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Essential Austria


Salzburg’s Old Town with its world-famous baroque architecture is one of the best-preserved city centers in Europe and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Today, begin with a journey to the “top” of the city. The Hohensalzburg fortress, strategically located on a hill overlooking the old town, is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. because the fortress actually never came under a military siege and was surrendered without a fight to Napoleon’s army, this is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe. 

You will also see the Salzburg Cathedral, a 17th-century Baroque building which was the site of Mozart’s baptism. Salzburg’s most famous son is of course Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and you will get a chance to visit his birthplace, if you are interested. You might also like to see the Mirabell Palace, located on the bank of the Salzach River, which was supposedly built by a local archbishop for his Jewish mistress. All throughout your sightseeing today, you’ll also be noticing sites from The Sound of Music, including Mirabel Gardens (Do-Re-Mi), the abbey and the cemetery where the family hid from the Nazis.

Village St Wolfgang on the lake Wolfgangsee - Salzburg Austria

The lake district

We’ll take you through Salzkammergut – the Lake District. This gorgeous region is dotted with picturesque towns, lakes and mountains and gives you a glimpse into the stunning landscape that has made this region so famous. Today’s exploration includes St. Gilgen, Lake Wolfgang, and the Sound of Music wedding church in Mondsee. This is Austria’s Romantic Road.  

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Head to the Mönchsberg mountain where you will find your private cooking school in one of the caverns at its base. Your expert chef has traveled the world pursuing his craft and is now back at home in Austria to teach you the secrets of Austrian pastries. You will create two iconic desserts – the very traditional apple strudel and the magnificent meringue creation of the Salzburg Nockerl. Everything is very hands-on, so prepare to cook! While your desserts are cooking, you will have a lunch of traditional goulash and then enjoy your creations for dessert.

Eagle's Nest

You will head to the base at Obersalzburg.  From here you take a specially equipped bus to the Eagle’s Nest along the steep rock walls and deep gorges. There are gorgeous views along the ride. Afterwards, you take the original brass-lined elevator directly to the building of Eagle’s Nest, originally built as a teahouse for Hitler as a 50th birthday present. The building is now a restaurant (not a great one!) with panoramic mountain views.  The entire reason for coming here is the view and the story behind the building and the town.

Afterwards, spend some time in the gorgeous town of Berchtesgaden. Its winding lanes and painted facades make it seem like a fairytale village. 


Vienna is a wonderful city to see on foot, as most major sights are located very close together. During your walk with your guide, you will see the soaring St. Stephens Cathedral with its unusual colored ceramic tile roof. Your guide will take you through the interior of the cathedral and, if you have the energy, you can climb to the top of the steeple for a spectacular view over central Vienna!  

Afterward, you can continue on your walking tour of this area. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore – each with unique architectural details from the ages. You’ll also see the most famous coffeehouses of Vienna along with some of the grand buildings and monuments along Vienna’s storied Ringstrasse.

Historic Vienna

Today, enjoy an overview tour of the city. Begin with a drive along Vienna’s famous Ringstrasse. This is where you find all of the most gorgeous buildings in Vienna – the State Opera House, the Hofburg Palace, the Fine Arts Museum and its mirror, the Natural History Museum.  Don’t miss a look at the imposing City Hall and the beautiful Burgtheater.  You will also have a glimpse of some of Vienna’s Art Nouveau architecture.  Look for the Vienna Secession Building and the Wagner-designed metro stations.

Then erase all of that imperial majesty from your mind as you stop by Hundertwasser House – one of the architectural highlights and an expressionist landmark.  It’s an apartment house designed by Friedensreich Hunderwasser and is eclectic, colorful and unique.

Afterward, head to the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs. The design of Schönbrunn is bound largely with the personality of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburgs’ greatest Empresses. The palace stands today as a combination of Austrian Rococo and Classic Baroque symmetry.

Food Safari Vienna

Palaces & Food Safari

Vienna is a city full of options! If you want to see palaces, we can arrange guided tours of Belvedere which holds a wonderful collection of 19th and 20th century art, including the best Klimt collection in the world, and visit to the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

If food is your passion, our foodie expert will take you to her favorite local markets and unique Vienna food producers.  These are local family-run businesses, away from the typical tourist spots. 

During the walk, you will not only taste samples of food, you will learn more about Austrian everyday life and food culture. The tastes today will be a balanced mix of sweet, savory and liquid.

Continue your journey

Why not extend your stay? Austria combines ideally with Switzerland.

Geneva Switzerland

Our process is high-touch, and extremely personalized. Let us walk you through the steps when you decide to travel with Exeter.