Austria, Germany, Switzerland
Trier, Baden-Baden, Hallstatt, Black Forest, Beilstein, Munich, Murren, Swiss Alps, Berner Oberland, Salzburg, Vienna
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The architecture will be nearly as splendid as the mountains as the splendor of it all is accentuated by the riverbanks and lakeshores enjoyed during your 14-day tour. Whether you love the alpine air or find classical music soothing, enjoy hiking or prefer the taste of a flavorful beer on a hot day, your tour of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria will immerse you in natural wonder and a welcoming culture. Listen to the glockenspiel chime at midday and then climb to the top of a medieval church...
Trier – Arrive in Germany’s Oldest City and Enjoy an Introductory Tour
Trier is Germany’s oldest town, with its first inhabitants settling in the region approximately 16,000 years ago. Your flight will descend into Trier-Fohren Airport, and you see the expanse of lush grass and sporadic verdant trees across the landscape. Your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim and escort you into the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Roman monuments, thermal baths, and the oldest bishop’s church and Gothic church in the country. The city center is reserved for pedestrians, which allows you to stroll along the Baroque and Gothic buildings at your leisure.
On the outskirts of town, wineries tier the hills and stretch along the flatlands. The Porta Nigra, a 2nd-century fortified Roman city gate, continues to frame the north entrance of Old Town. Time and the elements have blackened the outer layers of the gate, which brought on the name “Black Gate.” The weight of the stone, and sporadic iron clamps have held the structure together for nearly two millennia and the structure extends for 118 feet with a width of 70.5 feet and a height of 90 feet. To see the freestanding sandstone structure is the perfect introduction to your tour and allows the remaining history of the town to tell its own story.
Trier – Explore the Historical Streets of Trier and Grounds of Burg Eltz Castle
As morning rises, the student population adds a youthful ambiance to the old city streets. In the morning, students venture to a popular coffee shop said to have the best specialty coffee selection in town. The German cappuccino is famous for its large top layer of delectable foam and after breakfast, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and take you on an engaging walking tour of the Roman and medieval core, including the fortifications and Konstantin-Basilika.
Emperor Constantine resided in the city between 306 and 312 AD, and the brick structure contains a long, high ceiling that once acted as the throne hall before its destruction by Germanic tribes. In the 12th century, locals converted the apse into a tower. The edifice reaches a length of 220 feet with a nearly 100-foot tall semi-circular apse. The Basilica retains the title of the largest single-room structure surviving from the Roman Empire, and the windows and apse progressively shrink towards the middle of the room, giving the impression of length. Outside of the city, you will reach the fantastical structure of Eltz Castle, situated on a hilltop surrounded by the Eltz Forest. The 12th-century structure looks like a storybook home as it rises out of the trees and overlooks the Elzbach River.
Baden-Baden – Visit the Opulent Casino and Enjoy a Day at Leisure
In the morning, the half-timbered buildings of Hauptmarkt shine in the spreading sunlight as locals navigate the cobblestone streets in the city center on their way to work. After breakfast, you will wave goodbye to the charms of Trier for the alluring warmth of Baden-Baden. The mild climate and old hot springs have brought fame to the town as one of the most renowned spa towns in the world. The dense trees of the Black Forest frame the colonnaded buildings and turreted art-nouveau villas that pepper the hillsides.
Vibrant open-air cafes connect the town’s culture to the French spirit located across the border as the Oos River feeds the pristine gardens that flourish along the riverbanks. Your guide will lead you to the casino for a look at the architecture and the opulence of its décor. The hall was erected more than 250 years ago and modeled after the French royal palaces, and the ambiance of the elite remains in the golden chandeliers and plush red carpet.
The remainder of the day will be yours to stroll the streets of the city at your preferred pace to take in the beauty of the Spa Garden while surrounded by boutique stores and chic cafes. You could also wander along the Lichtentaler Allee, a two-mile long avenue on the west bank of the Oos River with an old footpath built in the 17th century. Chestnut trees and magnolias line the walkway as the aroma of fresh oak bark drifts across the water. More than 400 different types of roses blossom at Gonneranlage and accentuate the Art Nouveau décor of the garden. When you feel like a rest, you can make your away to the Caracalla Spa, a modern therapy center that fills 43,055 square feet, fed by 12 natural springs, and features hot and cold rock grottos.
Murren – Tour Farmhouses and Mills in the Black Forest en route to Murren
The ruins of the Roman bathhouse have stood in Baden-Baden for more than 2,000 years. The ancient floor stands beneath the Friedrichsbad Spa and also contains a Roman wall more than six feet tall. After you leave Baden-Baden, venture next to the cliff-top town of Murren in the Swiss Alps. En route to Murren, you can travel through to the fabled Black Forest, home to stories like Hansel and Gretel. Farmhouses and mills speckle the landscape as the trees open to the riverbanks. Stop in Freiburg im Breisgau, considered the “Gateway to the Black Forest” as trees blanket the rolling hillside. Shauinsland Mountain, which reaches a height of 4,212 feet above sea level, borders the edge of town and provides a view of the small streams that flow around the streets of Old Town.
The Swabian Gate was constructed in the 13th century and features wall paintings and dioramas that depict the region’s history, many of which highlight the region’s freedom movement in the 19th century. The Murren Mountains surround the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and at the base of the mountains, you can step aboard a gondola to absorb the scenery as you ride to the cliff-top. The narrow railroad stretches from Grutschalp to Murren and travels a length of four miles, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and emerald plains. Waterfalls trundle down the rocky faces before you reach the center of the alpine village. Rustic chalets accentuate the 19th-century ambiance and provide a cozy, luxurious place for you to settle into.
Murren – Discover the Wonders of the Swiss Alps with a Trek around Murren
The aroma of hot chocolate in the morning air will remind you that you have arrived in Switzerland while the view of the soaring mountain peaks remind you that you are in the Alps. After breakfast, the day will be yours to explore the surrounding region, whether by gondola, train, or hiking trails. You could walk down to the neighboring town of Gimmelwald for spectacular views of the mountains and the sloping rooftops of the alpine architecture. The trees provide a herbaceous scent of pine as sunlight glints off the snow-capped mountaintops.
For a more adventurous trek, you could cross to Grutschalp where the trail leads you along the edges of the mountains through the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The view opens to the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau Mountains. Jungfrau reaches an altitude of more than 13,600 feet with a prominence of 2,270 feet above the surrounding range. The half-timber houses and prominent peaks bring an unbelieveable atmosphere along the trails and will allow you to experience the seclusion, and the fresh air of the Alps combined with the luxuries of Murren as you return from your hike.
Murren – Delight in the Natural Splendor of the Berner Oberland Region
In the morning, you will wake ready to discover more of the wonders found in Murren and the Alps. Wildflowers blossom yellow and white in the plains outside of Murren as cows and goats graze on the herbs, grass, and wildflowers overflow along the valley trails. You will hear the intermittent ring of the dangling bells that hang around the cows’ necks as your guide will meet you at your hotel and escort you on a full day tour of the surrounding region, beginning with Trummelbach Falls.
The cliffs in Schwarze Monch nearly hide the glacial gorge and rushing waters of the five cascades that plunge down the rugged precipice. Glacial meltwater carved the canyon into a corkscrew shape, and you can step inside of an elevator for a view inside the mountain. A series of walkways and tunnels lead you to the thundering falls, which at times echo across the stone cliff and make the mountainside shudder. The freezing water tumbles down into the niches carved over time and shaped by the receding glaciers as the mist sprays upward from the falls and you catch a cold touch of the water on your skin.
Munich – Relish Mountains, Lakes, and Castles on a Scenic Drive to Bavaria
In the morning, you will take another long look at Jungfrau, the dramatic peak that crowns the entire massif and the aroma of the blossoming wildflowers is strong upon your departure from Murren. The bright yellow and white petals contrast with the tall strands of jade grass, and along the trails, farmers milk their cows and use the milk to create famous Alpine cheese, know for its herbaceous flavor. People believe the flavor stems from the cows’ diet along the foothills. After breakfast, you will leave Murren to begin your scenic journey to Munich, the capital of Bavaria.
En route you will stop in St. Gallen to view the rococo library located inside the Catholic abbey. The town radiates with white walls and red-tiled roofing set against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and verdant rolling hills. The abbey contains more than 170,000 documents, many handwritten and spanning thousands of years. The hall has stunning rococo décor, using polished wood, stucco, and paint to create an elegant effect. The Plan of St. Gall is a 9th-century document that has significant architectural drawings from the years between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rising architectural structures of the 13th century.
Munich – Full Day Tour of Munich and the Surrounding Sites
The capital of Bavaria blends traditional charm and modern comforts as the third largest city in the country. The River Isar winds around the fringes of Munich and along the edges of the Bavarian Alps. The aroma of freshly grilled sausages drifts through Old Town where locals hold tight to their heritage in the form of wearing lederhosen and dirndls daily, along with vibrant beer halls, to the more contemporary street cafes. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on you an engaging half-day tour of Munich that will begin with the old streets of the historical city center.
The square of Marienplatz has acted as the central square of the city since its inception and markets were held in the medieval core until the beginning of the 19th century. The reconstructed tower of the Old Town Hall and the notable Virgin’s Column tower over the square’s symmetric stones. The Virgin’s Column was built in the 17th century to commemorate the end of Swedish occupation. New Town Hall was erected near the end of the 19th century and dominates the border of the square. Its towers add drama to the skyline of Old Town and compete with the Cathedral of Our Lady for the tallest spires. Figures and ornaments, many depicting Bavarian dukes and kings, along with fabled animals, decorate the façade. The famous Glockenspiel chimes on the hour at 11 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm to fill the air with old folk tunes.
Salzburg – Visit the Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig at Neuschwanstein
After breakfast, you will depart from Munich to make your way to the ornamental streets of Salzburg, Austria. Stop first in the town of Fussen to visit the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle, home to King Ludwig II of Bavaria between 1869 and 1886. The tiers and spires of the castle rise above the trees like a fantasy that inspired the likes of Walt Disney who modeled Sleeping Beauty’s castle off of the image before you.
King Ludwig envisioned a creation of Germanic mythology inspired by the operas of Wagner. King Ludwig spent a total of 170 days in residence in the castle but spent years designing and building the unfinished structures. On the grounds, you will discover the Gothic-style bed crowned with intricate spires while the throne room features a Byzantine style set in the mosaic floor, which contains more than two million stones. The grandeur of the edifice embraces fantastical legend and continues to inspire visitors from around the world.
You will continue on the road to Salzburg as the stunning scenery encompasses the town of Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. Berchtesgaden stands within view of Wazmann, Germany’s second highest mountain, which rises to an altitude of 8,900 feet. The town has a picturesque allure, with flower-clad windowsills glowing with fresh blossoms as the aromas of fresh pretzels and cold beer sweep across the cobbled streets.
Salzburg – Traverse the Streets to Find Culture and History in Salzburg
Salzburg acts as the gateway to Austria from the west and continues to captivate visitors with its magnificent scenery and connection to beautiful music as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Salzach River reflects the image of the city in its waters as the edging peaks tower over the hilltop fortress and draw your eyes to the marvelous domes and spires of the historical architecture. Follow your guide on a half-day tour through the city’s past and present beauty, from Baroque churches to great squares as horse-drawn carriages trot through the heart of town.
Residenzplatz stands at the heart of Old Town on the left bank of the Salzach River and remains the city’s largest square as built in the mid-16th century. The central fountain spouts water from its marble edifice, and the Baroque style features elaborate images of animals and people holding each shelled tier. The picturesque castle of Hohensalzburg dominates the skyline atop a plateau of 1,660 feet above the surrounding streets.
The pearled facades shine in the sunlight against the background of clear blue sky. Construction on the castle began in the 11th century and you can stroll along the Golden Hall, an elaborate gallery of apartments erected in the late 15th century. The rich ornamentation provides insight into the lifestyle of the archbishops that stayed on the grounds, residing in the apartments up until the 16th century. Four marble pillars on the outer wall were added to create more space while the gold buttons in the ceiling resemble the twinkling stars at night.
Hallstatt – Revel in a Boat Cruise around the Lakeside Town of Hallstatt
Your private transfer will meet you after breakfast and escort you to the charming town of Hallstatt. Located on the idyllic Hallstatter See, the lake covers more than three square miles as the town maintains a storybook quality that is enhanced by the surrounding mountains and glassy waters of the lake. You will arrive and immediately settle into the relaxing ambiance of the market village.
The Roman Catholic Ascension of Our Lady Church was erected in the 15th century, and the Romanesque tower reaches into the sky to imitate the shapes of the mountains. The water shimmers turquoise in the soft breeze that sweeps in from the foothills as inside of the church, you will find the Charnel House, also known as the Bone House. The tradition of secondary burials has almost all but disappeared in the Eastern Alps, but Hallstatt retains its connection with one of the last remaining bone houses.
A church has stood on the grounds since the 12th century, stacked against the steep cliffs. You can enter the basement of St. Michaels Church to find the display nestled into the bedrock. Candles flicker against the walls and add light to the room as the Bone House exhibits 700 painted skulls lined up on rows of wooden shelves. The majority of the painted skulls contain a Maltese Cross that adorns their forehead. The unique tradition adds a sense of wonder to the charms of the Alpine village.
Vienna – Tour Mauthausen Concentration Camp en route to Vienna
In the morning, boats set sail across the lake for visitors to enjoy the view of the soaring mountains and tranquil waters while the church bells echo along the stone streets. After breakfast, you will make your way towards the capital city of Vienna with a stop at Mauthausen along the way. The village lies on the north bank of the Danube River, with the grounds of the nearby KZ Mauthausen Concentration Camp overshadowing the quiet, colorful streets of the village. The Nazi government used the region for its famed quarrying center and brought slave labor from around Central Europe to quarry the granite. The grounds now contain the Mauthausen Memorial Museum dedicated to telling the history of the camp, along with neighboring facilities.
The quarters were designed to hold 200 people but actually housed approximately 500 people each. By 1940, the camp had become the largest labor complex in German-controlled Europe. Today, the mortared walls of the gate remain and lead to the open interiors that are lined by gray-green barracks. Your guide will lead you into the living quarters and into the Sick Quarters where charts and artifacts fill the walls. You will find photos of prisoners and their SS guards and hear multitudes of stories. The quiet atmosphere speaks louder than words ever could, and you will continue to Vienna mindful of the experience of the past as you emerge from its shadow onto the bustling and beautiful streets of the Austrian capital, home to elaborate architecture, rich culture, and Europe’s first coffee house.
Vienna – Enjoy a Full Day Walking Tour of the Remarkable City of Vienna
In the morning the sunlight washes over the black façade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The Gothic façade was overlaid on the original foundations of a 12th and 13th-century Romanesque church. The large gate and soaring Heathen Towers harken back to the original construction while the 14th-century Gothic edifice added the choir and three chapels to the structure. The south tower rises to a height of nearly 450 feet tall and was built in the 15th century. The elaborate design encompasses nearly 1,000 years of Viennese culture. Today your guide escorts you through the cityscape so that you can take in the elegance of Vienna’s history and the welcoming attitude of the people.
Students continue to frequent Café Frauenhuber on Himmelpfortgasse, the city’s oldest café, and one frequented by Mozart. You make your way next to the Hofburg, the official residence of Austrian rulers since the 13th century, from kings and emperors to the contemporary Austrian president. The eclectic architecture encompasses Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo styles covering an area of 59 acres with 2,600 rooms. The Swiss gates were designed in the 16th century, and you will have a glance at royalty as you visit the Imperial Silver Collection with more than 7,000 items, including formal tableware. You will marvel most at the nearly 33-foot long Milanese centerpiece cast from gilded bronze.
Vienna – Depart for Home
Vienna maintains its connection to history while being optimistic about its future. The French Baroque style of the National Theater accentuates the splendor of the architecture and the majesty house inside the structure, known for producing celebrated German-language plays and performances. Emperor Joseph II built the theater in the 18th century, and the structure has maintained a quality of performance and décor as incredible frescoes by Gustav and Ernst Klimt decorate the staircase.
The beauty of the city emanates from the cafes and palaces, streets and gardens. You could spend weeks enjoying the pleasures of Vienna and never tire of the culture or scenery. When you are ready, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Vienna Airport for your flight home. You could always extend your stay and continue East to Budapest or Prague to embark on a stunning discovery of Central Europe along the Danube River.
- Stroll along the opulent and grandiose walls of the Neuschwanstein Castle celebrated for its fairytale qualities and prominent position above the forest
- Discover the hidden glacial waterfalls near Murren as you take an elevator into the mountain for a look at the thundering cascades
- Visit one of Munich’s celebrated beer halls for an immersive experience of the Bavarian culture
- Stroll along the cobblestone streets and half-timbered buildings of Germany’s oldest town, Triers, and visit the nearby Burg Eltz Castle
- Indulge in the soothing waters of the natural baths in luxurious Baden-Baden
- Trek the fabulous alpine trails outside Murren for unparalleled panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and Lotschen Valley
- Witness the musical and classical ambiance of the riverside Austrian city of Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart
- Discover the painted skeletons of Hallstatt for insight into a cultural artifact of the mountains
- Experience the elegance and grace of Austria’s royalty at the Hofburg Palace, home to Austria’s leaders for nearly 800 years
- Step back into the tumultuous Nazi Era Austria with a tour of Mauthausen Concentration Cap and Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Relish the Roman ruins around various towns for an introduction into the first vast settlements of the region
Many have found inspiration from the splendor of the Alps, and the wonders of the glassy lakes will be your muse during your luxurious custom tailored tour of the highlights of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Fairytale castles rise out of the trees as the music of Mozart fills the cobblestone plazas. Hot springs continue to bubble in Roman baths located beneath contemporary spas as Baroque fountains accentuate the beautiful historical architecture. Glaciers glint in the passing alpine sunlight and the sites and sounds of your tour will certainly take your breath away.
Your adventure will begin with your arrival in Triers, Germany. Your private transfer will meet you at Trier–Fohren Airport and escort you into the heart of the country’s oldest town to enjoy an introductory walking tour for your first view of the city’s beautiful streets. Wake the next day to traverse the Roman and medieval core of the city before visiting the nearby village of Beilstein, home to Burg Eltz Castle. The following day, you will make your way to the famous spa town of Baden-Baden. Tour the opulent casino and relax with a soothing hour spent in one of the city’s many spas, fed by the natural hot springs. The next day, meander through the Black Forest to visit towns en route to the snow-peaked region of Berner Oberland in Switzerland and then enjoy a fabulous gondola ride to reach the remarkable cliff-top town of Murren.
The next day will bring you along the trails around Murren and allow you to explore the landscape from the towering mountains to the sunken valley at your preferred pace. Walk the trail to the neighboring village or follow the paths around the foothills to see the high-altitude farms that produce alpine cheese. The next day, you can venture into the rugged mountaintops to see Trummelbach, a series of hidden waterfalls fed by glacial melt water. Travel to Bavaria the next day and stop in the town of St. Gallen along the way. Visit the Abbey and its remarkable medieval library before reaching the vibrant city of Munich. Wake the next day, and your guide will lead you on a historical tour of Old Town. Absorb the architecture, culture, and world-class museums, and you can also visit the English Gardens or Olympic Park.
Travel next to Fussen to explore the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. Continue to the village of Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps before crossing the border into Austria to relax in the Baroque city of Salzburg. Explore the stunning scenery of the city the next day during a guided tour of the cobbled streets and elaborate architecture. See the hilltop fortress of Hohensalzburg and Mozart’s birthplace, and then travel next to the charming village of Hallstatt. Cruise on the glassy lake for an exceptional view of the village, mountains, and water and in the afternoon, you can take in a tour of the Bone House or venture to the world’s oldest salt mine.
The following day, you can visit the Mauthausen Concentration Camp to gain insight into Nazi-occupied Austria and the history of the grounds. Back in Vienna, you will take an introductory tour of the grandeur of Austria’s capital city. The next day, you can continue to explore the elegance of Vienna with a walking tour around the Habsburg Palace, Opera House, and fascinating museums. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel the next day to escort you to the Vienna airport for your flight home, or you could also extend your time in Europe with a luxurious tour of Central Europe or travel southwest to Italy.
$4,657 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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