GLORIOUS ALPINE SCENERY, OLD-WORLD CHARM AND CHRISTMAS MARKETS; SALZBURG AND VIENNA, AUSTRIA
Day 1 – Arrive Salzburg
There are direct flights to/from Vienna from New York. The alternative routes lead through Europe’s international hubs, such as London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. We arrive to Vienna International Airport and take direct bus to Vienna Westbahnhof (Vienna West Train Station). The direct train from Wien Westbahnhof to Salzburg takes approximately three hours. Upon arrival in Salzburg, we take a short taxi ride to our hotel and enjoy dinner in Salzburg’s Old Town.
Day 2 – Salzburg
The cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, baroque and medieval architecture and market squares describe Salzburg’s Old Town. A small bridge across Salzach River leads to Salzburg’s cultural, religious and historic heritage sites. The Salzburg Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, displays baroque style marble façade, twin towers, green-roofed dome and Baroque era interior murals. Overlooking the market square, Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church) accentuates the splendor of baroque architecture. Situated atop the Festungsberg hill, Hohensalzburg Castle represents medieval castle and fortress site overlooking Salzburg and Salzach River landscape. In the central square, the Christmas Market annually takes place with decorated wooden stalls, colorful Christmas lights, and traditional holiday food and warm wine. The K+K Restaurant am Waagplatz serves refined and creative Austrian cuisine.
Day 3 – Sound of Music Tour
The musical tunes, baroque palaces, quaint villages and Alpine scenery summarize the Sound of Music tour. The tour bus departs Salzburg and leads to the Schloss Leopoldskron, a beautiful baroque palace situated across a lake. The Hellbrunn Palace, the former residence for Archbishop of Salzburg, displays a replica gazebo in the garden that was showcased in the film. Situated on the Wolfgangsee Lake, the Sankt Gilgen village charms with mountain views, colorful Austrian architecture and historic Mozart’s family place. The visit to town of Mondsee and Mondsee Abbey reveals a twin tower Cathedral used to film Captain and Maria’s wedding ceremony. The last tour stop guides to Salzburg’s Mirabell Palace and Gardens to explore Salzburg Baroque Museum and palace gardens filled with blooming winter flowers during our trip.
Day 4 – Salzburg, Train to Vienna
The classical music, art collections and ancient architecture symbolize Salzburg’s artistic side. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Museum represents Mozart’s birth place and chronicles his personal and musical life. The historic Residenz State Rooms that until 19th century served as an archbishop’s residence, include Residenz Gallery and its famous art collections. The end of November and whole December are the most festive times in Salzburg’s Old Town. The Christmas Markets illuminate the town with colorful decorations, artisan creations and holiday treats. The charming cafes preserve the imperial traditions serving classic desserts. An afternoon train from Salzburg to Vienna arrives in time for an evening stroll and dinner in Vienna.
Day 5 – Vienna
A Viennese breakfast at Cafe Schwarzenberg prepares for day’s adventures. The Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, a summer residence for Austria’s emperors, displays magnificent interior chambers with frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers and ornaments. The palace gardens present an impressive landscape of expansive grounds accentuated with blooming seasonal flowers and fountain. Vienna State Opera House, a historic opera house and company, impresses with its beautiful interior décor and grand architecture. An evening concert at one of Vienna’s majestic concert venues, enchants with classical music performances of Mozart and Schubert. A dinner at the famous Plachutta Restaurant offers a chance to taste refined Austrian cuisine.
Day 6 – Vienna
The Old Vienna (Innere Stadt) is filled with imperial palaces, historic monuments, majestic churches, impressive museum collections and classic gardens. The Romanesque and Gothic limestone structure of St. Stephen's Cathedral represents a historic and spiritual landmark in Vienna. Hofburg Palace served as winter residence for Austrian dynasties, including Habsburg dynasty during Austro-Hungarian Empire. Inside the palace complex, there are private residences, ceremonial halls, museum, national library and offices for Austrian president. The walk to Rathauspark displays stunning Gothic style Rathaus (City Hall). During our trip, Rathaus becomes a beautiful setting for the seasonal Christmas Market, filled with colorful lights, decorated wooden stalls and traditional holiday cuisine and desserts. The legendary Café Landtmann, situated nearby Rathauspark, offers ideal ambiance and menu to sample Vienna’s famous cuisine.
Day 7 – Vienna
Vienna, a city of magnificent architecture, classical music and art heritage, and tranquil gardens and parks. The walking pathways in the Stadtpark guide along the Wien River and small bridges with Jugendstil style pavilions and monuments. The St. Charles Church, designed in baroque style, serves as a beautiful background for seasonal Christmas Market festivities. A visit to Belvedere enables exploration of historic Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere Palaces, beautiful classic gardens and museum featuring Austria’s art collections. Vienna is a wonderful place to experience its preserved traditions of Classical Music Performances and Viennese Balls. An evening stroll through the Old Town displays illuminated streets, lively restaurants and inviting cafes.
Day 8 – Vienna Departure
An early morning breakfast begins the day before we transfer to Vienna International Airport for our international flight.
Salzburg – The cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, baroque and medieval architecture and central squares paint the image of Salzburg. The State of Salzburg is defined by Alpine topography, vast forests, picturesque villages and capital city of Salzburg. Recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salzburg’s Old Town exhumes European charm and traditions with baroque architecture and vibrant culture of young university students. Salzach River runs through Austria’s Salzburg province and borders German Bavaria. A small bridge across the Salzach River creates a walking pathway from the Hotel Sacher Salzburg to historic Old Town. The Salzburg Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, displays baroque style marble façade, twin towers, green-roofed dome and Baroque era interior murals. The Dome Museum presents Cathedral’s cultural and religious treasures. Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church) accentuates the splendor of baroque architecture and overlooks the market square. Atop the Festungsberg hill, the historic Hohensalzburg Castle represents Salzburg’s medieval castle and fortress site and offers great views of Salzburg and Salzach River. The Old Town’s central square hosts the annual Christmas Market. The decorated wooden stalls, illuminated Christmas trees and traditional holiday food and warm wine create a wonderful holiday atmosphere. The winter breeze, the Christmas carols, illuminated ice skating ring and wonderful culinary aromas bring families, friends and visitors together. Salzburg’s music and art traditions invite visitors to experience classical music performances. A visit to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Museum, Mozart’s birth place, educates about his personal and musical life. The historic Residenz State Rooms that until 19th century served as archbishop’s residence, include Residenz Gallery and its famous art collections.
Vienna – Austria’s capital city of Vienna epitomizes the old world charm through its long history, cultural heritage and refined cuisine. Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens served as summer residence for the emperors of Austria. Inside the palace, the interior chambers and ceremonial halls display frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers, ornaments and mirrors. The Palace Gardens illustrate a structured design with blooming seasonal flowers, large fountain and expansive open space. Vienna State Opera House, a historic opera house and company, exemplifies Austria’s history, tradition and culture. The exploration of old Vienna leads to Innere Stadt (Old Town) and its beautiful palaces, monuments, churches, museums and parks. The Romanesque and Gothic style structure of St. Stephen's Cathedral represents the jewel of Austria’s religious heritage sites and stands out with its tall south tower. The historic Hofburg Palace served as the winter residence for Austrian dynasties, including Habsburg dynasty during Austro-Hungarian Empire. Inside the palace complex, there are private residences, ceremonial halls, museum, national library and offices for Austrian president. The Rathaus, situated in front of Rathauspark, represents a Gothic style City Hall with municipal government offices and stunning architectural façade. The seasonal Christmas Market encircles Rathaus and sparkles with Christmas décor, colorful lights and illuminated wooden stalls. The walk through Vienna’s charming neighborhoods reveals old style cafes serving traditional cuisine and desserts. The urban and cultural energy is perfectly balanced with gardens and parks. Stadtpark presents relaxing Wien River view, small bridges with Jugendstil style pavilions and monuments. Vienna’s religious symbol of St. Charles Church displays splendid dome structure, baroque style design and serves as a beautiful background for the annual Christmas Market display. The historic Belvedere complex consists of Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere Palaces, surrounding gardens and museum displaying medieval, Baroque and Renaissance art collections. In Vienna, the love of music and dance is wonderfully cultivated through traditions of Classical Music Concerts and Viennese Balls.
Sound of Music Tour – The music tunes echo through the Austrian mountains and picturesque villages during the Sound of Music Tour. A day tour departs Salzburg and guides to baroque palaces, beautiful villas, quaint villages and mountains memorized in the “The Sound of Music” film. The light snow, white clouds and occasional sun accompany us during our visit. The baroque style palace of Schloss Leopoldskron is situated across a scenic lake with white swans settled at the shore. The visit to Hellbrunn Palace, reveals a baroque style villa that was used as day residence by Archbishop of Salzburg. The stroll through the villa’s grounds and gardens reveals a replica gazebo showcased in the film. The charming Sankt Gilgen village, situated on the Wolfgangsee Lake, illustrates classic colorful architecture and memorizes Mozart’s family roots. In the town of Mondsee, Mondsee Abbey reflects a twin tower Cathedral used for Captain and Maria’s wedding ceremony in the film. We spend time exploring Mondsee town and stopping at a pastry café to sample local sweets. Upon returning to Salzburg we visit Mirabell Palace and Gardens to explore the beautiful gardens and art collection at Salzburg Baroque Museum.
Salzburger Schnitzel – The Wiener Schnitzel represents a traditional Austrian dish that is very popular throughout Europe. The traditional schnitzel is often prepared with veal or pork and encrusted with breadcrumbs. While exploring Salzburg, we discover the Salzburger Schnitzel, the escalope-style veal, stuffed with mushrooms, ham, onions and cheese, and then encrusted with bread crumbs. Fresh white cabbage salad and boiled potatoes are served with schnitzel and perfectly unify the flavors.
Tafelspitz – In Vienna, the haute cuisine cultivates and celebrates the traditions from the times of Austrian Empire. The famous Plachutta Restaurant, established by Plachutta family, reinvents the classic Viennese cuisine. Tafelspitz (Viennese boiled beef dish) consists of beef, herbs and vegetables cooked together for many hours. In the copper kettles, the first course contains deeply rich beef bouillon served with bone marrow and toasted bread on the side. The second course contains the boiled beef, fried shredded potatoes, creamed spinach, apple horseradish and chive sauce. This wonderful two-course meal epitomizes Austria’s classic cuisine.
Sacher-Torte – The richness of dense chocolate cake, layered with finest apricot jam and covered by dark chocolate defines the famous Sacher-Torte. The Sacher-Torte recipe dates back to Austria’s imperial history. The luxurious Sacher Hotel preserves the original recipe invented in 1832 by Franz Sacher and continues making this famous Viennese dessert.
Hotel Sacher Salzburg – Situated along Salzach River, Hotel Sacher Salzburg offers luxury, elegance and peaceful scenery. A small bridge across the Salzach River leads to Salzburg’s historic Old Town. This exclusive hotel has an interesting guests’ history including royalty, artists and luxury connoisseurs. Hotel Sacher Salzburg impresses with an outstanding service and elegant rooms with recommended Salzach River and Old Town’s views. The hotel’s interior décor emphasizes the old world charm displaying antique furniture, artwork and classic colorful carpets. The immaculately presented breakfast buffet surprises us with a high quality selection of freshly baked breads, meats, cheeses, smoked fish, traditional cakes and freshly prepared dishes to order. The Sacher Café offers a glimpse into Austria’s imperial traditions with Sacher Torte, a rich flavored dessert historically created and prepared for the imperial family.