What could be more magical than a trip through Austria? A country so well known, yet so unique, it defies the simplistic stereotypes or superlatives often associated with Europe.
From classical Vienna and Salzburg, where many of the great European composers perfected their waltzes and sonatas, to quaint alpine villages, where tradition and outdoor adventure fuse so seamlessly, Austria overflows with things to see and do.
Marvel at the castles before relaxing in a polka pub. Tour the scenic lakes and mountains, or revel in its past at places like Mozart’s home, or Hitler’s Eagles Nest. Luckily, with Back-Roads Touring, you won’t have to choose, because they infuse the best of Austria on every tour.
Of course, food is a big a part of the Austrian experience, and the new Essence of Austria Back-Roads tour offers plenty of hearty highlights. Whether it’s learning how to smoke fish in the scenic lakeside town of Tegernsee, or sampling delicious kaspressknodel cheese dumplings, this tour is sure to entice.
Just over the border in Germany, a trip to Hitler’s Eagles Nest provides a special look into the region’s war-time past. Perched on a mountain, overlooking the Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s retreat is a landmark not to be missed.
Back in Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, the hilltop fortress known as Hohensalzburg, is the location for a fabulous group dinner and Mozart concert. The medieval castle overlooks the magical city of Salzburg, where Mozart and his contemporaries changed the course of music history with their famous compositions.
Once again, the taste of Austria reasserts itself, with a distillery tour in Amstetten. It’s all about the cider here, where after a tour, you get to sample the flavourful beverage. Austria is known for its wines too! The picturesque Danube River hamlet of Durnstein is the perfect place to kick off a tour of the vineyards and wineries. There’s plenty of free time in Durnstein to walk its riverside paths and quaint cobblestone streets where the shops offer great Austrian remembrances.
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Continuing to one of Europe’s most beautiful and elegant capital cities, Vienna dazzles with its classical architecture, bustling boulevards and lush gardens. Visit the neo-Gothic city hall on Rathausplatz, which in winter, is the site of one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets.
Music lovers will want to visit Mozarthaus, where Mozart lived for a time while composing some of his greatest works. An audio tour takes you through the restored 18th-century rooms. Another 18th-century landmark known for its ornate interiors, Schönbrunn Palace is one of the country’s most important landmarks.
With a maximum of 18 guests, you’ll have more time to spend enjoying the highlights of Austria, whether it’s during a group tour, or on your own time.
Essence of Austria Itinerary
Inclusions are many for this 7-day Back Roads tour:
- 6 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Driver and Tour Leader
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Daily European-style breakfasts (B), 2 lunches (L), 3 evening meals (D)
- Cheese tasting, cider tasting and wine tasting
- Austrian cooking demonstration
- Entrance included to all attractions in the itinerary including – Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, the SchafbergBahn railway and Admont Abbey
The Back-Roads Difference
- Participate in a traditional Austrian cooking lesson in Zell am See
- Travel the SchafbergBahn, a metre gauge cog railway that has been in operation since 1893
- Indulge in a cider tasting session at a distillery in Amstetten
DAY 1 – MUNICH – TEGERNSEE – ZELL AM SEE
We’ll meet with the group in Munich this morning before moving on to Tegernsee, a picturesque lakeside town in the Bavarian Alps. After learning about fish breeding (and how to smoke fish to perfection), we’ll make tracks to our first Austrian stop: Zell am See. Here, we’ll be treated to another slice of marvellous alpine scenery, complete with another shimmering blue lake. Tonight, dinner will be a group affair. (D)
DAY 2 – ZELL AM SEE
After a hearty breakfast we’ll roll up our sleeves for an included cooking class. A local expert will demonstrate how to make Austrian delicacies kaspressknödel (cheese dumplings) using fresh farm produce. When we’ve learnt the tricks of the trade, we’ll try our hand at making the delicious treats ourselves – with a chance to taste the fruits of our labour afterwards.(B,L)
DAY 3 – ZELL AM SEE – BERCHTESGADEN – SALZBURG
Today we’ll head back over the border into Germany for a stop at Berchtesgaden. Here, we’ll visit Hitler’s famous Eagle’s Nest, which is perched high at the top of a mountain peak overlooking the quaint Bavarian town. After wandering the very rooms where Hitler and other Nazi party officials entertained foreign diplomats and held banquets, we’ll travel back down the mountain and move on to our next stop, Salzburg. (B)
DAY 4 – SALZBURG
Today you’ll be free to experience Salzburg’s fairytale magic and explore its spectacular Baroque sights at your own pace. The birthplace of Mozart, the impressive Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Salzburg Cathedral and St Peter’s Abbey are all great places to start! This evening, we’ll gather together to enjoy a group dinner and Mozart concert at the lofty Salzburg Fortress. (B,D)
DAY 5 – SALZBURG – SCHAFBERGBAHN – SCHNITZHOF ALM – TAUPLITZ
Today we’ll board an old-fashioned cogwheel train and take the SchafbergBahn up to the top of the Schafberg mountain, taking in some fantastic views of the Salzkammergut region along the way. Then, it’s on to Schnitzhof Alm – a delightful 400-year-old cottage where traditional cheeses are made. After enjoying a cheese tasting session and included lunch we’ll continue to Tauplitz. (B,L)
DAY 6 – TAUPLITZ – ADMONT – AMSTETTEN – DÜRNSTEIN
After a breakfast in idyllic Tauplitz our road will take us to Admont Abbey, where a guided tour awaits. Looking at landmarks is thirsty work, so it’s only fitting that our next stop in Amstetten will be a distillery! While we’re here, we’ll get an insight into the cider-making process, and – of course – have a chance to taste the cider for ourselves. Tonight we’ll dine in Dürnstein, a photogenic town famous for its vineyards. (B,D)
DAY 7 – DÜRNSTEIN – FEUERSBRUNN – TULLN AN DER DONAU – VIENNA
Our final day together will see us travel to Feuersbrunn, one of the oldest wine-growing villages in Lower Austria, for an included wine tasting session. Next up is Tulln an der Donau, a historic town teeming with parks and gardens, where you’ll be free to lunch where you choose. This afternoon our tour will come to a close in buzzing Vienna, with its captivating blend of Baroque architecture, imperial palaces and musical masterpieces. (B)
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