Central Europe is home to a wealth of medieval architecture, historic buildings and thought-provoking museums that will capture your imagination. Go back in time with a visit to the old town of the Swiss capital city, Bern. A 15th-century Gothic cathedral dominates the skyline, and the quaint cobblestone main street is dotted with statues and fountains, with the clock tower, Zytglogge, as a focal point. Find Chillon Castle on the rocky shore of Lake Geneva and spend the day immersed in a thousand years of Swiss history. Cross the Italian border and into Aosta for a day devoted to historic Roman ruins like the Teatro Romano and Porta Praetoria nestled within the natural beauty of the nearby mountains.
The terraced wine region along the shore of Lake Geneva is called Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where vineyards and wineries warmly welcome guests to sample their vintages. Venture into the Alps to the storybook village of Gruyères, a popular destination known for its medieval castle set against the backdrop of the majestic mountains. Sample its namesake cheese during a leisurely fondue lunch, stroll the pedestrian path lined with traditional buildings and cap off the afternoon with chocolates from local maker, Maison Cailler.
The cuisine of northern Italy is influenced by its neighbors, France, Switzerland and Austria. Flavors include fragrant cheeses, the product of nearby alpine dairies, as well as smoked prosciutto ham and creamy risotto. Hearty northern Italian dishes to try include Osso Buco, Chicken Cacciatore and Minestrone alla Milanese. Or try your hand in the kitchen with a lesson in making authentic Italian pasta where you combine traditional ingredients with your unique touch. Lake Como is home to fine dining establishments and family-run trattorias where you can find a quiet corner to appreciate the spectacular waterside setting. You can enjoy a vacation similar to the one listed above with Choice Touring by Globus and their The Alps Out Loud: Switzerland & Lake Como by Design.