With festive music and Mozart in Salzburg; opera, Beethoven 9 and the New Year's Day concert dress rehearsal in Vienna. Hotel Bristol Salzburg; Sacher Hotel Vienna.
This tour is Old World holiday elegance at every step, with two of the finest hotels in our catalogue, impossible to get tickets for unforgettable performances, off-the-beaten-path tours and a perfect mix of fine dining and the best local cuisine. And Tour Director Richard Koegl will take care of you the entire way.
Salzburg is lovely in summer, but during the yuletide it is absolutely magical. The markets, the postcard-worthy winter scenery at every turn and, of course, the music, make Salzburg the very definition of the 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 performances (TBA) at the Landestheater, 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 daytrip outside of the city.
Vienna, city of music, is at its best during the Yuletide. 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. Here we attend two performances at the Staatsoper, 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. Our home in Vienna is the peerless Sacher, the quintessential Old World hotel.
Sunday, December 22
Independent departures for overnight flights to Salzburg (we include transfers from MUC).
Monday, December 23 Arrival in Salzburg and transfer to the elegant Hotel Bristol, ideally situated beside the Mozarteum and Mirabell Palace. This evening we gather for introductions before our Welcome Dinner at a hidden gem local restuarant.
Tuesday, December 24 Following breakfast (included each day), we enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town including Salzburg’s charming Christmas Market and Mozart sites. After a lovely Christmas Eve Dinner at the hotel, we attend a Christmas Mass (Gruber’s Silent Night).
Wednesday, December 25 Spend the morning at leisure, celebrating in your own fashion. This afternoon we enjoy a performance (TBA) and then Christmas Dinner at the famous Goldener Hirsch.
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. Return to Salzburg for a possible performance or an evening at leisure.
Friday, December 27
Today we explore Salzburg in further detail, with a guided tours of Hohensalzburg--the 11th-Century castle that overlooks the city, and Mirabell, built in just six months (allegedly) in 1606 as a pleasure palace for Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau. Tonight we take an
early dinner at the Stiftskeller St. Peter before attending another performance (TBA).
Saturday, December 28
After breakfast, check out of our hotel and transfer by luxury mini coach to Vienna. We drive east, mostly through the beautiful countryside of the Danube Valley. We stop briefly for lunch at our favourite spot in the Wachau, Austria’s very best wine region. Upon arrival in Vienna, we check in The Sacher, the Gold Standard for "Old World" 5-Star hotels, in the heart of Old Town Vienna’s pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse. Once settled, the evening is at leisure.
Sunday, December 29
After breakfast we meet for a guided walking tour of Old Town Vienna, giving us unique insight into the city’s rich history and musical past. We visit Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), Austria's most eminent Gothic edifice and home to a wealth of art treasures, some of which can only be seen during a guided tour. We also explore the Imperial Hofburg Palace, which, for seven centuries—until 1918—was inhabited by the Habsburg family and was the centre of its empire. Today, the Gothic Imperial Chapel, where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs during High Mass on Sunday, is a remnant of the Imperial Palace during the Middle Ages. On our tour, we will also walk in the footsteps of Mozart, who spent his last ten years in Vienna and died here on December 5, 1791. Following the tour, we enjoy a traditional Viennese lunch at the famous Figlmuller. This evening we attend a performance (TBA) at the Vienna State Opera.
Monday, December 30
This morning we walk to the famous Musikverein for the dress rehearsal of the New Year’s Concert (11.00). Riccardo Muti conducts the incomparable Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, his seventh time doing so for this celebrated event. Afterward, we enjoy lunch at the famous Café Imperial before a tour of the superb picture gallery at Upper Belvedere Palace. Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663 - 1736), the most brilliant military mind of his age, commissioned Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt to design and build the garden palace Belvedere as a summer residence outside the walls of the city. The exquisite Baroque structure consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere). In the Upper Belvedere, the Austrian Gallery of the 19th and 20th Centuries shows a marvellous collection of Austrian as well as international art from the last two centuries: the highlight is "Vienna around 1900 and the Art of the Classical Modern" featuring the largest collection of Klimt paintings (including his gilt pictures The Kiss and Judith), and a number of works by Egon Schiele. It also contains prominent works of the French impressionists, the most important paintings of the Viennese Biedermeier era (with works by Waldmüller, Amerling, and Fendi) and major paintings by Romako, Makart, Boeckl, Wotruba, Hausner, Lehmden, Hundertwasser and many others. Afterward, return to the Sacher where the evening is at leisure.
Tuesday, December 31
What a day this will be. This morning we attend a Gala Performance by the world-renowned Lipizzaner Horses at the Spanish Riding School. Then, after lunch at leisure, we attend an unforgettable performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Konzerthaus, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Afterwards, we return to the Sacher for an elegant Gala Dinner to ring in the New Year.
Wednesday, January 1
After a well-deserved sleep in, we meet for a private tour of Schönbrunn, the former summer residence of the imperial family, considered one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Europe. The Habsburgs resided here the better part of each year. Emperor Franz Joseph, who later married the enchanting Sisi and reigned from 1848 to 1916, was born here in 1830. The monarch spent his last years entirely in the palace, which became the property of the new Republic of Austria only two years after his death. Today, the palace is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings. This evening we enjoy a cocktail reception in a private space in the Sacher prior to a performance of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Staatsoper.
Thursday, January 2
Transfers to the airport for departure flights are included.
Top Category seats for at least 6 performances including at least 2 operas, the dress rehearsal for the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Day concert, and Beethoven 9
10 nights Deluxe accommodation (5 each at the Hôtel Bristol Salzburg and the Sacher Hotel Vienna)
Full breakfast daily, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
Private tours as listed
On-site Tour Direction
Comprehensive Tour Guidebook
Flights are not included in tour pricing. Multi-city flights should be booked to arrive in Salzburg (or Munich) on December 23 (early afternoon latest), and depart from Vienna on January 2.
We provide airport/rail station—hotel transfers for arrivals and departures within within 3 days of the start/end of our tour. We also provide transfers for group meals and performances that are beyond a 10 minute walk.
There is minimal walking with some stairs and cobblestones during the guided tours. As for all of our tours, we are happy to accommodate you regardless of your mobility level. Please make clear your mobility concerns at the time of registration. We provide transfers for group meals and performances that are beyond a 10 minute walk.
We strongly recommend that all tour members purchase cancellation insurance upon registration. We can assist you with this, though you are welcome to purchase a policy at your own discretion. For more information about our travel insurance, click here.
Your Tour Director
For over three decades, Richard has journeyed to over 140 countries on all seven continents. His world is a daily immersion in cultural and educational realms which he passionately shares with fellow travelers and friends. An expert organizer and always engaging host, Richard has worked with Aria Tours since 2010.