THE BREATHTAKING MUSICAL HISTORY OF AUSTRIA & GERMANY
Be swept away by the breathtaking musical history of Austria and Germany on this magical musical tour. From Salzburg and melodies of Mozart, to grand Vienna and a performance of Strauss, to Leipzig, with the St Thomas Boys' Choir and the legacy of Bach.
Our journey begins today at London St Pancras International, where we meet your Tour Manager at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated Departure Office. Once on board the Eurostar, we enjoy a light meal and drinks served at our seats as we travel to Brussels, where we change for the First Class rail service to Cologne. We stay here overnight. After breakfast on Day 2 we continue by rail to Salzburg, our base for the next two nights.
Please Note: For departure AGC1802 on day 1 you will be staying at the Intercity Bonn Hotel.
Today begins with a guided tour of beautiful Salzburg, the city of Mozart's birth. Nestled beside the Austrian Alps on the banks of the River Salzach, this historic city is famed for its Baroque architecture and UNESCO-listed Old Town. After the tour, you are at leisure to explore the city. Perhaps visit the bright yellow townhouse where Mozart was born and raised, now a museum dedicated to the composer.
The museum's treasures include Mozart's childhood violin, a collection of buttons from his jacket, and a lock of his hair. Tonight, we enjoy a highlight of our tour, dining in the oldest restaurant in Europe, St Peter Stiftskeller. Boasting 1200 years of Austrian hospitality, the former inn once housed Haydn, and has a long history of serving famous figures.
This evening, we enjoy a specially-selected menu based on authentic 18th century recipes, dining by candlelight in the restaurant's stunning Baroque Hall. Dressed in period costume, Salzburg's own Amadeus Consort performs a selection of Mozart's music for us, recreating the ambience of 1790. Founded in 1996, the members of the Amadeus Consort are all graduates of the Mozarteum University Salzburg, and have each worked with world-class orchestras and international opera houses.
This morning, you are at leisure to explore Salzburg at your own pace. Panoramic city views are available from the ramparts of Festung Hohensalzburg, the cliff-top fortress which overlooks the city, and the 900 year old fortress is accessible on foot or by taking the glass-sided Festungsbahn funicular railway. Experience stunning views through the train's floor-to-ceiling windows as you ascend the cliff in as little as 54 seconds. Inside the fortress, the golden-studded ceiling of the Golden Hall is well worth a visit, as is the popular Fortress Museum, which features a model of Salzburg's layout in 1612 and medieval armour amongst its exhibits.
Alternatively, enjoy a stroll around the Mirabell Palace and gardens. Dating back to the 17th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasts manicured lawns and carefully coiffed flower beds. You may also recognise the palace gardens from their use in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, 'The Sound of Music', and the beautiful marble ballroom in the palace one of the venues used for the 'Salzburger Schlosskonzerte' which sees musical performances being held around Salzburg. This afternoon, we travel by rail to Vienna.
On Day 5, we enjoy a guided tour of grand Vienna, by coach and on foot, visiting some of the most important sights in Austria's capital. We see the fine Imperial buildings that line the famous Ringstrasse, a wide circular avenue that encompasses the Old City. We also take in St Stephen's Cathedral, the stunning epicentre of Vienna's medieval city. The Town Hall, or the 'Rathaus' as it is known, is also one of the marvellous sites that we view on our tour. The incredible symmetry of the Neo-Gothic architecture is simply breathtaking, and it is a marvellous example of the elegant architecture one can expect in Vienna.
Later, you have some free time to explore. You may wish to visit the spectacular Schönbrunn Palace. Situated on the outskirts of Vienna in its own beautiful landscaped parkland, this opulent UNESCO World Heritage site features over 1,400 rooms and 300 years of decadent history for you to delve into.
Vienna is one of the world's most musical cities, and today we have a chance to experience it at our own pace. The Haus der Musik, or 'The Sound Museum', is a fascinating way to explore the city's musical heritage, hosting both the Museum of the Vienna Philharmonic and a floor dedicated to Vienna's classical composers.
On the first floor of this informative building, you can find a museum dedicated to the Vienna Philharmonic, an orchestra that was founded in 1842 which is still considered today to be arguably one of the finest musical collectives in the world. You would also be able to experience sound as you haven't before as you are surrounded by music in the 'Sonosphere', before leaning more about the great composers of the world on the 3rd floor of the museum.
Alternatively, drink in the city's ambience, as you indulge in Viennese coffee house culture. Vienna's legacy of enjoying fine coffee in chic surroundings dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when the city's first coffee houses sprang to life. Café Frauenhuber is one of the oldest, having famously hosted Beethoven and Mozart for public performances in 1788. Another famed culinary institution is the Hotel Sacher, where you can sample some of its iconic chocolate cake, the Sachertorte, famous for its rich flavour and mirror-like ganache icing.
This evening, prepare to don your finery as we are treated to a fabulous Mozart and Strauss concert in the Renaissance Kursalon, one of Vienna's most famed music venues that was built in the mid-19th century by the order of Emperor Franz Josef I.
Today we leave Austria behind, journeying by high-speed train to Leipzig in Germany. Our final three nights are spent here in the well-appointed 4-Star Seaside Park Hotel, ideally located in the city centre. Adjacent to the famous Nikolaistraße, the hotel boasts an excellent restaurant, where we dine tonight. We enjoy a guided tour of Leipzig the next day, taking in the fascinating sights of the city Goethe referred to as 'a little Paris.'
Our tour takes us around the Market Square with Leipzig's Old City Hall, through the fashionable shopping arcades of the Maedler Passage, and past beautiful St Nicholas' Church, and is followed by a visit to the Bach Museum. Telling the story of the composer's 27 years spent in Leipzig, the museum displays autographs, original manuscripts and early prints from the Bach Archives. This evening, we experience a service and a recital at St Thomas Church, where Bach served as Cantor for many years.
Today we journey to the beautiful medieval town of Eisenach, where Bach was born. This small town is bordered by the Thuringian forest, and is steeped in rich history. We visit Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. After a visit to Bach's house we return to Leipzig by coach.
Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in the famous Auerbachs Keller. Situated in the Maedler Passage, Auerbachs Keller was founded in 1525, and was mentioned by Goethe as the meeting place of Faust and Mephistopheles in his play, 'Faust, Part I.'
Today we bid a fond farewell to Germany, and begin our journey home. From Leipzig we travel by high-speed rail to Frankfurt, and then onwards to Brussels, where we connect with the Eurostar service to London. On arrival, our holiday concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
THE BREATHTAKING MUSICAL HISTORY OF AUSTRIA & GERMANY