Montreux, Switzerland

MontreuxMontreux lies in the midst of magnificent scenery!  Because of its protected and sunny location, Montreux is a vacation paradise and it is one of the most popular year round incentive resorts of Switzerland.  The area combines a sunny atmosphere with breathtaking nature, beautifully refurbished Victorian  hotels,  typical cafes and restaurants, a casino, nightclubs and...Swiss charm.  The Swiss sense of responsibility, good order, service, and most of all, Swiss hospitality makes Montreux an ideal center.

Centrally located, the city is 45 minutes from Geneva's airport and an even shorter distance from Lausanne.  France and Italy are within an hour's drive and within Switzerland, it is perfect for day trips to Berne, Gruyeres, Interlaken, Lucerne, Zermatt and Zurich.

DAY 1,  HOME - NEW YORK CITY – GENEVA

This morning we'll fly from your hometown to New York's Kennedy airport where we proceed to the international terminal and board our non-stop flight to Geneva.

DAY 2,  GENEVA - MONTREUX 

Upon arrival this morning in Geneva, and after passing through Immigration and Customs in Geneva, we'll be met by our Swiss hostess and transported by deluxe private motorcoach along the scenic highway skirting beautiful Lake Geneva to the city known as the "Pearl of the Swiss Riviera" - Montreux.  Here, we check into our lakeview rooms at the deluxe Hotel Eden Au Lac on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Montreux The distinguished Hotel Eden au Lac is right on the shores of Lake Geneva, next to the casino. This 1896 Victorian hotel provides a very European feel with a touch of Swiss character.

A grand piano, worn Oriental rugs, potted plants, and an elaborate chandelier mark the turn-of-the-century lobby.  A pink Belle Epoque restaurant known for its French cuisine and a split-level bar supplement the grill.   

The guest rooms are nearly all different, the common denominators being spaciousness and functionality.  Most of the furniture consists of Louis XVI reproductions.  The total number of rooms is 105.  Room amenities include:  TV’s, mini-bars, safes, tiled bath with hair dryers and heated floors and towel racks.  Rooms on the lakeside open up to wrought iron balconies with extraordinary views. 

The location is ideally situated within walking distance from shopping and nightlife.

This evening, we will have a chance to relax and get to know our fellow travelers a little better over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at a welcome reception in the hotel.

DAY 3,   MONTREUX 

MontreuxAfter breakfast this morning, we'll embark on a sightseeing tour of Montreux before visiting Chillon Castle.   This most popular sight, dating from the 12th century, is built on a rocky islet at  the foot of precipitous  mountains  with  its turrets  reflecting in the calm waters of Lake  Geneva.  We'll tour the fortress and its dungeons, which were immortalized by Lord Byron in his lyric poem commemorating the captivity of Francois Bonivard - "The Prisoner of Chillon." 

MontreuxNext, we'll proceed to the outskirts of Montreux for a wine tasting tour of one of the local vineyards before returning to he hotel at mid-day.

This evening, we'll journey to the top of the mountain to the lovely Swiss Chalet know as Montagnard ("Man of the Mountain") for dinner.  We'll enjoy a fine Swiss dinner served as only the Swiss can and be entertained by local singers dressed in their native garb.  Be prepared to sing along as this is a festive evening to be enjoyed by all.

DAY 4  MONTREUX - GRUYERES

MontreuxFollowing breakfast this morning, we will have the opportunity to visit the Gruyeres Cheese Country.    We'll drive through Chatel St. Denis, a typical wine producing village, and the surrounding dairy farming area with its wide pastures and forests, to Gruyeres, world famous for its cheese.  This little fortified town is perched on a hill in a landscape full of grace and harmony.  It charms visitors by its friendly atmosphere, derived from the time when the whole Sarine Valley  was under the rule of the Counts of Gruyeres.  We'll visit the cheese factory where the Gruyeres cheese is made and have time to stroll through the medieval cobbled streets of the old village still preserving its ancient way of life and where no cars are allowed. 

This is no time to count calories. We'll have lunch at the Fleur De Lys consisting of the traditional Swiss specialties of cheese fondue and raclette of cheese. And for dessert...raspberries with fresh churned cream.  We'll want to have our cameras ready as our hosts ladle the thick rich cream from their wooden buckets onto our fresh whole raspberries.  It is a picture and dining experience that will be remembered for a long time! 

This evening is at leisure.

DAY 5,  MONTREUX - ZERMATT

MontreuxAfter rising to an early morning breakfast, we'll drive south to Aigle.   In the mosaic of Swiss cantons, this area, the Valais, owes its well-marked regional character to the Mediterranean serenity of its sky, which encourages the  local wines to flourish on the rugged sun-baked ridges of its  south facing slopes.  We drive through the Rhone Valley which begins at Aigle and then come upon the memorable landscapes of the mountains and the River Rhone.  Next, we pass through Martigny and pause for a short stop at Sion before  continuing  through Sierre and Visp to enter the Zermatt Valley.  At Taesch, we take the cogwheel railway up to Zermatt arriving by mid-day in this lovely old village with its wooden chalets and toast-colored mazots (small barns).  Towering above you will see the majestic Matterhorn (14,688 ft.).

Those who choose to forego some of the shopping offered in Zermatt may decide to go further into the mountains and take an optional trip to the Gornergrat, just 45 minutes away.  The view from the sightseeing platform at 10,270 ft. is magnificent with some 50 Alpine peaks clearly visible and forming a circle of silvery splendor.  We return by cogwheel railway to Taesch and then by motorcoach back to Montreux. 

This evening is at leisure.

DAY 6,  MONTREUX

After breakfast, today is at leisure.

MontreuxOptional Tour to Aosta, Italy - For those who choose to participate, we'll leave Montreux this morning and cross the Alps on our way into Northern Italy and the picturesque town of Aosta.   This marvelous ancient city dates back to the time of the Roman Empire.  Numerous ruins abound as we weave our way through the cobblestone streets.  History is not the only allure of Aosta, there are bargains to be had here such as leather goods.  Such well know designer labels as Fendi or Paul & Shark can be readily found.  A relaxful lunch at a small out of the way restaurant where your pizza is fired from an open oven is a charming way to break up your day. 


DAY 7,  MONTREUX

Today is completely at leisure to relax, browse, and perhaps take care of that last minute shopping for a Rolex watch!

MontreuxThis evening, we'll have our gala Farewell Banquet in the 12th century Castle of Oron!

MontreuxUpon arrival at Oron Castle, we are welcomed by medieval trumpeters as we make our entry through the castle gate where a guide awaits to explore with us the mysteries of this ancient fortress.   We'll see the library which houses some of the oldest printed and bound books known to man...from the 16th century.   Next, we'll proceed to the "torture" chamber for cocktails before dinner.  Then it’s into the dining hall where our main course is being slowly prepared over an open spit.  The lights dim and the candle-lit atmosphere takes us back to olden times as trumpets herald the arrival of each elaborate course...all served by waiters (and  wenches") in medieval dress.   Wine is served from pewter wine jugs as we celebrate our week together in Switzerland and the many new friends we have made.

DAY 8,  MONTREUX – NEW YORK CITY - HOME

Following breakfast, we must bid farewell to Montreux and Switzerland as our coach takes us to Geneva this morning.  We'll board our flight to New York where, after passing through immigration and customs, we'll  make a connection to our non-stop flight to our home city,