From Beautiful Bavarian Castles to the wonders that are Vienna and Prague
Day 1: Welcome to the Rhine
Our first stop after arriving in Frankfurt, Germany, will be lunch in the quaint wine-making city of Rüdesheim. After a delicious meal, we will board a Rhinesteamer and cruise along the most beautiful portion of the Rhine River, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the castles, vineyards and historic towns which line this stretch of the river. This leisurely cruise will take us to our destination for the next two nights, the charming riverside town of Boppard. After you check into your hotel room, we will meet for a complimentary drink and a three-course dinner (included) in the hotel restaurant. Hotel in Boppard, D
Day 2: Burg Eltz, Cochem, Mossell Drive
This morning after breakfast we will board our private coach and drive along the Moselle River. Our first stop is the Burg Eltz Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Rising majestically from the Eltz Valley, the castle is surrounded on three sides by the river and full of magnificent medieval artifacts. Our drive continues as we make our way to Cochem, an idyllic city located on a bend in the river. Here you may choose to have lunch on the Moselle Promenade and take in your breathtaking surroundings. Back in Boppard, you will be able to do a little sightseeing on your own, perhaps including a visit to the stunning Carmelite Church or the ancient Roman ruins of Weltkulturebe. If you are a little more adventurous, the Mittelrhein Klettersteig might interest you. Dinner tonight will include a visit to a wine cellar and another three-course meal which also includes a wine-tasting experience. Hotel in Boppard B, D
Day 3: Heidelburg and Rothenburg
After a buffet breakfast, we will leave the Rhine behind us and drive south in our comfortable coach until we reach Heidelburg, located on the banks of the Neckar River. During our guided tour, you will see the extraordinary red-walled castle, as well as the great wine vat capable of holding almost sixty thousand gallons of wine. We will travel down to the city on a cogwheel train, and you will have time to shop or see the sights. Our journey continues as we reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where you will immediately feel as if you have been transported to the sixteenth century. This town is surrounded by medieval walls and contains countless medieval towers. It is also known for its fountains, cobbled lanes, interesting nooks and crannies, horses, and ornate street signs. This evening we will enjoy another three-course dinner (included). Hotel in Rothenburg B, D
Day 4: Free Day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
After enjoying a buffet breakfast, you will have time to pursue your own interests in this unique city. Be sure to spend some time walking, shopping, and enjoying the ambiance of the medieval town, including the outer walls. Visit one of the local museums, including Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum, the German Christmas museum, or one of the many beautiful churches. Many artisans of the city have shops for you to visit, as well. Enjoy some traditional German foods in addition to the local fare. Hotel in Rothenburg B,
Day 5: The Romantic Road to Salzburg, Austria
After breakfast it is time to move on, today driving in our private coach along the Romantic Road to the walled town of Dinkelsbuhl, an excellent place to stop for a short stroll to view the half-timbered houses. We will continue our journey on the Romantic Road via Nördlingen and Augsburg. Nördlingen is unique for two reasons. First, because it is one of the only remaining medieval cities in Germany which still has its original walls. Second, because it sits on the crater of a meteorite impact. Our next stop is Salzburg, our final destination for the day. The rest of the afternoon and evening are free, so you may pursue whatever most interests you, including Old Town with its quaint shops, streets and markets. Hotel in Salzburg, B
Day 6: Herrenchiemsee and Salzburg
This morning, after a buffet breakfast, we will head just across the border into Germany to visit the Herrenchiemsee, the largest of Ludwig II’s castles, situated on an island in Lake Chiemsee. After boating across to the island, you will take a horse carriage to the Palace before taking a guided tour of the castle. After having lunch on the island, we will return to Salzburg in time for an afternoon walking tour. Enjoy seeing Mozart’s birthplace, Mirabell Gardens, and the Salzburg Cathedral. After the tour, you may choose to take the funicular up to Fortress Hohensalzburg, overlooking the town, for incredible views of the area. Our dinner tonight, also included, will be in one of Austria’s oldest restaurants. Hotel Salzburg, B,L,D
Day 7: Ice Caves and Lunch in a Salt Mine
One more breakfast buffet and we will board our private coach, finishing our time in Salzburg and heading for Innsbruck.
Salt was once known as “white gold,” and in the 1600s Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau instituted the practice of wet mining, creating riches for his city. Salzburg, a stunning baroque city, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After lunch, we will make the short drive to Wefen where we will tour the world’s largest ice cave. The entrance to the spectacular labyrinth of ice caves, more than thirty miles of them, is found high above the village in the Tennengebirge mountain range. We will arrive in Innsbruck in time for you to get settled into your hotel room and enjoy dinner on your own. Hotel in Innsbruck, B, L.
Day 8: Innsbruck and Tyrolean Folk Evening
Today after breakfast you get to choose what you would like to explore. Perhaps you will take a short stroll to visit the famous Golden Roof, located under the stunning Austrian Alps, or visit the Hofburg, a beautiful baroque church. Swarovski Innsbruck is one of the largest Swarovski stores in the world, probably because Innsbruck is where these crystals are made. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to look up and see Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump Tower, built for the 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck.
Tonight you are in for a treat, as you will enjoy a Tyrolean dinner and a traditional folk show, including yodeling, alpenhorn blowing and Schuhplatting, a regional dance. Hotel in Innsbruck B, D
Day 9: Bavarian Alps and the Munich
After enjoying breakfast, we will leave Innsbruck and head north, driving through the Bavarian Alps. Once we arrive in the quaint village of Hohenschwangau, if the weather permits, we will visit Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), a point high above the Poellat Gorge which provides a stunning view from which to photograph the Neuwanstein Castle, the most famous castle in Germany. After taking photos, we will walk down to the castle for a guided tour. Once we return to the village, you will be able to get some lunch and stroll along the picturesque Lake Alpsee. Afterward, we will make our way to Munich, where you will be able to settle into your hotel room before finding a wonderful local spot to enjoy a traditional Bavarian dinner on your own.
This might be a great night to enjoy a beer at the Hofbräuhaus, the most well known beer house in Munich. Hotel in Munich B
Day 10: Munich
Today begins with breakfast buffet and some history of Munich. Known as Germany’s “secret capital,” Munich is a beautiful town which is surrounded by medieval walls. We will begin the day with an orientation tour of the city by coach, including such significant sites as the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Tower, Leopoldstrasse, Schwabing, Ludwigstrasse, Odeonsplatz, Koenigsplatz and Karlsplatz. You will also be able to take pictures of the famous Nymphenburg Palace, the place where Ludwig II was born. Our tour will end near the Residenz and the Opera, where we will leave the coach and walk the last few meters to the Marienplatz, the figurative heart of the city and home to the Glockenspiel carillon in the Town Hall. In the afternoon you will be free to do whatever you like before meeting for a final evening cocktail hour to finalize plans for the next day, when some will be leaving and others will be continuing the tour for a few more days. Hotel Munich B
Day 11: Travel Day
Today we will head to Vienna upon arrival at our hotel we will take some time to get settled and then the rest of the afternoon is yours, and you are free to do some exploring of this particularly lovely city.
In the evening, we will head to the hills above the city center to the lovely suburb of Grinzing. Here you will enjoy a traditional meal in a typical Heuringen restaurant, an experience which also includes traditional entertainment. Hotel Vienna B,L
Day 12: Highlights of Vienna
After breakfast, we will spend the morning on a sightseeing tour of the city. You will see the Hofburg Palace, the official residence of the Habsburgs for nearly 700 years, when Vienna was the center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As we drive through the city center in our private motor coach, you will see all of the most spectacular and imposing structures in the city, including the Belvedere Palace, the Prater Amusement Park, the world-famous Vienna Opera House and the United Nations buildings. You will also have the opportunity to walk through St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an awe-inspiring edifice.
In the afternoon, you will have time to do whatever you enjoy. If you like to shop, you will undoubtedly want to visit Kärntnerstrasse; if you prefer a tasty treat and some people-watching, you might visit the Sacher Café, home of the famous Sachertorte. In the evening, consider attending a concert featuring the music of Strauss and Mozart. Hotel Vienna B
Day 13: Museum in Vienna
This morning after a breakfast we will take a guided tour of the Kunsthistorische Museum. This awe-inspiring building was designed and built in order to house and display all of the Habsburgs’ spectacular artistic treasures. Opened in 1891, this Italian Renaissance building is now a museum to honor the exceptional legacy of the Habsburgs. Look for displays of antiquities and collections of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces which are among the most spectacular in the world. Again you will have free time in the afternoon to see even more of this largest city in Austria. Walk along the Ringstrasse, the historic walking district in the city, or visit the Zentralfriedhof, the largest cemetery in Europe, to see the tombs of Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss, among others. Experience one of the local trams as you pursue your interests. The evening is also yours, so enjoy some local cuisine and consider another walk along the Ringstrasse, as it looks like an entirely different place at night. Hotel Vienna B
Day 14: Travel to Prague and Folklore Evening
This morning we will travel by private motor coach through the lovely countryside between Vienna and Prague, including several stops for refreshments and lunch. Once we arrive and check into the hotel, you will have some time to explore this fascinating city on your own. Prague is over a thousand years old and the largest city in the Czech Republic. This capital city is considered to be the best-preserved city in Europe.Prague is divided by the Vltava River. On the west bank of the river you will find the Castle Quarter and the Little Quarter; on the east bank you will discover Old Town and New Town. Explore a bit on your own until it is time to enjoy a traditional dinner and folklore show, where you will experience the local food and customs of this extraordinary city. Hotel Prague B, L
Day 15: Prague’s Old Town
After breakfast we will embark on a leisurely walking tour beginning at the Old Town Square. Old Town is a bustling place full of interesting people and musicians. Here you will see the spectacular Old Town Hall, including its 15th-century Astronomical Clock on which a parade of apostles marks every new hour.
In the Jewish Quarter, you will see the early Gothic New-Old Synagogue which was built in 1270 as well as the Jewish town hall and its intriguing 16th-century clock. You will also see St. Nicholas Church, considered to be one of the finest Baroque churches in the city. Next you will cross the Charles Bridge, dating from 1357 and decorated with thirty statues from the eighteenth century.
Spend the afternoon shopping, sampling some local food or visiting the sites which interest you. Dinner is on your own, and then you might consider attending an opera performance in this musical city. Hotel Prague B,
Day 16: Hradcany Castle
We will cross the Vltava River to tour the Hradcany Castle, more than 1,000 years old and the largest castle complex in the world. You will also see St. Vitus’ Cathedral, a French Gothic building full of stained glass and countless chapels, begun in 1344 and finished in 1929. You will complete the tour by visiting Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower. The rest of the day is yours to spend exploring this area of the city and doing any last shopping before tomorrow’s departure. Hotel Prague, B, D
Day 17: Depart Prague
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight home.