Splendors of Austria, Germany & Switzerland Tour

A 14 day trip to Austria, Germany & Switzerland 
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Nourish your senses as you walk along classic wine trails and listen to the music of some of the world’s most celebrated composers. Travel through the splendors of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland on a custom tailored tour and immerse yourself in luxury and culture, chocolate and marzipan, fairytale castles and snowcapped mountains. Baroque palaces tower above cobblestone streets as half-timbered buildings hide chic, contemporary restaurants. Stained glass windows in historical churches glow as illustriously as the famed artworks tucked inside opulent museums. Feast on the sounds, sights, textures, and flavors that create an unforgettable private journey for your senses. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Neuschwanstein, Baden-Baden, Zurich, Lausanne, Bern, Lavaux Wine Region 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Vienna – Arrive in the Contemporary and Imperial City of Vienna, Austria

The corners of Vienna brim with impressive contemporary museums, chic restaurants, and imperial splendor from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Your flight lands at the Vienna airport, and your private transfer awaits your arrival. You will be escorted into the heart of the city to find historical streets that wind around the elaborate architecture of the State Opera House. The city has a deep connection with music, and operatic and ballet performances are staged hundreds of times each year. The current opera house was erected in the 19th-century in the style of Early French Renaissance.

A grand staircase leads to the first floor, known as the Schwind Foyer, named after the opulent paintings that depict scenes from famous operas. Students and artists fill the numerous coffee houses of the city and indulge on crispy, sweet pastries as they espouse their latest theories. The old and new combine for a delightful display of the city’s proud history and its optimistic future. Settle in the luxury of your centrally located hotel and embrace the beauty of Vienna.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, dinner

Day 2: Vienna – Full Day Private Tour of Vienna’s Museums and Monuments

In the morning, the Bohemian spirit fills the café known as Mozart’s favorite refuge and one of the last places the maestro performed in public. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee lingers along the cushioned booths as patrons engage in conversation. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to whisk you through Vienna’s captivating monuments and rich history. Pass the stunning black façade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and marvel at the Late Romanesque style of the Heathen Towers gate remains from the 13th-century edifice. The majority of the structure was renovated in the 18th-century, but the nearly 450-foot tall tower was erected in the 1400s.

Your guide will lead you to the Museums Quartier, famous for its collection of exhibits that span 645,834 square feet as Baroque buildings contrast with the more modern architecture. Inside the Leopold Museum, your guide will lead you along the impressive ensemble of Austrian art to the masterpieces of Nouveau expression, including works by Gustav Klimt. The painting, “Avenue in Front of Kammer Castle,” catches your eye as the blue and green branches frame the bright yellow façade of the castle in the distance. The unique brush strokes and texture of the painting provides colorful, surreal image to create a uniquely soothing atmosphere.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Vienna – Half-Day Cultural Tour of Vienna’s Quarters and Restaurants

In the morning, the shops on the Mariahilf, one of Vienna’s busiest walking streets, opens to the public. Locals venture to the produce market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables as the aroma of fresh bread emanates from the bakery stands. Cheesemongers offer free samples to passersby as your private guide leads you on another tour of the city to reveal more of the opulent sites and monuments. On sunny days, locals gather on the Danube canal to sunbath on the sandbank beaches with deck chairs and blankets to turn the canal shores into a resort atmosphere.

Venture to the outside of town and make your way to the Spanish Riding School to view the beautiful Lipizzaner horses as introduced to the royal court in the 16th-century. Visit the school and enjoy the thrills and skills of the equestrian display located on the Hofburg Palace grounds. The school remains the heart of classical dressage and offers performances to the general public; young stallions from the stud farm at Piber romp around the ring to demonstrate their first phase of training. Fully trained stallions follow to move with Olympic grace and highlight the next phase of training. The performance is equitable to the enchanting movements of ballet. In the evening, you can take in a jazz performance in an underground club located down a little city alley that takes you back to the age of American prohibition.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Salzburg – Transfer to Salzburg and Visit the Hallein Salt Mine en route

Locals around the old city venture to a cafe to enjoy a double mocha with a splash of herbaceous liqueur, known as the Mozart. The tarts and croissants add a buttery, sweet aroma to the rich scent of roasted coffee beans. Your private transfer meets you in your hotel lobby and escorts you to the stunning city of Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, with a stop at the Hallein salt mine along the way. The Baroque architecture in the town of Hallein adds a layer of luster beneath the towering figures of the mountaintops. Travel to the entrance of the mine and find a large doorway that leads into the mountain. The alpine air blends with the scent of stone.

Tunnels meander beneath the granite for miles and turn the warm air bathed in sunlight to the cool, damp ambiance of the subterranean tiers. The original Celt settlers of the region mined for salt around 600 BC to carve tunnels more than 900 feet deep to make Hallein the oldest discovered salt mine in the world. Your tour takes you more than half a mile through the tunnels to experience the cavern as a former miner might have. In the depths of the mine, you will find two sets of wooden slides once used to transport heavy materials. Sit at the top of the slide, the pair of which travels nearly 140 feet, and enjoy your fast glide down as your jovial cries echo off the surrounding stone.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Salzburg – Enjoy a Full Day Private Tour of Salzburg’s Charming Streets

The sunlight washes over the quiet district of New Town, located north of the Salzach River. The Mirabell Gardens and Mozart’s former home shine against what was once on the fringe of the historical city. Horses clop along the cobblestone streets of Old Town and pass the Baroque buildings of the 16th and 17th-centuries. Mozart left an impression Salzburg that remains today as it emanates from the music that pours out of charming shops and fills the plaza of Markt Square.  Follow your guide on an in-depth tour of Salzburg’s history and splendor that begins at Residenzplatz, the oldest square on the Salzach River’s left bank.

A 17th-century marble statue adorns the center of the square along with a gilded fountain that stands nearly 50 feet tall. Intricate figures of horses and dolphins add to the impressive display of Atlas and Triton. The outline of Hoensalzburg Castle rises over the city crowning the central hilltop. The 16th-century edifice was built over the original castle base, which was built in the 11th-century. The arched defensive gate continues to shape the entrance passage and the small church of St. George contains a working organ originally placed in 1502.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Munich – Visit Neuschwanstein Castle before Arriving in Munich, Germany

The old merchant homes from the 15th-century that line the pedestrian avenue of the Getreidegasse continue to draw visitors from around the world. Wrought-iron shop signs dangle over doorways and cafes are filled with people in search of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. After breakfast, leave the charming city of Salzburg behind and make your way over the border into the Bavarian region of Germany. Before you reach Munich, stop in the town of Fussen, home to the Neuschwanstein Castle. King Ludwig II of built the structure between 1869 and 1886, but spent only 170 days living on the grounds before his untimely death. The stories of Ludwig’s youth, along with the enticing tales of celebrated operas, inspired the castle’s fairytale design.

Neuschwanstein Castle provided the inspiration to Walt Disney to build Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland. The structure rises above the treetops on a sandstone mound as the mountain peaks roll in the background, and the façade shines blood-orange against the natural white stone of the towers. The interior contains lavish paintings that depict scenes from Richard Wagner’s celebrated operatic pieces and decorate the extent of the Singer’s Hall. A golden chandelier adorned with precious stones hangs from the center of the room as you make your way into the artificial Grotto. The quiet trickles of water echo through the cave, emanating from a lake near the cavern’s end as the winter garden opens up from the cave and offers a view of the Alps. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, transfer, breakfast

Day 7: Munich – Delight in a Full Day Private Tour of the Bavarian Capital City

Men walk through both the contemporary, and the historical, streets of Munich in lederhosen throughout the year and women enjoy the flowing fabric of dirndls. Cafes open to the cobbled streets of Old Town and the 950-foot tall television tower near Olympic Park watches over the entirety of Germany’s third-largest city. Your guide will lead you on an elaborate full day tour of Munich’s captivating old streets and its contemporary neighborhoods.

Continue to make your way to St. Peter’s Church, the oldest parish church in the city, located on a small hill once settled by monks. The 14th-century Gothic edifice contains a Baroque choir from the 17th -century while a lantern dome replaced the original spire of the old tower. The tower contains eight clock faces matched by eight bells and stands at the height of nearly 300 feet. Climb the 299 steps for a panoramic view of the city and the Alps, while inside you will find a beautiful red marble monument, along with 65-foot tall altar adorned with figures of Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome, the Four Fathers of the Church.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Baden-Baden – Venture to the Celebrated Spa Town of Baden-Baden

The bustling outdoor market of Viktualienmarkt opens daily with 140 colorful booths filled with the unique flavors of Bavaria. The scent of fennel and radishes joins the aroma of honey and cured sausages as they dangle from the small rafters. Stroll through the avenues to find a rainbow of hues and sweet, freshly baked strudels. After breakfast, venture to the town of Baden-Baden, located in the famous German Black Forest. A neoclassical pump room was erected in the 19th-century to overlook the manicured grounds of Kurpark. The 295-foot long portico contains 19th-century frescoes that highlight the local legends.

The pump helps procure the curative mineral waters of Friedrichsbad Spring, the mythical source of the region’s elixir of youth that feeds into the essential baths of this famous spa town. The Kurgarten acts as the center of town life, filled with boutique shops, elegant galleries, and luxurious cafes. Make your way to Baden-Baden’s oldest spa resort erected in the 19th-century to visit the colonnaded shops or settle into the refreshing, warm waters of the bathhouse at a luxury spa. A gushing fountain adds a soothing sound to the room’s tranquil ambiance as all of the tension in your body fades away, and you look out into the greenery of the private gardens outside.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Baden-Baden – Relish an Excursion to the French Wine Region of Alsace

The Baroque buildings and fountains of Old Town come to light in the morning, framed by antique shops and lavish galleries. After breakfast, your guide will lead you across the western border in the Alsace region of France for a day among the medieval towns, award winning restaurants, and mouthwatering wines. Travel the well known Route des Vin d’Alsace which begins in the town of Thann. The French, German, and Swiss use the Alsace as an easy weekend getaway to follow along meandering trails that hug the Vosges Mountains foothills and the banks of the Rhine River. The village of Obernai stands at the foot of Mont Sainte-Odile surrounded by the Ehn River.

The medieval ambiance emanates from the central 13th-century tower encircling the town gates and the ancient town walls. Outside of town, the Vosges Mountains, rural plain, and vineyards converge in the valley. Enter into a small vineyard that overlooks a church tower as the fragrant earth contains hints of minerals and grape peels. A stone grotto protects the barrels. Your guide leads you along the vines that stretch into a small, rustic tasting room in view of the Vosges Massif.  Sip the Pinot Noir to not the aromas of red fruits, specifically cherry. The full-bodied flavor leaves a taste of anise on your palate that lingers and delights.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 10: Zurich – Travel to Zurich, Switzerland, and Visit the City of Basel en route

Today you will leave the lovely town of Baden-Baden and cross the border into Switzerland to discover the incredible cultural attractions and luxurious ambiance of Basel. With more than 15 square miles of museums, six bridges arch over the Rhine River to connect the cobbled streets of Old Town with the manicured streets of the more contemporary neighborhoods. Basel joined the Swiss Confederation in the 16th-century, and its university became a center for distinguished scholars and teachers.

The Town Hall in Marktplatz marks the city center as a daily market takes place in the mornings and brims with pyramids of fruit and budding flowers. The Town Hall’s bright red walls dominate the square with a 16th-century Gothic style with its adorning clock constructed between 1511 and 1512. The Basel Historical Museum contains a collection of art and weaponry that spans more than two millennia beneath its cavernous vaulted ceilings. Your guide will lead you to a stunning 15th-century mural depiction of the “Dance of Death,” a medieval allegory on the universality of death, which in philosophers’ and artists’ minds, united the world. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Zurich – Explore the Fascinating Sites of Zurich on a Private Half-Day Tour

Zurich springs to life in the morning as locals venture to work along the cobbled streets and electric trollies. The city stands at the heart of Europe, in the center of Switzerland, and emits a cosmopolitan flair while maintaining a deep connection to its alpine heritage. Old Town rises over the left bank of the Limmat River where the Romans first build their settlement, and the old streets of the city follow the grid of the fortified town. The aroma of coffee drifts out of the small cafes and blends with the scent of leather from the bound books inside the antique bookstores.

Your guide will lead you to the Kunsthaus Museum as run by the Zurich Society of Arts, a society of artists founded in the late 18th-century. The museum houses the largest collection of Monet’s work outside of Paris and specializes in exhibitions of quality over quantity. At the center of the Monet exhibit hang two of the artist’s larger water lily canvases, along with the 20th-century haystack series, which inspired Kandinsky’s style of non-figurative forms. The more contemporary neighborhood across the river contains the Bahnhofstrasse, a mile-long street with bank headquarters, exclusive fashion boutiques, and streets cafes where people linger and watch the chic styles of passersby.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Lausanne – Visit the Capital City of Bern before Arriving in Lausanne

The winding roads of the Alps take you from the charm of Zurich, with its mixture of cosmopolitan culture and Swiss heritage, to the shores of Lake Geneva in the city of Lausanne. Before you reach the city, stop in Switzerland’s capital of Bern, home to a picture-perfect Old Town, Albert Einstein’s home, and a unique blend of historical streets set atop a sandstone plateau that overlooks the calm waters of the Aare River. Swiss flags hang along the half-timbered buildings of the old city and brush against the doorframes of hidden, chic bars. Cafes set tables along the cobblestone streets and provide patrons with decadent hot chocolate, delicious coffee, and indulgently sweet pastries.

The gray-green sandstone of the streets wind beneath the covered arcades of the city center and cover nearly four miles that are adorned with 16th-century fountains that depict local folkloric figures. Make your way to Einstein-Haus Bern, the famous physicist’s, and family’s, former residence in the capital city. The small exhibit captures the life of the Einstein as he developed his theories while simultaneously working as a patent clerk. A film traces the development of his most famous equation and helps elucidate some of the finer points of the scientific language. The rooms are preserved to capture the atmosphere of the past with photos, furniture, and wallpaper during Einstein’s lifetime. Pictures of the scientist decorate the walls, accompanied by framed photos of his family and provide insight into the motivations of his life’s work and his deeper connection to his surroundings.  

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Lausanne – Revel in a Full Day Tour of In and Around Lausanne 

Wake up in the enchanting city of Lausanne, and it’s view of the glistening waters of Lake Geneva as framed by the rolling mountain peaks on the distant horizon. The blue copper spires of the Cathedral imitate the spiked peaks that surround the city. A timber-canopied staircase with a tiled roof rises alongside antique homes to the terrace and lead to the cathedral’s front door. Medieval streets, Gothic architecture, and diverse artistry mingle with the two renowned universities that bring a vibrant ambiance of the city.

Outside the city, your guide will lead you on a half-day tour to discover the lesser-known Lavaux wine region as it stretches for more than 18 miles along the northern shores of Lake Geneva. Vineyards grow on the slopes of the far-reaching mountains. Evidence suggests that the Romans grew vines for winemaking along the terraces, but the production of the wines began in the 11th-century with the construction of Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. As you stroll along the trails and through the vineyards, see the glassy surface of the lake as it reflects the snowcapped peaks across the water.

Outside of the villages, you will find tightly packed houses that seem to sprout out of the vineyard. The stone structures provided residence for workers, rather than having to travel to and from town during harvest. At one vineyard, stop in for a sample of their Chasselas, the king of Lavaux wineries and a typical Swiss grape varietal, and your guide will pour a taste of the special “Plant Robert” wine, a Lemanic grape with ancient roots. The aroma emits hints of black cherry and subtle spice as you sip the wine and let the rustic, lingering cherry flavor wash over your palate.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 14: Lausanne – Depart for Home

Locals venture to a nearby cafe in the morning, a charming coffeehouse nestled among the bustling streets of the Grand Pont. Relax on the sofas and read the morning paper as you sip freshly brewed coffee and enjoy the scent of the sweet cakes that fill the room. Spend some extra time in the luxury of your hotel to bask in the view from your window. The contemporary activity of the city contrasts with the medieval ambiance of the architecture. The Place de la Palud emerges from the winding streets of the pedestrian lanes and contains the oldest fountain in the city.  When the time comes, your private transfer will meet you in the hotel lobby and escort you to the airport in Geneva for your international flights home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$4,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.