Enchanting Gems of Austria: Graz & Salzburg

Enchanting Gems of Austria: Graz & Salzburg

The splendor of Austria awaits on this exceptional, eight-night experience brimming with history, natural beauty and scrumptious cuisine! Enjoy four nights at first-class hotels in the heart of both Graz and Salzburg, named UNESCO World Heritage sites. Take in Graz’s charming ambience on a guided stroll and from atop its iconic hilltop. In music-filled Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, delight in a memorable performance of his works with a three-course dinner and see the landmarks of his life. Outings around the Styria region introduce you to mighty Riegersburg Castle, the renowned Lipizzaner stallions and regional delicacies. Other standouts include a cruise on picturesque Lake Hallstatt and a day in Bavaria featuring the historic Eagle’s Nest, a salt mine tour and a beer garden lunch!

Trip Itinerary:

August 7 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Graz, Austria. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: GRZ.

August 8 Graz, Austria

Arrive at Graz Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Hotel Weitzer. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

This evening, in the hotel, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

August 9 Graz

Start each day with a hearty breakfast served at the hotel every morning.

Enrichment: History & Traditions of Graz & Austria. Learn about the rich history, vibrant culture and unique characteristics of this European city that straddles the Mur River.

Graz Walking Tour: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Graz is known for its culinary prowess, design innovations and range of architectural influences — from the baroque to art deco and medieval. On a guided walking tour, take the funicular up 1,558 feet to visit Schlossberg, a tree-clad public park overlooking old town’s historic center, considered one of the best-preserved city centers in Europe. The site was once home to a 10th-century, Italian-constructed fortress, which was eventually demolished by Napoleon. From this spectacular vantage point, take in the Mediterranean flavor of Graz’s historic old town with its mix of baroque steeples and terra-cotta roofs. Walk over to see the Uhrturm, a 90-foot, 13th-century medieval clock tower considered to be a symbol of Graz. Stroll back to the city center past its eclectic mix of Gothic and contemporary buildings. Wind your way through the Hauptplatz, the main square where you will see the famous bronze punk statue. Afterward, see the city’s first opera house, designed in the neo-baroque style, and visit the Graz Cathedral, a 15th-century example of Gothic architecture. (Moderate)

Free Time: Find a spot for lunch on your own in the vibrant city center to experience the regional cuisine of Austria’s official culinary capital. Spend the afternoon exploring other highlights of Graz. Perhaps take a footbridge back over the Mur to see the Murinsel, a floating platform on the river shaped like an upturned seashell. Be sure to walk by the futuristic Kunsthaus Graz contemporary art museum. The bulbous-shaped “friendly alien” is an example of blob architecture. Stroll through the artsy surrounding neighborhoods and shop along the Mariahilferstrasse for quirky souvenirs and great people watching.

Experience dinner today in one of Graz’ traditional Styrian restaurants in the city center. Its vibrant culinary landscape is the result of the efforts of trailblazing cooks dating back to the 19th century, as well as a general appreciation of fresh local ingredients. Aside from numerous gourmet restaurants, locals love their many farmers markets, all stocked to the brim with fresh produce from surrounding farms. Many of these traditional recipes can still be found on the menus of the city’s various restaurants.

August 10 Eastern Styria

Eastern Styria. The mountainous, forested area of eastern Styria in southern Austria is known for its chocolate, ham and notably, the Riegersburg Castle. Take a guided tour of Austria’s largest medieval castle, enthroned upon a once impregnable fortress and dormant volcano above the town of Riegersburg. From there, travel to Vulcano Farm in Auersbach nestled in the Styrian volcanic region. Learn about the family-owned farm practices of breeding Vulcano pigs with a commitment to animal welfare and quality — with plenty of space, exercise and non-GMO feed — to make some of the finest, tastiest hams in the world. Indulge in a typical jausenteller lunch with air-dried, raw ham, salami, cheese and fresh farmhouse bread. Continue to the Zotter Chocolate Factory, one of the premier chocolatiers in Austria and the world. Participate in a guided tour and tasting to learn about Zotter’s innovations that focus on variety, quality, creativity, sustainability and 100% organic and fair-trade products. (Active - Riegersburg Castle; Moderate)

Free Time: Back in Graz, discover regional specialties during dinner on your own. Your Travel Director can assist with recommendations and reservations.

August 11 Western Styria

Western Styria. With its distinctive hills, valleys, wine and culture, it’s no surprise that this region in western Styria is often referred to as “Styrian Tuscany.” First, see the St. Barbara Church in Barnbach built in the 1950s and designed in 1987 by maverick Viennese artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser as a work of art. The church is notable for its eclectic use of bright colors, golden onion-shaped sphere and 12 gates representing the great world religions, symbolizing ecumenism, tolerance and togetherness. Continue to the Lipizzaner stud farm in Piber, which has been breeding and raising Europe’s oldest cultural horse breed since 1920. The farm not only safeguards the centuries-old knowledge of breeding, dating to 1580, but is responsible for caring for nearly 300 offspring that live on the farm to ensure the continued existence of the world-famous white Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School. Take a guided walking tour of the farm and see the famous white horses! (Moderate)

Take a midday break to experience a wine tasting lunch at a rustic, inn-like buschenschank, distinguished by the typical bushen, a bundle of twigs, found at its entrance to signal that the inn is open.

Family Neuhold Farm Visit.The Family Neuhold farm has been growing and harvesting the Styrian pumpkin seed since 1972. Learn the secrets of production and the difference between the Styrian oil pumpkin, which thrives, matures and is harvested in this region, and those from other regions. See how the seeds are processed and taste the variety of oils with accompanying snacks. Pumpkin seed oil and other souvenirs are available for purchase in the Steieraöl gift shop. (Moderate)

Free Time: For dinner tonight, venture out to sample more of Austria’s famous cuisine in Graz.

August 12 Hallstatt | Salzburg

Depart Graz this morning for Salzburg with a stop en route in Hallstatt.

Hallstatt & the Salzkammergut. Hallstatt is a picturesque alpine village in the Salzkammergut region renowned for its stunning visual drama with huge mountains rising abruptly to form narrow valleys and lakes. On a guided walking tour, stroll the cobblestone streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site to appreciate the 16th-century architecture, ornate churches and alpine inns. After your tour, you’ll have free time to explore the town’s market square, where artisan shop owners offer demonstrations, unique gifts and Austrian salt sourced from its own salt mines. Find a quaint café for lunch, perhaps opting for fresh fish from Lake Hallstatt. Then, rejoin your group for a cruise on Lake Hallstatt to marvel at the breathtaking view of the Austrian Alps and dramatic alpine scenery. (Moderate)

Continue to Salzburg and check in to the Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg this afternoon.

Free Time: Tonight, in Salzburg, savor dinner at one of the hotel’s three restaurants or explore the area to find your own café or restaurant. Whether you’re looking for local fare in an alfresco setting, refined classical or contemporary Austrian cuisine or a casual meal in a beer garden, there are plenty of tempting options.

August 13 Salzburg

Enrichment: Mozart’s Life & Work. Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Wolfgang A. Mozart’s life, work and lasting influence on classical music and Salzburg.

Salzburg Walk & Hohensalzburg Fortress. The baroque city of Salzburg, located on the border of Germany with views of the Eastern Alps, has earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Stroll along cobblestone streets on a guided walking tour through charming squares in the historic district to learn about composer Mozart and see his birthplace and residence. Along the way, appreciate the baroque beauty of Salzburg’s sacred buildings, the bourgeois homes of the Middle Ages and the broad Italian-style plazas. Take the Fortress Funicular up to Festungsberg mountaintop, where you’ll visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress perched high above the rooftops of the historic district. Although it’s referred to as a fortress, it’s the largest fully preserved castle in Central Europe with a spectacular 360-degree view of the city and several museums within to explore. (Moderate)

Free Time: Savor the signature regional flavors of Salzburg for lunch on your own and enjoy the afternoon at leisure before returning to the hotel. The wonderful and free Mirabell Gardens is just steps away from your hotel. Consider taking the short walk to explore the baroque pleasure gardens that offer views of the cathedral and fortress. The Pegasus Fountain in front of the Mirabell Palace is where a famous scene from “The Sound of Music” was filmed. Another option is to delve further into Mozart by visiting either the Mozart Residence or the Mozart Birthplace museums.

Mozart Concert & Dinner. A visit to Salzburg wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the music of Mozart. This evening, depart the hotel for an unforgettable Mozart concert and dinner located in a historic Salzburg building. Let the arias and duets from “The Marriage of Figaro,” “The Magic Flute” and “Don Giovanni” envelop you in the melodic beauty and elegance of Mozart’s music as you relish an authentic Austrian three-course dinner. (Mild)

August 14 Berchtesgaden, Germany | Bavarian Alps | Salzburg, Austria

Berchtesgaden & Bavarian Alps. This morning, cross the border into Germany to explore the Bavarian Alps. The Berchtesgaden Salt Mine was founded by Prince-Provost Gregor Rainer deep within the depths of the Bavarian Alps in 1517 and still operates today. To get to the belly of the mine, you can take the stairs or a miner’s slide down 2,132 feet into the mountain itself for an adventurous guided tour of the enormous Salt Cathedral, Magic Salt Cave and 14-ton bronze Reichenbach Pump. After your salt cave experience, you’ll be transported up to Mount Kehlstein to visit the Nazi-constructed Kehlsteinhaus Eagle’s Nest. Constructed in 1938 as a 50th birthday gift for Adolf Hitler and perched atop the summit at 6,017 feet, the Eagle’s Nest was used exclusively by the Nazi party and visited often by Adolf Hitler for government and social meetings. Learn about its history from your guide and appreciate the breathtaking panoramic view overlooking Germany and Austria. Embrace German culture with lunch and a stein of beer in an authentic beer garden before returning to Salzburg. (Active. The salt mine excursion may be strenuous due to the number of stairs and walking, wet surfaces and the slides. It is also not recommended for anyone who is claustrophobic.)

Free Time: Return to Salzburg for the remainder of the day at leisure. Consider strolling around the Getreidegasse, one of Salzburg’s oldest alleys known for its distinctive charm and shopping. Take note of the distinctive windows and doorways, and the ornamental guild signs above. Find a restaurant or café around here or venture back to the area around the hotel to find a local restaurant for dinner.

August 15 Salzburg

Enrichment: Austria Today. A local expert discusses current events and issues shaping modern day Austria.

Free Time: Make the most of your final full day at leisure around Salzburg. One very popular option is the famous “The Sound of Music” guided tour. This comprehensive, four-hour adventure travels to the film’s iconic sites around the city as well as the Lake District to see the gazebo where the musical number, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” was filmed. AHI guests will receive a discount on this optional tour available at an additional cost. Your Travel Director will share more details on site about the tour and how to book it.

Say, “So, long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night,” to your fellow travelers during a Farewell Reception and Dinner at the hotel.

August 16 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for the airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.


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