You take the leading role in this Christmas tale.
A trilogy of cult films about “Sissi”, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, is always shown on German TV at Christmas. But this year, you can go one better: by visiting the Sisi Museum yourself. The Danube will take you there in festive style – with castles and abbeys lining the way as you pass through the most beautiful landscape imaginable. Vienna was made to fill you with Christmas cheer. Christmas lights shine out from the high windows of magnificent historical buildings. Meanwhile Baroque churches and opulent squares with sparkling Christmas markets and ice-skating rinks look like something out of a fairy tale. The Christkindl market in Linz also entices you in with the aroma of sweet treats, festive music and a sightseeing train that whisks you off to the peaceful, wintry Pöstlingberg Schlössl restaurant.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Travel to Munich and transfer to Engelhartszell to embark A-ROSA DONNA. The Trappist monks in Engelszell have taken a strict vow of silence, yet they produce beer that's worth talking about, and that's exported as far afield as the US. But there's more to enjoy in this tiny village than a cold "Benno", "Gregorius" or "Nivard" beer. Visitors to the "Mini-Danube" water experience can entertainingly learn about the Danube, while in the newly renovated walk-through aquarium, they'll encounter amazing fish such as sturgeon measuring up to 2 m long. History buffs won't be disappointed by Engelhartszell either. The settlement is mentioned in a Roman street directory dating back to the second century A.D., at the time it was called "Stanacum". Engelhartszell has been through a lot since then. The Romans, the brutal Middle Ages and the bombastic Baroque and Rococo ages have all left their marks, inviting the visitor to take a journey back in time. And while you yourself conquer the abbey grounds, the abbey church and the market square, you can let your thoughts roam freely as you enjoy the wonderful sense of peace and quiet. There's something to be said for taking a vow of silence.
“Wien is a schöne Stadt, des weiß alle Welt,” is the opening line of one of the most famous songs written by the Viennese cabarettist Georg Kreisler. Roughly translated, this means “Vienna is a beautiful city, and the whole world knows it”. Yet beauty is just one of the many facets of a city whose inhabitants are renowned for a snide sense of humour known as “Schmäh”. To really experience Vienna, you need to soak up the genteel atmosphere over an “Einspänner” (a strong black coffee served with whipped cream) in one of the city’s coffee houses. Or visit a “Heurige” (a Viennese wine tavern). Or order an “Eitrige” (a cheese-filled sausage) at a sausage stand. Palatschinke (pancake), Knödel (dumplings), strudel, Sachertorte and Wiener Schnitzel. To distract yourself from all these delicious calories, just delve into the city’s history. The opulence of the Habsburg dynasty can be found everywhere. The Spanish Riding School, the amusement park in the Prater public park, the exhibitions in the MuseumsQuartier art and culture complex … there are so many unmissable attractions. And after all this, the best way to relax is by listening to Viennese classical music. From Mozart and Beethoven to Haydn and Johann Strauss: Vienna is where the greatest classical masterpieces were born – music is in the city’s blood.
Another day to discover Vienna.
The name “Linz” conjures up elaborate Baroque architecture and Linzer Torte. These connotations make the Lentos – a modern glass art museum on the city’s riverbank that enjoys an outstanding reputation in the international art scene – even more impressive. Meaning “situated at the bend in the river”, the word “Lentos” has Celtic roots, and is the origin of the name “Linz”. To really get a sense of Linz – an urban artwork that combines modernism with Baroque and culture with industry – the “Höhenrausch” tour of the city’s rooftops and a climb up to the viewing platform of the Oberösterreich Tower are essential.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Munich Airport for your return flight to the UK.
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