Day 1 ARRIVE IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY.
Welcome to Frankfurt! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day 2 FRANKFURT–ROTHENBURG–MUNICH.
Drive along the Romantic Road to medieval Rothenburg—a picturesque, medieval walled town that is famous for Christmas ornaments. After a walking tour, continue to Munich, Bavaria’s proud capital. Tonight, stroll through the Old Town and visit [LF] the world-famous HOFBRÄUHAUS. (B)
Day 3 MUNICH.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide of Germany’s “Secret Capital” features the Olympic Stadium, built for the 1972 Olympics; the 1,000-foot-high Olympic Tower; and Königsplatz, used for Nazi rallies during World War II. Drive along the Ludwigstrasse, and see the Bavarian Arch of Triumph and Field Marshall Hall. Also visit lively MARIENPLATZ with the Old and the New Town Halls and the gothic Frauenkirche. An optional excursion is available to romantic Linderhof Castle, built by King Ludwig II, and the Passion Play village of Oberammergau. (B,D)
Day 4 MUNICH–SALZBURG, AUSTRIA–VIENNA
. Arrive in Salzburg, where your walking tour with a Local Guide includes the historic center. Admire MIRABELL GARDENS, the Great Festival Hall, St. Peter’s Monastery, and magnificent RESIDENZ SQUARE, where some scenes of The Sound of Music movie were filmed. Then, continue through the scenic Salzkammergut Lakeland and along the Danube River to Vienna, once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire. Tonight, you may wish to try out local specialties and Viennese entertainment. (B)
Day 5 VIENNA
. Guided sightseeing features vistas of Prater park with its giant Ferris wheel, then drive along the Ringstrasse, pass the State Opera House, the Jewish quarter, and stop at the Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Austrian imperial family. Marvel at the impressive courtyards, famous HELDENPLATZ, and awesome St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For those who wish to “see it all,” there is a chance to join an interesting optional excursion to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. (B)
Day 6 VIENNA–PIBER–ST. VEIT
. Start this morning with a visit to magnificent SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE. Leave Vienna and enter Styria. [LF] Enjoy a special visit to the world-famous LIPIZZANER STALLION STUD FARM in Piber, the place where these magnificent horses are bred and raised before they go to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. (B,D)
Day 7 VEIT–ITALIAN DOLOMITES, ITALY–INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA
. Cross the Italian border and arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Olympic skiing resort in the Dolomites, the Italian “Rocky Mountains.” Then, via Tre Croci Pass and Lake Misurina to Brunico and across Brenner Pass to Innsbruck in the Tyrolean Alps. Stroll through its medieval lanes to Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF. Why not join an optional Tyrolean song-and-dance show? (B)
Day 8 INNSBRUCK–ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND.
Today’s focus is the Swiss Engadine. See deep-blue lakes, airy larch forests, mountain peaks exceeding 12,000 feet, and quaint villages with massive white stone houses in the characteristic Grisons style. Afternoon is free in ritzy St. Moritz. (B,D)
Day 9 ST. MORITZ–LAKE COMO–LUGANO
. Descend via Italy’s Lake Como to Lugano. Your orientation, past Parco Ciani, brings you to the lakeside promenade. In Piazza Riforma, noted for its pastel-colored, neoclassical palazzi, join the locals in a relaxed atmosphere at the [LF] historical Vanini Café, with an aperitif. Tonight, you may wish to join an optional cruise across sparkling Lake Lugano to the fishing village of Gandria, where a traditional dinner awaits you. (B)
Day 10 LUGANO–LAKE MAGGIORE, ITALY–ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND.
On the way to Lake Maggiore, stop in elegant Stresa. An optional boat ride to enchanting Isola Bella can be arranged. Cross lofty Simplon Pass into the Swiss Valais, an area renowned for its great mountain resorts. In Täsch, board a MOUNTAIN TRAIN to climb the last few miles up to Zermatt, a picturesque cluster of rustic chalets beneath the Matterhorn. (B,D)
Day 11 AT LEISURE IN ZERMATT.
Today is your chance to enjoy an exciting optional to the Klein Matterhorn for spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding Alps. (B)
Day 12 ZERMATT–BERNE–INTERLAKEN–LUCERNE.
Through the vineyards and apricot groves of the lower Rhône Valley to Lake Geneva and via the dairy country of Gruyère to the Swiss capital, Berne. See the monumental Federal Palace during your orientation and stop at the BEAR PARK before continuing via Interlaken, a Bernese Oberland resort beneath the towering Jungfrau, and across Brünig Pass to Lucerne. (B)
Day 13 LUCERNE.
On your walking tour, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT and ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town, then cross the famous CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit church. Afterwards, shop for Swiss watches and maybe join an exciting optional excursion to Mount Pilatus. (B,D)
Day 14 LUCERNE–RHINE FALLS–BLACK FOREST–FRANKFURT, GERMANY.
On the way back to Germany, visit thundering RHINE FALLS at Schaffhausen. Enter the pine-clad hills of the Black Forest, renowned for its cuckoo clocks, and enjoy a WOODCARVING DEMONSTRATION on your way to Frankfurt. Tonight, [LF] a special farewell dinner at a local restaurant awaits you to celebrate the success of your Alpine vacation. (B,D)
Day 15 FRANKFURT
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)