of the rich and famous (Charlie Chaplin, Barbara Hendrix,
Igor Stravinksy and Queen singer Freddie Mercury lived here),
Montreux sits in a sheltered bay and is surrounded by vineyards
and snow-covered Alps.
|| Morning: Visit to
Château de Chillon is an architectural jewel located in
the most beautiful setting imaginable, between the shores of
Lake Geneva and the Alps.
This monument, with over 1,000 years of history has been a
source of intense literary inspiration to British and American
writers over the last centuries, ever since Lord Byron wrote
his epic "Prisoner of Chillon". The castle has inspired the
novel "Frankenstien" by Mary Shelley.
You will fall under its charm during our visit.
Chocolate Making: Hands on
Your trip to Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without
famous Swiss chocolate, so we’ll visit a small chocolate
maker in Vevey.
You will taste all the different specialties from the chocolate
maker but even better, you will be able to make your
Choose the spices you like to make your own chocolate. You
will be a chef in the chocolate world.
Day 6: From Underground Tunnels to High Peaks
Morning: Visit to salt mines
Today, we will visit the old salt mines of Bex. This visit will
take us through the most spectacular and most characteristic
of the various mining techniques used since the first gallery
was excavated in 1684, up to the present times. A small train
brings us to the heart of the mine. From there a pedestrian
circuit of about one hour allows you to discover the incredible
effort put in the underground search for salt springs which,
at the time, was worth its weight in gold.
Afternoon: The top of the world
After being underground, what about going to the top of the Moleson
Peak? A funicular will take us there and will leave you unspoken with
the breathtaking view of the mountains.
We'll wrap up this wonderful day in style at the top of Moleson
Peak with a lovely cheese fondue dinner and a breathtaking
panoramic view of the Alps.
Day 7: Unique
festival: la desalpe
"La desalpe" is the best-known of all traditional
mountain festivities: cows make their way down from the mountains
to the plain.
The cows descend in clusters herded by local farmers dressed
in traditional garments through the town. Thundering
bells hang from their necks and brightly colored flowers
on their heads.
Smells of food and sounds of music fill the fresh, crisp air.
Besides the parade of cows, this unique festival includes a
local market, art craft and traditional musical performances.
This annual festival is not to be missed !
Day 8: Departure
After our last breakfast, we’ll say good-bye and drive you
to the Vevey train station, your heart-warming memories of a glorious
week in the summer Alps still fresh for your journey home or wherever
your travels may take you.
Dates & Rates:
Aug 31-Sept 6, 2012
$200 off before Dec 30, 2012 so price is $2,990
After Aug 30: US $3,190 (+$550 for single room)
- Vevey train station pick up at 2pm and drop off at 11am
- A welcome reception
- Accommodations every night
- All breakfasts and 4 dinners (incl. drinks and wine)
- Transportation in a comfortable air-conditioned van
- A personal bilingual tour leader throughout the week
- Entrance fees to all sites described in the itinerary
- Flights to and from Switzerland (Geneva)
- Train to Vevey
- Lunches and 3 dinners (however, we’ll go with you for
- Personal expenses and tipping