Day 1: Our journey begins as we board our international flight bound for Vienna, Austria. Vienna Woods, Vienna waltzes, Vienna concert halls! There are so many joyful sensory associations with this glittering capital of the mighty Hapsburg Empire.
Day 2: Upon arrival at the Vienna airport we meet our guide and driver and transfer to our hotel. (Check in depends on flight schedule. Private transfers are available for those not on the group flight.) This afternoon a local guide joins us for a tour of the outer ring and major sights of Vienna before a welcome dinner this evening.
Day 3: This morning we explore the inner ring of Vienna today with a walking tour. We see Belvedere Palace, the elegant Kärtner Ring, St. Stefan's Cathedral, and more. Our walking tour includes inside visits to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Imperial Treasury. We also stop to sample a world-famous torte at the Sacher Hotel. Dinner this evening is at a local winery where we enjoy wine and typical Viennese dinners.
Day 4: After breakfast we visit Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburg. We take a guided tour of the grand palace and have time to explore and enjoy the grounds. This afternoon is at leisure. This evening an optional ($75) classical concert is available. What could be better in Vienna?
Day 5: This morning we cruise along the most beautiful section of the Danube from Vienna to Melk where we visit the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, resting majestically on its promontory above the Danube. Known as the "Cradle of Austria" more than a thousand years ago, Melk today is an historian's paradise with the Old Gingerbread House (1657), the Post Office (1792) and the 15th-century Gothic church. Our coach meets us in Melk and takes us the rest of the way to Salzburg where the Sound of Music and Mozart come to life. Dinner is at our hotel tonight.
Day 6: This morning a local guide takes us on a walking tour of the inner city. We see the Salzburg Cathedral, the catacombs, the Getreidegasse - the city's quaint shopping area, and Mirabell Gardens. Our tour includes a stop at the Mozart museum and some of the sights from the Sound of Music.
Day 7: Today we head to Oberammergau, where we enjoy a tour of the town and see the beautiful woodcarvings for which the town is famous. Following lunch (on own), we head to Linderhof Castle, built by King Ludwig. Built in French Rococo style, Linderhof has a Moorish pavilion which can be visited during your one hour stay when joining a guided tour of the interior of the castle. Following a castle tour, we drive a short distance to Oberammergau. Once settled in our Oberammergau hotel, we have dinner together with free time in the evening!
Day 8: Today is the highlight of the tour, the world-famous Passion Play. This play has been performed by the townsfolk since their ancestors made a promise to God to save the village in 1634. All the performers were either born in the town, or have resided there for over 20 years. There is time this morning to visit the wood-carvers, painters, and other shops and galleries in town. In the afternoon and evening we watch the performance of the play, with excellent, pre-reserved seats.
Day 9: We depart for Munich today the city of Gemühtlichkeit. A local guide acquaints us with the sights of Bavaria's fun-loving capital! We see the Olympic grounds, the Residenz Palace, the elegant Maximilian Strasse and more. Dinner tonight is complete with entertainment (singing & dancing), in a traditional beer hall!
Day 10: This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight home.