Lake Achensee and Imperial Innsbruck
Discover the beauty of the Austrian Tyrol during this rail holiday based in Seefeld, a historic resort town perfectly placed for exploring the region's mountains, lakes and villages, as well as the fascinating local heritage railways.
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International in London. Our first journey is on the Eurostar to Brussels. Here we change trains, continuing by high-speed rail into Germany for an overnight stay in the delightful city of Cologne. We stay in a centrally-located hotel in Cologne, enjoying our first meal together in the hotel this evening.
On Day 2, we leave Cologne and make our way by train to the city of Munich. Here we continue by rail through the Rhine Gorge and into Austria. Upon arrival in Innsbruck, we transfer to the Hotel Seespitz in Seefeld, where we will spend the next six nights.
This morning we embark on a guided tour of picturesque Innsbruck. The town is located in the Inn Valley, between the broad shoulders of the Karwendel Alps range. Known as the 'Capital of the Alps' due to its impeccable Alpine location and stunningly traditional architecture, this quaint yet buzzing Austrian town is a delight to discover. Our tour of Innsbruck takes us to the city's main sights, including the stunning Imperial Hofburg Palace and the Goldenes Dachl, or 'Golden Roof', in the city's quaint Old Town district.
The Golden Roof is Innsbruck's most famous landmark.Completed in the 16th century, the roof holds 2,738 copper tiles and was built to honour the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I and Bianca Sforza. The Golden Roof also sees an annual athletics competition held just outside it, where competitors from all around the world gather to compete in the pole vault and long jump.
Today we enjoy one of the region's most popular rail journeys, as we take an excursion on the Zugspitze Railway, reaching the summit of Zugspitze - which at 9,718ft (2,962m) is the highest mountain in Germany. Our train departs from the nearby town of Garmisch and climbs along the mountain base, passing the Eibsee Lake on its way to the Zugspitzplatt. Along the way, we pass through the unusually named Höllental, or 'Hell Valley', named so for its dramatic slopes and narrow gorge that was the scourge of mountain climbers who tried to take it on. Zugspitzplatt is situated by the impressive Schneeferner glacier - Germany's largest glacier that came about during the 'Little Ice Age' of the 19th century.
From here our journey continues by cable car (weather permitting) high above the dense forests to the very summit of Zugspitze. Enjoy gazing out at the scenery through the panoramic windows of the cable car during the ascent. The rocky peak offers breathtaking panoramic views over the craggy and mountainous peaks that spread throughout Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
Today is free for you to spend as you wish. You may want to relax at the hotel or go for an energising walk into the surrounding area. For those wishing to go a little further afield, Salzburg is within easy reach by train. Famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and setting for 'The Sound of Music', Salzburg's sights include Getreidegasse, the Residenz and Mirabell Gardens, as well as its fine examples of Baroque architecture. During a visit, it is well worth making the journey by funicular railway to the Hohensalzburg Fortress for fantastic views of the city and the alpine peaks.
Alternatively, you could take this opportunity to explore Innsbruck further, walking the maze of cobbled alleyways that reflect the city's historic and cultural past with its wonderful Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The Old Town is also a perfect place to enjoy a coffee and try some of the exquisite traditional local cakes.
Today we travel by rail to Jenbach where we enjoy a ride on the scenic Achenseebahn Mountain Railway. Having opened in 1889, the Achenseebahn is now Europe's oldest steam-powered cog railway, and it still operates with beautifully restored carriages dating back to the 1890s, running four miles from Jenbach to Seespitz on the shores of Lake Achensee.
The route passes through beautiful scenery on its way to the mountains. The emerald green Achensee is the Tyrol's largest lake, set in the stunning surroundings of Europe's largest nature reserve, the Karwendel Mountains. At the lake we take to the water for a relaxing cruise. During the cruise you have the option of leaving the ship to join one of the many signposted walks along the lake. You could take this chance to visit Pertisau, the lake's principal town, and return on a later ship.
Our full-day excursion today is by coach to the picturesque town of Kufstein, dominated by a magnificent fortress and located on the River Inn, just a few miles from the Bavarian border. The Old Town of Kufstein, centred around the charming Römerhofgasse, is a real delight to stroll through. The elaborately renovated Kufstein Fortress houses the 'Heroes' Organ', built in the Citizens' Tower of the fortress.
The magnificent organ is the largest freestanding organ in the world, with 4,307 pipes, 46 registers and four manual playing aids. The sound created by the organ can be heard throughout the town, although the organ is only played by the most skilled organists - the sound arrives approximately three seconds late.
We also travel to Rattenberg, the smallest town in the Tyrol, and situated at the base of Rat Mountain. Built in the 14th century, visiting Rattenberg feels like a journey back in time, as the town's centre remains virtually unchanged since its medieval heyday, meaning you can see plenty of it's beautifully colourful and tall houses as you wander up and down the quaint streets. Rattenberg is also known as the 'glass town of the Tyrol' thanks to the fine glassware and crystal that has been produced in the town for centuries. Several of the shops in Rattenberg sell fantastic glassware that is still made locally.
Later, we continue to the quiet resort of Alpbach, where you are free to explore at leisure. This quaint Austrian town is used extensively as a skiing resort in the winter, and here you can find some wonderful examples of traditional wooden chalets that are usually covered in a startlingly beautiful selection of flowers that spill from the balconies and eaves in the summer. Later tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in Seefeld.
We leave Seefeld and travel north through Germany as we make our way to Cologne, via Innsbruck and Munich. In Cologne we spend a night at a centrallylocated hotel.
Cologne is lucky enough to play host to one of the most exquisite examples of Gothic architecture in the world in the form of it's incredible Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts of just over 760 years of history, and between the years of 1880 and 1890, it also held the title of being the highest building in the world. In here, you may find the beautifully opulent Shrine of the Three Kings, which is certainly worth a visit and is said to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Kings or Three Wise Men of the Nativity story.
On Day 9, we continue to Brussels by high-speed rail, where we connect with the Eurostar to London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown 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
Enhancing your tour
Lake Achensee and Imperial Innsbruck