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Christmas Traditions in Austria and Germany: A Feast for the Senses

Program Number: 17164RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/9/2015 - 12/20/2015; 12/1/2016 - 12/12/2016; 12/8/2016 - 12/19/2016;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Austria/Germany
Price starting at: $3,175.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays
Meals: 23; 10 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

You pass a wooden stall and the spicy aroma of mulled wine fills the air; a few steps farther and it is the scent of warm gingerbread floating out the door of an old-fashioned bakery that makes your mouth water. In the world-famous Christmas markets of Vienna, Salzburg and Munich, the smells and the sights are as wonderful as the tastes and sounds. Experience the beloved holiday customs of Central Europe as you stroll among the artisans selling hand-crafted decorations, candles and toys at the markets and enjoy magical Advent celebrations and joyful music.


• Enjoy a festive Advent evening at a private farmhouse in the Salzburg countryside.
• Explore Vienna’s traditional Christmas market on the Rathausplatz, sampling Sauerkraut and sausage, roasted chestnuts and hot punch.
• At St. Florian's Abbey, admire impressive Baroque architecture and attend a special concert performed on the Bruckner organ.

Activity Particulars

Walking and standing for up to 2.5 hours during field trips, sometimes twice per day, mostly on downtown city streets with cobblestones.

Date Specific Information

12-9-2015, 12-1-2016, 12-8-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Vienna (Austria), 4 nights; Salzburg, 3 nights; Munich (Germany), 3 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Vienna (Austria)
4 nights

Wander the narrow granite alleyways and courtyards of Vienna’s authentic Spittelberg neighborhood Christmas market. Gather around a traditional Austrian Advent wreath to hear about the stories and customs connected with this season in Central Europe. Learn about the great musicians of the Vienna Classic period, Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, in a lecture accompanied by selected works.

Days 6-8
Coach to Salzburg
3 nights

Explore Salzburg’s baroque “Old Town,” festively decorated for the holiday season, and the Christmas market that has been held in the shadows of the Salzburg Cathedral since 1491. Field trips take you to Mozart’s birthplace, Hohensalzburg Fortress and Kaffee Furst, the shop where Paul Furst created the famous Mozart chocolates. Visit the tiny village of Oberndorf, where “Silent Night” was first performed in 1818.

Days 9-12
Coach to Munich (Germany)
3 nights

Discover the Christmas market at Munich’s Marienplatz, or central square, the largest in the region and one of the oldest with roots in the 14th century. Learn about Bavarian Advent traditions and taste local delicacies as a local expert takes you off the beaten bath in the Old Town. Step into the Alte Pinakothek, Munich’s most important art museum, to admire the masterpieces housed in the special cabinet galleries.

Vienna: Stylish four-star hotel located between city center and U.N. buildings. Salzburg: Four-star hotel located near Mirabell Castle. Munich: Comfortable hotel located in the city center.
Meals and Lodgings
   Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
  Vienna, Austria 4 nights
   Hotel Elefant
  Salzburg, Austria 3 nights
   Carat Hotel Munich
  Munich, Germany 3 nights
 Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle features a modern, stylish building that is ideally located between the city center and the United Nations buildings. Close to the banks of the Danube, the hotel is within walking distance of the Danube Island, and is a 5-minute subway ride from the Old Town.
  Contact info: Engerthstraße 173-175
Vienna,  A 1020 Austria
phone: +43 1 213 15 0
  Room amenities: Each room has cable television, a mini bar, safe box, free wireless Internet, trouser-press and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a café with access to the garden, restaurant, lounge, laundry services, fax machine, Internet access with printer on the 1st floor, free wireless Internet in the rooms and pay phones.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Elefant
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Elefant is located in the city center of Salzburg on one of the most traditional streets within the pedestrian zone in the Old Town. Run by the 4th generation of the Mayr family and part of the Best Western group, Hotel Elefant is housed in an 800-year-old former palace and offers the amenities of an international 4-star hotel. It is within walking distance of Getreidegasse, Mozart's birthplace, the Cathedral, Archbishops Residence and festival halls.
  Contact info: Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 4
Salzburg,  A 5020 Austria
phone: +43 662 84 33 97
  Room amenities: Each room has air conditioning, radio, hair dryer, cable television, mini bar, safe, telephone and free wireless Internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a breakfast room, 24-hour front desk, television room, safe, free wireless Internet access in the rooms and air conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Carat Hotel Munich
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Carat Hotel Munich is located in the city center, close to Marienplatz and the main railway station. The pedestrian zone and many places of interest can all be accessed easily on foot. The Sendlinger Tor underground station is only 200 meters from the hotel, with connections to the following locations; Main railway station: 2 minutes, Marienplatz: 2 minutes, Olympic center: 13 minutes, New Exhibition Center/ICM: 18 minutes, airport: 45 minutes.
  Contact info: Lindwurmstrasse 13
Munich,  D-80337 Germany
phone: +49 89 230 380
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, mini bar, wireless LAN (for a fee) and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, 24-hour front desk, newspapers, terrace, safety deposit box, room service, laundry and dry cleaning services, wireless Internet hotspot in public areas (free of charge) and Internet access with printing facility in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance in making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 800-241-1404
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Vienna, Austria. 4:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle that night.
  End of Program:
Munich, Germany. Following breakfast at the hotel. You will be staying at Carat Hotel Munich the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: There are good train and bus connections to Vienna and Munich from many European cities.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Vienna
  Nearest highway: Sudautobahn motorway (A2), Ostautobahn motorway (A4), Donauuferautobahn motorway (A22)
  Nearest airport:  Schwechat Vienna Airport.
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Costs approx. 38 Euro and takes approx. 30 minutes. Or, take the CAT City Airport Train or the S-Bahn to "Wien Mitte." Tickets are 10 Euro. From Wien Mitte take the subway U4 direction Heiligenstadt, and at Schwedenplatz, change to U1 direction Leopoldau to stop Vorgartenstrasse. Walk 3 blocks to the hotel. Takes 45 minutes to an hour.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Munich
  Nearest highway: A8 Motorway , A9 Motorway
  Nearest airport:  Franz Josef Strauss Airport Munich
  Transportation from site: Take a taxi from Munich center to the airport (45 minutes and costs 45 Euro). Or, take the subway U-Bahn line 3 or 6 to Marienplatz, change to S-Bahn to the airport (about 1 hour, costs 10 Euro).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Wednesday, December 9)
 In Transit: International overnight flight to Vienna.

Day 2: Arrival and Introduction to Vienna
(Thursday, December 10)
 Afternoon: Arrival at Vienna Schwechat International airport (VIE). Time to settle in. Late afternoon: Introduction to the program / Group presentation. Our first acquaintance with the Austrian capital is on a guided excursion by bus along the Vienna Ring Boulevard. It was back in the 19th century that Emperor Franz Joseph decreed the demolition of Vienna's medieval fortifications and ramparts to make room for the city's expansion. This "Boulevard of Splendor" is lined with many of the most important political and cultural institutions such as Parliament and Town Hall, Royal Palace, the prestigious State Opera and Burgtheater, University and museums. We will stop at the classic Christmas market on the Rathausplatz, with the cathedral-like City Hall, Burgtheater and Parliament serving as a most stunning backdrop.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Cultural Vienna / Spittelberg Christmas Market
(Friday, December 11)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: A morning lecture introduces us to Cultural Vienna. Next, we will visit the Museum of Fine Art. The Museum houses one of the greatest art collections in the world, revealing the royal taste of the members of the House of Habsburg. Throughout the centuries, they brought together some of the most precious and important paintings of the celebrated "Old Masters." From KHM, we cross the Museum square to the Spittelberg quarter.
 Lunch: We will enjoy a delicious Austrian dish in one of the Spittelberg cafes.
 Afternoon: We continue on to the delightful Spittelberg Christmas market. Spittelberg, a former suburb of Vienna, is a lovely quarter with a bit of Biedermeier flair and has the most authentic Christmas market of the capital. Among the vendors' stands that line the narrow granite paved alleyways, niches and courtyards, you'll find both traditional and original handcrafts.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Advent evening: We will gather around the Adventkranz (Advent wreath) to hear about Christmas traditions and customs in Central Europe.
Accommodations: Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cafe Central
(Saturday, December 12)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Attend mass in the Baroque Jesuit Church with the Church Choir St. Augustine. Music is played in many of Vienna's churches on Sundays and church holidays. The best performances of the classic Viennese masses - Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Bruckner - are given in the Jesuit Church, a Baroque gem. Seldom is a tourist found there, and the Viennese come half an hour early to get a seat in front, where the orchestra and choir sound best.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own at one of the famous Viennese cafes such as Schwarzenberg, Mozart, Landtmann, and many others.
 Afternoon: After lunch you are free to explore Vienna on your own. This is the perfect time to wander Vienna's Christmas markets in the center and along the ring road.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Great Viennese Composers / Vienna Woods
(Sunday, December 13)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Music is the beating heart of Vienna. Therefore, our morning lecture will enlighten us on the great Viennese composers and musicians. This lecture concert will explore the very diverse lives of three of Vienna's most famous composers - Mozart, Schubert and Strauss. While Mozart initially enjoyed great success as a freelance composer, then struggled, Franz Schubert led a rather introverted life, only known for his renowned "Lieder" to his contemporaries. Johann Strauss however was one of the first global superstars of music. The lecture will be completed by a delightful selection of works by these composers, all three being contributors to the most Viennese of musical forms, the Viennese waltz.
 Lunch: Lunch at a traditional Viennese restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon an excursion will take us to the Vienna Woods along the romantic valley Helenental. We will visit the Heiligenkreuz Monastery, one of the most impressive abbeys in Austria, and Baden, an elegant spa town with the Beethoven House; Mozart composed his masterpiece Ave Verum Corpus here.
 Dinner: Back in Vienna, we will have dinner at Cafe Central. It is part of the Palais Ferstel, located in one of the oldest parts of Vienna. Inspired by a journey to Italy, a young architect named Heinrich von Ferstel created one of the city's most interesting 19th century edifices between 1856 and 1860. Palais Ferstel was hailed as the most modern building in Vienna, and for a short time housed the Vienna Stock Exchange and the Austro-Hungarian central bank. It boasted stylish rooms and a glass-covered inner courtyard (the perfect spot for Cafe Central), which became the focal point of Vienna and Europe's intellectual elite at the close of the19th century. Such prominent figures as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Leo Trotzki frequented Cafe Central.
Accommodations: Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Transfer to Salzburg, Bruckner Organ Concert
(Monday, December 14)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Salzburg by bus. On the way, we have a guided excursion through the Augustinian St. Florian's Abbey, renowned for its Baroque architecture and for its close association with the composer Anton Bruckner. Attend a special concert performed on the Bruckner organ.
 Lunch: We will have lunch at the Abbey's restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrival in Salzburg. Time to settle in. Introduction to the program with a lecture on "Salzburg, the musical center of Austria."
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Hotel Elefant
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Salzburg's Old Town, Oberndorf, Advent at a Farmhouse
(Tuesday, December 15)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take a guided excursion through the city center, home to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Half an hour from Salzburg lies the small village of Oberndorf, where on Christmas night of 1818, the song "Silent Night" was performed for the very first time. We will visit the Memorial Church to hear the story of the most popular song ever composed. Silent Night has been translated into roughly 300 different languages. We will pay a visit also to close-by Arnsdorf, where the composer Franz Gruber lived and worked as a school teacher. He taught there for 21 years in the oldest school house in Austria, which is still in use today.
 Dinner: Conclude the day with a traditional Advent dinner and evening at a private farmhouse in the Salzburg countryside with traditional delicacies and music.
Accommodations: Hotel Elefant
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mozart's Birthplace, Advent Concert & Dinner
(Wednesday, December 16)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we will visit the Hagenauer Haus, Mozart's birthplace, followed by a coffee break at "Kaffee Furst," where in 1890, the cafe's founder Paul Furst created the famous Mozart chocolate balls.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a few hours of free time. You might consider browsing around the Christmas market in the historical center near the cathedral. In the late afternoon, attend an Advent Concert at St. Peter's Abbey.
 Dinner: We will have dinner in the restaurant at St. Peter's Abbey, which dates back to the year 803.
Accommodations: Hotel Elefant
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Hohensalzburg Fortress / Transfer to Munich
(Thursday, December 17)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: On our last morning in Salzburg, we ascend by funicular to the Hohensalzburg Fortress - the city's chief landmark that majestically dominates the cityscape. The 900-year-old fortress is one of the biggest and most well preserved fortifications in Europe.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Munich. Arrival at the hotel and take time to settle. In the late afternoon, hear a lecture on "Munich - Capital of the Free State Bavaria," where cosmopolitan spirit goes together with the famous Bavarian "Gemutlichkeit" - a special sense of informality and coziness that characterizes the city.
 Dinner: We will have dinner at Prinz Myshkin Restaurant, Munich's most popular and fancy vegetarian restaurant.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Introduction to Munich
(Friday, December 18)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take a guided excursion by bus along the most important landmarks outside of the old town. Then a guided field trip through the city center of Munich will show you its historic sites, great museums, architectural treasures and world-class shops. The unmistakable landmark of Munich is the Gothic Church of Our Lady - the Frauenkirche with its two onion-domed towers. A few steps farther stands the Marienplatz (central square) with its Gothic New City Hall (Rathaus), where you can find the largest Christmas market of the region. This market's roots go back to the 14th century.
 Lunch: We will have lunch in a typical beer hall in the Old Town.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore on your own.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Alte Pinakothek / Farewell Christmas Dinner
(Saturday, December 19)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we will have a guided excursion through the cabinet gallery works at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich's most important art museum. A special architectural feature of the Alte Pinakothek is the parallel succession of large galleries and smaller cabinet galleries. We will be introduced to the "cabinet gallery works," small, yet fine, important masterpieces from artists such as Giotto, Fra Angelico, Brueghel, van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, Ruysdael, and Hals.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will be introduced to Advent traditions of the Bavarian region as a local expert takes us "off the beaten path" in Munich's Old Town. We will learn about age-old Christmas customs and taste some typical holiday delicacies.
 Dinner: We end our stay in Munich with a farewell Christmas dinner at a traditional restaurant in the heart of the city and enjoy the region's traditional holiday specialties.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Departures
(Sunday, December 20)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 In Transit: Transfer to Munich's Franz Josef Strauss airport (MUC) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Munich Dachau Memorial
The Memorial Site on the grounds of the former concentration camp was established in 1965 with initiative of and in accordance with the plans of the surviving prisoners who had joined together to form the Comité International de Dachau. The Bavarian state government provided financial support. Between 1996 and 2003 a new exhibition on the history of the Dachau concentration camp was created, following the leitmitof of the "Path of Prisoners." For additional information, visit
  Kunstareal Munich
The Kunstareal art district, close to the old city center, is where all of Munich's largest art museums are located. The construction of a number of these museums began in the early 19th century, during the reign of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, under the direction of architect Leo von Klenze. Today, the large complex of museum buildings houses the Old Pinakothek (Alte Pinakothek), the New Pinakothek (Neue Pinakothek) and the Modern Pinakothek (Pinakothek der Moderne). It also holds a Glyptothek, the State Antiquities Collection of Ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman art (Staatliche Antikensammlungen), the Lenbach House (Lenbachhaus), and the Brandhorst Museum, along with a number of art galleries. For additional information, visit
  Salzburg Residenz Palace
The Residenz Palace was the home of medieval bishops. Open to the public are state rooms of the Residenz that were formerly used by Salzburg's prince archbishops as reception rooms and living quarters, and the Residenz Gallery with presents a fabulous collection of paintings by European artists of the 16th-19th centuries. For additional information, visit
  Vienna Leopold Museum
The Leopold collection is one of the most important collections of modern Austrian art in the world. More than 5000 exhibits were collected by Rudolf and Elisabeth Leopold over five decades, which were consolidated in 1994 to become the Leopold Museum Private Foundation. This museum contains the largest Egon Schiele collection in the world, together with major works by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Gerstl and Albin Egger-Lienz, and holds masterpieces of the Viennese Secessionist Movement, the Viennese Modernist Movement and the Austrian Expressionist Movement. For additional information, visit
  Sigmund Freud Museum
For almost half a century, from 1891 to 1938, Dr. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, lived and worked in his home before he was forced to emigrate following the Anschluss. This house, which was both his office and private apartment, is now a museum. Thanks to Dr. Freud's daughter Anna, the museum holds the original furniture from his waiting room, nearly eighty pieces of Freud's collection of antiques and some of his personal belongings. Also available for viewing in the museum's media room are the few existing original film and sound recordings of Sigmund Freud and his family. For additional information, visit
  Spanish Riding School
Housed in the Imperial Palace, the Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world which has practiced for 430 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école. The objective is to study the way the horse naturally moves and to cultivate the highest levels of haute école elegance the horse is capable of through systematic training. The result creates an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna's Spanish Riding School achieves. Performances, morning exercises and guided tours are available. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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