This Central Europe tour is a magnificent journey through the former Habsburg Empire. Your tour starts and ends in Munich. Along the way, you’ll overnight in some of Central Europe's most exciting cities: Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, and Oberammerg
Vienna is dominated by imperial castles and places: Schonbrunn, the magnificent summer residence, the Imperial Coach Collection, the Palm House, the Butterfly House, Belvedere Palace, magnificent state rooms in Hofburg, and the imperial crown in the Treasury. Stop by Ringstraße - the showplace of the monarchy built where Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the demolition of city walls. Important buildings include the State Opera, the Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History, Parliament, City Hall and Vienna University. The world capital of music. A long line of great composers Johann Strauss, Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, Mahler and Schonberg all worked here. A city with splendid concert halls, such as the Golden Hall, from which the Philharmonic's New Year's Day concert is broadcast annually. International stars love to appear here in the State Opera, Volksoper, Konzerthaus, and at festivals like the Vienna Festival, the Klangbogen concerts during the Musical Summer, the Jazz Festval and the Haydn, Mozart and Schubert festivals.
Mozart's birthplace and "festival city" of breathtaking scenic beauty, "The Sound of Music" resonates in every alleyway and picture perfect street of Salzburg. One of the most famous cities in the world, Salzburg used to be called "Rome of the North" - because of Italian influence on its architecture and because it was for centuries the major center of religious power in the German world. Today, it is perhaps the best existing example of a Baroque city, a riotously decorative style of architecture. Salzburg's most important attraction is still music and the two festivals, Festpielhause and Easter Festival, which annually transform the city into a music-lovers paradise.
Home of tworld-famous Oktoberfest, the Hofbrauhaus and beergarden-experience, Munich has become one of the most modern and prosperous cities in post-war Germany. Munich offers museums, art galleries, concert halls and historical buildings, beergarden athmosphere on a warm summer night and the hottest dance hall scene in Germany. The area around Munich has mountains, lakes, fairy-tale-castles, wintersport centers and treasures like the monastery-and-brewery of Andechs. Among "must-sees" in Munich, are a walk on the high-level-shopping mile of Maximilianstrasse, a visit of Monopterus building and the "Chinesischer Turm" beergarden on a warm summer day, a match of two main local soccer clubs in Olympic stadium, a visit to "Deutsche Museum", a beer in the students' pubs, and an afternight breakfast in the cafe "Schmalznudel" at Viktualienmarkt. For history, go to a museum, visit the castle of Nymphenburg or get confronted with the dark side of German history in Dachau concentration camp memorial site.
Caught between eastern and western Europe, Budapest has a character uniquely its own. It's also the last cheap, civilised city in Europe. Budapest can seem like one big sight, with each phase in its history, from the Ottoman period until the Communist days and from renaissance to revolution, leaving its mark on the city. For the tourist, a trip to Hungary's capital is dominated by the majestic sights of Buda. In the summer, there are open-air festivals at Szeged, Diosgyor Castle in Miskolc, Gyor and Pecs. Visit the former Royal Palace complex, the Matyas templom and the Belvaros. Margaret Island is a giant recreational park and feels pleasantly separated from the city bustle. Hungarian National Gallery houses Hungarian art since the birth of the nation. Although Esztergom is Hungary's most sacred city, home of the Archbishop and the nation's biggest church, it has a real-life edge. The first-time visitor to Szeged is invariably struck by its space and grandeur. One's immediate impressions of Hungary's third largest provincial city are of greenery and plazas, of broad.
Amid Prague's cobblestone streets and gold-tip spires, galleries, cafes, and clubs teem with young Czechs and "expatriates." New shops and restaurants have opened, expanding the city's culinary reach beyond the traditional roast pork and dumplings. The arts and theater also thrive in Prague. Young playwrights regularly stage their works, weekly poetry readings are standing room only, and classical music maintains famous standards, while the clubs are jammed. The arts - nonverbal theater, "installation" art, world music - are as trendy in Prague as in any European capital but possess distinctive Czech flavor. All of this is set against a stunning backdrop of towering churches and centuries-old bridges and alleyways. Prague achieved much of its glory in the 14th century, during the long reign of Charles IV, king of Bohemia and Moravia and Holy Roman Emperor. Charles established a university in the city and laid out the New Town, charting Prague's growth. Prague Castle is the most popular sight and is the largest ancient castle in the world with three courtyards.
If Oberammergau did not have the reputation it does, it would have been one of the quietest places among numerous others in the Alps. But its tradition made it that well-known. This tradition does apply to handicraft, to history up to the legends and stories of the village. Oberammergau and the surrounding countryside offer a variety of events and sites, such as hiking and biking tours, winter sports, and tours to the vicinity of Oberammergau. Oberammergau is famous for its wood carving tradition and tromp d'oeil paintings. Today there are about 120 wood sculptors in Oberammergau, actively carving and selling a large variety of wooden artefacts, from figures of saints to household goods. Carvers School offers courses providing specialist training for wood carvers.
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