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Germany, Switzerland &...

Germany, Switzerland & Austria

14 days |  16 days with Budapest extension
14 days |  16 days with Budapest extension
Group size1538 travelers

4.6 out of 5 stars

Physical activity
people standing on the flower lined chapel bridge in lucerne switzerland
people eating at restaurants outside along the street in vienna austria
a hand holding up a large pretzel
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Discover three Central European nations, from Germany’s wild forests to Austria’s urbane capital.

They may share a border (and abundant elegance), but Germany, Switzerland, and Austria all dazzle in their own way. On this guided trip, you’ll encounter delightfully distinct style and substance at each stop: Gothic spires keeping watch over red-tiled roofs in Heidelberg, Germany; Art Nouveau buildings flanking sophisticated streets in Vienna, Austria; and more. From the Swiss Alps to the Bavarian Forest, this tour truly has something for everyone—and by taking up the optional extension to Budapest, you can add even more history, and a shot of Magyar magic, to the mix.

Special departures of this itinerary

Oktoberfest     Christmas Markets     New Year's Eve

Your tour package includes

  • 12 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 12 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners with beer or wine
  • 8 sightseeing tours
  • Expert Tour Director & local guides
Read more

Included highlights

  • Heidelberg Castle
  • The Black Forest
  • Kapellbrücke
  • Liechtenstein
  • Nymphenburg Palace
Read more
Start planning today

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Frankfurt today.

Heidelberg Region2 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Frankfurt & transfer to the Heidelberg Region
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Willkommen in Deutschland! After landing in Frankfurt, transfer to your hotel in the Heidelberg Region and settle in for the day. Then, enjoy a welcome dinner in good company as you get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers. Raise your glass of beer or wine and get excited for the days to come.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Heidelberg
Included meal: Breakfast

Cradled by the River Neckar and the Odenwald mountain range, the university town of Heidelberg is famous for its Romantic aesthetics, Baroque architecture, and artistic heritage. Today, embark on a guided tour and fall for the charm of this UNESCO City of Literature.

  • Wander into the heart of Heidelberg’s Baroque Old Town and take in the sights and sounds of the Marktplatz—the elegant Market Square, one of the oldest plazas in the city.
  • Explore the campus of Heidelberg University. Founded in 1386, it’s the oldest university in Germany and one of the oldest in the world, with the reputation to match. Among its alumni: Dmitri Mendeleev, the creator of the modern periodic table of elements; Robert Schumann, the famous classical composer; and Wilhelm Wundt, one of the “fathers” of modern psychology.
  • Ride a funicular up to the Renaissance-era Heidelberg Castle. Protecting the city below from its perch on the slopes of the Königstuhl, this rose-colored ruin ranks among the area’s most iconic features.

Want to see more of the region’s royal past? Add an afternoon outing to your schedule and strike out for the town of Schwetzingen, home to an aristocratic summer residence. Or, use your free time in Heidelberg to wander and ponder on the Philosopher’s Walk—a scenic path along the riverbank once frequented by local professors and thinkers.

Castle & Gardens of Schwetzingen

From $69 per person

Swiss Alps2 nights
Day 4: Swiss Alps via Rhine Falls & the Black Forest
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leave Heidelberg and make your way to the Swiss Alps through the fabled Black Forest, a wooded mountain range that provided the backdrop for many of the Brothers Grimm’s folktales. En route, stop at the thundering Rhine Falls—the most powerful cascade in all of Europe. After arriving at your hotel, get situated before reuniting with your group for an included dinner, served with beer or wine.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Lucerne
Included meal: Breakfast

Set out into lakeside Lucerne (one of Switzerland’s most populated cities) for a guided sightseeing tour and enjoy a taste of Alpine life—complete with clear views of Pilatus, Rigi, and the rugged ridges of other neighboring mountains.

  • View the Lion Monument, a tribute to the Swiss Guards who sacrificed their lives in Paris during the French Revolution.
  • Pass the hand-painted facades that line the cobbled streets of the Old Town—the traditional core of the city that dates to medieval times.
  • Cross the famous wooden Kapellbrücke (say it “ka-PELL-broo-kuh”), a 14th-century covered bridge that spans the Reuss River, and view the adjacent Water Tower. Octagonal in shape and made of stone—with a complicated past as a sentinel’s post, state treasury, and prison—it predates the Kapellbrücke by roughly 100 years.
  • See the Jesuit Church, the first large Baroque building of its kind to be built north of the Alps in Switzerland.

If you’d like, add an afternoon journey to the top of Mount Pilatus and explore Lucerne’s surroundings by ferry, cogwheel railway, and cable car. Alternatively, hang back in town and treat yourself to some rösti: Pronounced “REU-shtee,” this dish centers on grated, fried potatoes—kind of like a Swiss hash brown. Top it with eggs or sausage to elevate it from a satisfying snack to a hearty meal.

Mount Pilatus

From $135 per person

Austrian Alps1 night
Day 6: Austrian Alps via Liechtenstein & Innsbruck
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Cross into Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine principality that dates to the Holy Roman Empire. (And we mean tiny: With a population of just under 40,000 people, it’s the sixth-smallest nation in the world.) Visit the capital of Vaduz and pass the royal family’s namesake castle. Perched atop a hill, it has watched over the region since the 12th century and serves as the royal residence to this day.

After getting your passport stamped, continue to Innsbruck—capital of the Austrian state of Tyrol and site of two Winter Olympics—where you’ll hop off your bus for a walking tour with a local guide.

  • Venture into the Old Town for a glimpse of two local legends: the Goldenes Dachl (the Golden Roof, covered in over 2,600 gilded copper tiles) and the Stadtturm (the City Tower, a 150-foot Gothic sentry post).
  • Pass the Hofburg and walk its cobblestoned courtyard. Prized for its architectural design, this former Habsburg palace is one of the most important cultural sites in all of Austria.
  • Enter the Baroque Cathedral of St. James, an 18th-century structure that houses Maria Hilf (Mary of Succor), one of the most venerated works of Marian art in the Christian world.

From there, travel to the Austrian Alps, where you’ll sit down for an included dinner, served with beer or wine.

Munich2 nights
Day 7: Transfer to Munich
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Pass through the Bavarian Alps, a range of limestone mountains and valleys furrowed by retreating glaciers during the last ice age. Amid this expanse of rocky peaks and alpine forests, you’ll take a slight detour.

  • Pause for photos of Neuschwanstein Castle’s mix of Gothic, Romanesque, and Byzantine architecture, and marvel at the fairytale retreat of Ludwig II—the 19th-century king deemed “mad” for his unrestrained patronage of the arts.
  • Revel in scenic views of the Alps as you relax and explore during your free time, or grab lunch in Schwangau, the town below Neuschwanstein.
  • Embark on a guided tour of a nearby Bavarian castle—yet another royal residence with close ties to Mad King Ludwig.

Then, continue to Munich and sit down for dinner, served with beer or wine.

Please note: Depending on your departure date and booking availability, you’ll enter either Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau Castle, or Linderhof Palace.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Munich
Included meal: Breakfast

Today, embark on a guided tour of Munich. Founded in the 12th century and boasting traditional and cosmopolitan appeal, the capital of Bavaria is the third-largest city in all of Germany. It’s also home to the original Oktoberfest—a massive celebration that, to this day, remains the biggest beer festival in the world.

  • Travel past the 18th-century Englischer Garten—a gargantuan urban park that counts a Japanese teahouse and an open-air, Greek-style temple among its many monuments—and the fashionable Schwabing district, formerly home to Munich’s bohemian residents.
  • Enter Nymphenburg Palace, the Baroque home to past Bavarian royalty, and walk through its elaborately carved halls.
  • Walk from Odeonsplatz—Munich’s large central square, named after an adjacent former concert hall—through the well-manicured grounds of the Hofgarten to view the Residenz, once home to the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria.
  • Explore Marienplatz, Munich’s medieval heart, and see the famed Glockenspiel clock. Maybe you’ll catch it as it chimes!

If you choose, join your group on an outing to Dachau—the former site of a notorious Nazi concentration camp—and gain a sobering perspective on one of humanity’s darkest eras. If you’d prefer to stay behind, use the rest of your day at your leisure—perhaps sipping a pint of local ale at a biergarten.


From $40 per person

Salzburg2 nights
Day 9: Transfer to Salzburg & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Depart Munich and head to Salzburg, Austria, a city famed for its churches and musical history. Upon arrival, a guide will lead you on a walking tour of its Old Town. Known locally as the Alstadt, Salzburg’s historic core has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, honoring its legacy as the confluence of Italian and German culture.

  • Pass by the University of Salzburg—an institution of higher learning first established in 1622—and St. Peter’s Abbey. Operating in some form or another since 696, it’s the oldest continuously running monastery in German-speaking Europe.
  • See a trio of famous squares: the Kapitelplatz, former site of the Cathedral Abbey; Residenzplatz, once home of the Price-Archbishops of Salzburg; and Alter Markt, where the city’s weekly market used to set up shop.
  • Walk by the dashing yellow facade of the Mozarts Geburtshaus, the birthplace and childhood home of the virtuosic composer himself.
  • Enter the richly ornamented Salzburg Cathedral. Although the current Baroque structure was built in the 17th century, the building’s roots go all the way back to 774, when Saint Rupert founded the church atop the remains of an old Roman town.

This evening, sit down with your group for an included dinner, served with beer or wine.

Day 10: Free day in Salzburg
Included meal: Breakfast

A pair of outings await you today. For a helping of World War II history, set against the backdrop of a quaint mountain village, strike out for Berchtesgaden. For a classy evening of fine dining and classical music, head to St. Peter Stiftskeller. Add one, add both, or take the day for yourself and roam about more of the Altstadt at your leisure.

Please note: The Berchtesgaden excursions are seasonal. The Eagle’s Nest & Salt Mines trip runs mid-May–September, and the Berchtesgaden: Salt Mines & Village Visit outing runs January–April and November–December.

Mozart Concert & Dinner

From $149 per person

Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines

From $135 per person

Berchtesgaden: Salt Mines & Village Visit

From $85 per person

Vienna3 nights
Day 11: Vienna via Melk Abbey
Included meal: Breakfast

Travel east to the Austrian capital of Vienna, stopping along the way in the little town of Melk for a guided tour of its Benedictine abbey. Built up over the centuries following its foundation in 1089, this mammoth monastery typifies the Baroque style and offers immaculate views of the Wachau Valley—itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its pavilion, library, and chapel, then continue your journey through the Danube River Basin. Arrive in Vienna, unpack, and prepare for the next day’s sightseeing.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Vienna
Included meal: Breakfast

Coffeehouse culture. The Age of Empires. Symphonies and orchestras. Vienna has influenced world affairs for centuries. Today, you’ll enjoy the best of “The City of Dreams” on a guided sightseeing tour.

  • Step inside Belvedere Palace, home to the world’s largest collection of paintings by artist Gustav Klimt, and admire acre upon acre of impressive gardens.
  • Travel down the tree-canopied paths of the Ringstrasse—the gorgeous Ring Road that encircles Vienna’s Old Town—passing the Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna State Opera, and Kunsthistorisches Museum as you go.
  • See the grand Hofburg palace. Once the seat of the Habsburg dynasty, it now serves as the official residence and office of the president of Austria.

To bookend your day with some sweet relaxation (and a glass or two of wine), take up tonight’s outing to a heuriger—a traditional Austrian tavern. Or, spend your evening strolling Vienna’s beautiful boulevards at your own pace.

Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening

From $119 per person

Day 13: Free day in Vienna
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Squeeze another country into your scrapbook on today’s optional cruise to Bratislava, Slovakia. Or, indulge in a typical Viennese pastime: whiling the hours away, newspaper in hand, at one of the city’s many coffeehouses.

This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner, served with beer or wine, as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

Danube River Cruise & Bratislava

From $129 per person

Flight Home
Day 14: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Interested in exploring another UNESCO World Heritage Site—home to the second-largest synagogue and third-largest parliament building on Earth? Continue to Budapest, Hungary, on this trip’s extension.

Extension to Budapest
A little farther down the Danube, the Hungarian capital of Budapest straddles the famous river’s banks. Its hearty cuisine and profound history have enraptured generations of travelers—and after exploring the city on this tour’s extension, you’ll be able to count yourself as part of that lucky group.
Budapest2 nights
Day 14: Transfer to Budapest & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Travel to Budapest today, then discover the major landmarks of both sides of the city—Buda and Pest, each originally independent towns—with a local guide.

  • Trace this nation’s stormy past at Heroes’ Square, adorned with statues of great leaders and other symbolic figures.
  • Tour the lavish interior of the Hungarian State Opera House. If you’re wondering how to best define “opulence,” you’ll find it in the auditorium: Rich golds and crimsons carry the eye to statues symbolizing operatic voices and the virtues, all watched over by delicately painted murals.
  • Cross the Danube and ascend Castle Hill. Topped by the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle, this outcrop was the historic home of the Hungarian Kings for more than 800 years, until the title was dissolved after World War I.
  • Bask in breathtaking views of the city from the Neo-Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion, so named for the band of fisherfolk who guarded this part of an old castle’s walls.
  • Visit the medieval Matthias Church, once the site of Hungarian and Habsburg coronations.

Enjoy a free evening in Budapest and maybe visit one of the city’s famous ruin bars—abandoned buildings that now host quirkily decorated bars.

Day 15: Free day in Budapest
Included meal: Breakfast

If you want to spend a few hours delving into Budapest’s history under the Communist regime, tack today’s excursion onto your itinerary. Alternatively, use your free day to soak away your stresses in one of the city’s popular thermal baths.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink and celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain

From $99 per person

Flight Home
Day 16: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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4.6 out of 5 stars

Overall rating 4.6 out of 5

Based on 600 authentic traveler reviews
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    3 out of 5 stars

    Tour Review
    6/9/24 by 1st-time traveler Rosemarie

    Our tour itself through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria was wonderful! So much to learn and interesting places to visit. I did not enjoy the dinner meals that were part of the tour. The food was bland and unpleasant. We had much better options when we were on our own for food. The other negative p...

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    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 7/9/24

    Thank you for your review and your feedback. All o...

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    5 out of 5 stars

    Best trip
    6/18/24 by 1st-time traveler Suzy

    So well organized…. Everything was perfect

    4 out of 5 stars

    4/16/24 by 5th-time traveler Antoinette
    Show more reviews

    Traveler photos

    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Leonardo Mannheim City Center
    Leonardo Mannheim City Center

    This comfortable hotel is located in the Mannheim city center. Guests enjoy a pool, restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Nearby, you’ll find Schloss Mannheim, ...

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    Hotel Edelmanns
    Hotel Edelmanns

    This stylish hotel is located in the Austrian Alps town of Tirol, just outside of Innsbruck. Guests enjoy the sauna, fitness center, and impressive ba...

    Read more +
    Hotel Bellevue-Terminus
    Hotel Bellevue-Terminus

    This urban hotel is located in Engelberg. Guests enjoy a restaurant, cafe, and lounge. Nearby, you’ll find Engelberg Abbey, Eugenisee Lake, and views ...

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    Holiday Inn Munich City Centre
    Holiday Inn Munich City Centre

    This centrally-located hotel is located in the heart of Munich. Guests enjoy the fitness center, Finnish style sauna, and an on-site restaurant. Nearb...

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    Arcotel Castellani
    Arcotel Castellani

    This contemporary hotel is located in Salzburg city center. Guests enjoy the large garden, fitness center, and restaurant. Nearby, you'll find the Sal...

    Read more +
    MAXX by Steigenberger Hotel Vienna
    MAXX by Steigenberger Hotel Vienna

    This convenient hotel is located in the city center of Vienna, Austria. Guests enjoy the fitness area, on-site bar and restaurant, and spa. Nearby you...

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    Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Center
    Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Center

    This comfortable hotel is in Budapest's city center. Guests enjoy the on-site bistro, spacious rooms, and on-site coffee house. Nearby you'll find the...

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