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Savoring Switzerland is a gourmet tour in which we uncover the natural splendor, traditional cuisine, and rural charms of these exquisite culinary regions. Although you might get some flack from the French, Switzerland can rightly claim title as the culinary capital of Europe. Its restaurants have more Michelin stars per capita than any country in the world. Its award winning cheeses and fine chocolates are world renown. The Swiss invented merengues, fondue, and raclette. And great food starts on great farms.
We stay in carefully chosen inns, small hotels, and classic berghotels. We choose hotels which offer a great location, a high standard of comfort and quality, and a solid value to our guest. These inns offer a superbly satisfying mix of a welcoming atmosphere, traditional cuisine, and authentic charm. They are typically small, independently-owned properties which reflect the character and hospitality of the surrounding alpine community. AlpenWild know the owners personally, have a longstanding relationship with them, and we find they bend over backwards to provide our guests with an exceptional experience.
We select rooms that offer fabulous views and flowerbox-trimmed balconies, and which best meet the needs of our guests. You'll enjoy a fluffy down comforter, windows that open to let in the cooling mountain air, and locally-crafted wood furnishings. The standard bedding arrangement is two twin beds which are adjoined for couples. Prior to your trip you will receive travel documents which identify each hotel on the trip, dates of your stay, and essential contact information such as address, email, phone. Most hotels offer free wireless internet service.
In some cases, such as when were trekking on the Hikers Haute Route, we stay a night or two in mountain refuges also known as huts or cabanes which offer comfortable, dormitory-style accommodations, meals served family style, and shared bathroom facilities. The huts provide a wonderfully remote mountain setting and a lively social atmosphere which is an integral and distinctively memorable part of the Alps experience.
In Appenzell we stay in the famous berggasthauses in the Alpstien mountains. While you wont have access to your luggage on those nights, you will experience an exceptionally high standard of comfort with private rooms, private baths, and wonderful meals. These mountain inns are a real treat.
Many of the inns are built in large-timbered, traditional alpine buildings, and rooms have been remodeled and updated over the years, so that almost all have private bathrooms with either a tub or shower. In some properties, such as the Belle poch Hotel Weisshorn or the Berghotel Obersteinberg, which are both classic mountain hotels dating to the 1880s, youll find the bathroom down the hall, a small sacrifice for splendid cuisine and a richly rewarding experience of a bygone era. We will always advise you prior to the trip of any properties which do not offer a private bath.
Join us as we link dozens of Alpine meadows, farms, dairies, and vineyards with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Alps. As we walk in the shadows of Alpine peaks, we immerse ourselves in the vanishing rural culture of Alpine farmers. By day, we make cheese, tend a vineyard, milk goats, dry herbs and put up hay. By night we savor the rich culinary tradition of the region - fondue, raclette, alp cheese, artisan rye breads, Pinot Noir wines, and a continual supply of Swiss chocolate.
B = Breakfast, S = Snack, D = Dinner
Arriving Geneva or Zurich, well transfer to scenic Luzern where we explore the old city, follow the history of Sbrinz, Switzerlands oldest cheese, and have our welcome dinner in a 500-year-old inn.
This morning its off to the rolling hills of the Emmental, where what we generally call Swiss cheese, the savory cheese with holes, has its origin, and is properly known as Emmentaler.
We bicycle through rich farmland and enjoy local specialties like smoked sausage before stopping for the night in a country guesthouse to enjoy the finest creations using the regions ingredients.
B, S, D
We ascend the Lauterbrunnen Valley to explore a ten-tiered underground waterfall, then tunnel through the Eiger to reach the Jungfraujoch and Europes highest railway station, overlooking the longest glacier in the alps.
We dine on traditional and hearty local dishes like rsti and lpermagronen.
B, S, D
We drive to a high alpine meadow where were on hand for the morning production of alpcheese over an open fire.
Youll be involved in the cheesemaking process and enjoy a satisfying homemade farm breakfast.
Afternoon excursion to a farmers market.
B, S, D
In the prealp of the French-speaking Fribourg canton we stay in the walled medieval village of Gruyres where we enjoy the wonderful cheese of the region and explore the 800-year-old castle.
Theres no better place to enjoy fondue than in Gruyres.
B, S, D
In the village of Broc we are guests at Maison Cailler, Nestles premier chocolate factory and considered the birthplace of milk chocolate followed by unlimited tastings.
In the afternoon we travel to the Lake Geneva Riviera to walk through the UNESCO World Heritage site Lavaux Terraced Vineyards and enjoy a tasting at a prominent local cellar.
B, S, D
The Rhone Valley in canton Valais is the source of 40 of Swiss wine production. We follow the wine trail through vineyards, orchards, and fragrant herb farms, the source of Ricolas key ingredients. Here alpine bakers produce the regions signature rye bread.
Dinner at the 16th century Chateau de Villa where youll sample no less than five different selections of Valais finest Raclette cheese, each reflecting the unique taste bestowed by the particular pastures of origin.
B, S, D
We conclude at the base of the Matterhorn in the world-class mountain resort of Zermatt where the bounty of Switzerlands farms, orchards, vineyards, bakers, and cheesemakers is served in the finest hotels and restaurants. Take the famous cogwheel railway to the Gornergrat for superb views of over twenty-five 4,000-meter peaks. At Riffelsee youll have dramatic views reflecting the Matterhorn.
B, S, D
Depart for return trip or onward travel.
Even though less than 15% of the Alps lie within Switzerland, its the country that people most closely associate with the Alps. No doubt, Switzerland is home to some of the most famous Alpine locations - the Matterhorn, the Eiger, the Jungfrau - and many of the highest peaks and largest glaciers. Its also home to an extensive network of well-marked hiking trails.
Switzerland has a 62,000 km network of walking trails, of which 23,000 are located in mountainous areas. The Klein Matterhorn, near Zermatt, is the highest summit of the European continent to be served by cable car. The elevation of the cable car terminal is 3820m (12,533 feet). Walking and hiking is a way of life in Switzerland. The average Swiss person takes 9650 steps a day (nearly 5 miles) while the average American takes just 5117 steps a day - only about 2.5 miles.
Gruyre and Valais boast an agricultural abundance starting with rich dairy cream, tender spring asparagus, and orchards bursting with succulent cherries, plums, apricots, and pears. The Romans left a legacy of viniculture which flourishes on the sundrenched lower slopes of Valais. Artisan rye breads are favored at tables in homes and restaurants and regional specialties like Gruyre cheese, Raclette, and air-cured meats reflect time-honored alpine traditions.
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