SWITZERLAND & AUSTRIA
Featuring Oktoberfest
9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

DESCRIPTION

Ravishing landscapes, Alpine folk tradition and urban edge - Switzerland has it all! Explore the narrow cobblestone streets, slender spires and turrets, covered bridges, fountains and frescoed houses of historic Lucerne. Take a cogwheel train to Mt. Pilatus for a once-in-a-lifetime view of the famous Swiss Alps. And then on to the exuberant Hapsburg palaces, baroque abbeys and spirit-soaring landscapes of Austria. Our journey offers two exquisite countries in all of their glories from the amazing landscapes to the rich cultural heritage of Lucerne, Berne, Innsbruck, Munich and famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Here, days unfold as melodically as a Strauss waltz, whether you are sipping tea in a local coffee shop or strolling the poetic lakescapes.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spectacular scenery of the Swiss Alps
  • Cobblestone streets and frescoed houses of historic Lucerne
  • Ride the world’s steepest cog wheel train to the summit of Mt. Pilatus
  • Breathtaking Tyrolian mountain scenery
  • Fairytale castles
  • Munich during Oktoberfest
  • Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration for Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom
  • Innsbruck, home of the 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics
  • Explore the elegant palaces of Vienna
  • Experience the grandeur of Vienna
  • Opulent Schonbrunn Palace
  • The “Sound of Music” countryside
  • Imperial Salzburg
  • Sleepy Tyrolian Villages
  • Tyrolian Dinner and folklore show
  • Tyrolian Dinner and folklore show
  • Magnificent 900-year old Benedictine Abbey Melk
  • Imperial Vienna

Photo and Video



DAY BY DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 Depart USA
Depart from New York JFK on your overnight flight to Zurich, Switzerland.

Day 2 Arrive Zurich/Lucerne, Switzerland
Upon arrival in Zurich, you will be met by your tour director outside the secure area of the airport. You will then take a scenic drive to Lucerne and check-in to your hotel. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 Lucerne - City Tour & Mt. Pilatus
During your morning walking tour, delve into Lucerne’s historic Old Town of narrow cobblestone streets, slender spires and turrets, covered bridges, fountains, and frescoed houses. See the steering Lion Monument, Old Town Hall, 14th century covered wooden bridges, and the quaint square of Weinmarkt with its Renaissance fountain. After the tour, walk with your guide to a local cheese shop where samples of Swiss cheese await. Discuss the flavors as you enjoy the cheese along with white wine - Cultural Discovery Series. In the afternoon embark on a scenic journey by taking the world’s steepest cogwheel train to the summit of Mount Pilatus. Enjoy the spectacular views over the Swiss Alps at an altitude of 6981 feet above sea level. On the return, take a gondola ride down to the town of Alpnachstad and enjoy evening at leisure. (B)

Day 4 Lucerne
Enjoy a day at leisure or take an optional tour to Bern, Switzerland’s capital, and one of the oldest cities in Europe, with origins going back to the 12th century. Wandering through the picture-postcard, UNESCO World Heritage–listed Old Town, with its laid-back air, it's hard to believe that Bern is the capital of Switzerland. With your local guide discover all the charms of the city, starting with “Zytglogge”, an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving muppets. Continue through the historic old town, and see the Swiss Parliament building; an impressive 15th century Cathedral; the 15th century Town Hall, as well as Albert Einstein’s house. Also visit the “Bernisches Historisches Museum”, one of Switzerland’s most important cultural and historical museums. Enjoy time at leisure before returning to Lucerne. (B)

Day 5 Lucerne/Innsbruck - City Tour
After breakfast travel to Innsbruck. Tyrol’s capital is a sight to behold. The jagged rock spires of the Nordkette range are so close that within minutes it’s possible to travel from the city's heart to over 6000 feet above sea level and alpine pastures where cowbells chime. An afternoon city tour of Innsbruck includes a visit to the world-famous Golden Roof. Then it’s off to see the famous triumph gate and the Innsbruck Imperial Palace, “Hofburg”. In addition, we will visit the Olympic stadium and ski jump and the beautiful gardens of the Ambras Castle. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure, explore on your own or shop for Cuckoo clocks. (B)

Day 6 Innsbruck - Munich Tour and Oktoberfest*
After breakfast we leave Austria and enter Germany as we travel down the autobahn to Munich, the Capital of Bavaria. Munich sits at the foot of the Bavarian mountains and is the home of BMW, oompah bands, and a vibrant history and delicious beer. On display will be the fourth largest glockenspiel in the world, Marienplatz, Munich Cathedral and the Olympic Park. Today, Munich is the beer capital of the world and the home to the legendary Oktoberfest event. Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture and history, having been held since 1810. Along with your tour director, we take the day to travel into the heart of Oktoberfest Munich, drink like the locals drink, dine on a feast of Bavarian favorites and “drink in” the incredible atmosphere. (B)

Day 7 Innsbruck
Today is spent at leisure or take an optional tour to Salzburg. Considered one of the jewels in the crown of Europe, the city of Salzburg has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, framed by the majestic backdrop of the snowcapped Alps and famed for its old world glamour. Discover the historical side of Salzburg with a guided walking tour. Feel like you're going back in time as you explore Salzburg’s Baroque old town with its beautiful churches and cathedrals. Experience the city’s charming streets with their unique wrought iron signs, its large squares with fountains and buildings inspired by royalty. As we walk, view many of the city’s famous sites including the majestic Cathedral of Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, and more. The hills will come alive with the Original Sound of Music, as we visit many sites from the movie with Julie Andrews. Afterwards we will have some free time to explore the old town and experience this grand city. (B)

Day 8 Innsbruck - Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
Following breakfast, we enter the fairytale kingdom of 19th century Bavaria on our Neuschwanstein Castle tour! You’ll visit the enchanted castle once inhabited by King Ludwig II and take in the breathtaking alpine views of lakes and rugged Mountains. Neuschwanstein appears through the mist like something out of a dream, and as you listen to your guide you will learn about the tragic reign of the legendary “mad” Ludwig, including the obsession that drove him to build his secluded dream castle in the Alps. This evening head out on our Cultural Discovery Series event - a Tyrolean dinner and show. Clap along to traditional Tyrolean folk dancing and music on a raucous evening in Innsbruck! Taking place inside the family-run Sandwirt Restaurant, the show features dancing by the friendly Gundolf family, as well as cowbell ringing and jigs aplenty. (B,D)

Day 9 Innsbruck to USA or extend your stay with an optional Imperial Vienna extension
This morning we will say goodbye to Innsbruck and the Tyrol and drive to the airport for our flight back to the U.S. (B)

OPTIONAL IMPERIAL VIENNA EXTENSION
Day 9 Innsbruck - Melk Abbey Tour/Vienna
This morning we leave Innsbruck behind and head to Melk. Here you will visit the magnificent 900 - year old Benedictine Abbey. Located in the Wachau Valley of Austria, Melk awaits to be explored. In the Abbey complex you can visit the famed marble hall, illustrious library, and the Abbey Church with its twin towers and 200 ft. high dome. Later in the day continue on to Vienna, Austria’s capital city. Welcome to Vienna the capital and largest city of Austria, as well as the country's cultural, political and economic center. Renowned the world over for its musical heritage, Vienna is often called the "City of Music" with many musical prodigies having worked there including: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and many more. Interestingly, in some circles the city is also regarded as the “City of Dreams,” as it was the home of Sigmund Freud. (B)

Day 10 Vienna - City Tour
Your city tour of Vienna will take you to the city’s most important sights: the Ringstrasse, the Schwarzenbergplatz, the Karlskirche and Vienna’s stunning Opera House, and the impressive St. Stephan’s Cathedral. The tour will conclude at the Schonbrunn Palace, one of the most important cultural monuments in the country, and one of the major attractions in Vienna. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to explore one of the most famous European cities at a relaxed pace, experience its imperial history, shop or visit one of its numerous exciting museums. (B)

Day 11 Vienna to USA
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)


Hotel and itinerary are subject to change.

INCLUDES

  • ROUND TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION - Air transportation from New York
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 9 included meals consisting of 7 buffet breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: City tour of historical Lucerne, panoramic cogwheel train to Mt. Pilatus, half day tour of Innsbruck, full day tour to Munich during Oktoberfest*, and a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle. Optional tours available
  • CULTURAL DISCOVERY SERIES - Our program encompasses cultural connections, in-depth learning on the local economy and social systems, and interaction with locals such as sampling of local cheese and white wine at a cheese shop in Lucerne and a Tyrolean folk dancing performance with dinner in Innsbruck
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour upon arrival in Zurich
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OPTIONAL IMPERIAL VIENNA EXTENSION TOUR FEATURES
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 2 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 2 included meals consisting of 2 buffet
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAMS - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: Tour of Melk Abbey and half day tour of Vienna including the Schonbrunn Palace
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

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