Day 1: Stresa, Italy (Lago Maggiore*) - Tour Begins
Arrive in Stresa (Lago Maggiore) and take some free time to explore this beautiful lakeside town on your own. Your evening begins with a cocktail party in a wine shop before we cruise to our welcome dinner on Isola dei Pescatori, the most beautiful of the Borromean Islands.
Day 2: Stresa
Today we make our way to an ancient village nestled in the mountains. Stop at a family farm to learn about the artisan cheeses they produce. Sample delicious creations and discover how to pair them with local wines. Return to Stresa for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Stresa - Zermatt, Switzerland
Depart Lago Maggiore for a scenic drive into the heart of the mountains. The incredible views of the Italian and Swiss Alps are sure to leave a lasting impression. Upon arrival in Tasch, board a local train for a ride to the spectacular pedestrian village of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.
(Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 4: Zermatt
Today, Zermatt is at your fingertips. It 's your choice! Tour Zermatt 's best-known landmarks by foot with a local expert -OR- enjoy a visit to the Matterhorn Museum where you 'll learn more about the triumph and tragedy behind the first ascent of this imposing peak. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
Day 5: Zermatt - Glacier Express Train - St. Moritz
Traverse bridges and tunnels while aboard the world-renowned narrow gauge Glacier Express, the most charming express train in the world. Enjoy the natural beauty of this route through the heart of the Swiss Alps. Filled with forests, fragrant meadows, streams and deep valleys, it 's a mountain dream come to life. Relax and enjoy a three-course lunch while onboard. Arrive in St. Moritz, playground of the rich and famous.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 6: St. Moritz - Innsbruck, Austria
Drive through the picturesque Engadine Valley to Innsbruck, Austria, capital of the Austrian Tyrol. Join a local expert and explore the city 's medieval pedestrian streets including Maria Theresian Strasse, the Hofburg and the Golden Roof.
Day 7: Innsbruck - Salzburg - Innsbruck
Travel the Austrian countryside to historic Salzburg, one of Europe's most beautiful and romantic spots. Enjoy a leisurely walking tour of Salzburg 's historic Old Town - the Altstadt. See highlights such as the Cathedral, Mozart's birthplace and Mirabell Gardens. Film buffs will be able to pick out locations from The Sound of Music. This evening, enjoy a delightful Mozart dinner concert at the centuries-old St. Peter 's Restaurant, central Europe 's oldest restaurant.
(Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 8: Innsbruck - Neuschwanstein Castle - Oberammergau
Today we head to the frontier of Germany, crossing the border into Bavaria. Make a special stop to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 's most famous castle and the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Continue on to the quaint village of Oberammergau, nestled in the Bavarian Alps, and your home for the next two nights.
(Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 9: Oberammergau - Passion Play
This afternoon, witness a performance of the epic Passion Play. The original performance dates back to 1634. During the Thirty Years' War, Oberammergau was spared the Black Plague and for this reason, the citizens vowed that every ten years they would give a play to honor the last days of the life of Christ. The performers of this once-in-a-decade event are all native to the village. To lend authenticity to the performance, the cast start to grow their hair and beards more than a year in advance. Also, the intricate costumes are made locally by the villagers. During a break in the performance, join your fellow travelers for dinner before returning for the remainder of your Passion Play performance.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10: Oberammergau - Munich
Enjoy a leisurely morning before departing for the Bavarian capital of Munich. Join a local expert for a tour featuring the Marienplatz, the Glockenspiel and Olympic Park. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant celebrating the end of an unforgettable journey.
(Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 11: Munich - Tour Ends
Your tour comes to a close today.
Lago Maggiore is Italy's second largest lake and it's located on the south side of the Alps in both Italy and Switzerland. The climate, in the winter and summer, is mild enough to produce Mediterranean vegetation, with many gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Many islands sit within the lake, including the Borromean Islands, the Brissago Islands, Castelli di Cannero, and Isolina Partegora.
Set sail for a panoramic cruise of magical Lago Maggiore with the majestic Alps as its incredible backdrop. Cruise to Isola dei Pescatori, one of the beautiful Borromean islands, and enjoy a delicious dinner.
This town is located in southwest Switzerland in the canton of Valais, and is best known by the nearby 14,000ft (4267m) Matterhorn. The town began as an agricultural area and in the 19th century became famous as a ski and mountaineering resort. Most of the town now depends on tourism, and in ski season the town of 5,000 swells several times over. To keep the air clean, all vehicles are now electric and mostly silent, with only emergency access by gas-powered vehicles such as firetrucks. The famous Glacier Express train which begins in far eastern Switzerland near St. Moritz ends in Zermatt.
Glacier Express Train
This famous bright red train runs the length of southern Switzerland between Zermatt in the west and St. Moritz in the east, and is known as the “slowest express train in the world.” The trip takes about 7 ½ hours and it traverses its highest point at the Oberalp Pass at 6,700 feet (2042 meters). Some sections are steep enough to require a rack-and-pinion system on the tracks. The cars have panoramic windows and domes, and there is a restaurant car. The towns it links are among the most famous ski resorts in the world, and it gets its name from the Rhone Glacier in western Switzerland, one of the sources of Lake Geneva and the Rhone River.
St. Moritz is a ski resort town in southeast Switzerland known as a “jet set” destination and playground of the wealthy. It is in the canton of Graubunden, not far from the Italian border, also not far from the highest peak in eastern Switzerland, Pic Bernina (13,200 feet/4023 meters). St. Moritz is named for St. Maurice, a Roman martyred there in the 3rd century, and first became popular as a pilgrimage site with healing spring waters. The 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics were held here. The town was used in the opening scenes of Alfred Hitchcock 's original version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” with Peter Lorre in 1934.
This is the capital of the state of Tyrol in the Alps of western Austria. Innsbruck is famous as a winter sports center and was the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. It is beautifully situated in the valley of the Inn River, and its most famous sights are the Golden Roof (a structure made from 2,800 gilded copper tiles that was added in 1500 to a building to celebrate the marriage of Emperor Maximilian I), the beautifully preserved city center with buildings covered in traditional Christmas decorations in the season, and the surrounding mountains.
The name of this city means “Salt Fortress” and it comes from the custom of taxing salt shipments down the Salzach River. It is the 4th largest city in Austria, and the capital of the state of Salzburg. The baroque Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the city sits in a valley surrounded by the Alps. Mozart was born here in the 18th century, and the city was the setting for “The Sound of Music”. Salzburg became part of Austria in the early 19th century, given by Bavaria. Some of the important sights are the Salzburg Castle, Salzburg Cathedral, Mirabell Gardens, the birthplace of Mozart and sites associated with “The Sound of Music”.
St. Peter 's Restaurant
Guests will enjoy a lovely full course meal including wine and beer, while comfortably seated in an 1,200-year-old St. Peter 's restaurant. Stiftskeller St. Peter is a restaurant within the monastery walls of St. Peter's Arch abbey in Salzburg, Austria. At the heart of Europe 's oldest restaurant, which dates back to 803, is Austrian culture, history and modernity. St. Peter Stiftskeller first built as inn, prospered into homes of the nobility including Austrian composer, Michael Haydn. It soon became the quarters for French troops during the Napoleonic wars in 1809. The culinary arts have flourished for centuries at St. Peter Stiftskeller and continue to evolve. Seasonal changes and sophisticated ingredients contribute to an ever-changing dining experience.
Mozart Dinner Concert at St. Peter's Stiftskeller
This magical evening takes place in the elegant Baroque hall of the centuries old St. Peter 's Restaurant. The hall is part of the famous Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter and is one of the few remaining concert venues that is still permitted to use real candle light to enhance the experience. Enjoy a special three course dinner prepared from authentic 18th century recipes.
This fairy-tale castle was built on the ruins of an earlier castle by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, beginning in 1864. The king had spent time in his youth in the town near the site of the castle, and when he took the throne he began building a fantasy castle on the ruins of two earlier fortresses. Many of his fantasies came from his love of the musical mythological works of Richard Wagner, who was his friend, and he spent most of his personal fortune and borrowed to build Neuschwanstein Castle. He only lived there 172 days before his death. The castle was an inspiration for the Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Travel to the picturesque Bavarian hamlet of Oberammergau and witness a performance of the epic Passion Play. This legendary play is only performed every ten years, and has been performed every ten years since the Black Plague ended in 1634.
This is the 3rd largest city in Germany and capital of Bavaria, population about 1.5 million in the city itself. It began as the site of a Benedictine monastery where the old city is today, and the name of the city comes from the word “monk”. It is famous today as the home of Oktoberfest and the Hofbrauhaus, the Glockenspiel clock in the Old Town Hall, its Christmas Market and the headquarters of BMW and Siemens. There are several universities there and it was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics.
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