Depart home city via your chosen air carrier to Milan, Italy, arriving Friday, Oct. 11. (Airport Code: Milan – MXP)
After clearing customs, a FoCA representative will personally meet and escort you to awaiting transportation to take you to the deluxe 5 Star Giardino Ascona Hotel (www.giardino-ascona.ch). After check-in, the balance of the day is free for you to relax and stroll the grounds of this beautiful resort with its manicured gardens and lush landscape.
Tonight, please join your fellow FoCA travelers for a private “Welcome to Switzerland” cocktail reception and dinner.
Half day sightseeing tour
Today we will visit the city of Locarno, famous for its stunning Piazza Grande and delightful lake side area. Locarno is a town located in southern Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Maggiore and at the foot of the Swiss Italian Alps. The Italian-speaking city is known for its sunny climate and relaxing atmosphere. Two of Locarno’s main attractions are the imposing 12th century Visconti Castle and the Museo Civico, which exhibits many Roman artifacts and antiquities. After lunch, we will return to Ascona for a closer look at the “pearl” of Ticino.
It’s Saturday night in Ascona and time to further explor this beutiful seaside village! Since this evening is free for you to do what you please (within reason of course), why not have dinner at one of the quaint bistros or restaurants lining the neighborhood piazzas followed by a visit to a side street nightclub. It’s a winning combination!
Today is a totally free day for you to do whatever you want. Sleep in, have a late breakfast or take advantage of one of the many optional tours that our local host will provide. There are plenty of optional tours for you to consider… all accessible from Ascona. Stop and see your local hosts for their suggestions and recommendations.
This evening is at your leisure. You are free to explore the many fine shops, unique restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs that are located throughout Ascona’s Old Town squares and charming neighborhoods.
Full day sighting tour
Today will be a real treat! After breakfast, we will leave for a full day of fun exploring the region of Ticino with a special stop at the fortified town of Bellinzona. Rising above several valleys, amid beautiful Alpine scenery, Bellinzona is Ticino's head-turning capital. Its three hulking medieval fortresses have enthralled artists and poets for centuries, including that greatest of Romantic painters, William Turner (fantastic artist!). Lunch has been arranged for us at a local restaurant.
The main castle, Castelgrande, stands high upon a rocky hill, which was a Roman frontier post and the scene of several battles over control of the Verzasca Valley. Though staunchly Swiss today, it is nevertheless infused with a hefty dose of Italian dolce vita.
This evening is free to enjoy at your leisure. After a wonderful day of sightseeing, a nice relaxing dinner may be in order. We're sure some inviting ristorante in Ascona is just waiting to serve you and your FoCA friends a fantastic meal...accompanied by some primo Ticino wine, of course! You're going to love this place!
Transfer Ascona to Lausanne
Today, we say "Ciao" to beautiful Ascona and "Bonjour" to picturesque Lausanne, where we will spend the next five nights. The scenic drive from Ascona will take us through the famous St. Gotthard tunnel to Lausanne, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. After a stop in Bern, the Capital of Switzerland, we’ll have lunch (at one of my favorite restaurants in Switzerland!). After lunch we’ll continue to Lausanne arriving at our hotel, the majestic, Neo-Classic Lausanne Palace Hotel.
Located in the city center, next to the city’s historic Old Town, are several market squares which will provide you with countless options for sightseeing, shopping, dining and nightlife. All of this and more are at your doorstep!
This evening is at your leisure. However, before you “hit the bricks” (or cobblestones), please join Carl and Anne for a FoCA Welcome to Lausanne cocktail reception.
Half day sightseeing tour
Today you are invited to discover Lausanne, the capital city of the Vaud Canton and home to the world-renowned Olympic Museum. From the Old Town, you will be able to see Lausanne Cathedral, the magnificent 13th century Cathedral that is considered a masterpiece of Gothic Art. The Cathedral and the picturesque piazzas and squares are a photographer’s delight!
We will continue the tour with a visit of the Olympic Museum, re-opened in 2013 after a total refurbishing. This beautiful, unique museum is known through-out the world and draws somewhere between 160,000 and 210,000 visitors each year. A private lunch has been arranged for us at the museum.
The afternoon and evening are at your leisure. This is an opportunity for you to discover Lausanne’s medieval historic center while enjoying views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. You'll fall in love with the flower-draped alleys, Renaissance churches and cafe-rimmed piazzas, which are always brimming with life, laughter and the chinking of glasses…a wonderful sound to be sure!
Free day today. Be sure to stop by and see our local host at the FoCA Hospitality Desk. They will be happy to tell you about the many sightseeing options that are available as well as recommending dining venues for this evening.
This evening you may want to gather with a few fellow FoCAs and try one of the many specialty restaurants located along the lake or find a cozy out-of-the-way cafe in the Old Town. Both great options! A great dining experience awaits you and your friends this evening…guaranteed!
Full day sightseeing tour
Today we start our tour showcasing Montreux by highlighting its quaint old cobblestone town and beautiful lakeshore promenade. Nearby is the famous Chillon Castle, immortalized in Lord Byron's poem, "The Prisoner of Chillon.” Set like a gem in the rocky peninsular, this classic medieval fortress houses an interesting collection of period furniture and objects. Our English-speaking guides will help you make the best of your visit of this unique castle, one of the most frequented castles in Europe.
The day continues with a transfer to Gruyères…the cheese capital of Switzerland. This small village, which has been unaffected by the passage of time, is impressive with its authentic, medieval castle and historic market-town. A special Gruyères lunch is included.
This evening is on your own. This is your last free night in Lausanne so make the best of it by having a grand dinner at one of the very special dining venues that Lausanne is famous for.
It's a free day today but because this is our last day in Lausanne and we have a farewell evening function, we would suggest that if you take an organized optional tour today that finishes early in the afternoon. This will give you time to get organized for your trip home tomorrow and time to get ready for tonight's dinner party.
Even though our journey has come to an end, there is still time for one last get together before we bring a close to this year's trip. This evening, please join Carl and Anne and your fellow FoCA travel partners...and now close friends, for a very special "Farewell to Switzerland" reception and dinner. This will be a delightful night for all!
Transfer from Lausanne to Geneva International Airport for flights to USA (or other destinations)
Hotel/Airport transfers throughout the day for flights back to the USA or other destinations as per your flight schedule.