ravel to the land of fairy tale villages, medieval castles, pristine lakes and stunning alpine vistas. This itinerary offers sights that will delight the senses. Enjoy multiple-night stays in six endearing towns, with time for in-depth local experiences. You will visit Rothenburg, a beautifully preserved medieval village surrounded by the original town walls and without a single modern building in sight; Salzburg, which will include a tour of the surrounding area with special focus on sights made famous by the movie “The Sound of Music”; the Imperial City of Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol and two-time host of the Winter Olympics; Lucerne, with its soaring peaks of Rigi, Stanserhorn and Pilatus; Black Forest, where you will escape modern life and behold the natural beauty of the rustic villages nestled between the thickly wooded mountains; and Heidelberg, idyllically situated on the Neckar River and dominated by the ruins of Heidelberg castle.
The entire tour is rich in unspoiled countryside, ancient castles and untouched villages. Try a stein of Paulaner Pilsner (beer), a glass of Liebfrau Milch (wine), or a refreshing glass of Apfelsaft (apple juice).
Refer to “Preparing for your Departure” in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
Upon arrival at Frankfurt Airport, clear passport control and collect your luggage in baggage claim. Refer to your “Arrival Instructions” page in your Final Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Then, settle back in your comfortable motor coach for a ride through the Main River Valley on the way to your hotel in the Franconian Wine Region. After check-in, freshen up and relax before the “Welcome to Europe/Get-acquainted” dinner at the hotel. (Dinner)
Your bus transfer into the city center introduces you to the history and charm of Nuremberg. Hitler staged his propaganda rallies here, and after his fall, Nuremberg was chosen as the site of the famous War Trials. For further information, visit the Documentation Centre at the sight of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds (€6 admission fee). If you prefer a lighter subject, enter the Toy Museum (€6 admission fee), celebrating Nuremberg’s tradition as the “city of toys.” Spend the afternoon in the enchanting, medieval village of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber. When you see the well-preserved walls, cobblestone streets, distinctive inns, and whimsical Christmas shop of Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Weihnachtsdorf, it feels as if you are walking into a fairy tale. Return to your hotel for an authentic German dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Travel to the Bavarian capital of Munich for a panoramic city tour, including views of the Olympic Village, the Bohemian district of Schwabing, and the Königsplatz. Enjoy free time in the pedestrian-only Old Town where modern department stores have been skillfully grafted amidst historic buildings. The focal point, on the Marienplatz, is the Rathaus (Town Hall) with its captivating Glockenspiel (clock tower). After lunch, as you cross the border into Austria and drive through the province of Salzburg, admire the mountain-fed rivers and flower-laden meadows. Arrive in the village of Filzmoos and enjoy Austrian hospitality during dinner at the hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
The entire day focuses on the province of Salzburg with special attention to the sights made famous by the “Sound of Music.” Visit Mondsee (to see the church where they filmed the wedding of Maria and Captain Von Trapp). In the city of Salzburg, stop at the gazebo (used to film Liesl singing “16 going on 17”) and at Mirabell Gardens (where several “Do Re Mi” scenes were filmed). The walking tour includes Saint Peter’s Abbey & Cemetery (where, in the movie, the Von Trapp Family hides from the Nazis) and the Residenz Square (where Maria sings “I Have Confidence in Me”). Spend the afternoon shopping in the charming pedestrian-only area of the Old Town, exploring the Salzburg High Fortress, or visiting Mozart’s Birthplace (€11 admission fee). After an independent dinner, return to your hotel in Filzmoos. (Breakfast)
The day is at your leisure. Choose from an abundance of mountain paths for an exhilarating hike or bike ride with awe-inspiring panoramas. Or, simply relax in your Austrian village amidst the boundless splendor of the Alps. This afternoon, your tour manager will invite you for an optional Eagle’s Nest excursion to Hitler’s former mountain hideaway. Rejoin your group for a traditional Austrian dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Admire the glorious scenery during your drive to Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol. The Golden Roof, the symbol of Innsbruck, is decorated with 2657 copper shingles. Completed in 1500, Maximillian l had this covered balcony built to celebrate his wedding, and used it as a royal box to view the entertainment in the square below. You will have time to shop for the famed Swarovski Crystal and to explore the old city center with the Maria Theresien Boulevard, Triumphal Arch and the exquisite Imperial Church. A short distance from Innsbruck lies the Tyrolean Village where you will spend the next two nights in a chalet-style hotel. Choose a local restaurant for your independent dinner or join the optional Tyrolean Show & Dinner excursion for a light-hearted presentation of Austrian folklore, music and dancing. (Breakfast)
The peaceful villages, tucked in the valleys around Innsbruck are the perfect location for a relaxing day. Frescoed and flower-adorned chalets create an idyllic atmosphere as you walk through town. Viewed from an outdoor café or along one of the numerous hiking paths, the Tyrolean Alps present breathtaking scenery. For further exploration, trams and trains offer easy and direct transportation between the villages and Innsbruck. Another choice is the full-day optional Neuschwanstein & Linderhof excursion. At the end of the day, return to your Tyrolean hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Depending on the weather, depart Austria by way of the Arlberg Pass or through the engineering masterpiece of the Arlberg Tunnel. Your destination is Vaduz, in the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. Following a leisurely visit, cross the border into Switzerland and continue through the Swiss Alps where you will spend the next two nights amidst a setting of mountains and lakes. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Begin the day with a stop in the old village of Stans, located at the foot of the mountains. Bring your camera if you decide to take the optional Swiss Mountain excursion, during which you will enjoy some of the most incredible alpine vistas. A few miles further along the lake lies Lucerne. You will have a full afternoon to discover Lucerne’s covered bridges and many other special treasures. Before returning to your hotel for dinner, your tour manager will offer an optional Swiss Lake Boat Ride excursion. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After your Swiss breakfast, travel north to the vibrant and culturally rich city of Zurich, known as one of the world’s financial centers. Your next stop is the impressive and powerful Rhine River Falls, near the town of Schaffhausen. Here, an extended visit allows time for lunch and an opportunity to see the falls by boat (approximately €10.00) or from viewing platforms accessible by paths and stairways. Your journey will then return you to Germany to spend two nights in the renowned Black Forest. During an independent dinner, become better acquainted with this scenic and convivial region. (Breakfast)
Escape modern life and behold the natural beauty in the rustic villages nestled between the thickly wooded mountains. The landscape and history of the Black Forest comes to life while visiting some of the region’s treasured highlights such as the waterfall of Triberg, the Schwarzwaldmuseum (Black Forest Museum), and a local artisan’s clock shop. This is your chance to examine authentic hand-carved and hand-detailed Black Forest cuckoo clocks. At the end of the day, return to your hotel for an included dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Winding past peaceful villages and farm houses you depart the Black Forest on the way to historic Heidelberg, situated in the Neckar Valley. This famous university town is immortalized in the operetta “The Student Prince.” Walk through the Old Town or take the funicular (€7.00) for a close-up look at the ruins of Heidelberg’s red sandstone castle. Continue to your hotel in Rüdesheim. Located amongst the vineyards of the Rhine wine region, Rüdesheim is known for its festive atmosphere. An independent dinner presents the chance to try Federweisser (feather wine) with Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) while experiencing Rüdesheim’s tradition of live music and merriment. (Breakfast)
A full day in Rüdesheim provides the opportunity to walk along the picturesque Rhine River promenade and the enchanting Drosselgasse, the main shopping street. You may also wish to join the optional Rhine Cruise & Cable Car excursion presenting magnificent views of the Rhine River Valley. During tonight’s “Farewell Dinner” at the hotel, celebrate the highlights of your journey. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Transfer to the Frankfurt Airport for the return flight home. (Breakfast)