The 2019/20 Winter Wonderland Tour
Swiss & Austrian Alps, Romantic Cities, log fires and Great Trains: 20 days
Kids Stay FREE Special ›
Also see: Dreaming of a White Christmas? Pre-tour add-on ›
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Day 1, Saturday, Dec 28th
Settle into our 4 star Left Bank Hotel. Meet your fellow tour members for Welcome Drinks and Dinner. [D]
Day 2, Sunday, Dec 29th
Every day on a Great Trains of Europe tour begins with a full buffet breakfast [B]. Our morning sightseeing includes the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame, ending up at the Louvre to say hello to Mona Lisa. An afternoon optional excursion is available to the Versailles Palace of Louis XIV.
Day 3, Monday, Dec 30th
Museums? Department stores? Fashion boutiques? A very long lunch? Choices, choices. There is an optional excursion offered today to the Somme Battlefields of World War I. Here we visit sites sacred in Australia’s (and NZ’s) national history.
Day 4, Tuesday, Dec 31st
A final free day in every true romantic's favourite city. Join the crowds tonight on the Champs Elysees to celebrate the dawning of the New Year.
Interlaken - Swiss Alps & Lakes [B][D]
Day 5, Wednesday, Jan 1st ^ Top ^
Farewell Paris this morning. We begin our love affair with the Great Trains of Europe on her fastest - the French TGV - at 300kph towards the Alps and Interlaken, with stunning views of the Eiger and Jungfrau. This is our home for 4 nights. Interlaken hosts a huge street party on New Year’s Day, culminating in spectacular fireworks.
Interlaken - Swiss Alps & Lakes [B]
Day 6, Thursday, Jan 2nd
Enjoy a late and leisurely brunch before deciding whether to do nothing or to do very little. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for some mountain railway or cable car rides to the peaks of the surrounding Alps.
Interlaken - Swiss Alps & Lakes [B]
Day 7, Friday, Jan 3rd
Today we take what is one of the Great Rail Journeys of the World - the tiny red Glacier Express through the Alps as we enjoy breathtaking views from the panorama car.
Day 8, Saturday, Jan 4th
Another of Europe’s great rail journeys today. The Swiss-Italian Cisalpino takes us through the Alps past the Northern Italian lakes via Milan & on to the City of Canals, Venice, another of Europe’s truly romantic cities. Our 4 star hotel overlooks the Grand Canal. Settle in, watch the lights come on as the waterbuses chug past.
Day 9, Sunday, Jan 5th
This morning we begin to explore the art and history of Venice. Byzantine St Mark’s is considered by many to be the most beautiful church in the world and the historic Doge’s Palace and its Bridge of Sighs are “must sees.” Venice is best taken slowly, wandering along her canals and bridges.
Day 10, Monday, Jan 6th ^ Top ^
There is time for a gondola ride and a visit to an outer island - Burano for exquisite lace, Murano for world-famous Venetian glass. Art lovers will want to see the Tintoretto paintings in the Scula di San Rocco, the Titian in the Friary Church, and the collection of Venetian Renaissance art in the Accademia Gallery. Your Tour Leader is on hand to guide. The true romantics will take their gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs at sundown as the bells of the Campanile ring.
Day 11, Tuesday, Jan 7th
Either another quiet day today exploring the bridges and canals of Venice or join Italy’s flagship train the Eurostar Italia for a visit to Florence, the cradle of Western civilisation and birthplace of the Renaissance.
Day 12, Wednesday, Jan 8th
Farewell Italy, as we head back towards the Alps. This morning we join our Eurocity train for Innsbruck, as our luggage is taken on ahead. We are not staying in downtown Innsbruck, but in the beautiful Alpine Village of Igls, perched 15 minutes above. Thaw out with a glass of gluhwein in front of the roaring log fire. This is our home for 4 nights.
Day 13, Thursday, Jan 9th
Choices today. Skiing? You may choose to ski or join your Tour Leader in an exploration of Innsbruck, the Imperial city of the Hapsburgs. We commence by riding a tramcar through snow decked forests down to Innsbruck below. Explore the mediaeval quarter and take a ride up the Hungerberg rack railway for a panorama of the Alps.
Day 14, Friday, Jan 10th
Today, you may choose to ski, to potter about the village, to sit in front of the log fire, or to take the tram back down into Innsbruck to the shops. There is an optional excursion by Austrian InterCity train to Mozart's birthplace, Salzburg. There is plenty of time to wander the narrow cobble-stone streets or visit Mozart's house, now a museum.
Day 15, Saturday, Jan 11th ^ Top ^
Another quiet day in our Alpine haven - a good book in front of the log fire? Alternatively, your Tour Leader will assist you if you wish to make a visit to nearby Munich or the fairytale castle of Neuschwannstein.
Day 16, Sunday, Jan 12th
Our luggage is collected and taken on ahead as we bid farewell to the Alps and join a EuroCity train for another of Europe's great romantic cities - Prague. Our hotel is in the historic centre.
Day 17, Monday, Jan 13th
Today there is a visit to Prague Castle, perched high on the hill overlooking the city. Here is also the cathedral church of St Vitus, incorporating the chapel built on the spot where Good King Wenceslas was murdered a thousand years ago. Crossing back over the Charles Bridge, we visit Prague's historic Jewish Quarter. A free afternoon for the shops or to enjoy the music.
Day 18, Tuesday, Jan 14th
A free day to continue your exploration of this fabulous city. The Old Town Square, left intact through all the wars of the twentieth century, has at least one building from every century from the twelfth to the twentieth. Prague is rich in Mozart associations. Bohemian crystal is world-famous. Alternatively, you may wish to join an optional excursion to Dresden, one of Europe's cultural wonders now emerging from the ashes of World War II bombing and 44 years of Communism.
Day 19, Wednesday, Jan 15th
Enjoy a last free day in magical Prague. You understand why Mozart loved it so much. Crystal and garnet are popular with shoppers. Our Farewell Dinner tonight.
Day 20, Thursday, Jan 16th ^ Top ^
The tour ends after breakfast this morning.
$AUD 10,950 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. join the tour in Paris, leave in Prague)
Kids Stay FREE Special ›
“AnyDay departure” tour cost - 25% discount applies:
$AUD 8,215 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. join the tour in Paris, leave in Prague)
Single Room supplement $AUD 2000.
Enquire about competitive airfares.
Independent Touring: Depart Any Day available on this tour - Save 25%
What’s included?^ Top ^
- First Class rail travel in reserved seats
- 4 star city centre or village hotels
- 5 three course dinners
- 19 buffet breakfasts
- Full luggage handling
- Local expert guides
- Full time Tour Leader who is the Tour Company Principal
Winter Wonderland Tour, departing December 28th 2019 also includes:
- Twin share accommodation with buffet breakfast in centrally located First Class (European 4 star) hotels with private facilities and heating.
- Restaurant dinner (3 courses) on one night in each new city in Europe. This is usually the first night. in Prague it is on the final night and takes the form of a farewell dinner.
- First Class rail travel in reserved seats on many of Europe's great trains - German ICE, Eurocity, French TGV. (Second class seats only available on some sectors).
- Luggage handling between cities.
The TOUR COST does NOT include:
- Hotel incidentals (eg. mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry),
- Airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
- Optional excursions listed or meals other than breakfast and the one restaurant dinner in each city - the first night in each new city, except Prague where it takes the form of a farewell dinner. On other nights, the Tour Leaders are available to accompany group members to local, authentic restaurants.
Dreaming of a White Christmas? ^ Top ^
Commences December 21st, 2019
Why not enjoy a White Christmas in a beautiful Swiss Alpine village (with opportunities to visit Christmas markets) before embarking on the Winter Wonderland Tour?
On your arrival at either Zurich or Geneva Airport on December 21st, there is a transfer to the picturesque Swiss Alpine village of Grindelwald, nestled under the North Face of the Eiger.
Settle in to the traditional chalet-style hotel which has been run by the same family for generations. Your hostess, current manager Gabriella, has been taking care of the Great Trains of Europe White Christmas Tour members for a number of years now. All have spoken very highly of her warm welcome, personal care and attention to detail.
The hotel is rated 3 stars and oozes Swiss charm. There are breathtaking Alpine views and a roaring log fire. We have reserved superior standard rooms with private facilities for your tour members. Every morning there is a buffet breakfast, and every evening a four course dinner is provided for your tour members. This includes the festivities of a special Christmas Dinner, as Swiss tradition dictates, on the night of Christmas Eve.
There is a beautiful church 50 metres away with a midnight service on Christmas Eve, should you wish to attend (pictured right).
Grindelwald is a snow sports fan's heaven. But if you are not a snow bunny, there are a million other things to do. Grindelwald is a hub for the Swiss mountain train networks, and there are many gondolas and cable cars to the Alpine peaks all around. It is an easy train ride to the cities of Berne, Basel and Zurich with their Christmas markets. The village itself offers excellent shopping and a wide variety of restaurants and coffee shops for lingering lazy lunches, before returning to the hotel to read or snooze in front of the log fire.
On December 28th (is it all over so soon?) your Australian Tour Director collects you at your Swiss hotel and you are escorted on the rail journey to Paris to commence the Winter Wonderland Tour.
White Christmas Add-On Cost: $AUD$2,500 per person twin share. Single supplement $AUD600
- 7 nights’ accommodation in a superior standard room with private facilities in a 3 star hotel in the Swiss village of Grindelwald.
- 7 buffet breakfasts, 7 four course dinners including a Special Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve.
- Transfer from Zurich or Geneva Airport to Grindelwald on Dec 21st; escorted rail transfer from Grindelwald to Paris on Dec 28th to commence the Winter Wonderland Tour.
Winter Wonderland Tour 2019 Optional Excursions: ^ Top ^
Somme Battlefields Tour Add $275
Departing our Paris hotel at 7.30am, we are in the province of Picardy, in North Eastern France for morning coffee before beginning our visits to the major battle fields and cemeteries associated with the horror of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
On that one day, July 1st 1916, 60,000 Allied soldiers fell. We visit the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel, the British Memorial at Thiepval and the Australian Memorials at Pozieres and Villiers-Brettoneux. Lunch in an atmospheric French country bistro is included.
On today’s optional excursion we ride Italy’s flagship train, the Frecciorossa, across the Northern Italian Plain and under the Apennines to Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance.
On our city sightseeing tour, we tread the cobblestone streets where Leonardo and Leonardo walked. The highlight of our visit is Michelangelo’s “David” statue.
Museums abound and, it is said, Florence has the finest leather and show shops in the world.
This excursion includes the two hour rail journey from Innsbruck. On arrival in Salzburg we taxi into the old town and ride the rack railway to the top of the Hohensalzburg fortress for a panoramic view over the city. We explore the 12th century castle and upon our descent visit Salzburg cathedral where Mozart's father was organist and where the young genius first played. The Altstadt (old city) is very compact and an all-pedestrian zone. Mozart's birthplace is now a museum worth a visit.
Departing Prague after breakfast, our EuroCity train has us over the German border and to Dresden in a little over two hours. Dresden was said to be Germany's most beautiful city until carpet-bombed by the Allies in 1945. The baroque city is now re-emerging from the ashes. The restoration of the truly unique bell-shaped Frauenkirche cathedral has recently been completed. This is the home of Meissen porcelain, and Dresden boasts a Porcelain Museum as well as a magnificent collection of Old Masters in the Zwinger Gallery. Dresden is also home to the Semper Opera House. The city centre is quite compact and today's sightseeing is largely on foot.
Optional Excursions offered subject to a minimum of 12 persons.
About the European Winter Wonderland Grand Tour
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