Vienna – Bad Ischl – Salzburg – Eastern Tyrol – Innsbruck – Oberammergau
May 11–25, 2022 (15 days)
✔ Attend the once-a-decade performance of the world-renowned Passion Play (Passionsspiele), produced and performed by residents of the Bavarian village of Oberammergau since 1634.
✔ Explore the cities of Vienna, Austria’s imperial capital and the legacy of the powerful Habsburg monarchy, as well as Salzburg’s UNESCO listed Old Town, and Innsbruck, “capital of the Alps”.
✔ Discover beautiful palaces, summer castles, cathedrals and monasteries, including Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, Linderhof Palace and the monasteries of Heiligenkreuz, Melk and Ettal.
✔ Enjoy spectacular scenery, picturesque villages and historic towns as you drive through the Austrian, Italian and German Alps.
Depart for Austria.
After arrival at Vienna International Airport, transfer to your hotel. Time to relax before dinner. (D)
Discover the historic centre and the Ringstrasse on a morning city tour of Vienna. Lunch at leisure.
This afternoon, visit the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace, which houses the Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown, the Imperial Cross, the Holy Lance and the coronation vestments. Continue to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and explore the First District on a walking tour. You may also wish to visit the Imperial Vaults, the burial place of more than 150 royals of the Habsburg Empire. (B,D)
Hofburg Palace © Peter Rigaud, WienTourismus
Today travel to the Vienna Woods and visit the monastery of Heiligenkreuz; after the tour, take part in the noon hour chants of the monks, before enjoying lunch at the monastery’s restaurant.
Return to Vienna. Why not visit the Art History Museum or the Natural History Museum, or do some shopping along Mariahilfer Strasse? After dinner, enjoy a classical music concert. (B,L,D)
Heiligenkreuz Abbey © Ronit Bhattacharjee
Take a short cruise on the Danube, through the Wachau Valley, blanketed with vineyards and ornamented with picturesque villages. Visit the incredible Benedictine Monastery of Melk, towering above the Danube River, as well as a winery.
Transfer to the spa town of Bad Ischl, once the favourite summer retreat of the Imperial Court under Emperor Franz Joseph. (B,D)
Melk Abbey © Herbert Frank
In the morning get an insight into the life of the Habsburgs while you explore the Kaiservilla – the summer castle and hunting getaway of the Austrian royals.
This afternoon, enjoy breathtaking views and mighty peaks on a scenic drive to Hallstatt, one of the most picturesque villages of the area. Hallstatt is famous for the Bone House located in St. Michael’s Chapel. High in the mountains, hundreds of graves from 800 BC were found, and the chapel features an unusual collection of over 600 artistically painted skulls. Take a boat trip on the lake before returning to Bad Ischl. (B,D)
Imperial Villa, Bad Ischl © Trumler, Oesterreich Werbung
Today visit Salzburg, dominated by churches, castles and palaces. Its picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about the history of its famous son, Mozart, and see the cathedral where he was baptized.
This afternoon join a spectacular excursion to the Eagle’s Nest, one of the local mountains, for breathtaking views of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps, and learn of the darker times of WWII. To reach the former tea house, a 124-metre tunnel through the solid mountain rock takes guests to a lift, the interior of which is fitted with mirrors and polished brass. In just 41 seconds the lift takes guests up to the interior of the Eagle’s Nest. Late afternoon return to Bad Ischl. (B,D)
Kapitelplatz with the Fortress Hohensalzburg and Sphaera, Salzburg © Salzburg Tourism
Enjoy a scenic drive and stop at the small Carinthian town of Friesach with its beautiful ruined fortifications. Continue to Hirt for a tour of its wonderful local brewery, followed by lunch.
Proceed to Klagenfurt on Lake Wörthersee for a short tour of the historic centre, before continuing through the Drau Valley to the medieval town of Lienz, known as the “Pearl of the Dolomites”, in Eastern Tyrol. (B,L,D)
Explore the scenic countryside of the province, starting with the picturesque town of Kals, situated at the foot of the Grossglockner Mountain – Austria’s highest peak (3,798 metres). Return to Lienz and visit a local Schnaps maker.
Afternoon at leisure to further explore this charming town on your own. (B,D)
Liebburg Castle, Lienz © Aichner Bernhard, Tirol Werbung
Full day Alpine excursion. Tour some of the most beautiful valleys and mountain passes of Alto Adige, the northernmost province of Italy. Visit Cortina d’Ampezzo, undeniably beautiful, with its stone church spires and pleasant cascading piazzas framed by magnificent mountains. Continue through the Dolomites, across Passo di Falzarego and Passo di Sella, to the picturesque valley of Val Gardena. Return to Lienz in time for dinner. (B,D)
Drive across the mountains through the Alps. Before reaching Innsbruck, visit Swarovski Crystal Worlds, opened in 1995 to mark the centennial anniversary of the company’s founding. This modern art gallery features a series of 14 cavernous exhibition halls designed by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. A giant’s head, created by Austrian artist André Heller, spewing water into a pond, greets visitors at this fantastical playground. Continue to Innsbruck, scenically squeezed between two impressive mountain chains, and host of the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976. (B,D)
The Giant, Swarovski Crystal Worlds © Josef Mallaun, Österreich Werbung
Morning walking tour of Innsbruck’s Old Town around the Golden Roof – Innsbruck’s sparkling golden landmark. Completed in 1500, the roof was decorated with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles for Emperor Maximilian I to mark his wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza. The Emperor and his wife used the balcony to observe festivals, tournaments and
other events that took place in the square.
This afternoon, take the cable car up to Nordkette for a breathtaking view of the valley and city below. Tonight, enjoy Alpine Folklore and music during dinner. (B.D)
Golden Roof, Innsbruck © Innsbruck Tourismus
Drive to Bavaria, Germany. Stop at Ettal Abbey, the largest Benedictine monastery in Germany, founded in 1330 by Emperor Ludwig of Bavaria for a group of knights and a community of monks. The church’s chief treasure is its enormous dome fresco painted by Jacob Zeiller circa 1751-52. The mass of swirling clouds and the pink-and-blue vision of heaven are typical of the rococo fondness for elaborate ceiling painting. Continue to the beautiful Linderhof Palace, the “Royal Villa” of Ludwig II, modelled on the small summer palaces that were built in France in the 18th century. The gardens surrounding the palace are considered some of the most beautiful in the world, combining the formal elements of Baroque style and Italian Renaissance gardens with landscaped sections in the English style. End the day in the Oberammergau area. (B,D)
Baroque Hall, Ettal Monastery © Siehe Bildquelle, Bayern Tourismus
Morning at leisure in Oberammergau.
fter lunch, take seats in the theatre for the performance of the 42nd Passion Play. The history of the Passion Play goes back to the year 1634, when the quaint alpine village of Oberammergau was threatened by the deadly and contagious Black Plague that scourged Europe, killing two-thirds of the population of Germany. The people of Oberammergau vowed that if the village could be spared, a re-enactment of the life and suffering of Christ would be performed. The village was miraculously saved from the ravages of the Black Death and since that date, the play has been performed every ten years. Performers are local villagers; often, roles are handed down from generation to generation within families. Dinner is included during a three-hour break. (B,D)
Way of the Cross © Birgit Gudjonsdottir, Passion Play Oberammergau 2022
Transfer to Munich Airport for your flight(s) back to Canada. (B)