Welcome to Austria! Magnificent mountains span two-thirds of present-day Austria, gathering in a massif at the center of the country. The breathtaking scenery of alpine peaks, lakes and enchanting valleys, together with excellent year round facilities attract many visitors. Innumerable cultural events and fascinating historical sights make every visit unforgettable.
Come explore Austria on this fascinating seven-day program. Visit the most historic sights of Vienna including the Schonbrunn Palace- considered one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Europe. Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Danube; tour the "must see" Melk Abbey. Sightsee in the over 1000-year-old city of Salzburg, famed as the birthplace of Mozart and the largest and best-preserved fortress in Central Europe. Tour the beautiful city of Innsbruck and the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein.
Day 1: Vienna, Austria
Today when you arrive in Vienna, your private, English-speaking guide will meet you outside of Customs at the airport, and take you to your hotel.
The Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth is located in the very center of the city, in the immediate vicinity of St. Stephan's Cathedral and the Karntner Strasse-Graben pedestrian zone. The stylish suites and rooms furnished in traditional, elegant Viennese style, have private bath/shower, WC, telephone, radio, cable-TV, safe, minibar, direct internet-access (free of charge for guests) and air-conditioning.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Vienna on your own.
Austria's wonderful capital Vienna spreads along both sides of the "Blue" Danube (which, as the Viennese are certain to point out, is actually muddy brown). The city is a smorgasbord of Baroque with a dash of art nouveau. Circling the old town (or Innere Stadt) is the striking revivalist architecture of the Ringstrasse, Vienna's main boulevard. These buildings range from the charming Opera House to the monumental Natural History Museum. Nestled throughout the city are the graceful art-nouveau buildings of turn-of-the century architects Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos. The buildings are one of the many remnants of the artistic and intellectual flowering that took place in Vienna at the turn of the century. Of course, the buildings and the city's history are only a backdrop for the daily culture that can still be found in the concert halls, opera houses, and cafes.
Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth
Day 2: Vienna
After breakfast at your hotel, meet your English-speaking guide for a private, half day walking tour of Vienna. This tour will give you an overall impression of the most significant historical sights of Vienna. Along the Ringstrasse we will show you numerous magnificent buildings, such as the State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History, the new cultural district, the Museum Quarter, the Hofburg, the Parliament, the City Hall, and the Burgtheater. You will also see the Giant Ferris Wheel, which is an impressive landmark of Vienna.
After the walking tour, we take a streetcar to Schonbrunn Palace, which you can visit on your own.
Schonbrunn, the former summer residence of the Imperial Family, is considered one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Europe. The Hapsburg's resided here for the better part of the year in numerous rooms for the large family in addition to the representational rooms. Emperor Franz Joseph, who later married the enchanting Sisi and reigned from 1848 to 1916, was born here in 1830. The monarch spent his last years entirely in the palace, which became the property of the new Republic of Austria two years after his death. Today, the palace is part of UNESCO's cultural heritage due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings.
After your memorable visit, return to the hotel by streetcar.
Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth
Day 3: Vienna- Durnstein- Melk- Salzburg
Following breakfast at the hotel, meet your English-speaking driver in the lobby and depart for "sightseeing transfer" to Salzburg, stopping for a visit at Melk Abbey, and a cruise on the Danube River from Durnstein to Melk. Please note: the river cruise is only possible between April 5th and October 26th and the Melk Abbey will be closed on November 3rd and 4th.
For art experts and anyone with a sense of beauty, the monastery in Melk has meaning well beyond the stereotypical tourist phrase "it's a must". Melk is a masterpiece of the Austrian period of art- the Baroque. The great strength of the architect Jakob Prandtauer was his ability to so suit a work of art to its natural surroundings that the creation and its environment, art and nature, convey an impression of unity to the observer, one might even say, become one. In addition, in Melk the sacred elements are emphasized; contrary to other Baroque monasteries, the church clearly dominates the entire building.
Hotel Wolf Dietrich
Day 4: Salzburg
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before you meet your English- speaking guide for a full day tour of Salzburg. (First a walking tour, then visit the castles by private car). Among other sites, we will visit: Fortress Hohensalzburg, Hellbrunn Castle with the watergames, and Mirabell Garden & Castle.
For more than a thousand years this city has been the residence of splendor-loving Prince-Bishops, who gave Salzburg the everlasting look of nobility and beauty. Famed as the birthplace of Mozart, this city may be called the musical capital of
Europe during the famous Salzburg festival in July and August. See the Mirabellplatz, Mirabell Castle, Mozart's birthplace, Hellbrunn Castle with the Hellbrunn watergames.
Hohensalzburg Fortress, built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard, considerably enlarged by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495-1519), is the largest, fully preserved fortress in Central Europe. The medieval princes' apartments and the Fortress Museum are of particular interest. Since 1892 the fortress can easily be reached by funicular railway departing from the Festungsgasse.
In 1612, only a few months after ascending the throne, Salzburg's Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems commissioned a country residence to be built at the foot of the well-watered Hellbrunn Mountain. A lover of Italian art and culture, he commissioned the famous cathedral architect Santino Solari to design a "villa suburbana", a summer residence matching the elegance and spaciousness of the magnificent Italian architecture of which he was so obsessed. Within a relatively short period of time an architectural masterpiece was created just south of the city that remains one of the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps.
Please note: Hellbrunn Castle is closed from November to March.
Hotel Wolf Dietrich
Day 5: Salzburg- Innsbruck
Meet your English-speaking driver in the hotel lobby for a transfer to the train station by private car. Take the first class train from Salzburg to Innsbruck. Upon arrival in Innsbruck, you will be met and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a private walking tour (2 hours) with an English-speaking guide.
The Hotel Sailer is one of the best hotels in Innsbruck, lying a short walk west of the Hauptbahnhof. A trio of antique buildings was joined together to form this welcoming hotel. Even though in the city, you get the feel of an alpine retreat. The public rooms are warm and inviting, and the guest rooms well maintained and beautifully kept with mainly built in pieces. In a series of rustically decorated restaurants, Tyrolean specialties are served.
Innsbruck, the capital of the Bundesland Tirol, is a beautiful town situated on a wide plain formed by the Inn River. Innsbruck is a famous crossing place north to Germany, south to Italy, east to Vienna and west to Switzerland. The town is first recorded by its present name in 1187. Around 1420 the Archduke Frederick IV built a new castle here and the town became the capital of Tirol.
Within the town there is a striking contrast between old and new. One of the finest older buildings is the Franciscan or Court Church mainly in Italian Renaissance style, and the Golden Roof. The university makes the town a center of intellectual life with students from all over the world. Innsbruck is also the city where the Olympic Winter Games were twice held.
Day 6: Innsbruck- Bavaria- Innsbruck
After breakfast at your hotel, depart in your private car with an English-speaking driver/guide to the Castle Neuschwanstein.
The fairytale castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria had Neuschwanstein Castle built on a remote rock near the village of Schwangau. Its style was similar to that of a knight's castle but with a sumptuously decorated interior and a marvelous view over the Bavarian countryside with its mountains and lakes. From this castle, which took 17 years to build and was never fully completed as the King was arrested and deprived of his power.
Note: Castle Neuschwanstein is closed on January 1, December 24, 25 and 31.
Day 7: Innsbruck- Depart
This morning, your car and driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Innsbruck Airport for your onward flight.
Depart any day! Contact an iExplore Adventure Consultant for details.
$3,949 per person double occupancy.
Prices for your dates of travel may vary- please contact iExplore for an exact quote. Quoted prices are based on current rates of exchange, tariffs and taxes as of November, 2010. iExplore reserves the right to increase tour prices to cover increased costs, tariffs and taxes received after prices are published, and to reflect fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. iExplore is under no obligation to give breakdown costs involved in any package.
· Accommodations as mentioned in the itinerary including breakfast, service charge and taxes
· Day 1: private transfer from Vienna Airport to the hotel
· Day 2: private guide for half-day sightseeing of Vienna (max. 4 hours)
· Day 2: entrance fees to Schonbrunn Castle
· Day 2: tickets for streetcar
· Day 3: private transfer from Vienna to Salzburg via Durnstein and Melk
· Day 3: river cruise from Durnstein to Melk
· Day 3: entrance fees to Melk Abbey
· Day 4: private guide for full day sightseeing of Salzburg (max. 8 hours)
· Day 4: private transfers for visiting the castles
· Day 4: entrance fees to Hellbrunn Castle
· Day 4: entrance fees to Fortress Hohensalzburg
· Day 4: entrance to Mirabell Castle/Garden free of charge
· Day 5: private transfer from the hotel to Salzburg train station
· Day 5: first class train tickets from Salzburg to Innsbruck
· Day 5: private transfer from Innsbruck train station to hotel
· Day 5: private guide for sightseeing of Innsbruck (2 hours)
· Day 6: full day excursion to Neuschwanstein Castle by private car with English-speaking driver guide
· Day 6: entrance fee and guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle
· Day 7: private transfer from the hotel to Innsbruck Airport
· All air travel and associated costs
· Meals EXCEPT breakfast
· Any visas and related costs
· Entrance fees not stated above
· Porterage unless stated in the program
· Travel Insurance
· Holiday or peak season surcharges (black out dates apply)
· All items of a personal nature (e.g. beverages, telephone calls, laundry, personal insurance)
· Anything not specifically mentioned in the "Inclusions" list above.
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.