A family hiking & history tour, taking in some of the best destinations of Switzerland, with a final loop through Italy and France. Start off in the UNESCO heritage city of Bern, capital of Switzerland. Based inside the historic medieval city walls, you’ll be able to wander this small town on the Aare River on foot, exploring the boutiques, cafés, and restaurants in the colonnades and platz. The Paul Klee Museum just across the river is excellent for children, with special programs and hands-on classes. A visit to the Bear Park is another kids’ favorite, and if the weather permits, float-tubing around the city in the river Aare is a local’s secret to cool off and relax in the summertime.
Next up is a trip to Gruyeres by way of the legendary Maison Caillier Chocolate Factory, Broc, where children have the opportunity to make their own chocolates - a dream come true. Then a tour of the Gruyeres Castle, and a traditional fondue lunch at the most classic of cheese chalets. From Gruyeres, head to the home of the Matterhorn, Zermatt.
No trip to the Alps is complete until you have hiked around the world’s most famous mountain, and the various trains, trams, and gondolas that encircle the peak will allow the youngest of mountaineers to gain altitude and enjoy the best views, and even take the lifts down when their legs get tired. With world-class restaurants and refuges on and off the mountain, a great meal is never far away, often with a postcard-perfect view of the Horn. Special kids’ introductory climbing and ropes courses are also possible, as well as a visit to the wonderful Matterhorn Museum. The possibility to spend a night in a Berghotel or classic rustic mountainside chalet, and even a helicopter tour around the famous peak rounds out the program in the Alps’ most historic resort.
From Zermatt, take a private van to the Grand St. Bernard Pass, a route first built by the Romans, and home to the eponymous rescue dogs and 10th Century monastery. Tour the Hospice and kennels at the top of the pass, before a descent to the historic Roman city of Aosta, complete with ruins and views to the glacial peaks surrounding Mont Blanc. Possibility to visit Savoyard thermal baths in Pré St. Didier, tour more castles in the Valle d’Aosta, before finishing the day in the alpine resort of Courmayeur.
The next day, head through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to the French capital of Alpine history, Chamonix - Mont Blanc. Another look at mountain life, this time with a French flair. Based in the Chalets de Philippe, in the tiny hillside village of Le Lavancher, you’ll experience what Haute Savoie life is like - unhurried, bucolic, and truly relaxing. Hiking & whitewater rafting are possible in the adventure capital of the French Alps, or just choose to relax at the chalet or discover the village.