Imperial Cities of Europe and Oberammergau

Tour Highlights

On this outstanding leisurely tour we visit historic cities, fairy tale medieval villages, Gothic castles and spectacular scenery in four of Europe’s oldest countries. The highlight will be the Oberammergau Passion Play – an event that only occurs once every 10 years.   
We will spend time in these cities:

Budapest - Hungary’s historic capital is a cosmopolitan city with stunning architecture, 9 beautiful bridges spanning the Danube River and lively walking streets.  

Vienna - of Europe’s most elegant capital cities. The grandeur of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has been carefully preserved in the art and architecture. 

Salzburg - Birthplace of the boy wonder – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as “Sound of Music” fame. 

Munich – Bavaria’s capital has a fascinating history, small town charm and a beautifully restored Old Town.

Prague – The ancient capital of Bohemia has soaring cathedrals, lavish palaces and festive city squares. 

Oberammergau - highlight of our tour is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  The residents of this quaint Bavarian village have been performing this emotional play every 10 years since 1647 to honour a solemn pledge to “The Almighty”. As the Black Death (bubonic plague) swept across Europe, some of the villagers survived and made a vow to re-enact the agony of Christ’s crucifixion in thanks for being spared. There is a cast of 600 and a chorus of 100. The beautiful open stage is framed by magnificent alpine scenery. The play is in German but there are ongoing translations. We have the best available seating for the play.

*** 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 Budapest.
We arrive in Budapest and transfer to our centrally located Spa hotel situated on the tranquil island oasis of the capital. The rest of the day is free until our Welcome Dinner.
Our city tour takes in both sides of the Danube River which runs through this beautiful city. After visiting magnificent Hero’s Square we will admire the spectacular architectural of the Opera House, the Houses of Parliament, the Synagogue (2nd largest in the world) and more. By the exquisite Grand Market Hall we’ll enjoy a special tasting lunch of Hungarian cuisine. Later we cross over to Buda for spectacular views over the Danube. On Castle Hill we’ll stroll to the Fisherman’s Bastion and visit the gothic gem – Mathias Church. This evening we enjoy a typical Hungarian dinner, folkloric dancing and Gypsy music!
We drive along the Danube into Hungary’s countryside and the Baroque artisan village of Szentendre. This 18th century town remains relatively unchanged with its cobblestone streets, hidden alleys and colourful old houses. It is a perfect town in which to stroll and visit some of the many galleries and shops. A tour and tasting awaits us at the Marzipan Museum, featuring sculptures made of marzipan. Lunch is included in Visegrad, a sleepy little town with a 13th century fortified fortress that has housed many notorious visitors, including “Dracula” who was imprisoned in its tower!
We first stop in the old Hungarian city of Gyor, known as the “City of Waters”, and then the capital of Slovakia – Bratislava. We will have short walking tours of both cities, through their pedestrian Old Town centres full of statues, old city squares and 18th century pastel-coloured buildings. Late afternoon arrival in Vienna.
Our city tour of Vienna takes us along “the Ring” and by the magnificent Opera House, Hofburg Palace and many other grand buildings and monuments built when Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This evening we will visit Schonbrunn Palace with its 440 rooms and magnificent interiors. Mozart gave his first royal concert here in The Grand Gallery. We will dine at the Palace and then enjoy a concert of the works of Mozart and Strauss in the Palace Orangery.
A free day to enjoy the city. You may want to visit Belvedere Palace, (home to Gustave Klimt’s Art Nouveau treasures), the Sissy Museum (dedicated to the beloved wife of Franz Joseph - Queen of the Hungarians) or catch the training at the Spanish Riding School. Your Tour Manager will be on hand for suggestions.
We venture into the Austrian countryside and the setting of the movie “Sound of Music”. Beautiful lakes, forested mountains and quaint villages surround the Lake District. We will enjoy a lake cruise at Hallstatt - a lakeside village nestled by a gorgeous Alpine lake, and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Alps reflecting onto the glassy waters of the lake. We overnight in Salzburg.
A special “Sound of Music” tour of the historic centre takes in the points of interest related to the boy genius – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as the filming of the Sound of Music, as we stroll down picturesque streets with their wrought iron signs, spacious squares and sculptured fountains. Why not savour some Mozartkugel – marzipan dipped in dark chocolate!
We continue our scenic drive into Germany and on to Oberammergau, which in addition to its famous play is renowned for its wonderful woodcarvings, painted houses and Christmas shops. We attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, performed only every ten years and involving hundreds of local amateur actors. The play lasts the afternoon and evening.
This morning we visit Mad King Ludwig’s fairytale castle, which inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. The castle is situated amidst magnificent landscape framed by the majestic Alps. Today Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany, and one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Then we proceed to Munich and tour the beautiful Bavarian capital, home to centuries-old buildings and countless museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls. We will see Altstadt (Old Town), Marienplatz Square and more. We overnight in Munich.
We drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cesky Krumlov. This picture postcard, beautiful fortified medieval town is surrounded by unspoiled countryside. Our walking tour takes us through the historic centre of narrow cobblestone streets winding along romantic nooks with lively shops, cafes and museums. Lunch is included. We then head to Prague for our final 3 nights.
Our coach and walking tour will show us the stunning sights of the Hradcany Castle District today, with a visit to the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral, the Loretto Chapel (known for its incredible wooden staircases) and “The Golden Lane” – named after the goldsmiths who lived here in the 17th century.
Our guided walking tour takes us across the Charles Bridge to Lesser Town’s winding narrow streets, where we see the artisan houses, 17th century palaces, the Jewish Ghetto and the astronomical clock. We will enjoy a river cruise through the historic district, then a free afternoon for shopping (best buys are crystal and garnet jewelry) or to enjoy a dark ale and people watching at a sidewalk cafe. Tonight is our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home to Canada!

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