Head into the magnificent Swiss Alps on a family adventure that combines hiking and biking with legendary train journeys. Stay in two stunning mountain villages: Zermatt, within view of the iconic Matterhorn mountain; and Pontresina, in the beautiful Engadine Valley. Wind through the mountains on a historic train, hike beneath the Matterhorn, and ride the highest chairlift in
Europe among spectacular snowcapped peaks. Discover Alpine wildlife with a naturalist, visit a cheese factory, and sample Swiss chocolate on this expedition designed for explorers of all ages.
Board the historic Glacier Express for a breathtaking journey across 291 Alpine bridges and through 91 tunnels.
Bike along pristine lakes, ride a zip-line, and hike in the shadow of the Matterhorn's craggy peak.
Join an alpine guide for a walk on Morteratsch Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the eastern Alps.
Listen to mountaineering tales from an expert climber, and meet a naturalist to learn about Alpine wildlife.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Zurich, Switzerland/Zermatt
Depart on an overnight flight to Zurich. Arrive the next morning and board a train to the charming Alpine village of Zermatt, where cars are not allowed. Check into our lovely hotel and gather for a delicious welcome dinner. Hotel National (D)
Day 3 — Zermatt
Today meet a local mountaineer at the Matterhorn Museum to hear tales of the early ascents of the highest Alps. This afternoon embark on an Alpine adventure, crossing rope bridges and soaring through the valley on a zip-line course designed for all ages. Later, walk to a nearby knoll and search for the lights of the Hörnli Hut, a remote structure built as a respite for those climbing the Matterhorn. Hotel National (B,D)
Day 4 — Zermatt/Gornergrat Glacier
Hop onto a rack-railway train for a ride high above Zermatt to one of the best viewpoints in the Alps. Admire a breathtaking vista that includes Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, and the Gornergrat Glacier. Then hike through the forest past Alpine lakes to Riffelalp where we will catch the train back to Zermatt. Stroll down Zermatt's famous main street on the way back to the hotel, stopping to sample varieties of fine Swiss chocolate along the way. Hotel National (B,D)
Day 5 —Glacier Express/Pontresina
Climb aboard the Glacier Express, the most famous train in the Alps! Keep your eye out for the twisted peak of the legendary Matterhorn as we make our way to the charming town of Pontresina. On the way we cross three high-mountain passes and 291 bridges, and pass through 91 tunnels. Sporthotel (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Pontresina/Engadine Valley/St. Moritz
Explore Engadine Valley by bicycle this morning. Ride along Silvaplana Lake to the Maloja Pass to take in sweeping views before continuing to St. Moritz. You may also choose to travel to this fabled town by train. This afternoon, take a chair lift up to Alp Languard where we join a naturalist for a nature walk and learn about the plants and wildlife of the Alps. Sporthotel (B,D)
Day 7 — Morteratsch Glacier
This morning visit Morteratsch Glacier, one of the largest glaciers of the eastern Alps, and set out on a glacier walk with an Alpine guide. Then stop at a local cheese factory to see how Swiss cheese is made and have lunch. Celebrate your adventure with at a special fondue dinner tonight. Sporthotel (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Zurich/U.S.
After breakfast, return to Zurich in time for your flight home. (B)
Travel writer Teresa Fisher is the author of several books on Switzerland, including the new National Geographic Traveler: Switzerland. She has penned more than 30 guidebooks and children’s travel reference books on a wide variety of destinations worldwide, and has had a lifelong love affair with the Alps, living and working there for many years. She specialises in European cities, adventure travel, and all things Alpine, dividing her time between photojournalism and her family-oriented website, familyskinews.com.
Adult prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $595 for August 2013. Child prices apply to children under 15 sharing with one or two adults. We recommend this expedition for children ages 7 and older. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip economy airfare between New York and Zurich is $1,300 (subject to change).