Only have a week to spend in Central Europe? You don't actually have to run far. The picture-perfect towns close to the borders of Switzerland, Austria and Germany are tailor-placed for a quick highlights tour. Fly into Zürich, and spend a night in the lively urban centre that retains an Old World heart; don't miss hip Züri-West. From there, head to the mountains to the ever-idyllic lakeside city of Lucerne, where iconic half-timbered bridges cross glacier-cold waters.
Leave Switzerland for its immediate neighbour to the east, Austria. Innsbruck has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is a great mountain base; from there you can ski or hike, taking sustenance in mountain huts. The beer halls of Munich are a short hop away. This atmospheric Bavarian town with good museums is worth a couple of days; when it's clear, you can see the Alps. A short final jaunt brings you to the perfect combination of hills and music: Salzburg. Mozart's one-time home has an abundance of old architecture, including an impressive castle, surrounded by mountains and Alpine lakes.