Enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful Austrian rail tour
Idyllic Lake Traunsee, UNESCO-protected Hallstatt, picturesque Wolfgangsee and Mozart's celebrated home city of Salzburg: this tour of the Salzkammergut region takes us by train, boat and coach through the spectacular scenery of the wonderful Austrian lakes.
We set off from our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International, and travel by Eurostar to Brussels. Sit back and relax in your comfortable seat, and enjoy your complimentary light meal and drinks served during the journey. On arrival in the Belgian capital we change trains and continue on the high-speed service to Cologne. We stay here overnight in a centrally located hotel. After breakfast, we depart from Cologne by train and continue our journey southwards, travelling across Germany and into the state of Bavaria. Here, we join the rail service that takes us across the Austrian border to the city of Salzburg. We are met by a coach for the final transfer to Traunkirchen, a peaceful town set on the tranquil western shore of the fjord-like Lake Traunsee.
Our base for seven nights is the Hotel Post, which is beautifully situated in a central location at the edge of the magnificent lake. On arrival at the hotel we are treated to a complimentary welcome drink, and after time to settle in to our new surroundings, we enjoy dinner together in the hotel.
We begin our stay in Traunkirchen with a guided walking tour of the town and its main sights. Following the tour we embark on a cruise on beautiful Lake Traunsee, enjoying the alternative views of Traunkirchen and the surrounding mountains from its rippling emerald waters. The lake's eastern shore laps at a number of large rocky crags, the tallest of which is the imposing Traunstein. At 5,548 feet (1,691 metres), Traunstein dominates the local skyline, and is often called the 'guardian of the Salzkammergut.'
On our return to the landing point - just a few minutes' walk from the hotel - the rest of your day is free for you to spend as you wish. After a pleasant walk through the wonderful scenery around the lake, or into the surrounding meadows, the hotel's wellness centre is the ideal place to relax.
Within the town itself, the Pfarrkirche church is a particularly memorable sight, with its opulent pulpit and interior displays. The church tower also offers fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding lakes. Otherwise, there is an excellent variety of restaurants in nearby Bad Ischl, offering regional specialities along with international dishes. As you are free for dinner tonight, you have the ideal opportunity to sample these.
Today we take a ferry across Lake Traunsee to the pretty town of Gmunden. You have free time here to explore the Old Town, and relax in one of the many cafés. The end-of-the-pier style Seeschloss Ort is particularly scenic whilst the nearby mountain lake of Laudachsee boasts a lovely walking route around its shimmering waters and sandy shoreline. Try to be outside of the pretty Rathaus Town Hall on the hour to hear the chimes of the clock played on tinkling ceramic bells, which were made at the local ceramics factory. Otherwise, you could take a ride on the Traunsee Railway on the scenic route to nearby Vorchdorf, a charming market town. We begin our return to Traunkirchen by taking the Gmunden tram system, one of the world's oldest and shortest, at just 1.4 miles in length.
We then take a train (Standard Class) which skirts the lake on a scenic trip back to Traunkirchen.
Another of the highlights of our holiday awaits today, as we embark on a coach excursion to Salzburg. Known for being the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is one of Austria's largest and most famous cities, whose centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour. The city's internationally renowned Baroque architecture sits in one of Europe's best preserved city centres, which combines with the lovely local scenery to create a unique charm.
On completion of the tour, you have some free time to continue discovering this fascinating city at your leisure. Salzburg's squares are delightful; and another popular option is the Getreidegasse, which offers retail therapy in the most splendid setting. Otherwise, the Hohensalzburg Fortress offers superb views of the city and the courtyard cafés are a great place to relax with a strudel and a coffee. We break our return journey with a visit to Mondsee, a pretty town set on the lake of the same name. Its most famous sight is the 15th-century parish church, which featured in the wedding scenes of 'The Sound of Music'. Day 6 is at leisure.
No journey to the Salzkammergut region would be complete without visiting Hallstatt, which is one of Austria's most photographed villages. With its traditional pastel-coloured houses perched on the tiny plain between the mountains and the Hallstättersee Lake, this stunningly beautiful village has UNESCO World Heritage status. We reach the Hallstättersee by train (Standard Class), and then cross to the secluded village - nestled between towering Dachstein peaks on all sides - on a scenic boat cruise. We enjoy time to explore Hallstatt and its charming lanes before returning to Traunkirchen.
We travel by coach to St Wolfgang on Wolfgangsee, where we join the Schafbergbahn Cog Railway. The line has been in operation since 1893, and runs both diesel and steam engines. At less than 4 miles in length, the train climbs 3,904 feet (1,190 metres) in about 45 minutes. After time for lunch at the summit we descend back to the lakeside. We continue with a scenic cruise on Wolfgangsee from St Wolfgang to the beautiful village of St Gilgen.
This morning we travel to Cologne, by high-speed rail where we overnight. On Day 10, we continue to Brussels, boarding the Eurostar to London.
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
Enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful Austrian rail tour