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Festive Salzburg and Vienna

December 22, 2019 - January 2, 2020

Christmas in Salzburg, New Year’s in Vienna. Seasonal music in Salzburg, with Bristol Hotel; opera, Musikverein and Konzerthaus (Beethoven 9) in Vienna, with Sacher Hotel. Mozart touring, Hellbrunn & Mirabell Palaces Salzburg;  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Albertina & Upper Belvedere Palace Vienna.

It has been seven years since we’ve spent Christmas and New Year’s in Austria, and in 2019 we return to this Winter Wonderland, filled with postcard-perfect vistas, superb music, stellar cuisine (and wine, beer and coffee!), mesmerizing history and some of the finest visual art experiences to be had anywhere. Why did we wait so long?!

Salzburg is lovely in summer, but during the yuletide it is absolutely magical. The markets, the glorious winter scenery at every turn and, of course, the music, make Salzburg the quintessential Christmas Village. We stay at the elegant Hotel Bristol, a small family-run property across from the house in which Mozart lived as a boy. We will attend a performance (TBA) at the Landestheater, a concert at the Mozaerteum, and we will hear Gruber’s Silent Night as well as the music of Mozart, Handel and Vivaldi. We will also explore the idyllic Salzkammergut lake district on a day trip outside of the city.

Vienna has long been a major centre for art and thought, exerting its great influence not only in Europe but throughout the world. Its centuries-long role as the seat of the Habsburg Empire can be seen in the wealth of its architecture, and in its artistic and musical heritage. Its museums and galleries provide some of the best visual art experiences to be had anywhere, and countless cafés each have their own charm, history and loyal patrons.

We will stay at the renowned Hotel Sacher, steps from the Vienna State Opera and close to the Stephansdom. In addition to Die Fledermaus at the Staatsoper and one opera at the Volksoper (TBA), we will attend a dress rehearsal of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Day Concert at the Musikverein and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Konzerthaus, and we will enjoy Holiday Festivities at the numerous Markets and a special New Year’s Dinner at the Sacher.

This is truly an unforgettable trip.

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Sunday, December 22

Departures from North America for Salzburg.

Monday, December 23

Upon arrival in Salzburg, you are transferred to the 5-star Hotel Bristol, an elegant, family-run property situated in the very heart of the city, directly beside the Mirabell Palace. After settling into our rooms, we gather in the hotel lobby for introductions and cocktails before walking to our Welcome Dinner at the historic Stiftskeller St Peter.

Tuesday, December 24

Following breakfast (included daily), we depart for a guided walking tour of the Old Town including Salzburg’s charming Christmas Market, and perhaps we’ll even partake in a mug of glühwein. After a festive Christmas Eve Dinner at the hotel, we attend Christmas Mass (Gruber’s Silent Night) in the Cathedral.

Wednesday, December 25

Following breakfast, attend a Christmas Service or join us for a tour in the footsteps of Mozart. A walk of this kind becomes our own visionary encounter with Mozart, as our imaginations explore the Salzburg that he also knew. In the afternoon we celebrate the day at the renowned Restaurant Goldener Hirsch. This evening we attend a Christmas Concert at the Mozarteum, featuring works by Handel and Mozart.

Thursday, December 26

Today we tour the Salzkammergut lake district outside of Salzburg. For centuries, the emperors and noble families of Austria chose the Salzkammergut as the location for their summer holidays. The idyllic towns and picturesque lakes provide the setting for an unforgettable visit. We stop for lunch at the lovely lakeside hotel Im Weissen Roessl. This evening in Salzburg, we attend a performance (TBA).

Friday, December 27

Today we explore Salzburg in further detail, with a guided tour of the Baroque Hellbrunn Palace. Lunch is included afterward at the mountaintop Hohensalzburg Fortress, overlooking the town. This evening we meet for a special performance at Mirabell Palace.

Saturday, December 28

After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer by luxury mini coach to Vienna. We will stop briefly for lunch in the Wachau Valley, Austria’s very best wine region, before arriving in Vienna where we check in at the feted Hotel Sacher, across from the Vienna State Opera. Once settled in our glorious rooms, the evening is at leisure.

Sunday, December 29

After breakfast we meet our excellent guide for a walking tour of Old Town Vienna, with unique insight into the city’s rich history and musical past. We visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria’s most eminent Gothic edifice and home to a wealth of art treasures, as well as the Imperial crypt and library at the Hofburg Palace. We will also walk in the footsteps of Mozart, who spent his last ten years in Vienna. Following the tour, we enjoy lunch at the Griechenbeisl, the oldest tavern in Vienna. In the evening we attend a performance at the legendary Staatsoper (TBA).

Monday, December 30

Late morning we attend a concert by the incomparable Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: a preview of the New Year’s Concert in the Großer Saal of the Musikverein. Following the concert, we tour the picture gallery at Upper Belvedere Palace. The former summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy houses a superb collection of Austrian and international art from the last two centuries, including works by Klimt, Schiele, Hundertwasser and many others. This evening we walk to the renowned Hotel Imperial for an unforgettable dinner.

Tuesday, December 31

Enjoy the day at leisure in Vienna. In the early evening, we attend an unforgettable performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the famous Konzerthaus, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. We then return to the hotel for a glamorous New Year’s Dinner at the Sacher. Tickets for the Kaiserball are available upon request.

Wednesday, January 1

After a well-deserved “sleep in”, we meet early afternoon for a Farewell New Year’s Luncheon at Café Landtmann. This evening, we attend a performance of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Staatsoper.

Thursday, January 2

Departures are included.