Register by July 12!
Enjoy art and music in three of the world’s most beautiful cities: Salzburg, Vienna & Budapest! Spend ten nights on a cultural tour with visits to museums, historical sites, and musical performances. In Salzburg, we’ll celebrate the birthplace of Mozart and the Mirabel Palace and gardens, the backdrop for the Sound of Music. We’ll cross over to Germany for a guided tour of Berchtesgaden and St. Peter’s Abbey. Our four-night stay in Vienna offers museum tours, wine tastings, and musical performances in world renowned venues. We end our tour in the beautiful, historic city of Budapest to explore ancient buildings, museums and enjoy a performance at the Hungarian Opera House. (Full itinerary below.)
Guide: Jeanne Fontaine
October 18-29 (registration closes on July 12)
Land and air included
Day 1: Wednesday, Oct 18 – Depart USA for Austria
Leave Boston (BOS) on your overnight flight to Salzburg, Austria.
Day 2 – Thursday, Oct 19: Arrival in Salzburg (Dinner)
Arrival in Salzburg and private transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Welcome Dinner with drinks at the hotel or nearby. Overnight in Salzburg.
Day 3 – Friday, Oct 20: Salzburg Old Town and Salzburg Fortress (Breakfast, Lunch)
Breakfast at the hotel. Start the day with a walking tour of the UNESCO-protected Old Town with your guide, viewing landmarks including the Cathedral, Mozarteum and St Peter’s Cemetery, whose colonnades famously provided hiding for the Von Trapp family. Wander along the cobbled Getreidegasse shopping street, and learn about Salzburg’s most famous former resident, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as you pause outside the composer’s house. See the Mirabell Palace and its gardens, the backdrop to the famous “Do Re Mi” scene in The Sound of Music. Finish the morning tour in a local restaurant for lunch (included). In the afternoon, visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The tour will take you on a voyage of discovery around one of the largest 11th century fortress complexes in Europe. Highlights of the visit include a viewing of the regency chambers and a climb up the watchtower. Return to the hotel and evening on your own. Overnight in Salzburg.
Day 4 – Saturday, Oct 21: Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden and St Peter’s Abbey (Breakfast, Dinner)
Breakfast at the hotel. Board your coach and begin your journey, passing the historic Hellbrunn Castle before crossing the border into Bavaria. Gaze out at the alpine scenery as you travel along the Konigsee River Valley and mountains dotted with farmhouses. Arrive at the mountainside hamlet of Obersalzburg. Snake along the scenic road on a brief ride, passing the mountain of Hoher Göll. Then, step inside a World War II-era elevator made from brass, which once transported Hitler’s guests to the Eagle’s Nest. At the top, enter the complex. Built for Hitler’s 50th birthday, wander the site with your guide, learning the history behind it as you go. Soak up the incredible views as you look out from a perch of some 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above ground. Afterward, visit the charming town of Berchtesgaden to explore independently and enjoy lunch on your own. Return to Salzburg and afternoon guided tour of St Peter’s Abbey. In the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town, St. Peter’s Abbey (or Stift Sankt Peter) is known for its cemetery and ancient lineage, dating back to the 800s. The Benedictine monastery’s abbey church has a Romanesque structure and lavish rococo interior. The abbey library is a treasure trove of musical manuscripts, and the abbey also houses a prized collection of artworks, musical instruments and treasures. In the abbey cemetery lie the tombs of Mozart’s beloved sister and the brother of Haydn. Return to the hotel. Tonight, enjoy an evening of music and culinary arts in the stylish setting of the St Peter Stifskeller’s sumptuous Baroque Hall. This performance will transport you back to Mozart’s era: a replica evening as it might have been enjoyed in 1790. Overnight in Salzburg.
Day 5 – Sunday, Oct 22: Salzkammergut, Washau and Vienna (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Breakfast at the hotel. After early pickup from the hotel, leave Salzburg and journey west toward the Austrian capital. Pass through the UNESCO World Heritage gem: the Salzkammergut region of mountains and lakes that played a starring role in The Sound of Music. Admire the lakes and villages, and hear fascinating snippets about the area’s history. Continue to the rolling hills and vineyards of UNESCO-listed Wachau along the River Danube — an area famous for the Benedictine monastery of Melk — and hear information about the region from your guide before arriving in Vienna. We will stop on the way for lunch. Upon arrival in Vienna, enjoy a short, panoramic tour of the city before drop off at the hotel. Drive along the Ringstrasse, a boulevard showcasing some of Vienna’s most stunning architecture. Hear the rich history behind Austria’s ‘Opera Ball’ as you pass the Vienna State Opera. You’ll also see the neoclassical design of the Austrian Parliament, City Hall, Burgtheater and the Museum of Art History. Witness the grandeur of the Hofburg Palace, where Marie Antoinette was born in 1755. Check in at the hotel and dinner at the hotel or nearby. Overnight in Vienna.
Day 6 – Monday, Oct 23: Schönbrunn Palace, (Breakfast)
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, visit the Baroque Schönbrunn Palace, where the Hapsburgs spent their summers. Comprising 1,441 rooms, follow your guide through the lavish interior and discover the stories behind this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterward, soak up some free time to walk the gardens, or head to the cafe to purchase a coffee or strudel. After the visit, lunch on your own and afternoon at leisure. Return to the hotel on your own and overnight in Vienna. Optional Opera performance TBA and additional cost.
Day 7 – Tuesday, Oct 24: Kunsthistorisches Museum and evening Wine Walk (Breakfast, Wine Tour)
Breakfast at the hotel and morning at leisure. In the afternoon, visit Kunsthistorisches Museum and admire the world’s most important collection of paintings by Pieter Bruegel the elder, as well as imperial masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, Velázquez, Titian and Durer. Vienna is buzzing with wine bars and vinotheks which offer fantastic arrays of Austrian wine (including home-grown Viennese wine). In late afternoon, your guide will introduce you to both the wines of Austria, and to some of our favorite neighborhood drinking spots. Visit places where locals meet after work to catch up with friends. You will taste a different Austrian wine at each location (as well as a selection of local cheese and charcuterie at one place), while you discuss the regions, grape varieties, styles, and history with your guide. Among the wines you will sample will be the local Viennese Gemischte Satz, a fresh and aromatic field blend which is currently experiencing a revival and has been included in the Slow Food “Ark of Taste.” By the end of the evening you will have a good grasp on what Austrian wine has to offer; you’ll have picked up some fun little-know-facts about each wine; and you will have an understanding about the importance of wine in Austrian and Viennese culture. Return to the hotel and evening on your own. Overnight in Vienna.
Day 8 – Wednesday, Oct 25: Belvedere Palace and Albertina Museum (Breakfast)
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to the Belvedere Palace. Wander the incredible collection of Austrian art, admiring the 18th-century rooms where works such as Gustav Klimt’s Kiss are displayed. Enjoy lunch on your own. In the afternoon, visit the Albertina Museum. The Albertina not only has the largest and most valuable graphic arts collection in the world, with works such as Dürer’s “Hare” and Klimt’s studies of women. Its latest exhibition collection presents masterpieces of the Modern, spanning Monet to Picasso and Baselitz. As the largest Hapsburg residential palace, the Albertina dominates the southern tip of the Imperial Palace on one of the last remaining fortress walls in Vienna. Return to the hotel and evening on your own. Overnight in Vienna. Optional Classical Concert TBA additional cost.
Day 9 – Thursday, Oct 26: Hungarian Countryside and Budapest tour with Parliament house. (Breakfast)
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive as you leave Austria to enter Hungary and Budapest.. On the way you will cross the Austrian border and pass the historical town of Györ. View the national Turul monument at Tatabanya, a hilltop statue of a mythological bird of prey that’s a symbol of the country. Upon arrival, lunch on your own in Budapest. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of Budapest. First, stop by Heroes’ square and the UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend 45 minutes here and discover intriguing statues and historical buildings. Continue to Andrássy Avenue World Heritage by coach. Enjoy a stunning outside view of the Opera House and St. Stephen’s Basilica and move on to stop by the Hungarian Parliament for an interior visit. This Gothic revival style building is the largest of its kind in Budapest and is located on the banks of the Danube. The idea for the construction of the Budapest Parliament House – or Orszaghaz – came in 1873, when the three cities that made up Budapest were united. A competition was held and won by Imre Steindl. His design mixed Gothic, Medieval and Baroque elements with a lavish hand. The building was not finished until 1902, by which time Steindl was blind. The grand building contains many items of interest, including frescoes; the Hungarian Coronation Regalia with its Renaissance sword; mythical eagles and an impressive staircase. Proceed to the hotel and check in. Evening on your own and overnight in Budapest.
Day 10 – Friday, Oct 27: Hungarian National Museum and Buda Castle (Breakfast, Lunch)
Breakfast at the hotel and departure for a guided tour of the Hungarian National Museum. Founded in 1802, the Hungarian National Museum is the oldest public museum in Hungary and home to the most important collection of historical artifacts in the country. It is also an important symbol of Hungary’s national identity when the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was launched after a reading on the museum’s front steps. For a time, the upper house of the Hungarian Parliament also met in the building. Enjoy lunch in a traditional restaurant with wine and water (included). After lunch, we will cross the Danube to delve into the gothic history of Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on an exploratory walking tour of the historic monument from Budapest. Castle Hill, or as the locals call it Castle Mountain, a witness to many of the most important historical events of Hungary. It preserves memories and sites from ancient stones and underground labyrinths, to lovely medieval houses and hidden gardens. During the tour, you will not only have a nice stroll over the area, but an entertaining insight in to the history and culture of the city of Buda and Medieval Hungary. We will explore the ancient buildings that line Buda’s promenade; ascend the steep steps of Castle Garden to reach the resplendent Royal Palace; and gaze at panoramic vistas of the glittering riverside from a vertiginous vantage point atop Castle Mountain. Dinner on our own. Meet at the hotel and transfer to the Hungarian Opera House to see a performance of Nabucco. Overnight in Budapest.
Day 11 – Saturday, Oct 28: Full day trip to Danube Bend (Breakfast, Dinner)
Breakfast at the hotel. This full-day tour will begin with a stop in the town of Visegrad, known best for its medieval citadel that was originally built to protect the valley of the Danube. From the outside, you’ll also have the chance to admire the ruins of the former royal residence, with construction dating back as far as 1323. Next, you’ll make your way to Esztergom to admire the inside of the famous neoclassical cathedral, the largest church in Hungary. Then, take a brief pause from sightseeing and enjoy some free time for lunch. Afterwards, you’ll head to Szentendre, where your guide will lead you on a walk through town and to the Caprice Hungarian Jewelry Center. There, you can marvel at the pieces on display while learning about the manufacturing process OR Visit the Margit Kovác Ceramic Museum and discover an extensive collection of Margit Kovacs’ ceramic works featuring a unique synthesis of folk and Byzantine motifs. Return to the hotel. In the evening, farewell dinner at the hotel or nearby with drinks. Overnight in Budapest.
Day 12 – Sunday, Oct 29: Departure day
Breakfast at the hotel and airport private transfer by coach from the hotel for your flight back to the USA.