Private Tour of Austria & Germany
Austria & Germany : Traditional Christmas Markets
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Resting over the banks of the Danube River in northeastern Austria, Vienna, the country’s capital city, is famous for its classical music heritage and reflects an enticing blend of old and new. The historical centre is skyscraper-free and dotted with immaculate, charming little parks. It is also pedestrian friendly and extremely compact, which is convenient as this area contains the bulk of the city’s major tourist highlights. Chief among these are the famous Burgtheater and Opera House and an array of opulent baroque palaces lining the warren of narrow, medieval alleyways which wind their way around the magnificent St Stephen’s Cathedral. Add to this a slew of grand coffee houses and a rich history of classical music (residents included Mozart and Beethoven) and it becomes difficult to imagine a more livable city than the sophisticated metropolis of Vienna.
Set near the German border, the famous city of Salzburg is one of the best-preserved city centres in Europe. Its winding cobblestone streets offer a treasure trove of Medieval and Baroque buildings, palaces, concert halls, and monasteries - all set against a picturesque backdrop of the magnificent snow-capped Alps. Visit the house where Mozart was born, and enjoy a packed lineup of operas, concerts and ballets in breathtaking historic halls and venues. The internationally renowned Salzburg Festival, which takes place every summer, provides the ultimate way to enjoy this scene. Fans of the Sound of Music can retrace the characters’ steps backed by stunning scenes and vistas. Make sure to stroll along the beautiful Salzach River, climb up to the spectacular Hohensalzburg fortress, and try the famous, delicious beer brewed at the Augustiner Braustubl, a monastery-run brewery operating since 1621.
Resting on the banks of the Pegnitz river, the Bavarian city of Nuremberg is the epitome of a typical German city complete with half-timbered houses, imposing forts, stone towers and Gothic churches all contained within a medieval city wall and presided over by a magnificent imperial castle. Must see-visitor attractions include: the extensive Germanisches Nationalmuseum, housing a large collection of items relating to German culture from prehistoric times through to the present day; the Hauptmarkt (central square) where you will find the Schöner Brunnen, an exquisite gilded fountain with tiers of sculptured figures; and of course the remarkable imperial castle, the Kaiserburg. With all of its medieval charm and intriguing historical significance, Nuremberg has developed into one of Bavaria’s most popular destinations particularly over the Christmas season when the city explodes with festivity as it hosts one of the world’s most spectacular Christmas markets.
Munich, the lively capital of Bavaria and the third-largest city in Germany, lies on the banks of the River Isar. A modern hub complete with state-of-the-art skyscrapers and an exciting nightlife scene, the city revels simultaneously in its traditional customs and its sense of innovation. Some of the phenomenal historical attractions include spectacular Schloss Nymphenburg and the grand Residenz Museum, along with countless others. Nicknamed ‘city of art and beer’, Munich is strewn with impressive and diverse galleries (top choices include the Kunstareal Art Quarter and other-worldly Pinakothek der Moderne) and offers sublime beer-tasting opportunities in a variety of wonderful beer houses and gardens. Locals claim this is the culinary capital of the country - make sure to visit the Viktualienmarkt and dedicate some time to the metropolis’ restaurants. Gorgeous parks, jaw-dropping sports venues, and world-famous festivals (including legendary Octoberfest) complete the package.
Lower Austria is named for its position on the lower section of the Danube, but it is Austria’s northeasternmost state, as well as its largest. It is considered the country’s ‘Cradle of History’ and is liberally dotted with ancient forts, palaces and churches. Architectural highlights include Klosterneuburg Abbey, dating to 1114 and featuring an opulent frescoed interior, and the hilltop Melk Abbey, with its Baroque restorations. Visitors can enjoy hiking and natural beauty in the ‘Waldviertel’ (forest area), savour fine wines in the Weinviertel’ (wine area), or go biking along the Danube River. The spa resort of Baden offers the chance to relax and unwind, while winter brings excellent skiing opportunities in the Alps.
Salzburg is a state in Austria’s mountainous north, touching the border with Germany. The capital of the region, also called Salzburg, is set on the banks on the Salzach river and features striking Baroque architecture such as the Salzburg Cathedral. The atmospheric Getreidegasse is a pedestrianised avenue that has been the city’s beating heart since the 17th century. Stretching from the city hall to the Church of the Hospital, it is flanked with shops and restaurants bearing ornately decorated facades and always bustles with activity. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is a beautifully preserved medieval castle, while the Mozart Geburtshaus pays homage to Salzburg’s most famous son - Amadeus Mozart, a musical prodigy who shot to fame but ultimately suffered a tragic demise. Beyond the metropolitan area, highlights include the Pongau and Pinzgau skiing areas, Nonnberg Abbey, which was famously featured in the Sound of Music, and Fuschlsee, a luxurious lakeside resort surrounded by a nature reserve.