Music in the Mountains
Experience breathtaking music and scenery at the best of Europe’s summer music festivals in Switzerland and Austria, surrounded by pristine alpine beauty.
Wonder at the beauty of the Swiss Alps as you soak up the extraordinary array of classical music at the Verbier Festival, where outstanding performances by internationally-renowned soloists are on show. In Bregenz in Austria, enjoy among the best seats for Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto as the echoes of exceptional operatic and classical performances reverberate across Lake Constance from atop the world’s largest floating stage. Lastly experience the Tyrol Festival of Erl, an annual celebration of music and the arts which transforms this tiny Austrian town into the heart of classical music and opera each year.
Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qatar Airways flights to Geneva via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Make your way to the hotel and in the late afternoon join Christopher and tour members for a welcome briefing and dinner.
Check out of the hotel and transfer by coach from one end of the glittering Lake Geneva to the other. Arrive in Montreux and enjoy free time to explore this charming lakeside town before lunch in a local restaurant.
This afternoon begin the glorious ascent up the mountains to Verbier. Set high in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is located on a south-facing terrace in the Val de Bagnes, and its rolling grassy hills rise to meet the great alpine conifer forests, while in the distance some of the mountain tops still retain their snowcaps even at the height of summer.
In the evening, enjoy a performance at the Verbier Festival.
The Verbier Festival
The brainchild of Swedish music historian and record executive Martin T:son Engström, the Verbier Festival was established in 1994, and was deliberately held away from the large cities in which classic music festivals are usually held so as to encourage a collaborative atmosphere between established and emerging musicians. In subsequent decades the Festival has grown to comprise the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and most recently the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, a special initiative of Engström to nourish young classical music talent. Along with up-and-coming performers, the Festival attracts some of the greatest musicians on the international circuit – Bryn Terfel, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Garrick Ohlsson, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Piotr Anderszewski and conductor James Levine to name but a few.
This morning, attend a talk by Christopher on the day’s performances and then enjoy concerts by some of the world’s great soloists accompanied by the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.
(B, L or D)
Spend the day at concerts featuring the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and renowned international soloists. In between performances, you may like to go behind the scenes and visit one of the open rehearsals which occur throughout the duration of the festival, where members of the public are invited see how particular pieces are perfected and where the culture of exchange between artists comes to life.
(B, L or D)
Enjoy another day to soak up the exquisite sounds of classical music performed by visiting stars and the Verbier Festival’s resident ensembles in a stunning alpine setting. You may like to further explore the mountainous surroundings on a walk through the scenery or simply appreciate the views from the comfort of a local café.
(B, L or D)
Spend a final full day at the Verbier Festival and attend performances in the morning and/or afternoon.
(B, L or D)
Check out of the hotel and transfer by coach to Bern. Enjoy lunch in Switzerland’s cultural and administrative capital, a city whose historic character is preserved in its sandstone facades, cobblestone streets and charming red-brick roofs.
After lunch, continue to Lochau, a town perched on the edge of Lake Constance in Austria. Check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Begin the morning with a pre-performance talk by Christopher, before embarking on an excursion to Lindau, an island-town located in Germany on the eastern side of Lake Constance. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Lindau and experience the town’s rich history, which dates back to the 13th century, with time at leisure for lunch and for a stroll along the lakeside promenade or the Maximilianstrasse, the town’s main shopping street.
In the evening, board the MV Hohentwiel, a historic steamship built in 1913, for a cruise on Lake Constance. Enjoy a 4-course gourmet dinner before docking at the wharf adjacent to the floating stage to attend a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s iconic opera Rigoletto at the Bregenz Festival.
The Bregenz Festival
Founded in 1946, the Bregenz Festival is an annual performing arts festival featuring a variety of musical and theatrical performances on the shores of Lake Constance each summer. A number of different venues host a wide variety of concerts throughout the duration of the festival, but the most well-known is the Seebühne – a 7,000-seat open-air amphitheatre which is the world’s largest floating stage, built over the waters of Lake Constance. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is the most significant contributor to the Bregenz Festival, and each year guest composers are brought in from around the world to perform alongside world-class soloists. Popular operas are a staple of the Bregenz Festival’s regular program, and recent productions include Carmen, The Magic Flute, Aida and Tosca. Under the artistic direction of Elisabeth Sobotka, the festival continues to grow and as the number of events and scale of performances increases, so does the number of musical enthusiasts who flock from all around the world to witness the magic.
Check out of the hotel and drive through the foothills of the Austrian Alps to Innsbruck, a city with a rich history and vibrant culture nestled in the valley between two mountains. Stop in Innsbruck and enjoy some free time for lunch and to explore before continuing to Walchsee near Erl. This charming mountain resort is perched between the shores of the Walchsee lake and the towering Kaiser Mountains, a short distance from Erl, home of the Tyrolean Festival of classical music. Check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Following a pre-performance talk by Christopher, attend a short concert by the artists appearing in this year’s Tyrolean Festival. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch and to explore Erl at your own pace.
Spend the afternoon at a performance of the Tyrolean Festival, before returning to the hotel in Walchsee for dinner after the concert.
The Tyrolean Festival Erl
The Tyrolean Festival Erl is an opera and music festival which was founded in 1997 under the artistic direction of Gustav Khun and runs throughout July and August each year. The festival was initially housed in the Passion Playhouse, a local landmark with sensational acoustics that was originally built as the setting for Erl’s famous Passion of the Christ, however since 2012, the specially-built Festspielhaus has hosted the festival’s performances by world-class musicians from international ensembles and Erl natives alike. The Tyrolean Festival has traditionally featured the works of Richard Wagner amongst a varied program of other operas, orchestral music and recitals, and attracts a wide variety of internationally renowned soloists, alongside its resident orchestra and choir academy. The population of Erl has been intimately involved with the festival since its inception, and productions frequently feature locals as actors, extras, technicians, hosts and more. In 2018 Bernd Loebe took over as director of the festival.
This morning depart the hotel and transfer to Kufstein, a picturesque town on the fast-flowing River Inn. Embark on a walking tour of the historic quarter and visit the Kufstein Fortress, a 13th century stronghold housing a museum of local history. Join Christopher and fellow tours members for a special farewell lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Walchsee for an afternoon at leisure.
This evening, transfer to Erl for a final performance at the Tyrolean Festival.
(B, L OR D)
In the morning, transfer to Munich airport (transfer included in tour price) for suggested Qatar Airways flights to Australia and New Zealand via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.
Final payment due
15 May 2020
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wines with dinners
- Category 1 tickets (or best available) to all included performances in Verbier, Bregenz and Tyrolean Festivals as per itinerary
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation throughout on comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
- Group transfer on departure as per itinerary
- Lectures and talks with your tour leader, Christopher Lawrence
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport/hotel transfer on arrival in Geneva
- Transfer on departure if not using group transfer
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, room service, taxis etc.)
- Airport porterage
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
Geneva – Hotel President Wilson*****
Verbier – Hotel Le Vanessa ****
Lochau (near Bregenz) – Seehotel Am Kaiserstrand****
Walchsee (near Erl) – Hotel Panorama ****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.