Ascend to the “top of Europe,” trek through the Swiss Alps, or enjoy a meal with a local Swiss family in the heart of Europe with tour operator members of USTOA. Our members are offering new itineraries, special savings, and authentic Swiss experiences to entice travelers to visit the diverse destination of Switzerland in 2017 and 2018.

Need more inspiration? Click here for a look at why real travelers chose to experience Switzerland, and view itineraries from USTOA members to start planning your dream vacation to Switzerland today.

A&K- Switzerland

Credit: Abercrombie & Kent

Abercrombie & Kent’s new “Switzerland & Italian Lakes” itinerary offers travelers a luxury journey through Switzerland. Guests will savor famous Swiss chocolate at a tasting workshop at the Lindt chocolatier, visit Brienz, a center of Swiss woodworking, and ascend the slopes of the Stanserhorn on the world’s first cable car. The journey will bring travelers to Bern, Interlaken, Zermatt and more. The eleven-day itinerary is available from $8,495 per person for travel on various departures in 2018. www.abercrombiekent.com

Trafalgar - Switzerland

Credit: Trafalgar

Make Switzerland your next family vacation on Adventures by Disney’s “Italy and Switzerland Destination” trip. The country’s range of activities is highlighted with a chance to zip line in the Alps, a local monastery cheese factory tour, dinner at the world-renowned Old Swiss House and more. Adults and kids alike also enjoy a boat ride across Lake Lucerne and a Swiss chocolate adventure. Departure dates from June 11, 2018 to July 26, 2018 from $6,599 for adults and from $6,269 for children. www.adventuresbydisney.com

Guests on Collette’s “Alpine Lakes and Scenic Trains” 10-day tour will explore Switzerland utilizing its many forms of transportation like a ride on the Golden Pass panoramic train and a traditional open-air commuter ferry ride across Lake Como. Travelers also will journey through the Bernina Pass on one of the world’s most scenic railways, visit the Zermatt Matterhorn Museum, and a tour with a local expert through charming Zermatt featuring its best-known landmarks. This itinerary is available for departures on various dates in May 2018 to October 2018. www.gocollette.com

Travel along the stunning Swiss Alps and pristine lakes during go-today’s nine-day “Switzerland Fly & Drive” trip. Guests looking to find adventure with a flexible schedule will begin in Zurich and enjoy a seven-day car rental with unlimited mileage to journey across Switzerland. The trip also includes round-trip flights from New York to Zurich. Experience the natural beauty and charming towns along the way from $699 per person available from October 2017 to July 2018.

IS Switzerland- Premier World Discovery

 Credit: Premier World Discovery

Travelers will uncover some of Switzerland’s most famous sites and explore the country’s boutique cities on Premier World Discovery’s “Scenic Switzerland” tour. A Swiss wine tasting at Chateau de Chillon, an excursion on the Golden Pass Train, and stops in Bern and Lucerne are only a few of the things that await guests on this nine-day trip through the heart of Europe. Available for various departure dates throughout 2018 from $2,595 per person, double land only. www.premierworlddiscovery.com

Travel Impressions

Credit: Travel Impressions

Journey through some of Switzerland’s most awe-inspiring destinations during Travel Impressions’ “Exploring Switzerland from Bern” trip. The four-day independent itinerary includes excursions to Thun and Mt. Rigi, a private guided tour of Lucerne and more. The trip also includes the Swiss Coupon Pass with two-for-one Dine and Discover Deals. Available from November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018 from $1,498 per person. www.travelimpressions.com

As a part of its 90th anniversary series, Globus recently launched the “Top of Switzerland” itinerary with a six-day tour of the Alpine beauty and the vibrant city of Zurich. Guests will travel to the “top of Europe” on the Jungfrau Massif in Interlaken, visit a cheese farm in Affoltern (Emmental Valley), and even visit the open-air museum of Ballenberg with its centuries-old buildings from all areas of Switzerland. This Swiss adventure is available from May 2018 to September 2018 from $1,735 per person. www.globusjourneys.com

On Avanti’s new “Swiss Food Discovery” tour, travelers delve into Switzerland’s diverse culinary scene with a six-day food and sightseeing exploration. Guests will enjoy dinner in a local Swiss home, a wine tasting in the UNESCO-protected Lavaux region, and a fondue lunch along the way. Additionally, travelers will visit the breathtaking Mt. Rigi, “Queen of the Mountains.” Also included is the Swiss Coupon Pass, 100 coupons offering 50% off selected restaurants, city tours, entrance fees, and up-grades on trains and boats. Available for various departures from April to October from $1,499 per person/double occupancy (land-only from Zurich). www.avantidestinations.com

Alpine Adventure - kids hiking

Credit: Tauck

From a train ride to the “top of Europe” to a private water taxi across Lake Lugano, Tauck’s 11-day “Switzerland: Europe’s Crown Jewel” promises guests soaring panoramas and serene beauty. Upon reaching the Jungfraujoch or “top of Europe” guests will receive a Tauck-exclusive reception at the Ice Palace. Additional highlights include a cogwheel train to Gornergrat to view the Matterhorn, a wine-tasting cruise on Lake Lugano, and time to explore Bern, Lucerne and more. Available from June to September from $6,590 per person, plus airfare. www.tauck.com

Insight Vacations Jungfraubahn vor der Jungfraubahn

Credit: Insight Vacations

Discover Switzerland’s charming boutique cities during Insight Vacations’ “Country Roads of Switzerland.” Guests will travel through the Swiss countryside aboard the Glacier Express to Chillon, Zermatt, Grindelwald and more. Highlights along the serene route include a visit to the Lion Monument in Lucerne, the Matterhorn in Zermatt, and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lake District. Available from April to September 2018 from $4,395 per person. Guests can save 10% when booking and paying in full before January 11, 2018. www.insightvacations.com

Mont Blanc mountaineers

Credit: StudentUniverse

See the stunning vistas from the premier hiking routes of Mont Blanc on StudentUniverse’s “Trekking Mont Blanc” active itinerary. During this Swiss adventure, students will hike the Alps from France to Italy and Switzerland along the Tour du Mont Blanc. Views along the route of glaciers, steep valleys, Alpine valleys and meadows showcase Switzerland’s breathtaking natural beauty. Adventurous travelers can experience this trek from September 2017 to September 2018 from $1,699 per person. www.studentuniverse.com

Trafalgar

Credit: Trafalgar

Travel through the diverse destination of Switzerland by high-speed train on Trafalgar’s “Best of Switzerland” itinerary. Travelers will visit St. Morirtz, Zermart, and Geneva, the capital of the Suisse Romande (French-speaking Switzerland). Additionally, guests will stop at Interlaken in the heart of the Swiss Alps, at the foot of the famous peaks the Eiger and Jungfrau and visit the poignant Lion Monument. Available from April 7, 2018 to September 29, 2018 from $2,575 per person. Guests can save 10% when they book by January 11,2018. www.trafalgar.com

 

Editor’s Note: Information was correct at time of writing. All tours/packages subject to availability. Prices may vary from time of writing, based on currency fluctuations.


 

By Colu Henry, AFAR Ambassador

 

Raudholar Rocks

I had always yearned to visit Iceland and finally this summer I was able to make the trip. I longed for lava fields and moon-like landscapes and the trip didn’t disappoint. We landed in Reykjavík, the countries capital and largest city, and upon arrival Lindblad Expeditions, whom I was traveling with, whisked us off to a small restaurant situated by the sea to start the day.

Cod

The flight to Iceland from New York is a hop, skip, and a jump (or a mere 5 hours), so quick enough to return frequently, but not quite long enough to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, our first, well-planned stop was to visit the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon was formed in 1976 during an operation at a nearby geothermal plant. It’s said that people began to bathe in the water and apply the mud to their skin and noticed huge improvements to skin disease such as psoriasis. It’s now considered one of the 25 Wonders of the World. I get why.

Blue Lagoon

We soaked in the thermal baths and enjoyed their restorative, warm waters and it nearly kicked my jet-lagged. I highly recommend this plan of action for anyone taking an overnight flight to Iceland; it works. In general, I’m a firm believer that wherever you travel, if you keep your sleeping schedule to rise and set with the sun where you are, by the next day you’ll be nearly back to normal.

With the tour’s generous allotted time to explore, true to my word, and a lover of straying off path, I connected with my friend Margret Eir –  who happens to be famous Icelandic pop star – to take me around town that night. I love exploring new cities on foot; it gives you a real understanding of how a place is laid out and a chance to meet the locals, so we did just that. Margret and I wandered downtown, where immediately I was captivated by the city’s warm people and charming shops. She also took me to her partner JJ’s barber shop, named Common Joes, which in addition to cutting hair, also acts as a visually impressive storefront where he beautifully restores antique furniture and electronics to make them compatible for present day.

Dinner at Messin

Reykjavík’s restaurant scene is also having a moment and Margret took me to a new, very cool and charming restaurant called Messin. The menu, like most places in Iceland (no complaints here), is very fish-driven. Everything is served in copper pots, family-style upon the table. We feasted on shrimp, gravlax and curried cod and sipped on white wine; it was delicious and exactly what I needed. After a few stops at some local bars (a favorite activity on any trip), I was almost on Icelandic time, and finally ready for bed.

Icelandic Horses

The next venture on my journey was the gift of being able to ride Icelandic horses through a lava field. The farm is situated right outside of town. These gentle beings are smaller than regular horses and the loveliest of creatures. After our ride, we headed in town for a beautiful lunch and were then treated to a nature walk just a short drive from town. Our guide brought us up to speed on the incredible eco-system of the country. Did you know that they have no mosquitoes, snakes or really other prey in Iceland?

VioeyIsland

That evening, after a ferry ride to Viðey Island for dinner with a beautiful music performance by locals, I slept soundly and woke ready for the next piece of our adventure to begin. We were Greenland bound.

Interested in learning more about Colu’s journey? Read more about it on AFAR.com and check out check out Lindblad Expeditions’ Hot Springs and Icebergs: Iceland to West Greenland tour. 

Colu is a food and lifestyle expert, native New Yorker, and avid home cook. Most recently, she worked as Director of Special Projects at Bon Appetit. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Refinery29, Cherry Bombe, and Wine Enthusiast. Her cookbook Back Pocket Pasta will be released by Clarkson Pottering in February 2017.