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Austria & Switzerland self-drive

16 days from CAD8,265pp

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Tour highlights

  • Enjoy the freedom of your own car on this self-drive trip. Audley can arrange a rental vehicle for you if you require one.

  • Experience authentic Austrian fare accompanied by traditional Tyrolean music and dancing.

  • Take a panoramic boat cruise across Lake Geneva.

  • Explore the postcard-worthy village of Hallstatt in the Austrian lake district.

Price includes:

  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Arriving at Vienna airport today, you will be met by your driver for the half hour private transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may wish to start exploring the city. We recommend tracing the cobblestone streets of the First District and visiting one of the many coffee houses to settle into the Viennese way of life.

  • This morning you’ll start with a privately guided walking tour of Vienna’s First District, visiting the State Opera House, Museum of Natural History and the Imperial Palace, followed by a visit to the Imperial Treasury housed in the Hofburg Palace. You have the afternoon free to explore further, with a special three-course dinner this evening on the Wiener Prater ferris wheel.

  • Today you’ll visit Vienna’s Spanish Riding School to see the Ballet of the White Horses, a performance of the graceful Lipizzaner horses that dates back to the days of the Habsburg empire. Enjoy another afternoon deciding for yourself how to explore Vienna, before your fully insured hire car is dropped at your hotel this evening.

  • Leave Vienna and drive westwards, through the Salzkammergut region and on to Salzburg. After checking in to your hotel, you can explore the World Heritage City and birthplace of world-renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with its sweeping views of the Bavarian Alps and the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress. This evening you’ll make your way to the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter where you’ll dine on a three-course menu and listen to the arias and duets of Mozart.

  • This morning you’ll be met at your hotel by your private guide and together set off for a walking tour of Salzburg, bringing you to some of the most enchanting and charming sites, such as the Mirabell Palace, the Mozarteum, Saint Peter’s Abbey and the 17th-century Salzburg Cathedral. Your tour ends with a visit to the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress reached by funicular that looms above the city.

  • Depart Salzburg and enjoy a scenic drive through Austria’s lake district region to Hallstatt. The quaint town is perched on the shores of Lake Hallstatt where boat rides offer views of the surrounding mountains and villages. The town is known for its prehistoric salt mines, which today offer subterranean tours. Hallstatt boasts pedestrian-only labyrinthine alleyways and cobblestone streets lined with 16th-century Alpine buildings painted in pastel tones on which flower boxes line the balconies.

  • You’ll venture over the border into Germany, a scenic route journeying upwards through the Bavarian Alps to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. It is one of the few remaining buildings around Hitler’s residence, the Berghof. Take in the panoramic views over the mountains and amble the walking paths before a spot of lunch in the Eagle’s Nest itself. When you’ve finished exploring the peak, continue your journey by driving westwards, back into Austria, arriving in Innsbruck.

  • You’ll wander the cobblestone streets of Innsbruck’s historic Old Town on a privately guided walking tour today. Discover the Golden Roof’s glittering balcony, the well-preserved Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings, and the resplendent Hofburg Palace. This afternoon explore as you wish, perhaps visiting the towering Bergisel Ski Jump known for its use in the Winter Olympic Games. This evening, take a step back in time with an authentic Tyrolean musical dinner and performance.

  • Leave Innsbruck and drive further west, crossing the border into Switzerland and on to Zürich. After settling into your hotel you’ll meet with your private guide for a walking tour of the city’s old town, introducing you to Zürich’s history and fascinating legends. Stroll through the pedestrian-only old town and inspect the city’s Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches, and venture into Lindenhof Hill — a tree-covered park that overlooks the River Limmat.

  • You have the whole day to explore Zürich. The River Limmat flows through the city’s core and is best explored on a classic paddle-steamer, while the Bahnhofstrasse is one of Europe’s most exclusive shopping avenues and may be the ideal place to purchase some souvenirs. We’ll provide plenty of suggestions to make sure you make the most of your time in the city.

  • Driving southwards to Lucerne you’ll first experience a family-owned chocolate atelier before exploring at your leisure. This unique atelier fills a niche in Swiss chocolate culture with its focus on smaller handmade production rather than the usual larger industrial purveyors like Lindt. Here you’ll learn the boutique’s history of chocolate production, how the family business came to be and taste a tempting selection of truffles and chocolates.

  • You’ll depart Zürich and drive south eastwards for around two hours to Switzerland’s capital, Bern. After settling into your hotel, you’ll be met by your private guide for a tailored walking tour to fit your interests. You’ll finish with a visit to the medieval Zytglogge whose ornate clock tower, which was built in the 13th-century and is still fully functioning, is a masterpiece of original clockwork, and whose tower offers views over the city.

  • Drive to the nearby Emmentaler Valley, a farming region where the original, holey ‘Swiss cheese’ is made. Here the at Emmentaler Show Dairy you’ll learn the history of cheesemaking with a demonstration of 18th-century manufacturing methods inside a traditional Alpine chalet, see how the holes get into the cheese and get a taste of the Emmental at various stages of maturity.

  • Leaving Bern you’ll drive to Geneva, a cosmopolitan city that reveals the ritzier side of Switzerland. You have the day to yourself here to explore the western banks of Lake Geneva, the stately buildings that house the United Nations and Red Cross, or the medieval stone streets of the old town and its Reformation Wall. We’ll be happy to provide suggestions to make sure you make the most of your time in the city.

  • Most of today is for you to enjoy at your own pace, perhaps taking a scenic train line following the lake’s shoreline through historic towns like Vevey. Amid your discoveries, you’ll embark on an hour’s boat cruise on Lake Geneva, aboard a Belle Epoque paddle steamer as it makes a loop from the Jardin Anglais, past the thundering Jet d'eau and out toward the small villages dotted along the lake shore.

  • You may have some time to spend in Geneva this morning, perhaps picking up any last-minute souvenirs or taking in the plethora of sites the city has to offer. You’ll then drive to Geneva airport where you return your hire car and board your onward flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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Contact an Austria specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Austria will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Vienna
 
Salzburg
 
Innsbruck
 
Zürich
 
Lucerne
 
Bern
 
Geneva
 

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