Ultimate Alps
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EuropeUltimate Alps

Ultimate Alps

17 days, 6 cities
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From $4479 with flightsPayments as low as $98

A river running through a medieval town with snow-capped mountains in the background
A river running through a medieval town with snow-capped mountains in the background
A medieval stone tower and wooden bridge spanning a river
A white castle with blue roofs perched above a treeline with lakes and green plains in the distant background
Two pasta dishes on a table with a glass of white wine and an orange cocktail
Trip Type:
Activity Level:

Why go?

Discover the side of Europe you only thought existed in your dreams. From meandering canals to colorful villages, mountaintop castles and snowcapped peaks, this trip’s a fairytale looking for a main character.

Picture yourself

  • Riding in a gondola through the canals of Venice

  • Yodeling from atop the majestic Swiss Alps

  • Raising a toast inside one of Munich’s legendary beer halls

  • Sampling every kind of chocolate under the Alpine sun

  • Walking cobblestone streets in the shadow of Mont Blanc

What you'll get

  • Round-trip flights and airport transfers

  • 15 nights in handpicked accommodations

  • 14 breakfasts

  • 3 dinners

  • Expert Tour Director

  • 24/7 support from our travel gurus

  • 4 insider city tours with local guides

  • 2 roundtrip cable car experiences

  • Entrance to the Baroque Cathedral of St. James

Full trip itinerary

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Overnight flight

    Board your overnight flight to Italy and do your best to get some rest—adventure and food and literal castles await.

  • Day 2: Arrive in Venice + Welcome Dinner

    Welcome to Venice. Grab your walking shoes, a *really* good map, and hit the winding and organized yet maddeningly confusing streets. Watch the gondolas on the canals, browse the shops, and eat the gelato until you can't eat anymore. Then eat more.

    Today's highlights:

    • Make your way through the maze of Venetian canals.
    • Enjoy a Welcome Dinner of local cuisine and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot.
  • Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Venice

    On your first full day of adventure, you’ll arrive at the gorgeous St. Mark’s Square after a short boat ride into the city. You’ll be met by a local guide who’ll show you the famous sights of beautiful Venice.

    Today's highlights:

    • Arrive in true Venetian style at St. Mark’s Square via the Guidecca Canal.
    • Stand in the footprints of history on the Rialto Bridge, the oldest spanning the Grand Canal.
    • See for yourself why the 15th century Scala Contarini del Bovolo staircase literally means ‘of the snail.’
    • Watch a local artist in action during a glass-blowing demonstration.

    Free time suggestions

    Gondola ride on the Grand Canal: What better way to experience a city known for its bridges and canals than with a gondola ride down the grandest of them all? Finding the gondoliers isn’t hard—just look for their traditional uniform of black pants and striped shirts.

    Libreria Acqua Alta: Wander through charming rooms stacked wall-to-wall with books in this unique shop that battles the nearly constant flooding by placing some of its books in waterproof basins, bathtubs, and boats.

  • Day 4: Travel to Innsbruck

    Put the canals of Venice in the rearview and set your sights on the town of Innsbruck, Austria, a popular destination for winter sports featuring colorful architecture set against the jagged peaks of the Alps.

    Today's highlights:

    • Travel by bus from Venice to Innsbruck, gaining altitude and a newfound appreciation of the towering Alps as you go.
    • Take a deep breath of fresh mountain air while you explore scenic Innsbruck with your Tour Director.
    • After you’ve walked up an appetite, fill up on kaspressknödel and käsespätzle.
  • Day 5: Explore Innsbruck

    A local guide is by your side as you discover the ins and outs of Innsbruck. Walk through Altstadt, the historic old town center that dates back at least 1,000 years.

    Today's highlights:

    • Enter the Cathedral of St. James, an icon of Baroque design, and gawk at its lavish altar.
    • Visit the Golden Roof—an ornamental awning designed for Emporer Maximillion I.
    • Ride a cable car to Hungerburg to enjoy stunning views of Innsbruck and the Alps.
  • Day 6: Travel to Salzburg

    Set your sights on the city known for Mozart and The Sound of Music—Salzburg. Once you’re settled, you’ll have some free time to explore and get familiar with your new neighborhood.

    Free time suggestions

    Hohensalzburg Fortress: This fortress is the largest fully-preserved castle in Central Europe. Built in 1077, it provides an amazing vantage point for its visitors.
    Sound of Music Tour: Walk in the footsteps of the von Trapp family as you explore original shooting locations and pose for the camera.

  • Day 7: Tour Salzburg

    Sitting on the northern boundary of the Alps, Salzburg is known for its well-preserved baroque architecture and stunning alpine setting. Its name literally means ‘salt castle’ but we suggest opting for a delicious local strudel instead.

    Today's highlights:

    • Join a local guide for a tour of the city including Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz, and Old Town.
    • Stand before Sphaera, a prominent piece of art featuring a large golden sphere with a man perched on top.
    • Browse Alter Markt, the oldest weekly market in the city known for its selection of dairy, cabbages, and herbs.
  • Day 8: Travel to Munich + included dinner

    Make your way to a major center of German art, music, and innovation. Considered by many to be the greatest beer destination in the world, it’s no wonder that it was rated as the world’s most livable city.

    Today's highlights:

    • Follow a local guide on a tour of Munich’s main attractions including Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, and Glockenspiel.
    • Crave the array of food and drink in the massive farmer’s market and beer garden of Viktualienmarkt.
    • Stop by one of Munich’s famous beer halls for an authentic, included local dinner.
  • Day 9: Free day in Munich + optional trip to Dachau

    Today’s completely up to you. Explore, sample the local fare (hint: sausages are wildly popular), and keep your eyes and ears peeled for a live show from a traditional Oompah band. Lederhosen optional.

    Dachau (extra cost)

    Once a typical German town, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

  • Day 10: Free day in Munich

    Keep exploring Munich with your new travel besties. Pick a palace (like Nymphenburg) or a museum (like Alte Pinakothek) and let your IG do the talking.

    Free time suggestions

    BMW Museum: The past, present, and future are all on display at this monument to German innovation and engineering.

    Bike through Englischer Garten: One of the world’s largest urban parks has a lot to explore. Pedal your way by the Japanese teahouse, a stream with a standing wave surfed by locals, and more.

  • Day 11: Travel to the Lucerne region via Liechtenstein & Neuschwanstein Castle

    Get ready to roll out of Germany—but not before making a photo stop outside a castle so picturesque it’s rumored to be the inspiration behind Cinderella’s castle. Then it’s off to Switzerland, home to some of the finest chocolate in the world.

    Today's highlights:

    • Climb aboard the private bus for a scenic ride across the European countryside.
    • Gawk at the immense Neuschwanstein Castle and snap some epic photos.
    • Check another country off your list as you arrive into Switzerland.
  • Day 12: Tour Lucerne + optional trip up the Swiss Alps

    Breathe in fresh lake air with hints of chocolate (it might only be your imagination) as your Tour Director shows you around a charming city overlooked by the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

    Today's highlights:

    • Stand before Löwendenkmal, a sculpture of a wounded lion carved into a rock cliff.
    • Stroll across the Kapellbrücke, a wooden footbridge featuring paintings dating back to the 17th century.
    • Snap photos on the banks of stunning Lake Lucerne.

    Trip up the Swiss Alps (extra cost)

    Take an amazing trip to the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps and soak in the incredible panoramic views.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

  • Day 13: Free day in Lucerne

    It won’t take long to see why so many people flock to Switzerland—and seemingly never want to leave. Hint: It’s the people, the food, the views, and the “aaaah” that’s just always in the air.

  • Day 14: Travel to Chamonix

    You’ve seen the Swiss Alps—now it’s off to the French Alps. Chamonix is an adventurer’s paradise, with outdoor activities galore.

    Today's highlights:

    • Travel by bus to Chamonix—and look out the window at the scenic countryside.
    • Let your jaw drop and your eyes widen as you look in awe at Mont Blanc.
    • Join your Tour Director on a walking tour of this world-famous mountain resort town.
  • Day 15: Free morning in Chamonix + optional white water rafting

    Say oui to practicing your French as you order your first (of many) croissants and stroll through picturesque Chamonix. Post carbs, some serious white-water adventure awaits.

    White Water Rafting (extra cost)

    Give your legs a break during an adrenaline-pumping Arve river adventure. Hop in a raft with a local river guide, and work together to navigate the rapids. Experience Alpine wilderness from a new perspective.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

  • Day 16: Aiguielle du Midi & Mont Blanc + Farewell Dinner

    Time to up the altitude. Today we officially get over our fear of heights by stepping into a glass box at 12,604 feet—at the summit of Aiguillee du Midi.

    Today's highlights:

    • “Step into the void” when you enter a glass room suspended over 3,000 feet of nothingness.
    • Take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking mountain scenery from 12,000+ feet.
    • Enjoy one last night of laughs with your crew at a Farewell Dinner in Chamonix.
  • Day 17: Fly home

    Au revoir, mon ami!
    Translation: Goodbye, friends. Before you head to the airport, make sure to take one more group photo and grab that final drink. But this isn’t goodbye because you can always get the gang back together for another trip soon.

Traveling with us helps the EF community plant trees, at no extra cost to you.

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