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Christmas Markets in
Austria & Italy
Salzburg ... Oberndorf ... Mondsee ... St. Wolfgang ... Swarovski
Crystal Worlds ... Bolzano (Italy) ... Innsbruck and more!
Day One - Departure: Today we depart to begin our journey to Europe. Meals will be served aboard our overnight flight.
Day Two - Munich / Salzburg: On arrival at Munich Airport we will be met by our tour manager and escorted to our waiting motor coach. As we drive into the Austrian Alps en route to Salzburg our tour manager will share information about the tour and details about today’s schedule. Upon arrival in Salzburg we will check into our hotel and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Welcome to Austria!
Day Three - Salzburg: Dominated by its 900 year old fortress, Salzburg has a truly spectacular setting which fully lives up to its reputation as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. This morning’s walking tour of the city of Mozart and the Sound of Music will reveal the charm and atmosphere of this unique city - its Cathedral, Festival Hall, St.Peter’s Monastery and Cemetery, Mozart’s Birthplace and the main shopping street of Getreidegasse. The remainder of the day and evening will be free to enjoy the Christmas Markets.
Day Four - Salzburg (Oberndorf ~ Silent Night, Mondsee ~ Sound of Music, St. Wolfgang): Today’sexcursion is full of the sights, sounds and tastes of Advent. We will drive first to Oberndorf, to see the chapel built on the site of the church where Silent Night was first sung in 1818. Then we will continue to the charming market town of Mondsee, to visit the church used in the wedding scene of the Sound of Music movie. There will be free time for lunch, before we continue through the Austrian lake district to St. Wolfgang, which has the most authentic of all the Christmas Markets. We will see the beautiful Gothic winged altar of the local parish church, the massive Lantern of Peace floating on the lake, the local craftsmen at work on traditional handcrafts. On Wednesday evenings, no electric lights are used in the village, so the Christmas Market is bathed only in candle-light. We will enjoy early dinner in one of the local restaurants, before we return to Salzburg for our overnight.
Day Five - Salzburg / Schlitters World of Candles / Swarovski Crystal Worlds / Innsbruck: This morning we will drive through the heart of the Austrian Alps and into the Inn Valley. In Brixlegg, we will stop at the Schlitters World of Candles to experience the artistic skill of the wax sculptors in the infinite variety of the hand-made candles for all occasions. Christmas, baptism, marriage and Easter, there is a candle for every Christian celebration. Later we will continue to Wattens to visit the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, which in Advent has its own magical atmosphere. In the late afternoon we will arrive in Innsbruck for dinner and overnight. This evening on the streets of Innsbruck we will witness the exuberance of the festivities associated with St. Nikolaus and the Krampus.
Day Six - Innsbruck (City Tour & Grassmayr Bell Foundry): This morning we will enjoy a walking tour of Innsbruck, which explores the old town with its Golden Roof, Imperial Palace and Court Church. We will visit the Museum of Tirolean Regional Heritage, with its unique collection of centuries old farm-house interiors, Tirolean costumes and nativity scenes. There will be free time over lunch to enjoy the authentic Christmas Market, and in the afternoon we will visit the local bell foundry, which has been in existence for more than 500 years. It is a unique experience, which explores the creation of a musical instrument, from the metal to the bell. In the museum we will learn about the entire evolution of bells and their place in Western culture and Christianity. This evening is at leisure in Innsbruck.
Day Seven - Innsbruck (Linderhof Palace, Ettal & Seefeld Sleigh Ride): This morning we drive north to the German border and cross into Bavaria close to the violin-making town of Mittenwald. First we will visit Linderhof Castle, the rococo hunting palace of ‘mad’ King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It is here that the influence of Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’ of France, on the ‘Fairytale King’ of Bavaria is most evident, as we walk through the extravagantly decorated rooms. There will be free time for lunch, before we visit the Baroque Church of the Benedictine Monastery at Ettal. On the return journey to Innsbruck we make a special visit in the late afternoon to the ski resort of Seefeld, where snow conditions permitting, we will enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the pine forests for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day Eight - Innsbruck (Bolzano & Iceman Museum): Today’s excursion takes us south over the Brenner Pass into Italy and through the Dolomite mountains to Bolzano. Here we will explore the South Tirol Archaeological Museum, which houses one of the most fascinating discoveries ever to be found in Europe. The Man in the Ice, one of the oldest and most complete human finds in the world, was discovered on a glacier in the Ötz Valley and is estimated to be 5300 years old. Our visit of the museum provides a fascinating insight into the life of our prehistoric ancestors. Bolzano itself has a beautiful medieval old town and its Christmas Market is one of the most authentic and atmospheric – there will be time to explore both, before we return to Innsbruck for our farewell dinner.
Day Nine - Innsbruck: This morning we will transfer to Munich Airport to begin the journey home.