Style : Group tour
Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe tour

Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe

Grand Circle Travel
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
16 days
From: $ 3,995 $ 250 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Enjoy a walking tour of scenic Stresa
  • Visit Lake Brienz 
  • Enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series visit to a local distillery in Triesen
  • Enjoy Interlaken tour
  • Experience walking tour in Seefeld
  • Opportunity to visit Innsbruck and see most of its medieval buildings, including its Baroque Cathedral
  • Explore the Borromean Islands

Short Description

Tucked in the valleys of the Alps lie some of Europe’s most charming villages, which you can discover on our comprehensive Alpine Europe tour. Each has a style all its own—you can unwind in graceful Stresa, Italy’s garden-filled resort on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Relax in Interlaken, a Swiss vacation spot set amid two picturesque lakes and surrounded by stunning Alpine peaks. Enjoy the charm of Seefeld, in Austrian Tyrol and the bustle of the Bavarian metropolis of Munich, Germany. As you journey across international and cultural borders, our exclusive Discovery Series events will enhance your explorations, with discussions about food, heritage, and history.

Style Group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal transport included (including local flights)
Start City Stresa
End City Munich

Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S.

Depart today on your flight to Italy.

Day 2: Stresa, Italy

Meals: Dinner

Accommodations: La Palma Hotel or similar

Arrival times vary throughout the day, depending on your city of departure. You'll be met at the Milan airport and driven to your hotel in Stresa to begin your Alpine vacation. Take an orientation walk of your neighborhood, and this evening, join your Program Director and fellow travelers, including those who took our Lake Como & Milan, Italy pre-trip extension, for a Welcome Drink and introduction before a dinner at your hotel.

Day 3: Stresa • Fresh Produce & Regional Fare discussion and tasting

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodations: La Palma Hotel or similar

After breakfast and an orientation briefing at your hotel, you'll have the opportunity to sign up for optional tours that interest you.

Then, set off on a walking tour of scenic Stresa, your home base for the next three nights. This township of roughly 5,000 residents is one of Italy's jewels, sitting on the shores of sparkling Lake Maggiore. A fishing village since the 15th century, Stresa has always been a beloved resort town for the region's well-to-do.

During your walk, you'll learn about Fresh Produce & Regional Fare during an exclusive Discovery Series event. Some of the world's most beloved cuisines comes from Italy, from wines to olive oils, breads, and pastas. Learn about the local products during a discussion and enjoy a sampling.

The rest of the day is yours at leisure before you gather this evening for a Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 4: Stresa • Borromean Islands

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodations: La Palma Hotel or similar

After breakfast, depart for a private boat ride to explore the Borromean Islands. Your first destination is Isola Bella, where you'll spend the morning discovering the Palazzo Borromeo. Looking like a complex straight out of a fairy tale, this 17th century complex has long been renowned for its Neoclassical ballroom, gardens, and artificial grottoes, with both an included tour and time to stroll the grounds your own.

Your next stop is Isola Pescatori, a charming fishing village where you'll enjoy a light lunch at a local restaurant as well as a discovery walk with your Program Director before visiting Isola Madre. The largest Borromean island, Isola Madre features a magnificent, English-style botanical garden.

Return to Stresa this afternoon—dinner and the evening on your own.

Day 5: Stresa • Optional Treasures of Lake Orta tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations: La Palma Hotel or similar

Spend today at leisure, or join an optional tour to discover the Treasures of Lake Orta.

Take in this picturesque sub-Alpine lake during a panoramic drive. In Orta, the lake's namesake village, you'll find the Sacro Monte, a hidden gem that many visitors have yet to discover: the Sacro Monte, one of nine northern Italian churches intended as pilgrimage sites, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your optional tour also includes a train ride with your local guide back down to the village of Orta where you'll first enjoy a walking tour then private boat ride to San Giulio Island—a place of meditation where a community of cloistered nuns live in a Benedictine monastery. Take a discovery walk ending at a medieval church before taking your boat back to Orta in time for lunch at a local restaurant. You'll return to Stresa in the late afternoon, and have the balance of the day to spend as you choose. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 6: Stresa • Zermatt, Switzerland • Interlaken

Meals included: B D Accommodations: Hotel Krebs or similar

This morning, you'll say goodbye to Stresa—and Italy—as you depart for Interlaken, Switzerland. You'll stop at the Simplon Mountain Pass for a chance to take photographs, weather permitting. One of the most famous mountain routes in the world, this pass offers commanding views of the snow-capped Swiss Alps and the many villages that dot the valleys below. During your stop, you will have the opportunity to  see the stone eagle built by Swiss soldiers in 1944 while patrolling the Swiss border with Italy.

Then, board a train for a short ride to Zermatt, a high-altitude (about 5,300 feet) town perched on the Alpine mountainside. A beloved ski resort town, Zermatt has been attracting outdoorsy travelers and athletes since British mountaineers hiked here in the 19th century. Its name derived from the same root as the nearby Matterhorn—Matten being German for “meadows,” of which Zermatt has optimal views.

Explore Zermatt on a walk with your Program Director before lunch on your own.

In the early afternoon, your scenic journey continues on to Interlaken. Arrive in the early evening, with dinner tonight at your hotel.

Day 7: Interlaken • Switzerland Today discussion • Woodcarving museum • Home-Hosted Dinner

Meals included: B D Accommodations: Hotel Krebs or similar

After breakfast, learn about modern life in Switzerland Today during an exclusive Discovery Series discussion.

You'll then embark on a walking tour of Interlaken, an idyllic Swiss Alpine town, with your Program Director. There You’ll explore Unterseen, an old hidden part of the town where locals live. Continue on to the 19th century Kursaal Casino and its gardens, where you can see the Flower Clock, a flat garden shaped into the figure of an iconic Swiss clock. In front of the Kursaal, stroll along the local promenade, enjoy the view of the Jungfrau mountain. You may even see para-gliders landing down in the Hohematte, a 35 acre park.

This afternoon, visit Lake Brienz for an exclusive Discovery Series tour of a local woodcarving workshop. Woodcarving is one of Switzerland's heritage crafts, and this region is the heart of production for these works of art. Learn how woodcarving (and in particular, the local specialty of chip carving) became emblematic of Swiss craftwork, and meet the artisans still producing such pieces today.

Tonight, visit a local Swiss family for a Home-Hosted Dinner. Always a memorable experience, these evenings provide you with an opportunity to visit a typical home and sample home-cooked food of the region. Your Swiss hosts will be delighted to tell you about their culture, and introduce you to family traditions and foods.

Day 8: Interlaken • Farm visit

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations: Hotel Krebs or similar

This morning you will discover Swiss bucolic life during an exclusive Discovery Series event. A local family will welcome you to their farm in the Brienzerland countryside, one of the most traditional areas in central Switzerland. In the surrounding pastures, where cow graze in the high green meadows, you will get an insight of the everyday life of a real Swiss farmer. Your hosts will also offer you a taste of local cheese.

Afterwards, return to Interlaken and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. You may want to discover the nearby village of Thun, located at the lower end of Lake Thun and the gate to the Bernese Oberland. Discover this charming village with its castle in the center of the Old Town that dates back to the 12th century.

Tonight dinner will be on your own.

Day 9: Interlaken • Optional Bernese Oberland tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations: Hotel Krebs or similar

Take today at your leisure to explore more of Interlaken, or join our optional Bernese Oberland tour.

The Bernese Oberland encompasses the German-speaking highlands of the region of Bern. Tour the Trummelbach Falls, unique glacial waterfalls that are accessible underground. You'll also see the Lauterbrunnen Valley, or “The Land of 72 Waterfalls” (the name literally translates to “many fountains”), and hear the thunder of all the waterways that crash down in this scenic valley. Take a ride on the Jungfraubahn, a train that runs to the highest rail station in Europe. Disembark at Kleine Scheidegg to witness views of the surrounding area from nearly 7,000 feet, and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before descending the mountain to return to Interlaken.

Tonight, dinner is on your own.

Day 10: Interlaken • Liechtenstein • Distillery visit • Seefeld, Austria

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodations: Hotel Alte Schmiede or similar

Today, transfer to Seefeld, Austria—stopping on the way in the tiny landlocked nation of Liechtenstein.

At a mere 62 square miles, Liechtenstein is sixth-smallest microstate in the world with a population of more than 37,000. Stop in its capital, Vaduz, which was founded circa 1322 and is home to Liechtenstein's Parliament, as well as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop. A compact city with much political history, Vaduz makes for a pleasant discovery walk with your Program Director. Then, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series visit to a local distillery in Triesen, just south of the capital. Here, you'll enjoy a guided tour and light lunch, as well as the opportunity to sample local spirits during a tasting.

Complete your journey with an overland crossing into Austria, arriving at your hotel in Seefeld in the early evening. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner at your hotel.

Day 11: Seefeld • Optional Austrian Afternoon tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations: Hotel Alte Schmiede or similar

Set off on a walking tour of Seefeld after breakfast. A Tyrolean town founded as a farming settlement in 1022, Seefeld offers Old World Germanic charm and a landscape of snowy mountains, wooden church spires, and the Karwendel Nature Reserve. Lunch is on your own, but you won't have any difficulty finding somewhere to sit in one of the many cozy taverns available. Perhaps you'll taste the regional specialty of speck, a smoked ham with a rich and salty flavor.

If you are looking to learn more about the landscape you've just entered, consider joining our Austrian Afternoon tour.

On this optional tour, you'll take a ride on an open-air, narrow-gauge cog train built in 1888. This nostalgic train will deliver you to the shore of Achensee Lake, the largest lake in Tyrol and one noted for its incredibly clean and deep blue water. You will take a ferry to Scholastica, perched along the lake's northern shore. After a short walk along the lake, you'll enjoy a traditional Tyrolean dinner featuring local flavors.

Return to Seefeld this evening. Dinner is on your own for those travelers not participating in the optional tour.

Day 12: Seefeld • Innsbruck • Women of World War II discussion

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodations: Hotel Alte Schmiede or similar

This morning, take a train to Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol. This city offers a truly spectacular look into European history, having been continuously inhabited since the Stone Age. Innsbruck has kept most of its medieval buildings, including its Baroque Cathedral which looms imposingly over the central Domplatz (Cathedral Square). Spend the morning exploring these sites and more on a walking tour with your local guide before lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, learn more about the many important roles women play in times of war during an exclusive Discovery Series discussion on the Women of World War II. You'll then enjoy time for independent exploration before returning to Seefeld. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 13: Seefeld • Optional Bavaria tour  (Optional tour)

Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Alte Schmiede or similar

Today is yours to enjoy as you wish.

Or, join an optional tour to learn more about Bavaria, the largest State of the German federation. This fascinating region has a proud cultural identity, separate from that of the rest of Germany, and some of Germany's finest architectural wonders trace their identity to Bavarian builders.

Your optional tour begins with a visit the town of Oberammergau, where you'll tour the theater where the Passion Play is performed. This play, depicting the life of Christ, has been performed here since 1634, after village residents were spared from the bubonic plague. Appreciation for life has now become a time-honored tradition: Every ten years, the play is performed in its entirety. A full performance takes seven hours to perform and involves more than 2,000 people, making it a significant artistic and spiritual undertaking for all involved.

After lunch on your own and free time, head to Linderhof Palace, the former home of King Ludwig II that was inspired by the construction of France's Versailles. The rococo decorations of this impressive palace are offset by a precisely designed garden outdoors, and both the interior and exterior are rich with symbolism that your local guide will point out.

Dinner is on your own tonight in Seefeld.

Day 14: Seefeld • Mittenwald, Germany

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodations: Hotel Alte Schmiede or similar

Enjoy a leisurely morning with breakfast at your hotel. Perhaps you'll take this time to explore one of the many scenic pathways that have made this town a popular destination  for visitors—and even the host site for Nordic events during multiple Winter Olympic Games.

Lunch will be on your own, before a mid-afternoon departure for Mittenwald. This Bavarian town has long been a vital transportation hub for the region, lying as it does on a low route through the Alps. But the town has also made significant contributions to the arts, as it is one of the centers of Luftmalerei art decorating the outside of many of its old buildings. Here also, fine violins, violas, and other string instruments are manufactured by skilled craftsmen. The Geigenbaumuseum (Violin Museum) of Mittenwald is home to a permanent exhibition of locally made classical stringed instruments, which have been produced in the town for more than 300 years.

This evening, you'll feast at a memorable Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers, complete with traditional Tyrolean-style music.

Day 15: Seefeld • Munich, Germany

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Munich or similar

After breakfast, depart for Munich Germany. Upon arrival, enjoy a discovery walk of the city with your Program Director. Then enjoy lunch on your own.

This evening, reminisce about your Alpine memories with your fellow travelers during dinner at your hotel.

Day 16: Munich • Return to U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Early departures will be given a box breakfast to take along. Or, extend your European vacation with our optional post-trip extension to Munich, Germany & Salzburg, Austria.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,995
Price Per Day: $ 250 per day
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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

35 Grand Circle Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe

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Grand Circle Travel always has great specials

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Grand Circle Travel always has great specials and last minute specials if you can go on short notice. You can request a roommate if you travel solo to save on the single supplement but if they can't match you, you keep your room all to yourself with no single supplement fee. Always request a roommate and you might luck out either way.

I went to Belgium and Holland on a 11 day cruise and saw all but three windmills in the country, actually walked inside one, went to a tulip farm and was allowed to pick tulips that the farm gave to us for free, went to a tulip auction where they auction every color, the stems, the leaves, and it all happens so quickly. After breakfast every morning there is a walking tour of the port city where we docked for the day. The tour brings you back for lunch and then you're free to explore on your own in the afternoon. Both Holland and Belgium were beautiful in the springtime with the flowers in full bloom. Bicycles are everywhere and is their main mode of transportation. You see them parked on the bridges over the canals, people riding them, families riding together, bike riders with groceries, and people walking them. The red light district was very interesting but you are not allowed to take pictures of the women. I waved to all of them as we were walking past their windows and some waved back. Plan your trip around the tulip blooming season and enjoy!
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value and service outstanding

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I've traveled with this company 4 times and find the value and service outstanding. If you are on a slim budget try the " last minute" opportunities. We got an incredible deal on a river cruise two months out.
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each one has been wonderful

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Have taken 12 trips overseas with this company and each one has been wonderful.

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Excellent service on ship, considerate of their clients, wonderful discovery trips.

Wonderful countries and great scenery

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We had a great tour guide in Ivan, was very knowledgable, friendly and very considerate of peoples concerns. The coastal area's of Dubrovink and Kotor were wonderful scenery and very nice people. Sarajevo was interesting and the farm was fun. Parks with the waterfalls and the caves were wonderful. Istria and Slovenia were great but the highlight was Lake Bled it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world
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An Amazing Experience

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What an amazing experience! The unique things we did were wonderful. This was our first Grand Circle trip and we hope the beginning of more trips to come. We saw three types of whales and a bull moose; went lobster fishing and eating; visited Anne of Green Gables Aunt’s house; visited Hopewell Rocks and the Titanic gravesites; planted potatoes; visited FDR’s summer home and Peggy’s Cove; had great food; went to an oyster farm—-to name just some of the fun things. Our guide, Don Lynch, was the best.
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Details

Optional Activities

Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe trip provides and amazing Post-Trip Extension: Munich, Germany & Salzburg, Austria

5 nights from only $1395

Immerse yourself in Bavaria’s most famous and festive city, and enjoy the Alpine charms of Mozart’s birthplace on this 5-night extension. Discover Munich’s many palaces, churches, and museums, not to mention sampling some of the city’s best brews. And experience Salzburg—famed home to Mozart and the Von Trapp family—from the charming lanes of Old Town to the exalted might of Hohensalzburg Fortress.

 

It's Included:

 

  • Accommodations for 5 nights
  • 7 meals: 5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner
  • 3 included tours: Munich, Lake Chiemsee, Salzburg
  • Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
  • Personal headset for all included and optional tours on this extension
  • Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
  • All transfers

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal transport included (including local flights)

Group Size

Standard Group - 25 + people

Depending on your trip group has 24-47 travelers.

Accommodations

La Palma Hotel

Stresa, Italy  Rating: First Class

Overlooking Lake Maggiore, this First-Class hotel faces the waterfront and provides a comfortable place to relax during your time here. Enjoy amenities such as a balcony or terrace, air-conditioning, a telephone, safe, and satellite TV in your room, and on-site laundry and room service should you require it.

 

Hotel Krebs

Interlaken, Switzerland  Rating: Moderate First Class

Centrally located, Hotel Krebs provides access to all the shops and restaurants of charming Interlaken. Enjoy relaxing in your non-smoking room, which comes equipped with high-speed Internet access, satellite TV, a safe, telephone, and coffee- and tea-making facilities.

Please note: This hotel does not offer air-conditioning. Select departures feature similar accommodations.

 

Hotel Alte Schmiede

Seefeld, Austria

Relax in the cozy atmosphere of this Tyrolean-style hotel. With an on-site restaurant, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and more, there are plenty of ways to unwind during your leisure time. Your room comes equipped with cable TV, a hair dryer, telephone, safe, and wireless Internet.

Please note: This hotel does not offer air-conditioning. Select departures feature similar accommodations.

 

Holiday Inn Munich

Munich, Germany  Rating: First Class

Located in the heart of the city, this First-Class hotel is your gateway to Munich's many highlights, most of which are within easy walking distance. The hotel offers a bar and lounge, health spa, indoor pool, and hot tub. Your air-conditioned room features a telephone, cable/satellite television, mini-bar, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and private bath with shower and hair dryer.

Please note: Select departures feature similar accommodations, which may not offer air-conditioning.

Cancellation policy

If you need to cancel your trip for any reason, please call us as soon as possible, and follow up in writing. You are also required to return any airline tickets that may have been issued to you. Cancellation refunds will be calculated as of the date we receive your written cancellation. We will issue your refund in the manner in which we received your payment. If you paid your deposit by credit card and your balance by check, your refund will be divided accordingly. Refunds are generated manually by our accounting department to ensure accuracy. Please allow for a 30-day processing period before receiving your refund

Additional Information

Physical Requirements

 

  • Walk 3 miles unassisted and participate in 3-5 hours of physical activities daily, including stairs
  • Not accessible for travelers using wheelchairs or scooters
  • Travelers using walkers, crutches, or other mobility aids must travel with a companion to assist them
  • Program Directors reserve the right to modify participation or send travelers home if their limitations impact the group’s experience

 

Terrain & Transportation

  • Several days at altitudes between 3,000-6,000 feet
  • Uneven walking surfaces, including unpaved paths, hills, stairs, and cobblestones
  • Travel by 51-seat motorcoach, public trains, and 50- to 200-seat boats

 

Climate

  • Daytime temperatures range from 43-82°F during touring season
  • June-August are the warmest months, with high humidity in Lake Maggiore
  • April and October weather can be unpredictable and change quickly
  • Alpine temperatures can drop suddenly with cold wind, rain, or snow year-round

Trip ID#:

RomVilGra

Meals Included

14 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 7 Dinners

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