8: Free day in Berner Oberland — You'll have all day free for a
riverside stroll through the glacier-carved Lauterbrunnen Valley, or hike
the high meadows amidst the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains—the most
beautiful chunk of the Swiss Alps. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous.
Day 9: To Munich via
Neuschwanstein — It's a scenic, all-day drive across the border into
southern Germany and east to Neuschwanstein, "Mad King" Ludwig's
fairy-tale castle. After touring this famous folly at the end of the day
(when crowds disperse), we'll make our way to Munich, Bavaria's vibrant
capital, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 7 hours. Walking: strenuous.
Day 10: All day in Munich —
After an informative walking tour with a local guide, you'll have the rest
of the day to stroll the lively heart of Germany's most livable city, to
admire its many museums, or to rent a bike and appreciate how much fun two
wheels can be. No bus. Walking: moderate to strenuous (your choice).
Riding: a slick system of bikepaths make for mostly level, pleasant
Day 11: To Salzburg — We'll
head south through the wunderbar Bavarian countryside, taking time to
enjoy the pristine mountain and lake scenery before crossing into Austria.
We'll arrive in Salzburg in time for an orientation walk through the
perfectly preserved historic center before dinner. Sleep in Salzburg (2
nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.
12: All day in Salzburg — After a morning walking tour, you'll have the
rest of the day and evening free. You can wander Salzburg's magnificent
gardens, walk in Mozart's (and Julie Andrews') footsteps through the old
town, pedal a rented bike into the countryside, or just relax with a cup
of coffee and an incredibly rich pastry. Remember, this is "Sound of
Music" country—there's nearly always an evening concert (or frothy
beer garden!). No bus. Walking: moderate to strenuous (your choice).
Day 13: To Austria's Lake
District — Today we'll explore a salt mine as we make our way to tiny
Hallstatt, located in the heart of Austria's idyllic Salzkammergut Lake
District. Enjoy a free afternoon communing with Mother Nature on foot or
by boat. Sleep peacefully in the postcard-pretty, lakeside village of
Hallstatt (1 night). Bus: 2 hours. Walking: light to strenuous (your
Day 14: To Vienna — It's back
to the city today as we head east to Austria's magnificent capital of
Vienna, stopping en route to visit sobering Mauthausen, the Nazi
concentration camp. We'll also tour the opulent Schönbrunn Palace,
Austria's rival to Versailles. Sleep in Vienna (2 nights). Bus: 6 hours.