Salzburg and the Salzkammergut
Sunday 6th to Sunday 13th May 2018
This will be the 6th annual Bijou Holiday in Europe and we are offering you the very best that can be scheduled in one week in the historic city of Salzburg, with excursions into the Salzkammergut, an area of outstandingly beautiful lakes and mountains.
This ancient city traces its origins back to Roman times and there are many visible examples of its historic past. This is particularly so in the Altstadt (old town), the area where we will be staying. It is full of baroque architecture, a magnificent cathedral, two famous Festival Halls and the Mozart House (his birthplace). The city is dominated by the Festung Hohensalzburg, a fortress perched on top of the Mönchsberg mountain. There is an extensive range of individual specialist shops and restaurants to suit all tastes. Above all, this is a city of music, with concerts and performances available almost every day. Everything is contained in a picturesque setting of narrow streets and wide squares (mostly pedestrianised) in a district that is only about 1,000m in length and perhaps 500m wide. No long walks are needed to visit museums, the cathedral, the fortress or a music performance. If you do get tired, there are plenty of lovely coffee shops offering mouth watering pastries and a glass of fine Austrian wine.
The Hotel Elefant
We chose this hotel after a personal visit and it meets all of our criteria. Centrally placed within the Altstadt, it is appointed to a high standard despite being 750 years old. The modern bedrooms still reflect its history, with a traditional decor in the public rooms and helpful staff who speak English. We think you will find this to be exactly the type of hotel that we have previously used in Bernkastel, Montecatini, Venice and Vienna. The immediate area around the hotel is full of interesting individual shops, restaurants and the famous Getreidegasse. Even the Salzack river that flows through the middle of Salzburg is only yards away. Like almost all the hotels in central Salzburg, the terms are bed and breakfast only. However, the hotel does have a restaurant in the same building and having eaten there, we can vouch for the quality of food and service.
The curious name Salzkammergut literally means “Estate of the Salt Chamber” and derives from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority charged with running the precious salt mines of the Hapsburg Monarchy. While the salt business has passed into history, this continues to be a spectacular region of beautiful, tranquil lakes, picturesque valleys, rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges, rising to almost 3,000m, so not surprisingly this is known as Austria’s Lake District. Around the shores of all the larger lakes are charming villages, with buildings constructed of traditional materials and decorated with floral designs. There are shops selling traditional craft items and plenty of opportunities for refreshment. It is little surprise that the Emperor Franz Joseph II, had a palatial summer residence built at Bad Ischl. A guided tour there will be included as well as boat trips on four of the largest lakes, Wolfgangsee, Traunsee, Mondsee and Attersee.
A special train journey
This has proved to be a popular element on past holidays, so we have included a whole day excursion by train on the spectacular Tauernbahn.
Our coach transport
To protect the environment of the old city, coaches are not permitted to enter during the day, so for each coach trip, we will provide taxis from the hotel to the coach pickup point. At the end of the day, the coach will return just after 6.00pm, when it is allowed to drop us by the river, which is just a short walk from the hotel.
Musical events and booking arrangements
In Salzburg, on each day of the holiday, there will be concerts, recitals and other musical performances, with the possibility of an opera (if scheduled that week). Faced with such a choice, we felt it best to leave the decision to each of you. Tickets for all such events can be obtained from the Tourist Office, situated in the middle of the Altstadt. Our Hotel Reception also has a ticket booking facility.
The holiday, day by day
Sunday 6th May (Our outward journey)
There is the option to depart from Charlton Kings, Cheltenham by private coach. We will then call at Cirencester and Woking train station before continuing to Gatwick Airport. Separate charges will be made for this service. A high quality executive lounge will be booked for our use before flying to Salzburg, departing at 14:55. Salzburg Airport is small but modern, so formalities take little time and we will have transport arranged to take us to the Hotel Elefant.
Monday 7th (A varied local day in Salzburg)
In the morning, in order to give you some familiarisation with the Altstadt, we will have a charming, old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride, with a commentary in English. After lunch, there will be a round trip by river boat and later an optional tutored wine tasting, at a local weinstube. This will be charged separately.
Tuesday 8th (Wolfgangsee and the Schafberg)
By taxi to join the coach for our first trip into the Salzkammergut. Today we travel to St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee and join the ship. We sail to St. Wolfgang, alighting there to ride on the steam hauled cog railway up to the summit of the Schafberg 1,783m. We return to the lakeside and continue by boat to the far end of the lake at Strobl. We remain on the boat and sail the full length of the lake back to St. Gilgen to rejoin our coach for the journey back to Salzburg.
Wednesday 9th (Traunsee and Bad Ischl)
By taxi to join the coach for our second trip into the Salzkammergut. This time we go further to Gmunden at the head of the Traunsee. We join the ship and sail the length of this charming lake to Ebensee. Our coach will then take us to Bad Ischl for a conducted tour (in English) of the Kaiservilla. This was the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph’s magnificent summer residence, complete with attractive gardens and grounds. Return by coach to Salzburg.
Thursday 10th (Two lakes cruise, Mondsee and Attersee)
By taxi to join the coach for our final trip into the Salzkammergut for a two lakes cruise. We start with a round trip on Mondsee, which is considered to be the prettiest lake of the region. Continue by coach to Attersee (on the lake of the same name) where we will have time for refreshment. Attersee is 20kms long and the largest lake in the Salzkammergut. In the afternoon we will make a complete cruise of the lake. Return by coach to Salzburg.
Friday 11th (The Tauernbahn rail journey)
By taxi to the main railway station for a ride on the famous Tauernbahn. This runs due south from Salzburg crossing the eastern Alps on a most breathtaking journey though narrow gorges, viaducts and tunnels. The mountain scenery feels like Switzerland with the line rising to a maximum elevation of 1,226m and includes a tunnel of 8,371m. After a journey of a little over two hours, we will alight at Spittal a neat little town with a palace (now a museum) in the centre. There we will have time for some lunch and a stroll before making the return journey.
Saturday 12th (Hohensalzburg Castle and free time)
On the last full day, you have time to relax and the only included attraction is a trip up to the Hohensalzburg Castle which overlooks the city and offers fantastic views. The trip includes the short ride on the cablecar railway.
Sunday 13th (our return journey)
We make our way home, following the same arrangements as for the outward journey.
Assisted service at Gatwick and Salzburg Airports
On previous holidays, a number of us have taken advantage of this free assisted service at both airports. This includes an easier passage through Security and electric transport to the Departure Lounge and on arrival. If you require this service, just indicate this on the booking form.
- Use of a premium airport lounge at Gatwick.
- Air travel from Gatwick to Salzburg and back.
- 7 nights accommodation at the Hotel Elefant on a bed and breakfast basis.
- Transport from Salzburg Airport to our hotel and back.
- All taxi and coach transport.
- All excursions and visits as described.
- Return train fares, Salzburg - Spittal.
- The services of your organisers, Janet & John throughout
- The cost of private transport from Cheltenham, Cirencester and Woking to Gatwick and back. From Cheltenham and Cirencester and back the charge will be £60.00 and from Woking train station and back £30.00.
- Lunch time refreshments and dinner.
- The optional wine tasting.
- Your personal travel insurance.