Berlin, Oktoberfest and Austria

Tour Highlights

Fairy-tale castles, Alpine forests, storybook villages, Edelweiss, apple strudel, schnitzel…these are “a few of our favourite things”.  
This tour begins in Germany’s fascinating capital - Berlin and ends in Austria’s iconic city - Salzburg. Along the way, we’ll experience spectacular scenery of jagged Alps, pristine valleys, rolling green pastures and mighty rivers, dotted with castles and idyllic medieval villages. On the modern side, we will ride some of the world’s most high-tech trains, and visit world-class cities and museums. 

A highlight of this tour will be our participation in Munich’s Oktoberfest - the world’s largest funfair which features yodelling, men in lederhosen playing oompah music, and of course some of the world’s finest beer. 

Our overnights will include the following cities:

Berlin – 4 nights.  Perhaps the world’s most culturally “cool” city, reminiscent of New York in the 1980’s. Berlin is a haven for fashion, art and music, as well as world-class museums and galleries. While in Berlin we will visit the maritime heritage city of Hamburg by high-speed train, as well as Potsdam - the former residence of Prussian kings. 

Leipzig (Saxony) - 2 nights.  With links to Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Martin Luther and Goethe, Leipzig is one of Germany’s great cultural centres. From here we will take a train excursion to Dresden - the capital of Saxony since the 15th century. Dresden features baroque splendour and an Old Town that has the city dubbed the “Florence on the Elbe".

Bad Worishofen – 3 nights. This spa town is known for its “Kneipp” water therapy, and is our base for visiting Munich and Oktoberfest! From here we will also visit the fairytale castle of “Mad” King Ludwig II, “Neuschwanstein” - the model for Disney’s Cinderella castle.

Salzburg – 3 nights. The birthplace of Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music”.  This fairytale city has some of Europe’s best preserved medieval architecture in its old town, and in the surrounding Salzkammergut region we’ll see castles reflected in water, snow-capped Alpine mountains, flower-strewn valleys and cool blue lakes.

***Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Berlin, a direct flight from Toronto.
We arrive in Berlin and enjoy an orientation city tour prior to check-in. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner!
Our full-day city tour shows us the restored Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, the Brandenburg Gate where “The Wall” began, the remains of Checkpoint Charlie, Unter den Linden Boulevard, the elegant Kurfurstendamm, the German State Opera House and the UNESCO Heritage Museums Island.
We visit Potsdam - residence of Prussian Kings until 1918. Around the city there are a series of lakes and unique cultural attractions, including the parks and palaces of the 18th century Sanssouci – Germany’s largest World Heritage Site and the last great Prussian baroque palace. Afternoon at leisure.
We take the high-speed Inter City Express train (with speeds up to 200km/h) to the maritime heritage city of Hamburg - Germany's second-largest city. Hamburg’s history played key roles in the stories of 19th-century emigration, World War II and the Beatles. It's also a thriving 21st-century metropolis with an inviting harbour boardwalk, avant-garde architecture and Las Vegas–style nightlife. Included in our touring here will be a harbour cruise and an included lunch. We’ll return to Berlin by train.
We travel to the region of Saxony, where rolling hills and terraced vineyards abound, and on to the city of Leipzig, known for its national heroes - Luther, Goethe, Schiller, Bach, Handel and Wagner to name a few. On our walking tour we will learn much about the medieval legends the city is known for.
We take a train excursion to Dresden – a city with fanciful Baroque architecture and a dynamic history. On our guided walking tour we’ll see the Frauenkirche - a famous landmark destroyed during WWII and rebuilt with donations from around the world, the Semper Opera House, the Albertinum and more. A highlight here will be our visit of the Green Vault Museum - Dresden’s legendary chamber of treasures restored to its pre-war glory, featuring radiant gemstone-studded riches showcased in Dresden Castle. After our included lunch there will be free time to explore the city on our own before returning by train to Leipzig.
En route to Bavaria we stop for a guided walking tour of historic Bamberg, known as “the Rome of Germany”. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has one of Europe’s largest intact old town centres and is home to the only papal grave in Germany (that of Pope Clemence II). After our tour we proceed to our Wellness Spa hotel for a 3-night stay.
A scenic drive takes us to Hohenschwangau to visit Neuschwanstein – the fairy-tale castle of “Mad” King Ludwig and the model castle for Disney’s Cinderella. We return to the hotel for some time at leisure.
We go to the Bavarian capital of Munich, and our city tour will show us the famous squares of Maximillianplatz, the medieval square of Marienplatz and much more. Our included lunch (with a stein of beer included of course) will be in a marquee at the world-famous Oktoberfest, and then there will be free time to enjoy Oktoberfest’s festive atmosphere featuring men in traditional Lederhosen (leather pants), dirndl-clad frauleins in traditional dress, enormous frothing steins of beer and all kinds of sausages.
We cross over to Austria and on to Salzburg for our final 3 nights. With its formidable cliff-top fortress and towering mountain backdrop, Salzburg resonates with the well-known line from the song “The hills are alive with the Sound of Music”! On our walking tour we’ll see many of the famous locations seen in the film, along with historical buildings like the home of its most famous resident - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!
On our full-day excursion of the Alpine countryide region of Salzkammergut, the stunning sights include soaring mountains with needlelike peaks, glittering turquoise lakes and forested valleys populated by deer. We’ll enjoy lunch and a cruise before returning to the city.
A day of leisure in Salzburg to enjoy yet another UNESCO World Heritage City. Your Tour Manager will be on hand for suggestions. This evening we enjoy a Farewell Mozart Dinner, featuring a historical menu along with the music of the great Master!
Auf Wiedersehen, as we are homeward bound via Munich.

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