Gstaad walking

Switzerland: Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Alpine Walks


Each summer, the Swiss Alpine town of Gstaad is the setting for the Menuhin Festival, the inspirational legacy of one of the world’s greatest violinists, Yehudi Menuhin. The Festival, which has long been synonymous with musical excellence, is mostly held in the beautiful frescoed churches of the Saanenland region of the Swiss Bernese Oberland. During our week-long visit, we attend 4 Festival performances.

Based in an exceptional 5 star hotel in the south-facing village of Schonried, overlooking Gstaad, we enjoy gentle morning walks in the high pastures, accessed by using the excellent gondelbahns, chairlifts and the local mountain railway. In fine weather the views are truly superb with a panorama of much of the Alps.

In the afternoons, there is time to relax on the terrace, swim in one of the two heated pools or shop in the world class boutiques of Gstaad. Before a concert performance, we have an early dinner then a short vehicle transfer to the concert venue, returning to the hotel for cheese and dessert. There are some delicious Swiss wines to try, such as light, flowery Fendant made with the Chasselas grape or Oeil de Perdrix AOC, a Pinot Noir.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Gstaad Menuhin Festival and walking tour include: 

  • Attending 4 concerts of the internationally renowned Gstaad Menuhin Festival in the frescoed churches of the Bernese Oberland
  • Daily walks - undemanding, and reached by cable car or gondola - in outstanding Alpine scenery
  • Staying throughout the trip in one 5 star hotel, with impeccable Swiss service and delicious meals and wines
  • Afternoons to relax, by the pool or on the sun terrace, before the evening performances
DAY 1
D included

We meet at Geneva airport and board the train in the airport for Montreux on the lake. We change onto the charming mountain railway that chugs up through a spectacular Alpine landscape to the village of Schonried – definitely the way to arrive! After settling in to our 5 star hotel, noted for its Alpine chic and impeccable service, there is time for a swim or a stroll. Dinner is served in the pretty restaurant with a large open-air terrace - perhaps we shall try the sought after fish Omble Chevalier, a delicate lake Char.

DAY 2
B, L, D included

We walk from our hotel and take a chairlift to 1770 m. There are interesting Alpine plants and flowers and we contour around the Hornfluh mountain and onto a flat track with sweeping views (2 hrs). We have a light lunch on a terrace overlooking high snow-capped mountains and glaciers, followed by an optional 1.5 hr walk back down to our hotel. This evening, we attend our first concert: Isabelle Faust (violin) and Alexander Melnikov (piano) will perform Beethoven’s violin sonatas no 1, 2, 3 and 9.

DAY 3
B, L, D included

A gondelbahn whisks us up the Rellerli mountain (1833 m) from where we take easy paths with astonishing views over to the Quille du Diable and les Diablerets (3209 m, 2.5 hrs). After a simple picnic, we return to swim in the delightful hotel pools, suitable for all weather use as they are heated and partly covered. Tonight we dine on the hotel terrace, perhaps sampling wild mushrooms and trout, followed by the spectacular cheeseboard including such cheeses as Höbelkase, Sbrinz and Appenzeller.

DAY 4
B, L, D included

A short train ride to the Alpine village of Zweisimmen (948 m) enables us to access Rinderberg (2011 m) by gondelbahn. We gently walk to 1985 m on an easy track, traverse the meadows and return to the valley by another lift - glorious open walking with mountain vistas (2.5 hrs). This evening, we attend Ivan Monighetti’s Hommage to Slava (Mstislav Rostropovich). The programme includes three Bach’s cello suites plus modern works.

DAY 5
B, L, D included

Weather permitting, we make an excursion by bus to the Col du Pillon and up to Glacier 3000 (2971 m), via the cable car, to admire the astonishing view and walk for about 1 hr. We take a further walk from the Col du Pillon around a lake and picnic before descending by bus. The concert tonight is given by the Vienna based Janoska Ensemble, consisting of two violins, double bass and piano.

DAY 6
B, L, D included

After another delicious breakfast on the sunny terrace, we walk from the train station at Gstaad to the Wispile gondelbahn and ascend to the second station at 1911 m. There are truly beautiful views on each side and we walk along an easy, wide track following a rounded ridge, slowly descending through pastures and past a cheese-making farm. After a short ascent through scattered forest the views open out and gentians bloom. We picnic, then follow a Landrover track that winds down to a lake at 1381 m (3.5 hrs). Our final concert features Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. We return to our hotel for a delicious dessert – perhaps a raspberry and hazelnut confection - and toast our memorable week together.

DAY 7
B included

After a leisurely breakfast and a swim in the pool, we take the train back to Montreux and transfer to the Geneva airport rail service and our flights home.

Caveat
The performances described are (very rarely) subject to change by the organizers. Actual activities or their order may therefore vary from those described in the itinerary.

£ 2,990 per person
£ 600 deposit per person
£ 570 double for single supplement

Please note that the double room for single use supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable.

Price includes
  • All accommodation for Days 1 through 7, on a twin shared basis
  • All meals (with beer/soft drinks at lunches and wine at dinners) as listed in the notation
  • All land transportation by train, gondelbahn, chairlift, hotel/festival bus and mountain railways as described

  • All entrance and sightseeing fees except during free periods
  • Good category tickets for 4 concerts at Menuhin Festival as described
  • Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff (appreciation for tour leaders is discretionary)
 
Price does not include
  • International air transportation to and from Geneva, Switzerland
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides wine with group lunches and dinners, free time activities, etc.)
  • Meals noted as excepted in the daily notation
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Swiss departure tax, if any


VALUE FOR MONEY - SO MUCH IS INCLUDED
On Kudu trips you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 6 nights in a 5 star hotel, with impeccable Swiss service and delicious meals and wines
PLEASE NOTE THAT EARLY BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR MUSIC AND OPERA TRIPS

Kudu Travel reserves a block of seats for each performance, approximately 1 year in advance, and unsold seats will be released in mid May 2017.

Late bookings will be subject to an administrative fee of £ 30 per person. In addition, please be aware that it may not be possible to retrieve seats in the same category, or, indeed, to obtain any tickets at all for sold out performances.

Caveat

The performances described are (very rarely) subject to change by the organizers. Actual activities or their order may therefore vary from those described in the itinerary.

Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Switzerland.

At present there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Switzerland. Residents of countries in the EU can only claim free (emergency) medical treatment in Switzerland by presenting their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.

Insurance
It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. We can arrange comprehensive cover for UK residents.  Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents. 

If you are already insured, or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests.

Photos
Raphael FAUX/Gstaadphotography.com
Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus


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