- David’s Blog
We kick off this tour in the grand imperial city of Vienna, famous for castles, kings, music and cuisine. Then, you’ll have two relaxing days in Salzburg’s famous city center. A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle and nearby Reutte rounds out the fifth day of the tour. We'll head to Switzerland for my favorite alpine village experience in the beautiful Lauterbrunnen valley. Then we will take a turn to the north and follow the Rhine River valley through the Black Forest to the cute little town of Rothenburg. Finally, visit Hitler’s first concentration camp in Dachau before capping off your tour with two days in Munich, the capital city of Bavaria.
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Vienna - 2 nights
Salzburg - 2 nights
Reutte - 1 night
Lauterburnnen - 2 nights
Rothenburg - 2 nights
Munich - 2 nights
Optional Single Supplement: $680
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Meet your Exploring Europe guide at 3:00 p.m. in the lobby of your Vienna hotel for greetings and introductions. Then we will take a walking tour through the historic heart of Vienna so you can get your bearings. We will make a stop at the massive St. Stephen’s Cathedral before heading off for dinner in one of our favorite restaurants. Sleep 2 nights in Vienna. Walking: Moderate. Dinner.
After breakfast, we will begin a walking tour concentrating on the royal Habsburg’s and their importance to this city. You will visit the Opera House (when open), the Hofburg Palace, the Imperial Apartments and the Royal Treasury. The remainder of the day and evening is free to explore another museum, a palace or just slow down and enjoy the coffee café culture. Walking: Moderate.
Today, we will head west along the Danube tracing the route of the Habsburg tradesmen. Closing in on Salzburg, we will strike out on a driving tour hitting the highlights of the popular movie, The Sound of Music. Later, stroll through the historic old town taking in several famous musical sights and churches. After a bit of free time, we will meet for dinner at the Augustiner Braühaus, a huge beer hall and garden in the hills overlooking the city. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 2 nights in Salzburg. Dinner.
We’ll spend most of the morning on a historical walking tour of Salzburg’s old town. This was the home to Mozart and the Von Trapp family so we will tie in a lot of musical elements as well. After the walking tour, you will have the remainder of the day and evening to explore more of Salzburg on your own. Your guide will be available to help with your sightseeing plans and activities. Walking: moderate.
Today we will head west into the scenic mountains of Bavaria. You will have most of the afternoon to explore Schloss Neuschwanstein, the fairy-tale fantasy castle of Bavaria’s King Ludwig II. You’ll recognize it as Walt Disney’s model for Cinderella’s Castle. Later, we will drive back across the border and set up in Reutte, Austria for the evening. Here, enjoy dinner featuring fresh Austrian cuisine in a traditional guesthouse setting. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: Strenuous. Sleep 1 night in Reutte. Dinner.
Driving through lush mountain meadows and alpine foothills, we will arrive in the tiny country of Liechtenstein in time for lunch. Enjoy a stop in Vaduz, its capital city and get your passport stamped! Then it is on to Switzerland. The beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley is located in the heart of the Swiss Alps and is filled with waterfalls, glaciers, and cowbells. After checking into the hotel, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon to settle in. Tonight, enjoy a traditional Swiss dinner at a favorite restaurant. Driving: 6 hours. Walking: light. Sleep 2 nights in Lauterbrunnen. Dinner.
You may want to hike or ride a lift to a mountain summit, or even play in the snow. The hills are filled with alpine villages, shops, restaurants, hiking trails, and mountain lifts. Walking: Your choice.
We will get an early start this morning as we leave the Alps and head up the Rhine River valley. Along the way, enjoy a stop for lunch in Freiburg, a fortified old town sitting on the edge of the famed Black Forest. Later, arrive in Rothenburg for hotel check-in and dinner. Driving: 8 hours (with stops). Walking: Light. Sleep 2 nights in Rothenburg. Dinner.
You will have the entire day to do a little exploring on your own in Rothenburg. Enjoy a stroll in the castle gardens, a walk on the medieval-era town walls, plenty of shopping, wine tasting, and of course their cute little “Christmas all year” shops. Walking: Your choice.
It is a short ride on the Autobahn down to Munich. Before heading into town we will start our tour on a somber note as we visit Hitler’s first concentration camp in Dachau. Learn how in 1943, this became the model for all future camps. Then, let’s head directly to Munich’s bustling city center for a walking tour of the city’s highlights and an opportunity to take a break at a famous beer garden. Settle in at our hotel and enjoy a relaxing afternoon and evening. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 2 nights in Munich.
Your tour ends this morning after breakfast. There are no scheduled activities today. Munich’s train station and airport are nearby and your guide will be happy to point you in the right direction for your onward journey. Auf Wiedersehen!
This itinerary is subject to change.
Transportation provided by coach and/or minibus from your first hotel in Vienna to your final hotel in Munich.
11 nights accommodation in centrally located hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs. All rooms have private en-suite bathes.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.
Guaranteed Small Group consisting of 6-24 travelers.
All breakfasts and six of your dinners or lunches.
Water is included with all meals. Soda, coffee, tea, beer, wine or other beverages are up to you.
Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David's personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best the locale has to offer.
Tours and admissions to the following attractions, experiences, and sights: Orientation and walking tour of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Rothenburg; Entrance to the imperial Habsburg site mentioned in the itinerary; WWII concentration camp in Dachau; Sound of Music walking and driving tour; Castle Neuschwanstein guided tour and entrance; two days in the Swiss Alps filled with alpine villages, hiking and grand mountain vistas; many gourmet dining experiences; and much more (itinerary specifics are subject to change).
A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, history, and culture of the tour destinations.
David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s historical and cultural experiences.
Free luggage tags and David’s custom-designed drawstring backpacks.
Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in, will never change.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each Exploring Europe tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
$100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.
Single rooms for solo travelers are available as an option for $680.
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
Submit your review
The Best of Germany, Austria & Switzerland Tour - If you want a passive tour where a shuttle drives you to every location, look elsewhere. Otherwise if you are like me, and want to experience cities / towns / countryside on foot, this is a tour for you. On most days, we had plenty of time to explore city centers, eat at street side cafes, and even stop by small supermarkets for drinks. Knowing some German definitely helps, as that I could ask locals for directions whenever we wandered off the stereotypical tourist path.
My WOW moments were hiking up to the ruined castle of Duerstein, a small herd of cows (with cow bells) walking through Lauterbrunnen, and watching surfers in Munich.
Some of the hotel rooms and group dinners could be better, but otherwise overall it was a great experience. Our tour guide had a great sense of where the best breweries were. Many evenings were spent drinking beer while watching the sun set over the Alps.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland Tour - April 2018 - This tour was a breath of fresh air. After being on several tours with a wake-up time before dawn and on and off a bus until evening, I felt that I did not miss out on anything in any of the places we visited, while still having some time to process everything we saw and have time to relax. David did an excellent job of making sure we got to see the highlights of each place and then made recommendations for other sites to see on our own. It was nice to have 2 days in most places, one day guided and the second open for us to choose our own adventures. He was available for advice and questions. The hotels we stayed at were very comfortable. The food was excellent.
Most memorable to me was Vienna and Switzerland. Would definitely tour with him again.
Christmas Markets- December 2017 - This tour was everything we dreamed about-snow, enjoyable travel companions, hotels, delicious food and a good mixture of shopping and touring. It was so exciting waking up to each day’s adventures!! One of our "wow" moments was being at all the different places from the Sound of Music. Would have liked to see inside of the house after just viewing the movie. But just seeing places where the movie was made was special. Also Kathe Wolfart store in Rothenburg!!
We have done some travel in the past and David and Charlotte were two of our favorite tour guides. Both, caring and professional. And they made us feel so comfortable touring in a foreign land. Peter, our driver, was a fantastic driver and we were so glad he joined us for meals.
We were happy with all our rooms at the hotels, however, we found the folded duvets unique but we slept well every night. Everything was so clean.
Our favorite meal was the Italian restaurant in Munich. We were so pleased with cities and restaurants. This tour lived up to all our expectations!!
Christmas Markets Tour - This was a fantastic trip - very informative and a lot of fun with a GREAT group of people! My favorite wow moment was the snow covered mountains in Austria followed closely by the little Christmas market outside of Salzburg at Hellbrunn. It was snowing and we got photos with snow-covered Christmas trees.
Our bus driver, Peter, was an absolutely fantastic person even if his English was not very good. Of course, his English was a heckuva lot better than our German!
Meals were really good for the most part. A couple of the hotel breakfasts - especially the one in Salzburg - left a little to be desired. I had questions about what some of that "stuff" was and whether it was intended for human consumption or not! The Italian dinner on our last night was the absolute best meal. All dinners were good, but that was outstanding.
The hotels were great once you got used to the fact they like small bathrooms in Europe!
Christmas Markets - I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip with David McGuffin's Exploring Europe. This group was a bit larger than I had expected (30+) but it was a group that mixed well together. David and Charlotte highlighted exactly what I wanted to see and experience in the markets, with enough history about the area and architecture of what we'd see. Hotels were very comfortable and the food was excellent with some farm to table offerings as well.
Although the Castle Neuschwanstein was interesting, the WOW was the scenery and views from around the castle. The smaller towns like Rothenburg and Reutte and Innsbruck were the ones I favored.
David was right. If you followed his suggestions regarding packing, a winter trip CAN be packed in one carry-on and backpack. You might be sick to death of your clothes, but it can be done! I enjoyed reading the papers regarding the cities we'd be in giving an overview. The maps were also helpful.
I loved the hotels. Breakfasts provided were outstanding. Even though our group was larger than I had expected, it was easy to join others at their tables. Lots of fun people. Meals provided were delicious.
Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.
Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog. But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.
David’s newest blog describes his personal adventures in Europe, timely information and travel hints.
We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions. email@example.com or 800-570-1351.