Alps in Autumn

The Best of Austria and Germany

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Since the beginning of the “Golden Era” of travel, the untamed majesty of Europe’s Alps has beckoned travelers, alpinists, artists, and photographers to a region of concentrated scenic splendor straddling the borders of Austria and Germany. When Julie Andrews twirled in its alpine meadows in The Sound of Music, Austria became synonymous with the Alps for an entire generation.

For photographers, the Alps are like no other place in the world with such an easily accessible and photogenic collection of towering glaciated peaks, and lush forested valleys. Water from snow-melt streams cascading over misty falls is a major feature of this alpine region adding a significant element to this image-inspiring landscape.
Fall is an exceptional time to photograph the Alps. The jaw-dropping mountain scenery is punctuated by the hues of gold, sienna, and ochre larches, birch, beech, and maples. Hillside color changes seem to take place daily as we document nature’s vibrant art canvas as it’s work in progress. In this autumn period between the summer hiking and the winter ski seasons, tourist numbers are very low. October is the prime month for stable fair weather, offering the best chances for the snowy summits to be free of clouds.

Our photography starts in the German alpine town of Berchtesgaden, just an hour’s drive from our Saltzburg, Austria meeting place. Here we have a stunning panoramic view of Germany’s Bavarian Alps from the top of Mount Kehlstein at the historic Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus). History buffs will remember this as Adolf Hitler’s mountaintop chalet and the former southern headquarters of the Nazi party. It is now a restaurant.

This trip can be combined with our Slovenia in Autumn tour October 16 - 27, 2023.
Heading to Austria we visit Hohe Tauern National Park, Europe’s second-largest national park and the largest protected area in the Alps. Dense forests, alpine pastures, mountain tarns, impressive waterfalls, wild rivers, and glaciated crags embody the national park landscape. The Grossglockner, Austria’s highest peak at 12,460 feet (3,798 meters) dominates the landscape even in a region encompassing 200 peaks over 3,000 meters.

We explore the fairytale village of Hallstatt—the most picturesque little town in all of Austria. There are countless images to be made of its 16th-century architecture, and iconic 18th-century lakeshore Evangelical Church of Christ juxtaposed against rolling mountains reflected in Lake Hallstatt.

Then, it’s off to the big city! A unique combination of scenic alpine landscapes and architectural richness has led to Salzburg’s reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. We cap-off our tour with a day to explore this city of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth, photographing in one of the best-preserved city centers in the German-speaking world. Our last photoshoot finds us at one of the elevated views over the city where we capture Salzburg’s numerous belltowers into the blue hour.

For trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (Oct 5, 2023)
Arrive at Salzburg international airport in Austria where we meet the group. A short drive takes us to Germany where we check-in to our hotel at Berchtesgaden. Afternoon photography followed by a welcome dinner at our hotel. (D)

Days 3-4
We have two full days to photograph this stunning part of the German Alps. A scenic boat ride on Lake Königssee delivers us to the attractive pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä with its striking wine-red onion domes. Built in 1697, the baroque-style Roman Catholic church is set amidst one of the most beautiful locations in Bavaria. Near the chapel lies the photogenic former hunting lodge of Bavarian Kings.
The impossible position of the Eagle’s nest stuns with panoramic mountain views. We follow one of the mountain roads to photograph nearby lakes and churches. (BLD)

Day 5
Morning photography around Berchtesgaden followed by our after-breakfast departure to Austria. Our first Austrian destination is the Hohe Tauern National Park area. We reside in a small village north of the national park—a convenient base to explore the region. Evening photography at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the broad Alps landscape. (BLD)

Day 6
We have a full day to explore the Hohe Tauern National Park area. Depending on weather, a cable car carries us up to a mountain ski resort where we have remarkable views of the highest peaks in the area. Nearby, the Krimml waterfalls at 1247 feet (380 meters) are the highest falls in Austria and certainly one of the country’s most beautiful. We have ample time to walk the trail along the waterfalls, photographing the cascades and the Krimmler Ache River with its adjacent mountain forest scenery. (BLD)

Day 7
Today we travel deep into the Austrian Alps. The high alpine road of Grossglockner is a truly spectacular drive. We spend the night at the highest point of the road! This incredible road offers endless opportunities to photograph mountains, the night sky and even wildlife! If we are lucky, we find marmots and ibex in the mountain meadows. With clear skies we catch a glimpse of Austria’s highest peak, the mighty Grossglockner. (BLD)

Day 8
Sunrise photography at the top of Edelweissspitze—the highest accessible point of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. We drive to the eastern part of the Austrian Alps where we are based near Hallstatt town for two nights. Hallstatt is the most picturesque little town in Austria and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This town is so attractive that it has been recreated as a “Disneyesque” tourist attraction in China.

Hallstatt, Austria, is located on a narrow lakeshore and its iconic Evangelical church reflects in the expansive lake. The name Hallstatt translated means “place of salt” and the town is home to the world’s first salt mine. Due to overwhelming tourist traffic during the tourist season, the tiny town is accessible only on foot to travelers to avoid overwhelming its 800 residents with excessive vehicle pollution. (BLD)

Day 9
The area around Hallstatt offers many beautiful sights. Depending on weather, we photograph spectacular mountain lakes, such as Gosausee, or take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain with spectacular views of nearby snow-capped peaks. There are some very photogenic small waterfalls in the area as well. (BLD)

Day 10
We head to Salzburg stopping at the Golling waterfall along the way. At this delightful forested location we create long silky-water exposures of the falls, its spring, and a photogenic old watermill. Afternoon arrival in Salzburg where we photograph sunset and blue hour from the riverside. (BLD)

Day 11
Our entire day is devoted to exploring Salzburg, the most beautiful historical city in Austria. We photograph in the UNESCO World Heritage “Old Town” site known for its wonderful jumble of cobblestone streets, old churches, delightful squares, and medieval and baroque architecture. Also on our adgenda: the cathedral, old cemetery, Mozart’s birth house, Hohensalzburg Fortress and more as time permits Our last photoshoot finds us at one of the elevated views over the city where we capture images of Salzburg's numerous belltowers. The day is capped with a farewell dinner at a traditional Austrian cuisine restaurant. (BLD)

Day 12 (Oct 15)
Following breakfast, we transfer to the Salzburg Airport. Those participants with a late flight have optional opportunities to photograph the city independently. Those continuing their journey on to our Slovenia in Autumn tour have group transfer to Slovenia sometime after breakfast. (B)
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Alps in Autumn

Oct 04, 2023 - Oct 15, 2023

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

We strongly encourage you to protect your travel investment and purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. We can provide travel insurance options, or it can be purchased online. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available. Trip participants without travel protection insurance are considered “self-insured.” Without insurance you assume all risks and losses for any conditions requiring your cancellation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you, or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health, including viral illnesses, occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, and applicable health advisories. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or email address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or email messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific details that are included in your trip fee. Generally, these include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch, or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, internal tour air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages, and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry, or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Most of our trips are priced in double occupancy (shared) accommodations. Single accommodation is available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodation or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations, and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins, or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea is included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two people traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motor coach, automobile, van, boat, ship or aircraft or any other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics, pandemics and outbreaks, or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non -refundable air tickets, visa fees, travel insurance premiums and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure or disease outbreak in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A signed Registration Form with the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be returned by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington.

I have read, understand, and agree to the terms, conditions, and provisions of the enrollment information, as stated on the Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris website and the Enrollment Conditions section of this form, especially noting the policy on cancellations, refunds, and limitations on responsibility.

I am aware that during any trip or tour that I am voluntarily participating in under the arrangements of Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., a Washington corporation, and its employees, agents and associates, certain risks and dangers exist while traveling in the United States, foreign countries, and wilderness areas in any country or territory that include the possibility of property damage, bodily injury, and death. There is a possibility of accident or illness occurring without access to immediate or timely medical treatment or facilities. There is a risk of tropical or communicable diseases that may require quarantine and removal from the tour at my expense, food-related illnesses, the risk of personal injury and property damage or delay or inconvenience by forces of nature, wildlife or wildlife models, quarantine, political instability, acts of terrorism, strikes, government restrictions or regulations change, thefts, and the risk of accidents during travel while on foot or by aircraft, train, automobile, van, bus, boat, ship, or other conveyance. I understand that such risks cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of this trip or tour. In consideration of, and as part payment for the right to participate in such trips, tours and/or other activities and services arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates, I have and do hereby assume all risks, and hereby release Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents and associates, and will hold them harmless from any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, debts, claims, and demands of every kind and nature, howsoever caused, which I now have or which may arise of or in connection with any of my trips or tours and participation in any activities arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf, be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this Agreement, I agree to indemnify them and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, I agree to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington and further agree that the substantive law of that state shall apply in that action without regard to the conflict-of-law rules of that state. The terms hereof shall serve as a release and assumption of all risk for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, and for all members of my family.

If any part, article, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this Agreement is not enforceable, the affected provision shall be curtailed and limited only to the extent necessary to bring it within the requirements of the law, and the remainder of the Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

I acknowledge that if anyone is hurt or property is damaged during my participation in this activity, I may be found by a court of law to have waived my right to maintain a lawsuit against Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents, and associates, based on any and all claims from which I have released them.

Alps in Autumn: Moderate Activity Level

To fully enjoy this trip requires some moderate walks at high elevations (5,000 feet or more) and participating in a cable car excursion to an altitude of 9,000 feet or more. The village of Hallstatt has banned motor vehicles due to air pollution concerns, and our time spent in that community is on foot!
Trip Details
Oct 04 - Oct 15, 2023
Fee: $7,295 from Salzburg, Austria
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate

Now $6,795 due to favorable exchange rate

$6,595 when combined with our Slovenia in Autumn tour
  • Spectacular mountain photography punctuated by vibrant autumn color
  • Prime time for stable fair weather—photograph the pristine snowy summits of the Austrian and German Alps against brilliant blue skies
  • Explore great shooting locations accessible by cable cars and cog trains
  • Old-world hospitality and charm in comfortable lodgings at a time of year with fewer tourists
  • Enjoy delicious regional foods throughout the tour
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, national park fees, photo guides and instruction
Tour Leaders
Joe Van Os

Joe Van Os

And Local Leaders