Oktoberfest: Germany, Switzerland & Austria 14 days / Special Event Tours
95.7% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Get to know Germanic Europe in all of its diversity, from high-flying mountain majesty to laid-back beer drinking. Travel back to the Renaissance in historic Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university. Then, soak up the tranquility of the Alps as you make your way to the lakeside resort of Lucerne and the winter wonderland of Innsbruck. Trade mountainside serenity for the festivities in Munich, where you’ll raise a stein with the locals at the legendary Oktoberfest. And after savoring your fair share of beer, head to Salzburg to listen out for the sweet sounds of Mozart before ending your journey in the always-stylish Vienna.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
12 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily; 6 three-course dinners with wine or beer
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Storybook castles in Heidelberg & Neuschwanstein
Whimsical Glockenspiel, highlight of Marienplatz in Munich
The opulent Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
Dark coffee & flaky pastries in bohemian cafes
Stunning mountain scenery at every turn
Overnight Flight1 night
Heidelberg Region2 nights - hotel info
Experience the allure of the Renaissance in Heidelberg
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport in Frankfurt after you clear customs and then accompanies you to your hotel in the Heidelberg region. The rest of the day is free to relax. Meet your fellow travelers at an included dinner this evening.
Wander the historic halls of Germany’s oldest university
Optional Excursion - Castle & Gardens of Schweztingen
This morning, take a guided tour of Heidelberg. You’ll visit the city’s rose-colored hilltop castle, the grounds of the oldest university in Germany and Heidelberg’s elegant market square. This afternoon is free to spend as you like. You may wish to join an optional tour of Schwetzingen Castle and its 172 acres of gardens, which combine French formal and English landscape gardening styles.
Castle & Gardens of Schweztingen $39* pp
Travel to Schwetzingen Castle and its internationally acclaimed gardens. A castle guide will lead you through the greenery. Spanning 178 acres, the spacious and ornate gardens welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and feature a unique combination of French and English landscaping styles. As you embark on your guided exploration of the castle, be sure to take in the sights of the exquisitely maintained compound. Before leaving, enjoy some free time for souvenir shopping.
Lucerne2 nights - hotel info
Cross the ancient Kapellbrücke and ascend soaring Mount Pilatus
Optional Excursion - Mount Pilatus
Join a local guide and get acquainted with this Alpine town. Stroll down narrow streets and across the Kapellbrücke, a covered bridge whose history dates back to medieval days. The murals lining its walls are nearly identical to those painted in the 14th century. Be on the lookout for the colorful hand-painted façades along the cobbled streets of the Old Town. You’ll also view the captivating Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument), a sandstone statue commemorating Swiss Guards slain in 1792. This afternoon, join an optional excursion up nearby Mount Pilatus via cable car for gorgeous views of the surrounding Alps.
Mount Pilatus $99* pp
This scenic excursion begins with a cruise on Lake Lucerne. After docking, ascend 7,000-foot Mount Pilatus on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. Legend holds that the mountain was named for Pontius Pilate, blown here by the devil after the Crucifixion. From the peak, the views of the Alps are stunning; on a clear day, you can see for 200 miles. Toward the end of your trip, you’ll return to the base of the mountain via gondola. Please note: The cruise and cogwheel railway only run from mid-May through October. During the winter months, this excursion includes the cable car ride only. If the cogwheel railway is unavailable, you'll enjoy lunch on the mountain.
Innsbruck1 night - hotel info
Take a jaunt through tiny Liechtenstein and explore age-old Innsbruck
Leaving Lucerne, travel into Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine principality dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Pass the royal family’s hilltop castle, still in use as a royal residence, as you visit Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz. Next, travel to Austria, arriving later in the day in Innsbruck. The site of two winter Olympics and capital of the Austrian Tyrol, Innsbruck is a mix of centuries-old royal splendor and modern allure. On a guided tour, you’ll see the famed Golden Roof and the Triumphbogen, a triumphal arch built by the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa to commemorate a royal marriage. Dinner is included tonight.
Munich2 nights - hotel info
Behind the Bavarian mountains awaits the retreat of “Mad” King Ludwig
Neuschwanstein, Nymphenburg Palace
Departing Innsbruck this morning, return to Germany. You’ll journey through the mountains of Bavaria to Neuschwanstein, the fairytale retreat of “Mad” King Ludwig. As you tour the castle, you’ll see many examples of the young king’s eclectic tastes. Within its chambers are a stalactite grotto, artifacts of all kinds and murals depicting Ludwig’s favorite scenes from Wagnerian operas. Arrive in Munich this afternoon for a guided tour of the city. A local guide introduces you to the landmarks of the cosmopolitan Bavarian capital. Follow the stately Ludwigstraße to the district of Schwabing, a favorite of students and artists, and on to the Olympic complex. You’ll also step inside Nymphenburg Palace, the summer home of the dukes, prince-electors and kings of Bavaria. Enjoy an included dinner this evening.
Prost! Raise your stein at Oktoberfest
Join thousands of beer-lovers from all over the world as you help celebrate Munich’s Oktoberfest. Today, you’ll enjoy special admission to one of the city’s largest beer tents. The tent also serves true Bavarian delicacies (not included) throughout the day to complement your drink.
Salzburg2 nights - hotel info
Sing along to the Sound of Music in Salzburg
Leaving Munich this morning, cross the border into Austria and continue to the charming city of Salzburg, where you’ll embark on a guided sightseeing tour. Later, stop in Getreidegaße for a tour of the Mozart House and a walk through the Mirabell Gardens. Dinner is included this evening.
Surround yourself with the sounds of Mozart of snowy alpine scenes
Optional Excursion - Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines
Optional Excursion - Mozart Concert & Dinner
Discover more of Salzburg on your own today. Alternatively, join our optional Eagle’s Nest & Salt Mines excursion for a look at the mines that brought Salzburg to prominence and a nearby mountaintop retreat built as a birthday present for Adolf Hiter. This evening, enjoy our optional Mozart Concert & Dinner excursion.
Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines $105* pp
Drive through the Bavarian Alps to the mountain village of Berchtesgaden, where you'll tour the 450-year-old salt mines that brought wealth to Bavaria and Salzburg. Continue to Obersalzberg, where a scenic bus ride along steep gorges offers gorgeous views of the snow-capped Alps. Here, you’ll visit the Eagle’s Nest, built as an Alpine retreat for Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday. Please note: The elevation of the Eagle’s Nest is approximately 4,500 feet, which may not be advisable for travelers with heart/lung problems or other altitude-related limitations. This optional is seasonal from mid-May through late October.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Mozart Concert & Dinner $115* pp
Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftstkellar, the oldest restaurant in Europe located within St. Peter's Abbey, for an evening of fine dining and Mozart. Mozart composed over 600 works in his short life, and tonight, you'll hear his masterpieces as you sample local delicacies. Let the music carry you late into the night.
Vienna3 nights - hotel info
Sip coffee, eat chocolate, repeat—indulge in the Viennese cafe culture
Transfer to Vienna today, stopping en route in Melk, where you’ll take a guided tour of the town’s Baroque abbey. Then, continue your drive through the Austrian countryside to Vienna, the city of he waltz, and enjoy an included dinner with your group.
Savor delightful, delicious Vienna in all of its imperial majesty
Optional Excursion - Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening
A local guide introduces you to Vienna this morning. Highlights include the Opera House, the majestic monuments of the Ringstraße and the Hofburg, the Habsburgs’ winter palace. Then, travel to Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its intricately designed gardens. Your afternoon is free for a stroll through the Stadtpark or a horse-drawn carriage ride to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This evening, opt to attend our Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening. At this optional evening event, you’ll take a ride on the Prater Ferris Wheel and dine at a local restaurant where you’ll enjoy wine made by the people serving dinner.
Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening $99* pp
After a brief drive, your first stop is Vienna's Prater Ferris Wheel. Take a breezy ride to the top, which offers a one-of-a-kind view of the city. Next, continue to the picturesque village of Grinzing. At a local restaurant, you'll indulge in a festive night of music and food. Dinner will feature dishes typical of traditional Austrian Heurigens, or wine taverns. During your meal, you'll have the chance to try some of the tavern's own locally made wine—the perfect addition to your cozy Old-World setting.
Cut a slice of Sachertorte or cruise the Danube to Bratislava
Optional Excursion - Bratislava
Enjoy a full day to yourself. You might wish to take a stroll through Vienna’s pedestrian zone, stopping at the Hotel Sacher for a taste of its world-famous Sachertorte, or view the elegant Lipizzaner horses in the Spanish Riding School. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Bratislava for a guided tour of the Slovakian capital.
Bratislava $95* pp
Walk through Bratislava’s Old Town on a guided tour of the Slovakian capital. Stroll along cobblestone streets in the shadow of Brastislavsky Hrad, the hilltop 18th-century castle overlooking the Old Town. Then, tour the famous Hall of Mirrors inside the pink Primates’ Palace, where Napoleon and the Austrian emperor signed the Peace of Pressburg of 1805. Lunch is included. Please note: Depending on the day of the week, you may visit St. Martin's Cathedral instead of the palace.
Extend Your Stay
Add a Budapest City Stay $329*
Truly a tale of two cities, Budapest is a merger of Buda and Pest, two towns separated by the river Danube. Now known as the Pearl of the Danube, Budapest is a peaceful yet progressive metropolis, offering plenty of shopping, as well as specialty Hungarian foods and wines.
Budapest2 nights - hotel info
Explore the city’s highs and lows, from Castle Hill to Heroes Square
Transfer to Budapest and check in to your hotel. A local guide shows off the major landmarks of both Buda and Pest. Trace the stormy history of this fiercely independent nation on your stop at Heroes Square. Tour the lavishly decorated interior of the Parliament building, modeled after London’s Houses of Parliament. Then, cross the Danube and arrive in Buda, where you’ll ascend imposing Castle Hill. The castle has witnessed several invasions, the most recent having occurred during World War II. After taking in the breathtaking views from Fisherman’s Bastion, visit the medieval Matthias Church, once the site of Hapsburg coronations.
Take a walk behind the Iron Curtain
Optional Excursion - Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain
During your free day in Budapest, continue your exploration of the city. You might choose to browse through the shops on Budapest’s sophisticated pedestrian shopping streets, take a short journey outside of the city to the Vadaskert (Game Park) or tour the Jewish Museum. You may also opt to explore Budapest’s communist legacy on our Walk Behind the Iron Curtain optional excursion.
Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain $69* pp
Discover the turbulent, tragic and heroic history of the communist period in Budapest on A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain. The first stop is the Parliament building, starting place of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, where damage from the Soviet invasion is still visible. Visit the nearby statue of Imre Nagy, Hungary’s Prime Minister during the revolution, who is an enduring symbol of freedom. Liberty Square is just a stroll away, home to the U.S. Embassy, a statue of Ronald Reagan and the only remaining monument to Communist troops. From St. Stephen’s Basilica, take the historical Metro Line 1 up the iconic Andrassy Ave. Stop for an included coffee amidst the the Neo-Renaissance splendor of Book Café, the regular meeting place of the intelligentsia during the Soviet occupation. End the day at the House of Terror, where you will take a guided tour through this chilling museum and moving monument to the victims of communism and fascism in Hungary.
Passport & Visa
This itinerary includes the following countries: Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the principality of Liechtenstein (on transfer), and Hungary (on extension). In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks associated with traveling on this tour. Be aware of high-altitude conditions in the region. The elevation of Mount Pilatus is 7,000 feet. Be sure to check with your health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Frankfurt and depart from Vienna (or Budapest on the extension). Included transportation on your tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. Munich’s transportation system (MVV) is topnotch, an all-inclusive combination of trams, buses, U-bahn (underground) and S-bahn (above ground). Purchase tickets from newspaper stands, vending machines or the drivers. Most of the major attractions lie within the inner-city blue zone. Vienna has one of Europe’s most efficient transportation systems. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk for S-bahn, U-bahn, tram and bus lines. The waiting time for trains and subways is usually no more than five to 10 minutes.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
In Austria, thick soups of paprika and onion, veal, beef and venison with cranberries are popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. Fish-lovers will find wild trout, roast carp and crayfish. Desserts are perhaps the most memorable including: strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts, soufflés and elegant chocolate cakes such as the world-famous Sachertorte. Swiss food, influenced by surrounding countries, is varied and sophisticated. The most famous local dish is fondue, made from molten cheese, flavored with wine, garlic and liquor, into which pieces of skewered bread are dipped. Raclette is another delicious cooked cheese dish, served with roasted or boiled potatoes, air-dried beef and pickled onions. Sausages, breaded veal fillets and freshwater fish are also popular. Swiss dairy products are among the world’s finest, and full-cream milk is the essential ingredient for the exceptionally good chocolate produced here. German food is hearty and substantial. Among the specialties are dumpling stews and sauerkraut cabbage, tasty thick sausages and smoked cheeses, dark breads and chocolate cakes. Bavaria produces some of the world’s purest beers, while white German wines are exceptionally good.
The euro (in Austria and Germany) and the Swiss franc are the currencies you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take credit cards, ATM/bank cards and traveler’s checks, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $1USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current currency rates in mind when tipping.
95.7% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Best Tour Guide & Bus Driver
Without a doubt, Constantine was the best tour director we have ever had. His expert knowledge, his organizational skills (particularly with 46 of us), and his overall enthusiasm helped make this a memorable trip. He made every destination exciting and fun. Our bus driver was also outstanding. He was patient, and even though, it was sometimes hard for him to understand what we were saying to him, he always kept a smile. He was able to maneuver into some very tight areas with expertise. Thanks for such a wonderful trip!
Constantine took great care of us.
This was my first time out of the continental USA and the first tour I have been on. I thought we had a great overview of the countries we went to. We had a nice variety of things to do. We would have liked to have more time in several cities but that is partly because we chose additional excursions during the free time. I'm VERY glad we went with a tour group this time because we did many more things than we would have if we had gone on our own. Constantine was knowledgeable and interesting. He did a great job of organizing events for the group and keeping us on time mostly. He had a big job because we were a large group.
Create your own reality
On this tour, my group and I were encouraged by a charismatic tour director by the name of Jurgean to create our own reality. He taught us to imagine and to walk through history with him as we toured the castles of Germany and Ausria. We also explored the peak of Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland, by ascending the mountain by cog railroad. Our boat ride across Lake Lucerne was absolutely beautiful., Definitely a memorabl experience. A highlight of this particular tour was a visit to the Salt Mines in Salzburg, Austria. Jurgean did a wonderful job of getting us "hooked on" this optional and it was definitely worth it. I would highly recommend it, it was so much fun. It was Disneyland in a cave. The whole group enjoyed it immensely. We walked the pages of history in Budapest, the parliament building is outstanding, and the House of Terror brought the Cold War to reality or us. Our last night of the tour, in Budapest,Jurgean arranged a dinner cruise for us on the Danube River! Bravo, and soon to be, Encore!!!
Down The Road
My wife and I had previously taken two tours w/Go Ahead: Sept. 2007 Italy Big "3" and Nov. 2010 Sicily. We totally enjoyed those trips. We regret to say that a number of changes to the format and protocol has altered our thinking about future trips. First of all, the brochure indicates wine and beer with the provided hotel dinners. We were disappointed to learn that there is now a limit of one glass with your meal. We think that is absurd!!! We also did not enjoy our arranged seating for the Oktoberfest, stuck away in a dark corner where it was difficult to grasp or enjoy the full impact of the music and hall experience. Another major criticism focuses on the introduction of Tour Director "Specials" which created a wave of confusion for most of the 46 or 47 persons on our tour. Another "new" introduction which really did not increase the overall pleasure of the tour. Some of us were never quite sure where the priorities of the Tour Director rested. Also, we believe the current reward program needs to be updated and enhanced.
Trip of a lifetime
This was a trip of a lifetime. In the time we had, we covered eight different cities, the culture, the history. Our tour director Constintine was outstanding, especially when taking the time out to give us very important, informative information pretaining to where we were going. Every detail was taken care of; baggage in our rooms, tickets, etc. I espcially liked the fact that Constantine made sure we were the first group of the day where ever we went, so to avoid the larger crowds. Overall, because of our large group of 47, which is unusual, everthing went smoothly. People were on time, which was amazing to me. One disappointing part of this trip was, towards the end of our trip, we had a dinner cruise, which I was given to believe would be just our group and that there would be music and dancing. But, instead, we were thrown together with another Go Ahead Group, that had just arrived; and had to hear their tour guide on the bus and on the boat. That was infuriating!!! Another disappointment were some of the hotels, which had MEAGER amenitities. No hair dryer, iron, soap. The shower cealing was very low in one of the hotels. Some of the meals were terrible too. But, overall, I wouild recommend this tour.
Best Tour Director
Four years ago when my wife and I took the "Tour through Spain" we were quite dsappointed in our Tour Director - not because she was not good at her job but she did not have the respect of some of the group. However, the Tour Director on the Germany/Austria Tour was quite the opposite. He set the tone early with a very informative Kick-off Meeting and stressed that people meet Timelines for leaving the Hotel, etc. He captured the respect of the group right there - I was impressed. This group was more than twice the size of the previous tour yet there were no issues with tardiness - the main thing my wife and I complained about last time. Well Done. Looking forward to our next tour.
Best group and Best Tour Director
Having never been on a tour of this type before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I certainly didn't think I'd be making friends that I want to stay in touch with! The travel arrangements were so easy -- great flights, good accommodations, great bus transportation -- it far exceeded my expectations. As for the sights - what can I say. The combination of places, sights, food, and history was so memorable. Jurgen is the Best Tour Director -- his always friendly personality, knowledge of the countries and languages, made the experience so pleasant. I loved the trip and can't wait to take another with GoAheadTours.
One word for Jurgen ... WOW!
Our Eastern Europe tour was truly amazing; however without our tour guide, Jurgen, and 43 of the best travel companions I'm sure it would not have been as enjoyable. 14 days was a good amount of time - we chose not to take the extension to Budapest, although I understand it was fabulous. The amazing sights and scenery require NO review - it was truly spectacular as to be expected. In terms of activities, food and hotel accommodations - no complaints. Some were better than others, but everything was more than we expected!! My personal favorites of the trip: Oktoberfest in Munich, Lucerne Switzerland, Salzburg! We were also appreciative of the extra effort to accommodate varying arrival times - instead of sitting around for 3 hours at the airport waiting for other travelers to arrive, Jurgen\GoAhead made arrangements for a small group of us to have a custom tour of Frankfurt! GoAhead should consider adding that to their regular itinerary!
This trip was full of history, fun and we had the best tour director Constantin. This man was organized, passionate about his work and fun all at the same time. I would certainly recommend this trip to anyone that is active. I love that we had a choice of walking to certain areas. The only downfall was a couple of hotels were a bit far too do some sightseeing during our free time. (Munich, Manheim) Thank you Go Ahead, this is exactly the kind of trip I was hoping for.
trip of a lifetime
To begin with, the flight was late by 2 hours, but there was a representative there to make sure I got to the right place at the right time, lol. The tour bus had apparently left so travelled to Mannheim via Taxi. A good way to go, at least i did not get lost. Each step of the way was truly remarkable, the people I met on the tour were awesome. I shall always remember each and every one of them. They helped me along the way, either with a smile, a pat on the back, encouragement, laughter, and above all friendship. I truly believe that , a friend is a friend where ever you may be , a friend is a friend between you and me. that is how it worked out, we became friends for a moment in time, but, I think it will be along time before any of us forget this remarkable trip. The walking was unbelievabel, but, good for the body and mind. The churches, the hotels, the scenery, the food, everything was well worth this trip. If I were able to remember what I wote for my review I would add everything. It is hightly rec ommended that people see this part of the world, no matter what, you will be glad that you did. I will add all of the 1978 pictures I took of the trip, beleive me they are well worth seeing. Gina Willman