13 Days Switzerland and Italy Culinary Vacations

13 Days Switzerland and Italy Culinary Vacations

  • Zürich - Brienz - Zermatt - Como - Salò - Stresa

Swiss and Italian Alps Fondue and Wine Tasting

Enjoy a Northern Italy and Switzerland tour unlike any other! Idyllic villages tucked in the mountains, stunning vistas everywhere you look, Alps excursion by aerial gondola, Swiss fondue and chocolate, boat rides on Maggiore and Como, and fascinating history awaits. Soak up all the magnificent beauty of these alpine regions on the tours to Northern Italy and Switzerland. Experience an amazing culinary and culture holiday in two European countries!

Highlights

  • Take part in the Cailler chocolate factory tour
  • Learn how to make the famous Swiss Gruyère cheese
  • Visit a Valpolicella winery and sample the famous Amarone red wine
  • Dine on Swiss and Northern Italian specialties at top-tier restaurants
  • Enjoy Slivovitz in a Klein Matterhorn summit restaurant
  • Taste Swiss fondue in a local restaurant
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • 12 days with instruction
  • English
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Throughout the holiday, you will stay in comfortable hotels, most of which have scenic views. In Zurich, you will stay in a hotel which is located in the lively city center for one night. In Brienz, the accommodation for the next three days will be an elegant historic hotel on the shore of beautiful Lake Brienz. In the famous car-free village of Zermatt, you will stay for two days in the shadow of the Matterhorn. At Lake Como and in the enchanting village of Salò, you will spend three nights in lakefront hotels. You will finish your tour in Stresa along Lake Maggiore, where you can sit on the balcony and gaze across the lake before retiring to bed.

Day 1 - Zürich

The Switzerland and Italy tour begins in the lively city of Zürich. You will arrive at the Zürich Airport (ZRH) and check into the hotel in the lively city center. Situated on the northern shores of Lake Zürich, with a magnificent view of the snowcapped Alps on the horizon, Zürich, dubbed as downtown Switzerland, offers a unique mixture of attractions. You will take a walking tour with a local guide and have time to relax before the welcome dinner of excellent traditional Swiss dishes.

Meal plan: dinner.

Day 2 - Luzern

After breakfast, you will take a short drive to central Switzerland’s largest town, Luzern. On the western edge of Lake Luzern (Lucerne, in French), Luzern is easily explored on foot because of its compact size. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the medieval Old Town, including the famous Chapel Bridge. Then, head south to the Bernese Oberland Mountain region. The base for the next three nights is an elegant historic hotel on the shore of beautiful Lake Brienz. Tonight, dinner is a gourmet affair with wonderful Swiss specialties.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 3 - Brienz

You are now in the Jungfrau region, a spectacular area of deep blue lakes and magnificent mountains. During your three days here, you will explore the most beautiful villages and lakes, and take the Männlichen excursion, a fantastic journey combining aerial gondola rides from Grindelwald to Männlichen, which is 2,230 meters high and a popular winter ski resort. From here, you have the option of taking a hike with spectacular vistas. You will take another gondola ride and then, visit the idyllic village of Lauterbrunnen, nestled on the floor of the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley, the deepest U-shaped valley in the world. From here, your eyes feast on the beauty of this quintessential Swiss alpine scenery, with waterfalls, including the UNESCO world natural heritage, Trümmelbach Falls. Enjoy the views of green meadows dotted with cows and snowy peaks.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 4 - Interlaken and Thun

Today, you will visit two beautiful towns, Interlaken and Thun. Interlaken’s name means that it lies between two lakes, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Its setting in the Bernese Oberland is nothing short of magnificent, with three majestic mountains, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, as a backdrop. Interlaken is a delight in any season with its many cafés, shops, and pretty pedestrian streets. Thun is equally attractive. Its Old Town lies at the base of a hill crowned by a castle dating back to the 12th century. Wherever you happen to be in the Bernese Oberland, the dazzling panoramas of the snowy crags and valley surrounding you are absolutely astounding.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 5 - Gruyères and Broc

Today, you travel to Gruyères and Broc for two delicious tours, one to the Cailler chocolate factory, and then, to La Maison du Gruyère, where you will have a lesson in the making of the famous Swiss Gruyère cheese. The village of Gruyères was voted the most beautiful village in western Switzerland in 2014. After some time to discover this enchanted village, you will continue on a spectacular mountain drive, stopping in Montreux on the shore of Lake Geneva to stroll along the promenade. You arrive at the destination, the famous car-free village of Zermatt, your home for the next two days. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Matterhorn mountain, Zermatt is arguably the most beautiful village in all Switzerland, if not the world. After wandering Zermatt’s quaint streets, enjoy a Swiss fondue dinner in a local restaurant.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 6 - Mountain adventure

Today is an exciting mountain adventure you take with a local mountaineering Swiss guide, the Matterhorn glacier paradise excursion. You will ride on a spectacular cable car, the highest aerial cableway in Europe, up 3,883 meters to the top of the Klein Matterhorn summit. If the weather is clear, you will have a 360-degree panoramic view of 38 alpine peaks and fourteen glaciers in the Swiss, Italian, and French Alps. As if this wasn’t enough of a thrill, you will then, literally, walk inside a glacier through a tunnel called the glacier palace. The thick glacial walls of the tunnel are brightly lit. Set within carved-out niches are illuminated fairytale ice sculptures, each one more impressive than the last. At the summit restaurant, you may want to try a Slivovitz hot chocolate, a Swiss drink of plum brandy in hot chocolate, just to take off the chill. Next, you will ride the cable car back down the mountain to Zermatt and have a free afternoon to hike, explore, or have another Slivovitz.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 7 - Lake Como

Leaving Zermatt, a gorgeous scenic drive east through the Alps takes you to the picturesque town of Ascona, Switzerland, for lunch. After passing through Lugano, you will cross the Italian border and arrive at the shores of Lake Como. You will drive along the lake to Como and check into a lovely hotel on the lake. Tonight, you will enjoy your first delicious northern Italian dinner.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 8 - Lake Como

Begin your day on Lake Como with a visit to the beautiful Villa Carlotta, with its acres of magnificent gardens. You will then take a boat across the lake to the enchanting village of Bellagio, known not only for the famous movie stars who reside there, but also for the quaint medieval streets winding up the mountain with spectacular lake vistas. After some time to explore Bellagio, you will drive eastward to Lake Garda and arrive at the charming lake village of Salò. The lakefront hotel is home for the next three nights. Next, enjoy a gastronomic Italian dinner overlooking the lake.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 9 - Ancient Roman tour

This morning, you will take a boat to the ancient Roman village of Sirmione, where you visit the ruins of a fascinating Roman villa, complete with heated swimming pool. After a lunch session in Sirmione, take another boat to an island called Isola del Garda. Here, you are met by a countess, descended from the Borghese family, who will give you a tour of the palace gardens and invite you into her home for a glass of wine on the terrace! Next, teturn to Salò for free time to stroll the boardwalk along the lake and peak into the shops. Tonight is free to choose one of the many enticing restaurants in Salò.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 10 - Verona

After breakfast, you will take an excursion to Verona to see the oldest part of this beautiful city, including Juliet’s famous balcony. Before returning to Salò, visit a Valpolicella winery to sample the famous Amarone red. Tonight is the perfect time to have another special dinner of northern Italian specialties.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 11 - Stresa

Today, you head west to Lake Maggiore, where you check into a lakefront hotel in the lovely town of Stresa. If weather permits, you can take a chairlift ride high up the side of a mountain for a magnificent view of the mountains and lake below. In the afternoon, you are free to stroll the lakeside promenade or explore the delightful village. Tonight, you will enjoy an Italian feast you won’t soon forget. Before retiring, you must sit on the balcony of your room to gaze out at the sparkling lights across the lake, reminding you of how lucky you are to have this experience.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 12 - Three islands adventure

Today, a short boat ride takes you to the three Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre. The first, Beautiful Island, houses a lovely 17th century palace belonging to the Borromeo family, the owners of these islands since the 12th century. The second, the Mother Island, has a large garden filled with exotic plants and flowers, and an elegant villa to explore. The third, Fisherman’s Island, is an unspoiled dream of a tiny Italian village straight out of a movie set and a perfect place for lunch. Your farewell dinner tonight will be in Stresa and you will enjoy a gourmet affair of regional northern Italian dishes.

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 13 - Departure

This morning, you will drive to the Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP) for your return flights home.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a guided walking tour of the medieval Old Town in Luzern
  • Enjoy the Matterhorn glacier paradise excursion
  • Excursion to Verona
  • Explore villages and lakes, and take the Männlichen excursion in Jungfrau region
  • Go to Gruyères and Broc for chocolate factory tour and cheese-making lesson
  • Take boat trips to visit the village of Bellagio, Sirmione, and Isola del Garda
  • Take a walking tour with a local guide in Zurich
  • Visit a Valpolicella winery to sample the famous Amarone red
  • Visit Interlaken and Thun
  • Visit Montreux on the shore of Lake Geneva for a leisure stroll
  • Visit the idyllic village of Lauterbrunnen
  • Visit to the beautiful Villa Carlotta
  • Visit to the three Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre

The exciting culinary and culture vacations will take place in the lively cities and idyllic village in Switzerland and in the lakeside towns of Northern Italy.

During the Switzerland part of the holiday, you will dine excellent traditional Swiss dishes and wonderful Swiss specialties. You will also have the chance to enjoy a Swiss fondue dinner in a local restaurant or try Slivovitz hot chocolate, a Swiss drink of plum brandy in hot chocolate. In Italy, meanwhile, you will enjoy gastronomic Italian dinners and northern Italian specialties. In Isola del Garda, you will enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace and sample the famous Amarone red during a visit to a Valpolicella winery.

Olde Ipswich Tours seeks to find the perfect balance between planned excursions and free time. They select some of the best cultural and culinary destinations for your itineraries. In your free time, explore shops, cafes, or restaurants on your own, check out a new museum, or wander over to the next town.

  • 9 dinners
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • All tour guides, museum, and monument entrance fees
  • Chocolate, cheese, and wine tasting sessions as described in the itinerary
  • Daily breakfast
  • Full-time English-speaking escort
  • Guided walking tours
  • Taxes
  • Tips
  • Transportation in comfortable minibus and train
  • Activities indicated as optional
  • Additional meals
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal insurance
  • Wine or alcohol with meals, unless specified

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Zürich Airport (ZRH).

Massachusetts, United States

Olde Ipswich Tours offers gourmet small group tours, indulging in exceptional food and wine held in elegant accommodations.

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13 days / 12 nights

Availability

Arrival: Thursday August 30, 2018
Departure: Tuesday September 11, 2018

Special price

The price below is 2017 price. To benefit, book before October 31, 2017.

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