Day 1: New Zealand – – Zurich
Catch a flight towards Zurich in Switzerland today and prepare to begin your tour through the heart of Europe.
Day 2: Zurich – – Lucerne
Welcome to Zurich! Upon arrival in the city you will board a train for the short journey to Lucerne (about 50 minutes’ travel time). Make your own way to the hotel upon arrival and then have the remainder of the day at your leisure to relax or sightsee. Your time in Switzerland includes the use of an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass (included in your tour) and this allows unlimited travel by train, bus and boat, as well as free admission to a number of attractions.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Lucerne (B)
There is no set itinerary today and you have a full day to explore Lucerne as you wish. You might take a late leisurely breakfast and then wander the streets of the city, or you might make a beeline to some of its top landmarks such as Chapel Bridge, the Jesuit Church, Musegg Wall and the picturesque shoreline of Lake Lucerne.
Day 4: Lucerne – – Lugano (B)
Move through two of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes by boat and rail today, courtesy of the Gotthard Panorama Express route. A steamboat or motorboat ferries you across Lake Lucerne to Flüelen and from here you board a train bound for Lugano. This journey lasts about six hours and sees you traverse a myriad tunnels and bridges. Your destination, Lugano, is the most well-known city of Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region. You will immediately feel the Italian influence upon arrival, as you take in everything from the architecture and cityscape to the delicious cuisine.
Day 5: Lugano – – St. Moritz (B)
Experience the Bernina Express as you swap palm tree-dotted countryside for the Swiss alpine glaciers. Those with a head for numbers will count more than 50 tunnels and 200 bridges crossed on this passage. Parts of this route even have UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Be sure to take note of when you pass the route’s highest point, Ospizio Bernina, which sits at 2,253 metres above sea level. Arrive in St. Moritz later in the afternoon and have the remainder of the day as free time.
Day 6: St. Moritz (B)
St. Moritz ranks as one of the most best-known alpine resorts in Switzerland – perhaps in Europe. It played host to the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948, and is widely considered as a pioneer of modern-day winter sports. In other words, it is a haven for snow bunnies. St. Moritz has much to recommend it during the summer too though, with a great collection of shops, restaurants and walking trails throughout the area. You have today to explore St. Moritz however you like.
Day 7: St. Moritz – – Zurich (B)
On today’s agenda is travelling to Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. The journey is expected to take about four hours. You will check straight into the hotel upon arrival and then can begin exploring the cityscape. Take in two of the city’s best-known churches – Grossmünster and Fraumünster – or peer into the windows of the shops lining Bahnhofstrasse. There are great museums to visit at the Swiss National Museum and Kunsthaus Zurich, and mad football fans can even head to the FIFA World Football Museum.
Day 8: Zurich – – Munich (B)
It is time to leave Switzerland today. Make your way to the railway station and board a train headed towards Munich in Germany! Along the way you will be taken through the Bavarian countryside. Arrive in Munich later in the afternoon and have the remainder of the day as free time.
Day 9: Munich (B)
Munich is a fantastic city that features a blend of sprawling green parks, historic churches and main squares, quirky boutiques and fascinating sights. Discover its delights however you choose with a full day of free time. Some things to have on your radar include Marienplatz, English Garden, Munch Residenz and visits to some of the city’s famous beer gardens.
Optional: Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace
Admire the beauty of the Bavarian countryside and some of its most famous sights today, at Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace. This twinset of royal residences were built by King Ludwig II, in a pretty area located between two mountains. This tour includes a stop and shopping time in Oberammergau before the visit to Neuschwanstein to learn about its construction and design. Enjoy a local lunch and then see the grotto and Moorish pavilion at Linderhof. Additional cost applies.
Day 10: Munich – – Salzburg (B)
Say goodbye to Germany and cross the border into Austria. Your destination is Salzburg and you reach this pretty city via train. Make your own way to the hotel once you train arrives at the station. Salzburg is an incredibly photogenic destination, especially known for its historic architecture and as being the hometown of Mozart. Wander its streets this afternoon to familiarise yourself with its layout, or find an eatery to immediately indulge in delicious Austrian cuisine such as wiener schnitzel and apple strudel.
Day 11: Salzburg (B)
Spend a whole day enjoying Salzburg’s sights and atmosphere today. Some of the sights to put on your radar include Mirabell Palace, Salzburg Fortress, Salzburg Old Town, Mozart’s Residence and Salzburg Cathedral.
Optional: Sound of Music Tour
Fans of the Sound of Music film will love visiting sites and locations used in this iconic movie. You will visit Mirabell Gardens, where Maria and the children sang parts of ‘Do-Re-Mi’; the Gazebo, where Rolf and Liesl sang ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’; plus many more locations in and around the Salzburg. Along the way you’ll learn about the real life figures and stories immortalised in this beloved musical. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Eagle’s Nest Tour
Those with an interest in World War II history can take up the opportunity to visit the Eagle’s Nest, a base once used by Nazis. For this trip, travel back into Germany and drive to the former village site of Obersalzberg. A dedicated bus then takes you up the driveway to the Eagle’s Nest entrance and you will step inside an elevator to reach the interior of this site. Your guide will offer insight into the history and purpose of the Eagle’s Nest, and you have some free time to explore further should you wish. Additional cost applies.
Day 12: Salzburg – – Vienna (B)
Find your way to the train station and board a service to the Austrian capital, Vienna. Check in to the hotel upon arrival and have the rest of the day to begin your discovery of the city.
Day 13: Vienna (B)
Get to know Vienna’s iconic architecture and landmarks on a guided city tour this morning. This trip takes you along the famous Ringstrasse and the impressive monuments that line this boulevard: Vienna State Opera, the Hofburg palace, Museums of Art History and Natural History, Parliament, Burgtheater and City Hall. The next stop is the glorious Schonbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence that is one of Vienna’s most visited attractions. Walk through the Palace to peer into state rooms, admire the opulent design and see how the imperial family once lived. The Palace is also home to exquisite gardens and there is time to meander afterwards. You have free time following the city tour. Find a coffee house to get your caffeine fix (and perhaps a slice or two of local cakes!), look in at the Spanish Riding School, see the city from a unique vantage point on the Ferris wheel at Prater amusement park.
Optional: Evening Concert
Enjoy an evening of Vienna’s famous classical music prowess with a concert at Kursalon. The performance includes pieces by Mozart and Strauss, as played by the Alt Wien orchestra. These musical stylings are accompanied by virtuoso musicians, opera singers and ballet dancers. Additional cost applies.
Day 14: Vienna – – Prague (B)
Adieu Austria, hello Czech Republic! You catch a train from Vienna to Prague this morning (make your own way to the railway station) and travel through the Bohemian countryside enroute. This journey takes about 4 hours and you have free time after checking in to your Prague accommodation.
Day 15: Prague (B)
Prague is undoubtedly one of the most visited cities in Europe, and you will take in its best things to see on a guided coach tour this morning. Begin in the new part of the city to see the National Museum and the National Theatre. Continue into the castle district for a one-hour walking tour of the area, which will include opportunity to explore St. Vitus’ Cathedral. Finally you will be driven into Prague’s Jewish Quarter to see its synagogues, the Astronomical Clock and Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and then Wenceslas Square. Afterwards, get set for a one hour cruise on the Vlatava River. See the panorama of Prague Castle, the old Charles Bridge, the romantic Kampa Island and the picturesque roofs and spires of the Lesser Town from a different angle. The remainder of the day is spent with independent exploration.
Day 16: Prague – Cesky Krumlov – Prague (B)
Head out of Prague today for an all-day excursion to Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed town in the southern Bohemia region. Admire a landscape of graceful lakes and lush pastures as you drive to Cesky Krumlov in the morning. The historical centre of the town has a fairytale charm, with quaint houses and well-preserved medieval streets. At the heart of the town’s appeal is its castle, the second largest of its kind in the Czech Republic. The grandeur of the castle is accompanied by immaculate Baroque gardens that house terraces, fountains, sculptures and a restaurant located in the former Riding School. The group returns to Cesky Krumlov in the later afternoon.
Day 17: Prague – – New Zealand (B)
This is your last morning in Europe and you enjoy a final breakfast at the hotel before making your own way to the airport to catch your return flight to New Zealand.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 18: New Zealand
Arrive back in New Zealand today.