Germany, Switzerland & Austria14 days
96.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Experience rich culture, impressive architecture and culinary delights against a backdrop of soaring alpine peaks. These three countries share a language and a border, but their appeals are varied. In each destination, you’ll discover delightfully distinct styles and substance, from the gothic spires of Heidelberg to the Art Nouveau elegance of Vienna. Swiss mountains and Bavarian forest, German beer and Austrian wine—this tantalizing trio has something for everyone.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
12 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 6 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Towering castles in Heidelberg & Neuschwanstein
Lakeside villages & serene alpine peaks
The meeting of old & new in Innsbruck
Wheat beer & white sausages in Munich
Salzburg’s musical legacy, from Mozart to Maria
Vienna’s Art Nouveau architecture
Overnight Flight1 night
Heidelberg Region2 nights - hotel info
Step back in time to renaissance Heidelberg
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport in Frankfurt after you clear customs and then assists you with the transfer 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.
Explore the red-roofed university town once home to Goethe
Optional Excursion - Castle & Gardens of Schweztingen
This morning, enjoy 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 at leisure. 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. Please note: The castle gardens are closed from October 14 through March 25.
Lucerne2 nights - hotel info
Traverse the mysterious Black Forest of fairytale fame
Journey to the thundering Rhine Falls and through the Black Forest, the darkly mysterious setting for many of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales. Cross later into Switzerland to arrive in Lucerne. Dinner is included this evening.
Wander the cobblestone streets of lovely Lucerne
Optional Excursion - Mount Pilatus
A professional local guide acquaints you 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 the Swiss Guards slain in the 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, return 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 Golden Roof with its 2,657 gold shingles and the Triumphbogen, built during the imperial Hapsburg reign to commemorate a royal marriage. Dinner is included tonight.
Munich2 nights - hotel info
Head to the historic retreat of “Mad” King Ludwig
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 in time for an included dinner.
Drop into Munich for grand palaces and world-class beer
Optional Excursion - Dachau
This morning, a local guide introduces you to the landmarks of Munich. 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. This afternoon, consider joining an optional excursion to the former concentration camp of Dachau, now a memorial museum.
Dachau $25* pp
Once a typical German town, Dachau served as the first Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Visit this somber site, which has since been transformed into a Holocaust memorial museum that serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. An audio guide will provide the narrative for your viewing of Dachau's poignant exhibits, which are echoed by the memorials to the victims that adorn the grounds.
Salzburg2 nights - hotel info
Uncover Salzburg’s magnificent churches and musical history
Mozart House, Mirabell Gardens
Leaving Munich this morning, cross the border into Austria and continue to the charming city of Salzburg. An included sightseeing tour introduces you to the city. 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 or scenes of snowy peaks
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 take a gilded elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest, an Alpine retreat built for Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday. Please note: The elevation of the Eagle’s Nest is approximately 5,500 feet, which may not be advisable for travelers with heart/lung problems or other altitude-related limitations. This excursion is seasonal from mid-May through late October.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Mozart Concert & Dinner $119* pp
Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, 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. Please note: This excursion requires advanced reservations and payment at least 20 days prior to departure.
Vienna3 nights - hotel info
Meander through a monastery on your way to the City of Waltz
Transfer to Vienna today, stopping en route in Melk, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the town’s Baroque abbey. Then continue your drive through the Austrian countryside to Vienna, the city of the waltz and enjoy an included dinner with your group. After hotel check-in, spend the rest of the day exploring Vienna on your own. Dinner is included tonight.
Soak up the Old World ambiance and modern vibrancy of Vienna
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, food and entertainment. 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.
You simply can’t leave this city without sampling the Sachertorte
Optional Excursion - Bratislava
Enjoy today at leisure. 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 Budapest City Stay $349*
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. This afternoon, an included sightseeing tour highlights 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 on London’s Houses of Parliament. Then cross the Danube and arrive in Buda, where you will ascend imposing Castle Hill. 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, you might browse through the shops on Budapest’s sophisticated pedestrian shopping streets, 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 a Walk Behind the Iron Curtain.
Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain $69* pp
Discover the turbulent, tragic and heroic history of the communist period in Budapest on today’s excursion. Your guided sightseeing tour passes the Parliament building, which was the starting place of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and still shows signs of damage from the Soviet invasion. 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 and piece of cake 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.
96.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
My BUCKET LIST trip!
This was the best tour I've ever been on -- it not only fulfilled a long held bucket list item (to actually see and visit Neuschwanstein Castle -- check out the photo of me heading up to see MY CASTLE), but also each day brought new and exciting joys for me and for all the other folks on the tour. Everyone felt the same way I did. Much of the credit for such a successful tour goes to our fabulous tour director, Paula whose knowledge and background information was always interesting, entertaining, and extremely invaluable to us all. After the tour, I felt educated about a part of the world I'd always dreamed of seeing, like Salzburg, Vienna, and "my castle" in Bavaria. However I was also treated to new places like the fabulous city of Lucerne, in Switzerland and the amazing trip up Mt. Pilatus or the highly interesting trip under the mountain to the salt mines outside of Salzburg on our way to the Eagle's Nest. I can't forget the fabulous optional evening to the winery dinner in the Vienna Woods -- that was an evening I shall never forget -- great local food, live music from wandering musicians, all of us singing along, and our own lovely couple dancing in the aisle!! ALL The optional trips were absolutely worth the extra money as was the extension to Budapest. I never even thought of visiting Budapest before, but what a treat this city is! Cosmopolitan and beautiful, this is an extension not to be missed! Several of us ended our tour with a dinner cruise on the Danube River -- an elegant way to end such a fabulous trip. The choice of local guides was also very helpful, and I really enjoyed each of us having our own head set throughout the entire tour, instead of checking them in and out after each guided tour. This was a Great improvement for the tour. Thanks to Go Ahead for all the planning, and to our charming bus driver, Leonardo, (from Italy) for such safe driving and cheerful presence. I especially want to send huge amounts of kudos to our PAULA for being so charming, caring and all around awesome! She always seemed to have delightful 'treats' for us to do or visit each day. I tell you, Paula ROCKS!!!
Germany, Switzerland & Austria
Great, fabulous, best money we have ever spent on a vacation. We had the best time, great food, great tours and made many wonderful friends. Can't wait to take another Goahead Tour in the future. Paula was a great guide and she added a little side tour (with a small cost to us) that was a great experience; a boat ride down the Danube River and a tour of wine vineyards via a "train pulled by a tractor" with wine waiting for us and Leonardo our bus driver can drive anywhere!!!!!! GREAT COMPANY!!! Thanks!!!!
We had a wonderful time on this tour - great pace, great sites, and a terrific tour director. Nice variety of places visited. I highly recommend signing up for the excursions.
Great tour of beautiful Alps Region
The tour included several spectacularly beautiful places. Add to that visits to many historical sites, knowledgeable local guides, skillful coach drivers, and a fantastic tour director and you have all the makings of a wonderful tour. Our accommodations were quite good and well-located.
Our tour director, Jurgen, and our bus driver, Casimir, were excellent in their respective positions on the tour. All was made easy and effortless to fully enjoy all that was offered. This is an outstanding tour, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
My First GoAhead Tour, Not my Last
This was my first tour. There were many in our group that were on their 3 or 4th tour with GoAhead. I understand why. I would recommend this tour. Nicole, the Customer Service Rep in in the Boston Office was very helpful and kind with all my questions and concerns. Our tour Director, Jürgen was organized, informative and fun. He did everything he could to ensure we all had a great time and lots of laughs. The hotels were nice and clean, the staff were friendly and helpful. The hotel surpassed my expectations. The tours were informative and the churches and castles were beautiful. There is enough free time to visit any places you missed. I only wish we had more time in Innsbruck. My favorite of all the places we visited. It would have been nice to have the hotel in the city center due to our short stay there. However, the hotel, although not in the city center was very nice. We attended all the optional tours. We were please with all of them except Bratislava. It just couldn't compare with the other optional tours. But that is just my opinion. I would definitely take another Go Ahead Tour and request Jürgen as a tour director. He really helped make the tour a pleasant experience.
Best Tour I've Done
The hotels and food served to us were very good. The tour director was excellent. He was knowledgeable, helpful, and had a fine sense of humor. The city guides were also excellent. There was enough free time to explore on our own. This was my first tour with Go Ahead, although I've done several with EF, and I would travel with them again.
on the road
Had a nice tour with good weather 13 out of 14 days. Good tour guide, Jourgen, was helpful in various ways. The people on the tour were interesting and a joy to be with. Hotels were great. We were in some of the cities on Sunday when the stores were closed and traveling on days that the stores were open. Would be better if this could be adjusted. Also the bus and drivers were from Poland. The bus had mechanical troubles, and the drivers, which we had three, were from Poland and did not speak any of the languages that the tour guide spoke. Communication was a problem between the drivers and the tour guide. One driver took the bus back to Poland when it broke down, another driver left the tour because his wife was having a baby, and the third driver lasted the last three days of the tour. The first driver understandably took the bus back to Poland but the second driver should never have been assigned the tour with his wife so close to delivery.
The tour was great, but I am still extremely upset that I was not ticketed on my return flight. My daughter was able to pre-check in with Austrian Airline for herself and two other passengers. I could not pre-check in. The message stated I had to check in at the gate. This meant I could not sit with my daughter, because someone had taken the seat next to her. The tour director would not help, so my daughter went to the reception desk at the hotel. She was told I had been singled out by TSA. That wasn't true. When we got to the check-in, I was informed I was not ticketed! I had my eticket info, but was not ticketed. I took forever at the gate to figure out the problem and many people had to wait because of this dilemma as we were in the disabled check-in due to my daughter's disability. It would have been nice to sit with m daughter on the plane. The tour director apologized for not helping.
Great trip & itinerary
This trip was great from start to finish. It has an awesome itinerary, thoughtfully assembled to include all of the most important and interesting sights. It was not rushed, but kept everyone moving at a good pace. It was hard to resist all of the optional excursions (so we didn't!), which added so much to the tour. Our Director, Paul, even put together some extra side trips to fill any down-time. But you always have the option to take it easy and wander/shop or relax. Bus stopped every two hours for bathroom breaks and snacks. This was our first time in Europe, and it was glorious! Paul was so knowledgeable about the history of the region that it educated us and made it so much more interesting. I would highly recommend this tour and treat yourself to some or all of the optional excursions. They are well worth it. One caveat: be sure to check the weather forecast right before you leave. We had unseasonably warm weather (for June), so I had not packed appropriately. Also, the A/C in the hotels was not good and in one case there was none - but in Go Ahead's defense, they did warn us about that, in advance, in the literature. Be ready for great old architecture, stunning churches, grandiose palaces, castles, the unforgettable Alps, lakes, beautiful scenery etc. etc. I could go on and on. Better yet - YOU should go and see for yourself!