Road to Travel Logo

Private Tours of Switzerland

Tips and Advise for visiting Switzerland by Road to Travel Inc.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


The city of Interlaken is located in the Swiss Canton of Bern. It is one of the most famous and old tourist destinations of the Swiss Alps. The origin of the name Interlaken is Latin: it means literally between the lakes; the city in fact was built between the Aare River and the Lütschine River.

Although during some excavations romans coins were found the first evidence of a settlement in the area is dated in the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the 12th century an Abbey was erected on the left bank of the Aare River. Soon enough a village developed very close to the monastery. The Abbey became immediately very powerful, however only a couple of centuries later a slow decline started. The inhabitants of the monastery decided to stop following the monastics rules and 1528, during the Protestant Reform, the abbey was definitively secularized.

The city grew in importance again three centuries later when its beautiful landscapes attracted many Swiss painters. At the beginning of the 19th century the town hosted a festival dedicate to the Swiss Culture: Interlaken became quickly a popular touristic destination. Elegant hotels and spas were opened and the economy grew rapidly. During the first half of the 20th century the instable world situation put a stop to the incredible Interlaken’s growth. However in 1955 the city was able to relaunch successfully itself as a convention center.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What to do in the Lake Lucerne Region

The Lake Lucerne Region in Central Switzerland is the best place to start exploring the country on private tours of Switzerland. The region has something for everyone: cultural events, museums, a network of Alpine hiking trails, boat cruises and much more. Here are a few suggestions on what to do in the Lake Lucerne Region.

Lake Lucerne
Immerse in history and culture

Lucerne is a must-see for history and culture buffs. Walk around the city to see iconic Chapel Bridge, the medieval watch towers, the charming old town brimming with architectural gems, stunning Baroque churches. Lucerne hosts many music festivals all year round such as Summer Night Festival (Luzernfest) in August, Lucerne Festival with concert series of classical music, Lucerne Blues Festival, the World Band Festival in September. 

See Lucerne from above

The Hammetschwand Lift is Europe’s highest exterior elevator that will take you to the Bürgenstock plateau. The lift shoots 153 metres in a minute to take passengers to the summit 1132 metres above sea level. The views over the Lake Lucerne an Alps will take your breath away. 

Mount Pilatus
Explore Lake Lucerne by boat

Hop on a boat to see the 38-kilometer-long lake and its shores. The William Tell Express, combines a boat ride with a train excursion through the St. Gotthard Pass. In summer, you can board a historic paddle-wheel steamer heading to the pretty town of Flüelen.

Climb the mountains

Mount Pilatus, the Stanserhorn, the Titlis are all within an easy reach from Lucerne. The Rigi mountain range has many hiking trails and spectacular views over the Alps from the top. If long hikes is not your cup of tea, hop on a cable car that will take you to several summits or take the cogwheel train to the Rigi. 

Cable car on Mount Titlis

Enjoy winter sports

Some of the best winter sports resorts are located in the Lake Lucerne Region. With 500 kilometres of ski slopes, the 8-kilometre Melchsee-Frutt sledging track and 40 kilometres of cross-country ski tracks you will never get bored here in winter.

Photos via Flickr by: Tomasz Trzebiatowski, Devon D'Ewart, Björn Söderqvist.

Exploring Sion

A sunny town of Sion, the capital of the Canton of Valais, is a must-see on private tours of Switzerland. Elegant architecture, excellent museums, music festivals all with the spectacular mountain peaks as a backdrop make the town a popular destination all year round. 

Two magnificent castles, Tourbillon and Valère, stand atop twin hilltops above Sion like ancient guards. The 14th Château de Tourbillon was burnt, rampaged an rebuilt through centuries. Today visitors can see the restored rooms, the keep, the beautiful chapel, frescoes in the castle and admire breathtaking vistas over the town and valley.  The Cantonal Museum of History housed in the Château de Valère tells the fascinating story of Valais. Inside the cathedral of Valère is a 15th century Gothic organ, one of oldest playable organs in the world.

Château de Tourbillon
Stroll around Sion’s charming Old Town to see historic buildings and pretty squares. The Sorcerers‘  Tower is one of the few surviving fragments of the medieval walls that once surrounded the town. It reminds of the famous witches’ trials that took place here between the 15th and 18th centuries. 

Reminders of gory torture used to extract confessions of involvement in witchcraft can be seen inside the tower. The old Town Hall, Cathedral of Notre Dame du Glarier, church of Saint Theodule, Bishop’s Museum will tell you about Sion’s rich fascinating history that goes almost 7000 years back.

Located in the heart of one of the Switzerland’s biggest wine regions, Sion is surrounded by terraced vineyards with centuries-old dry stone walls. Make sure to try excellent local wines the Fendant, Ermitage, Dôle and Syrah that are hard to find outside the country. Take a walk along the vineyards see how much work goes into winemaking here and admire the views over the valley.

Château de Valère
In summer, Sion hosts the International Antique Organ Festival with top-class concerts in the Castle Church of Valère, several other music event as well as “son et lumière” shows with concerts and special lighting effects that turn the of Valere and Tourbillon into a something of a fairy tale setting.

Photos by: Owen Massey McKnight/Flickr, Johannes Löw/Wikimedia Commons, Julian Mendez/ Wikimedia Commons. 

Ruinaulta, Switzerland's Grand Canyon

Dubbed the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, the Rhine Gorge Ruinaulta is a sight to behold on private tours of Switzerland. 

More than 10,000 years ago, during the Flims Rockslide, huge rocks tumbled down into the Anterior Rhine Valley obstructing the Rhine River. Over the course of time, the mighty stream carved its way through the pile up forming the dramatic Ruinaulta. Hundreds metres deep, the canyon is flanked by imposing cliffs and dense forests. Outdoors enthusiasts flock in the area for great rafting, biking, canoeing and hiking. The gorge is also famous for its diverse wildlife and stunning orchid blooms. 

One of the most popular hiking trails runs from Laax to Il Spir, a high observation platform that allows breathtakingly beautiful views over the Rhine Gorge. Lake Cauma is another popular spot where, after a good hike, you can swim in the turquoise waters.  

The gorge can also be reached by the Rhaetian Railway. You can get off at Trin, Versam-Safien or Valendas-Sagogn stations and continue to explore on foot or just relax in your seat and take in the spectacular views of the canyon from your window.

Lake Cauma
There are many picturesque villages along the trails running to the Ruinaulta where you can stop to relax and have a hearty meal. Ilanz sits at the start of the gorge and is a great starting point for adventurous explorers. In winter, the area around the village fills up with winter sports enthusiasts who come here for skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, Nordic skiing and winter hiking. In Reichenau, where the Upper and Lower Rhine meet, you can cross a 100-metre long suspension bridge across the river, walk to a spectacular viewing platform in the Bonaduzer Forest or tale a tour and chill out with a glass of wine at the 17th century Reichenau Castle’s winery.

Photos via Flickr by: Rosmarie Voegtli, Kurt Zwahlen.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Vevey: wine, chocolate and Charlie Chaplin

The picturesque town of Vevey on Lake Geneva is a great destination to visit private tours of Switzerland to explore the Swiss Riviera

The town’s lakeside promenade lined with bright flowers and palm trees sets the relaxed atmosphere. Here you can admire the stunning panorama of the Alps and walk all the way to the Chillon castle via Montreux or, alternatively, hop on a historic paddlewheel steamer cruise around the lake.

The historic part of Vevey is full of charming cafes, restaurants, chocolatiers and boutiques that are worth checking out. Pop in to the Vevey Historical Museum or Musée Junisch museum for a doze of fine arts. 

The Nestlé corporation was founded with its headquarters still based here. The company founded the world’s first museum devoted exclusively to nutrition, Alimentarium, where you can learn fascinating facts about the human diet, science and cultural aspects of food and nourishment from interactive displays and artefacts. 

Street in Vevey
Vevey is the birthplace of milk chocolate with many local artisans still continuing the delicious tradition. Head to Confiseur Läderach to take a guided tour of the chocolate factory and taste their delectable products.

The famous comedian Charlie Chaplin spent the last twenty five years of his life in Vevey. You can take a few snapshots of his bronze statue in a rose garden on the lakefront or head to the newly-opened Charlie Chaplin museum in his enormous estate of Manoir de Ban. The museum’s immersive nature allows visitors to experience sitting in a cabin hunging on the edge of a cliff, as Chaplin did in Gold Rush, see the giant machinery from his film Modern Times and check out a replica of the restaurant in which Chaplin’s film character ate his shoe in The Immigrant.

Charlie Chaplin
Board the Lavaux Express, a tractor-pulled train that takes tourists through the Lavaux vineyards where you can taste excellent local wines. The Golden Pass funicular will take you from Vevey through vineyards to the foot of Mont Pélerin. Hike to the top of the mountain for majestic views over the lake and the Alps

Photos via Flickr by: Martin Hapl, Yola Simon, Beat Strasser.

What to do in Davos Switzerland

The highest town in the Alps, Davos is renowned across the globe as the host to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and one of Switzerland’s largest ski resorts. With a huge range of activities it has something to do for everyone on private tours of Switzerland.

Enjoy the outdoors

Davos is a great destination for outdoors enthusiasts all year round. In summer, cable cars take holiday makers to the main hiking areas near the town with 700 km of marked trails. The Davos Lake has a well-equipped swimming area, sailing and surfing centre. In winter, the town attracts many skiing and snowboarding fans who enjoy the world-class facilities with 300 km of slopes, 58 ski lifts, 75 km of cross-country ski tracks, ice-skating rinks and Europe’s largest natural ice rink. If you are not an adrenalin junkie, you can head for horse-drawn sledge ride across the stunning valleys or explore winter footpaths and snowshoeing trails.

Skiing in Davos
Take a train ride

Davos is the starting point for the famous Glacier and Bernina Express train routes. Take your pick: the Glacier Express travels for more than seven hour over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and up to the 2033 m high Oberalppass to Zermatt; the Bernina Express crosses beautiful valleys, zooms past snow-capped peaks and majestic glaciers. There is also the Rhätia Pullman Express with its vintage luxurious saloon cars that takes it passengers from Davos to St. Moritz through the romantic Zügen Gorge and over the spectacular Wiesen Viaduct.

Hiking near Davos
Relax in a spa

Davos boasts some of the best spas in the country where you can chill out. Many of them are located in the local four and five star hotels and offer thermal baths, solariums, saunas, open-air whirlpools with spectacular views over the Alps and a vast range of beauty treatments that will make you feel like a new person.

Devour hearty local dishes

With all the activities on offer, you will have an appetite for the hearty Swiss cuisine and Davos has many excellent restaurants. Grilled meats and sausages, delicious fondue, creamy pastries, nut tarts, crispy local wines and excellent beers will satisfy the most demanding palates.

Photos by: Wikimedia Commons, Toni Birrer/Flickr, Masia Vilalta/Flickr.

Monday, July 4, 2016

What to do in the Canton of Appenzell

The country’s most traditional region, Appenzell Innerrhoden is often included in private tours of Switzerland to showcase its rural customs, folk music and natural beauty. It is a world apart from the glitz and glamour of many other cantons in the Swiss Alps and is perfect if you want to see the authentic side of the country. Here is our list of suggestions on what to do in the Appenzell.

Appenzell Region
Listen to traditional music

This part of Switzerland is renowned for its many folk music festivals where visitors can see locals dressed up in traditional costumes, singing and dancing. Yodelling, Ratzliedli teasing and joking songs, amazing alphorn performances, Schölleschötte (musical chords created with cowbells), Talerschwingen (music created by a group of people spinning coins inside of a bowl) are all part of fascinating musical traditions of the Appenzell

Alphorn Players
Visit farms

You can immerse in local life and visit one of many Alpine farms in the region. Some of them organize cow milking and cheese making for visitors, whey hot baths in wooden barrels, hay making days. If you are feeling adventurous you can even sleep in a hay barn and have a hearty farm-fresh breakfast in the morning.

Enjoy outdoors

Appenzell is paradise for outdoors enthusiasts all year round. There are 1200 km of well-maintained hiking trails for any level of fitness to explore in summer. In winter, visitors avail of 200 km of cross-country ski trails. If you want to admire Alpine views without breaking a sweat head to one of many cableways that will take you the summits of the Säntis, Ebenalp or Hohe Kasten mountains.

Appenzeller Cheese
Gorge on local delicacies

The region has many delectable specialties to devour while visiting or take home as edible souvenirs. Take Appenzeller Bärli-Biber soft gingerbread with an almond filling or Landsgmedchrempfli pastries filled with hazelnuts to snack on during spectacular hikes in the area. 

Try the famous Appenzeller cheese in a sandwich or melted in fondue washed down with an excellent local beer.

Photos via Flickr by: Bo Stern, Alphorn-Weltrekord Gornergrat, Prescott Pym.