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Fall in Austria

2-Centre Tour
Austria is known for spectacular natural beauty with snowcapped mountains, clear blue lakes, brilliant green meadows and alpine villages.
Add to this magnificent architecture, medieval cities, lush vineyards, fascinating museums and modern art galleries, and you have a first-class destination with endless treasures to discover. The locations that we have chosen for this leisurely 2-Centre tour are ideal bases for exploring some of Austria’s neighbouring countries, and so we will visit a total of 5 countries, each with their own unique cultures and traditions.

We begin in Bregenz, tucked between tranquil Lake Constance and the green foothills of the Alps. This charming lakeside town offers a great combination of cultural sites and outdoor activities in a spectacular setting. During our 7-night stay at the centrally located Hotel Weisses Kreuz we will enjoy a variety of excursions including unforgettable Vaduz in Liechtenstein, the panoramic resort town of Appenzell (Switzerland), and the scenic alpine village of Swarzenberg in the “Bregenz Forest”.  

Following our stay in Bregenz we will embark on an exciting train journey to the lively city of Graz in the province of Styria - a region famous for its fabulous wines and countless castles that dot the landscape. The city itself has green parkland, red rooftops and a fast-flowing river travelling through its centre.  Architecturally, Graz is recognized for its Renaissance courtyards and provincial baroque palaces. Less known is its declaration by UNESCO as a forward thinking “City of Design” (only ten other cities in the world have received this award). There are endless sites to visit and all are easily accessible on foot or by a very user-friendly transit system.  We will stay 7 nights in Graz at the ideally situated Park Hotel, and our sightseeing will include Styria’s lush vineyards and panoramic scenery, the beautiful towns of Maribor and Ptuj in Slovenia, Riegersburg Castle and the world renowned Zotter Chocolate Factory

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

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Zurich (non-stop from Toronto).
We arrive in Zurich and enjoy a scenic coach transfer to our hotel in Bregenz, Austria, where we will stay for 7 nights. This afternoon will be a walking orientation tour of the town and briefing of local attractions and optional excursions to enjoy on our free days.
A day at leisure to explore on your own or enjoy one of the optional excursions offered, such as a journey into the nearby mountains or a relaxing lake cruise.
Our excursion to the picturesque towns situated along Lake Constance begins with Meersburg and its imposing castle on the north shore. We will enjoy a boat ride to the flower island of Mainau where we explore the Palm House and amazing gardens that survive due to a unique microclimate. After a panoramic tour of the town of Konstanz we continue along the Swiss side of the lake back to Bregenz.
At leisure for strolling along the lake or perhaps visit surrounding regions by local train.
Today we traverse 3 countries. We first drive to Vaduz - capital of the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. Our tour here will include a visit to the Parliament for a unique insight into one of the world’s smallest parliamentary monarchies. We then cross into Switzerland and the picturesque village of Appenzell, famous for its cheese. We will explore the pretty lanes of this pedestrian-only town before continuing to Heiden to visit the Henri Dunant Museum – named after the man who founded the Red Cross.
A final day at leisure in Bregenz.
Today we explore the “Bregenz Forest” - an area of rolling hills and low mountains. The forest region is renowned for its picturesque villages, wellness spas and fine dairy products. We will take the new, modern cable car from Bezau to Sonderdach (weather permitting) for spectacular views, and later visit an authentic cheese maker for a demonstration and to sample delicious local cheeses.
We take a modern panoramic train ride across Austria, past lush green pastures and rugged snow topped mountains, directly to Graz. Although Graz is Austria’s 2nd largest city it retains all the charm of a small town. We arrive in time to relax before dinner at the hotel.
On our orientation walk of Graz we see Schlossberg - the tree covered mountain fortress in the heart of the city, the Landhaus with its elegant inner courtyard created during the Italian Renaissance, the Hauptplatz (Main Square) that reflects various architectural styles, the Dom (Cathedral), the Mausoleum of the Habsburg Dynasty and finally, the medieval Burg with its famous medieval double spiral staircase
On today’s excursion of beautiful southern Styria we will stroll through lush vineyards, enjoy the magnificent views across the border into Slovenia and listen to the sound of Klapotetz (a traditional windmill used to keep the birds away from the grapes). We will enjoy a glass of local wine and a hearty “Brettljause” (lunch of cold cuts and cheeses) in a cozy tavern, served with a generous helping of Styrian hospitality.
At leisure to relax or join an optional tour.
The landscape of eastern Styria was formed by ancient volcanos. Fortified castles dot the rugged terrain, including the dramatic Riegersburg, perched precariously atop a high cliff. We will visit the castle and enjoy the view over the spectacular countryside. This afternoon we stop at the world renowned Zotter Chocolate Factory, where our decadent tasting adventure begins with a chocolate aperitif, followed by a private tour of the production process where we sample the various stages along the way.
A full day trip to Slovenia - the 5th country on our tour, and the most recent addition to the European Union. We first visit Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city ideally situated on the picturesque Drava River. We will enjoy a walking tour of the medieval centre, then in the afternoon visit the oldest Slovenian city of Ptuj, dating back two thousand years. Our return trip to Graz takes us through scenic Slovenian vineyards and rolling green hills.
At leisure to further explore Graz. Tonight is our Farewell Dinner.
We proceed to Vienna for our flight home (via Frankfurt).
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