Best of Austria and Switzerland Tour

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Historic city center of Lucerne Switzerland with famous Chapel Bridge and lake Lucerne
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Total Trip:

12 Days
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Countries Visited:

Austria, Switzerland
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Places Visited:

Vienna, Melk, Mondsee, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Zermatt, Tasch, Montreux, Berne, Interlaken, Lucerne, St. Moritz, Chur
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Austria will enchant you with Baroque architecture, opulent palaces, and famous concertos while Switzerland will captivate you with villages of half-timbered homes, beautiful hidden vineyards, and dramatic mountain peaks. Your custom tailored tour offers you only the best and takes you along the Danube River and into the illustrious Alps. The strong walls of a medieval castle reflect in the cobalt waters of the lake as frescoes in a historic abbey resemble murals to decorate a king’s quarters.

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Day 1

Vienna – Welcome to the Imperial City and Contemporary Capital of Austria

Vienna is a vibrant city that embodies the best of Austria’s illustrious past and looks optimistically towards the country’s future. Cozy coffee houses have provided space for philosophers and artists to share their ideas over a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee since the 18th-century. The city offers a home to an elegant ballet as well as the Lipizzaner stallions, angelic tones of premier orchestras and the opulent walls of a historic palace. Postmodernist architectural design edge contemporary styles and fuse the city together with a Baroque past.

Your private transfer will meet you at the Vienna airport upon your arrival and escort you into the heart of the city. The State Opera House stages more than 300 performances a year and has fuelled a dramatic passion for the arts since the 1600s when the first Viennese Court Opera performed. The current structure was built in the 19th-century with embellished French Renaissance style, highlighted by a grand staircase leading to the first floor. The paintings along the foyer depict famous scenes from captivating operas, connoting the allure of music, power, and Austria’s capital.

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Day 2

Vienna – Explore Vienna on a Full Day Tour to See History and Elegance

In the morning, people make their way to the narrow streets of the Innere Stadt district to a cafe that continues to embody a 1930s spirit. Locals order mélange, a specialty of half coffee and half milk, and delight on freshly made pieces of cake. After breakfast, make your way to the captivating Hapsburg Palace, which housed the seat of Hapsburg power for more than 600 years, the official residence of Austrian rule since the 13th-century.

The sprawling architecture encompasses 59 acres with a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architecture that reflect the different artistic movements over time. 19 courtyards and 2,600 fill the palace grounds. The Imperial Apartments contain the famous dining room, encompassing rich décor of Flemish artwork depicting the heroic deeds of Hercules. The Imperial Silver Collection includes more than 7,000 items including the tableware used during ceremonial dinners and fine 18th-century East Asian porcelain. Opulence and prestige are on display around every corner of the palace grounds.

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Day 3

Salzburg – Enjoy a Cruise along the Danube before Arriving in Salzburg

In the morning, the sunlight spreads across the black Gothic facade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a lavish 14th-century edifice built over the original 12th-century Romanesque church. The South Tower rises to a height of nearly 450 feet above the cobbled streets of the historic city. 343 steps take visitors to the watch room for a sensational view over the mixture of contemporary and historic architecture. After breakfast, you will board a luxury cruise along the Danube for a day on the river that connects Austria to Hungary as you make your way to Melk Abbey, located on the riverbanks between Salzburg and Vienna.

Towers soar over the remarkable golden hue of the Baroque edifice. The Melk Abbey was erected in the 18th-century and is famous for its black-robed Benedictine monks that stroll amidst the marble sculptures and beneath the allegorical frescoes on the ceiling. The aroma of leather emanates from the library as shelves encircle the two floors and contain 80,000 volumes of books. The elaborate staircase swirls upward along the painted walls as it resembles more of a palace than an abbey. After exploring the shores of the Danube, continue west to the Baroque city of Salzburg.

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Day 4

Salzburg – Relish a Day at your Leisure to Discover the Splendors of the City

Horses pull carriages along the cobbled streets of old town Salzburg. Their hooves clop on the stone and echo of off the walls as the bright yellow façade of Mozart’s former home shines against the bright blue sky. The Salzburg Cathedral has twin towers that rise 260 feet above the square with an Italian flair. The edifice was built in the mid 17th-century and faces the west end of Domplatz, with four magnificent marble statues. Massive bronze doors hold allegories to Faith, Love, and Hope. The day is yours to explore and experience Salzburg and its surrounding at your preferred pace.

Follow in the footsteps of the Von Trapp family to learn about their escape from World War II Austria or relax in the cafes and the musical history of the city. For a unique exploration around the landscape, make your way into the Bavarian Alps at Obersalzberg, a World War II era community that favored leaders of the Nazi party. The infamous Eagle’s Nest, Adolf Hitler’s preferred retreat, stands atop the hill at the end of a four-mile road. Traverse the more than 405-foot long tunnel, and the brass-paneled elevator cuts into the rock, to enter into the complex. The structure provides a stunning view of the Bavarian Alps, with sweeping emerald trees, dramatic peaks, and passing clouds.

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Day 5

St. Moritz – Visit Innsbruck, Austria en route to Switzerland’s St. Moritz

In the morning, the sunlight filters through the upper windows of St. Peter’s Church, a 12th-century construction refurbished in the 18th-century with Rococo style. The elaborate vaulted ceilings glow with color and religious parables. Today you will leave the beauty of Salzburg behind and make your way to St. Moritz, Switzerland, with a stop in the charming city of Innsbruck along the way. The rugged rock spires of the Nordkette Mountains more than 6,500 feet above sea level. The city embodies Austria, from its medieval old town to the grandeur of the Hapsburg palace and remarkable Baroque architecture.

Old merchant houses line the arcade of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse in the old quarter and guide your eye to the well-known glare of the Golden Roof. The late Gothic oriel window is made of gilded copper and was built in the late 15th-century to commemorate the marriage of Maximilian I. The lower balustrade contains the richly decorated coats of arms, and you can find the Emperor’s Tomb inside the Hofkirche church. The 16th-century German Renaissance sculpture glorifies the Holy Roman Empire with a black marble sarcophagus.

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Day 6

Zermatt – Ride the Glacier Express Scenic Train to Reach Zermatt

The turquoise waters of Lake Moritz shimmer in the morning light to reflect the emerald trees and the looming snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountains. Wildflowers blossom in the alpine meadows, and the nearby toboggan allows locals and visitors to glide down the summit of Muottas Muragl into the valley station. Make your way to the town of Chur, one of the Switzerland’s oldest cities, set amidst an alluring mountain setting. Twisting cobbled alleys shape the historical buildings as boutique stores stand beside celebrated restaurants that serve indulgent, traditional cuisine. More than 5,000 years of documented settlement, from the Early Stone Age to Roman artifacts, along with an 8th-century Cathedral, adds to the luster of the city.

Board the Glacier Express Train for a scenic ride to the base of Zermatt, a city that provides a perfect view of the famed Matterhorn Mountain. Your first-class train car provides incredible views of the countryside and fills your view with jade evergreens that reach up until the mountains turn into barren limestone walls. The scent of fresh hot chocolate fills the train car as glacial ice glares in the sunlight and encircles the mountain summits. Once in Zermatt, relax amongst the rustic half-timber chalets and enjoy your first view of the Matterhorn.

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Day 7

Zermatt – Revel in the Alpine Beauty In and Around Zermatt at your Leisure

The Matterhorn Mountain rises above the massif at the height of nearly 14,700 feet above sea level, with a prominence of nearly 3,420 feet above its neighboring mountaintops. In the morning, stroll along the streets of the city to enjoy a rich hot chocolate and linger in view of the incredible peak. The day is yours to discover the marvels of the countryside as you hike along the countless trails that crisscross the meadows and foothills. Thrill-seekers set out into the air to paraglide, or you could head to the to the top of Gornergrat for a face-to-face view of the Matterhorn or stroll along the walkways of the gorge for a different view of the landscape.

The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest aerial cableway in Europe. The station stands at nearly 12,740 feet above sea level as you step aboard the gondola for a scenic view of the countryside, from the undulating summits of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alpine to the blossoming meadows below. People come from all around the world to experience summer skiing on the natural snowy slopes of the high-altitudes. Make your way into the Glacier Palace and follow the tunnels for 49 feet beneath the rough surface into an edifice that sparkles with ice crystals. The ice sculptures evoke a sense of wonder and make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

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Day 8

Bern – Travel to Switzerland’s Capital on the Banks of the Aare River

Today you will leave the panorama of the Matterhorn behind on the Mountain Train to Tasch and continue to the cherished shores of Lake Geneva to visit the storybook 12th-century castle of Chateau Chillon. Lord Byron made the grounds famous in the 19th-century with his narrative poem The Prisoner of Chillon. The poet carved his name on a pillar in the dungeon, which remains visible today. The castle stands on a small islet to make the edifice look as though it rises out of the water.

The Domini Room was reserved for the Duke of Savoy as 14th-century murals rich in medieval symbols adorn the walls and liven up the dark stone space. The castle acted as a residence for dukes and counts of Savoy who commanded the road between Burgundy and Italy. More than 20 buildings shape the grounds as the internal walls link the Duke’s Tower to the living quarters and the square tower above the entrance, making it possible for a duke to walk along the walls without showing himself in the courtyards.

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Day 9

Bern – Tour the Beauty of Bern and the Landscape at Lavaux Wine Region

The capital of Switzerland includes elements of its historical charm that are separate from the contemporary streets and architecture of the newer districts. The old city contains four miles of arcades, along with the longest sheltered shopping promenade in Europe. Cobblestone streets wind around the distinctive sandstone plateau that leads you to cellar shops and 16th-century fountains that depict folkloric figures. A series of bridges arch over the Aare River and connect the image of the red-roofed antique buildings to the contemporary museums and chic styles of the newer city.

Pass the storybook structure of the Zytglogge, the famous ornate medieval clock tower, to visit Bear Park. Bears have had a home in Berne since the 16th-century and now have a 64,583 square-foot open-air park, dotted with trees and terraces, in which the bears roam free. You can visit the old Bear Pit, which remains culturally and historically significant to the city. The 15th-century Munster Gothic cathedral boasts a spire 328 feet tall, with 344 steps along its spiral staircase. The panorama sweeps across the old city and showcases the colors of the river, the rooftops, and the famous arcades.

What's Included:

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Day 10

Lucerne – Delight in a Scenic Tour of Interlake at the Jungfrau Massif

Today you leave the capital streets behind and travel into the heart of the central Switzerland to view the Jungfrau Massif on the edge of Interlaken. The town contains perfect mountain vistas and grand hotels that glitter with dangling chandeliers. The hamlet of Unterseen resembles village where time stopped as it sits in the shadow of Mount Harder. The 15th-century parish church and Late Gothic tower overlook the wooden chalets and green gardens. A small train with more than 120 years of history ascends the steep gradient of Schynige Platte, to a viewing terrace at more than 6,810 feet above sea level.

The train leaves from Interlaken Ost railway to take you along the cog railway to the Schynige tabletop. The open-top carriage provides splendid views to the surrounding beauty, from the ample emerald trees to the aromatics of the alpine gardens that include more than 600 plant species. From the platform, look out over the bleached limestone walls of the mountains to the speckled with emerald forest, and catch the shining edge of a turquoise Lake Brienz. The horizon carries the staggering figures of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau peaks.

What's Included:

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Day 11

Lucerne – Witness the Treasures of the City and Cruise on Lake Lucerne

Lucerne shines with the beauty of its history. Wood bridges span across the tranquil waters of the Reuss River. Old Town glows with antique half-timber structures that are painted like candy. Outdoor exhibits express the ample technological advances of transportation at the Swiss Transport Museum. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a complete tour of Lucerne beginning with the medieval town walls. Nine towers in varying styles continue to protect the outer layers of the city. The 14th-century section remains the most complete and preserved portion of the wall.

Four towers provide views across the lake to the surrounding mountains. The 16th- century Zyt clock tower chimes one minute before the hour to toll its bells before the other clocks of the city. Stroll across the Spreuerbrucke Bridge, one of the two covered bridges left in the city and erected in the early 15th-century. Triangular panels beneath the rafters showcase 45 paintings that represent the Dance of Death to create the largest known paneled cycle in existence. An explanation accompanies each frame, along with names of the patrons who donated the panels.

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Day 12

Lucerne – Depart for Home

The Museum of Sammlung Rosengart includes a precious exhibition of Post-Impressionist art to house an extensive collection of the works of Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso. The museum’s founder knew the artists personally which added a unique layer to the collection with pieces painted by Picasso capturing Angela Rosengart’s figure. Switzerland encompasses breathtaking wonder, from the natural contours of the landscape to the delightful surprises of an art museum in a small lakeside city in view of the famous Swiss Alps. When you’re ready, your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to the Zurich airport for your flight home. Instead of returning home, you could also extend your stay in Europe and venture south to Rome or west to Paris to experience more of the continents bests.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

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Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy sampling a luxurious Danube cruise west to Salzburg to visit the opulent Melk Church as it towers above the riverbank
  • Discover the grandeur and grace of the Hapsburg Palace that borders the remarkable city of Vienna
  • Stroll through a stunning Glacier Palace in view of the Matterhorn peak at an altitude near 12,750 feet
  • Experience the gilded copper tiles of the Golden Roof and magnificent black marble tomb of Maximilian I in Innsbruck
  • Wander the medieval grounds of Chateau de Chillon to follow in the footsteps of the dukes and counts of Savoy
  • View the new, open grounds of Bearpark, home to a family of bears for which the city capital of Bern was named 
  • Travel along a historical cogwheel train to the Schynige plateau for an unparalleled view of the jagged peaks of the Jungfrau massif
  • Sip delicious wine from the traditional vineyards of the Lavaux wine region that overlook the banks of Lake Geneva
  • Visit the unique World War II era Nazi retreat and bunker at the infamous Eagle’s Nest
  • Relish a scenic train ride through the countryside on the Glacier Express Train to visit the charming villages en route to the Matterhorn base
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Detailed Description

Opulence and splendor emanate from the architecture and scenery during your 12-day tour of Austria and Switzerland. Whether you’re a fan of castles and palaces or take pleasure in hiking across undulating meadows, you will enjoy visiting elegant cathedrals and delight in the scenic train rides.  The countryside will be your playground, and the cities and villages will be your classroom on this immersive tour of the history, culture, and landscape across Austria and Switzerland. Your flight lands at Vienna Airport and your private transfer will escort you into the heart of the city. Spend the next day with a dive into the wonders of Austria’s capital with a tour of the beautiful structures of the historical center followed by the luxurious grounds of the Hapsburg Palace.

Step aboard a boat on the Danube River before a visit to the historical Mel Abbey and the sensational Salzkammergut Lakeland en route to Salzburg. Traverse the charming streets of Salzburg at your preferred pace to take in the Baroque architecture and musical history around the city. Take an excursion to the Bavarian Alps to see the infamous Eagle’s Nest before you traverse the Tyrolean Alps to Innsbruck. Relish the graceful artistry of the city and its medieval lanes before continuing over the Swiss border to the lakeside town of St. Moritz.

Venture to the charming old town of Chur to catch the Glacier Express Train to the Matterhorn base. Once you reach the village of Zermatt, relax with an impressive view of the massif. The next day is yours to discover the majesty of the region around Zermatt, as you hike along the countless trails and venture into the heights of the summits on scenic gondola rides, with entry into an ice cave at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Travel on to Lake Geneva and stroll along the ramparts of Chateau de Chillon before you reach the capital city of Bern.

Journey on for a refreshing introduction to Swiss tradition in the Lavaux wine region as it overlooks Lake Geneva. Travel to the medieval alpine town of Interlaken to witness the drama of the Jungfrau Massif en route to the charming city of Lucerne. Your guide will lead you on an all-encompassing tour of Lucerne, with time to cruise along the fjord-like lake on a scenic cruise. Conclude your travels as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel in Lucerne and escort you to the Zurich airport for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$4195 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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